Building & Strengthening Intimacy

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:

  1.  Play footsie.
  2.  Genuinely ask how his or her day went.
  3.  Kiss upon waking, before going to sleep and parting from one another.
  4.  Touch your spouse’s leg or hand while driving.
  5.  Sit on your spouse’s lap.
  6.  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).
  7.  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!

 

No “Trash Talk” Allowed

We have all been in the situation where a group of women are all talking, and suddenly the subject turns to our husbands.  “My husband thinks he is Mr. Fix-it, but is more like Mr. Break-it, haha.”  ” My husband snores so loud I dream about lawn mowers all night.”  “Sometimes my husband makes me feel like I am raising 3 kids instead of 2.”  After a few of these stories, the group erupts into laughter.  But what seems like innocent, harmless talk between a group of wives can be detrimental to your marriage.

This seemingly harmless talk is in reality “trash talking” or “husband bashing”, and it destroys our husbands from the inside out.  It damages their character, their reputation, and their relationship with us, their wives.  It may seem innocent and just what wives are supposed to do, but it is disrespectful, dishonoring, and sometimes even humiliating to our husbands. 

Trash talking has some very serious consequences.  If your husband overhears or finds out about the negative things that were said, not only will he be hurt, but it can also cause resentment towards his wife.  He will feel disrespected and unappreciated, and this could cause your husband to stop doing the things he normally does around the house.  He will think to himself, “there is no point in it, she does not appreciate me anyway”.  Also, once those negative words are spoken, you can not take them back, and your husband will not forget what you have said.  Unfortunately, your group of friends will not forget what was said either.  They have lost some degree of respect for your husband, and you can bet they will tell their husbands what was shared.  Now your husband looks like less of a man to all of them, and the damage is done.

The most serious consequence of trash talking your husband is giving the devil a foothold in your marriage.  When you say negative things about your husband, you are in essence speaking negatively about yourself. After all, you chose this man to spend forever with.  Not to mention, if your husband is a child of God, then you are speaking negatively about the body of Christ.  Remember, he is the head of the household just like Christ is the head of the church.  When you speak badly about your husband, you speak badly about CHRIST.  No one likes to be criticized, or have their shortcomings broadcast to everyone, especially by the person they love and trust the most.  How would you like it if you walked by a group of men and overheard your husband telling them how you had put on a few pounds?  It would not feel very good.  In fact, it would hurt us very deeply to hear that come from our husbands’ mouths. Ladies, Satan wants nothing more than to drive a wedge between you and your husband, and seemingly innocent “trash talk” is one way that he accomplishes this.

The Bible tells us to honor our husbands, and one way we can do that is through the words that we speak.  Wives, we need to say only positive about our husbands.  Of course, this will take a conscious effort on our part.  We really do have to think before we speak, and try to focus only on the good.  Remember, he has seen ALL of you, the good, the bad, and the ugly, yet he chooses not to broadcast it to the public. Speaking positive things about your husband will only help your marriage.  Your relationship will grow tremendously when you choose to uplift your husband in public instead of tearing him down.

ENCOURAGING THINGS TO SAY TO YOUR HUSBAND

  1. Thank you for being my best friend!
  2. Thank you for taking care of me.
  3. You look great today!
  4. You are my favorite blessing.
  5. You are an awesome dad!
  6. I love being your wife!
  7. Thank you for helping me.
  8. You are such a hard worker.
  9. I am so proud of you!
  10. I really appreciate everything that you do.

I believe we need to surround ourselves with marriage-positive people.  As wives after God’s own heart, we also need to make a point to walk away when the “husband trash talk” starts.  This will probably make some people uncomfortable, but it may be the eye-opener that someone in your group needs.

Ladies, let’s all get into the habit of uplifting our husbands in public.  This will feel weird and look odd to others at first, but the more positive things we say, the more positive we become about our marriage and our husbands. Our words can speak either life or death, and we are doing the former when we use uplifting, encouraging, loving words about our husbands. Decide now to speak life into your marriage and your husband.  He really does deserve it!

