Older translations of Scripture say “Adam knew his wife.” At least the first man understood how to be intimate in marriage. New Bible versions say, “Adam lay with his wife” or “Adam had sex with his wife.” I imagine some soon-to-be-released Bible perversion will be even more hip and say something like, “Adam got down to business with his woman.”
The older versions get us closer to the sense of God’s original meaning behind the marriage relationship. To the translators of these modern versions, I want to say, “It is not the word ‘sex,’ stupid!” To “know” your spouse is to be intimate, not just sleep together.
We are more than animals
Many well-meaning resources today talk about the key to having a good relationship between husband and wife is an active sex life. While conceptually this is true, we have created a dilemma for ourselves by philosophically separating body from spirit. Sex was never supposed to be just a physical act.
We have something animals do not. Not only did God tell us that Adam “knew” his wife, but also He said that in marriage, the two become one. Perhaps a more functional way of talking about the first marriage would be to say that Adam became intimate with his wife. This means so much more than just what happens in the bedroom.
Intimacy is a goal, not a ploy
Too many guys are clueless about intimacy. Even the Christian resources that talk about intimacy often only address it as a lead in to sex. They say women crave intimacy so they give sex and that men crave sex so they give intimacy. Still that misses the point.
God created a man and woman to become one. This marriage is an imitation of our relationship with Him. Simply put, He wants to know us and us to know Him. Intimacy with God is an art we learn daily, not an act we perform on the weekend.
How to be intimate
Many men wreck their own homes because they pursue physical oneness with their wives but never seek oneness of soul. He goes to sleep happy while she lives unfulfilled.
According to Gary Smalley, there are five levels of intimacy:
- Clichés. “How are you?” “Fine.” “Gotta’ go, I’ll be late.” “See you see soon.”
- Facts. “It’s a beautiful day.” “I forgot the checkbook.” “Have you heard the news?”
- Opinions. “That politician is an idiot.” “Mondays stink.” “You look good in purple.”
- Feelings. “I am so mad about this.” “I really enjoyed being with you today.”
- Needs. “The future of our country frightens me.” “I never was loved as a child.”
For example, let’s take a couple through all five stages of intimacy. He has just decided to purchase some bow hunting gear; she does not feel they should spend this kind of money. The purchase comes to $800. He uses the credit card. Watch and learn:
She says, “How much did that cost?”
He says, “Don’t worry. It’s worth it.
She huffs and says, “Well, easy come, easy go, huh?”
He smiles and nods, “Yep, now I can get ‘er done!”
She says, “How much did you spend on that?”
He says, “Eight hundred bucks. That’s what it costs to bring home a buck!”
She says, “For eight hundred dollars we could buy enough meat for a year.”
He says, “Yes, but this is an investment. This bow will last a lifetime.”
She says, “I do not think we should spend money like this. Especially on a credit card.”
He says, “We can pay it off. What’s the point of having good credit if you aren’t going to use it?”
She says, “I don’t like deer meat anyway.”
He says, “It’s all natural without any hormones or medication, y’know.”
She says, “It doesn’t feel right to be spending money we do not have.”
He says, “I am so happy to have my own bow now. I hated borrowing your brother’s.”
She says, “I feel like we are stealing our kids college money by being foolish like this.”
He says, “I am proud they will grow up in a home that knows good survival skills.”
She says, “I am scared, honey. We are getting into debt and it will take a long time to get out.”
He says, “I need some space. I love you and the kids, but sometimes I just need to get alone somewhere and unwind.”
She says, “I need security. I want you to have what you need, but can we work out a financial plan so I can see where we are and where we are going.”
He says, “I see your point. Maybe I wouldn’t need to get away as much if I had a better picture of our finances. Let’s sit down and talk over the books tonight.”
Achieve intimacy in marriage
Often, marriages only stay in the mid-range where the spouses spout their opinions. Since this may breed arguments, neither one may move much deeper to reveal their true feelings or express their vulnerabilities. You do not become intimate with people you do not trust.
You probably only speak clichés and facts to the cashier at the store. With your co-workers, you might guardedly present your opinions. You may have a close friend, cousin, or sister you will tell your feelings. But you only become vulnerable with people you know will not hurt you.
Gauge your interactions with your spouse. How deep are you? Shallow conversations reveal that you do not know how to be intimate in marriage or that you do not trust each other. If trust has been broken, forgive and mend. If you have been hurt by others and fear the risk in this relationship, you have to get over your past.
How to develop intimacy
While solutions may be as complicated as the problems themselves, it helps to see where you are weak so you can improve. Perhaps you relationship is one-sided. If you open your heart non-judgmentally and non-fearfully, your spouse will learn to trust you with time. Resist the urge to find someone else of the opposite sex with whom to become intimate.
If you are in a broken relationship, it will take an intimate walk with God to bring healing and restoration to your marriage. Since Adam and Eve broke intimacy with God in the garden, we have been struggling to recapture what was lost. Learn how to achieve intimacy both your spouse and your Savior. Only He can fulfill the emotional needs no person ever will.