Enjoy this free sample from the Introduction chapter to my new Kindle book The Path of Intimacy – Your Guide to a Marriage Filled With Passion and Connection.
Maybe you haven’t ever said it out loud, but you have probably thought it. “There must be more to marriage than this.”
In my more than 15 years of writing, teaching, and studying about marriage, one truth stands out above all the rest: almost everybody wants more for their marriage than they are currently experiencing. And there is one thing couples are looking for more than anything else: intimacy.
Whether we call it intimacy or connection or closeness, in survey after survey that I’ve done over the years, I’ve found that couples yearn for more of it. No matter the age, the number of years of marriage, the presence or absence of kids at home, or previous marital status, intimacy consistently rises to the top as people’s biggest marital longing.
We were created by God with an innate desire for intimacy. We are made in His image, and just as God longs for connection with us, so too we have an innate desire for connection with Him, even if we don’t recognize it as such.
This hardwired need for intimacy shows up in marriage, too, as my research and experience have shown. It’s something couples are clamoring for, but few know how to get it.
In this book, you’ll find help and hope for reigniting the intimacy in your marriage. In fact, I’ll make a bold claim right here at the outset: You can have as much intimacy in your marriage as you want. I intend to show you how to get it.
I’ll make a second claim, too: there is always more.
Regardless of how deeply connected to your spouse you feel, there is always a deeper level available to you than what you have right now. There is more fiery passion, a deeper level of connection, and more fun, adventure, and friendship than you are experiencing today.
The journey into deeper intimacy never ends.
The Pain of Marital Drift
Our deep-seated need for intimacy is why disconnection in marriage, our most important and intimate relationship, is so painful.
Yet so often we drift away from our spouse without realizing it. When left to inertia and natural human tendencies, intimacy will decline. It just doesn’t happen on its own. This is why so many couples seem to wake up one day suddenly asking themselves questions like: “Where has the passion gone?” or “Why does he always treat me like that?” or “Why doesn’t she trust me?” or “Why does he leave everything to me?” or “Does she always have to be such a nag?” or “Isn’t she attracted to me anymore?”
My hope for your marriage and my goal for this book is to have you waking up and saying something different. Instead of questioning your marital intimacy, I want you to say things like, “Wow, I didn’t know it could be this good after all these years,” or “I can’t believe we are still so in love,” or “This just keeps getting better and better,” or “I’m so thankful I am married to my best friend,” or “You are the best thing that ever happened to me,” or “No one else has what we have.”
It is important to understand that intimacy is organic; it is a living thing. As such, it is either growing or dying. Very few living things can stay dormant for very long and survive. The same is true of the intimacy in your marriage.
You are either growing toward each other or growing away from each other as a couple. I describe this dynamic as a couple either being either on the Path of Intimacy or the Path of Separation. Make no mistake: you are on one or the other.
It takes a conscious effort to get on and stay on the Path of Intimacy, whereas the Path of Separation is easy to enter and even easier to stay on. We’ll cover a lot more about these two paths in Chapters 5 and 6. You’ll discover how to avoid the on-ramps to the Path of Separation and how to successfully navigate the Path of Intimacy.
My wife, Jenni, and I have always had what I consider to be a good marriage. Even though we don’t have a tragic marriage story, about fifteen years ago (some twenty years into our now 35-year marriage), I had a vague sense that God had something more for us in our marriage.
To get a better grasp my role as a husband, I embarked on a season of intense personal Bible study on the topic of marriage. I read every Bible passage I could find about marriage. Also, I began reading all the marriage books I could get my hands on. (I’m still somewhat of a marriage book junkie – you should see my Kindle!)
The season of seeking awakened me to God’s passion for marriage. I came to understand the Bible as a love story. I saw in this story that God would go to any length to pursue intimacy with the people He created, including sending His own Son to a cruel death. So great was His desire for intimacy with us that He sent Jesus to be our Bridegroom in order to win us as His bride.
As my eyes were opening, suddenly everywhere I looked in my relationship with Jesus, I saw lessons for my marriage. This was exactly how God set it up, of course. He designed marriage to be a direct reflection of the relationship between Christ and Church. I came to understand that this isn’t just a trite saying. Instead, it is the very key to marriage done well. It is the key to a passionate and intimate marriage. This understanding is what I and others refer to as the Bridal Paradigm: seeing my marriage through the lens of my relationship with Jesus.
I began to pursue my wife in the same relentless way Jesus pursues me. I began to try to love her with the same kind of intense and unstoppable love He lavishes on me. Jenni, for her part, began to see our marriage through the truth of the Bridal Paradigm as well, leaning into my love and leadership as she did with Jesus. She began to open herself up more fully to me than she ever had before.
Thus began the long-term transformation process in our marriage that put us on the Path of Intimacy, which we continue on to this day. Many of the keys Jenni and I have discovered about staying on the Path of Intimacy are what you will find in the pages of this book.