Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Expression of Love

In the quiet, him & me time, I am amazed at all marriage is; all that it could be. And sometimes, when our baggage gets in the way, I think about how it was supposed to be when God first created. The picture of Adam and Eve before "the fall" (Genesis 2) is beautiful in my mind, but it's not how it is now. Are we on a path to getting there?

Our baggage takes many forms. A suitcase full of things learned, truths believed. But where did our ideas of boys, relationships, marriage, even sex come from? Was it truth from the Creator? Or did we pick it up from our parents, our public school health class, our peers, romantic movies, or worse, the inside walls of a bathroom stall?

The world I've seen, the information I've collected over time tells me sex is an impersonal, self-gratifying act. It holds no value anymore. And the more impersonal it becomes the easier it is to give it away. It becomes a physical action. No romance, no emotional connection, no LOVE. It has become a meaningless act. People using each other, to feel loved or for physical release. Nothing more, nothing less.

I think what we believe about marriage and love plays into this husband and wife union. And when our ideas, our beliefs, our expectations come together in holy matrimony it could make a mess instead of a blessing. It happened to us; perhaps it's happened to most.

Does a wife spend most of her time trying not to be known intimately? Just because you "meet" your spouse in the bedroom doesn't mean you are sharing intimacy. Making love is not about what you need and what he needs. If you ask yourself why you are coming to your spouse, wanting to share this time and space together, what would you say? The answer may be different each time. Or perhaps it's always the same. If you do it just because it's what you're "supposed" to do. If you check out in the middle, if you "have a headache", if you "hurry up and get it over with", then your missing out on something. If you do it to "keep" him, if you do it so he "keeps his eyes on you", that's not what intimacy is all about.

What if it meant something? What if you spent time letting each other into the deepest parts, sharing everything, not just skin?

Every time we give it away, even when it's with our spouse, every time it DOESN'T mean something more, when it's just an act or something we do, are you satisfied? Do you feel closer, more connected to your spouse? Because I believe this intimacy is PART of our expression of LOVE to one another. If it doesn't leave you feeling loved, cherished, safe then are we just using each other?

If everything we do is to glorify God, then we must include intimacy with our spouse in that. And although I've been talking about physical intimacy primarily here, that also means emotionally. Do we express our deepest thoughts and feelings? Women are definitely better at this, but it doesn't mean husbands don't have to go there. In fact, I believe emotional intimacy where we vulnerably share the deepest parts of our hearts leads to true physical intimacy.

It's hard enough to do this without relationship baggage. It's much harder when you have been battered and bruised. But we are still called to love.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 5:25-33)

Why is it so difficult to share who we are? Why is it so difficult to love one another like we were made to? I know for me it can come out of fear, insecurity, and a lack of confidence and trust. What holds you back?

Your marriage union means you're on the same team, working together to live out Ephesians 5. It is hard. I don't believe it was meant to be easy. God knows good things come from having to work at it. We love and cherish the things we've worked hardest to keep. Struggling in this area isn't any different. When you have to work at love and intimacy it makes the experience sweeter. My husband and I have had to work hard to make this marriage work. And God continues to reveal new areas that need His light. Intimacy happens to be one of those areas right now. I never thought about how my view on, my perspective on intimacy could so strongly effect my marriage.

So again I ask, where did your understanding about relationships, marriage, sex come from? Was it from the Creator or the created?

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