by G. Corey Carlisle
Deep in the heart of every person is the desire to know and be known. God created us for this relational intimacy as a reflection of himself and his desire to be in a mutual and profound relationship with us.
In marriage, we often confuse our ideas of closeness and being romantic with intimacy. However, true intimacy is about allowing ourselves to be known in the presence of our partner. To do this requires that we have a fairly solid sense of who we are. When we know who we are, and are willing to take the risk in sharing ourselves with our spouse, the stage is set for passionate intimacy.
In addition to not knowing who we are, many of us miss the richness of intimacy in our marriage because we reduce intimacy down to sex. While sexual encounters certainly can (and should) be intimate, martial intimacy involves much more than this. Building an intimate marriage calls for our intimacy to be multidimensional. This includes physical, emotional, mental, social, as well as spiritual intimacy.
Emotional ““ sharing our hearts with each other: our pain, joy, fear, excitement, anger, curiosity, etc.
Mental – sharing our thoughts and ideas, our aspirations and dreams, and engaging in stimulating discussions with each other.
Social – working together on a project, engaging in outside interests, and playing together
Physical – visually enjoying each other bodies, looking into each other’s eyes, listening to each other’s voice, holding hands, hugging, kissing passionately, sensually caressing, arousing erotic behaviors, and the sex act.
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Spiritual – sharing our spirit with each other and growing closer to God as a couple by praying together, studying God’s Word and sharing spiritual insights, and worshiping together.
Making intimacy just about sex is far too simplistic. Mature and loving relationships involve all these areas. Be willing to know yourself, share that with your spouse, and develop a well-rounded intimacy that reflects God’s intimate best for your marriage!
G. Corey Carlisle is a counselor at Building Intimate Marriages specializing in martial and sexual issues. He holds the Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy from Amridge University and has received specialized training in Christian Sex Therapy from the Institute for Sexual Wholeness.