Intimacy in marriage is an essential part of any Christian. It is through intimacy that the couple creates a deep connection and bond that far exceeds any other relationship one might have. We must intentionally and voluntarily cultivate intimacy in marriage based on conscious acts and not on the whims of the moment. There are different ways for a couple to do this. It takes time, energy, and effort, but if you are intentional about it, it will cultivate intimacy in your marriage.
Intimacy in a marriage is the closeness and togetherness in a relationship between partners, married or unmarried. Some synonyms of intimacy that may sound familiar are affection, warmth, understanding, attachment, and privacy.
Many people have the wrong idea of associating the word intimacy with sex. Although sex is an intimate act that should be practised only within the framework of marriage between husband and wife, there are other ways to cultivate intimacy. Sexual intimacy is essential in a marriage, but other activities also promote intimacy. Reading this article, you will find helpful suggestions to increase intimacy within the bounds of Christian marriage.
What Is Intimacy in a Relationship?
Intimacy includes different aspects(physical, sexual, mental, emotional, and spiritual) that can be experienced in other relationships and contexts. Generally, men have more difficulty establishing intimacy with their partners. Probably due to cultural conditioning for which the male must appear strong, autonomous, and rational with controlled and non-external emotions.
For Sternberg (1986), intimacy in a relationship means feeling close and united, desiring the good of the other and being able to count on the help of the other in case of need, understanding each other and sharing ourselves with the other, giving each other emotional support, respecting and having confidence. Each person and each couple attributes their meaning to the concept of intimacy. But some components – which make a bond an intimate union – are generalisable.
Beyond gender differences, intimacy is not predefined but is built within the relationship, drawing on a personal inner dimension. Early (and non) traumatic experiences can significantly affect our way of living and feeling intimacy, to the point of representing, in some cases, a real threat.
Five suggestions to increase your intimacy in marriage
1. Pray together
Praying together can seem intimidating, especially if you are not comfortable praying out loud. However, it’s one of the most intimate things you can share with your husband. So, take your courage in both hands and pray with your man! Pray for your marriage, your family, and your future! Praying together builds intimacy because you are vulnerable in prayer; you simultaneously expose your heart to your husband and God.
2. Chat together
It doesn’t just mean talking to each other. It means finding/creating a relaxing atmosphere and giving yourself quality time to connect. Be intentional about removing distractions. Make eye contact, share your heart with him, and take the time to listen to him. Your discussion topics may include the state of your marriage, your shared goals, and some issues you must resolve. Good communication promotes intimacy in marriage!
3. Eat together
Our microwave culture makes us want to fill our schedules with all sorts of things. It is essential to learn to slow down and keep your priorities straight! Sitting together and enjoying a meal with your husband is one of the simple pleasures. It can be as simple as a light lunch, or you can set the mood by lighting candles with a cute table setting. Our human nature means we need to feed ourselves, so we might as well do it with our husbands. Use this time to bless your husband by making his favourite dish! One of Jesus’ most intimate moments with his disciples was when he shared Passover with them! Eating together promotes intimacy, demonstrating that you are setting aside time to be with your loved one.
4. Play together
Experience the joy, laughter, excitement, and fun of playing together. You can play with your spouse by telling him, for example, to come and get the remote control, by tickling him, with water fights, with sports games. Playing together maintains a fresh atmosphere in your relationship, sprinkling with laughter and happiness. Also, playing together will stimulate your mind and your heart. Playing together cultivates intimacy in marriage, as it includes physical contact.
5. Go on an adventure
Like playing together, going on an experience stimulates your mind and heart. This can be, for example, trying a new restaurant, going on a hike, taking trips, participating in a Christian mission together, or going for a walk. It will also enrich your conversations as you experience new things together! Be creative and explore new things with your hubby as often as possible! Remember that these discoveries have to stay within your budget; you can take a walk down a street you’ve never been to before. Going on an adventure and the excitement of living new experiences stimulates intimacy because it brings you closer to each other!
Representation of intimacy in marriage
What do you need to build an intimate union bond?
Ability to see the good in the other
This ability goes against the trend of noticing what is not working between the partner and the couple. Recognising what one appreciates and loves in the other and using affirmations, appreciation, and affection to communicate it paves the way for true intimacy. We can ask ourselves how often we tell our partner that we are happy that they are part of our life or that we “like it.” Then reflect on when was the last time we expressed a verbal appreciation for the actions of the other. Despite years of “intimate” relationships, the couples we frequently meet show enormous difficulty in highlighting the qualities that belong to their partner. They must think and rethink before listing one or two grades.
