Intimacy in marriage can be compared to a very precious and fragile treasure which needs to be nurtured and fostered with the utmost of care, somewhat like a newborn baby. When a child is born to loving parents they will do everything it takes to provide and care for their little one day and night. They realise the importance of this valuable life which will one day grow to be an adult, but not without a vast amount of effort and investment which is required. In a similar way, fostering intimacy in marriage requires a huge investment on the part of both partners.
In fact in marriage a one hundred percent investment is needed from each spouse in order to make a one hundred percent marriage. If each only gives fifty percent of themselves it will be a fifty percent marriage. Those who have been happily married for many years can confirm that this kind of total investment is well worth the effort in terms of the incomparable contentment and deep joy which comes from sharing intimacy in marriage. This includes all levels of intimacy, not only on a physical level, but also emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
But how do you make this kind of investment which will foster rather than obstruct the growth of intimacy between you and your beloved? Here are a few helpful hints:
Invest your time
You cannot expect to enjoy intimacy in your marriage if you are too busy to spend time together. Busyness is probably one of the greatest causes of a lack of intimacy in marriage. Some couples find that they are basically living separate lives, always rushing in and out of the house, dropping into bed exhausted each night to snatch a few hours of sleep before the frantic rush begins all over again in the morning. If you are serious about enjoying intimacy with your spouse you may need to sit down and make some serious adjustments to your schedules in order to carve out significant amounts of time when you can just be together. Time is needed for talking, sharing, laughing, and making love in an unhurried atmosphere. Take time to pray together and tell each other your concerns and challenges. Ask yourself, “how much time am I investing in my marriage, every day, every week, and every month?”
Invest your attention
Once you have set aside the time, it’s important that you give your full attention to your spouse. This is where both quality and quantity are important. There is the husband who says, “But I am home every night… what more do you expect…?” while he is glued to his laptop or TV and is basically unavailable for any conversation or anything else, and then he wonders why there is no intimacy in the relationship. Or the wife who is so busy doing chores and caring for the kids that she hasn’t energy to listen to how her husband’s day has been. Intimate conversation means switching off the TV and laptop, sitting down together, making eye contact and listening carefully to each other.
Invest your creativity
The wonderful thing about a relationship, especially a marriage relationship, is that it is a living growing entity which can be full of surprises and endless potential. Each day brings new opportunities to get to know one another better and to bring joy and delight to one another. Invest your creativity in thinking of special little things to share, places to go together, or perhaps a note slipped into your spouse’s pocket. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive – just something thoughtful, kind and appreciative. Keep your eyes and ears open for the hints and clues which your spouse may drop along the way of something he or she would like – that special sweet treat or pretty blouse, or perhaps a new CD from his favourite band. If you are on the lookout for creative ways to please your loved one you may be amazed at what you can come up with – when you seek you will find and the more you do it the better it gets.
Invest your heart
This is undoubtedly the most important investment of all. If you are seeking to foster intimacy in your marriage you will have to be wholehearted about it – no half measures. If you are fully committed to one another, this will set a firm foundation of trust and respect on which you can build to create a strong and intimate marriage. This means sharing your heart openly, not keeping secrets and being honest when you have been hurt or offended by your spouse. Being willing to say sorry and make necessary changes is essential to moving forward and strengthening the intimacy in your relationship. As you forgive one another you can start again with a clean heart and a clear conscience, grateful for the relationship you share together.
Although these investments may seem costly at first, as you start to reap the benefits of fostering a loving and intimate relationship with your spouse you will find that it is probably the most fantastic investment you could ever make.