Intimacy means inner closeness. When you say, “I want to be intimate with my spouse,” you are talking about enjoying a relationship that isn’t superficial.
It’s not just about sex, you could be having sex with someone who is completely checked out, a million miles away from you emotionally. Intimacy means opening your heart to someone. When you are both followers of Jesus, the deepest parts of each of you are in communion.
That kind of spiritual intimacy, when two become one, is the greatest form of intimacy. So how do you create it in your marriage?
First, regard marriage as sacred. Marriage is not just a piece of paper. It is an act of the Spirit of God and it is a covenant. In the Bible, a covenant always required sacrifice. At the last supper, Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20).
Marriage only works as a covenant bond based on sacrifice. It has no end date. It is permanent until death. It says, “I will love you sacrificially until I die.”
Compare that to the contractual view most people have of marriage. A contract marriage says, “I’m going to protect my rights and limit my responsibilities.” It is cheap and impermanent. In a contract marriage, you already have your bags packed and one foot out the door.
How can you build your life with someone who cannot fully demonstrate a commitment to the relationship? ’Til death do us part is the spirit of a covenant marriage. In a covenant marriage, divorce is not an option.
Second, you must validate each other’s emotions. Couples fight about things like money, children, sex and housework. But what they are really fighting about is the fact that one spouse doesn’t identify with how the other spouse feels. In other words, “You don’t care how I feel about how you spend money” or “You don’t care how I feel about the kids not being disciplined.”
Men and women are different. We have unique needs and we don’t always understand each other’s perspective. That’s okay. But even if you don’t identify with what your spouse is saying or why he or she is saying it, you can still validate the emotions behind it. Emotions aren’t always right, but they are always real.
Validation says, “Even if I don’t understand, what you feel is important to me because you are important to me.” So don’t roll your eyes. Don’t dismiss his or her concerns. Don’t throw up your hands and walk away in frustration. Doing these things disrupts your emotional connection, and that will destroy intimacy.
A healthy, intimate marriage requires a husband and wife who can talk to each other and share deep emotions without fear and without paying a price. Both of you must be each other’s safest place in the world.
For an intimate marriage, you must start with the sacred commitment of a covenant. That spiritual bond gives you a foundation for emotional validation. These are crucial to building a marriage marked by intimacy.