Physical Intimacy and Marriage: Fantasy vs. Reality
In recent posts and our eBook we discuss the three types of intimacy — bonding, coupling and igniting — and how each, though representative of different aspects of physical intimacy, are necessary to keep the love alive over time. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one (or all three) of these categories to fade or become less important to the couple as life moves beyond the honeymoon phase.
In a nutshell, the earliest forms of physical intimacy are bathed in newness, excitement and fantasy that usually only lasts long enough to get two people together and in a committed marriage. This is because real intimacy hasn't started until the honeymoon phase is over.
Intimacy and The Creation Story
To understand why real intimacy begins after the honeymoon phase ends, let's parallel this turn of events with the events of the creation story:
- The newness of the garden of Eden experience is thrilling and exhilarating.
- As time goes on, the scales fall from our eyes and we gain a new awareness: the reality of our imperfect selves and spouse.
- This jolt into reality can be alarming. Physical affection, which used to be a defining characteristic of the early relationship, decreases. Suddenly, life together isn't as "sexy" as it was before.
True Intimacy Comes After the Honeymoon
When people hear that physical affection decreases with the honeymoon phase, they are sometimes dismayed.
But no need to lose hope. Rather, we must turn our attention back to the notion that physical intimacy, like intimacy as a whole, is a process of intention if we want continual growth.
As we focus on growing in intimacy with our partners, it's important to keep the following truths in mind:
- Intimacy is multifaceted and multidimensional. It is a whole person relating.
- Physical intimacy cannot be reduced to sexual experiences. Touch is an important aspect of intimacy to show love and build trust.
- True physical and sexual intimacy includes various levels of loving, caring and safe physical touch, and is embedded in the larger concept of intimacy which includes emotional and spiritual connection.
When a couple is able to release the fantasy of love for the reality of hard-won intimacy, they will be better prepared to cultivate the love they seek.
Interested in learning how to amp up one, if not all three, aspects of physical intimacy in your marriage — or for the couples around you? Get our free eBook to find out how you can reignite passion this month of love.