The Meaning and Purpose of Intimacy in Marriage

If you have been blessed by this show and would like to join the marriage after god podcast patron team, please visit marriageaftergod.com/patron  For many, the word intimacy is often associated with sex or physical connection. While the two things are forms of intimacy, the word itself can be used in many different situations.  Merriam-Webster defines the word intimate as marked by a warm friendship developing through long association. This reminds us that intimacy develops over time. An intimate connection with your spouse is essential to marriage, but it takes intentionality and the willingness to commit to developing that part of your relationship. This word of course also refers to being engaged in, or involving sex or sexual relations. We know sex is important; it is a gift from God to married couples. At the same time, the belonging and closeness that comes with an intimate marriage relationship relies on a variety of factors and ways of being with your spouse. There are four areas that really lend themselves to a thriving connection with your husband or wife. These areas include:
  1. Emotional – Asking your spouse how they are feeling, and responding, encouraging and validating their emotions. Making sure you are present and in the moment with them.
  1. Physical – Asking your spouse if there is anything you can do to make them feel good. Taking time to be affectionate or playful together. 
  2. Mental – Asking your spouse what they are thinking about at the given moment. Questions such as “What are you thinking about right now? Anything you are concerned about?” As well as ensuring you remind them of the truth, call out lies, compliment strengths, and share interests. 
  3. Spiritual – Reading the word together, praying together, as well as worshiping or experiencing church together. Asking questions of one another such as, “Can I pray for you?” or “What has the Lord been teaching you lately?”
It is important to remember that all of us have needs in these four areas. What we experience daily impacts these areas of our lives. Checking in and serving each other in these areas is helpful, loving, and cultivates intimacy in marriage. Intentionally focusing on these things can bless your marriage and help your relationship feel more unified and connected. When we perceive one another’s needs and try to fulfill them, we are displaying love, loyalty, and trust.  Galatians  4:9  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? God knows us because of Jesus. And we know can Know God because of Jesus. God desires us to know our spouse in this same way. Not just in knowledge in our head but by experience. We get to experience our spouse. 1 John 1:1-3 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. John proclaims the truth of Christ by showing his intimate relationship with Christ himself. He knew him, touched him, saw him, spoke to him, heard his words. This is the intimacy we get to experience with our spouses. Sex is good because it encompasses much of this, but intimacy is something that must be a constant throughout our day to day. Not just existing next to our spouse, but intentionally seeing them, hearing them, touching them, speaking to them, and letting them in to do the same.

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Jennifer Smith:

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your host of the Marriage After God Podcast. Intimacy, often we associate this word with sex or physical connection. These two things are in fact forms of intimacy, but are these the only meaning and purpose for this word? Is it possible that it is deeper and more profound than we have given it credit for? What can we learn from God and His relationship with us about intimacy with Him and with our spouse?

Aaron Smith:

Today’s episode is brought to you by our faithful patron team.

Jennifer Smith:

Thank you, guys.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, you guys are awesome. You guys have chosen to financially support this show monthly. Here’s a shout-out to three new people that have signed up since our last episode. Nikki H, Tracy M, and Desmare G. We thank you so much for choosing to partner with us on blessing tens of thousands of people with free daily prayer emails, and this weekly podcast. If you’ve been blessed by this free Marriage After God content, we’d love to invite you to join our patron team as well. Please visit marriageaftergod.com/patron.

Jennifer Smith:

Well, can I say happy Valentine’s Day week?

Aaron Smith:

Week? Yeah. Because it’s not Valentine’s Day anymore.

Jennifer Smith:

We’re just a few days pass. Yeah. So maybe we’re not the only ones, but Valentine’s Day came around and-

Aaron Smith:

And went.

Jennifer Smith:

And went very fast, yeah. I was like, “Aaron, I forgot about Valentine’s Day. What are we doing?” And he goes, “I forgot too. We’re fine.”

Aaron Smith:

I have a theory, actually, and I bet everyone listening, you can let us know on social media if this theory’s true. I think a lot of people did.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah?

Aaron Smith:

I was at the grocery store and I’ve never seen so much Valentine’s Day paraphernalia left after Valentine’s Day. Everything was on sale. It was so much candy, so many flowers. So I’m just wondering how many people also forgot?

Jennifer Smith:

Maybe nobody was in the mood this month.

Aaron Smith:

I know. It doesn’t seem like a very Valentiney Day.

Jennifer Smith:

One reason why it caught me off guard was, for some reason I wasn’t thinking about Valentine’s Day or going out with you or doing anything special because I booked us reservations on Friday, which is tomorrow. So I think I just, so we’re just celebrating it tomorrow.

Aaron Smith:

But also-

Jennifer Smith:

Is that fine? I celebrate my love for you every day, not just one day a year. Just want everyone to know that.

It’s okay. It’s okay if you forgot. It’s okay if you chose not to celebrate it.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah. But also, I do feel like there’s been a lot of heavy things in the news. One thing, this toxic derailment that happened in Ohio.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah. It’s crazy, you guys. It’s been on my mind because I have family over there, and so I get-

Aaron Smith:

We have friends over there too.

Jennifer Smith:

Worried about them.

Aaron Smith:

But our family and friends currently are okay. They’re far enough away. But I do want us to, as a community, be praying for those that are there. And if you have people there, reach out, ask them how they’re doing, see if you can help. Maybe invite them to come visit you if you’re not in that Ohio.

