Intimacy is not just sex. Intimacy is being in a “close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.” (Dictionary.com)
We have yet to meet anyone who is not stunned for a moment by our streak number because most everyone we speak with believes intimacy and sex are always synonymous. While those 664 nights in a row of sex are intimate moments, we cannot climb into bed night after night without first putting in the work every other moment of the day. We make a choice and a wholehearted effort to be intimate (close, familiar, affectionate, and loving) all day. Because of this choice our evening escapade becomes the icing on the cake, the extra, the sweet part, the culmination of a day filled with intimate moments.
Sex is not the main reason to be intimate with my spouse, a close, loving, healthy relationship is. Back to the definition; close, familiar, affectionate, loving, personal. These words lay out a blueprint for all deep relationships. I (Christina) have an intimate relationship with my kids, my parents, a few friends and my husband. The differences in those relationships lie in the specifics of how I live out each relationship. My intimate relationships with my sons are so because I know them, love them and desire to be around them. While I can say the same for my husband, our specifics are different. What my children need from my intimate relationship with them is somewhat different from what my husband needs. My children need me to play Legos, cook food, brush their teeth, run a bath, make beds, teach them through homeschooling, keep them safe from danger, and be their permission giver, among other things.
My intimate relationship with my husband plays out differently in the specifics than with my children. While he is at work, we often email back and forth with each other. Some emails are imperative while others are simply to say “I love you” or “How is your day going?” We wake up together ready for coffee, Bible reading and quiet conversation before we head out for our day. We call each other throughout the day to share something funny, exciting, or just to check in for a bit. My husband does lots of things around the house that are not externally intimate but because he does them without needing to be told, pleaded with or even asked, most times; they become intimate expressions of his love. He does dishes, scoops pet poo, sets the alarm at night, preps the coffee maker and pauses football during story time with the boys. He exercises, eats well and gets check-ups so he can continue being healthy for his family. After a long day at work dealing with the frustrations of the day he still holds my hand and sits close while we hang out and watch television. We are rarely more than a few inches apart. To close the night (although the norm, this time frame is not the rule) we venture off to the bedroom to continue the streak, which would not be possible to continue without all the intimacy throughout the day.
I know, you are thinking, He is a great husband, how do I get mine to do all that?
First, thank you. He is pretty awesome!
Second, to get, one must first learn to give.
I do not receive special treatment simply because I am the only girl of the family, nor because I am the mom, the wife, or queen of the family. I put in the work. When I give to my husband he sees me as a contributing member of this relationship. Washing clothes, homeschooling, cleaning the house and cooking meals are included in the laundry list of things I do around the house. But what really spelled out intimacy for my husband was when I learned what his love language was. He has two, touch and time together. Luckily, I like spending time with him and we do well with being cuddly, touchy-feely. But when those things do not come so easily, like when I am tired, withdrawn, worn-out, or super busy, I have to put a bit more force in my actions. Sometimes this even falls under the category of “fake-it-till-you-make-it”.
During those times in the day or week when I am feeling less than cuddly but I make the effort to put my feelings aside for a while to focus on my husband, he feels noticed and needed. When this happens he doesn’t soak up my negative feelings that I was originally omitting while tired, but he feels the desire I have to overcome shortcomings and challenges of the day to love him and be loved by him.
It is worth repeating again, intimacy is not just sex. Intimacy is being in a “close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.” (Dictionary.com)