When I became a wife at 21 I had many things to learn as I embraced this new role. One of the areas I was challenged to grow in was my understanding of intimacy. I had always defined intimacy as something physical. Whenever I heard the word, I automatically assumed “sex” as the only way to be intimate.
From day one of my marriage, sexual intimacy was our greatest struggle. This area of our relationship was burdened for almost four years. And the frustration we faced from feeling unfulfilled amplified other areas of contention in our marriage.
I did not feel intimate with my husband because we were not being physically intimate. I felt inadequate as a wife and my insecurities only increased over time.
Then God revealed to me that although sex and physical intimacy are important in marriage, it did not fully define “intimacy.” I researched the word intimacy and realized that intimacy is much more than physical. Being intimate with my husband meant offering my whole self, my whole heart to him, making myself known and getting to know him better. It meant building trust as we become familiar with one another, cultivating a strong bond of deep friendship that does not compare with any other relationship.
Distinguishing the truth that intimacy is much more than sex opened my heart to the importance of embracing intimacy with my husband, regardless of our marital issues. Especially because of our marital issues! If we continued on with the ache of feeling like we were only roommates we most likely would have pursued divorce. But God intervened and helped us to gain a better understanding of how to be intimate in marriage. This revolutionized our relationship!
No matter where you are in your season of marriage, I want to encourage you to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be intimate in marriage and why it is vital to initiate and embrace intimacy in your marriage.
Here are my 7 Favorite ways to cultivate intimacy:
1. Don’t be too serious. Tell jokes, play, laugh! Life can definitely present seasons of hardships, but we need to keep a positive perspective to avoid becoming a nagging spouse. Be creative and be willing to have fun amidst the hardships!
2. Do something together. Find a project you can work on together like a house fix, a hobby, a gift for someone, ect. Being present together will affirm your friendship and will stimulate great conversation as you work side by side.
3. Get physical every day. Even if it is just holding hands! Although I mentioned that intimacy is not just physical, being physical definitely helps couples enter into that place of trust and love.
4. Write your husband a love letter! Affirming your love for your husband can spur a very personal connection with him. Take time to use your words through writing to cultivate intimacy as you open your heart up to him.
5. Pray together every day, especially for your marriage. The most intimate you can be in your relationship with God and your spouse simultaneously is through prayer! Doing this should be a top priority as it will bless your relationship like nothing else could.
6. Go on a hike or watch a sunset and talk about how God is pursuing you both. Part of initiating intimacy is being willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be sure to talk to your spouse about how God is working on your heart.
7. Talk about major issues. Topics to include are faith, the condition of your marriage, future goals, parenting, finances, politics, ect. For some couples talking comes easily and for others it is a source of strain. Pray first and ask God to help you, but you must be willing to engage in meaningful conversation so that you two can get to know each other better!
I hope these encourage you and inspire you to cultivate intimacy with your husband. If you have more ways of cultivating intimacy in marriage please leave them in the comments below to inspire others!
- Jennifer Smith Unveiledwife.com