Marital Intimacy - What is it really?
The term "marital intimacy" is a catch phrase that is used frequently in today's culture to politely refer to the act of sexual intercourse. If you attend a couple's seminar, however, you might hear the same phrase used to describe a much broader context of relationship between a husband and a wife.
The idea of intimacy implies a connection between two persons, in this case between two spouses. The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes speaks of two individuals deriving warmth from lying down together (Ecclesiastes 4:9). The same passage provides a visual picture of a rope that is woven with three strands of cord to symbolize the intimate connection that exists in a marriage that is strengthened by God. From these verses in the Bible, we can understand that while marital intimacy is certainly about a physical connection, it is much more than that. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:31 about a mysterious union of a man who, by joining himself to a wife, becomes one flesh with her. As we study the significance of marital intimacy, we can come to understand the potential for a deep and rewarding connection between a husband and a wife that encompasses four areas; emotional, mental/social, spiritual, and physical.
Marital Intimacy - How do we experience it?
If marital intimacy is really a deep and rewarding connection that can exist between a husband and wife, who doesn't want it? But how do we experience it? Marital Intimacy is accomplished as a husband and wife seek to sacrificially love each other by learning to meet each other's needs within the marriage. A number of good books have been written on the subject of how to understand the differences between men and women and how to begin to meet each other's needs in marriage. Of course, no spouse should ever be expected to meet all the needs of the other. Nevertheless, each husband and wife team is made up of two large puzzle pieces, that when fit together, will create a beautiful panoramic picture of what marital intimacy is all about.
Marital Intimacy is achieved in all of its completeness as each spouse learns to share and connect with the other in four areas: emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. Because God, the Creator of mankind, designed men and women uniquely, the way in which these four aspects of intimacy are experienced is somewhat different for each spouse.
Women generally seek the fulfillment of emotional connection and want to know that feelings are both valued and shared in an intimate relationship. They also enjoy communicating closeness through mental forms of intimacy and "feel connected" through a mutual exchange of thoughts. This allows them to enter into the daily world where their husbands live and think.
Men are wired somewhat differently, and tend to experience the greatest levels of intimacy through companionship, activity, and forms of physical intimacy, such as sexual intercourse. While the intimacy needs of women might be described as "being," the same needs in men can best be conceptualized as "doing."
Marital Intimacy - Where does God fit in?
A woman experiences the deepest intimate connection with her husband through emotional validation and mental exchange. A man achieves the same feeling of intimacy through involvement with his wife in behaviors that enhance closeness. Physical intimacy is a significant part of achieving that closeness. A husband and a wife can be intimately involved in meeting each other's emotional, mental, and physical needs.
But what about the spiritual aspect of marital intimacy? Where does God fit in? He waits to be invited to become the third cord spoken of in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4. God reveals Himself in the opening chapters of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, as Creator of the universe and of mankind. Here, we find that God has created human beings in His image. This means that men and women are "soulish" people. In other words, we have a human spirit that was made to connect with the Spirit of the living God. God intends that we also join our spirits together within the covenant of marriage.
How do we achieve spiritual intimacy? We must first recognize God as the One who has created us and designed a spiritual life for us. Once we have entered into a personal relationship with Him, then we are ready to share our spiritual journey with our spouse as we seek all that God has for us within the beautiful covenant of Godly marriage.
For more information, visit Three Fold Cord Ministries.
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