I often ask couples who come in for marital counseling to give me another word for “intimacy”. Husbands typically answer “sex” while wives use words like “romance”, “candlelight dinner”, “just the two of us spending the day together”. I usually smile at the responses because I find that in most cases these answers are very gender-based. Husbands view intimacy as a time where they can connect with their wives at a very intimate sexual level. Wives, on the other hand, look at intimacy as everything else…except sex! Romantic dinners, long walks on the beach, a get-away weekend, all seem to describe what most wives view as a way to intimately connect with their spouse. Would it surprise you if the definition of intimacy encompassed all of these views…and more? The word “intimacy” means many types of behavior all of which can lead to a definition I believe fits God’s plan for what husbands and wives can experience in their marital relationship.
In God’s sexual economy intimacy is 3-dimensional. Ephesians 5:32 tells us “and they shall become one flesh…this is a profound mystery…”. The Apostle Paul was referring to couples coming together in a marital relationship. It is important to note that it is not a mystery to connect physically. Anyone can do that…even the beasts of the fields can mate! However, it is a profound mystery to connect with our bodies, our souls, and our spirits. When God created male and female and brought them together as husbands and wives, He had more planned for this union than just procreation. God desired that His creation experience the profound mystery of becoming one at every level of their relationship. God desired for His creation to enjoy “total intimacy”.
Total intimacy involves 3 dimensions. It is deeper than just body involvement. Total Intimacy includes physical pleasure, emotional bonding, and spiritual unity. Total intimacy has been best defined by authors Mark and Grace Driscoll as “Into-Me-See” (Thomas Nelson, January 2012.33). This was God’s plan before the Fall…” and they were naked and unashamed” Gen. 2:24
However, total intimacy does not automatically occur in a marriage, and without careful attention, it may never develop or it can quickly disappear. My therapy hours are full of couples who have neglected practicing total intimacy in their marriages. Many believed that because they were in love, intimacy would naturally follow. Others never had any expectation of enjoying this level of intimacy in their relationship. It is important to understand that if the habit of practicing total intimacy is neglected and the importance has forgotten, any marriage will suffer.
When there is a strong friendship surrounded by exclusive behavior reserved only for the couple…it will ignite not just into a raw passion, but depth of “Total Into-Me-See”.
King Solomon writes in his Song of Solomon, “I am my lover and my lover is mine…let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits”. Those choice fruits are available for you and your spouse!
If your marriage is struggling or you are just looking to enhance an already healthy marriage, please know that at Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers, you need not walk alone!