God built into you the need, desire, and capacity for intimacy. It’s part of how you are created in His image. In marriage, God’s plan is that intimacy be a whole-person experience – physically (sex), emotionally, and spiritually. Better intimacy in marriage doesn’t just happen; it needs to be built and nurtured.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been talking about the five key steps leading to authentic intimacy in marriage – honesty, safety, trust, connection, and finally real intimacy. Seeing and being seen. Knowing and being known. Here we’re bringing it all together in a coherent pathway.
Building better intimacy is something that requires both partners’ full engagement. It includes sex, but it’s not limited to sex. Simply having sex when the other elements are seriously lacking can actually build walls between you and drive you farther apart. That doesn’t mean you always wait until you “feel” like it before having sex. But it does mean both of you need to be engaged in the process if intimacy is to happen.
So here’s what the path to better intimacy in marriage looks like.
Be Honest – with God, with Yourself, with Your Spouse
We all have “stuff.” But are you dealing with your stuff? If you want sex, what is it you are seeking? Physical release only? Connection with your spouse? If you hate sex, why? What are the messages you’ve come to believe and the experiences that have wounded you? Are you keeping something back from your spouse in your heart? Getting better starts with being honest with yourself, and with God.
Then, becoming honest with each other is a huge step toward intimacy. Real intimacy is only possible when there is a foundation of honesty. That includes being honest with each other not only about any sexual baggage from the past, but your desires, struggles, dreams, and more in the present. It includes being honest about where my heart is right now, and how you are impacting me.
Create a Culture of Safety Between You
How safe do you feel with your spouse? How safe does your spouse feel with you? What does it “cost” you to be yourself around your spouse? And what’s it like to be married to you? Both of you are sinners; there are no non-sinners available to marry! You will wound each other in some way. But are you quick to apologize? And do you own when you’ve been hurt and intentionally seek healing and restoration?
Work on becoming a safe person for your spouse to be around. That starts with listening to them without forming a rebuttal in your mind, but truly seeking to understand. And be honest about what you need from your spouse to sense a measure of safety.
Nurture an Environment of Trust
Trust does not mean either of you is perfect; you’re not. It means you have confidence you are truly for each other and the relationship. Do you believe your spouse is truly for you? Does your spouse sense you are for them? There are many more ways to break trust than to build it, and once broken trust takes significant time and effort to rebuild.
Trust is built over time, by demonstrating to each other that each of you do what you say and say what you do, follow through on your commitments, are committed to growth, and seek the good of the relationship more than your own individual pleasure or convenience. What will you do to demonstrate to your spouse that you are trustworthy?
Invest Frequently in Staying Connected
A healthy connection between you only comes when trust is present. Everything of value in life requires ongoing frequent investment, and so it is with a vibrant connection between you. That includes being in each other’s presence frequently. It includes communication – about life, about your hearts, about the tough stuff, and just to understand each other. And doing things together often.
Any long-lasting marriage will encounter obstacles; that’s life. But a couple who perseveres in working through those obstacles and makes it to the other side is even more connected, and more satisfied, than before. Research proves that.
What are you doing to daily, weekly, nurture the connection between you?
Celebrate and Enjoy Whole-Person Intimacy
God intended intimacy between husband and wife to be resilient, strong, and fun. It includes sex that is satisfying, exclusive, mutual, and even adventurous. It includes the emotional bonding of two whole mature human beings not seeking to have their empty places filled up by the other, but bringing the best version of themselves, as God is transforming them, to the relationship. And it includes pursuing not only God’s purpose for each individually, but God’s purpose for their union as a couple.
That kind of authentic intimacy is possible even in our sinful world. It does require both of you to be committed to building that kind of relationship.
If you’re not there right now, acknowledge it, own your part of the equation, pray for God’s intervention, and invite your spouse into a journey toward that kind of intimacy. That’s not manipulating, criticizing, or demanding sex; it’s an invitation.
BE the invitation.
I wish for you the joy of the journey toward authentic intimacy in your marriage.
Your Turn: where are you on the road to intimacy with your spouse? Which of these steps is your current challenge? What are you going to do about it? Leave your comment below.
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- Intimacy doesn’t just happen; it is built over time. The path to authentic intimacy is built on the steps of honesty, safety, trust, and connection, leading to an intimacy that’s worth celebrating. Tweet that.
Want to feel more Connected with your Spouse?
If you’re feeling disconnected from your spouse, there are things you can do to improve the intimacy between you.
I’ve prepared a FREE Resource Guide to help you Re-Connect with your Spouse with some practical next steps and additional resources. I’d love to send it to you!