Jennifer Smith:

Because things like this can be a cause for anxiety or frustration and just all kinds of things.

Aaron Smith:

Or worse.

Jennifer Smith:

That was heavy.

Aaron Smith:

Maybe that’s a reason why that there’s a lot of people freaking about Valentine’s Day. I don’t know, ’cause there’s-

Jennifer Smith:

A lot or things like that, yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Things like that. Yeah. Sometimes the world throws lots of things at us, but you know what, our hope is in Christ. So let’s put our eyes on Him.

Jennifer Smith:

Good. Well, a few episodes back titled How to Transform Your Marriage This Year, we included Seven Ways to Transform Your Marriage, and one of those ways was about more romance and more sex in marriage. And we just briefly shared about the importance of that aspect of marriage and why it must not be left forgotten about, neglected.

Aaron Smith:

And we wanted to dive into this topic more because we didn’t want to just highlight the physical aspect of it, which is definitely a part of intimacy. But we wanted to talk about this idea of intimacy as a whole and what it means in our marriage and how sometimes maybe we don’t have enough intimacy. We use this word sometimes, we might get into the minutiae, the mundane, and just things are moving forward and not real. There’s no real deep connection.

Jennifer Smith:

And if there’s one specific topic that we could talk about as marriage podcasters, sex and intimacy, is probably the biggest one because marriage goes through seasons and all, all of you listening, even us, go through times that are really great and then times that are not so great. Times that are enjoyable and times that are painful, times that are frustrating, times that are fun. So it’s a reoccurring theme and topic because it’s so vital to marriage and a part of our lives.

Aaron Smith:

And the enemy would try and convince us that sex shouldn’t be important, intimacy shouldn’t be important. Having this connection with your spouse. There’s other things that are more important, and that’s not true. Actually, becoming one with your spouse and that physical unity, spiritual unity, emotional unity, all of it are equally important and none of them can be done without at all.

Jennifer Smith:

There’s also that kind of lie that makes you think, that’s not something I need to intentionally think about. It just happens naturally, or it should just be, but we’re humans and sometimes connection is hard. And even if you’ve been married for a long time, sometimes you just need to be reminded, oh, I should be initiating. I should be pursuing, I should be. And so that’s what we’re here for. We’re like that little voice in your ear that says, go do something nice for your spouse.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, yeah. Be intimate. And we’re going to learn about that word more. We’re using the word intimacy, which has a specific connotation to everyone. Probably everyone listening is probably thinking like, oh, that means this, or that means that.

Jennifer Smith:

I’ll tell you this, when I was writing The Unveiled Wife, it was a lot easier for me to use the word intimacy or physical intimacy-

Aaron Smith:

Rather than sex.

Jennifer Smith:

Rather than sex. I was young and that was a hard thing for me to talk about. And so I admit that. That’s been a big part of my vocabulary in the way that I interchange those two words. But it does mean so much more.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah. Well, it’s funny. Maybe we should do an episode on sex one day. Sex in itself also means so much more than just the physical intercourse. And I think that’s something that should be thought about, is sometimes we have definitions for words that are not complete enough.

Jennifer Smith:

I feel like we’ve been bringing that a lot up this year.

Aaron Smith:

Well, going back to, we start off the year with discrepancy. Often we have discrepancies in the way we see things, just define things. And so it may mean one thing to me and it means another thing to you. And the discrepancies, that distance between them, is like, oh, I thought I was being intimate with you because of this.

Jennifer Smith:

Well, speaking of definitions, I looked up what the word intimacy means, and-

Aaron Smith:

The English version of it.

Jennifer Smith:

Miriam Webster defines it as something of a personal or private nature, which I really like that.

Aaron Smith:

So it’s like, oh, I’m having an intimate conversation.

Jennifer Smith:

Right.

Aaron Smith:

It’s private, it’s close.

Jennifer Smith:

Private, it’s close. Which, in marriage, how great that we have this special relationship where those private things take place and you get to just share and be transparent and honest and open in a private setting.

Aaron Smith:

I think also there’s certain things, actually many things, that me and you get to experience that are ours.

Jennifer Smith:

Right. no one elses.

Aaron Smith:

They’re not like, I think about keeping the marriage bed pure, that verse, it’s that there are certain things that don’t come into our marriage.

Jennifer Smith:

It’s exclusive.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, it’s exclusive. And there’s certain things that don’t go out of our marriage.

Jennifer Smith:

So just a little side note here. We all need to make sure that we are the type of spouse that creates a safe place where those things can happen, where your spouse wants to be there in that private place with you. You know what I mean?

Aaron Smith:

Yep. That’s perfect.

Jennifer Smith:

It’s inviting.

Aaron Smith:

Protection. There is security.

Jennifer Smith:

Security, yeah. Trust.

Aaron Smith:

Safeness.

Jennifer Smith:

I also like the synonyms for the word intimacy. Belonging, closeness. You say the next one.

Aaron Smith:

Familiarity.

Jennifer Smith:

I can never say that word. Inseparability and nearness. I thought those were sweet little-

Aaron Smith:

And that word familiarity and inseparable. Inseparability.

Jennifer Smith:

Oneness. We talk a lot about that in Marriage after God.

