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Achieving Marital Intimacy

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
When marriage partners react against each other they diminish their potential for sexual intimacy.


Family Counseling Ministries -

The intimate nature of the marriage relationship affords ample opportunities for husbands and wives to emotionally wound one another. When married partners disagree, for example, on what kind of car to buy, they can usually quickly arrive at a workable solution. When they wound one another’s spirits, however, the path to reconciliation becomes a significantly greater challenge.

 

Spouses either respond to one another in love or they react to one another in selfishness. An examination of several ways in which husbands and wives inflict wounds on each other, sheds light on how to move beyond the reacting stage to the responding stage.

 

A wife has a deep longing for her husband to provide spiritual leadership in the home. She reacts against him when she senses that she and the children do not have first place in his life. When he seems to be preoccupied with other people, possessions or activities, she begins to doubt his love and she becomes insecure. When a husband senses that his wife is reacting to him out of insecurity, he should make a sincere effort to express his love to her by meeting her needs, by spending time with her and by reassuring her of his firm commitment to be the spiritual head of the home.

A husband, on the other hand, instinctively longs for his wife’s respect and admiration. When she consistently expresses criticism and disapproval of his decision-making ability he becomes defensive and reactionary. A wife must learn to question her husband in a manner that demonstrates her eagerness to help carry out his decisions for the good of the family.

When men and women react against one another in one or more areas of marriage, their sexual relationship is almost always adversely affected. As they approach the sexual arena of marriage, husbands and wives are a study in near-opposites.

He generally enjoys sex any time, any place. He seems to be jet-propelled by passion although he often runs out of gas in other areas of family life, such as completing handyman projects or consistently leading family devotions. She possesses as great a capacity as her husband for sexual enjoyment, but her mood, energy level and surrounding environment all have great bearing on her sexual desire and response. Soft lights and relaxing music or tender, romantic words have a marked effect on her degree of arousal. The very sight of his wife’s body can stimulate him almost instantly, but she is excited more gradually, like a slow-burning ember.

 

Men and women perceive the act of sex in two different ways. He is prone to view sexual intercourse as a physical act, in which two marriage partners do something. She considers intercourse to be more an emotional experience wherein a husband and wife are saying something meaningful to one another.

 

As husbands and wives learn to respond lovingly and patiently to one another’s sexual differences they will experience greater joy and satisfaction in this important aspect of marriage.

When marriage partners continue to react against one another and inflict emotional wounds on each other, they damage the very spirit of their marriage. Their relationship is in danger of ultimate failure. The writer of Ephesians 5:21 instructs husbands and wives to submit themselves to one another in the fear of the Lord. Spouses who choose to walk in obedience to this command will experience the Lord’s blessings and benefits.

 

 




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