Tom and I have been married for 35 1/2 years, and we’re still building our marriage. It’s a process that should never stop. Just as I will never arrive to the place of perfection in this life, so too, my marriage will always be in need of growth and change. Not realizing this fact causes more marriages to crumble than anything else.
Does that surprise you?
Marriage is like a house. If left to itself it will deteriorate, but if careful attention is given to the needs that come up, the home will last a lifetime.
How do we continue to build our marriage house? It’s simple really, but it’s not easy.
It has been said that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Our marriage is no exception. We have determined four building blocks that when used throughout the years of your marriage, will make it strong and able to withstand any adverse weather conditions that come your way.
Building Block #1 – Spiritual Intimacy
We’ve all heard the saying, “The family that prays together stays together.”
Of course, it takes more than just prayer to build a strong marriage. Prayer is not an end in itself, but is a line of communication to the only One who can truly help our marriage be all it was meant to be.
Prayer is our acknowledgement of our need for God to help us in our weakness. It’s sharing with Him what’s troubling us. It’s humbling ourselves in His presence letting Him know that we realize that without Him we are helpless to change. And when you take the time to pray to God together, it allows your spouse to hear what’s on your heart in a way mere conversation never reveals.
Spiritual Intimacy is learning together more about who God is. It’s Bible reading. It’s growing your faith by being an active part of a local church.
By all means possible, make sure the building block of Spiritual Intimacy is strong in your marriage.
Building Block #2 – Intellectual Intimacy
We should never stop learning and growing. How do you work on this building block? Make it a practice to study current events and talk about what you’ve heard. Learn new things together. Take a class or visit local museums or galleries and read the signs explaining the exhibits. Stimulate your mind by exercising it. A great tool is Lumosity, an on-line daily quiz for your brain that will strengthen your brain in ways you may not realize you need.
By all means possible, make sure the building block of Intellectual Intimacy is strong in your marriage.
Building Block #3 – Emotional Intimacy
Usually one spouse is more emotional than the other and oftentimes it’s the wife, but this isn’t always the case. If you are the one who doesn’t cry much, it takes effort on your part to grow in your understanding of one who cries at the drop of a hat. It would be easy to disregard their emotions as unnecessary, but if you do, you’re missing an important aspect of intimacy.
I remember a time when Tom and I were talking with a friend about an emotionally charged topic. Our friend asked me a question and immediately my eyes began to fill with tears and I couldn’t talk. Tom, who knows and understands me well said, “Give her a minute and she’ll be able to tell you what she’s thinking.” In that moment I felt loved and cared for by Tom. He isn’t nearly as emotional as I am, but he doesn’t make light of the emotions I feel. He listens. He knows me, and most importantly he shows his care by letting me express myself emotionally.
It’s also equally important to not let your emotions rule your heart or the decisions you make. This is why it’s good when one spouse isn’t nearly as subjective in making decisions. It takes the feeling of one spouse and the wisdom of another to consider important decisions on all sides.
Just as the more objective spouse must learn to understand the more subjective spouse, it’s also important for the subjective spouse to listen and trust the more objective spouse. This creates a strong balance in your marriage that isn’t easily shaken.
By all means possible make sure the building block of Emotional Intimacy is strong in your marriage.
Building Block #4 – Sexual Intimacy
This is most likely the first block you thought of when you heard the word “intimacy.” 🙂 It is important, but I placed it last in the list for a reason.
You see if you’re working on the first three building blocks, this one will benefit and grow stronger.
However, it takes a willingness to communicate with your spouse honestly and without fear of being exposed. To be intimate physically with another requires a vulnerability many fear because of past abuse or disappointments. It may be you’re afraid of being rejected.
Before the fall recorded in Genesis, God made them male and female. They were naked and not ashamed. What a gift they had, but didn’t realize until it was gone.
Guilt and shame made them want to hide, and it is the same for us today. It takes patience, love, and care to help a spouse who is suffering under the weight of guilt and shame. It takes unselfish love that is willing to become a safe haven for the one with whom you’ve been joined as one flesh.
The physical intimacy God intends for a husband and wife to enjoy is unlike any other relationship you’ll have. No one else sees you in this way. No one else has access to the core of who you are. It is a privilege and a great responsibility to know only one person in this way.
There is much to learn in regards to sexual intimacy, and much information is available. However, I caution you to know your source, and make sure what you’re reading is Biblically sound.
I recommend the following blogs where I’m confident you’ll receive help and hope that you can trust. Hot, Holy and Humorous, The Marriage Bed, Marriage Missions International, and To Love, Honor and Vacuum.
By all means possible make sure the building block of Sexual Intimacy is strong in your marriage.
What building blocks are in need of attention in your marriage?
Plan a date night to discuss this article and what steps you can take to make your marriage stronger.