Understanding lasting marital intimacy – Loving in 3D
by Dr. Dave Currie
The month this article went to print, Donalyn and I celebrated 44 years of marriage! That’s a ton of relational experience trying to get marriage right and then keep it that way. We’ve had hundreds of times (literally) where we did things wrong and had to recover. You can learn so much from those difficult periods. And today, we don’t think we have a perfect marriage; we have a great marriage – one we truly love being a part of.
That leads to this simple but powerful concept that we embrace called “Loving in 3D” – we try to live this and pass it on to you. It involves focusing on three dimensions within marriage to create something awesome. We have seen over the years, that beyond our deep and personal faith in God that anchors us, it’s when these three aspects consistently and caringly become central to our regular life cycle that our primary relationship will grow more satisfying and sustainable. And that’s what we all desire. Let me explain the three dimensions and how they cycle together:
Relational connection is the art of being friends and staying friends. It mirrors the time of your premarital dating period when you had fun doing things together – side by side. It includes the romance, special occasions, simple and crazy activities and sharing lots of smiles. Your hands clasp. It’s a true sense of life togetherness.
You simply need to keep this ‘us time’ going. You can’t let it slip. Kids and work have to make way for carving out regular dates to keep on being real companions – a minimum of twice per month of two to three hours alone. If you have no kids or the nest is now empty, aim at once per week. You can’t stay at home, but it doesn’t have to cost you. Try the Secrets of Happy Camper Dating on our website if you want more help. Oh and by the way, ‘dinner and a movie’ can only happen one in four of your dates. Get out of that rut and keep the laughter, playfulness, and even your brand of silliness happening. Take the time to connect.
Emotional closeness is the sense of being fully known and still loved. When the marriage is really right, nobody knows you like your mate! It involves authentically and mutually sharing at a deeper level and in so doing, building a solid trust. It’s knowing things together – face to face – so that you have a place where you feel understood, respected, validated and appreciated. Your relationship is a safe place for both of you. Your hearts bond and as trusted confidantes, you enjoy a true sense of life collaboration.
This emotional closeness that truly anchors relational confidence and vulnerability must not fade. You have to keep your marriage a priority by continuing to put your spouse first. Kindness has to rule. Thoughtfulness and consideration must be maintained. Your marriage has to be an ‘anger free zone’. No excuses. Harshness – the opposite of warmth – kills closeness. So when frustrations do arise, own your stuff, work to resolve things quicker and forgive sooner. To stay close emotionally, easier for one spouse over the other, you have to create time to talk, to share yourself but equally to listen. Try two to three times each week where for about 20 minutes, you open up with each other “How are you doing?” “How are we doing?” “How is your life going?” No distractions. No kids, no cell phones close or TV’s on. If you need help on what questions you could be talking about, get our Date Night Discussion Starters off our website or from our app. No excuses. Get alone face to face. Period. Take time to connect.
Sexual completeness is the ultimate act of total transparency. Sexual oneness is a journey of discovery as a couple. What general knowledge you think you might know about sex before marriage still has to be worked out with a real person after the wedding. Great passion has to be about mutuality. Both partners must be engaged and enthralled. It’s about enjoying great feelings together as bodies unite. It’s the true sense of life intimacy.
There’s a lot to work through in your marital sex-life; frequency, variation, initiation, exclusiveness, and satisfaction for both of you to name a few. Click the tab on the quick link on our website – Sexual Intimacy – to get a boatload of support.
Be sure to work through the damages of any sexual abuse from your past as well the huge negative impact of a porn or sexual addiction on your marriage. Get support now for both of these challenges. We can help.
Remember, faithfulness really does matter and what happens in Vegas – doesn’t stay in Vegas. It destroys many marriages. Make your mate your love target. Begin talking about your level of mutuality and pleasure. Simply ask your spouse. “What would make sex better for you?” Listen closely. It may take time to really connect sexually – but it needs be great for both of you.
Look again at the diagram. Do you see the arrows? As they circle the three dimensions, their implied motion tells us a lot. You must continually rotate through all the aspects to get true marital intimacy. You can’t leave one out of the cycle and have a healthy balanced marriage.
Keep being a playful companion, keep being a trusted confidante and keep being a passionate lover. Set a time to discuss how well you are doing Loving in 3D.
Seek the Lord together on what steps you need to take as a couple in Doing Family Right. I’d love to have your comments.
Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org