To start with, intimacy relates to the close, connected feelings partners build with one another over time, and the physical and emotional bond that is achieved in healthy relationships. One of the prerequisites for a successful marriage is the abundance of intimacy between the husband and the wife.
The phrase, “marital intimacy” is frequently used only to refer to sexual intercourse. However, the phrase is a broader concept and speaks of the relationship and connection between a husband and a wife. What happens if intimacy is discarded like a refuse lying in a dust pan? Indirectly, the marriage can be likened to an ordinary relationship between individuals who don’t seem to understand themselves. It is no doubt that broken marriages arise from the saddening fact that it got to a point, both spouses didn’t relate or connect with each other anymore. What happens? It is felt that perhaps they were never meant to be together whereas, they have failed to build ways to connect with each other; they have failed to understand the need for marital intimacy. Thus, marital intimacy is more than sex. It is about taking the time and effort to build one’s marriage by creating and developing ways by which one stays in bond with the other partner making the marriage a mighty fortress that can withstand all kinds of problems that evolves from marriage. No wonder marriage is likened to an institution whereby partners involved could make or mar their marital lives.
There are several ways to connect with one’s spouse one of which is marital intimacy. Before moving further, putting God first matters. At least, what can a man do successfully without God’s backing? Most successful marriages today were not just successful because of what both partners built as a fountain to make it blossom, rather, they allow God take charge and at the same time, work on themselves to make the marriage grow stronger. Nowadays, some Christian couples do not put some things into consideration in their marriages simply because they feel they are things created by the modern world. Just to mention a few such as buying gifts for your wife or husband, sharing intimate moments other than the time for sex, going out to a cool environment for a refreshing time and et cetera. This is indeed worrisome because it becomes a thing of wonder how buying a gift on a random day to present to your wife or husband is a big thing to do?What about the times for intimate moments whereby both share thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, wishes, needs, opinions and feelings with one another other than the times for daily devotion? Can it be said that some Christian marriages lack intimacy after a deep thought on the previous points? Spouses have to make time to deepen their relationships with one another which is a wonderful way to create intimacy. The end result of not being intimate with your partner is very disastrous and this could lead to lack of trust, poor communication, weakened relationship, secrets, hidden emotions and the likes. Christian homes ought to be examples to the world that the institution of marriage is indeed a sweet thing because God commanded it. Gen 2:24 says, “therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
According to a post on marital intimacy in allaboutgod.com; marital intimacy is achieved in all of its completeness as each spouse learns to share and connect with the other in four areas: spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. So far men and women are designed uniquely; these four aspects of intimacy will be experienced in a different way for each spouse. Therefore, it lands on the hands of spouse to identify factors that work with them in building and maintaining marital intimacy in these four aspects. Also, commitment matters in building marital intimacy. In fact, intimacy, passion and commitment have been identified as some of the keys to marriage success. In addition, there are certain things to note on marital intimacy as a way of connecting with one’s spouse according to Howard Hendricks.• Intimacy develops when a couple develops an effective communication system with four components ( talking, listening, understanding and the desire to communicate)• Intimacy develops when a couple is willing to take the risk of greater openness • Intimacy develops when couples are willing to evaluate their marriages.
Nevertheless, there are other numerous which couples themselves might discover on the journey of developing marital intimacy.
Here are 12 quickie suggestions for how to connect with your spouse.
1. Daily Touch: Don’t let the sun set on the day before you at least touch your spouse. Whether it be a kiss, a high-five, holding hands, a hug, or a back scratch — humans need physical contact, it’s one of our most basic needs! No matter the type of touch, make it last for 30 seconds. Any kiss over five seconds has wonderful possibilities.
2. Be Curious: Ditch the usual and expected “How was your day?” and replace it with unique, thought provoking, open-ended questions. Demonstrating genuine interest in your partner and opening dialogue shows that you C.A.R.E. and enhances one of the joys of marriage — the sharing of lives.
3. Side With Your Partner: Nothing is worse than complaining about a stressful moment than to have your one true love see “eye-to-eye” with the enemy! Increase trust, partnership and the likelihood that your mate will confide in you in the future by taking his or her side during a vent-fest. Even if you agree with the “enemy” (such as your spouse always being late), save your honest feedback for another time.
4. Express Gratitude: At times, it’s all too easy to make a laundry list of ways your spouse annoyed you. Chances are, your mate has contributed in at least one way that made your day a little easier or more enjoyable. Let them know how you appreciated him or her today.
5. Sleep Naked: It takes more time to put on your flannels than it does to slip into your birthday suit. In a recent survey, couples who slept naked reported more satisfaction with their sex life. It appears that removing the outer barrier (pyjamas) is a quick secret to staying active under the covers.
6. Relive a Memory: When two people feel disconnected, it’s important to remember what brought them together in the first place. Every now and again, share a memory from the courtship or an especially loving time. Relive a funny story, a touching moment, or look through some old photos.
7. Create New Memories: Boredom and predictable routine can suck the life out of any relationship. Lack of intensity can sometimes be confused as lack of intimacy. It’s important to try new adventures and create new rituals of affection. Not all new memories need to be elaborate. For instance, just before going to bed, step outside to gaze upon the stars together or discuss your ideas for a future date night.
8. Listen to him or her: You may know your spouse better than anyone, but making assumptions regarding what the other person intends to communicate is a potentially damaging mistake. Instead of assuming what your spouse means, try asking more questions or simply reflecting back what you heard. For example: “I think you are saying…, did you mean…? Etc.”
9. Share a laugh: When things get tense, remember the humour in it all. Humour can reduce tension and lighten the mood. Think about what makes you and your spouse laugh and share it. Likewise, don’t forget to laugh at his or her jokes, it’s polite! According to research by Dr. John Gottman, sharing humour with your partner is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your relationship.
10. Expressions of loving-kindness: People in successful relationships treat others with love and kindness, expressed through kind thoughts, loving words, and kind actions. Think of the smile on your spouse’s face when you post a loving sticky-note onto the car’s dashboard or write a message via the steam on the bathroom mirror. L-O-V-E.
11. Flirt: If you want to emotionally and physically connect with your spouse, it’s more likely to happen with some effort and dialogue. In other words, wear something special that you would on your honeymoon or behave like you’re going on the first date. Couples, who make an effort to mate, copulate! Also, couples who talk about sex have better sex and more of it! Don’t know what to talk about? Try downloading relationship apps (here) to your phone or computer that are intended to deepen your understanding of your partner and create more intimacy.
12. Turn off the electronics: We live in a world of electronic overload: DVR, laptops, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, plus a plethora of i-Gadgets. Switch your device to the off position then do #11.
In conclusion, the most basic thing is how a marriage starts. It is easier to lay a firm foundation than introducing new elements during the course of a marriage (after couples realise that things are not going smoothly between them in terms of intimacy). Thus, spouses should cultivate all that needs to be cultivated right from the start. With God, all things are possible.