Aaron Smith:

Those get closer to what we’re going to be talking about later on with this idea of intimacy based off of the biblical understanding of it. But we’re just trying to get just sort of basis of where we all might be landing on this idea of intimacy is. Again, we connect it with physical connection, sexual relationships between us and our spouse, which these all encompass that. But it’s so much more. It’s not just, are we having sex? Are we being close? Because to be honest, you could also have sex and still not being intimate. You guys could be so distant in heart, so distant in mind that it’s kind of just a thing that’s happening.

Jennifer Smith:

The goal in marriage would be that there’s so much intimacy happening on different levels, which we’re going to talk about the different areas in just a minute. That oneness in marriage that the Bible talks about is, you’re so bonded with your spouse that-

Aaron Smith:

You have a hard time seeing where one begins on the other ends.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, exactly. I’m glad you finished that for me because I didn’t know quite where I was going, but I knew it was important to say. Well, when I was looking up the definition, obviously the word intimate, you brought that up, intimate conversation or something like that was right there. So the definition for intimate is marked by a warm friendship developing through long association. Which, to me, reminded me that intimacy takes time.

Aaron Smith:

Well, and it develops over time. So you could be intimate on some level now and then over time that intimacy will grow.

Jennifer Smith:

Just the aspect of our friendship started by being friends and going out and doing things and serving a church together. And we had all these opportunity to get to know each other in intimate ways. But as close friends, well, that looks a lot different than our friendship now in marriage 16 years later. And it has developed over time and it’s really beautiful. So I think that there are ways that intimacy kind of pops up and is easy and just kind of happens, but then as we develop it, it just gets better and better and better.

Aaron Smith:

Well, I was thinking about, have you ever seen that triangle? It says like you and me, and then at the top of it, it’s got God and you’re getting closer.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

That’s kind of a good definition of intimacy, is you’re constantly growing closer. You’re getting closer, you’re know each other more. And the way that works is time and proximity. So distance, so you’re continuing forward. So the length of time that you not just know each other, which we’ll get into this word know, but know each other, but also how close you get to each other. So distance over time, like length and also closeness over time, constantly getting closer and closer.

Jennifer Smith:

Through experience.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, through experience.

Jennifer Smith:

The different types that I mentioned, types of engaging on an intimate level in marriage include emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, mental intimacy, and spiritual intimacy. So under emotional, we kind of put some notes here. So it’s like, how are you feeling? And then asking each other those types of heart questions. Recognizing in your spouse when they’re off, they’re having a hard day.

Aaron Smith:

And then to go another level deeper into that, or closer I should say, is why do you think you feel that way?

Jennifer Smith:

Oh yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Where do you think this is coming from? Is it just from this immediate experience you’re having? Do you feel maybe sometimes, do you feel like your hormones are off? Did something happen today?

Jennifer Smith:

As you’re walking with your spouse in emotional intimacy, a practical response would be to validate them or to relate to them. Definitely encourage them.

Aaron Smith:

Don’t I always validate you?

Jennifer Smith:

No, no. That was a quick answer. Sorry.

Aaron Smith:

I do not.

Jennifer Smith:

We’re working on it. No.

Aaron Smith:

That’s something I’ve grown in. I have a hard time because if I think they’re not valid-

Jennifer Smith:

Don’t validate.

Aaron Smith:

I’m like, I’m not going to have to validate. But what you desire is-

Jennifer Smith:

To be known.

Aaron Smith:

A recognition of, oh, I understand you feel this way and I see it and I acknowledge it.

Jennifer Smith:

Totally.

Aaron Smith:

Not that you necessarily want me to just to validate everything you feel as like, oh, that is totally legitimate and you should just keep it, but you want me to be there with you. Again, closeness. You want-

Jennifer Smith:

Another practical that I put here is be present. Being present emotionally. Because you could be with someone physically and not be present.

Aaron Smith:

We just talked about that. Sex, you could be distant or not sex, you could be in the same room. We were just at lunch and you were looking at me like, I’m trying to connect with you, and I feel like you’re not connecting. I feel like-

Jennifer Smith:

Where are you?

Aaron Smith:

Yeah. I’ve been off. If you can hear, I’m a little congested, but I also have a issue with my rib. And I haven’t been sleeping well. I was like, I’m here with you. I’m not well right now.

Jennifer Smith:

And that’s good to communicate those things, because then we don’t get insecure or feel like it’s me. Okay. So the next one was physical, physical intimacy. How do you engage?

Aaron Smith:

Well, physically, so each one of us have things that we enjoy about physicalness and maybe things that are less enjoyable. But you just like me knowing I’m near, you like me playing with your hair, you like a tickle rub, you like me to hold you, you like a hug, all those sorts of things. Massages.

Jennifer Smith:

So something that you’re good at is you’ll ask me sometimes, sometimes you’ll just initiate, but some other times you’re like, is there anything I can do that would make you feel good? Is there anything specific right now that you need or things like that. So offering affection or being playful. Being playful is huge because that really has nothing to do with sex, but just outside of-

Aaron Smith:

The cuteness of it-

Jennifer Smith:

Outside of the bedroom, all throughout the day, we can be playful and affectionate and that touches on the physical needs.

Aaron Smith:

And there’s different kinds of touches that mean different things. When I just come up behind you and I just put my hand on your shoulders out of nowhere, and even just a quick squeeze up a little bit of massage-

Jennifer Smith:

It reminds me that you’re there thinking of me.

