A marriage cannot thrive without intimacy. Husbands and wives crave intimacy and if we attempt to satisfy our God-given needs in unhealthy, unrealistic ways we end up hurting ourselves and those we care about most. As a happily married wife of 30 years and a mother of 5, I want to share what I’ve learned about creating space for intimacy.
Creating Space for Intimacy in Your Marriage
We create space for all kinds of activities in our homes—eating, sleeping, playing, and exercising. Sometimes the space is a room like the kitchen or the bonus room that has been built and equipped for a particular activity. We carefully choose paint colors, furniture, and decor to ensure maximum function and enjoyment of the area. What makes this task easy is a clear vision for the form and function of the space.
In order to create space for intimacy in our marriage, we also need a clear vision. To determine the form and function of intimacy in our marriage we need to answer three important questions.
#1 WHAT IS INTIMACY?
When you hear the word “intimacy” what comes to mind? Sex?
Sex is a part of intimate expression but it is not intimacy.
Intimacy involves way more than sex and creating space for intimacy involves more than just a comfortable mattress and candles.
God created us with the need for more than just a physical relationship. It’s why an emotional affair can be as dangerous as one involving sex. But this God-given capacity for connection is what will enable a marriage to thrive even during seasons when a physical (sexual) relationship is hindered or not possible.
So what is intimacy? Think about it this way: “Into-me-see”.
Intimacy is defined as closeness, togetherness, affinity, rapport, attachment, familiarity, friendliness, friendship, affection, and warmth. It’s a blending of hearts where we see who another person really is AND they see who we really are. True intimacy is two hearts coming together as one. It’s what we want more than anything, right?
We ache for intimacy more than sex, money, or food even though we often try to satisfy our real need with one or more of those substitutes.
This brings us to question #2.
#2 WHY IS INTIMACY SO IMPORTANT?
We were made by God to crave intimacy, first with Him, then with another.
- God desires intimacy with his children. The Bible is His story of how He longs to be our One and Only. He pursues our hearts with a pure and everlasting love. As His image-bearers He created us to crave intimacy, too.
- Our truest desire for intimacy must first be satisfied through a relationship with God in Christ. Intimacy apart from Him, even in marriage, will be incomplete.
- Our desire for sex is a natural, God given gift; and, while it can be a beautiful, intimate expression, it can never satisfy the deeper desire of our hearts to know and be known by our husband.
- Our bodies may not always be able to connect physically but our need for intimacy can still be satisfied by connection and affection shown in other ways.
#3 HOW DO WE CULTIVATE INTIMACY?
Here are a few ways to cultivate intimacy in your marriage:
- Worship together
- Read the Bible together or separately and take time to discuss what you’ve read
- Pray for one another and with one another
Make time to have fun together. Find an activity you both can enjoy and do it regularly without the kids or other couples.
Be willing to share your thoughts and listen to his. Practice active listening when he shares his thoughts on a subject. Put down your phone, make eye contact, and ask questions. Lay aside judgment and negativity and be open to learning what he thinks and why.
Be willing to share your feelings and pay attention to his. Show empathy and understanding just as you would to a friend, coworker or family member.
Physical activity, especially sex, is what most people think of when they hear the word “intimacy”. But a thriving marriage can and should include non-sexual activity (holding hands, cuddling, and kissing) as well as sexual activity. (I’ve suggested an excellent resource for wives at the end of this post!)
This post is Part I of the Series Creating Space for Intimacy in Every Season of Marriage. Part II, Creating Space for Intimacy: Married with Children, is coming soon. In that post I’ll share how we cultivated intimacy in our marriage when our children were younger.
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RESOURCE FOR WIVES
I love to share what I’ve learned in my 30 years of marriage but I don’t write in detail about physical (sexual) intimacy beyond what I’ve written here. However, Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum has a fabulous blog that I subscribe to and read often. She writes and speaks about sex and marriage from a biblical perspective. Ladies, the Boost Your Libido course is on sale for $29 until February 16 at midnight. (affiliate link). If you buy the course you also get her 31 Days to great sex ebook and the Boost Your Libido ebook for free.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase the product I referenced, I will receive an “affiliate commission.” I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Regardless of whether I receive a commission, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.