FOR THE HUSBANDS
What guy wants to sit around talking about “intimacy”?
That’s just wrong. It’s not even a ‘guy’ word, is it? But bring up the word and after the discomfort subsides, for most guys the auto response is “Oh, you mean sex”.
But, she doesn’t mean sex.
Really, you’re joking, right honey?
She’s not joking.
She doesn’t mean “sex” when she says she wants intimacy. But learn what she does mean and the intimacy you enjoy with her will often involve making love.
So, what does she mean when she says the word ‘intimacy’? It’s pretty straightforward: She means EVERYTHING!
Do you like math? Think of it this way: Intimacy = Everything
. . . everything that happened in her day, all her interaction with you, verbal and nonverbal, especially including how you indicated your love for her through thoughtful acts of kindness, gratitude, care, and romance and yes, sometimes including physical intimacy.
For her, intimacy is a giant yarn ball with everything in her day connected to the same string. The core issue is how close to you she is feeling based on all of the input she’s had from you throughout the day.
So how have you treated her from the moment you got out of bed today? Did you speak warmly to her? Did you do small things for her throughout the day that said, “I love you,” in a way she can hear? Did you express appreciation for something she did today? Did you act in a way that said, “You are my priority. I love spending time with you?”
These things go into her definition of intimacy. The natural result of the atmosphere you have created by making a habit of doing them is to come together physically. There are always exceptions, but wives loved in this way want to be physically intimate with their husbands. They desire to give.
We men are often too quick to neglect the very things that will result in our wives’ desire to be with us. But, we don’t have to. Here are 5 Things you can do to develop the healthy habit of intimacy:
1) Before you leave the bedroom in the morning, tell her that you love her and will be thinking of her throughout the day.
2) Prove you are thinking of her by giving her a short phone call telling her you’re looking forward to being with her when you get home tonight.
3) Does she hold down the domestic front or does she work outside the home as well? Either way (or both for many women) tell her how much you appreciate all she does.
4) Ask if there’s something around the home she would like for you to get done . . . and do it.
5) Would she enjoy being taken away for an evening out? Ask her earlier in the day for a date.
The more we communicate our genuine love and interest in our wives, and care for their emotional needs, the more they desire to give of themselves and that is a vital part of a highly fulfilling marriage.
FOR THE WIVES
So that fact is that I’m something of a private person.
And perhaps a bit old-fashioned as well. But I’m not just one to discuss something like this so, well, publicly. Perhaps save that conversation for a quiet cup of tea together.
Yet here we are. Talking about IT.
So why’s that? Because we can’t talk about a wonderful, rich marriage without it. Intimacy plays such a powerful role in marriage. It’s how God designed us to be: two souls…two bodies becoming one. As close as a man and a woman can be. A beautiful thing.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. (Mark 10:7-8)
Recognizing that this is a vast and sometimes complicated subject, here are some things that I can offer to the wives.
Why Intimacy Matters
Intimacy is a spiritual act. Not merely physical. Once I came to realize this, then everything changed for me. The biggest revelation being that I could pray about this area in our relationship. And so I did.
I’ve asked God to give me a desire for my husband when I was going through a particularly difficult season in my life. I’ve asked for insight when we found ourselves struggling in a way we never had before. I’ve asked for strength when I was tired – and healing for when our relationship was hurting.
God does not give us the gift of intimacy and then leave us to figure it out on our own. He has not left us all alone in this.
Intimacy is not optional. It should not be avoided or neglected in marriage. And should never be used as a power-play in your relationship. Never. Of course, there are those occasional extenuating circumstances such as illness or new babies (remember, I’ve given birth to 8 children!). Then there is also the challenge that comes with sin (resources listed below). Other than those things, however, Scripture tells us we’re not to keep away from each other.
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (I Cor. 7:5)
Intimacy is worth investing in. Pray about it. Ask God to protect this area for you both. Make it a priority in your relationship which might mean you need to rest up and plan for it. And if you need help, then seek it out. But whatever you do – don’t give up and don’t ignore it. Love-making is a beautiful gift from God to be treasured.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).