Here’s to a happy, intimate 2018!
I regularly run surveys among my readers to keep my finger on the collective pulse of the couples who follow my blog. The survey I am currently running asks the question, “What do you want more of in your marriage right now?” (You can take it now if you’d like to have your answers included in the results.)
I’ve asked a similar question in a number of surveys over the years, and the answer always comes back the same: couples want more intimacy most of all.
What Couples Want
In the latest survey results, when asked to give the top 3 things they want more of in their marriage, 9 out of 10 respondents indicated a desire for more emotional, physical, or spiritual intimacy. Over half placed one of these as their number one need, and almost half picked more than one form of intimacy as a top-three need. I’m probably safe in guessing that intimacy comes in high on your list of marital desires as well.
A surprising finding from the survey is that men and women don’t differ in their desires as much as you might think. In fact, the top three needs of men and women were exactly the same and in the same order. Men and women both picked sexual intimacy as the number one need in their marriage (though not in the same percentages), and both picked spiritual and emotional intimacy as their number 2 and 3 needs, respectively. Chances are you and your spouse are longing for the same things.
So if seemingly everyone desires more intimacy, why are so many couples struggling to find it?
In Search of True Intimacy
People define intimacy in many different ways. Some say it’s a feeling of closeness and connection. Others say it’s about sex or romance or both. The Bible has a slightly different take on intimacy:
Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Here, at the very creation of marriage, God defines what it means to be one flesh. It means living naked and unashamed. That’s what I describe as being fully known and being totally loved. This is intimacy at its core.
In my post, Keeping Your Marriage Strong for the Long Haul, I summarized the quest for intimacy this way:
Intimacy is the antidote for the roommate syndrome that wrecks so many marriages. Intimacy reaches its zenith when we are fully known (weaknesses, warts and all) and completely, unconditionally loved. Intimacy is the main goal of every marriage (in all forms: emotional, spiritual, sexual, financial, etc.), and God built us with an innate desire for intimacy; intimacy with Him and intimacy with our spouse. I also believe God designed us with a huge capacity for intimacy and that we can continue to grow closer together regardless of how long we’ve been married.
Not One Thing But Many Things
Make it a goal to journey more deeply into intimacy with your spouse in the year ahead. As you do, keep in mind that true intimacy involves the entirety of your being. It isn’t just about improving your sex life, or getting more regular about going on dates, or spending more one-on-one time talking and really listening, or learning to pray together.
It’s about all of it. Everything.
Don’t be overwhelmed by that thought. What it really means is that there are lots of ways to build intimacy. Pick an area and start making small changes toward more fully knowing each other by being more transparent and showing your heart to your spouse. As you both open up to each other more, respond with unconditional love and grace.
You are probably thinking, “Easier said than done.” True. But as you start with small steps, you’ll begin to see the fruit of every effort you make in the direction of a deeper, more intimate connection.
Praying that you and your spouse have a happy, intimate 2018!
3 thoughts on “The One Thing Your Marriage Needs Most This Year”
Nice article Scott, but it leads me to an ‘intriguing question’. What happens if your spouse doesn’t desire more intimacy (in any form) or anything else on your survey list? We are happily married – she’s quite satisfied where we are at, but I know we could gain much more. I don’t want to ‘feel as if we have arrived’ and become complacent. I have only come up with one approach so far, but would like to hear your thoughts. Thank you.
Fred, thanks for your comment. It can be difficult when only one spouse desires “more” – whatever more is. There are no easy answers, but I would suggest you have (or continue to have) a conversation with your wife about your desire for a closer relationship. Explain in a non-accusatory manner that you believe there is more available to you as a couple. Ask her what she would like to see more of (it doesn’t have to be on my list). She may not know. As my wife says, you don’t crave something you have never tasted. Don’t give up, whatever you do. You don’t have to settle for the intimacy you have now.
“Not One Thing But Many Things”
This idea supports the direction I’m heading in this year. Bite sized accomplishments are much more doable.
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