Wednesday, November 18, 2015

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage: Building Intimacy, Not Walls

Close. Closer. Closest possible. Intimacy is part of the whole ‘two becoming one’ mystery that exists in marriage. Yes, sex is piece of intimacy, but not the whole. It’s deeper than physical desire, and aligns itself more along the lines of a fierce loyalty, connection, a one-ness.
I’d argue as women, we crave intimacy more than the physical attraction and desires in marriage. It’s that ‘thing’ that makes us feel safe and connected knowing no matter what, it’s ‘til death do us part.
Over time, and through the obstacles of life, intimacy can become a challenge, but take heart ladies. We get to choose intimacy, just like we often choose to build walls. Sometimes we enter marriage with walls already built, or perhaps life has built some for us after marriage. Whatever the case, choose to build intimacy, and not walls. In fact, the closer we become to our hubby, those walls tumble.
Here are a handful of ways we’ve found handy in our marriage.

1: Holding hands:
Touch means so much, and I’m not talking the sexual kind. Yes, sex is a VERY important part of marriage, but there needs to be more physical contact going on that just the Ooh-la-la kind. Several studies confirm the power of positive touch such as hand holding, hugs, and cuddles. That doesn’t surprise me since we often find Jesus using touch in the Bible to heal and comfort. So grab your hubby’s hand and hold tight! Not too tight though…that would be a negative touch, ha. J
2: Playing & Laughing Together:
Wrestle. Tickle. Go for a walk. Hike. Bust out a board game. Watch silly videos on youtube (one of our favs). Find ways to play and laugh with your spouse. Life is filled with stress, even marital stress. If we find ways to laugh with our spouse, and play with our spouse, it helps us to grow closer and build intimacy instead of building walls to divide. Besides, laughter and having a playful spirit is such good medicine prescribed to us by God.
3: Bedtime chats:
Spend some time at night chatting with your spouse about the day. About hopes, dreams, goals. Not about money. Not about a heated topics. Asks questions to get to know your spouse better. What interests them, and why? Just talk and keep the conversation positive.
4: Date nights:
I’ve heard it said by many older couples that it’s ‘cheaper to hire a babysitter, than to pay for a divorce,’ meaning it’s better to invest in time alone with your spouse than to let your marriage fall apart.
Totally agree. However, being a military family for many years, finding a babysitter we could trust was often a challenge. Eventually, we found couples at church and on base we were able to connect with and swap childcare, but until then, our date nights/days/mornings/afternoons (whenever we made time), had to be creative, often simple, and budget friendly. Nothing wrong with simple, and nothing wrong with eating off a dollar menu on a date night, or staying home parked on the couch in front of a Netflix TV series when the kids are in bed. The key is to spend alone time with your hubby.
5: Praying together.
Oh, this is a big one, and something that can be challenging at first. My prayers are personal, often done alone when everyone is still sleeping, and frankly, I don’t wanna share them or my prayer time. BUT, we’re building intimacy, not walls, and who best to help us knock down walls and bond us closer together than God?
Think of marriage as a triangle, with God at the top. The closer you grow to God, the closer you grow together.
Don’t know where to start in this praying together venture?
How about over dinner? Bless more than just the food.
How about with the kids, and make it a family prayer in the morning, before school, at dinner or bedtime? How about grabbing hubby’s hand after bedtime chat, and asking to say a prayer. Nothing huge or elaborate. A simple ‘Thank you God for my spouse,’ is a good way to begin. Then go from there, asking God to help your prayer-life grow.

If hubby won’t pray, or doesn’t pray, don’t let that discourage your prayers. Grab your Bible, and keep praying for others, for him, for your family, for yourself. Prayers work, and all are answered, most often in ways we don’t expect, and in a time frame we would’ve never expected –spanning even years.

Hang in there!

Have any other suggestions to help build intimacy in marriage? Want to share something from experience? Feel free to comment below. J

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