• Jon Forrest

What is intimacy?

The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

What is Intimacy?

I remember counseling with a married couple some years ago who, in the middle of our conversation, brought up the subject of intimacy. The wife said, “We haven’t been intimate in a long time.” The man agreed by saying, “That’s true.” The statement intrigued me, so I asked, “By intimate do you mean you haven’t had sexual intercourse?”

They both nodded so I began to explain to them that while sexual intercourse is a very intimate act, it is not, by definition, “intimacy.” I went on to tell them that many people who have experienced the act have never experienced true intimacy.

The Apostle Paul describes sexual relations as important to the marriage in the 7th chapter of 1 Corinthians. He explains that married couples should not withhold them from each other, except for a brief time to dedicate themselves to God, because of the potential for temptation. But that, in itself, is not intimacy. In Ephesians 5:21-33 he describes the oneness (intimacy) that is found in marriage through mutual submission. The wife submits, or respects, her husband like she submits to the Lord. People submit to the Lord because they love him and trust him with all their hearts. That is why a woman respects her husband. She trusts him fully with her heart and with her life. We are told that the husband’s submission is even more giving. He is to love, care-for and cherish his wife just like Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? He gave his life for the church. He puts the church first in all things. He treats the church as without flaw. A husband must surrender himself for the sake of his wife even if it costs him his own life.

Verse 31 says, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.

Intimacy is leaving all other relationships for the sake of being united to another. When it says the two will become one flesh it means there is a connection on every level; physical, mental, emotional, and most of all, spiritual. Intimacy means that nothing in the world is more important than the one you love. The only intimate relationship more important is that with Christ, but when both are connected to Christ, their intimacy gets even tighter.

Someone once said, “Marriage is like a wagon wheel. The hub is Christ and the spokes are the couple. The closer they get to the hub, the closer they are to each other.” But even more important is the connection made at the hub. The wheel becomes strong and useful. When the husband and wife meet at the hub, Jesus Christ, they find intimacy like no other on earth. And, they become a powerful force in their family and community for Jesus.

When that intimacy is cemented, the special gift God gave to the couple becomes more of an intimate act than otherwise possible. You will never experience greater intimacy until you get to heaven. That is why a truly intimate marriage can be the closest you can get to heaven on earth.

That is why a truly intimate marriage can be the closest you can get to heaven on earth.

This Sunday we will continue our series of messages from 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Acts 17:9 titled Shake The World. Our message will deal with Christian morality in a sermon called “A Godly Life Can Shake the World.” This will be taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. I hope you will come prepared to be shaken a little yourself. It shakes me.

Intimately God’s Servant,


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