Maintaining closeness in your marriage throughout the years takes work and dedication. Like a garden, you must tend to your relationship closely and constantly. This is done through intimacy. When we think of the word intimacy, we often think about the physical aspect of intimacy. Touch and physical oneness are important in a marriage relationship, but intimacy is more than physical. It is spiritual. It is emotional. It is intellectual.
Spiritual intimacy is often defined as praying, worshipping, and sharing values together. But just like your personal relationship with Jesus, spiritual intimacy is more than a to-do list to be checked off. It is a mutual commitment to God’s purpose for your marriage. Marriage Today defines spiritual intimacy as: the divine union between husband and wife as they become one in mind, body, and spirit. How do we become one in mind, body, and spirit? By setting aside time on a regular basis to seek God together through prayer and studying of His word, serving together in your local church and community, and committing to make His name glorified through your union (Eph 5:31-32).
Emotional intimacy is when you and your spouse are a safe space for each other. You can empathize and seek to understand each other’s feelings as you become in tune with your emotions. It is a candid, authentic sharing of who you truly are – your deepest fears, hopes, dreams, failures, and insecurities. There is no judgment. Only encouragement to grow through each age and stage together. This could be anything from talking about a stressful incident at work to being honest about something your spouse is doing that hurts or annoys you. Establishing an environment that is conducive to open and honest dialog gives each other the freedom to express your deepest desires and needs in a safe place. This will create growth and intimacy in your marriage (Prov 25:11).
Intellectual intimacy is the experience of closeness through exchanging thoughts and ideas openly. It requires not becoming defensive or angry when your thoughts are opposing or differing in nature. It is a feeling of mutual respect for each other’s intellectual capacities and viewpoints. It is sharing mind-stretching experiences or conversations with each other. It is reading, discussing, and studying together. It is a commitment to discovering new ideas and information together (Prov 24:4).
A healthy relationship requires intimacy in all of these areas to thrive. Which ones do you think you and your spouse need to develop more? Have fun finding new ways to develop intimacy in your marriage. You’ll be glad you did.
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