The human desire for intimacy, for love, drives us to do things that we never thought we would. But why, and what does it mean to be intimate?
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:25
God created us first to have an intimate relationship with him and then with each other. Above all, he created a marriage with the intention that husband and wife should be naked and not ashamed (open and close to each other). Any marriage without the knowledge and understanding of the importance of growing intimacy has a high chance of collapsing.
Growing an intimate marriage is a process of bringing down everything that hinders interpersonal relationships and inculcating things that build up close and a warn relationship between couples. This is very important because lack of intimacy gives room for all forms of marital problems and nobody is in marriage to endure but everyone is in marriage to enjoy the best that marriage can offer.
10 Proven Steps To Grow Intimacy In Your Marriage.
Step 1: Understand That Your Differences Are From God
Your spouse can never be you and your spouse can never be exactly what you want him or her to be. You must embrace this bitter truth if you want to grow intimacy in your marriage. The fact that marriage is a mystery implies that neither marriage and elements of marriage (husband and wife) are superficial. They are deep and need to be well understood to achieve maximum effectiveness that is in marriage.
Step 2: Have A Positive Perception Of Your Spouse
It is a fundamental requirement in growing intimacy in marriage for the couples to have a positive perception of each other. Your spouse is a good gift to you because he/she is a product from God. God loves your spouse because he/she is made in the image and likeness of God, therefore, to grow an intimate marriage, you must learn to see your spouse as a good gift that comes from God (you cannot do this without the Holy Spirit).
Step 3: Understand That God wired you and your spouse differently.
You are wired differently from your spouse in many ways. The good news is that your differences no matter how many they are is not as important as to what you do with them.
What you don’t know might not benefit you until you understand it. Therefore you must make a conscious decision and effort to understand the chemistry and temperamental makeup of your spouse if you desire to grow an intimate marriage.
God did not use the same method in creating Adam and Eve. Yet they were naked and not ashamed until sin came in. The connecting force is in understanding that you are to complement each other. Intimacy comes when you understand the strength and weaknesses of your spouse and see it that it is for your advantage.
Step 4: Be Ready To Make An Ongoing Adjustment.
There are many reasons to make adjustments; some of them are; the difference in personality, the difference in temperament, different upbringing, you might grow up in a different environment, or come from a different cultural background. Other differences include ethnicity, religion, age, educational qualification and so on.
These and many more reasons call for an adjustment in your perception, behavior, and lifestyle. For this adjustment to be effective, you must consider your spouse first before you. Find out the areas of differences, things he/she likes that you don’t and start taking steps into blending into his/her. The goal is Not me but for my spouse. Go out of your comfort zone to do things just for your spouse.
Action like this draws out the best in your spouse; it sparks off better communication, empowers and grows affection and acceptance and breaks invisible walls that hinder intimacy and usher in growing intimacy in the marriage.
Step 5: Understand Who Your Spouse is?
The power of communication is in understanding and communication is the life wire of marriage because, without good functional communication, there will be no growth in intimacy. You cannot communicate well with your spouse if you don’t understand who he/she is and when there is no good communication, there will be no growth in intimacy.
Growing an intimate marriage means that couples have been able to discover and understand who they are to a point of complimenting each other to produce the balance that is needed in the marriage. Understanding is what brings balance and balance is an indication that the couples are growing in intimacy.
You must be intentional in understanding your spouse. Don’t be careless or nonchalant about it. Take your time to observe and study your spouse. Find out the things he/she likes or does not like. Know his hobbies and preferences. This is very important because without it, growing an intimate marriage will be very difficult.
Step 6: Be passionate about your Spouse
One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come. 2 So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him. 3 The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?” 4 Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived.
Song Of Solomon 3:1-4
You cannot grow an intimate marriage without been passionate about your spouse. How emotionally are you attached to your spouse? Your emotional attachment and feelings for your spouse is supposed to be strong to the extent that you cannot do without him. The lover in the Song Of Solomon cannot stay without the spouse. He went out in search of her until he found her. Go all out to be attached and united to your spouse. Search for it until you found it.
Passion opens the heart of your spouse. There is nothing that brings a commitment to a relationship as the presence of passion. Passion attracts, it motivates and empowers risk-taking. You will get the best of your spouse if he/she is convinced that you are passionate about him/her.
Step 7: Do the Love
My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love for the things we do. 1 John 3:18
Growing an intimate marriage is action-oriented.
Your action to your spouse in your heart that your spouse is seeing. Let your spouse see your love through your words and your actions. The best way to do the love that will help in growing an intimate marriage is to discover your law in marriage and keep it.
Two laws govern the marriage relationship. One is to the man and the other to the woman. The husband is to love the wife. The wife is to be submissive to the husband. Read more of it in chapter two of Jesus Kind Of Marriage.
Step 8: Forgive Before The Offence.
Unforgiveness will not help in the growth of an intimate marriage. These are some of its dangers the marriage
- Unforgiveness brings about separation (Proverbs 17:9 NLT).
- It exposes a marriage to all forms of satanic manipulations, delay, and denial (Matthew 18:34).
- Prayers are hindered by unforgiveness (1Peter 3:7 NLT).
- Unforgiveness brings emotional torture.
- You cannot win the race of marriage with unforgiveness.
- Above all. unforgiveness gives the devil an in-road into marriages.
Abhor unforgiveness and cling unto forgiveness. It is for your own good. It is for the good of your marriage and above it is what God wants you to do. Forgiveness restores a relationship and grows intimacy in marriage. Learn to say, I was wrong; I am sorry, please forgive me.
Step 9: Sex
Sex is a bonding force when it is well applied in marriage. It strengthens the bond of love between husband and wife, it brings closeness and oneness and has a way of uniting the heart of the couples there helping to bring about growth in intimacy between couples. Couples are not to neglect the place of physical attraction; for it is the fuel that powers sexual desire.
Sex is not a thing to be trivialized in marriage if you want to grow an intimate marriage because it is a very important part of marriage. Marriage without good and functional sexual life is not a working marriage. It is a marriage that is tending towards extension. Sex is a very core part of marriage therefore, value it, cherish it and appreciate it and know more about it.
Step 10: Fellowship together
Growing an intimate marriage demands that you and your spouse must create time to do things together. I have separated these activities into four cardinal parts to create balance and effectiveness in the marriage. These parts are
- Emotional fellowship (sex, love-notes, outing, send gifts, celebrating special dates, etc).
- Mental fellowship (Sharing ideas, knowledge, and information, attend seminars, watching or listen to life-transforming videos or tapes, etc).
- Physical fellowship (Exercises, decide on good eating habits and follow it).
- Spiritual fellowship (Prayer, daily devotion, attending the same church, etc).
Doing the above activities and many more together will help in growing an intimate marriage.