How would you think, act and speak differently if you truly believed that intimacy was the main goal of your marriage?
What do you think is the most important goal in marriage? Stop and think about it. Really.
Now, let me ask that question less generically. What is it that is the most important goal for you in your own particular marriage? Again, give it some thought.
There are two other helpful ways to consider the question. What would your spouse say is most important to you based on your recent words and actions? What would your friends and family say is most important based on the way you speak about your spouse and the way you treat him or her?
If you are like me, the thing that I know ought to be most important is not always reflected in my words and actions or in the way I prioritize my time and attention.
Why Intimacy is the Main Thing
There are many worthy goals in marriage, but I think the most important is intimacy. The Bible points me to that conclusion.
You see, Christ’s pursuit of His bride, a pursuit that cost him his very life, was for the ultimate purpose of having an intimate relationship with us. It wasn’t just so our souls would be saved from sin. It wasn’t so He could get us to follow all the religious rules. Sin was the problem that separated us from God, and grace eliminated the sin, but intimacy was the real goal.
So if my marriage is to truly reflect the relationship between Christ and the church, I can only conclude that intimacy is the most important thing in my marriage.
If It’s Really All About Intimacy, Then What?
We may instinctively agree that intimacy should be our marriage’s number one goal, but what is the process for making it so? If it’s true, how might we think, act and speak differently in order to build, strengthen and sustain the connection with our spouse?
It starts with being intentional about it. Genuine intimacy in marriage doesn’t happen on its own. The natural state of a long-term relationship is not intimacy but coexistence. Left untended, a marriage can easily devolve over time into being little more than excellent roommates. And we all want more than that! We are hardwired with a desire for intimacy and connection. It’s the one thing in my New Reader Poll that everyone wants to hear more about. (By the way, please take my New Reader Survey if you haven’t yet.)
Next, we need to understand what intimacy is. I’m not using the word intimacy here as a euphemism for sex. Although sex is a very important component of intimacy, in this case, I’m talking about having a deep connection in every dimension of your marriage: physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual, etc.
Finally, we need to understand what causes intimacy to flourish. It happens when we are fully known, nakedly transparent, and fully loved for who we really are. I like to call it being naked without shame. Actually, the Bible calls it that too, so the notion didn’t originate with me. Genesis 2 describes the first marriage in its ideal, pre-fall condition,
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
That’s how marriage is supposed to be, fully known without shame, which requires unconditional love, complete transparency and a lavish dose of grace.
I’ll share with you some of the things I came up with as I considered the question, “What if intimacy was the most important thing in my marriage?”
- I would no longer see having my personal needs met as the most important thing in our relationship. Instead of asking “What can I get from her?” I would ask, “What can I do to keep us close?”
- I would not depend on my wife to make me happy and to keep me that way. Instead, I would find the greatest happiness when our intimacy is deepest. I would gladly take the lead in our pursuit of every form of intimacy.
- Demanding my rights and insisting on my “fair share” would be replaced by looking out for what is best for our marriage and our relationship.
- When I feel offended or disappointed, instead of reacting by keeping an emotional distance, I would press closer to her, seek to understand what is really going on, and do my best to eliminate whatever is standing between us.
- Instead of giving my wife only my leftovers, after my job and ministry and chores have taken everything out of me, I would make sure I have sufficient physical, emotional, sexual, and mental energy to give the best part of me to her.
- I would view our connection as a lifelong pursuit that never ends because there’s always more intimacy to be discovered and enjoyed, no matter how long we are married.
What other ways might you think, act or speak differently if intimacy was the main goal of your marriage? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment.
I wrote The Path of Intimacy to equip couples to pursue an intimate connection throughout their marriage. It’s full of practical tips and fresh ideas that guide you into deep and lasting intimacy.
Check out the other posts in this “What If” series: