Renewing Your Marital Relationship (3)
FAMILY MATTERS MAY, 2017
Renewing Your Marital Relationship (3)
For the past few weeks, I have showed you how you can renew your marital relationship, by having good expectations and building intimacy. By the grace of God, this week, I will be discussing a few guidelines on intimacy. My focus will be on Types of Intimacy.
Intimacy is the close relationship between you and your spouse: emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, sexually etc. Intimacy is not an end, but rather a journey that lasts throughout your marriage.
Intimacy can have different meanings for men and women. However, all human beings have the basic need to be intimate and close with another person. Women are often portrayed as having a desire for emotional intimacy, while men are portrayed as only having a desire for sexual intimacy. However, intimacy can take many forms, including the following:
This is the closeness created through sharing feelings. Here, the couple is able to share personal feelings. They are able to trust one another, and feel safe and secure with each other.
Emotions can be described as strong instinctive feelings. Women generally understand emotions better than men. The first step to emotional awareness is to pay attention to your feelings, identify them, and think of possible reasons for them. Work on noticing the differences between strong emotions, such as terror and fury, and the differences between more subtle emotions such as anxiety, insecurity and irritation.
Emotional intimacy occurs when people understand what they are feeling, convey that to each other and express understanding or concern on the feelings to each other.
Mental or intellectual intimacy
Marriage has a cognitive and planning dimension, which includes sharing thoughts about life, making plans together and discussing goals. It also involves a mutual understanding about all the important issues in marriage. Setting goals together is one of the ways to further intellectual intimacy. For example, you might set goals to improve your intimacy.
Marriage has a spiritual and philosophical dimension which includes, sharing spiritual and religious attitudes, behaviours, beliefs and life experiences. This involves sharing religious beliefs and observing religious practices together, such as praying and attending church services. As you share spiritual experiences, you will become united in your attitudes and goals. Spiritual intimacy grows when couples become active in a church where they can learn, grow, and serve God together.
Recreational & Social Intimacy
This is enjoying activities together, like running, golfing, or reading. Watching a TV programme or preparing a meal together can be good ways to build recreational intimacy. Marriage has a social dimension in which the partners enjoy doing things together and spending time together.
Financial or monetary intimacy
The fiscal dimension of marriage deals with decisions and actions concerning earning a living and spending money. This comes with discussing and sharing your finances with each other.
Husband and wife share their physical love for each other, by sharing their bodies and physically becoming one. This is one of the most important dimensions of healthy marital intimacy. Healthy sexual intimacy includes sexual frequency that both partners are satisfied with, sexual activities both partners enjoy, and an open dialogue about sex. Someone once said, “A major strength for happily married couples is the quality of their sexual relationship”.
The (Different) Meaning of Physical Affection to Men and Women
Both men and women share the basic need to be intimate. However, from both sexual and emotional standpoints, there are basic differences. Typically, men and women enter into marriage with different beliefs and expectations about giving and receiving affection. Having a basic understanding of such differences is important to avoid misunderstanding, frustrations, and anger.
It’s been said that, naturally, men give love and commitment, in order to get physical affection and sex. Women give physical affection and sex, in order to get commitment and love. It might also be said that men usually hunger for sex, while women hunger for romance. Men basically give and receive love to fulfill their physical needs; while women essentially give and receive love to fulfill their emotional needs.
Often, women need to feel loved and nurtured, before they begin to be aroused and develop desire for sexual intimacy. For women, emotional intimacy is at least as important as the act of sexual intercourse.
Men often need to be sexually aroused, before they can truly feel and express love. It’s through sexual activity that men are emotionally and physically fulfilled. Sexual activity often enables men to become aware of their wives’ need for love and emotional support.
Unless partners understand such differences between men and women, it can be difficult or frustrating for them to find common ground, on which their emotional and physical desires can be fulfilled. Understanding each other’s feelings and expectations regarding intimacy (in all its dimensions) and being intimate, is the key.
Until you are a child of God, you cannot benefit from what has just been discussed. To be born again entails confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. If you are ready to be born again, please say this prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins and cleanse me with Your Blood. Deliver me from sin and satan to serve the living God. I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Make me a child of God today. Thank You for accepting me into Your Kingdom.”
If you prayed this simple prayer, congratulations, you are born again and you are now a child of God! He loves you and will never leave you. Read your Bible daily, obey God’s Word and seek Christian fellowship (John 14:21).
With this, you are guaranteed all-round rest and peace in Jesus’ Name! Call or write, and share your testimonies with me through firstname.lastname@example.org; OR 07026385437 and 08141320204.
For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Marriage Covenant, Making Marriage Work, Building A Successful Home and Success in Marriage (Co-Authored).