There’s no question that intimacy is a critically essential part of any marital relationship. But marital problems run rampant in our culture when people assume that “intimacy” will sustain a relationship. “Sure, I listen to my wife,” says one husband. “We are best friends; I tell him everything,” says a wife. Sharing feelings, emotional oneness … these are positive factors that no doubt make up a good marriage. But what makes a GREAT marriage goes beyond just sharing feelings. That type of intimacy alone is like building a sandcastle on the beach. It looks so beautiful when the sun shines down on it that people passing by compliment you on a job well done. But, as soon as the tide comes, it’s all swept away.
Only by building your marital foundation first in Christ can you achieve the true intimacy that God intended for marriage. That design is rooted in a true understanding of the biblical foundation for marriage:
1. Leave your mom and dad. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 NIV). In order to be successful in marital intimacy you need to leave your mom and dad. Some of you are reading this thinking, I’ve been married 25 years. This doesn’t apply to me. But no matter how long you’ve been married, there are still families out there where one spouse has not left mom and dad. And it’s critical for parents to encourage this for their kids. One mother I know had three boys. When each of them married, she took an apron, cut off the strings, and gave them to his new bride with a letter telling her, “These are the apron strings to my boy’s life.” If you don’t leave mom and dad, you will not experience the intimacy God has designed for your marriage.
2. It’s not enough to leave, you must also cleave to your spouse. Imagine a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Once you join the jelly side with the peanut butter side, there’s no peeling them apart — they become inseparable. It’s the same thing in marriage. After you commit to your spouse, it’s important to cleave and become one — emotionally and spiritually. You celebrate the joys that come your way, embrace the inevitable trials, resolve all the conflicts, and accept each other unconditionally. Knowing you will be there no matter what creates a safeness for each of you to develop true intimacy: a bond that withstands the test of time. A healthy marriage has a husband and a wife with God at the center. As each of you grows vertically in your personal relationship with Christ, your horizontal relationship with one another strengthens. Don’t build your marriage on the sand; build yours on His foundation and watch in amazement as He takes you to heights you’ve never known!
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