Can Your Marriage Survive an Affair? The Importance of Intimacy
What is intimacy? Intimacy is a closeness you feel to another person, brought on by sharing activities, conversation, or anything that builds familiarity or affection. Quality emotional time together enhances the desire for physical intimacy between a man and woman.
There is a major difference between men and women, though, when it comes to intimacy. If you’ve followed my blog for a little while, you’ve probably read my thoughts on this already. I believe it is well worth a repeat reminder though.
In most marriage relationships, women have a need for emotional intimacy before they desire sex. Men, on the other hand, usually want sex before they seek emotional intimacy. No wonder sex can cause conflict in a relationship.
Most men are ready for a tumble in the hay at the mere thought of it. Most women need to be warmed up to the idea. If emotional intimacy is lacking in their relationship, the last thing a woman wants to think about is sex. As for a man, he doesn’t understand the importance of emotional intimacy until the desire for physical intimacy has been met. If he hasn’t had sex in a while, he’s not going to be interested in sharing emotional intimacy.
So this is where marriage gets difficult. Sex can become a power struggle that poisons every other aspect of a relationship. Sex is the barometer for the health of a marriage. The wife is angry at the husband because he doesn’t give her enough attention, doesn’t spend enough time with her. She’s hurt and has no intention of having sex with him. She’s caught up in her own selfish pity-party and holds out on sex. Because of the lack of intimacy in her life, she begins to distance herself from her husband.
The husband now has a build-up of testosterone and can think of nothing else but sex. All ideas of how to romance his wife and initiate emotional intimacy escape him because these hormones dominate his mind and body. They want out! It’s a lot like PMS in women. We often don’t think rationally because of our hormonal imbalances. We react emotionally to things that normally wouldn’t bother us. Testosterone build-up is also a hormone imbalance.
At some point, when sex becomes a competitive game, this crazy cycle needs to be broken. Someone needs to cry “Uncle!” and give up their own selfishness to put their spouse’s needs ahead of their own. Women, if you give your husband sex when he needs it, he will be more than happy to fulfill your emotional needs. Men, if you pay attention to your wife and her emotional needs, she will give you all the sex you want.
People will seek intimacy elsewhere if they don’t get it at home.
So why do we, as women, get so caught up in “holding out” if the conditions for sex aren’t ideal? And why do men often have tunnel vision and forget about the intimate conditions a woman needs for sex? Because we are selfish creatures and struggle with taking care of our spouses needs over our own. Sex is the most delicate, most personal part of our relationship, a sacred union we share. We expect it to be magical and fulfilling, yet we use it as a tool to fight wars.
Sex can’t be treated as a weapon for winning battles. All problems in a marriage need to be put aside in order to fulfill these crucial intimacy needs. Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and give our spouse what they need even when it goes against our desires at the moment. This “giving up of self” is the key ingredient to a better marriage and amazing sex life. Once you practice it in the bedroom, it becomes easier to apply to other volatile areas.
Our relationship with our spouse is also a practice ground for our relationship with God. We need to learn to die to our self, daily – for both God and our spouse.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”