God is a romantic, and He is definitely interested in the issue of intimacy.
Without God, intimacy is short-lived and incomplete. Even if it were possible for a husband and wife to achieve emotional and physical intimacy, their lives would feel incomplete without spiritual intimacy—living as individuals and as a couple in relationship with the all-loving God.
Honesty is so essential to spiritual intimacy that I must address it as the first issue. Intimacy can never be increased where dishonesty and deception exist.
Many individuals have what I call an “image relationship” with themselves. They work at crafting their image so much that they themselves buy it hook, line, and sinker. Such image crafters usually focus on the wonderful parts of themselves, such as their gifts or shining qualities. Their self-styled image may be charismatic, outwardly displaying wonderful virtues such as caring, sincerity, spirituality, and intelligence. They often appear nearly perfect.
When I was a young man in college, I couldn’t even walk out of the dorm room unless everything matched. I was quite an image to behold—a young, clean-cut, well-dressed student. Nevertheless, I only had an image relationship with myself. I was completely unaware of my real heart condition or even how I truly felt. I appeared righteous and was always ready to convince anyone that I was okay. The only problem was I wasn’t real.
What does this have to do with spiritual intimacy?
Self-honesty is crucial. Not one of us human beings is perfect or even close to it. If you take any one of us away from the normal comforts of daily life and place us in an unusually stressful situation, such as an all-day layover in an airport or being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, less than wonderful things will often come out of our hearts. We are imperfect by our very design, and growing beyond false images and discovering who you really are is just the beginning of spiritual intimacy.
Think of your three greatest flaws. Now take a minute and come up with seven more. I find that in doing this, many of us can come up with one or two—but ten? Who even imagines that he could have ten faults? Take a moment at this point and write down ten of your worst faults and see how long it takes. The longer it takes for you to come up with ten faults, the more important self-honesty is going to be for you on your journey toward spiritual intimacy with your spouse.
Intimacy is an exciting journey with a wonderful destination. The adventure of intimacy’s discovery makes the traveling so much fun for you and your spouse. Honesty is one signpost on the way to spiritual intimacy. Honesty with yourself, with God, and with your spouse about how you feel, honesty about your perceptions, is central to spiritual intimacy.
Like honesty, intimacy also requires commitment to yourself, to God, and to your spouse. Intimacy rarely happens by accident, and it is even rarer that it can be sustained over a lifetime without genuine commitment. Truth is always easily found in a person’s behavior; that’s where an individual’s commitment will always show up.
A person who wants to lose weight designs a plan and then follows through. A person seeking wealth plans to earn, save, and invest to reach his or her goals. Spiritual intimacy is no different. An individual who wants to experience spiritual intimacy with both God and a spouse can create a plan. As he or she follows through, the level of commitment will be revealed in the outcome. Intimacy on all levels requires commitment, whether it be spiritual, physical, or emotional. No amount of reading about intimacy can give you genuine intimacy. You must make a commitment and then follow through with it.
Spiritual intimacy is the cornerstone upon which all genuine intimacy can be built. It can be broken down into two categories: personal intimacy with the Father and marital intimacy with the Father. Let’s investigate.
Intimacy is never about religion—it is never a list of do’s and don’ts. Intimacy only arises from a dynamic connection to the living God.
Therefore you must ask yourself, “Is my spirit being fed enough through worship and praise, prayer, and God’s Word to be filled?” I can’t tell you how much is enough, but you do need to eat daily from God’s banquet to maintain spiritual intimacy. Make a plan to feed yourself daily. Remember, it’s not religion; it’s a relationship. No person needs to preach me into eating lunch! When I get hungry, I eat! So commit to behaviors that make you spiritually full.
Much like personal spiritual intimacy, marital intimacy requires a commitment from each spouse to work together spiritually. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. He did not walk with just one of them but with both of them jointly.
Intimacy has been an awesome discovery as I’ve experienced God and my wife, Lisa—who is God’s precious daughter. I love growing together spiritually as a couple in the exciting adventure of intimacy.
Excerpt taken from: 30 Day Marriage Makeover
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