Aaron Smith:

I’m not just there, but I’m thinking of you. You’re like, oh, you wanted to touch me, or you were reaching over and putting your hand on my leg or pulling my hand over to hold my hand. Because again, we’re just moving forward in life sometimes, and it reminds me like, oh, I’m not alone. You’re with me and you’re thinking about me. That’s actually a big thing for me. And we’re getting into mental in a second, but when you look at me a certain way or when you grab my hand, I can just tell that you need me maybe physically, maybe emotionally. But that actually gets me excited. I’m like, oh, my wife wants me. She wants me near her so that makes me feel really good, but also makes me want to participate in the same thing with you.

Jennifer Smith:

That’s good.

Aaron Smith:

So going back to the mental, that’s one way is making sure that they know you are thinking of them, giving them reasons to think of you, giving them things to think about.

Jennifer Smith:

Something I thought about with mental intimacy in our relationship are those times where I’m struggling with something and you’re quick to call out what’s truth. What is the truth? Or calling out lies, you’re believing a lie right now.

Aaron Smith:

How are thinking right now?

Jennifer Smith:

How does it line up with scripture? Complimenting strengths in each other and affirming each other, sharing conversations on topics of interest. All of those things are forms of mental intimacy.

Aaron Smith:

Well, and then asking questions. That was another thing. Do you have any questions for me?

Jennifer Smith:

To dig. Dig a little deeper.

Aaron Smith:

Do you want to know anything about me? You want to know what I’m thinking about? Which are good questions, and I’m like, yes, you’re right, I should.

Jennifer Smith:

Or what are you thinking about, if you’re the other person.

Aaron Smith:

There’s been times with us, I’ll be sitting there and you’ll say, “What are you thinking about right now?” I’m like, “Oh, well.” Because we forget that our inner dialogues are just internal. We think that they’re just kind of there, but they’re only ours. But inviting your spouse into that then lets them share that interior conversation at the same time, which again, is another form of intimacy. And if you guys haven’t noticed already, there’s some connecting themes in all of this. When and what in intimacy actually is, and again, we’re going to get to that. We’re going to reveal the deeper knowledge of these things.

Jennifer Smith:

What we’re learning about it.

Aaron Smith:

We’re learning about it. But putting your heart on these things and saying, okay, let’s talk to each other. What areas of our life could we be more intimate in? So all of these. Either we could be withholding intentionally or just forgetting about them altogether.

Jennifer Smith:

Before you start talking generally, let’s at least finish the spiritual one because we went through the first three. And so there’s one more. The spiritual intimacy that you can engage with your spouse, asking questions like, Hey, can I pray for you, or what can I pray for you about? Or just praying with your spouse.

Aaron Smith:

Can we pray together?

Jennifer Smith:

Praying together is huge. Something we love to do is ask, what has the Lord been teaching you lately?

Aaron Smith:

Which is a big one because it doesn’t necessarily mean that, oh, I read this thing in the Bible and this is what He’s showing me. A lot of times it’s like-

Jennifer Smith:

Through a relationship-

Aaron Smith:

I’m going through this thing right now and I feel like God’s wanting me to be patient.

Jennifer Smith:

Parenting. For sure. Praying together, reading the word together, worshiping or experiencing church together. These are all ways of engaging spiritually with your spouse.

Aaron Smith:

And again, as we were, I was just talking about if you subtracted any of these, you were watching a video last night, Jennifer, about the Hebrew alphabet, and this guy, he’s a professor, but is he a rabbi? I don’t know.

Jennifer Smith:

I don’t-

Aaron Smith:

But he’s a professor, but he’s very knowledgeable in the Hebrew language. And he was just talking about the word Adam, or Adam, or man, and he was explaining how the letters show all the different aspects of man in the name and how you can’t do without any of them. You need all of them. And the that’s very similar, we’re talking about these emotional, physical, mental, spiritual things. And in reality, you can’t do without any of them. So you can’t have physical and spiritual and mental intimacy without emotional intimacy. You subtract any of them, you don’t have a whole thing, if that makes sense.

Jennifer Smith:

Kind of like if you didn’t have a heart, you couldn’t pump blood through your veins.

Aaron Smith:

You need all the parts.

Jennifer Smith:

If you didn’t have a brain, you couldn’t tell your heart to pump.

Aaron Smith:

It’s true.

Jennifer Smith:

I don’t know where that came from.

Aaron Smith:

It’s okay. It’s just having a wholeness in our marriage of a complete unity and oneness, and you need the whole person. You need the whole shebang.

Jennifer Smith:

So just to kind of make sure that we hit the mark on this and not forget everything, you started talking in general with these four areas of marriage, and you mentioned things like withholding. Can you just go back to that for a second so that now that we have a foundation for emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual intimacy in marriage and why those are so important for wholeness, just wrap up that thought.

Aaron Smith:

Well, it could be very dangerous if we are withholding any of these things. Maybe it’s intentional. I’m angry, so I’m not going to give you my heart right now, and I don’t want to emotionally connect with you.

Jennifer Smith:

Or justify it when you say, well, spiritually and mentally, I’m giving them this so I don’t need to be there emotionally.

Aaron Smith:

Exactly. They can get that from someone else, which, that’s a very dangerous place to be expecting someone else to fulfill these things in your spouse. Now again, we should be getting all of our fulfillment in Christ, but this is one of the reasons we have our spouses too is to be this for each other.

Jennifer Smith:

It’s a gift.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, it’s a gift. It’s love. This is how we love. But if you’re unintentionally doing it, which is probably most of the time, we unintentionally-

Jennifer Smith:

Walking in the flesh.

