Editors Note: I volunteered to write this for our MOPS newsletter, so this is geared towards the Mama's out there.
Dictionary.com defines "intimacy" as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
According to Wikipedia (the source of all things brilliant, no?), there are four different forms of intimacy: physical, emotional, cognative, and experimental.
Physical intimacy is sensual touching. This is where sparks fly. It's when you get inside someones personal space... holding hands, hugging, kissing, and perhaps sexual activity.
Emotional intimacy is when you know your soul is tied to someone or something. I'd argue to say that many of us Mama's have some sort of emotional intimacy with a gal-pal, or group of girlfriends-- perhaps a group of women that are in the same age/stage of life as you. (MOPS!)
Cognative or intellectual intimacy takes place when two people exchange thoughts, share ideas and enjoy similarities and differences between their opinions. Perhaps we commonly see this amongst our family, both immediate and extended.
Experiential intimacy is when two people get together to actively involve themselves with each other, probably saying very little to each other, but being involved in mutual activities with one another. This one might be commonly found in the workplace.
When it comes to [Physical] Intimacy in Marriage, I am no expert. (Yes, you just heard my hubby shout "Amen!" from the other side of the room.) I've LOVE the emotional stuff. What can I say, I'm a w-o-m-a-n. And, thankfully, my marriage was built upon an intellectual intimacy between The Hubby and myself. We met in college, working towards the same B.A., and built a killer friendship. Sadly, I must confess that our child-rearing often looks like experiential intimacy-- working towards raising intelligent, God-fearing, kids-- without often coming together on the how-to's and why's.
Physical intimacy in marriage, I'd argue, is as a result of the other three. What do you mean, Stacy? Well, let me ask you a few questions:
Emotional intimacy evaluation- What or who is your soul tied to? Your kids? Your girlfriends? Your job? How much time to you spend tying your soul to the man that God hand-picked for you? Do you pray together? Do you memorize Scripture together? Do you still go on dates (without your kids!)? What do you do to pursue one another (yes ladies, we can pursue our men!) outside of the bedroom?
Cognative intimacy evaluation- What does your husband care about? I mean, what really gets him chatting? Sports? Politics? Business ideas? When the kids are gone, what will you talk to him about? What gets you chatting? Have you shared this with him?
Experiential intimacy- What do you agree and disagree on about raising children? Have you had a discussion about this ... outside of the time-out you've just given your child while you figure out your game plan? What do you look forward to if/when you get to retire together? When the house is quiet and the last birdie leaves the nest, what will you go and do together?
If these things are discussed and addressed regularly, I believe physically intimacy with our spouses would become less of a chore and more of a celebration! (Which, by the way, is what God intended for it to be! See Song of Solomon.) Have you ever told your Hubby what turns you on OUTSIDE of the bedroom? Maybe it's folding a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher without being asked, or something as sacred as leading your family in evening devotions. Does he know this, or have you only been able to spill to your girlfriends what he DOESN'T know.
When it comes to Intimacy in Marriage, I'd boil it down to this: What is the ministry of your marriage? What fruit of God is seen in your marriage, because of His uniting you and your spouse?
Think about it.
Pray about it.
Talk about it.