By Conway Edwards

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word intimacy?  For most people, physical intimacy, and more specifically, sexual intimacy comes to mind.  The word might also have different meanings and expectations for women, who place a high value on emotional intimacy.  Physical and emotional intimacy are important dimensions of intimacy, but they are not the only ones, and they may not be the most important dimensions for you or your spouse.  People in successful marriages have learned that developing intimacy as a couple is an important aspect of staying committed to the marriage vision you develop.

  1. Emotional Intimacy 
    Emotional intimacy is how couples connect through feeling and emotions, sharing both positive and negative feelings with each other and meeting each other’s top emotional needs.    Dr. Willard Harley identified the top 5 emotional needs of men and women in his book, His Needs Her Needs. Admiration, recreational companionship, conversation, financial support, physical attractiveness, openness and honesty, sexual fulfillment, family commitment, affection, and domestic support are among the top needs for most human beings.  Knowing your top needs, and those of your spouse can help you increase emotional intimacy by meeting your spouse’s top emotional needs.
  2. Physical Intimacy
    Physical intimacy includes both sexual and non-sexual touch. Since men and women are created differently, physical intimacy requires understanding, and responding to those differences.  They key to understanding those differences are  in communication and intentionality.
  3. Recreational Intimacy
    Recreational intimacy is simply experiencing closeness through fun and play.  It is cultivated when couples do things together that they both enjoy.  You may have met your spouse at an event or an activity that you both enjoy, but if you and your spouse don’t share similar interests, find time to explore each other’s interests.  Engage in an activity that your spouse enjoys to intentionally build intimacy in this area.\
  4. Spiritual Intimacy
    Spiritual intimacy is about connecting with God together.  Much like the other types of intimacy, different people connect with God in different ways.  Praying together as a couple, reading the Bible together, and serving together are all ways to develop spiritual intimacy.  You can also engage in spiritual activities your spouse enjoys to grow in this area.  

If you want to learn more about creating a vision for your marriage, download the ebook Creating a Vision for Your Marriage by Dr. Conway Edwards.