3 Keys to IntimacyFeb 05, 2024
Relationships are all about the connection between two people. The closeness of that relationship determines the level of connection you experience. For instance, you wouldn’t share the details of your life with a stranger or an acquaintance - those conversations are reserved for someone closer to you.
Unfortunately, many married relationships don’t even get to the level of true intimacy that they could experience. They might even have a decent sex life, but that isn’t the same as intimacy. True intimacy happens when you allow yourself to be open and vulnerable, spirit, soul, and body.
There are many sex-help books or resources you can research for a more pleasurable sex life. Still, many times, the subject of intimacy is left out. If you want to experience amazing sex, start first with intimacy without sex.
The reason we talked about communication in the last blog is that intimacy starts there. It is opening yourself up to reveal the deepest part of yourself - the things that may be hard to verbalize.
You need to not just know about your spouse but understand who they are. Do you know what their dreams and ambitions are? Do you know about the deep soul wounds they have experienced? Do you know the root of their behaviors?
A person doesn’t usually reveal those things to just anyone besides a pastor or therapist. So they need to feel safe and trust the individual with that information.
Most couples start their relationships backward. Therefore, it is more difficult to reach the intimacy they desire. Consequently, when hard times come (and they will), their relationship has no root, and so it ends.
An intimate relationship is cultivated in the order of spirit, soul, and then the body. When you start the opposite way with a physical relationship, the spiritual connection can be achieved, but it is a more difficult road. So, here is how to build intimacy in your marriage.
- Build your personal relationship with God. It all starts right here! It is challenging to have a healthy and intimate relationship with anyone if you do not have an intimate relationship with God.
This is important because God is the one who is supposed to meet your needs. Once you feel safe and secure in knowing who you are in Christ, you can open yourself up to others more easily.
This is also vital to a thriving relationship. Then, when hard times do come, you can pray together and believe God together.
The scripture says in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Wow - this is so powerful! If you and your spouse agree with anything (according to the Word of God), you can pray together and believe for it to come to pass in your life together.
Bryce and I have made this a common element in our marriage. If one of us is sick, we pray together 1 Pet 2:24. If we need finances, we pray and agree together for Phil 4:19. When our children were in the NICU, we could pray together and agree for their health together. And guess what? Our daughter was 6 weeks early and was only in the NICU for 8 days! Glory to God! Praying together is THE MOST intimate thing you can do in a marriage - yes, above sex. It is so powerful, and I can’t stress enough how vital it is to your marriage.
- Build up each other’s love bank. What is a love bank? Well, it works like a physical bank. The more you deposit and the less you withdraw, the greater your love bank grows.
The love bank is filled up by speaking their love language - quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch.
Quality time - find an activity that you enjoy doing together. Make sure to have dinner around the table and talk. Quality time means time without other distractions - put the phones down and check the status of each other.
Words of affirmation - speak loving words about each other and to each other. Verbalize what you appreciate about them and thank them for what they do for you. You may think they know it, so you don’t need to say it, but that is a lie. We all need to hear words that build us up, and when our spouse is the one doing that, it fills the love bank really fast!
Fellas - if you want more action under the sheets, make sure her love bank is full to overflowing!
Sisters - it’s easy to get into the nagging habit. However, your husband is not your child. When you build him up and tell him what you appreciate about him, he will more than not be willing to tackle that to-do list.
Acts of service - this includes: cooking, cleaning, picking up, filling the tank with gas, mowing the lawn, giving your spouse a back rub or foot rub, watching what your spouse wants to watch on TV. Go out of your way to bless your spouse. Do something kind for them that they would least expect.
Receiving gifts - this doesn’t have to be expensive to have big dividends in the love bank. Get the other a cup of coffee with a note saying you were thinking about them, flowers - just because, a love letter - just because pick up their favorite drink or snack food for them… you get the point. And of course, once in a while, a big gift like jewelry is very nice too (if you can afford it.)
Physical touch is not sex but rather the romantic or flirting gestures that will likely lead to sex. It is holding their hand on a walk (quality time AND physical touch) or giving the other a back rub or foot rub (acts of service AND physical touch). It is a slap on the butt, a slow dance in the kitchen, or a gentle kiss to say hello and goodbye. These all are ways to build intimacy in the soul, where the love bank is located.
Now, as you know, withdrawals can be made from a bank as well. Those things include a disagreement or busy schedules. They happened when the opportunity for a love deposit was there yet not taken.
My husband jokes that I am his hobby - and it’s true. But, think about it, what do you do with a hobby? You spend quality time with it, you spend money, and go out of your way to enjoy that hobby. Well, my husband does all of those things for me, and do you know what the result is? I am a wealthy woman in my love bank!
- Let’s talk about sex! As you can imagine, if the first two areas of your spirit and soul are connected intimately, then your physical intimacy will be incredible! You will be able to communicate what you like and don’t like. You can take your time and enjoy one another.
Here are some little tips for intimacy in the bedroom:
- Make love, not sex. Be respectful, patient, and kind to each other.
- If you have small kids, my recommendation is to not let them sleep in your bed. If they want to come in for cuddles, that’s fine, but you need a place for just you and your spouse to connect.
- Foreplay starts with the love languages. Be attentive to your spouse as much as you can during the day.
- Take your time. Now, I understand there are times when a “quickie” is appropriate and fun - just make sure you are on the same page with this.
- Don’t be selfish. If you are each trying to please each other, the result will be far better than just appeasing your own needs.
- Talk about how frequently you both would like sex. If your numbers are far apart, work on a compromise. If you need to, schedule your physical intimacy. Life gets busy - so plan accordingly.
Women - don’t ever use sex as a leverage tool. The Bible says that your body is not your own when you are married, but it is for your spouse.
Men - if time allows, always cuddle your wife after sex. This shows her that you love her and care for her, not just her body.
So, there you go - intimacy 101. Here is a recap:
- Connect with God and then with each other spiritually. Pray together - it’s the most intimate thing you can do as a couple.
- Fill each other’s love bank by blessing each other. Go out of your way to build each other up. Have meaningful conversations. If your texts to each other are just business (pick up some milk at the store), you need to up your game!
- Strive to meet each other’s physical needs.