This past Sunday, we continued our Bad Dates, Roommates, and Soulmates series with “The Bedroom: Battleground or Playground.” One of God’s key designs for sex in marriage is intimacy. Therefore, we need to pursue “intimacy builders” (day to day, heart to heart, and then body to body) instead of “intimacy busters” (unresolved conflict, unrealistic expectations, and unhealthy substitutes). Here are a few insights about building intimacy:
1. Day to day intimacy. Do you have a regular time in which you debrief your day with your spouse? Paige and I do the quick run-through of the our day when I first get home in the evening. But we often find some more extended time after our son has gone to bed to do a “deep dive” into our day. Sometimes in the deep dive, we simply talk more deeply about one part of our day. Also, each evening before or in the morning of, we ask each other what we have going on in our respective responsibilities that day. We’ll often send each other a quick text to let the other know we’re thinking about them. These are some simple ways to pursue day to day intimacy.
2. Heart to heart intimacy. This is all about sharing more of inner emotional worlds with each other. If we don’t create the space and time, it often won’t happen. Regular date nights help with this. You have to define with your spouse what “regular” is. I’d recommend at least weekly or monthly. This will take some planning, coordination, and creativity. And then once you’re on the date, it will take one of you being vulnerable enough to start the conversation about heart-level issues.
3. Body to body intimacy. Sex is a thermometer and not a thermostat. Sex measures the emotional and spiritual intimacy that’s already there. Be willing to have honest, open conversations about this part of your relationship because unrealistic expectations are an intimacy buster. Husbands, understand your wife’s need for emotional and heart to heart intimacy. Wives, understand your husband’s need for body to body intimacy. I like Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible translation of 1 Corinthians 7:2-6:
Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.
A couple of final things: (1) If you haven’t signed up for the Becoming Soulmates one-day marriage event with Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot, there is still some room left. It’s filling up quickly, so don’t wait. And (2) if you need help in your marriage, please fill out this confidential marriage help questionnaire or call 425-216-4435, and we will get you the help you need.