The Missing Ingredient – Love

You cannot have an intimate marriage without communication, for one simple reason: only you know you. The word intimacy comes from the Latin word intimus meaning ‘inner’. Therefore, intimacy comes from sharing the ‘inner person’ – your thoughts, feelings, and desires. You are the only one who knows what is going on inside of you. If you choose to share your ‘inner self’ and your spouse chooses to listen, there can be understanding and empathy. If your spouse does the same and you listen, the two of you will have an intimate relationship. Talking and listening – it sounds so simple. Often the missing ingredient is love – the desire to help each other rather than get our own way.

‘Tough Love’ and Genuine Repentance

A lady once asked me, “Is there ever a time to stop loving your spouse?” I responded with a question, “Why do you ask?” “My husband physically and verbally abused me for eight years. He refused to work. I supported the family for 7 years. Then I got sick. Even then, he refused to get a job. I just got tired of it, so I left him. Was I wrong to stop loving him?” “I’m not sure you stopped loving him,” I said. “This may be the best loving you have ever done. He may even get a job.” “Oh, he’s already promised me that he will get a job and be kind to me if I come back.” “Then let’s see if he follows through,” I said. “If he does, and is willing to get counseling, you can rebuild your marriage.” Sometimes it is ‘tough love’ that brings a spouse to genuine repentance.

Time to Call in the Wrecking Crew

If you have lost the intimacy in your marriage, it’s time to call in the wrecking crew. That’s right, it’s time to demolish the wall between the two of you. And the most effective tool for demolition is – confession. Oh, I know it’s not all your fault. But no one is perfect. So, put the sledge hammer of confession to your part of the wall. You might say, “I’ve been thinking about us and I realize that I have not been the spouse you deserve. I asked God to show me my failures and He gave me a pretty good list. I’d like to share these with you and ask you to forgive me. I want to make the future different.” You have taken the first step toward renewed intimacy.

Which of God’s commands have I broken?

“I just don’t understand it,” she said. “Before marriage, I felt so close to Rob. We shared everything. He was so kind and tender and understanding. But now, all of that is gone. I just don’t know him anymore. He is not the man I married.” What happened to the intimacy between this husband and wife? The answer is as old as creation itself. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were both naked and felt no
shame – total intimacy. But shortly, they were sewing figs leaves together to cover themselves. What happened? They disobeyed God’s commands. Sin always separates. So if you have lost your intimacy ask yourself: Which of God’s commands have I broken? I think you’ll find more than one.

“They were both asking for the same thing – intimacy”

“We don’t ever do anything together anymore; he’s always gone. Our communication is almost non-existant.” That was her perspective. But he had a different story. He said, “If we could get our sex life straightened out, everything else would be fine.” What they didn’t realize is that they were both asking for the same thing – intimacy. For him, intimacy meant sex. For her it meant quality time. With a little counseling and a change of attitude, this couple found what they were looking for. In short, they discovered how to speak each other’s love language. What about you? If you long for more intimacy wouldn’t it be worth reading a book or talking with a counselor?

Marriage was Designed for Intimacy

Marriage was designed for intimacy. God’s response to Adam’s loneliness was the creation of Eve, and the institution of marriage. Then God said, the “two shall become one flesh”. At the very heart of marriage is this idea of oneness, or unity. As God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One, so in marriage the husband and wife are to be ‘one’. We thought we were ‘one’ before we got married. We sat
close to each other. We talked freely. We did things for each other. We both felt deeply loved. But now, we have lost our ‘oneness’. We often disagree. We say hurtful things, and may even wonder why we got married. Can intimacy be restored? Yes, and it happens one step at a time.

Do we ONLY need to speak the child’s primary love language?

Some parents have asked me, “Do we only need to speak the child’s primary love language or do we need to speak all five?” My answer is that the children who fare best in life are the children who learn to give and receive love in all five love languages. First, make sure you are speaking the child’s primary love language regularly. Then, speak the other four. What are the five love languages? Words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time and physical touch. Most of us did not grow up in homes where we learned all five languages of love. Our parents were sincere, but may not have spoken our love language at all. As adults, we have the opportunity to learn how to give and receive love in all five languages. This will greatly enhance our parenting.

What do your children request most often?

What do your children request most often? Listen to their requests and you will discover their love language. If your child says, “Does my dress look nice?” Or, “Did I do a good job on my homework?” Their love language is ‘words of affirmation.’ If on the other hand, a child says, “Mommy can I help you set the table?” Or, “Can I help you make the bed?” Then, ‘acts of service’ is likely the child’s love language. Listen to the requests of your child and you will discover what makes them feel loved. Discovering and speaking your child’s love language is the most effective way of keeping the child’s love tank full. A full love tank makes a child more responsive to instruction and correction.

Verbal Abuse

We hear a great deal about physical abuse, but what about verbal abuse. The scriptures say that “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Verbal abuse destroys respect, trust, admiration, and intimacy – all key ingredients of a healthy marriage. All of us sometimes say harsh cutting words that we later regret. But, if we are mature, we will express sorrow and ask forgiveness.

The verbal abuser, on the other hand, seldom asks for forgiveness. Typically, the abuser will blame the spouse for stimulating the abuse. “She got what she deserved” is the attitude of the abuser. And don’t think it is always men who abuse. Male or female, verbal abuse must not be accepted as appropriate behavior.

When Your Marriage Seems Hopeless

Does your marriage seem hopeless? Does Your relationship feel desperate? As a marriage counselor, I find many individuals who have given up on their marriage.

I’m empathetic with their hopelessness. I know that when you do everything you can to stimulate change and nothing changes, it’s easy to lose hope. However, we can, and do change every day: for better or for worse. It’s true, we cannot make our spouse change, but we can influence our spouse. When we lose hope, our influence is negative—we become a part of the problem, rather than a part of the solution. When we refuse to ‘give up’ we become a positive influence, and that positive influence has the strong potential for changing the emotional climate in your marriage.