We did not get married in order to find a convenient way to cook meals, wash dishes, do laundry, and rear children. We married out of a deep desire to love and to be loved, to live life together, believing that together we could experience life more deeply than apart.
How can we experience this? Let’s look at the five essential components of an intimate relationship: sharing our thoughts (intellectual intimacy), discussing our feelings (emotional intimacy), spending time with each other (social intimacy), opening our souls to each other (spiritual intimacy), and sharing our bodies (physical intimacy).
From the moment we arise in the morning, our minds are active. Intimacy requires that we share some of our thoughts with each other. I am not talking about only highly intellectual thoughts; they may just be ones focused on finances, food, or health. When two minds link, they build intellectual intimacy.
The sharing of feelings also builds emotional intimacy. Be willing to say “I’m feeling a lot of fear right now,” or “I am really happy tonight.” In making such statements, we are choosing to be intimate with our spouses, to reveal to them what’s going on in our emotional world. Learning to talk about emotions can be one of the most rewarding experiences of life.
Social intimacy has to do with spending time together around the events of life. As I share these events with my spouse, our horizons are broadened. Another part of social intimacy involves the two of us doing things together, alone or with others. A picnic in the park or even on the deck can add excitement to an otherwise drab day. The things we do together form some of our most vivid memories, and they also build social intimacy.
Spiritual intimacy is often the least developed of all the intimacies of a marriage, yet it has a profound impact upon all other areas. It is fostered not only by verbal communication, but also by shared experience. One wife said, “There is something about experiencing worship together that gives me a sense of closeness to my husband. We hold hands during the prayers. We share with each other what we liked about the service.” Intimacy flourishes as we share our spiritual journey. Next week, we will discuss physical intimacy.