 

 

 

 

Say Goodbye To The To-Do List In Bed

Let me paint a picture for you. The house is quiet, the two of you are lying in bed, and your husband has that look in his eye. Your first reaction might be to say “not tonight” or “I have a headache”, but you go along with it.  Yet in the moment, all you can think about are the things that need to be done.  There are dishes in the sink, laundry that needs to be folded, the dog needs to be walked, kids’ lunches need to be packed, and you have to iron your clothes for work tomorrow.  Then before you know it, the romantic moment is over and you barely remember a thing.

Sound familiar? To any wife and mother it probably does.  Fear not though, the romance stealing to-do list can be conquered.  There are some things that we can do to help turn our focus to our husbands and away from everything else.  First, if you are finding it difficult to calm your mind, try turning on some music.  In this case, we want soft soothing music, this is not the time for rocking out to heavy metal!  You also need something that is going to relax and help focus your mind.  Something that works for me is focusing on my senses. Think about what you smell. Can you smell his favorite cologne, or maybe the fragrance of a lit candle? Next, focus on what you hear.  Is there soft music playing in the background, and can you hear his breath in your ear?  Finally, think about what you feel.  Is it the weight of his body on top of yours?  Do you feel his hands touching your legs or his lips on your skin?  If so, now you are present and “all in” to the moment.

However, before we do any of this we must first pray that God will bless us in this area.  Prayer is the only way that any part of our lives can be truly conquered.  Wives, we have to go to God and ask him to give us the strength to overcome the to-do list, and to find our joy in sex again.

We know that God created sex as a gift for husbands and wives to grow closer to each other.  We also know that God created it to be enjoyable and pleasurable.  This is hard though, when all you can think about are the overwhelming amount of things that need to be done.  In order to overcome this, we must turn our focus elsewhere.  By turning our thoughts away from the ominous to-do list and onto God, we will begin to experience something incredible.  He will transform our thoughts, and we can then focus on glorifying Him and honoring Him through giving all of ourselves to our husbands.  When we focus on God, we give Him the invitation to bless us and help us feel a deep emotional connection with our husbands.  We can experience sex the way that God intended it, as “one flesh”, hot and passionate.

Of course, the to-do list will still be there when everything is done, but you will not care.  You have given yourself to your husband and to the moment, with body, mind, heart, and soul.  You are both glorifying God and focusing on the moment with your husband.  You then say to yourself,” the to-do list can wait”!

 

Unwrapping The Gift of Sex

 

It all began in the Garden of Eden.  God created Adam and Eve for each other: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).  The Bible says that we are to be joined together as husband and wife, bone of bone and flesh of flesh.  God created sex and it was good!

Sex in marriage is a blessing.  It is a way to truly share yourself and get to know one another.  God’s desire for sex is that you give yourself to your husband, body, mind and soul.  God created sex as a way for husbands and wives to become “one flesh”.  It is a way for us to connect with each other like no other person can.  When you and your husband are in the moment, there is a connection, a feeling, that no one else can experience but the two of you.

Sex is a gift given by God as a way to strengthen our marriages. God is not disappointed or surprised by our sexual desires. He wants us to feel passion and pleasure.  However, it is more than just that.  Sex is a way that husbands and wives can become more secure with each other.  Wives, can you think of a time when you feel more safe than when you are lying in your bed completely wrapped in your husband’s arms?  I can’t.

One of the greatest benefits of the marriage bed is the intimacy that it creates.  Making love is the most intimate moment a husband and wife can experience.  It is a way to completely share yourself with your husband.  The total giving of our souls and bodies is a reminder that we were created specifically for each other.  It is this exclusivity and intimacy that molds us into “one flesh” as God desires.

Of course there are times when sex and intimacy are difficult to attain.  If this is the case for you, do not worry.  You are not alone.  It is important to remember and accept the fact that men and women were created different sexually.  Men were created to be very visual and to desire sex more frequently. Knowing this, it is important that we as wives realize that our bodies and our sensuality is the greatest tool that God gave us to serve and bless our husbands. Whereas with us women, everything is tied to our emotions.  We need to feel wanted and desired, and if those feelings are not there then we are not into it. Sex should be enjoyable.  It should be something that we look forward to and something that we yearn for.  When that connection is not there, the yearning and desire is lost.

