Would you believe me if I told you that intimacy starts outside of the bedroom? Believe it or not, it is true. As husbands and wives, we need to build close relationships with each other outside of the sexual realm. True intimacy in marriage is developed when we share our experiences and feelings with the one we love.
First off, intimacy is not all just about physical sex. Rather, it is about two people who feel safe enough to reveal themselves to each other. Building this type of intimacy, however, does not come easy. In the beginning, your relationship was likely two souls yearning to be with each other every minute of the day. The longer you have been married, though, the harder that type of intimacy is to maintain. No longer is it based on the sensual fireworks, now it is more built on trust, respect, honesty, and time spent together with each other.
As husband and wife, we need to develop a great friendship with each other by sharing EVERY aspect of our lives together. This happens when we discuss all ranges of topics with our spouse, and it can be anything from our favorite movie to the latest in politics. No matter how many times we have discussed an issue with our spouse, there is always something new to learn. We also bond and strengthen intimacy when we do activities together. This can be anything from watching your favorite TV show together, to hiking the Appalachian mountains as a couple. Friends, our marriages need time to laugh and unwind in order to make it through the hard times that may come. We bolster the intimacy in our marriage when we make the connection with our spouse intellectually and emotionally, as well as physically.
Another way we can create or strengthen intimacy is by worshiping and praying together. Spiritual intimacy occurs when we are both in the Word, praying for each other and attending church as a couple. Pray for your spouse in his presence, but also pray for him in private. This is NOT an opportunity to ask God to fix your husband (that is not what praying for your spouse means)! Instead, pray for God’s will to be fulfilled in your spouse’s life. Further, if you really want to find out what true intimacy means, worship together as husband and wife. This simple act is a foolproof way to knit your souls closer. If you feel disconnected from your spouse, try worshiping together and see what miraculous things God can do for your marriage.
We have talked about intellectual intimacy and spiritual intimacy, now we will discuss the importance of physical intimacy. As you strengthen your friendship and your spiritual relationship, you will see tremendous growth in your physical relationship. Physical intimacy is more than just sex. It can be holding hands, cuddling on the couch or a long drawn out hug. On occasion these physical acts do lead to something more, however, it does not always have to go somewhere. Sometimes all you need is to cuddle on the couch and fall asleep in each other’s arms. Physical intimacy is built through both touching and eye contact. Husbands can achieve this when they put their arm around their wife as they are sitting down, and wives build physical intimacy when they smile at their husband as if he was the only person that matters in the world.
Of course, one other component of physical intimacy is sex. It should come as no surprise that men rank sex very high on their list of marital importance, as they feel most connected to their wives when they are physically intimate. Sex is a gauge for a couple’s level of intimacy, and is also a way to create and strengthen said intimacy in marriage. Marital sex is God’s way to protect married couples from sexual temptation. Wives, it is so true that when sexual intimacy is at its lowest, Satan’s attacks are at their highest. We create that one-flesh bond during sexual intimacy, but when we get distracted and fail to make it a priority, Satan sees a weakness and takes the opportunity to attack our marriages. So yes, more sex is the answer! However, it has to be borne out of true intimacy, not just “the daily chore”.
As I have said before, the longer couples are married, the harder it is to maintain intimacy. Below are a few ideas to try to help increase the intimacy in your marriage:
- Play footsie.
- Genuinely ask how his or her day went.
- Kiss upon waking, before going to sleep and parting from one another.
- Touch your spouse’s leg or hand while driving.
- Sit on your spouse’s lap.
- Call or text your spouse just to let them know that you are thinking about them (there are some really good memes that you can use).
- Spoon while sleeping.
Remember though, spending time together is the best way to strengthen the intimacy in your marriage. First, set aside time each day to talk and listen to each other while holding hands. This is best done while the kids are gone to school or are already in bed; that way you can focus solely on each other. Also, be sure to set regular date nights. It does not have to be anything elaborate, just make sure you get to spend uninterrupted time together. Sad as it may be, it is not uncommon for couples later on in their marriage to say, “We just really did not know each other.” That is why it is so important that you set aside this time to focus only on strengthening the intimacy in your marriage. True intimacy is never fully attained, so continue to work at it as long as you have your spouse here with you!