Friday, August 16, 2013

What is a Godly Marriage? | Intimacy in Your Marriage


Part 4 of 7: Today we are continuing with our seven part series titled, What is a Godly Marriage? If you missed the introduction to this series, please take a moment to click here to read it and other chapters that have already been published. Today's fourth chapter is titled "Intimacy in Your Marriage". Enjoy! [Amy]

I could tell there was something going on. I looked across the table at my friend and knew she needed to talk about something. I slowly took a sip of my drink, never taking my eyes off of her. She hung her head, poking at the enchilada's with her fork. "Are you going to eat those?" I asked. I couldn't stand to see good enchilada's go to waste. She threw her fork down and replied, "He doesn't think we have enough sex. He says I'm boring."

At this point I wasn't sure whether I should grab the enchilada's before she pounded them into pureed sauce, or if I should really listen intently to my friend crying out for advice while eating lunch at our favorite restaurant. 

I decided to listen intently.

She proceeded to tell me about an argument her and her husband had a few nights before, and how he felt like they weren't intimate enough in their marriage. He asked her why she didn't like to have 'fun' anymore like they use to (which turned into her thinking he called her boring), and that he had needs as a man that she wasn't fulfilling. Her response was in anger, but in truth as well. She replied with her own complaints of him not cuddling with her, holding her, hugging her in public, or simply kissing her neck when he got home from work. And when he would, there were strings attached -- he was letting her know that he 'wanted' something from her later in the day.

Serving One Another in Intimacy
This is how the story usually goes in marriages, even Christian marriages. Each spouse feels like they are missing out on something or that they give more than they should. Many times we place intimacy as a lower priority because we have long days at work, have to take care of the kids, or we simply don't 'feel' like putting the effort into it.

But what would happen if we looked at intimacy in our marriage as a way of serving our spouse rather than a way of just giving them pleasure for a short amount of time?


Each spouse was created to serve one another; we spoke about this a few chapters back. Therefore, if we are to serve one another in every aspect of our marriage, this means that we are to serve one another when it comes to our intimate relationship with our spouse.
"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 NIV
There is so much said in the above verse. More than we can even comprehend at times. I love that at the end of this verse we are told to have intimate moments with our spouse often, so that we are not tempted by Satan. There is so much truth here. When a spouse is deprived of sexual intimacy from their spouse for a long period of time, their mind starts to wander. It doesn't mean they want it to, it just does. It's our sinful nature. There are certainly situations that require spouses not to be intimate with one another (physical injuries, pregnancy, post-postpartum, illness, surgery, inability, etc.) these are not the situations that I am referring to. In a physically healthy marriage, when one spouse chooses not to have intimacy with the other, it causes strife and sinful desires to well up inside.

God created humans to interact with one another. Sex was created for many reasons (procreation, closeness with your spouses, pleasure), and to withhold something from someone that God created for us to constantly practice is disobedient and selfish. I did not fully understand this until it was humbly brought to my attention that intercourse for men can mean more than just 'sex'. It can be a stress reliever, a way to "get away" from the outside world and focus on the one he loves. It can be a complete and total mood changer. In fact, I started taking notice. When I would withhold intimacy from my husband, he would become easily irritated and moody; never fully understanding why he was this way. But when I did not withhold and we had intimate moments on a regular basis, he was his normal self; cheery, happy, and the man that I wanted to be married to. I was in shock, to be quite honest, to see this change in him. I was blown away to think that such a small thing could make such a large impact on our marriage.


When we choose to serve our spouse in every aspect of our marriage, including sex, we are fulfilling our calling as a husband or wife. Husbands, this means that you might not have what you want every single night of the week, maybe not even twice a week. Wives, this means that you're going to have to have a few less headaches and put more effort into fulfilling your husbands needs in the bedroom. The bottom line is that a wife's body belongs to her husband, and a husbands body belongs to his wife. We are to serve one another, mutually, in order to have a Christ centered and healthy marriage.

Trust in Intimacy

There are many spouses who are uncomfortable when it comes to intercourse with their spouse. As a husband or wife, it is your responsibility to find out why. Make sure you do so in love and grace. 