Aaron Smith:

We’ve gone a few weeks without physical intimacy. That can happen.

Jennifer Smith:

Let’s say-

Aaron Smith:

You don’t realize that the other person’s been wanting it and hasn’t said anything.

Jennifer Smith:

So let’s say that someone listening right now is realizing some of these areas of marriage are lacking or haven’t been pursued. What would you encourage them? What’s the next step?

Aaron Smith:

I think it would help, first of all, that the spirit of God is convicted. Like, oh my goodness, I haven’t had a deep conversation with my spouse in a long time. I haven’t shared with them things that are on my heart. I haven’t asked them what they think, what they’re thinking about or where God has them, what God’s teaching them, is to just do it. Be like, Hey, I haven’t asked you in a long time, how are you doing? How’s your heart? Are you overwhelmed? Are you scared? Are you happy?

Jennifer Smith:

Checking in on each other and serving each other in these areas is so vital to marriage and the health of our marriage. Like you said, it’s how we love, by giving to these areas and cultivating intimacy in marriage by recognizing that these are needs that we all have.

Aaron Smith:

And this could be a huge catalyst for changing a season of your life.

Jennifer Smith:

Totally.

Aaron Smith:

If you’re in a hard season, if you guys are going through things like let’s say externally, you can’t control them, they’re just hard, death, sickness, job losses, this thing in Ohio, just environmental things that you have no control over. Going out of your way to be intimate in one of these ways could just change the whole atmosphere of your marriage. There’s a story we were going to share with you, Jennifer, why don’t you share that about when we were in the midst of pretty hard season of our marriage.

Jennifer Smith:

And it was the second year of our marriage and we were really struggling, especially in intimacy. If you guys have followed us long enough or read The Unveiled Wife book that we couldn’t have sex. Every time that we tried to come together, it was painful for me. So that was just-

Aaron Smith:

It slowly got more and more hard for us emotionally.

Jennifer Smith:

And it was just one area that caused so many other problems in communication and friendship and what we were trying to do serving the ministry and everything about it was hard. And we were living in Florida at the time, and you left to go to Brazil and-

Aaron Smith:

Gone for two weeks.

Jennifer Smith:

Two weeks, yeah. I decided to stay back and I didn’t go that time. And the whole time, I just felt like this wrestling in my heart and in my faith with God and just turmoil and also being fearful and not liking being without you, but also knowing that, maritally, we were not feeling like we are one. But the Lord had a grasp on my heart, and I had been reading in the gospels where Jesus was washing the disciples feet, and He even makes a statement, “You’ll do these things.” And I remember just thinking right in that moment, I need to do this for Aaron the moment he gets back. And you got back at four o’clock in the morning, I think.

Aaron Smith:

It was early.

Jennifer Smith:

It was so early and-

Aaron Smith:

I was dirty.

Jennifer Smith:

Were you?

Aaron Smith:

But I just got back.

Jennifer Smith:

Probably not, but-

Aaron Smith:

I was fairly dirty because I just got back from Brazil.

Jennifer Smith:

Traveling.

Aaron Smith:

Even though I had “a shower” on the boat.

Jennifer Smith:

You just felt not yourself. Well, I encouraged you to jump in the bath, and I knelt down on the outside of the bath, and I just started washing your feet. I didn’t even explain to you what I was doing. And as I was washing your feet, I remember just sharing with you how the Lord had been softening my heart and talking about how excited I was looking forward to you coming home. And I think I used the time to even apologize for some of the things I was thinking and feeling and struggling through with us, and just desired so badly a reset in our marriage and hearts toward each other.

Aaron Smith:

It was moments like those, even though it still took us another two and a half years to truly have some major transformation in our marriage, in that area of physically sex, but also all of the other aspects, the emotional, the physical and mental and the spiritual. It was moments like those that kept us going.

Jennifer Smith:

It can be really hard to take that leap of faith or have courage to initiate in any of these areas, especially when your marriage feels like it’s in a hard place or you’re experiencing a hard season, circumstances, whatever it is. But when we do it, there is fruit that comes out of it. And I hope that’s an encouragement to people today, because some people might be listening, going, I just can’t do that right now, or I don’t have what it takes. Or I couldn’t even fathom having the capacity to engage. For whatever reason, our encouragement would be, we’ve been in some hard seasons of marriage before, and the times that we press in anyways, so the times that we die to our flesh and ourselves and give and love and pursue have been wildly beneficial for our marriage, for our relationship. It’s been worth it.

Aaron Smith:

Anytime we’ve ever done this for each other, we do feel more connected. We do feel more interested in each other. Why? Because we feel seen, understood, thought of.

Jennifer Smith:

When we perceive each other’s needs and we try to fulfill them or touch on points of the person that’s sitting next to us, that means so much to us in a way that they will respond to. That’s beautiful. It’s selfless. It’s good.

Aaron Smith:

So I want to get into this next portion where we talk about the biblical word for intimacy, the Hebrew word for intimacy. And it’s this word, yada.

Jennifer Smith:

Yada. Y-A-D-A.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah. And it means to know and not just to know with head knowledge. Not like you learned something in school like, oh, I know. This is-

Jennifer Smith:

When we think of knowledge, it’s so easy to pull out Google and da da, ask the question-

Aaron Smith:

[inaudible 00:26:47] definitions.

Jennifer Smith:

Get facts or get help on understanding a concept. That’s not what we’re talking about.

