Cultivating Intimacy In Your Marriage

Oh, how God loves to stretch me through this blog. This is a hard post for me to share. I've been writing this for days, pouring over it hours at a time. I've been back and forth with it. It's hard and uncomfortable, but God has called me to share.

For weeks I had stewed over this issue. You have no idea how many conversations I had with myself about it. Oh, how I longed for someone to talk to about it. When I knew one of my girlfriends was coming over for coffee, I spent some time praying for God to give me the strength to talk to her about it.

I had spent so much time thinking we were the only ones with this issue, it never occurred to me it might be a common issue in other marriages. I was so thankful God gave me the words to say to her! Once the words left my lips, I suddenly felt braver. She assured me we aren't the only ones to struggle.

The issue...intimacy.

As we enter into marriage, we have these pre-conceived notions of how intimacy will look. Then life happens. You're sleep deprived, the bills seem never ending, the house needs cleaned, dishes need done and does. the. laundry. never. end.? Add to that a husband that works second shift and you see each other just a few hours a day. If we don't intentionally cultivate intimacy, of course it's easy for it to get lost along the way.

I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
Song of Solomon 6:3

Oh, how I love that verse. I love it enough that I have it tattooed on my back. It just speaks volumes to me of love, belonging and intimacy. Intimacy is such a vital part of marriage. Through intimacy, a couple creates a strong connection and deep bond. One that far exceeds any other relationship you could have.

We need to be purposeful about cultivating intimacy and passion in our marriage. There are many different ways a husband and wife can do this. It takes time, energy and effort, but if you are intentional about it, your marriage will benefit and grow.

How can you keep intimacy alive? You have to desire it. You have to want it. You have to be deliberate about it. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach the goal. You have to engage your heart fully in the joyful pursuit.

A while back, I read an amazing book. It was Intimacy Ignited by Dr. Joseph and Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter and Lorraine Pintus. I would highly recommend this book to every. single. couple. It is a verse by verse exploration of the Song of Solomon, one of the most loving, romantic and poetic Books found in the Old Testament of the Bible! If God ever gave us an instruction manual for intimacy in marriage, Song of Solomon is it! God wants married couples to have a love so hot, so passionate, so intense that nothing will be able to extinguish it.

Many people associate the word intimacy with sex. Although sex is an intimate act a husband and wife can enjoy together, there are other ways to cultivate intimacy as well. Sexual intimacy is very important, but so are these other intimate acts.

4 Ways To Cultivate Intimacy In Your Marriage:

1. Pursue your spouse.

Now, this one is a bit tricky. Men and women are so different. I know, right, Can I get an Amen? Pursuit, to most men, means feeling desired (ladies, read that as "sex") and affirmed through respect, honor and appreciation. Most women, on the other hand, are more likely to want to be pursued through time, attention and tenderheartedness (guys, read that as "romance").
2. Have fun. 

When was the last time you did something with the purposeful intention of just having fun together? One of my fav things my husband and I have in common is a love for laughter. Actually, his ability to make me laugh was one of the reasons I fell head over heals for him.
3. Be positive.

Remember the reasons you fell in love with your spouse? It's super easy to focus on what annoys us about our spouse, but that is definitely a passion killer. Passion can't co-exist with negativity. So, develop a habit of being grateful and appreciative. Guard your heart against taking the good parts of your marriage for granted.
4. Pray Together.

I have to admit, when we bow our heads to pray Sunday mornings, I can't wait to slip my hand into my husbands. There is just something so amazingly intimate about praying together! I totally understand that not everyone is comfortable praying out loud {read this as ME} but it's so worth it. Just gather up the courage and pray with your man!
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Proverbs 5:18-19

These are just a few ways to cultivate intimacy in marriage. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please share in the comments below to encourage other wives!