In one of Mark Driscol's sermons, he talks about the time that, after many many years of marriage, he found out that his wife had been sexually abused as a teenager. She wasn't even fully aware that it had happened, but after much talking and prayer, they were able to start putting pieces together of things that had gone wrong in their own marriage that could have stemmed back to this experience that she had so very long ago. There are so many situations like these in marriages. 

Your spouse may feel uncomfortable about their appearance. They could have had a bad experience prior to marriage. Your spouse may feel like you are trying to control the intimate times within your marriage. There are so many things that could pile up and cause your spouse to shut down when it comes to intimacy in marriage -- this is where trust and love need to come into place. 

Here are a few things you can do to build trust in your intimate relationship with your spouse:


  • Never ever force sexual intimacy on your spouse. Likewise, never make your spouse feel like you do not want to be near them. You will only cause bitterness, anger and distrust. It will not make them want to fulfill your desire and will also cause them to feel inadequate.
  • Build your spouse up. Constantly tell them how amazing they are, how beautiful or handsome they look, or how much you love their relationship with you and God. This is something that should be done on a daily basis, not just when you want "lovin'".
  • Talk openly about your sexual relationship with your spouse at appropriate times. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your intimate relationship with your spouse. These times should never be spoken of with anyone other than your spouse unless you need to seek counsel from a Pastor or church elder. 
  • Do not compare your sexual relationship to the movies or to someone else's relationship. You and your spouse are unique. The world's view of intimacy is tainted and corrupt. Don't allow the world to drive your relationship desires with your spouse. [Colossians 3:5]

And finally, do not allow yourself to fall into pornography or a close relationship with a friend of the opposite gender. Pornography and adultery are two of the biggest reasons spouses are uncomfortable with sexual intimacy.

Love in Intimacy

In a Christian marriage we are commanded to do everything in love. This certainly includes your sexual relationship with your spouse. What a husband wants is not necessarily what a wife wants, and what a wife wants is not necessarily what a husband needs. We may have been created to become one, but we are not one in the same. Make sure you take this into account when fulfilling your spouses needs. I would encourage you to read Gary Chapman's book,
The Five Love Languages to gain more insight as to what makes your spouses love tank fill up. Love isn't just about sex, it is also about your daily involvement (non-sexually) with your spouse. 

Remember that in everything you do, if it is not done in love then you will gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). If you do not put love into your intimate relationship with your spouse, your marriage will crumble. Intimacy is not the key to a good marriage, but it is certainly a priority. We were created to love and be loved, to give intimacy and receive intimacy. When it is purposefully withheld from someone or forced onto someone, it can make that person feel like they are inadequate or being belittled.


Intimacy with your spouse is such an amazing thing. God created it to strictly be enjoyed by husband and wife, together; not between the unmarried, not between a spouse and someone else. Make sure you are doing your part in serving your spouse in your intimate relationship, be it through intercourse or simply by cuddling on the couch in the evening. 


OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:

4 comments:

  1. Would you have any to add for couples when one spouse just doesn't like sex and doesn't feel it emotionally connects them? I don't think it is good to have sex just for the other spouses sake if it isn't a mutually enjoyed act. Is there a compromise?

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    1. Hey there! Here is a great article (geared towards wives) that may help you :) http://unveiledwife.com/4-tips-for-wives-with-higher-sex-drives/

      Whether a husband or wife, I would urge you to pray continuously about the situation. Sex is not the key to a wonderful Christ filled marriage, but it certainly is important.

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  2. What if you don't trust your husband? There have been many things happen in our relationship & information was withheld (mainly concerning finances). We keep having the same discussion about how he is going to include me in decisions & he's agreed to weekly budget meetings, but has purchased 2 vehicles in 5 months & I had to tell him whether or not I agreed to the purchase in a matter of hours so he could go sign the papers. I never saw the vehicles prior or knew he was thinking of purchasing them. (I cannot drive them as they are standard and I don't know how to drive standard.)

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  3. HELLO FRIENDS AM LINDA COLLINS FROM CANADA MY BEST DECISSION I MADE ON HOW TO GET MY MARRIAGE BACK once when i went to Africa in February this year on a business summit. I meant a man who’s name is {Prophet Harry} he is really powerful and could help pray to bring back one’s gone, lost, misbehaving lover and prayers for good job and financial blessings .I’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 3 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this {Prophet Harry}, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided, skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 3 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn’t believe it cos the {Prophet Harry} only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is prophetharryprayerhome@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete