Have you lost the sense of “us-ness?” Couples often come into counselling complaining that they have “grown apart, ” and when they are together, “all we do is fight and argue!”
Do you miss the closeness that you once had, the feeling of feeling loved and appreciated?
Rey and I will be married for 16 years this February. We have been teaching and encouraging couples over the years in our marriage seminars that it is possible to have “Longevity with Joy!” But, the truth is, we have not always treated each other with love and respect.
The “busyness” of life (ministry/work/studies/kids/school/ageing/etc.,) meant less meaningful time and energy for ourselves as a couple. Most couples have very busy lifestyles these days resulting in their marriages taking the blow first!
We made a decision several years ago, one that ultimately turned our “winter” into a “spring marriage” – spending “time together.” The essential secret for restoring intimacy and happiness. Even though we work together and are in each other’s company daily, we realised, together, does not always mean together. “Time together” meant exclusively “us time,” whether it was watching movies, or going on a date, or taking a short vacation when we could afford it, us time was something we’d let slip, badly…
You do not always have to be doing anything “special,” to be together, but you have to carve out time for each other and make it count!
This is an important principle to stay engaged in establishing closeness in your relationship and build a meaningful friendship.
Friendship before love has proven to be the cornerstone of our marriage.
Over the years it has helped us protect our intimacy.
I have compiled a list of principles that have significantly helped us protect our intimacy, I sincerely hope it will encourage you.
Four Secrets On How You Can Rekindle Lost Intimacy
Build or Rebuild Your Friendship
If you are planning on getting married, then you are building a friendship. If you are married and have lost your friendship – you need to Rebuild.
No matter how bad your marriage may be, the fact is, if you have loved, respected and enjoyed each others company once, you can do it again!
Friendship is the bridge that leads to the life of intimacy.
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity
During your partners weakest moments, temperaments, annoyances, sickness, financial difficulties – if you are friends, it means you are not going to leave each other. This is why you vowed “in sickness and health until death do us part.”
Friends love at all times, remain faithful and loyal at all times.
When a husband loves his wife with unconditional love, this triggers a chain reaction in his wife which will cause her to respond to that love with respect. On the other hand, if a husband magnifies the faults of his wife above his Love for her and when a wife criticises her husband above her respect for him, intimacy and love for each other gets lost.
We fall out of love when we focus on criticising each other (and for our weakness and failures) but we fall in love when we focus on our Friendship.
Friendship is Built on Two Fundamental Pillars
Without these two pillars, you cannot build a marriage of intimacy (in-to-me-see).
Trust is Proven Faithfulness
- If there is no trust, there is no friendship. Trust is earned by being faithful to the covenant and each other.
Truth is Faithfulness towards Your Vows
- A marriage that has a standard of Truth not modern day culture, has a guaranteed chance of success.
- God’s standard for marriage is: “until death do us part”, our culture’s standard is “until our first disagreement do us part”.
Once you commit your marriage to God’s standard of truth, it becomes easier for both husband and wife to accept responsibility to build on friendship and protect Intimacy.
2. Believe in Each Other
Love always believes for the best, and through it a couple believes in each other. Friendship means you love, support and believe in each other. Your spouse ought to be your best friend because they believe in you more than anyone else.
How Do You Demonstrate Your Belief in Each Other?
- Support each other’s interests, desires and needs. This means you have to start watching “chick flicks” together.
- Compliment each other and speak words of life over each other. Nothing encourages a man more, when his wife compliments him, especially when he has done something good.
- Affirmation over each other, both privately and publicly. Never speak ill of each other before friends or in-laws. You may forgive each other as a couple, but they may not.
Love always believes for the best and through love a couple believes in each other.
3. Embrace Each Other’s Differences
If we are both the same one of us is unnecessary. God made us different and He has joined the two of us together for a purpose.
You have gender differences. You have personality differences. You have background differences. The problem with differences is that we usually assume we are right. When hubby or wife does things differently, he/she seems wrong. A few years of clashing over how things should be done leads to “I wonder if we are really made for each other after all?”
How to Approach Your Differences
- Don’t tolerate your differences, celebrate it!
- Those differences are tools that God can use to mould you into better people.
- It isn’t a matter of finding the perfect person as much as it is becoming the perfect couple.
Marriages don’t succeed because of who you are but because of what you desire to become. One of the greatest blessings in your marriage is to discover why God brought you together.
4. Value Transparency
You will know the level of friendship you have to the degree of intimacy you celebrate. You are only transparent with close friends. Transparency is fostered in our marriages (or any relationship) when we are not quick to judge each other, when we protect sensitive, shameful or damaging information.
Couples hide shameful and hurtful things from each other because of fear. But perfect love casts out all fear. You foster transparency by falling in Love daily.
Love Creates Transparency
- Love extinguishes fear.
- Love covers sin.
- Love bears no record of a suffered wrong.
- Love extends grace.
- Love is patient and kind.
Your spouse can only love all of you if you let them love you without secrets.