It’s Wednesday, so it’s our day to talk about marriage! I introduce a post, and then you all can link up your own marriage posts, or leave a comment answering today’s question.
Today J from Hot, Holy and Humorous is guest posting for us! Here she talks about one of my favourite subjects: How sex is intimate on so many levels beyond just the physical:
Intimacy is a word often used by Christian authors and speakers regarding marriage and sexuality. Anytime you choose a word, you hope its meaning is agreed upon by both speaker and audience so that you can effectively convey an idea. Do we agree on what intimacy is?
The Merriam-Webster definition of intimate includes:
belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature;
marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity; and
of a very personal or private nature.
None of that specifically denotes sex.
Wives tend to focus on words like deepest, close, association, familiarity. Intimacy describes a connection they feel, or want to feel, with their husbands, which they can often get through conversation and affection.
Meanwhile, mention the word intimacy to husbands, and plenty of them hear boom-chicka-bow-wow in their heads. They immediately fixate on SEX. “Want intimacy, wife? Great! Here’s the bedroom!”
Who’s right? What is this elusive concept of intimacy? And what does it look like in a marriage?
Husbands and wives are describing different parts of the elephant. If you’re not familiar with that analogy, an Indian fable tells of six blind men who wanted to know what an elephant was. One man felt the elephant’s side and described it as a wall, another felt the tusk and declared it like a spear, yet another felt the trunk and said it was like a snake, one more felt the leg and swore it was like a tree, another felt its ear and claimed it was like a fan, and the final one felt its tail and said it was like a rope. They argued among themselves who was right.
They all were. They were each correct but simply failed to merge their images into one complete picture.
Like that elephant, intimacy can be described from different vantage points—mental, emotional, recreational, physical, spiritual and sexual. Regardless, intimacy is knowing someone at a deep level.
However, marital intimacy is special, in that it can include all of these perspectives.
In an ideal marriage, a couple shares their thoughts, hopes, dreams, emotions, happiness, and disappointments. They have a mental and emotional connection.
They spend time together doing things and touching affectionately so that they have recreational and physical connections.
They foster one another’s walk of faith, attending church and praying together, sharing their spiritual struggles and joys, and challenging each other toward greater closeness with God.
But while we can have intimate friendships with emotional or spiritual connection, it is only with one’s spouse that we are physically fully revealed and connected.
And while you can have a good marriage and be missing a component or two of those listed, if you want a GREAT marriage, you must nurture all of them, including sexuality. Moreover, sexuality can encompass in some respect all of the other forms of intimacy.
Your minds are focused entirely on one another as you come together.
Your time together reflects your feelings of love and desire for one another.
Sexual encounters should be pleasurable and fun for both spouses.
Marital sexuality requires physical effort and attention to physical arousal.
Healthy sexuality in marriage becomes transcendent in some ways, as you experience a connectedness that is blessed by the Father himself.
So when you hear “marital intimacy”, I hope that you hear more than simply sex or connection because it goes beyond that. Marital intimacy involves a deep knowledge of your spouse in several areas, including the special area of sexuality.
How do you define intimacy in your marriage? Do you feel that sense of intimacy when you make love in your marriage? How does sexuality have a mental, emotional, recreational, physical, or spiritual component for you?
Thanks, J! J blogs at Hot, Holy, Humorous, where she tackles complicated issues in the bedroom with humour and grace.
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