If one aspect of this tri-unity is missing, couples will lack the intimacy God desires.
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Therefore, all three must be continually cultivated. As we consider developing intimacy in friendship, we must consider Christ and his friendship with the church. Jesus said this in John Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. It was the fact that Christ shared everything with his friends. Eph and his friend.
He has taught us his secrets, things that the world will not and cannot understand 1 Cor Through his Word and the Holy Spirit, he has taught us truths about salvation, mankind, creation, angels and demons, and the future. Certainly, there is a need for discipline in this area. As life gets busy with work, managing the household, raising children, church, hobbies, etc. Likewise, this often happens in our relationship with God. Remember the story of Mary and Mar tha? In the same way, we often get busy with good things, which can cause us to neglect our relationship with God.
This can also happen with our spouse, causing not only a lack of intimacy but discord in marriage. Activities are good, but intimate sharing should be maximized when couples are together. For most, evenings will be the best time for this, after work and other endeavors are completed. Personally, my wife and I always try to leave the last hour or more of the evening for sharing and prayer. We may have family time before that where we eat dinner, talk, watch a TV show together with our daughter, etc. As a couple has more children, it becomes even harder to allot time for intimate sharing, but it is still just as important.
It also demonstrated to the kids the priority of the marriage relationship. In considering the importance of time alone, one should be aware of intimacy killers. Though I mentioned watching TV with my wife, I am aware that this does not create genuine intimacy, but commonly distracts from it. Often watching TV, being on the Internet, playing video games, being on the phone, etc. One marital counseling book my wife and I read early on in marriage encouraged couples to not turn on the TV for the first year of marriage.
The first year of marriage is foundational for the rest of marriage. In the Old Testament, a soldier was not allowed to go to war during the first year of marriage. He was to stay home and bring his wife happiness Deut It is within the first year of marriage that patterns are established, both healthy and unhealthy ones. If a couple establishes early patterns of primarily watching and doing instead of being and sharing , it may reap hazardous dividends later in marriage.
Do you want to have a marriage where your mate comes home, kisses you on the cheek, and then gets on the Internet, TV, or phone for three hours before bed? It is good to beware of these tendencies which can potentially hurt couples. Protect yourself from intimacy killers; block out daily time to focus on sharing, listening, and being together.
With all that said, balance is needed in marriage. Couples need times of just sharing and listening to one another, but they also need to enjoy activities together such as: reading, working out, going to movies, traveling, etc. Sadly, many couples get married believing they have many activities they love doing together, but after the first year, they find that they really enjoy different things. While courting, the woman would watch sports with her boyfriend because she was just happy to be with him.
However, soon after getting married, she would quickly decline watching the Sunday football game to do her own thing. While courting, the man would go to the mall with his girlfriend because he was just happy to be around her. However, in marriage, he promptly declines the Saturday excursion to instead stay home.
It is not uncommon for early passion to blur the reality of the person one is going to marry, and couples should be aware of this.
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Whether this happens or not, it is important for couples to find activities they enjoy together, to help maintain and increase intimacy. Christ went everywhere with his infant church, the disciples, and shared everything with them cf. Matt , John To protect our marriages and help them grow, it is wise to think about and plan for activities that can be enjoyed together as well as setting weekly or monthly dates to share these things.
Of course, many times husbands and wives will simply not enjoy the same activities. This is normal. However, out of love for their spouse, they should participate in many of the activities their spouse enjoys. The wife should occasionally watch the football game, and the husband should occasionally watch the romantic comedy. Out of love, we should serve our mate, and one of the greatest ways to do this is by doing something he or she enjoys.
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This will enrich the friendship. In addition, a wise practice for couples is to establish a weekly date night. Choose a convenient night of the week to go out and do something special.
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Guard this night from the rigors of busyness, and when unforeseen circumstances do not allow it, always reschedule. Date night does not have to be expensive or even cost money; the most important aspect of it is spending uninterrupted time together. One of the great realities of marriage is that it will take a lifetime to truly know your spouse since he or she is always growing and changing. Therefore, as a discipline, wisely plan to cultivate the intimacy of friendship in marriage.
Next, couples must cultivate intimacy through sex. God meant sex to be a powerful means of increasing intimacy in marriage. Couples who are angry with one another will eat together, go to the movies together, and church together but most likely will not have sex together.
If a married couple finds themselves going weeks without sex, it may be a good time to evaluate the relationship. While unmarried, his energy focuses on tempting couples towards premarital sex, but in marriage, his energy focuses on tempting them to not have sex. Young married couples will often find this a paradox since their passion was hard to contain before marriage. But in the marriage union, sexual intimacy tends to become dry and stagnant. The sexual act was meant to be a symbol of unity and intimacy in marriage and how a couple cultivated them. Ezekiel says:. Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness.
I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. God took Israel as his wife, as a husband took his virgin wife to himself. God meant sex in marriage to symbolize the most intimate relationship in the world, our relationship with him.
It is a powerful union. It is both a symbol of unity and intimacy and the means of how a married couple grows in them. As mentioned in session one, God desires for couples to birth and raise godly seed. Consider these verses:. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Genesis So it means a lot when someone takes a sincere interest in you without necessarily expecting anything in return.
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Practice giving, and people will give to you. Such generosity nurtures good friendships. If you expend yourself in behalf of your friends without expecting anything in return, they will naturally feel drawn to you. A true friendship cannot flourish without regular communication. So talk together about the interests you share. Listen to what your friend has to say, and respect his opinions.