Everyone wants intimacy in marriage. Unfortunately, couples rarely agree upon what true intimacy means. This leads many husbands and wives to feel disconnected and resentful. I love using the phrase “fight for intimacy.” You may have wrongly misjudged this blog, thinking this was a post about conflict. This post is all about the effort necessary for true intimacy to appear and hang around in your marriage.
The word fight should conjure up ideas of struggling and battling for a specific end in mind. The end in mind of intimacy is not the bedroom—sorry fellas. The end in mind of intimacy is what God says about marriage in Genesis 2:24, “and they shall become one flesh.” This idea absolutely includes sexual intimacy, but as Jesus clarified in Matthew 19:6, "So they are no longer two but one flesh,” this idea of oneness defines marriage and makes marriage an altogether unique relationship. Oneness implies a willing denial of the independent self in order to find a greater identity in an interdependent union.
This will take some fight for sure! So, here are the 8 Rules of Fight for Intimacy.
1) Admit you are not THERE yet.
Keep working on intimacy. It’s a life-long journey and life’s complexity and busyness can easily derail your focus on intimacy. Reassure your commitment to personal growth and development. Your personal maturity over time tells your spouse that you care enough to give your best and your “getting better.”
2) Flirt regularly.
There is something special about flirting. It indicates a special something is shared between the two of you. It adds so much life to your marriage when you share the playful interaction reserved only for the two of you. Just as flirting with someone outside your marriage creates a sense of betrayal, it is an investment in your marriage and underscores your commitment to one another when you flirt with your spouse.
3) Adopt the "always available, always interested” mindset.
This one may stun some of you. The mindset of intimate marriages is “always available, always interested.” This creates an open door for your spouse to approach you, regardless of the reason, without fear of rejection or burden. This mindset fast-tracks intimacy. This applies to anything from a much needed conversation to the sexual part of your relationship. Incidentally, I believe this is the #1 missing element in marriages today. This mindset exists in our relationship with Jesus. He is absolutely always available and always interested. To bring this Christ-like mindset into your marriage could transform your connection and eliminate the undercurrents of resentment.
4) Prioritize your spouse’s love language.
The Five Love Languages as defined by Gary Chapman in his famous and highly recommended book
by the same title are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. When you make an effort to prioritize your spouse’s love language, you take the focus off of yourself and connect in more meaningful ways. One of the great dangers in marriage is neglect. When you prioritize your spouse’s love language, you bless them and create a better opportunity to deepen your intimacy.
5) Don’t wait, initiate.
How many times have you wished your spouse would make the first move? Often those expectations live in the silence of your mind and nothing ever happens. Whether this is sexual touch or saying you’re sorry, simply go first. When we hold back obvious acts of kindness and intimacy, we often end up communicating, “You aren’t worthy.” Don’t hold back the good you know you can give and don’t assume your spouse knows what you want. Initiate.
6) Spend time together alone.
You would think this rule goes without saying, but it needs to be said and repeated. Intimacy implies something you share in marriage with no one else involved. Make the effort to get time together privately. In my own life, our two biggest reasons we don’t get time together alone is because of our kids and our phones. We have to care for our children, yet there are even limits there. This is why they have bedtimes that we require. The phones are simple laziness and lack of discipline. Put down your phone, hire a babysitter and spend time alone together!
7) Talk about your successes, failures, fears and dreams.
These are four specific topics of conversation that set the stage for a deeper level of connection in your marriage. These are not suggestions or simple recommendations, these are essential points of communication that drive intimate connection in marriage. These are the kinds of topics we reserve for important people. It is critical to prioritize your spouse and share these four topics with them first, as often as possible.
8) Hurry home.
Be eager to see one another at the end of each day. No one wants to feel like they are being avoided. Be sure your spouse knows you are eager to see them whenever you have been apart from one another.
Warning: Stay-at-home moms, be careful not to see your husband’s arrival home simply as your relief finally arriving. Your spouse is not the marriage/parenting equivalent of a relief pitcher. You want to communicate your genuine gratefulness to end the day together, even in the midst of busyness. Remember, marriage first, parenting second.