Aaron Smith:

No, this word it means to know experientially. It means that not just by hearing of, but by experiencing for yourself. So with this understanding of intimacy, this brings a whole nother level to this idea. So it’s not just, oh, we’re having sex or we’re being physical. No, I know you. And again, you learn someone over time as you experience. So I’ve experienced you, Jennifer, in every aspect of your emotional, spiritual, physical self. And to be honest, there’s other sides of you that you have not seen yet and I have not seen yet because we aren’t old enough yet, or we haven’t experienced what it’s going to be like to have kids out of the house. Or there’s so many things that we’ll get to experience together that it’s more knowledge of each other, more experiential knowledge of each other.

Jennifer Smith:

Something that I was reading when I was looking into this word, there was this blog site that was talking about, so if we wanted to know something, learn a topic or whatever, we would go read a book or look on the internet, like I mentioned earlier. But back in the day when there was no internet-

Aaron Smith:

Back in the day.

Jennifer Smith:

… or library or anything like that, the only thing that you had to survive on and to know was your relationships, the people, the community, the village, the people that you lived with, your spouse, your grandparents, the people who would pass information on orally or through tradition.

Aaron Smith:

If you were a farmer and had children-

Jennifer Smith:

How do you do that?

Aaron Smith:

Learn to farm by doing it.

Jennifer Smith:

By doing it and experiencing it. And so this blog article is talking about how to know was everything because it’s how you survived. It was really cool.

Aaron Smith:

Well, it makes me think of that’s where apprenticing comes from. You’re not just learning it by, oh, here’s a teacher telling you how it works.

Jennifer Smith:

You’re getting in there doing it.

Aaron Smith:

You’re doing it and learning by experience. And so in contrast to knowing facts, like you said, this is knowing, actual knowing. I know it because I have it. It’s mine. I experience it on a day-to-day basis. So the knowledge that I have of you is not a knowledge that someone told me. It’s my knowledge that I have because I’ve-

Jennifer Smith:

Witnessed it.

Aaron Smith:

Witnessed it.

Jennifer Smith:

Been there.

Aaron Smith:

And experienced it and felt it and heard it with my own ears or seen it with my own eyes and touched it with my own hands.

Jennifer Smith:

It’s just a little bit deeper of a word than what we started out with. So this word, yada, it means learn to know, but it also means to perceive and see, find out and discern. Which I love, I love that description of to perceive, because that’s like if I know you, Aaron, especially after all these years of marriage, it’s like I know what makes you frustrated. I know what makes you happy. I know what fuels you when we talk about business or dreaming together. I know what kind of gifts you like or don’t like, because I’ve perceived it myself and I know it. The other thing that I was thinking about when it comes to perceive, to perceive would be like if you’re having a hard day, there’s times that I don’t even need to ask you. I just see it on you.

Aaron Smith:

You’ve learned that by experience.

Jennifer Smith:

I get to respond to you in that way, which I think is really cool.

Aaron Smith:

There’s some scripture that gives us this picture of intimacy using this word yada. And so in Genesis 3:5, is this the first spot it pops up?

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

This is the first time this word shows up, yada.

Jennifer Smith:

The Strong’s, for people who want to do a little extra research is H 3045.

Aaron Smith:

That’s the Strong’s number for it. And so in Genesis 3:5, it says, “For God, know that in the day that you eat of it, then your eyes will be opened and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” This is when the serpent is deceiving Eve, and he’s saying, no, God knows that when you eat of this, you’ll know also.

Jennifer Smith:

That word knowing.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, that word, knowing, that word, yada, they would have an experiential, they would experience this form of wisdom and knowledge for themselves rather than receiving it from God. And so there’s this intimacy that they’re going to have now with this knowledge, and they will be in charge of it. They will be in control of it. And then in Genesis 4:1, you have Adam, it says, Adam. This is where you get this idea of so-

Jennifer Smith:

Sex. It doesn’t say sex in the Bible, it often says new or, Adam knew his wife.

It’s the same word, yada.

Aaron Smith:

Yada. He knew his wife, he experienced his wife. This was a physical experience. And then she conceived and bore Cain. So this same word for knowing knowledge, the knowing good and evil is the same word of knowing his wife. And then in Psalms 135, it says, “For I know the Lord is great.” I don’t just know because someone told me the Lord is great, I know because I have experienced His greatness myself.

Jennifer Smith:

I love, in Psalm 139:23, it says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.” It’s like this cry out to Him, this desire that every human has for something divine and this prayer of know me, search me.

Aaron Smith:

I’m going to skip down to another verse that I put in here based off of what you just said. So this psalmist is saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” And in Galatians 4:9 it says, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world? Whose slaves do you want to be once more?” It’s this beauty of now that we have come to know God through Jesus Christ, rather, God now knows us in Jesus Christ. As the psalmist says, know me, know my heart. Try me, try my thoughts. And so we are known by God. There’s an intimacy we can have with God now, because of what Christ did on the cross, that was impossible to have before that.

We can have not just a head knowledge of God. Oh, I’ve read the scriptures. I’ve heard the stories. No, I know God personally because I’ve experienced Him. He lives in me, I in Him, He in me. This is what Christ pray for us in John chapter 17. This is His preference, that we would know God with an experiential knowledge. And so we’re bringing these things up because this is how God wants us to know our spouse. Yada our spouse, to have this intimate, intentional, experiential knowledge of our spouse that we get to have, And it happens over time, day to day, moment by moment. We can’t just sit back and never have that connection and be called husband and wife. We are one, and we experience each other in every aspect.

