First off, I have to say that this is my word for the year, and I am sharing with you my growth, my thoughts and my ideas. I am not a counselor, a psychologist, or a marriage therapist. If you learn and grow from something I have said, or an experience that I have been through, great. But, this blog is for my own growth and how God is working my life and my marriage and not all that I am learning may apply to you and your situation. If you do need any guidance, please read the Bible. God has all the answers that you need – far more than I could ever hope to help you or guide you with.
Intimacy for me is hard, because whenever I feel nervous or anxious or fearful, I want to run and hide myself away. I am so scared that if someone – anyone – gets to know the real me, they wouldn’t like what they see, or that someone how in expressing who I truly am I would land up making a big fool of myself and would never get over the embarrassment.
None of this, as you may have guessed, is conducive to building a strong marriage relationship, or walking with God very closely.
The one thing I am slowly but surely starting to learn that is that intimacy equates to time.
You cannot build a relationship with God, your husband or anyone for that matter if you don’t spend time with them. I recall just after Baby Girl’s birth how drastically our lives changed. We went from being a couple who spent probably the most part of our days with each other, to spending a very minimal amount of time together. We were so focused on this little baby who cried non-stop and we were completely overwhelmed, and all we wanted to do was quite literally stop the crying. So, I would take her to give hubby a break, and then he would take her to give me a break. And the result? Is that we spent very little time together. No blame can be passed, it was just the situation at the time – and we did what we could do, but it made things very clear that to spend time together aids in building intimacy.
An immediate change happened in our marriage when I read on one of the marriage blogs to greet your husband when he gets home – to actually stop what you were doing, get up and go say hello to him. And I started doing that, and then just spending five minutes talking with him, and the change was almost instant. We still had a lot of work to do – still have – but things just automatically seemed more relaxed. Just by doing that one little thing…
One stay-at-home mom told me she felt so close to her daughters and so distant from her husband until, as she put it, “I did the math and realised I was spending five hours a day getting the girls ready for school and driving them around and like only fifteen minutes a day with my husband. No wonder I felt closer to them than to him.” With that wake-up call, they made purposeful changes, including his joining her on running their kids to practices, just to cut down on their time apart. As she told her daughters, “In eight years, all you kids will be out the door, and your Dad and I want to still like each other at that point!”
For some reason that story stuck in my head. I think its because I can relate so well to that time period of Baby Girl’s birth. Spending time with your partner is important – otherwise all that will happen is that you start living separate lives.
But, this is – as I see it – has a bit of a twist to it. I think that on the one hand, you don’t have to do elaborate dates, and grand adventures together (although that would be nice), its the doing of little day-to-day living life together that truly makes the difference. Like in the example above – both husband and wife taking the kids to school and to practice. Or going shopping for groceries together – in fact, Shaunti found that it was doing the day-to-day things together that really made a difference. Yet, at the same time, it also has to be intentional – otherwise, I think you will be living past each other.
Building intimacy with God also requires time. And while you can pray throughout the day, and thank God for all His good wishes and blessings, you still need that focused time of prayer and devotion. And it isn’t really about God getting to know you – He already knows all about you and He loves you. It’s about giving yourself the opportunity of knowing God. I am shockingly poor at this. As my husband often says, I have the capacity to think all these wonderful things, and know and understand and see the repercussions of certain actions, but I’m shockingly inadequate at putting these things into action. So, this is what I am trying to do: Gary Thomas listed 40 verses to pray over your marriage. Not only am I trying to memorize a verse a day for 40 days (then repeating), but reading the entire passage of scripture for that verse on that particular day. For example, today’s verse was Jeremiah 29:11, which I memorized years ago, but I also this morning at 05:20 read the entire passage. It may not be the best way to do a quiet time, but for me it is a starting point.
Time is important when building intimacy – something I need to put into practice with both my husband and my God.
Just five or ten minutes a day of intentional time spent.