Intimacy Isn’t Just a Code Word for Sex Part 3
May 7, 2012 Marriage

Intimacy is difficult

A post by J at Hot, Holy & Humorous and another by Julie over at Intimacy in Marriage got me to thinking about intimacy in marriage and, no, I don’t just mean sex which spurned the Intimacy Isn’t Just a Code Word for Sex series. In the fist post of the series I shared this definition for intimacy with you:

Intimacy is the act of allowing someone to truly know the real you.

When we’re talking about sex we’ll say “sex.” We won’t use “code words.” We’ll say what we mean and intimacy isn’t just physical.

For this post I want to take a hard look at why we choose to limit being intimate, truly known, with our spouse.

Fear in Marriage

Are you afraid of your spouse? How about this, are you afraid of how your spouse may react to a request to be more intimate whether that intimacy is emotional, physical or spiritual? The vast majority of you are right now thinking of a time when you were deeply wounded by your spouse’s reaction to a request for a greater level of intimacy in your marriage.

1 John14:18 (NASB)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Scripture tells us that perfect love drives out fear (Oh, dear God how I want to show my wife “perfect love”), but, because of our spouse’s importance to us… No, because of the importance of us being accepted by our spouse because of the important role they play in our lives many live in fear of the reaction of their spouse’s request for a greater level of intimacy. Why?

Reflected Sense of Self

We are defining our worth through the acceptance or rejection of our spouse. This is a reflected sense of self, we can only feel good about ourselves when we are propped-up by our spouse. Their rejection of our request for a more intimate relationship says more about them than it does about us or our request. Dr. Schnarch points out that People Have Sex Within The Limits of Their Development. I would go further and say that people are as intimate within the limits of their development. In other words when a spouse suggests a greater level of intimacy than their spouse has developed their reaction is to reject it and to keep it off of the intimacy menu.

This conflict, these negative feelings, are evidence that this is an area where growth is needed in the relationship. IF we can take the time to recognize this conflict and these negative emotions for what then are, a sign that we need to mature, and respond to that instead of reacting to a request for a greater level of intimacy by our spouse we are on the road to a healthier, more intimate and happier marriage.

False Intimacy and Shame

When we aren’t getting the intimacy we need we are susceptible to the temptations of false intimacy. Whether that be the “mommy porn” that Julie speaks of in her post mentioned above or Internet or other porn that masquerades as authentic intimacy. Erotica isn’t intimacy. Pornography isn’t intimacy. It’s fake.

An Example from The Garden

I think there is a great desire in the majority of us to find a person with whom we can be our true self and not be ashamed of who we are. We are looking for someone to accept us, someone with whom we are not ashamed.

Genesis 2:25 (NASB)
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

To be physically, emotionally and spiritually naked before someone and to not be ashamed.

There is no room for fear and shame in a marriage filled with love.

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"2" Comments
  1. Yes! I agree many times spouses live in fear of the reaction they may get if they try to “up” the intimacy. In fact, particularly for husbands, that acceptance or rejection has a lot to do with how they feel about themselves in the relationship. I just started writing a series of posts entitled “Why Husbands Leave.” Basically it all boils down to this in the end; we want to be known, completely. We want someone to accept us and be willing to get closer and closer and not be grossed out or appalled at our requests for deeper intimacy. Thanks for the good insight!


  2. I have heard things like this before but I need reminders and reasons to focus on improvements Thank you for the thought provoking post!! I have had these exact arguments with my husband. When I try to initiate love making and he says not tonight. It hurts to feel rejected even thought I know he means nothing by it.

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