God created intimacy in marriage.
God designed the bonds of matrimony to be the closest relationship on earth. No friendship or parent-child relationship should surpass the level of intimacy in marriage. If God designed marriage to be the closest relationship on earth, then why do many couples report feeling distant and alone in marriage?
To answer that, we have to start with how God created us.
When God created man, He made us body, soul, and spirit. (1 Thess 5:23, Heb 4:12) Because of this, married couples must cultivate the body, the soul, and the spirit to develop the level of intimacy in marriage that God designed. Think of it this way:
Friendship = the soul
Physical Intimacy = the body
Spirituality = the spirit
We must nurture all three aspects to obtain the level of intimacy that God desires for us. Couples who are low on any these can begin to create feelings of distance and loneliness in your relationship.
In this article, we will examine the “body” aspect of intimacy in marriage, sex. Although sex in marriage is not the ONLY way to be physically intimate with each other, it is a critical piece in the healthiness of a marriage.
What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?
God created sex for procreation. However, He also designed it to be a symbol of unity in marriage, as well as a way to cultivate intimacy in marriage. Genesis 2:24 directly addresses sex. It says:
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
Physical intimacy in marriage is also about enjoyment and pleasure. Consider these verses:
“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 captivated by her love.” Proverbs 5: 18-19 (NIV version)
Song of Solomon 7:6-12 (ESV version):
“How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love.”
The “Litmus Test”
Sex in marriage is often viewed as the “litmus test” of marital relationships. Did you know that couples who are angry with one another will still go out to eat together, see movies together, and attend church together, but most likely will not have sex together? Does that surprise you? For this reason, it is often considered a “litmus test” for many married couples.
What is a litmus test and how does it pertain to marriage?
A litmus test is a useful and definite method of proving or measuring something. In respect to marriage, physical intimacy is the gauge in which people often use to determine the health of a marriage. Although not always the case, It usually indicates how close or how distant we feel toward each other.
If you find yourselves going weeks without being physically intimate, it may be a good time to evaluate the health of your relationship. Ask questions like:
- Are my spouse and I all right?
- Am I meeting his or her needs?
- What areas do we need to work on to improve intimacy?
- Are we making time for physical intimacy?
Paying attention to the frequency of physical intimacy can be a helpful indicator that the “body” aspect of your marriage needs a kickstart. Prioritizing sex in your relationship can also be a great solution to improving intimacy in marriage.
Keeping the Spark Alive and Well
How is your intimacy? Is it going strong, needing a bit of sprucing up, or struggling? Whichever category you fall into, fun marriage retreats and conferences are great ways to gain tools to help you improve the intimacy in your marriage. If you need more help, seek a Christian marriage counselor for help finding that spark again.
Stay tuned for later articles addressing the friendship and spiritual aspects of intimacy. In the meantime, read one of our earlier posts about forgiveness and grace in marriage. Find out if you have enough and how to institute more in your relationship.