Before we talk about the joys, necessity, and commandments of sex; we must first understand intimacy. Although sex is defined as an intimate act; without intimacy, we can’t truly experience the joys God intended for sex. Without intimacy or love, sex simply becomes a physical act or self-serving lust, seeking only to be serviced.
On the other hand, when we have intimacy, sex will not only reach the true level of ecstasy God intended but will seek the other’s best interest rather than our self-interest.
The phrase “marital intimacy” is frequently used only to refer to sexual intercourse. However, the phrase is actually a much broader concept and speaks of the relationship and connection between a husband and a wife. So, let’s define Intimacy!
Intimacy has several definitions including a close familiarity or friendship; a closeness or close connection between individuals. A private cosy atmosphere or a peaceful sense of intimacy. The intimacy between a husband and wife.
But the one definition of intimacy we really like is the self-disclosure of personal intimate information with hopes of reciprocation.
Intimacy doesn’t just happen, it requires effort. It is a pure, genuinely loving relationship where each person wants to know more about the other; so, they make the effort.
Intimate disclosure and reciprocation
When a man meets a woman and they develop an interest in each other, they spend hours upon hours just talking. They talk in-person, over the phone, via texting, and through various forms of social media. What they are doing is engaging in intimacy.
They are self-disclosing and reciprocating personal and intimate information. They disclose their past (historical intimacy), their present (current intimacy), and their future (forthcoming intimacy). This intimate disclosure and reciprocation is so powerful, that it leads to them falling in love.
Intimate disclosure to the wrong person can cause you a heartbreak
Intimate self-disclosure is so powerful, that people can fall in love without ever having physically met or seen each other.
Some people even use intimate disclosure to “Catfish”; the phenomenon where one pretends to be someone they’re not by using Facebook or other social media to create false identities to pursue deceptive online romances. Many people have been deceived and taken advantage of because of their self-disclosure.
Others have become brokenhearted and even devastated after marriage because the person that they self-disclosed with, is now not representing the person they fell in love with.
One way to look at intimacy is based on the phrase “In-to-me-see”. It is the voluntary disclosure of information at a personal and emotional level that allows another to “see into” us, and they allow us to “see into” them. We allow them to see who we are, what we fear, and what our dreams, hopes, and desires are. Experiencing true intimacy begins when we allow others to connect with our heart and we with theirs when we share those intimate things within our heart.
Even God wants intimacy with us through “in-to-me-see”; and even gives us a commandment!
Mark 12:30–31 (KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
There is none other commandments greater than these.
Here Jesus is teaching us four keys to love and intimacy:
- “With All Our Heart”– Sincerity of both the thoughts and the feelings.
- “With All Our Soul”– The whole inner man; our emotional nature.
- “With All Our Mind”– Our intellectual nature; putting intelligence into our affection.
- “With All Our Strength”– Our energy; to do it relentlessly with all our might.
Taking these four things together, the command of the Law is to love God with all that we have. To love Him with perfect sincerity, with the utmost fervor, in the fullest exercise of enlightened reason, and with the whole energy of our being.
Our love must be all three levels of our being; body or physical intimacy, soul or emotional intimacy, and spirit or spiritual intimacy.
We should not waste any opportunities we have, to get close to God. The Lord builds an intimate relationship with each and every-one of us who desires to be in a relationship with Him. Our Christian life is not about feeling good, or about deriving the greatest benefits from our connection with God. Rather, it’s about Him revealing more about Himself to us.
Now the second commandment of love is given to us for each other and is similar to the first. Let’s look at this commandment again, but from the book of Matthew.
Matthew 22:37–39 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like, unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
First Jesus says, “And the second is like unto it”, that being the first commandment of Love. Simply put, we should love our neighbour (brother, sister, family, friend, and certainly our spouse) just like we love God; with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.
Finally, Jesus gives us the golden rule, “Love thy neighbour as thyself”; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”; “Love them the way you want to be loved!”
Matthew 7:12 (KJV Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
In a genuinely loving relationship, each person wants to know more about the other. Why? Because they want to benefit the other person. In this truly intimate relationship, our approach is that we want the other person’s life to be better as a result of our being in their lives. “My spouse’s life is better because I’m in it!”
True intimacy is the difference between “Lust” and “Love”
The word Lust in the New Testament is the Greek word “Epithymia”, which is a sexual sin that perverts the God-given gift of sexuality. Lust begins as a thought that becomes an emotion, which eventually leads to an action: including fornication, adultery, and other sexual perversions. Lust isn’t interested in really loving the other person; its only interest is in using that person as an object for its own self-serving desires or satisfaction.
On the other hand Love, a Fruit of the Holy Spirit called “Agape” in the Greek is what God gives us to conqueror Lust. Unlike human love which is reciprocal, Agape is Spiritual, literally birth from God, and causes on to love regardless or reciprocation.
John 13: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another
Matthew 5: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
The first fruit of God’s presence is Love because God is Love. And we know that his presence is in us when we begin to demonstrate his attributes of Love: tenderness, cherishing, unlimited in forgiveness, generosity and kindness. This is what happens when we are operating in real or true intimacy.
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More by Wil and Grace Nichols