Thursday, August 24, 2017
Marital Intimacy: The Wedding Night is just the Beginning
The day has been perfect. Months of preparation have culminated in an impressive synchronization of decorations, cake, music, photos, and all those special personal touches. Family and friends smiled as the happy couple moved seamlessly through vows, photos, dinner, toasts, and dancing. Finally, the night is over, and the couple can finally escape to solitude. Suntanned, professionally coifed, and a little bit buzzed, the couple is eager to check-in to their honeymoon suite for a night of intimacy.
As we look forward to celebrating our anniversary this weekend, I can still relate to those starry-eyed couples at the many weddings we’ve been attending lately. We’re no longer in the best shape of our lives, and no doubt some of the romance has faded as the “happily ever after” gets more complicated. Yet six years later, my husband and I are beginning to grasp the meaning of true intimacy.
We don’t always get it right, but more and more I’m realizing that the word intimacy can be expounded “into-me-see,” the ability to truly see your unguarded spouse and comingle your bodies, lives, minds, hearts, and souls to more fully embody Jesus’ instruction that, “two will become one flesh.” The wedding night is just the beginning.
True physical intimacy is embracing your spouse’s body in her fullness, including her curves, "flaws," and her fertility.
It’s drying her tears through loss, and then finally rejoicing at the sound of a new heart beating, new life created through your oneness.
It’s leaving the light on despite the stretch marks and cellulite, and having the humor to laugh at your bowls full of jelly.
Intimacy is two lives becoming one. A family, a home, and a future built around common goals. Sacrifices made for the good of the other.
It’s being willing to admit when you can’t stand each other, yet taking comfort in knowing that your vows are not bound by your weak human wills, but by God’s covenant.
It’s tossing and turning all night when he’s out of town.
Eventually even your minds become like one. A momentary glance can transmit a full conversation.
Intellectual intimacy is not holding back your thoughts even though you know you might start a fight, but restraining those words that you know cut too deep.
It’s pushing through the embarrassment of your quivering voice and tear-filled eyes because you need him to hear you out.
Intimacy is sharing one heart. It’s admitting your failure without excuses or shame, and being comforted by the unconditional love that keeps flowing.
It’s feeling the same mix of pride and panic dropping your child off for her first day of school.
It’s being taken aback by life’s fragility as your spouse prepares for surgery, knowing that even though you can’t formulate the right words, she knows the depth of your love.
At its best, intimacy is even the comingling of two souls, sanctifying each other through testing and encouragement.
It’s cutting through the awkwardness of praying together.
It’s sharing your doubts, knowing that his role isn’t to judge you, but to help you on your walk to Heaven.
As we enter another year of marriage, I pray that we and all married couples strive to embody the mystery of the Trinity, separate individuals intimately united by self-giving love.