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Intimacy in marriage

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Text: Genesis 2:18; Ecclesiastes 4:10

Intimacy means familiarity or friendship. Synonyms include closeness, togetherness, affinity, rapport, attachment, confidentiality, friendliness, comradeship, companionship and affection.

Intimacy is like opening the door of your house to a complete stranger. To be closely associated with anyone involves a level of risk, because you can never second-guess what the other person can do or is capable of doing.

However, there are principles governing intimacy:
• Principle of Choice: When a man chooses to marry a woman, he is exercising his freedom to choose. However, the freedom of choice comes with it a moral obligation or responsibility and accountability.

When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, they were exercising their free will, but they failed to face the responsibility of their choice.

Instead, they invented the blame game. To build intimacy in marriage, couples must understand that once they make the choice, they are morally obliged to face the consequences, whether good or bad.

• Principle of Priority: Experts say the average human being is closely associated to at least 10 persons, but not all the relationships have the same depth. Therefore, the second principle is to prioritise your relationship.

Next to your relationship with God is your relationship with your spouse. This is superior to that which you may have with your nuclear family, classmates, colleagues or friends.

• Principle of Vulnerability: Many people do not want to be committed to any meaningful relationship because of the fear of being hurt.

Unfortunately, for intimacy to thrive, you must be willing to expose yourself to hurt or betrayal.

One fact about close relationships is that you run the risk of being used, bruised and abused, but the good news is that the benefits far outweigh the potential dangers.

• Principle of Commitment: Naturally, we tend to be self-centered and motivated by greed. It, therefore, takes a measure of maturity to learn how to be committed to others.

I believe one of the reasons God created the family is to learn commitment and loyalty.

Commitment is to be willing to stand by someone through thick or thin. Without commitment, couples seek the easy way of separation and divorce.

• Principle of sacrifice: Sacrifice means to give up something to make someone else happy or comfortable.

Many times, it is not easy to give up what is valuable, but this is one key ingredient in sustaining intimacy. If your spouse does not sacrifice time, money or emotions for you and vice versa, intimacy cannot blossom.

• Principle of Proximity: This is what I call allowing others into your “personal space”. For intimacy to thrive, your personal space has to shrink and completely merge with that of your spouse.

The problem many marriages face is that we still want to keep our personal space intact, not realising that to be married is to be one with your spouse, including your personal space.

Principle of Compatibility: This principle is often misunderstood to mean that you and your spouse must like and enjoy the same things for intimacy to thrive. I have come to realise that compatibility is not always agreeing on the same things, but in the ability to turn our differences into strength. Compatibility is about team building.
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