When I first got married, I assumed intimacy was simple. Not only were we excited to be intimate physically, but we were excited to get to know each other better. We wanted to tell each other everything and tackle life like one big adventure together. However, it didn’t take long until I realized that intimacy wasn’t inevitable. In fact, after a few years, it seemed that the opposite was true. Without realizing it, we’d become less intimate over time, rather than more.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you find yourself in a marriage where the intimacy is lacking or even nonexistent. This happens because we often fall prey to the enemies of intimacy without realizing it. Here are 5 enemies of intimacy with your wife.
1. Your Fear
Many men are actually afraid of intimacy. I don’t mean physical intimacy, but rather emotional and relational intimacy. I didn’t know how to talk about my feelings or own up to my shortcomings. I’d always seen those as signs of weakness. However, when you’re building intimacy with your wife, pushing through your fear of these things isn’t simply helpful—it’s necessary.
2. Your Pride
One essential aspect to intimacy is the ability to be honest with one another, admit mistakes, and both ask for and offer forgiveness. However, for some of us, our pride gets in the way. There’s a proverb that says “pride comes before a fall.” And you’ll find that pride literally works as an obstacle on the pathway to intimacy that you end up tripping over time and time again. If you are too prideful to admit your mistakes, ask for help, or encourage your wife, you’ll find intimacy painfully elusive.
3. Your Anger
Anger is a giant fiery stop sign among the enemies of intimacy. For some of us, anger is our default reaction when we don’t know how to deal with our emotions or we find ourselves losing a fight. While anger is a legitimate emotion, it cannot be your primary one. And when you do get angry, you need to learn how to manage it because unmanaged anger is destructive. If your wife has a healthy sense of self, she’ll quickly learn to keep you at arms length. If something is hot, you don’t touch it for fear of getting burned. The same is true when you are heated with your wife.Intimacy takes intentionality.
4. Your Inattention
Intimacy involves reciprocity. It isn’t one individual’s responsibility to “give” intimacy to another. Intimacy is cultivated through care and attention. When you are distracted, you aren’t building intimacy with your wife. If you’re on your phone at the table, in front of the TV after dinner, and checking work email before bed, don’t be surprised if she’s disinterested in physical or emotional connection. Intimacy involves reciprocity. What you give is what you receive. Begin by paying attention.
5. Your Apathy
Of all the enemies of intimacy, apathy may be the most difficult to overcome. If you’re satisfied with basically being two people who parent together, then you’ll never experience intimacy. And it’s not your wife’s job to somehow coerce you into intimacy. You’ve got to put effort in. If you decide to put a garden in your back yard, you open yourself up to the potential of enjoying some amazing vegetables. However if you choose to do so and then lose interest in the garden, you’ll simply have a chaotic bed of weeds. The same is true for your relationship. It can be a beautiful source of life and joy, but it doesn’t happen that way accidentally. Intimacy takes intentionality.
Sound off: What are other enemies of intimacy that you’ve experienced?
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “Do you see any of these ‘enemies of intimacy’ in our relationship?”