If you’ve been married for five days or fifty years, you know that marriage takes hard work. And developing intimacy with your spouse is one of the most difficult tasks you will tackle together.
This is one of my favorite quotes from Tim Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage. It clarifies how difficult intimacy can be. To fully know our spouse and fully love them at the same time is committing to love like only God can love. That is no easy task! But Jesus models this for us in His relationship with His bride, the Church. He fully knows us…every wart, wound, bump and bruise. And even with this, He fully loves us. We are called to this level of intimacy in our marriages too.
But where do you even begin in developing intimacy like this? Well, it always takes time and commitment. But there are three specific things that we’ve done over the years that have helped even more to deepen our intimacy with each other. I will share them this week in three different posts since it’s a lot of information. But what better day to begin than Valentine’s Day!
KEY ONE: DAILY FORGIVENESS
Everyone knows you need to learn how to forgive your spouse. But it wasn’t until after our son passed away from cancer that we discovered the power of granting forgiveness daily. In the early days of grief, we were shocked that we could not function like we used to. Our grief counselor pointed out that since we were used to making “A’s” in life, we needed to give each other permission to make “C’s” for a while. His comment was a sweet gift that released so much pressure for us. From then on, each time we dropped the ball or messed up on something, we would just tell each other, “It’s ok…we’re just living the “C” life right now! You don’t have to be perfect for me.” This level of daily grace and daily forgiveness strengthened our marriage more than you can imagine. In a time when most couples experience marriage stress due to tragedy, we were growing closer. We were treating each other in such a way that we fully knew each other’s faults but still fully loved each other.
THE WEIGHT OF UNFORGIVENESS
But for many couples, instead of walking around with this level of freedom in their marriage, they walk around with the same level of marriage stress couples experiencing infidelity carry. Infidelity is the 900-pound rock that weighs a marriage down. But instead of carrying the 900-pound rock of infidelity, some couples carry a bucket full of 900 one-pound rocks of unforgiveness. Years of contempt toward your spouse for not living up to your expectations, or not making “A’s” in marriage, can destroy intimacy. When Megan and I began to empty our bucket each day, we started the next day fresh and filled with grace. We remembered that since Christ has thrown our spouse’s sin as far as the east is from the west, and He remembers it no more…neither should we!
Your flaws are clear to each other, but they shouldn’t change your love for each other. Take the time to identify what one-pound rocks of unforgiveness are stacking up against your intimacy in marriage. Talk about it with your spouse and how you can release each other from being perfect.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part two. Or better yet, subscribe to our blog and you can have each of our posts show up in your email inbox!