When you think of signs of intimacy in a relationship with God, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is Jesus Christ’s declaration of the greatest commandment:
“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37, NKJV)
This kind of intimacy with God involves drawing close to Him through regular prayer, worship, and reading of the Scriptures, in addition to fasting (Matthew 6:16-17) and almsgiving (Matthew 25:31-46).
But when you think of signs of intimacy in a relationship with your wife, sex likely is the first thing that comes to mind. You’re not alone in that regard. But there is much more to intimacy than sex.
What is Intimacy?
Intimacy in relationships – with God or your spouse – involves drawing closer to the target of your desires. And as with God, you are intended – designed, even – to be intimately close to your wife.
The four different forms of intimacy between husbands and wives are:
- Physical. The most obvious of the four forms, physical intimacy, involves physical touch, ranging from holding hands and sitting next to each other to kissing and sex.
- Emotional. Men should be emotionally close to their wives, to share hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, failures and successes with them. You might think of this form of intimacy as one in which two hearts join together.
- Intellectual. This form of intimacy is an often-overlooked. Like a successful sports team or nearly any business or other organization, all those involved must be of one mind. When a husband and wife are on the same metaphorical page, they can share and strive toward the same hopes and goals together to succeed in their marriage, not just survive.
- Spiritual. This form of intimacy ties the other three forms together. Being joined at the hip, heart, and head are tremendously important to a successful marriage. But it was God who joined you together in the bonds of wedlock, and it’s He you both need to honor in your relationship in all three other ways.
But holding hands, sharing how your day went, agreeing on politics, and saying grace together over dinner alone won’t make your marriage thrive. Just like you should have a deep, intimate relationship with God, you must make an effort to be more deeply intimate with your spouse.
Signs of Intimacy in a Relationship
Husbands and wives who share true intimacy have ways of showing that intimacy. Again, it’s not limited to small talk and sex.
Examples of intimacy that span all four types include:
- Communicating Well. This timeless, foundational principle makes the difference between a good marriage and a great marriage. Neither you nor your wife is a mind-reader, so you must verbalize your thoughts, feelings, and desires.
- Speaking in Unspoken Language. Whether it’s giving her a warm, genuine smile when you hold her in your arms or winking at her across a crowded room at a party, small actions can help keep the “spark” in your marriage.
- Strong Chemistry. Deep, rich intimacy involves physical attraction, despite the changes you experience as life goes on. That chemistry will make each of you as attractive to the other as on the day you met.
- Trusting Each Other. When emotional intimacy with your wife goes deeper, the trust between you grows and flourishes. This trust will also permeate other aspects of your relationship, from sharing your innermost feelings and making important life decisions to your time together in the bedroom.
- Sharing Life Experiences. Intimate couples long to spend time with each other, from everyday activities to life’s momentous occasions. Whether it’s taking in a beautiful sunrise together or watching your child hit a home run in the big game, these moments together make life richer and sweeter.
- Respecting Boundaries. Being careful and respectful around what’s off-limits can also be a form of intimacy. Especially during difficult moments, these boundaries can include communication – like knowing what and what not to say, being mindful of delicate issues, and addressing them with love and concern.
Many couples deal with intimacy issues. And it’s not just wives. Husbands find it difficult to be intimate with their wives outside the bedroom. It’s often trauma, not just personality or the way someone is “wired,” that’s the root cause for these issues.
Examples of issues that impact intimacy include:
- Low Self-Esteem. Given a tough childhood, a difficult young adult life, or perhaps a rocky relationship in the past, you or your wife’s self-esteem issues could cause difficulties being intimate.
- Acute Shyness. If, after years of marriage, there are still some things that make you or your wife do more than just blush, there may be an underlying cause.
- Extreme Fear of Judgment. There can be a reluctance to share certain words or actions because you may be afraid of what the other will think
- Overly Sensitive. It should be a given that couples share themselves in every aspect of their lives and that each partner shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. But it’s cause for concern if one of you takes major offense to something relatively trivial, whether it’s something said in jest or even leaving a dirty dish in the sink.
- Avoidance of Social Situations. When one or both of you find it difficult to get out of the house as a couple, embarrassment might be a root cause. Maybe one of you thinks you’re not attractive or “put together” enough for a crowd or that your partner might embarrass you in public somehow.
- Sex Addiction. Sex addiction is a serious concern that goes past healthy sexual behavior between a husband and wife. It involves out-of-control sexual activity or thoughts.
How Boulder Recovery Can Help
You don’t have to let intimacy issues rule your life or marriage. We at Boulder Recovery offer help for those who struggle with intimacy.
Just as God desires to be intimate with you and for you, in turn, to be intimate with Him, He wants husbands and wives to be intimate with each other. The Apostle Paul’s advice for physical intimacy is especially applicable for all Christian marriages:
“Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5, NKJV)
But when intimacy is lacking, your marriage suffers. There is help and hope for those dealing with intimacy issues at Boulder Recovery.
Our 14-Day Men’s Intensive is a Scripture-based, Christ-centered approach to dealing with these issues. It gives men tools and techniques to address them head-on to restore intimacy with their wives.
And our unique Partner Support Program brings wives into the conversation through up to 10 hours of virtual counseling.
If your marriage lacks intimacy, Boulder Recovery can help. Get in touch with us to get your marriage back to the way God intended it to be – intimate.