In our last post, 4 Ways to Get the Sizzle Back in Your Marriage, we talked about four simple keys to improving the intimacy in your marriage.
Today, we are going to discuss some attitudes and mindsets that can rob us, our husbands, and our marriages of the intimacy we desire on every level. If we want oneness and unity, we’ve got to get rid of the weeds in the garden that would strangle the beautiful flowers and fruit.
(And yes, these things are toxic in a husband’s mindset, just as much as they are in a wife’s. But we focus on a wife’s perspective on my blog.)
10 Poisons for Intimacy
Relationship and intimacy of any kind require that we slow down long enough to really see, hear, and experience each other. They take time. If I am so busy that I don’t have time to nourish our marriage, it may be that I need to consider taking something off of my plate.
If I feel like I am too necessary in all of the things I am involved in, I can ask my husband for his insights into what things I can set aside in order to bless him and strengthen our marriage.
My husband is to be my most important human ministry.
If I hold onto bitterness or unforgiveness against my husband, it may become almost impossible for me to feel attracted to him or to be able to open up to him. And my bitterness will repel him greatly, as well, and impact his attraction to me.
Bitterness is prickly. Trying to be affectionate with a porcupine feels dangerous. Probably because it is.
If he has repented of the things he has done that hurt me and he has tried to change and I am safe, perhaps it’s time to ask God to help me destroy your bitterness so that my marriage and my soul can heal. Forgiveness may be impossible in my power, but God can give me His supernatural ability.
If he has committed a serious sin against me, I need to address it appropriately. But I’ll want to pray and seek God’s wisdom so I can approach him in God’s Spirit’s power, not in unhealthy ways that would just add more pain to the situation.
Remember that forgiveness is not the same as trust. God commands us to forgive others no matter what they may do. But trust has to be rebuilt on both sides of a relationship if it is broken.
It is really tough to be fully engaged in physical intimacy when I am sleep-deprived, stressed, overworked, and running on fumes. Some stages of life are more difficult in this department than others. But it is important that I do what I can to try to get the rest I need so we have the energy to pour into our marriages and families.
If I am completely exhausted a lot, I can try sitting down with my husband to respectfully invite him to help me figure out a solution to help me get more rest.
Part of wonderful intimacy is that I need to try to take good care of myself. Not in an obsessive way. But in a way that honors the Lord. I want to be rested and healthy. I want to be a good steward of my body and give it the nutrition and exercise it needs as much as I can during each season of life.
4. Disrespect toward each other
I didn’t know for over 14 years that I was treating my husband, Greg, with quite a bit of disrespect. He never addressed the issue with me or said a word. He just shut down and built a thick wall around his heart. I had no idea why he was so far away or how to get him to come back.
My critical spirit, argumentativeness, complaining, gossiping, a spirit of offense, controlling ways, and tendency to insult my husband cost us both so many blessings we could have had together during those years.
When I began to understand (through the power of the Spirit) how to stop the disrespect and learned to treat my husband with respect, genuine honor, appreciation, and admiration, we both felt a whole lot more attraction toward each other and he was much more willing to draw close to me again.
5. A sense of entitlement
My husband’s affection is a gift. It is something to be cherished and appreciated. Yes, we both made lifelong vows, and a covenant, to cherish and have and hold each other. However, if I act like he owes me, or like he is supposed to be some kind of dispensing machine to give me what I want whenever I want it, that is hurtful.
No one wants to be objectified in marriage. No one enjoys being in a marriage where loved ones are demanding, where they idolize the other (codependency) or where they idolize themselves and their happiness. We all want to be seen as valuable people who are treated with honor, love, and great care.
I can combat a sense of entitlement with appreciation and gratitude for anything sweet or good my husband does for me.
If I am focusing on how much better another man is than my husband, this will destroy my attraction for my own husband. Even if the man I am comparing him to is a fictional character.
It’s important to clear my mind and heart of any other attachments and focus on the strengths and good qualities of my own man. I will want to shoot down any thoughts of imagining life or physical/emotional/spiritual connection with another guy. This helps build healthy desire and intimacy in my marriage.
A big red flag is that if I realize I feel resentful of my husband because of thoughts I am entertaining about another man, another woman’s marriage, a book, or a movie, these thoughts are not honoring to the Lord or healthy for my marriage.
