Why Nurturing Intimacy in Christian Marriages is Essential

My husband and I have been married for 21 years and have three kids. To say life is busy would be an understatement. It’s always seemed odd how easily the life we worked so hard to build keeps us separated so much of the time. Nurturing intimacy in a Christian marriage is not just about physical closeness but also about sharing time, being vulnerable with one another, sharing experiences, and growing together. It is these aspects that are essential to developing, strengthening, and maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse.

My younger sister has been married for just shy of one year and called me up the other day to ask how we have made it this far. She said she wants a marriage like our parents and grandparents had and one like the one I have. I was flattered, but I had to be honest with her. Marriage is like anything else in life; it takes work, and sometimes you fail at it.

My husband and I fail at it regularly, but what makes the difference is two people who put God first, love each other, and put in the work. Like flowers in the garden and young children, marriages require nurturing.

Why Does Intimacy in Marriage Matter, and Why Should Couples Strive to Nurture It?

The book of Genesis introduces this need within marriage as part of the overall creation story. Adam was lonely. “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).

After all the other animals on earth were brought to life, none of them was a suitable helpmate for Adam. This is why God created women.

In fact, Genesis 2:22-25 says, “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

With this scripture in mind, Tacoma Christian Counseling asserts that four principles regarding intimacy in marriage exemplify honoring God.

  1. Intimacy is for God’s glory.
  2. Intimacy unites couples.
  3. Intimacy should be a regular activity.
  4. Intimacy should be “other-oriented.”

Think about Genesis 2:25 again. Adam and Eve were both naked but felt no shame. It wasn’t until after the incident at the tree that they would find shame in their naked form. When a husband and wife are alone together, being naked carries no shame. We are vulnerable at that time, but it is okay because we share that level of intimacy with one person—our spouse.

Christian couples sometimes overlook this as a need within marriage. As the subject of sex tends explicitly to be taboo. Many of us grew up feeling that the act itself was immoral or perhaps even dirty. In marriage, though, intimacy is a sacred act of knowing your mate and giving yourself to them and them alone.

This is how being intimate with your partner was intended and why nurturing intimacy within a Christian marriage is an essential element in your union, glorifying God. It unites a husband and wife, and it should be a regular activity where time is set aside for being together. Also, it should be other-oriented, which means that intimacy allows us to focus on our spouse and do things that please them.

Often, newlyweds enjoy a period of intimacy as everything is new and exciting. Over time, however, it’s easy to overlook the element of intimacy or even take it for granted, especially when the world stacks its cards against us.

Careers, having children, going to the grocery store, paying the bills, keeping the house clean, and to-do lists with no end in sight take over and risk overshadowing the relationship that started the whole thing in the first place.

How Do We Nurture Intimacy in Marriage?

All aspects of a Christian’s life are designed to honor and glorify God. Not only that, but the Bible discusses human marriage as an extension of God and the church.

Ephesians 5:28-31 states, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’”

So, how do we do that?

Pastor Stephen Witner, with Desiring God, suggests the best first step is to pray over it. “God is glorified when our marriages express the intimate love between his Son and his people.” Pastor Witner defines further marital intimacy as the “depth of mutual knowledge and affection between a husband and wife, a marriage in which both spouses enjoy sharing experiences, emotions, ideas, and sexual romance.” The most practical advice regarding nurturing intimacy in marriage is to simply spend time together.

What Steps Can We Take to Nurture Intimacy in Marriage

Jess, the author of Love Your People, has several helpful ideas on how to encourage and nurture intimacy in marriage in a scripturally appropriate way. Here are some of my personal favorites of her suggestions:

  1. Take an interest in each other’s hobbies and interests.
  2. Take the TV out of your room.
  3. Talk/text during the day.
  4. Flirt with each other.
  5. Plan a date night.
  6. Touch often.
  7. Have sex regularly.

If you have kids, that last one gets tricky. It sounds a little weird to say, but you can schedule time together. It’s beneficial and essential to the health of your marriage.

Keep God at the Head of Your Marriage

We have found over the years that our marriage is strong enough to withstand the pressures placed on it by the world because God is at the head of the marriage. And we have learned how important it is to nurture and protect our time together.

As it says in Matthew 19:4-6, “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’”

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