Sex with our husbands should make us feel special, cherished, wanted and emotionally connected.  However, to get to that point, it is important for husbands and wives to understand and accept each other’s backgrounds and experiences with sex.  It is vital for our relationships that we talk openly and honestly about our views, our fears, and our wants when it comes to sex.  These types of conversations can help escalate our sexual intimacy in our marriage to a whole new level.

It is true that God created sex and it is good, but he did not create it solely for us.  He also created it as a way to worship Him. Glorifying God through marital sex is a tremendous blessing!  It is when we are in the most intimate of moments, both spiritually and physically, that we are reminded of God’s plan and His blessings on us.  It is important that we view sex as a form of worship to God that only the two of us enter into together.  Amazing things can happen when we invite God into our marriage and bedroom.  Not only do we see His vision and His will, but we also feel His presence and His blessing on our union. God gave us this gift of sex. Now is the time to unwrap it and enjoy it.

 

 

I Am A Submissive Wife

If we all admit the truth, this is a very touchy subject.  There is so much controversy surrounding submissiveness.  The Bible clearly tells us wives are to submit to our husbands, but exactly what does that entail?  The world’s definition of submission is a person being told what they can and can’t do, allowing themselves to be controlled by another person, or most shockingly, even being tied up or whipped.  Wow!  The world is so messed up right now.

The Biblical definition of submission is when a wife willingly does what her husband thinks is best.  Did you catch that?  Submission is not being forced, but doing so out of a willing heart.  I am a submissive wife.  I willingly let my husband have control of our relationship.  This does not mean that he tells me what I can and can not do.  He is not my father, but my husband.  I allow him to make decisions and follow along with his wishes willingly and lovingly.

Being a submissive wife is such a blessing.  Seeing my husband in control is very sexy and attractive.  Come on ladies, who doesn’t like for the man to take the lead?  As his submissive wife, he is more sensitive to my feelings and emotions.  I honestly believe this type of relationship has brought us closer and more connected with each other.

On the other hand, being a submissive wife does not mean that you do not matter.  It is not an invitation to be walked all over.  The way a submissive relationship works best is when both spouses’ wishes and desires are considered.

We submit to our husbands as a way of showing honor and respect to him as the spiritual head of the household, just like we are supposed to submit to God.  Now, sometimes submitting to God seems a lot easier than submitting to your husband, but in the end doing both will bless you and fill you with joy.  As one of my favorite celebrities Candace Cameron Bure once said, “I would rather be viewed as weak to the world because I am submissive to my husband…than be weak in the Lord because I submit to the views of the world!”.  Wives, we will submit to something.  Will it be to the Lord and our husbands, or will it be to the world?

Below are ways that you can submit to your husband today.

  1. Let him make all the important financial decisions for your house.
  2. Work together on all important issues, but allow him to have the final decision.
  3. Let him be the spiritual head of the household.
  4. Acknowledge that God is the one who has placed your husband in this role.
  5. Show respect to your husband in all things, even when sharing your opinion.
  6. Resist your desire to take control.
  7. Always pray for your husband.
  8. Never undermine your husband as head of the household.
  9. Put him above everyone and everything (except Christ).
  10. Willingly give all of yourself to your husband and enjoy showing your love intimately.
  11. Listen intently to him.
  12. Humble yourself and show him grace.
  13. Do not trash talk your husband.  Always lift him up to everyone.
  14. Make time for your husband.

Of course before we can do any of this we must first submit to God.  This will give us the motivation we need to lovingly and willingly submit to our husband.

 

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No More 50/50

We have heard so many times that marriage is a 50/50 proposition, but I am telling you that is just not the case.  The truth is, we should strive to give 100% to our marriage, all the time.  Just think of it in terms of sports: if a basketball player is only doing 50% of what he is able, then his team is going to suffer.  However, if he is giving 100%, doing all that he can, then his team has a better chance at victory.  Well, guess what?  Marriage works the same way.  If you are only giving half of what you are able, then your relationship will suffer.  But if you are giving it your all, your marriage will thrive.

