Wednesday, October 9, 2013


If we are to take every thought captive, and make it obedient to Christ (per 2 Corinthians 10:5) what does that entail? If we are going to have every thought work towards increasing intimacy in our marriages, what does that mean? To understand, we need to look at the word “intimacy.” The Oxford English dictionary lists several definitions, including “closely acquainted; familiar” “involving a very close connection” and “detailed or thorough.” The word first came into usage in the early 17th century says the OED, and is from the Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare - to impress, or make familiar. That comes from intimus or “inmost.” Looking at the Latin roots it is not surprising that in their book Beyond Ordinary, authors Justin and Trisha Davis claim that intimate means “to be fully known.”

There is also the euphemistic definition of “having a sexual relationship,” which in the terms of marriage discussions tends to be the one assumed. After all, that’s what it means to be “known in the Biblical sense.” Reducing intimacy to just a physical component, though, sells the word short. If you take the Davis’ assumption that the meaning is to be fully known, it obviously has to encompass more than sex.

In their book Stripped Down (13 Keys to Unlock Intimacy in Your Marriage) Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo posit that there are six main types of Intimacy:

Emotional This has to do with a sharing of feelings and desires. Are you honest enough with yourself to really know what these are? Is your marriage a place where they can be discussed openly and honestly?
Intellectual Are you and your spouse on the same page with the big issues in your marriage? From raising children, to ministry, to goals that you share, these are important to discuss at the outset of your lives together, and revisit them regularly. As time goes by, the things you focus on  may change.
Spiritual Do you and your spouse share the same faith and beliefs? Do you pray together? Can you have meaningful discussions on the important matters of being human?
Recreational Do you and your spouse do things together? Do you play the same games, enjoy going out to similar places? You don’t need to have identical interests, but finding things you both enjoy doing together can go a long way to strengthening a marriage.
Financial This one will make some people cringe. It can be a very touchy subject. It, (along with the last one below) account for a disproportionately large percentage of arguments among married couples. It is extremely important though to be on the same page with regards to money matters. Do you have a budget? Long term goals? Do both spouses know what comes in and out each month? Can you talk about it?
Physical The one that immediately comes to mind when people hear “intimacy” but it means more than just sex. Holding hands, cuddling on the couch, long hugs in times of stress and passionate kisses before one or the other leaves for work all are included. Non-sexual touch goes a long way to strengthening the bond between spouses… and hey, sometimes it leads to the other kind, too.

Even this list of six types of intimacy is not exhaustive. Remember, the aim is to know each other completely, and humans are extremely complex, fearfully and wonderfully made. Think of how the God who created us knows each of us, as in written in Psalm 139:1-3:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Not some of my ways, not most… all. Marriage is at it’s absolute best when spouses truly know each other. It takes dedication, over a lifetime, to continually seek to learn about the person you chose to spend that life with. We must never get complacent, must never think we know everything about our spouse. When it comes to how we can love each other, there is always more to learn.