Jennifer Smith:

I remember someone sharing with us back, we must have been only maybe a couple years married, and they used the word study each other. And it was the first time I thought, What? What do you mean, study each other?

Aaron Smith:

Study.

Jennifer Smith:

Study each other. This idea of just because we’re married, I don’t know you all the way, and I’ll never know you all the way. I get to experience that as time goes on and people change. Their preferences for things change, their ideology can sometimes change. As their faith grows, they change. And so this idea of studying one another, and that’s where all of our questions spurred from of us asking each other, what do you like, what do you need? What are you thinking of? What’s God teaching you? It’s this desire of wanting to know one another better, so we study each other and we take time to do it.

Aaron Smith:

And if we take the idea that we’re one to its extreme because I think we should, because we are actually one. The more that I desire to know you, the more I can actually know myself because you are me. And vice versa, the more you want to know me, the more you’re learning yourself, the more we are experiencing ourselves. So let’s go to how it talks how the Bible talks about Jesus. So in Isaiah 53-

Jennifer Smith:

This was a prophecy about him.

Aaron Smith:

It says, “He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted,” That word acquainted is the same word, it’s yada, “with grief.”

Jennifer Smith:

Which I love this because it shows that He knows intimately grief, pain, suffering, physical, mental, emotional, all of it. And so we don’t just believe in a God that can’t relate to us or is so perfect that He doesn’t have to experience all those things. We believe in a God that came and was man and was acquainted with all the things that we ourselves struggle with.

Aaron Smith:

He had an intimate relationship with grief. Hebrews says it specifically. It says that we have a high priest that is able to understand us, who in every way was tempted as man is. He has an intimate knowledge of it. So just to recap, God knows us because of Jesus, and we can know God because of Jesus. And I believe God desires us to have this same kind of knowledge of our spouse, that I can know you truly because of Jesus, and you can know me truly because of Jesus. And it’s not just a head understanding. It’s not just something that we can understand in our minds, but we can understand holistically that I actually know you. I have an intimate relationship with you, that you are mine and I am yours, and every aspect in between are ours.

Jennifer Smith:

How would you say knowing Jesus and having a relationship with Him helps us get to know each other better?

Aaron Smith:

Well, as we just talk about often is when I trying to relate with you, relate to you in Christ, I’m not going to withdraw. I’m not going to allow bitterness to harbor in my heart. And those things help me to love you, to serve you, to minister to you, to continue to pursue you instead of just like, no, I don’t want to be intimate with you anymore. I want to cut this off because I’m angry or you hurt me. Jesus helps us have actual true intimacy with each other, I believe.

Jennifer Smith:

The two words that come to my mind is humility and grace. And there’s-

Aaron Smith:

Oh, that’s good.

Jennifer Smith:

… parts of His character and who He is that I’ve come to know and understand and experience over my walk with Him that has allowed me to extend those two things in our relationship.

Aaron Smith:

Which is necessary.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah. It’s kind of like what you were just explaining, but those are the two words that I would define it, is being able to walk with you in humility, which helps in so many different ways. Humility helps me calm down when I think I’m right and we’re arguing about something. It helps me understand with compassion maybe the things that you’re going through and minimize some of the things that I’m going through in order to have the capacity to carry for both of us that emotional weight of a circumstance. Humility helps me see you like Christ or to see Christ in you. And grace is just, we all mess up. We all deserve something else. But being able to extend grace, like I’ve been extended grace. Oh, that’s powerful. So good.

Aaron Smith:

To further highlight this idea of knowing and this idea of intimacy, this is exactly how John, when he’s writing First John, gives his credibility of knowing Christ. So he says in First John chapter one, verse one, he says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands concerning the word of life. The life was made manifest and we have seen it and testified to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. That which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, Jesus Christ.”

So this is how he’s proclaiming the gospel in this letter. He’s saying, Hey, we have heard and seen and touched with our own hands, the word of life, Jesus Christ. And because of that, we share that with you. We proclaim it to you so that you also can have fellowship with us. He’s saying, you can have intimacy with us because we’ve had intimacy with Christ. We know Christ, not from a distance, but actually close up. I’ve experienced Christ myself, therefore, now you can experience Christ yourself. And so think about the ramifications of that in your marriage. You can experience your wife in this way that she’s your wife, and you can actually share that same person you know with your children, showing the beauty, the power. And also with yourself reminding you’re like, no, this is my bride, I’ve experienced her. She is good. She is beautiful. She is mine. And vice versa. Like, oh, that’s my husband. I have heard and seen and touched today. That is my husband.

Jennifer Smith:

There’s an incredible trust that’s built when you experience the yada, the knowing, the intimacy, the experience of it all. And even just John sharing what he’s seen and looked upon and touched concerning the word of life. It’s like he’s building that foundation of trust, like, you can trust me. And in marriage, trust is so much.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

I love that.

Aaron Smith:

Well, that trust grows, the more we experience that in our relationship. Sex, again, we go back to it because-

Jennifer Smith:

It’s a part of it. It’s good.

