I (Justin) was never taught how to develop true intimacy, never realized the spiritual aspect of intimacy and never considered there could be any deeper level of intimacy than having sex. Almost from the beginning of our marriage, I fell into the trap of withholding parts of my heart from Trisha. It wasn’t always sin or struggles that I withheld…it was also fears that I was ashamed of, things I didn’t have figured out, issues that I thought would stress her out, financial struggles I knew would worry her, and dreams that I thought she would never understand.
Each time I chose not to share, I diminished the level of intimacy we were capable of experiencing in our marriage.
I wish we could have a do over in this area, and I could go back in time and share everything with her from the beginning. It would have saved us so much hurt.
When, as a guy, you are bankrupt in intimacy, you think sex is the answer.
So premarital sex, pornography, strip clubs, prostitutes, masturbation, affairs, online chat rooms, erotica fiction all carry a false sense of intimacy. Each of these things convinces you that the rush that you will feel, and the pleasure that you will enjoy will bring the satisfaction that you desire…but they never do. In fact, the very opposite is true.
Each of these false expressions of intimacy only leaves you wanting more.
I performed wedding after wedding telling couples that “The two will be united and be one flesh.” But I never considered the spiritual act of sex in our marriage. Because intimacy to me was just sex, I never took time to discover what my wife thought to be intimacy. I never thought what she needed most was all of me; which included my heart, my mind and my soul. What I needed most was all of her; which included her body and her desire to have sex. But because each of us had a jacked up view of intimacy, we were constantly working against each other in this area.
Because this area caused so much tension in our relationship, we basically avoided it.
We would go a week, two weeks sometimes a month without having sex. During that time we would drift relationally, which would feed the cycle that Trisha was in…and our lack of sex would feed my struggle with lust and pornography…which in turn would cause us to lose intimacy.
It was a vicious, destructive cycle.
When we separated, I had a choice to make. I could say the right things to get my wife to take me back, but never confront this intimacy issue and be back in the same place in a matter of time; or I could drag all of the sin and all of the dysfunction and all of the bad habits and all of the unmet expectations out into the open.
There was no guarantee that Trisha would choose me, but if she did, she would be choosing the real me and not a fake version of me.
Because she chose me, and she chose to allow herself to trust me again with her heart, I have made a decision to share my whole heart with my wife. The way that God has grown the intimacy we experience in our marriage is incredible. It isn’t easy to be vulnerable at times, but what we have as a result of intimacy, I wouldn’t trade for anything!
What has been your biggest misconception about intimacy?