Genesis 2:21-25 (ESV)
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
What a beautiful passage of scripture! When I am counseling a couple before or even after they are married, I use these verses as I discuss the intimacy in the marriage relationship. Many people read this and think sex only. When a person only thinks about the sexuality of being “naked and unashamed,” he/she misses the complete intimacy of a couple. While sexual intimacy is important in a marriage relationship, it is only a portion of the total package known as intimacy in the marriage relationship.
I would like to ask you to think about your marriage today. How close do you feel to your spouse? Are there things in your relationship that is causing you to feel ashamed? I do not know about you, but over the years I have allowed my body to get out of shape and I would prefer no one to see me without my clothes including my wife. I think she deserves better. We were not in the Garden with Adam and Eve, so we do not know what they looked like. Were they like Cave Men or were they like you and me? We just do not know. We do know that God had Adam name all of the animals before He made Eve. We know that Eve was like Adam but different which really peeked Adam’s interest. But I do not want this to be totally about sex today. I want to consider the other forms of intimacy in the marriage relationship; areas that I believe have an effect on our sexual lives as well as on our relationship in general.
Psychologists have determined there are 4 or 5 different levels of intimacy that is shared between a husband and a wife. I want to share some thoughts about these with you today.
- Spiritual Intimacy: What was it about Adam and Eve’s relationship that was so unique from ours? They walked with God in the cool of the evening daily. There was no sin in either of their lives. They knew God’s voice personally and had direct instructions from Him on how to live. When we get married, we carry our own spiritual life. Our spiritual lives include sin. Not a single one of us has ever been sinless as the Bible teaches us that we are born with a sin nature. I am not saying that we are sinners at birth, but it doesn’t take long for our sin natures to kick into gear. Think about how selfish children can be. We do not teach them to be selfish, they just are – Sin Nature takes effect. Our sinfulness causes us shame as we approach God; therefore, it also can cause us shame as we approach our spouses. Does your spouse know every sin you commit? God does, but your spouse probably does not and you probably would like to keep it that way. Intimacy can be broken here.
- Emotional Intimacy: The second highest level of intimacy is found in the emotional arena of our relationship. (The first would be spiritual.) Emotionally we as men and women are so different from each other. I realize that I am making generalized statements, but most women are more emotional than most men. At least most men will not admit to their emotional side. Women think emotionally while men think rationally. Women want to connect with whoever they are talking to while men want to compete. So many times couples do not understand the emotional side of each other which can lead to major disagreements. Couples have a difficult time empathizing with each other; therefore many couples do not even try to do so. Intimacy can be broken here.
- Intellectual Intimacy: The third level would be found here. So many couples are at different levels intellectually. This does not mean that we as couples have to have the same IQ’s. What I believe it means is that we need to have similar drives for learning. If one person in the relationship is super smart or highly degreed, it can become a point of belittling or a point of lording over by him or her. The other person could feel less of a partner in the relationship. I remember when Lisa got me started doing cross word puzzles as well as other puzzles in the paper. I had no interest, yet because they were important to her I started doing them with her. Now I can’t wait to work on them every day. We talk about them; she always helps me complete them. This is a small example, but a couple needs to be able to converse about what interests them with each other to maintain intimacy. If you do not, intimacy can be broken here.
There are other areas of a relationship that can create breaks in the intimacy of a couple such as hobbies, interests, parenting, and finances. Some people actually would consider some of these to fit into an area called Recreational Intimacy. See, the verses we started out with today move so much deeper than just the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve. I believe if you work on these areas of your relationship that are discussed today, the physical intimacy area will improve. Would you say today that you are “Naked and Unashamed?” Or would you say that there are things that need to be worked on? See, if you read chapter 3 of Genesis the intimacy is broken very quickly; therefore they had to cover themselves. God is able to help you develop and maintain the level of intimacy you desire with your spouse. How to do so will be another blog for another day.