Updated: Nov 10
Last week’s blog Solomon's Secret Sauce - Part 1 introduced the topic of marital intimacy. I shared Dictionary.com’s definition of intimacy as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. We looked at what Roosevelt and I coined Solomon’s “secret sauce” for marital intimacy as we identified the 3 main ingredients.
Physical Intimacy - the appreciation of my spouse's touch and presence.
Emotional Intimacy - a willingness to be vulnerable by opening one's heart to share personal thoughts and feelings.
Sexual Intimacy - the activities of foreplay, intercourse, and pillow talk.
Song of Songs describes the passion and pleasures that King Solomon and the Shulamite experienced in their relationship. While they undoubtedly shared an enduring love, we also see their love tested when they faced obstacles and roadblocks, described as “sly little foxes”. Song of Songs 2:15 suggests we “catch them” and “remove them together” which is our topic for this week’s blog as we share practical advice for overcoming challenges to marital intimacy.
Physical intimacy can be undesirable or unappreciated if past issues with negative self-image, adverse childhood experiences, or unhealthy past relationships are unresolved. The motives of a spouse’s touch and/or presence might also be negatively interpreted if one thinks their partner is only touching or getting close for selfish reasons. These thoughts come if someone has been manipulated by others in the past.
If any of these issues are hindering your ability to either experience or express physical intimacy, you need to communicate these to your spouse. If you find it difficult to openly communicate about intimacy, it may be necessary to seek the support of a trusted life coach, mentor, or licensed counselor.
Unresolved issues from your past can threaten your peace and expectation of joy for the future. Couples seeking to rediscover the pleasure of physical intimacy can do so through mutual understanding, support, tender touches, and shared moments and activities.
Bitterness, resentment, broken trust, unforgiveness, and feeling neglected, unsupported, or unappreciated can all be obstacles and roadblocks to experiencing emotional intimacy in your marriage. First and foremost, realize that God made men and women three-part beings. We are a spirit, living in a body, possessing a soul consisting of our mind, will, and emotions. Bottled-up emotions eventually erupt. Once again, seek support from your spouse and, if necessary, medical or mental health advice.
If trust has been broken in your relationship it takes time, talking transparently, and working together to rebuild. Because restoring trust does not happen overnight, patience and endurance are required. Forgiveness begins the process by which trust can be rebuilt so we must obediently ask for and extend forgiveness as instructed in Colossians 3:13.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Emotional intimacy requires vulnerability that goes below the surface of trivial issues to articulate our true feelings. The times when Roosevelt and I mutually shared our deepest fears, anxieties, and frustrations led us to seek God’s direction together which ultimately strengthened our marital bond.
Sexual intimacy is another aspect of marriage that can be challenging for couples to navigate. We most often see differences among couples in the following areas:
· Sex drive - the frequency of your desire or need for sexual contact and closeness
· Sexual arousal - feelings of sexual stimulation
· Romantic expression - what makes you feel emotionally connected and cherished
· Sexual anticipation – physical and emotional perception of the act of sex
· Sexual preferences - What you like in terms of environment, positions, and time of day
Despite husbands and wives having different needs for sexual intimacy, the goal is to find ways to mutually satisfy one another.
For example, a spouse with a low sex drive may need to step up and be the initiator sometimes while the spouse with a high sex drive may need to learn how to meet their partner’s non-sexual needs for closeness. Solomon mastered this skill through words of affirmation.
Consider Song of Songs 4:1 (TPT) which says:
Listen, my dearest darling, you are so beautiful—you are beauty itself to me! Your eyes glisten with love, like gentle doves behind your veil. What devotion I see each time I gaze upon you. You are like a sacrifice ready to be offered.
God intended that you enjoy intimacy in your marriage. Couples recognizing challenges aimed at hindering intimacy must commit to working together to protect their covenant. Discovering various ways to express intimacy, engaging with a positive attitude, and coaching your spouse on how to receive and experience intimacy help to mirror what King Solomon and his bride passionately demonstrated in Song of Songs.
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