I know, I can hear you guys right now.  I am so tired, I just don’t know if I can give 100%.  And that is OK.  There will be many days when we just can’t give 100%.  In fact, there may be some days when even 50% seems too much to ask, but that is when your husband steps up and gives extra for you.  Of course, the same principle goes in the other direction as well.  On the days that you know he can barely give 50%, you need to step up and give more for him.  But if we are both giving our all, most of the time, then there will be plenty left over to cover those times when we can’t.

Sacrifice in marriage can be such a blessing.  However, when one partner sacrifices more than the other, that is when problems arise.  You have all heard the term, “it takes two to tango“.  Well, it also takes two to make a sacrificial marriage work.  Marriage gives us many opportunities to sacrifice.  Amen!  Anytime that we give up our wants, comforts, or needs, we are sacrificing, and sometimes this can be painful.  Trust me, I know this isn’t easy.  It can be very difficult to put his needs ahead of mine, especially when I can barely hold my head up or the dishes are growing out of the sink.  However, giving to my husband (despite any excuses I could make) is part of a sacrificial marriage.

Young frustrated housewife standing in front of the ironing board and scatters the laundry from laundry basket.

I bet you already sacrifice and don’t even realize it.  When you have worked all day, your back is killing you, and you can barely put one foot in front of the other, you might still cook dinner for your husband.  On the nights that all you want to do is go to sleep, but you know that he wants to sit next to you and watch a TV show, you push your bedtime back a little further.  I am also sure there are plenty of occasions when your husband has shown sacrificial love.  Think of the times that he has given up playing golf to spend time with you, or when he has gone and seen the new chick movie just because you wanted to.  Having a sacrificial marriage allows us to experience the joy and satisfaction in our marriage just the way God intended it to be.

Please listen to me.  Being a sacrificial, selfless person, does not make you a doormat.  Remember that sacrifice should go both ways.  In no way are you supposed to be the only one giving all the time.  If you are reading this and you struggle with this issue, whether it be being sacrificial yourself or being taken advantage of because of your sacrifices, please ask the Lord for help.  He wants to be a part of our marriage, and when we go to him in prayer concerning our marriage he will bless us.

What is the purpose of having a sacrificial marriage, you might ask.  The whole reason that we make sacrifices in our marriage is to show the love of Christ.  News flash!  Marriage is not all about us, it was designed by God to bring glory and honor to Him.  The world, including those around us, takes notice when a husband and wife truly love each other.  God gave us the gift of marriage to show Christ to the world.  After all, it was He who gave the ultimate sacrifice, His life.  Christ laid down his life for us, and we are supposed to lay down our wants, needs and desires for our husbands and families.  When being in a sacrificial marriage gets hard, remember Jesus and his sacrifice and keep on giving.

 

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What is This Thing Called Marriage?

“You may now kiss the bride.”  Our wedding day is such a wonderful day!  It is filled with so much excitement and joy.  Then, the wedding is over and you are now married.  But what exactly does that mean?  I know I love this man, but can I really live with him 24/7?

Marriage is a covenant, a sacred bond, not only between the husband and wife but also with God. Marriage is not a contract, but it is a promise made before God.  We can not negotiate or redefine what marriage is or should be.  God had a plan from the very beginning that included marriage, the holy uniting of one man and one woman.  Marriage is therefore a serious commitment that should not be taken lightly or entered into blindly.

Wow! That is some heavy stuff. This description of marriage looks a lot different than what we see on TV or out in the world.  So many marriages end in divorce because we all expect the impossible.  We want this person to be everything for us, but completely forget that he is also a human being with his own needs.  We become so selfish, thinking this man can fulfill everything we need or want.  The only one who is able to fulfill all your needs is God.  If He is not at the center of your marriage, its foundation will crumble.

The first and foremost way to build a strong healthy marriage is to understand the design God has for marriage.  We, as wives, were created for our husbands.  We are to stand by him and look to him in major decisions.  We are to love, honor, and respect our husbands.  On our wedding day we vow “till death do us part”, and that is exactly what God had in mind!

Check out some of these awesome links:

 

 

http://HopeJoyInChrist.com

 

 

 

 

 

http://hilarybernstein.com

 

 

 

 

 

http://spoiledcentless.com

 

 

 

 

 

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