Creating intimacy that will strengthen your marriage

  

Once upon a time, two brooms fell in love and decided to get married. Just before the ceremony, the bride broom informed the groom broom that she was expecting a little whisk broom. The groom was aghast. "How is it possible?" he asked. "We’ve never swept together."

 

For married couples, becoming one includes sleeping together, but it also includes becoming one emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. What happens in the bedroom is often a difficult thing for couples to talk about. But it is possible to develop a healthy, God-honouring understanding of sex.

 

In Ephesians 5:31-32, the Apostle Paul notes that when two people marry, "a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the Church." When two people become "one flesh," there is a spiritual dimension that should be affirmed.

 

In a previous I talked about "leaving" as the first step in becoming one. I was not suggesting that newly married people must give up important relationships or meaningful pursuits, but rather that they should find an appropriate balance between their former lives and life with their spouse.

 

The second part in becoming one is being united or "cleaving" to your partner. The goal here is to establish mutual commitment. In the Greek New Testament, cleaving means to cement together, to stick like glue, or to be welded together so that the two cannot be separated without damage to both. Cleaving is a love that will not let go.

 

Having established that your spouse is your number-one priority through leaving and cleaving, you can move to physical intimacy without shame. Physical intimacy is much more than sex. It’s sharing love through warm hugs, kisses, holding hands, relaxing massages, foot rubs and snuggling. A variety of intimate moments weave together to make a healthy sex life.

 

In the busyness of life, couples become emotionally and intellectually intimate by carving out regular times for sharing. The "when" is not as important as creating a relaxed environment to focus on each other. Spiritual intimacy is built in private times together, reading the Bible, praying, developing spiritual gifts, and attending a home group and church.

 

In his book, Tender Love, Bill Hybels writes, "Only when a man and wife relate to one another at the level of heart, mind and soul, in a permanent, trust-filled, open, safe, vulnerable, loving, passionate kind of way, does sexual intercourse represent what it was meant to represent: ultimate unity."

 

Hints for a fulfilling sex life

  • Understand the differences in how men and women approach sex. Men are stimulated by sight, while women are more aroused by feelings, touch and words. Husbands, remember that women respond to what they feel, so make frequent deposits in her emotional bank account. Wives, keep in mind that men respond to what they see. Paying attention to your appearance will encourage him to connect with you sexually.
  • Someone has said, "Sex begins in the kitchen." Intimacy and desire are built up continually throughout the day. They don’t automatically happen when you fall into bed. Meaningful nonsexual touching, along with emotional, intellectual and spiritual connecting, all work together to set the stage for physical intimacy.
  • Be a student of your mate. Ask what gives him or her pleasure and satisfaction. Be sensitive to differences. Designed to be a mutually enjoyable experience, sex expresses and strengthens the unity of the wife-husband relationship.
  • Deal with any outstanding issues that might prevent you from enjoying physical intimacy. Past experiences or current unresolved anger toward your spouse can cause lack of desire.
  • Be open to learning. Patience and understanding go a long way as you explore and learn how to meet each other’s physical needs and desires.
  • Take care of yourself. Keeping your body in good physical condition not only enhances sexual performance and enjoyment but boosts your overall sense of well-being.
  • Sex is powerful. Avoid using it as a weapon against your spouse. Also, be careful not to mistake sex for emotional intimacy. The physical act is not a substitute for the emotional closeness that ongoing communication and shared experiences bring.

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Testimonials

“I have been using this resource with couples wishing to get married for the last couple of years and find it to be a great resource.”
- Captain Pastor Steve Manuel, Trenton, Ontario

"A very valuable resource for both pastors preparing couples for marriage and individuals desiring a solid foundation on which to build their married lives. Based on biblical principles and containing interactive questions this manual covers critical topics such as: expectations, communication, conflict, forgiveness, intimacy and others, which are illustrated by an appropriate and gentle use of humour with which all couples will identify. I highly recommend this valuable resource."
- Dr. Gus Konkel, Ph.D., President, Providence College & Seminary, Otterburne, Manitoba