Aaron Smith:

… it encompasses much of this, but intimacy is something that’s a constant in every moment. It doesn’t just exist next to your spouse. It’s not like this thing over here, but it’s an intentionality, of seeing them. I’m seeing you with my eyes. Hearing you, I hear you with my ears. I’m touching you with my own hands. Speaking to you, but also letting you in the same way, letting you experience me and know me and not withholding parts of me and you not withholding parts of you from me. That’s what our flesh wants to do. No, you can’t have this part of me. We do this with God. In our intimacy with God, there’s parts of our hearts that we’re so afraid of letting God into. Where, no, you can have all this area of my life, but not this. That’s too hard for me. That’s too scary for me. That’s too sensitive for me.

Jennifer Smith:

Or, I don’t trust you with that.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah. That’s a really what it is. It’s a, I don’t trust you with that. And so if we want to have the true power of and meaning of intimacy in our marriage then we need to learn to let our spouse know us fully in every aspect, and then also want and desire to know them intimately, deeply, completely.

Jennifer Smith:

And I’ll add to that by just saying, if you want better intimacy in marriage, you have to be willing to give and give and give and give. It feels really good when the other person initiates. It feels really easy when they’re pursuing you, but if you’re not joining in, is that love?

Aaron Smith:

When you’re only receiving?

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

No.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

No. Again, you were listening to that video about this word, yada, not this word specific, but Hebrew alphabet, and it was talking about love. And what he was saying was so profound that love is giving. The more you give, the more you become one with the one you’re giving to.

Jennifer Smith:

That it becomes like you’re giving to yourself essentially.

Aaron Smith:

We just talked about that. In marriage, you are giving to yourself. And this is exactly what God did. He wanted an intimate relationship with us. So what did he do? He gave His only begotten son, and that son came to become like us so that He can understand us, and so that He can also can have an intimate relationship with us. This is how God loves.

Jennifer Smith:

The most insecure I’ve ever been in our marriage, which it’s happened frequently, but over time, is when I’m waiting or expecting or hoping that you’ll do something or engage with me in some way, and I’m just sitting there wrapped up in my own-

Aaron Smith:

Why aren’t you doing this?

Jennifer Smith:

… why aren’t you? Or feeling a little bit either hopeless or not hopeless, but frustrated and not realizing that the insecurity is spurring me on in that direction when I could have just given in confidence.

Aaron Smith:

And that goes for both of us. When we’re waiting to receive, and then we allow our lack of receiving to grow bitterness and anger and frustration and hurt.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah. Detour us. Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Rather than being like, I’m going to go give, because I want to love. I want to be loved. Is that, we talked about the golden rule, like do unto others as you’d like them to do to you. Sounds easy.

Jennifer Smith:

I know. I do think that we kind of made this whole thing sound a little bit easy. We know it’s hard, guys. I did want it. Oops. I’m grabbing a book right now. I wanted to share, when I thought about this word, intimacy, I shared in the beginning how I used that word a lot in The Unveiled Wife. But I grabbed it and went to the last chapter and was reading through it, and I just wanted to share. So this would be, if you have it and you wanted to read more, page 198, and it’s the middle paragraph. It says, “I feel strongly that the intimacy I have embraced with my husband would have occurred regardless of receiving physical healing because of the deep connection I encountered through transparency and making myself fully known to him. That was the beautiful gift I received.”

Aaron Smith:

Wow. You wrote that back then.

Jennifer Smith:

So this would’ve been, what year did I write this? 2012?

Aaron Smith:

13? I don’t know. Does it say in the book?

Jennifer Smith:

We were a handful of years into marriage and past the four years that were hard, God was working in us both. And at this point, when I wrote this book, we would’ve been in ministry-

Aaron Smith:

2015.

Jennifer Smith:

2015. So we’re well beyond that now. So yeah, looking back and reading it, it’s kind of interesting. But realizing and recognizing that what I wanted most was the physical intimacy. But having walked through so much, I realized even if, even if we never figured out the physical part because it so hurt me or whatever, I had already received the gift of being fully known and fully loved by you and that was powerful.

Aaron Smith:

And that’s what God was teaching us in that time is, are we going to do this regardless of if we get what we think we want? And that was the challenge. And that’s the challenge for you listening is are you going to, in the Holy Spirit, the power that God has given you, decide and choose to know and be fully known with your spouse. That’s true intimacy, is that.

Jennifer Smith:

So good. Well, hopefully, we’ve given you enough to chew on with this word yada and being known by each other. And what our desire is just to encourage you guys to step into those places in your marriage that you do want growth and that you do want to see an increase in your marriage. And so hopefully, we’ve given you enough today to be able to do that. But we do want to end with the growth spurt, which this month of February we’re focusing on, love in action. So doing a romantic gesture for your spouse.

Aaron Smith:

So this could be intimacy physically, maybe.

Jennifer Smith:

There you go.

Aaron Smith:

We’re talking about it. Do something that’s going to be exciting, something that takes your spouse out of the ordinary into something extraordinary. Just a thought.

Jennifer Smith:

Put a smile on their face. All right. Let’s end with prayer.

Aaron Smith:

Dear Lord, thank you for the way you design marriage, and the opportunities you give us to experience incredible intimacy in marriage. Intimacy is special. It is powerful. Intimacy helps us feel known and loved. We pray we would be open to being intimate, but also that we would be creative and courageous in initiating intimacy in our relationship. Inspire us to be considerate of the ways we can pour into our marriage and experience extraordinary oneness. Please protect us from the threat of the enemy, as well as protect us from our flesh, keeping us from being intimate and feeling close. Help us to express our love for each other and prove our words in action. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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