Building intimacy in marriage is about a lot more than just sex. In this episode of the Love Hope Adventure podcast, we’ll talk about creating an intimacy beyond physical. It will encompass emotional, spiritual, as well as a non-sexual physical relationship with your spouse.
Transcription for this episode:
Hi. Welcome to the love hope adventure podcast, where we talked about the marriage relationship, intimacy in marriage, and how you can go deeper with your spouse. Today, I want to talk about intimacy and marriage. And I’m not talking just specifically about sexual intimacy.
And one of the reasons I want to talk about this is that a lot of times, I have people write in, and they’re all asking very similar questions about how to get their spouse to be more engaged with sex. Be more adventurous, and try new things. Yeah, initiate what have you all, like, whatever the thing is, right? They just want more out of their sex life.
And then I always want to ask the question, well, what are you doing? That’s really intentional, and the rest of your life that’s intimate, and rebuilding that intimate connection with your spouse? Because I think sometimes, and this is often men writing in, I’m not saying women never write in; they just usually have different questions. But most often, it’s men. And the first thing that comes to their mind when they’re trying to build intimacy with their wife is it’s very sexual. Unfortunately, I think the word intimacy has come to mean sex exclusively.
Yeah. Which, which is unfortunate, is because it’s such a richer word than that. But I mean, we talked about, I mean, just listen to when we used the word intimate, right? You know, we’re talking about intimate apparel; what does that mean? Lingerie, you know, like, you know, all these, the word has been stripped so much of its meaning.
And really, it just, it just speaks to a closeness you can have, you can have an intimate relationship with a friend, right? Where it is a deeply meaningful relationship that’s very close, has a lot of tight bonds, and is completely a friendship and platonic, no physical, no sexual, any part of that, you know, even somebody you would never possibly be romantically interested in, you can have an intimate relationship with. And when we get rid of that idea, and we just couch intimacy means we’re having great, awesome sex. We’re missing so much more, of what marriage is and can be; I think that a couple of years back, I remember, we had a big, big focus on friendship and marriage.
We did our five foundations of intimacy, Marriage Course, which maybe is still on the website, I don’t even know. And one of the five foundations was friendship because, for you and I, that was a big part of it. And so when you boil it down to its, just sex, you’re missing out on so much richness that your marriage can have.
So I think the focus is a lot of times, not always, right, because it’s like so much 100% on building more adventure in the bedroom, more or less boredom, more excitement. And so then I asked people, okay, so what are you doing when you’re not engaging in sexual intimacy, to build intimacy, because if you are only being intentional about sex, you are missing out on so much greater, deeper, richer intimacy with your spouse.
And I think that the closer your spouse feels to you, the more connected they feel to you, the better the sex life is going to be anyway, and the easier it’s going to be for your husband or wife to open up to you sexually in the bedroom if you have shared a lot with each other relationally. So I think there is a couple of different levels that you can look at here. And we just talked a little bit about the friendship part of marriage, and you’re like, you can be really, really intimate with a friend and not sexual at all.
So in that situation, I would say, think of your husband or wife as your closest friend. And then ask yourself, like, how close are you and what are you doing? If there was no sex, and you guys weren’t cohabitating or raising kids together or paying bills together, whatever. What would you be doing with them to build the relationship?
Did you say if you weren’t cohabitating? Like, just kind of take all those things out of the picture for just a minute because you could say, well, we raise our kids together. No, that’s not really what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about deepening a relationship between white or white disagree because I wouldn’t include those things.
Do you think raising the kids builds intimacy? I mean, it probably does. We are kind of, You know, waterline if you’re shoulder to shoulder, you know, on the same team as we always talk about Yeah, no, that’s the thing.
Okay, so our five foundations for intimacy from that course. Can we even remember their communication, friendship, romance, sex, and finances? We did a whole unit in a course called the five foundations for intimacy in marriage, like budgeting, like finances and what it wasn’t a budget and what we weren’t doing Dave Ramsey or anything. We weren’t not doing Dave Ramsey, but it’s, I think, all of those things. I think that’s part of the richness, kind of like being on the same page about it.
