What is intimacy?
According to google it is close familiarity or friendship. Something personal or private.
Marriage was meant to be a place of knowing and being known – like no other knows or is known. A place of friendship and close familiarity.
Achieving intimacy was easy before you got married. You talked, did stuff together and spent as much time together as possible. Once you got married real life kicked in, kids arrived, and life got so busy that your relationship took a back seat.
That can change!
Intimacy in marriage is not accidental. It takes intentional attention. You can choose to regain your intimacy.
Here are four things you can do as a couple to regain or maintain intimacy.
There are many benefits to playing – no matter what age you are. It relieves stress, relaxes, and energizes you. It deepens your relationship as a couple and makes it easier to connect. It keeps your relationship strong and healthy and fresh.
“Play is an antidote to the important responsibilities of adulthood.” – Ester Perel
Last summer Richard and I went to the beach. I’m a ninny when it comes to cold water, but that day I decided to swim (He’ll swim almost anytime J). The waves were small, and we didn’t do anything fancy, we just played – catching the small waves, hanging onto each other, laughing, splashing. It felt great. We felt young, energized, and relaxed. We also felt closer as a couple.
Play can take many forms. It’s taking a hike, a walk, a bike ride. It’s going on a picnic, throwing a Frisbee or flying a kite. It’s doing a jigsaw puzzle, playing a board game or learning a musical instrument. It’s going to the beach, fishing together, or exploring new places. It’s flirting and daydreaming.
Individual activities like watching TV or being on the internet don’t build connection like playing together does, so they don’t count.
Check out this page for great ideas for playing as a couple:
Communication is the lifeblood of a relationship. When communication falls flat, relational satisfaction drops.
So make time to talk to your spouse. Skip the weather report and talk about meaningful topics. Talk about your insecurities, your childhood, vivid memories, inside jokes. See here for 15 things that happy couples talk about.
Psychological Science states that well-being is related to having less small talk and more substantive conversations.
Revive this part of your relationship by using this page for ideas. Choose three topics/questions and find a time to talk. It can be while you’re driving, bathing together, or in the evening when the kids are in bed.
Great communication comes with practice. It takes honesty, vulnerability, and time. Great communication also consists of listening well.
Talking about small things will prepare the way for you to talk about the trouble spots in your relationship:
Keep the lines of communication open and your intimacy will grow.
“In a recent poll from Gallup it was revealed that “among married couples who attend church together regularly, the divorce rate is one out of two. That is the same statistic for marriages outside the church. However, among married couples who pray together daily, the divorce rate drops to one out of 1,153.”” [i]
Spiritual closeness is underestimated. Praying together will not only draw you closer to God as a couple, but it will draw you closer to each other.
Praying together softens angry feelings, and helps you find ways of resolving conflict.
Praying together reminds you that you are on the same side.
It creates emotional intimacy when we pray our true desires. It gives your spouse a glimpse of what goes on inside of you.
Praying aloud with your spouse may feel awkward at first. That’s ok. Do it anyway. Make it short if you need to or take turns to pray a sentence.
Here are some things to pray about as a couple:
Being spiritually intimate – sharing your thoughts and feelings about where you are at spiritually – will draw you close and increase both your emotional and physical intimacy.
If your spouse is not a believer or refuses to pray with you, then pray for them. Give your spouse to God to be influenced by Him in the way He sees best. Forcing spirituality on an unwilling partner will only make matters worse.
Be sure to keep showing your spouse how much you care and do not appear spiritually superior. (I once spoke to a lady who wanted her husband to become more spiritual and attend church with her. She had told him, “We both know that I am spiritually better than you.” Needless to say, her husband wasn’t in a hurry to join her at church.)
Women spell intimacy t-a-l-k and men spell intimacy s-e-x. [ii]
Ladies, if you want true intimacy with your husband, then sex has to be a part of your relationship. If you want your husband to feel loved and special, he needs to be physically intimate with you.
A friend once told me – after 2 abusive marriages – “If I could get married without having to have sex, I would be happy.” But that’s not how God designed marriage to be. He created sex. Created us to be one flesh – in a beautiful way.
Sex was designed to bond a man and a woman physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Enjoy this gift. Make time for it. Flirt, kiss, tease. Within marriage there should be no shame or guilt. If there is, explore the reasons why and find healing from any damage that may have occurred – whether from abuse or past relationships.
Check out this site for articles on physical intimacy from a Christian perspective. I highly recommend it!
It won’t take much to begin enjoying more intimacy in your marriage. Decide. Choose. Act. Your relationship deserves it.
How do you play together as a couple? Has praying together brought you closer? How do you find/make time to talk? Is your physical relationship a blessing or a curse? Leave me some ideas in the comments.
[ii] Dr Gary & Barbara Rosberg, The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women, 6