Four Pillars of Intimacy

Gio Llerena

When it comes to intimacy within a marriage, most people think of just physical intimacy.  Our culture has really conditioned us to think this way through social media, movies, books, etc. It has missed a huge part of a holistic approach towards intimacy. 

Recently our CFL team interviewed Carolina Ferrer on our Christian Family Life podcast regarding mental health and it affects intimacy.  Here is the link to the podcast for you to listen to:

Complete Intimacy

Today we want to broaden the vision of what intimacy can look like and why it is revolutionary in the mental health space.  The things we say or don’t say, our intentions, how we grew up, what we witnessed to be intimacy, and our very own experiences with intimacy all have an affect on our mental health. These all impact how we approach our relationship with our spouse. With this blog, we hope to help create a process that will help you begin to look at intimacy through a different lens. God’s lens.

One of the first things we need to do is submit this area and our relationship, itself to the Lord.  Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  As we are renewing our minds through scripture and good Biblical counseling, we give the Holy Spirit freedom to change, heal, and correct our thinking of intimacy.  God created it and there should be freedom to celebrate it within your marriage. 

In the Podcast with Carolina, she referenced that marital intimacy has four core values. Part of this is sharing of the body, mind, and spirit connections.  It is so much more than sex.  It is much deeper than that.  Here are the four pillars of intimacy:

Emotional Intimacy

The first pillar is emotional intimacy includes active listening. In the day to day of life we have stopped listening to our spouse and truly hearing them. Social media has taken the place of our spouse and we feel like we are getting validation from these reels. The enemy starts to use those platforms to deceive and fill the emptiness that we feel. Once we feel this emotional gratification from social media it to fills our emotional cup. This doesn’t allow room for your spouse to be a part of filling up your cup. We find ourselves in the same room and are on our phones and not talking to each other. Quick fast gratification is where the slow drift happens.  Not only through social media, but also through other connections that fill that emotional cup. 

You may get affirmed by someone at work, or in the gym etc. You feel good about someone speaking positively into your life and you are not getting this at home. This drift takes you down a road that leads to a disconnect from your spouse. Have you heard the saying "it takes two to tango"? This is an area that requires both of you to take a step back. An inventory needs to be taken of where each of you are at regarding their emotional connection. Are we providing what our spouse needs emotionally? Are we praying over the struggles that they have in this area and speaking life into them? This is the hard work of marriage, but it is so important to take the time to do it.

Faith Love

This is where “Faith Love” steps in and says, “I don’t understand your struggle in this area, and I really don’t want to take the time to work through it, but because you are God’s personal perfect provision for me, it is important that we work through this.”  We are not always going to understand what the other person is going through. Yet, we can be that vessel of love that God has called us to be for our spouse. We can spend the time necessary for healing.

Physical Intimacy

The second is physical intimacy which includes touching and hugging. Sometimes you don’t need to say a word but spend a few minutes hugging and touching each other. Non sexual touching is a huge part of growing in your intimacy.  Carolina challenges us to have a two minute hug without any words and any intentions for it to go any further than the hug. This touch allows us to feel safe in each other's arms. There is also research that has shown it releases our happy hormones (oxytocin). This brings a calmness and peace to each of us. At times our past has caused us to be calloused and distant, this will help in drawing you closer together.

Physical intimacy also goes beyond the touching to the actual act of sexual intercourse.  Our discipleship material, “Two Becoming One”, dedicates an entire week on the truths about sex. It dives into God’s word and challenges what many have been taught, or not taught, in our churches and homes.  

Mental intimacy

This is where we have to understand we all have our own perception on life. Culture, the way we think, everything is unique. It is good that we are different. God has created us that way. If we aren't careful, we will use the differences in our mental strategies to pull us apart rather than to bring us together.

Being so opposite at times can be very difficult. It is key to honor the mental health part in our marriage. Here is where we need to help each other out.  A strategy that can be used is that we don’t control people, places, or things. I just choose how I react, how I respond, and how much time I give it. Here is where we can give each other time to work through the difference. What brought us together is probably our differences. Let’s let the mind not only guide us in positive ways but also allow it to lead us in trials or crises. Helping us to maintain the same positive thought. 

Spiritual intimacy

Spirituality is prayer and connection with the Lord that should be first. Sometimes it becomes our last resort when we are dealing with crises or trials. Aligning with the Father, body, soul, and mind could be the very thing that brings healing in your marriage. Our Spiritual life as individuals and as a couple is so important. It helps to remind us who we are and who we are called by. 

When we begin to heal through our walk with the Lord, it is reflected in the way we respond to our spouse. You cannot have a solid intimate relationship with your spouse if your relationship with the Lord is on the back burner. The Lord is the one, through the Holy Spirit, that provides for us all we need to be able to be fully loved and fully accepted. With this you can provide that same love and acceptance to others, starting with your spouse. Romans 5:8 says that "God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Wow, a no strings attached type of love. It can only truly be reproduced through an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.

Allow the Lord to continually transform your mind. This way you can see each of these pillars as a vital part of your intimacy with your spouse.

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