Yeah, because there’s nobody else that I sit down with and talk about our budget with. There’s nobody else that I’m day to day slogging it out raising the kids. Like, I might ask a buddy of mine, like, hey, how do you handle this when your teenager does that, or whatever. But, you know, he’s not there. When we’re, when we’re doing it when we’re enacting, when we’re taking away the privileges, you know, when we’re grounding the kid or when we’re having the talks and figuring things out, it’s you that’s there.
It’s, I mean, this might sound silly, but like, we go to the grocery store, every now and then. And, you know, together, we used to do it as a whole family. And there, you know, different periods in our, in our marriage, we went together, we went as a family, there have been times where it just basically you were doing it on your own.
And we were here to help unload everything. But like when we go together, that’s a bonding experience. You and I, most nights of the week, for the last, I don’t know, six months or so, go out for a walk at night when this just awful Texas sun finally scorches, it’s way below the horizon, and we can go back out into the land of the living again, we go for that walk, and I look forward to that so much. It’s something as mundane as a walk.
I know we’re gonna have great conversation, we’re gonna have a great time catching up for the day, downloading with each other, and all those kinds of things. And I think, to me, it’s all of those things. It’s, it’s the going out on an on a date, and flirting with each other. It’s having sex; it’s laughing with each other. It’s watching a movie and enjoying it and talking about it later, it’s going over the budget and seeing Are we still on the same page and slogging that out every now and then it’s, you know, it’s buying a house, it’s, you know, taking the kid to get their license. It’s, it’s so many of those things. It’s all of those shared experiences that we have, to me, that define that’s what makes our relationship. So very, very different from every other relationship I have.
Right? Yeah. And I think that when you’re coming in building intimacy in the relationship, sex is one single part, although I feel like it became become the biggest division point. Yeah. And I feel like sometimes there are couples who think if they can just get the sex figured out, the rest of it will follow suit.
And so that, that’s what you started saying earlier was you said, Take Take sex out of the equation, right? And then you also took everything else out? And that’s where I disagree with you. I just boil it down to the relationship part.
Yeah, I know, I get what you’re saying. But I would say the same thing, except just stop at the sex part, pull the sex life out of the conversation in the equation for a second. And what are you doing to build intimacy? What are you doing with your finances? What are you doing raising your kids? What are you doing in the day-to-day, your career, you know, your spouse’s career, do the day-to-day chores and life and all these kinds of things? What are you doing in those areas to build intimacy?
And then my question to a person who’s concerned about their spouse not really initiating or whatever in the way of sex life, my question is, are they doing other things throughout the day to build a connection with you? So I think it’s the Gottman Institute that talks about bidding. So bidding is when you know your spouse comes in, and they want your attention in some way or another.
And if you don’t give it to them, then that’s like a sign a couple won’t make it like they did this, however, long study. And I think that most of the time, your spouse may come in, and they’re bidding for your attention, and maybe you’re not giving it to them. So you’re like if you’re continually killing the intimacy throughout the day, and maybe they were trying, maybe they’ve been trying to build intimacy and other ways, and they’re getting shut down, then that’s gonna make the bidding for sex even more difficult, like, Well, you didn’t enter time for me earlier.
But you certainly got time for me. Okay, right. And then they don’t see it as a form of intimacy; they see it as a form of somebody wanting to have a need met. This is one of the things I’ve talked about with sexual need is that when you boil it down to something that’s just physical, it’s a release, it’s something that I have to have, or I need. It’s like, okay, well, I need to eat, but I didn’t feed myself today. So you can do without that thing too. But when you look at it as a relationship builder, and you look at all the other things that you do in the day as relationship builders, or as something that destroys the relationship, you know, it’s either going to be adding or subtracting. When you look at all of that, then I think it’s going to help you make different decisions, right? And other focuses. So I have a question for you. Because I think a lot of times we just think that men don’t want emotional intimacy like they just gravitate towards sexual. Yes, definitely the stereotype.
So what do you think about yourself? Like, do you think that you didn’t crave emotional intimacy?
Um, no, I definitely did. What do you think? Do you think I,
I always thought that you wanted to be very relational. Yeah. Like, you’re very relational. Okay, so I would never think of that of you. But I do know, a lot of well, I mean, I have some family members then would fall into the category of not being super relational. Just in general. Sure.
