In today’s electronic age of communication through social media, Twitter, Facebook, and texting, many couples struggle to find the kind of intimacy that fulfills their dreams and desires.  Our connection with one another is slipping towards a more impersonal, less vulnerable, and unrealistic form of interaction and connectedness.

In the Biblical design, marriage reflects God’s nature, where intimacy in a relationship is created and maintained through emotional, spiritual, and physical communication.  I call this three-dimensional intimacy.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them.  Genesis 1:26 – 27 (New King James Version)

The purpose of marriage is:

To glorify God by reflecting His image to the world.

To create a new life that continues reflecting who He is to the world.

Intimacy is:

Emotional connectedness

Spiritual connectedness

Physical connectedness

Three Dimensional Relationships are created through:

Secure attachments with others

A willingness to risk being vulnerable

A willingness to connect to God and share that spiritual connection with others

Maintaining purity emotionally, spiritually and physically with our partner

  1. We connect emotionally when we:

Recognize and identify our feelings

Share our feelings with our partner

Validate our partner’s feelings through observation and acknowledgment of them

Don’t judge their feelings or offer solutions to “fix” them

  1. We connect spiritually when we:

Maintain our individual relationship with God

Pray together with our partner

Maintain a devotional life together with our partner

Participate in a Christian community

  1. We connect physically through:

Affectionate non-sexual touch

Sexual touch that is exclusive to our partner

Surrendering our bodies exclusively to our partner through lovemaking

Barriers to intimacy occur when:

We hold onto false core beliefs about ourselves based on past experiences in our lives.

We carry unresolved anxiety and are easily offended.

Pride that prevents us from admitting we are wrong and not apologizing to our partner

We are unwilling to forgive trespasses.

Redemption

The concept of redemption is crucial to maintaining three-dimensional intimacy and the idea that forgiveness brings about redemption within an intimate relationship.

Redemption is found in both the Old and New Testament. “The central theme of redemption in Scripture is that God has taken the initiative to act compassionately on behalf of those who are powerless to help themselves. The New Testament makes clear that divine redemption includes God’s identification with humanity in its plight, and the securing of the liberation of humankind through the obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection of the incarnate Son (Wellman, 2014, p. 1).”

When I contemplate redemption, I imagine that God can bring life where I have sowed death.  Experience can be our most important teacher.  It is through the mistakes that we learn, grow, and change.  Out of the ashes of our poor choices, God brings forth a redeemed life that can help others overcome their trials and tribulations.

Trials, pain, and sorrow are not the enemy of marriage.  Rather unforgiveness thwarts reconciliation with intimate partners.  When trust is broken in a relationship, it is restored through transparency and vulnerability.  Sharing our deeper feelings is an act of vulnerability.  When trust is rebuilt in the broken relationship, it becomes stronger and the past hurts and pain become events in the timeline of the marriage instead of defining the relationship.  Turning towards each other and making successful bids to connect foster a healthy connection.  Real change occurs and couples forge new and more secure connections.

References

Wellman, J. (2014, December 25). What does redemption mean in the Bible? Christian definition of redemption [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/12/25/what-does-redemption-mean-in-the-bible-christian-definition-of-redemption/