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Let's Get Intimate

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Let's Get Intimate

What comes to mind when you hear of the word intimacy? In my experience, I have often heard the word intimacy be synonymous with sex. But what if using sex and intimacy interchangeable was actually devaluing true intimacy?

 Not all sex is intimate, however good sex is, of course, intimate. Intimacy might not look like sex scenes commonly portrayed in the movies or what you dream up your honeymoon to look like, but even still intimacy is better. Often these depictions of sex are a cheap imitation, they leave us with false expectation of what sex looks like, and on the rare occasion that sex does look like the Hollywood scene we’ve been exposed to, we might be left wondering why it wasn’t as satisfying as we expected. The problem is we are too easily satisfied with the act of sex without the striving for intimacy.

Intimacy takes time and work. Some psychologists say that good sex doesn’t even start to happen until five years into marriage. It has been said before that sex is a lot like wine, it only gets better with time… why is that? The more life you do with your spouse, the more fuel you have for intimacy.

I’m willing to bet if you pondered on your own marriage or asked a married couple about the most intimate moments they have shared, the answer would not be a sexual encounter. I would bet the answer would be a moment of connection, a moment of support, or a moment of knowing one another. For some marriage, sex is not possible in some seasons for various reasons. Does that leave them without intimacy? No, intimacy is found in the connection of walking alongside, comforting, working together.

I can be brought to tear when I think about the most intimate moments in my marriage. If you were to ask me that question in front of my husband, he would immediately know my answer. He would expect the tear. He would be in the moment with me. Why? Because he knows me. He lived the experience with me.

Our most intimate moments have been learning one another, celebrating with one another, and grieving with one another. To be intimate means you are fully known and fully accepted. . In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller wrote “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

The beauty of marriage is the covenant with your husband or wife. There is safety in a covenant. Only in covenant with one another, can intimacy take place. Only in covenant can a argue all night and still go bed saying “I love you” being assured that person is not going anywhere. Only in covenant can one be fully know and fully accepted, and only in covenant can one be naked and truly unashamed (Genesis 2:25).

If marriage is a display of the Gospel to the world, which it is (Ephesians 5:21-33). Sex is a display of the Gospel shown only between only a husband and wife. It is the safe place where a husband and wife affirm their marriage vows by saying, “I see you. I know you. I love you. And you are mine.” This is a dim shadow of the love and acceptance that comes with being in relationship with Christ. To God’s people, Jesus says, “I see you, all of your failures. I want you. I love you. Come be seated at my table” (1 John 3:1; 2 Samuel 9:13).

In a world that equates intimacy with sex, it is crucial to remember that intimacy is a knowing, accepting, and loving of one another. Intimacy in marriage comes with time and covenant commitment between a husband and wife, and then, the sex starts to get good!

How to Ruin a Date Night

I’m not a professional Date Night-er, but after 22 years of having date nights of various kinds, I sure know how to ruin one. Ruining your next date night will have nothing to do with the place you eat, or how long you’re out, or even if you don’t go out. Ruining the next date night will hinge on what you talk about. 

Paula and I have some basic date rules we try to stick by. Rule #1: No talking about work. Rule #2. No talking about kids. I know what you’re thinking, “What else is there to talk about?” Exactly. These rules provide a smaller list of conversation topics to choose from. And if you’ve been married for more than a year, you already know their favorite movie and band. It can seem like there is little left to discover. This can also seem harder the longer you’re married as work and kids take up a considerable amount of your bandwidth - and therefore need more conversation time 

So many date nights can turn into a staff meeting, where discussion revolves around who is taking little Joe to baseball and why we’re angry at a co-worker. I’ve ruined so many date nights discussing day-to-day logistics. Logistics may be important, but date night can be a sort of hallowed ground, deserving to be protected. I understand the reasoning behind doing this. We get small fits-and-spurts of attention from our spouse during the week, and even those moments can be interrupted by notifications and kids. Date Night is a moment where we can shave off the interruptions, but discussing logistics is where we ruin that time. 

Consider that your spouse isn’t the same person you married. Just as you have grown, so they have too. And we don’t even grow at the same pace, or the same time. So there is a tremendous amount of discovery to be had in our marriages. Every year, you’re married to a different version of the person that you were the same day last year. Date Night is a great space for conversations that lead us towards the discovery of our spouse. Find a different time to go over the calendar, arrange tasks, discuss work - but don’t ruin date night. 

Here are some questions that might lead you into moments of discovery with your spouse. 

  • “What do you need me to know about you right now?” 
  • “What has been the scariest thing for you lately?” 
  • “Where have you seen God clearly this last week?” 
  • “Where do you have hope for the future?” 

Questions like these will posture you for discussions that lead away from logistics (which are important) and towards being known and knowing deeply (which are more important). So, the next time you go out to get BBQ, or stay in to catch up on Netflix, devote some time to the same thing you did when you first met your beloved - figure out who they are and don’t ruin the date night.