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Paul J. Bucknell
What does God say about intimacy?
God has plans for a couple that gets married. There is a design for their marriage. He wants them close together! One might ask, "How do we know?" This is known by the command for them to 'be fruitful and multiply!'
Joking aside, the goal for marriage goes beyond this physical intimacy. There are three areas of intimacy that at the same time must be pursued. None can be perfectly reached, but even in their growing stages they provide great joy and delight. These three areas of intimacies include heart, spirit and physical.
|So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:21-25)|
"And they shall become one flesh."
We understand from this that there is a true oneness. Young people think of this as meaning only physical intimacy, but clearly this is not the case.
Physical intimacy requires a joint purpose. There must be a relationship on the most basic level. But we see something much deeper here. Remember how the Lord was causing Adam to look for someone he could relate to. God was not thinking only about propogation but a companion. Man was made on a different level than the animals. They could not meet his inner need. Man can commune on a deeper level. Even God was communing with man. Becoming one is the goal for marriage. It is declared at marriage and pursued the rest of their lives together. The purpose of marriage is to seek for this intimacy.
Intimate marriages are not an end in themselves. Good marriages are a means to accomplish greater goals in life. In one sense one can debate whether intimacy is the goal. It should stay as the goal because of the great emphasis in the relationship. Remember, man can glorify God without getting married. But if a couple does get married, then they must bring their relationship to such a level where it becomes a tool in the hand of God.
Two statements must be said to keep this goal of intimacy in proper perspective.
There are three areas of intimacy that at the same time must be pursued. None are perfectly reached, but even in their infancy provide great joy and delight of the two. These three areas of intimacies include heart, spirit and physical.
God has designed marriage to flourish as people draw close to Him. They learn of a kind of intimacy and faithfulness from Himself. Our spouses might disappoint us, but our Lord never will. Where else should we go to find this love than God Himself from which true love flows.
Let's discuss next the three aspects of the design of marriage as found in intimacy.