No, I was curious because I would, I would say that no, absolutely. I crave emotional intimacy as well. But then I’m like, Well, what do you think? And you agree with me, so Okay. Yeah. I’m not I’m not self-deluded. Yeah, and I don’t know, am I, you know, am I defying the statistics? Or am I showing that the popular notion is wrong? I genuinely don’t know. I know that stereotypically, that’s the model, right? Are that women want to connect emotionally, men want to connect physically and sexually, and that kind of thing. And I don’t know how well that actually holds up. I genuinely don’t know.
I don’t either, because most of the men that I know are pretty relational; I can tell that they do invest in the relationship with their spouse; I think it is definitely top of mind and more work for them to create dates for their wife. But they do it because they know it’s important for her. I’m unclear if they would make that a priority if they didn’t think she cared. So that I don’t know about right, but I guess the question to you would be if I didn’t want to go out on dates because, you know, quality time is like one of my biggest love languages, like would you make it a priority? As much if you were married to somebody who didn’t have quality time as a core thing?
I don’t know. Like, I know, my gut wants to say, Oh, totally, I would be pursuing that. But I’ve also been like, you know, molded in this relationship for 20 years to have more than 20. But so I don’t know, I like I don’t know if that’s a result of our life together. Yes.
You just have to think about how it plays out in relationships. Like, when we were first dating, like, I initiated dates and things like, so that was something that was important to me. Even then, even early days before, you had a chance to have an influence over my life.
I guess things probably change when you get married. Because when you’re not living together, dating is literally the only way you can spend time together. Yeah, that’s true. So when you get married, you know, I think that that’s why a lot of times dates can end up going the other the thing that’s causing me to be fuzzy on this is I think I know that right now. Yes. I, you know, like I come to you, and I’m like, Hey, you want to go to lunch? Or hey, was it always? Well, yeah, no, it certainly wasn’t always like that. But is that because I just didn’t have that mentality?
Or was it because we were broke? Because for a long time, I’m going to tell you, for a long time, dates were a bone of contention between you and me. And part of the reason for that was that I was like, we don’t have any money. And so we can’t just pick up and go out on a date because we’re broke and And then and then we were broke and had kids and didn’t have, you know, family around for built-in childcare and you know, and all those kinds of things. So I don’t know.
Like, I want I wanted to take you out, I just didn’t have the ability; we didn’t have the ability at the time. And so, you know, I had to kind of get creative. I mean, I remember many times when I, you know, cooked dinner and lit some candles. And, you know, we had a little in-home date night and things like that. So I don’t know, again, it’s, you know, it’s hard to say we’re looking back now and saying, how would I have done it like we had the budget now that we had there, the other way around? If we had then, you know, the budget we have now, what I’ve taken you on, on more dates, probably, I think so.
Well, and I also think, what we were just talking about is because I am a quality time person, that’s how I, you know, receive love, and Austin’s is physical intimacy. So I have to be a lot more, you know, hands-on training and things like that. For you in your marriage, we’re not saying you have to go on 10 dates or whatever; you have to figure out what builds intimacy with your spouse.
So when I have someone come to me and say, my spouse, isn’t making sex a priority? Yeah. I tell them, I say okay, what I think you should do is go to your, your husband or wife and ask them, What are the things that I do that make you feel most connected to me, and really discuss it and talk about it, and let them get in their feelings about it.
And then you tell them when we’re having sex, this is how I feel like I feel that level of connection to you. I don’t know about men as much as women, but I can tell you women can have sex and not feel at all connected to their spouses. Instead, they can feel quite the opposite. They can feel very disconnected, used, hurt, and emotionally abused. I don’t know if men feel that can feel that way. Or ever do feel that way. I really don’t.
I mean, I don’t know anything outside of my own head. And as far as that’s concerned, I can’t imagine that scenario for myself personally, like, I can’t imagine us having a sexual experience and me coming out and going well, I just feel bad about that, you know? Nothing, it doesn’t happen. Yeah. And that’s what I’m saying.
As you know, that’s me, in my context, I’m sure that it’s, you know, there’s a scenario like that for
money for women. And one of the reasons for that is that a man is going to be physically stimulated to have sex, like, he’s going to have to be already excited to be able to have sex and it’s going to feel good, it’s going to result in orgasm. But if you have a woman who was not where it didn’t feel like anything, or maybe even her, or maybe it kind of only sort of felt good, who knows?
