To be totally honest this has been one of the harder posts for us to write. Intimacy is truly a foundation to a Godly marriage. Yes, God created sex but he clearly intends for it to only be experienced in the context of marriage. With that in mind I believe we have struggled with how to write publicly about this topic without creating thoughts or desires for our non-married friends out there.
However, the title of the blog is not simply “sex” but intimacy. That’s the first place our mind goes when the word intimate comes out. But, let’s get a couple of things outlined about sex:
- Sex is supernatural. 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 talk of how God uses the physical act of sex to bring two people together as one flesh. It’s not just physical.
- Sex is important in marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 command marries couples to not deprive one another. It’s part of God’s design to keep husband and wife as one flesh.
But this post is not just about sex. The truth of the matter is that intimacy is so much more than just sex. Dictionary.com defines intimacy as:
A close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person.
In my humble opinion the key to a healthy sex life in marriage is being intentionally intimate in your relationship with your spouse. I love how the definition gives descriptors:
- Close – you have to be best friends. Closer to each other than any other human.
- Familiar – you know each other better than any other human being.
- Usually affectionate or loving – this means there will be frustrations, but the norm is affection. This takes energy, effort, and selflessness from both parties.
The amazing thing about intimacy is that if we will be intentional in trying to focus on the intimacy of our marriage the payouts are huge. Not just for our sex life, but for all areas of our relationship. You wanna communicate better? Be more intimate. You wanna be on the same page? Be more intimate.
Intimacy matters, big time, be intentional.
There is a foundation we have already talked about that is key here, and it is worth mentioning again. This will only happen if you are intimate with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your IDENTITY has to be found in Christ alone.
On average married couples have sex 5 times per month. Wait. What? As I read through some statistics today I kept thinking I was misreading the information. But no, that’s what statistics showed. That’s one time a week. Or if the couple is feeling a little frisky maybe two times a week and none the next.
I find myself wondering why this is. Is it time, energy, prioritization, insecurity? Or the lack thereof? There is so much to unpack when talking about intimacy. This is such an important and personal topic.. A topic that Hayes and I would love to talk through with you as we sit down at our kitchen table over a cup of coffee. Because every marriage is different. Every couple goes through tough times whether it be financial, trust, parenting or intimacy. But the thing about intimacy is that all other stressors affect this part of marriage. Because intimacy is way more than just the physical act of sex. The physical act of sex is just one tiny part of intimacy. Albeit, a great part and very important part, but just one part.
Think about financial stressors. If you and your spouse are struggling financially, will a lack of intimacy make it worse? Probably not. But on the other hand, if you are struggling with intimately connecting with your spouse, will a financial stress make it worse? Probably. That’s what I mean when I say that other factors and stressors contribute to intimacy.
I believe that couples lack true intimacy with their spouse because of the many stressors that life can bring. These other factors put a wall up, take time and energy, cause tension and therefore many couples only connect intimately a few times a month. And even then, are they really connecting the way God designed for a husband and wife to connect? For example, if you don’t fully trust someone, can you be truly intimate with them? Absolutely not. Intimacy requires complete vulnerability. And vulnerability cannot be given to someone you don’t trust. Our relationships with our spouse are designed to reflect the relationship between God and the church. A relationship that I know is loyal, unwavering, trusting. Intimate. Our earthly relationships, even those that are the most intimate, are not going make it to that level because we are a sinful people, but we should strive for that. Just as we should strive to live a life reflecting the Jesus and the gospel. Believe and trust that the Lord is good and for us. Believe that He can take messes and make them beautiful. Believe that He is the maker of all things new. And that His mercies never cease and are new every morning. Because of that hope, we can live a life with confidence that all the stressors in our lives will fade, that He is making us new and that our main priority is to make His name known through our lives, especially our marriages. The one relationship that should reflect the gospel more than any other relationship.
My challenge for you is to sit down with your spouse, read this blog post together, and spend time praying over your marriages. Really praying, maybe even fasting, over what the Lord needs to reveal to you and your spouse about your marriage. Allow the Lord to reveal Himself to you and your spouse and to change your marriage. And find someone who can walk this road with you. If you are local to Hayes and I we would love to sit down with you and walk this journey with you. We have a passion for marriages because we have seen firsthand the glory of the Lord through marriage. Ours. He took our brokenness, our distrust, our mess and gunk and turned it into a beautiful beautiful masterpiece. It wasn’t easy but He is faithful. He is still refining us and He gets the glory forever and ever.
In the spirit of Christmas I will leave you with a few lyrics to my favorite Christmas song, words that are so true to me because of what the Lord did in our marriage.
“His lot is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy, in grateful chorus raise thee.
Let all within in us praise His holy name.
Fall on your knees. O hear the angel voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
Christ is the Lord, Oh praise His name forever.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
Fall on your knees.
O hear the angel voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born”
How do we do that? It’s really both simple and profound. Jesus. Reflect Jesus and give Him glory. What do we put in place to take steps to reflect God and the church through our marriages? It’s really both simple and profound. Reflect Jesus and give Him glory.
As a man the first thing I think of when I hear the word intimacy is “SEX!!!” Because let’s be real, intimacy is hard for dudes. We don’t like to deal with who we really are, we don’t like to deal with our feelings. We want to be tough and focus on men stuff and just expect our marriages to thrive. Guys, it won’t work. As a high school guy I worked so hard to keep the front that I didn’t care what anyone thought and I was who I was. That was a load of crap. I cared so much about what other people thought that I was willing to work extra hard to act like I didn’t so they would think I was something….that make sense?
But inside I screamed insecurity. This carried on into our gunk and then into our marriage. It wasn’t until I began to be real with who I was that I was able to be intentional in being intimate with my wife. When this happened, when I told her every secret thing I was too afraid to tell her, our marriage began to grow in ways we never thought imagined.
You see guys, we honestly think of sex the way culture does. Man + woman. But the thing that makes sex awesome, the way God intends for it to be, is the intimacy between that husband and wife.
- Be honest in regards to where you are spiritually. In order for your intimacy to be where God wants it to be we have to be intimate with our savior.
- Be honest and evaluate the current intimacy of your marriage. (Do this separately first)
- Write down what you think you could do to improve it. (Do this separately first)
- Write down ONE thing you think your spouse could do to improve it.
- Write down any secrets you have never shared and share them with each other.
- Go on a date and discuss. (Don’t be afraid to pursue professional help if there are some major issues to work through. Asking for help is not giving up, it’s focusing on moving forward.)