Intimacy is has a tendency to drift even in healthy marriages. We have to work at pursuing one another everyday. For some couples, the pursuit of intimacy seems like an impossible task due to a deep-rooted issue that tends to prevent intimacy: however, intimacy can be a possibility again for those who struggle with deeper rooted issues. Intimacy issues are divided into two categories: Trust-Based Issues and Physical-Based Issues. Trust-Based Issues At the heart of intimacy is Trust. Trust and intimacy go hand in hand. When trust has been broken and damaged, intimacy is always impacted. Sometimes trust has been damaged in past relationships. This could happen in a parental relationship, family relationship, or in a previous relationship. I often tell couples, “People are the way they are for a reason.” When one’s relational trust has been damaged, intimacy has the potential of being robbed in future relationships. Another trust-based issue is a direct result of unfaithfulness. Bottom line: Unfaithfulness destroys trust and there is no intimacy without trust. Broken trust=broken intimacy; therefore, restoration must take place. So how do you get trust back? Time and Consistency. There is no other way. Time and consistency. This cannot be microwaved nor can it be sidestepped. One has to show a new pattern of being trustworthy (Consistency). How long does this take? Much longer than we want (Time). When trust has been broken, you have to show your trustworthiness again, again, and again. Overtime, trust is regained and when trust is regained, intimacy can be rebuilt. Whether trust has been damaged through relationships from our past or through unfaithfulness in the present, often times, we need the help of someone who is trained to walk with us on this journey to health. There is a physical / medical reason that is impacting intimacy. Sex is not always possible. There are health issues and other physical issues that can prevent it for some couples. However, intimacy is attainable for every couple. Intimacy is about trust. It’s about knowing each other. It’s about sharing secrets just between the two of you. It’s about not allowing anything to come between you as a couple. It’s about wanting what’s best for the other person and choosing to pursue one another when it’s easy and when it’s difficult. So, what do we do when sex isn’t an option? First, we need to remember that sexual gratification is often times achievable for couples without intercourse. Be creative. Communicate with your partner throughout the experience as to what is best in that moment. Secondly, when this is not an option, we need to focus on what we do have to offer. Don’t focus on what you can’t do; focus on what you can do. Physical sex is only one small part of intimacy. When we focus our time and attention on pursuing our partner and meeting their needs intimacy grows. Share what you have! Give freely to your partner your love, respect, honor, and service. Pursue experiences together. Go places together. Take risks together. Do things together that only the two of you will enjoy. If you don’t know what that is, find out! Make the choice to discover a side of your relationship that you never knew existed. They key is to stay on the same page about your needs, desires, and expectations. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Intimacy is a gift from God and He is a God who redeems and makes all things new. Even Intimacy. One Change a Day, ~Joe (Guest Post from my hubby who is a pastor and a marriage and family counselor)
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