Yeah, like, there’s no physical benefit for this thing I can, I can imagine, I can imagine what it would have to be like for me to feel abused or used or something like that. I just can’t envision that. And in our context, is what I’m saying.
Like, I definitely can imagine that, that those same types of things could be happening with a guy that there could be you come out the other side feeling like, well, you know, I was just for her. And that was just using me and that kind of thing. Probably not as common, like you’re saying, just because of the way you guys are built physically, it’s probably not as common, but I’m also speaking out of ignorance. So yeah, we’re just speaking out of ignorance on this.
But, but, but getting back to just building intimacy in other areas, you’ve got to learn to be bilingual. Right? You have to one of the core ideas of the five love languages is that you tend to have two or three of the five love languages that are like one of them tends to stand out as your primary and then maybe one or two others that are also very strong.
And for whatever reason, people seem to find themselves on the other, you know, complement a complement to each other. Right? So like I said, mine is physical touch and words of affirmation. And yours is gifts and quality time and acts of service for that matter, you know, so we have mismatched love languages.
Yeah. Which means, oh, man, what was that play? There was a play that I remember watching in high school. And there was this. There was this guy that kind of had this catchphrase; it was something say he was a horse enthusiast or something like this. And he said something about she had a good seat.
You know, this one woman, as she was riding, she had a good seat, which meant their posture and blah, blah, whatever. And towards the end of the play, it came about that it was, you know, this was his way of expressing respect and affection and all these kinds of things. And what is the Princess Bride, you know, every time he said as you wish he was really saying, I love you, you know is that idea where, you know, if I come up to you, and I wrap my arms around you, I’m telling you, I love you. And you’re going and off me because you’re in touch.
And when, yeah, and so it’s so hot, it’s 100. And on the flip side, so I’m saying I love you, and you’re not hearing it, it might as well be clinging on. And when, when you do some amazing thing, you know, you don’t know, I’m trying to think of just like a mundane, you know, like, you take care of the laundry, because you, you know, your acts of service is one of your love languages. And I’m just like that coupled with the laundry, and whatever.
And I don’t, I don’t say anything to it and respond to it or whatever. And so we’re both, like, standing on opposite ends of the room shouting, I love you at each other, and the other person is not happy. Yeah, the other person is not hearing it. So you have to learn to both speak and hear your partner’s love language.
So if you’re, if you’re a physical touch person, if you’re sexual intimacy is your primary means of building intimacy, and receiving love and speaking love. You’ve got to recognize that men might not be the case for your spouse. And so if your spouse is not hearing you say, I love you, and then you don’t hear them saying it back because they’re not doing it in the language of sex. How do you? That’s the conversation that needs to happen.
Like you said, what are the things that I do that make you hear I love you the loudest? And there could be a list of those things. But what is the thing that makes you hear the loudest? And then that’s probably their love language, can on that, and do that. And then recognize that when they’re doing it back, that’s what they’re doing. They’re saying I love you.
Well, the other issue is if say, you have a person who feels deeply connected through sexual intimacy, right, and the husband or wife gives it to them. And they’re like, right; we have intimacy, I feel connected by them. And then they do nothing else to that connection to the spouse, the spouse is like, wow, you know, that’s where the resume is starts coming in? Yeah, it’s like, well, you have done nothing whatsoever to build intimacy with Me, connect with me. But you just expect me to come in here and do whatever the thing is, right?
That could be any number of things that could be like, we can sit down and spend quality time together. So I need the quality time, and maybe you didn’t, or whatever the case may be, if I don’t reciprocate in a way that you hear love after that, well, then you feel like, well, you know, she got what she wanted. And now she’s done. So it’s important that I think that couples really focus on building a relationship that is both mutually satisfying, emotionally, and physically, whatever that means to both people.
But if you’re in a position where you’re married to someone who you feel like isn’t as interested in sex as you are, they’re not as interested in talking, or what, whatever it is, you know, physical affection, like hugging and kissing, and flirting or whatever, not necessarily sexual. If your spouse is not as interested in that thing as you are, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you and doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying to connect with you.
It just means they’re not they’re missing that connection with you. And so you have to work together with them to help them understand and explain to them where you feel connected, figure out where they feel connected, and then you guys work together on that. So that’s kind of what our thoughts are. Well, guys, thanks so much for joining us today.
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