I need to take my thoughts captive for Christ in that moment, repent of any sin, and turn my thoughts to my husband and the Lord.
Ultimately, only Jesus Christ can meet my deepest spiritual and emotional needs for real connection and security.
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If I am only thinking about what I want and need and I don’t care about my husband’s needs or feelings, oneness in marriage turns into something very dysfunctional and destructive.
God never designed physical intimacy to be about one person dominating the other and forcing the other to do what they want. It is about both spouses being equally valued and cherished. It is about being selfless and seeking to please the other person more than self.
Selflessness, kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness are key to great intimacy. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live like this for those who belong to Christ and yield to His Lordship.
If I idolize myself, think I am so much better than my spouse, or look down on my spouse, I will contaminate any attempts at intimacy. Pride is blinding for myself and difficult for me to see. But everyone else can see it clearly and it is usually absolutely repulsive to them.
No one wants to cuddle up and get vulnerable with someone who exalts himself or herself and looks down on them. For intimacy and connection to happen, both spouses have to feel safe enough to be vulnerable.
The cure for pride is genuine humility. It is a willingness to die to our sinful self. It is emptying my life of self so that I can honor and glorify and yield everything in me to the Lord and His work.
Real intimacy is impossible if I feel afraid. If there is a legitimate fear in my heart toward my husband, it’s important for me to understand why I am afraid and to address the issue with him (and outside experienced advisors if necessary) so that we can rebuild trust.
If I have an irrational fear of my husband and I am actually safe with him, then I may have some skewed thinking about God, my husband, or myself that I need to address so I can heal and God’s perfect love can cast out all my fear.
Even just general worry or anxiety can hurt the intimacy in my marriage. God designed women to need to be able to relax, trust, and rest in order to be open to spiritual, emotional, or physical intimacy.
When my mind is filled with worry, it short-circuits my ability to really yield to trust, relaxation, peace, and receiving good things in my marriage or even from the Lord. Will I let worry and anxiety fill my heart and mind or will I trust the Lord in faith? I can only choose one.
Anger is a secondary emotion generally born out of hurt or fear. But when I am angry at my spouse, it kills our ability to have genuine intimacy. And if he is angry at me, it also destroys (or greatly weakens) the possibility of connection.
Anger has to be dealt with first. If someone wronged the other, there needs to be a genuine apology and fruit of repentance. Forgiveness must take place. And then we must both be willing to rebuild trust over time.
Intimacy must have the fertile ground of trust to grow safely.
Interestingly, most of these intimacy killers are things God labels as “sin.” Why is that?
The God of the Bible is all about healthy relationships and love. He IS love! He wants oneness between Himself and us. He wants oneness in our relationships with other people, in our families, and especially in our marriages.
Anything that would destroy unity, love, and fellowship—anything that hurts others, hurts His heart, or hurts us—He wants to help us tear those things out of our lives. Not because He wants to destroy our fun, but because He wants us to get to have the best relationships possible.
He always acts out of goodness and love toward us and He wants the best for us, our marriages, our families, our society, and the kingdom of Christ.
Pray with Me
Expose anything in our hearts, minds, or lives that causes harm to our relationship with You, our marriages, our other relationships, and ourselves. Let the blazing light of Your holiness and the truth of Your Word pierce through the darkest places in our lives. Help us to see how destructive and repulsive sin is.
We repent from it today. We consciously choose to reject our sinful ways, thinking, and words. We choose to turn to You and to the way of love. Please forgive us! Please heal us. Empower us by Your Spirit to become the women, wives, and moms You call us to be.
Please draw anyone to Yourself who doesn’t yet belong to Christ and let them discover the salvation and New Life You offer to them through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross on their behalf.
Let our lives be transformed by Your power and may we bring great glory to You! Make us a blessing to our husbands and children. Help us live lives of love that bring a smile to Your face.
What are some of the biggest intimacy killers you have noticed in marriage?
What has God shown you about how to have a greater connection in your marriage?
Do you need some prayer or encouragement? You’re welcome to share, as well. <3
The Peaceful Wife book – get all the baby steps on how to be the wife God calls you to be so you can approach your husband in healthy ways that attract him, honor Christ, and bless your marriage.