Attention and care
Taking care of the relationship, listening, and welcoming the other allows the connection to renew itself daily. Taking care of the other, worrying about the psychophysical well-being and feelings of the other, means considering the partner not an extension of oneself but a person with their own needs.
Presence of protective boundaries
The couple is a social system inserted in other social systems. Therefore it influences and is influenced by the forces coming from the families of origin, the working contexts, and the children’s subsystem. Both partners must contribute to creating and curating boundaries around the couple that sanctions their identity. It is widespread to note in clinical practice how much this – although it appears to be a trivial and obvious point – is the most fragile in couples who are not sufficiently intimate.
Often the couple gives, more or less consciously, many of their spaces to their families of origin; it is quite frequent that the choices are made by putting inside the expectations, the ideas, and the needs of one or both families of origin.
This is often the reason why in many couples, as children grow up, the difficulties increase: the progressive loss of parental function should lead to new investment in the dimension of the team, but sometimes the accumulated distance becomes excessive to the point that it is easier to take different paths.
Cultivate areas of personal and couple pleasure
One of the essential prerequisites of couple intimacy is the ability to live in a dimension of personal intimacy. This means that everyone in the couple must be able to understand their needs and expectations clearly. Before the couple can define a border with the outside, everyone must have their edge clear. And, above all, do not forget to respect and protect it.
In our therapies, this is often the most complex job to deal with since the idea is that the more passions, spaces, and thoughts are shared, the more the couple experiences intimacy. What happens is a flattening between the two and a denial of individuality, with the effect of progressive distancing not only from oneself but also from the other.
If we can be intimate with ourselves and connect with our deepest parts, we can also understand how to move in relationships with others. What to welcome and what not to authorise. It is when the couple members can make this fundamental step that they will be able to become able to share honestly.
The emotion most easily expressed in the couple is anger, often used to cover up other feelings (frustration, inadequacy, sadness). Pain, on the other hand, is the state of mind most often concealed, sometimes because it is considered an indication of weakness. Other times, one feels that the other cannot adequately access that experience. Sharing pain opens up the possibility of increasing understanding and empathy in the couple.
The resentment, anger, and bitterness in a relationship can arise from the wounds that partners inflict on each other that are not forgiven. Chronic irritation hurts the relationship, but it can be just as toxic to the physical and mental health of the individual who experiences it. Anger increases the reactivity to stress and the risk of developing organic diseases such as cardiovascular ones.
For the couple, forgiving can mean having an authentic possibility of reconciliation that passes from giving meaning to the event or action that caused the painful wound to the possibility of integrating new considerations and points of view into one’s own experience.
You might also want to know.
1. What does it mean to be in intimacy?
In particular, to be intimate with somebody means to be in a relationship of friendship, confidence, and close familiarity: the serene, sweet of the family. Relationship between friends, husband, and wife; to have, to be in with someone.
2. How is an intimacy created?
Intimacy is created and rests on being able to express oneself profoundly and in an atmosphere of security. In other words, there is intimacy when one can communicate and listen to one’s deepest emotions, innermost fears, personal desires, and hidden dreams, which makes us unique.
3. How to create intimacy in the couple?
To increase intimacy in a couple, below are six exercises.
- Look into each other’s eyes for the time of a song. Without talking.
- Cuddle each other for a long time. At least a couple of times a week.
- Face each other and breathe together. Breathe slowly.
- Practice listening.
- A weekly CEO couple meeting.
- The Five Things Game.
4. What are the essential things in a relationship?
The essential things in a marriage are dialogue and listening. The possibility of being able to tell one’s story, opening oneself to the other without fear of being judged or misunderstood. Or sometimes, even attacked, it loses its meaning without the reciprocal ability to know how to listen to the other actively, deeply, and empathically—paying attention to what they are saying.
Intimacy as a couple is one of the pillars of Christian love, a highly positive and desirable condition. Which, however, can also be scary. Intimacy means feeling united and close, desiring the good of the other, caring for the partner, and sharing both material goods and activities. As well as one’s thoughts and moods, having respect for the other and accepting him for what he is, supporting oneself, and trusting each other. To wish that the other can fulfil themselves without entering into competition.