This is an entirely critical issue to understand for a great marriage, so we'll cover it here.
Intimacy is a huge source of energy for both spouses. There are actually two forms of intimacy that must be present if your marriage is to become a great one -- physical and emotional. The focus of this chapter is to deal with physical intimacy and how husbands and wives often incorrectly approach this area. The equally crucial issue of emotional intimacy will be dealt with next week under the marriage secret regarding "friendship."
In every marriage there is usually one spouse who is more interested in physical intimacy than the other partner. Many times (but not always) this is the man because of his male physiology. However about 25% of women are more interested than men in the marriage. For a vast majority of women, a woman's physiology produces a need for physical intimacy about once a month for a few days. A typical man's physiology is different and causes him to be interested in physical intimacy every 2-5 days.
In a good marriage, both men and women enjoy physical intimacy as not just about having sex. Instead they see it as an opportunity to communicate and be energized as they receive interest, attention, and connection to the other person. It is this communication that must be done with an understanding of one another. If one partner sees physical intimacy as a "taking," then it will quickly cease to be intimacy for one of the partners. If my partner is just taking something from me to meet a selfish desire, then it is not intimacy. Intimacy is so much better than sex, just as a whole, well-rounded meal is better than just a slab of meat.
In true intimacy, one partner is communicating and the other partner is receiving and communicating back. Like the sun and the moon are different but necessary forms of light and gravity, so true physical intimacy involves a stronger element and a lesser element. The stronger element in physical intimacy is sexuality, romance, and sex. The weaker, but just as critical element, is affection and non-sexual touch. Without liberal amounts of both the marriage will not work well. Both elements provide positive, life-giving energy to the marriage, so without them, the marriage is tired, dull, and stressed.
If there is little or no affection and non-sexual touch, then sex is diminished because there is more taking and less knowing. If there is little or no sexuality, romance, and sex then the marriage is missing a great celebration, joy, and unveiling that is available in this powerful act. Usually one partner is more interested in affection than the other partner, and one partner is more interested in sexuality, romance, and sex than the other.
In each of these secrets, there are giving and receiving aspects. To love your spouse well means that you should give of yourself to meet their needs, while gently educating and receiving your needs. This goes for intimacy too.
Look at what the Scriptures say about this area of giving and receiving in the area of intimacy:
"The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband dos not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
(1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
Everyone wants intimacy but men and women often have very different ideas of what that means. It is not uncommon for men to be more interested in physical intimacy and women to put the focus on emotional intimacy. When both are understood and pursued with dignity, cooperation, and openness, a great marriage emerges.
If you know that your spouse is most energized by non-sexual, physical touch, try this today or tomorrow. Let your spouse know that you love them by giving them a tender hug without any ideas about it leading to the bedroom. Hug them tenderly, rub their back, and tell them you love them. That's it. No alluding to bedroom activity or making assumptions that this will lead there.
If you know your spouse is energized through sexuality, romance, and sex, draw your spouse into a sexual encounter that will bless them and communicate interest and passion. Decide in your mind to make it a special time to give yourself to them.
You'll both be glad that you did.
(Taken from an excerpt from Dr. Gil's new book, Marriage Secrets, coming out soon.)
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at email@example.com to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
Dr. Gil Stieglitz
The best way to fight for your marriage is to educate yourself. What makes your spouse tick?
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