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Goal of Marriage Intimacy

Paul J. Bucknell

There are a number of misconceptions about good marriages.

Do you share any of these misconceptions?

Any one of them can be cause for serious marriage problems.

#1 Magic Growth     #2 No Design    #3 Fooled Again!    #4 Good Social Skills     #5 Right Focus

Misconception #1   

Magic Growth

   Lie:      Growth comes naturally and easy.
   Truth: Growth comes with difficulties.
No magic seed which spontaneously produces a beautiful marriage. There is a subtle lie that a good marriage naturally evolves out of a marriage ceremony. This false belief has caused a great deal of damage to new marriages. The new couple expects their hope will produce a happy and long lasting marriage much like a magic seed. Although their hope is powerful enough to bring a couple to the altar, but it clearly lacks the ability to keep them united in heart.

Good marriages do not come by accident. Just because a person dreams of being a millionaire, this doesn't make him one. He has a lot of work cut out for him. Wonderful marriages depend on hard work such as commitment, knowledge, love and sacrifice.

One must refuse to believe that wedding joys permeate into the marriage for an extended time. The bride's wedding flowers are gloriously arranged. They last a while, but even they will wither and discolor. Our marriages will likewise begin to fall apart if we do not show regular care for them.

A romantic hope has power to cause people to marry but not to sustain a good marriage.
There is no magic growth for marraiges. Hope for a good marriage comes from commitment to living by God's design rather than by a romantic burst of feelings for a person.
Misconception #2  

No Design
   Lie:      Marriage has no rules.
   Truth: Marriage has guidelines to live by.

Most people do not believe that marriage has any special rules to follow. If there are rules, they assume they are innate, and a couple naturally follows them. Good marriages, however, are clearly built by applying God–given truths not by following instinct. Man's selfish nature is bent towards evil not love. The Bible is the only source for finding an understanding of the origin and purpose of marriage.

Some might believe that the design of marriage is an inaccurate conclusion. There are six reasons they are wrong.
What might surprise us is that those who do not purposely follow the Bible live according to some of its truths taught in God's Word. Cultures help preserve some form of these truths as norms in a society. The Chinese family, for example, had for thousands of years upheld biblical truths for marriage and honor of parents through the culture and religion of Confucianism. Marriage was honored and protected. The country rapidly grew. Only in the 20th century did this perspective begin to deteriorate when this culture was destroyed.

The danger of today's world, is that the traditional cultures are falling prey to the world's secular culture. This modern culture does not respect these truths. As a result we will see an increase of unstable families and governments. Unfortunately the children are and will be greatly hurt in its wake.

Only those who live by God's design for marriage will have good marriages. God has given the special principles of good marriages to us in His Word.
Our Designer and Maker knows best how we function. He has revealed His purposes in the Bible.
Misconception #3  

Fooled Again!
   Lie:      Those who have God's Word will have good marriages.
   Truth: Those who live by God's Word will have good marriages.
Are you facing marital problems?

Have you ever thought that it is because you are not following God's principles?
Christians assume that they will have a good marriage just because they have God's Word. The scriptures do not teach this nor do social statistics. In many respects Christians in the Western world have as poor marriages as unbelievers. Does this invalidate the effectiveness of God's design in His Word? Not at all. It actually confirmes the truth.

The Bible says that those who believe and obey will be blessed. If the believer doesn't specifically follow God's design, then their marriage will suffer. Many Christians destroy their marriages through unknowingly disregarding God's truths. God is not going to reward those who just call themselves by His Name and do not live by His purpose.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. (Matthew 7 24-26)

A good marriage will not result from merely possessing God's Word, being around God's Word, or even memorizing God's Word. Those who practice God's Word will have rich and beautiful marriages.

Misconception #4  

Good Social Skills
   Lie:      We learned enough from our parents to have a good marriage.
   Truth: A good marriage requires special grace from God.
If a couple regularly shares their expectations with the other without demands, frustrations are lessened and the communication allows for some modification of behavior and expectation for the future. The area of need is made known by gentle words and thoughtful attitudes. The spouse is able to see the need even though a solution is not readily available. This leads to an intimate marriage.

What is more common and damaging is the use of control, finances, possessions, sex and anger to get ones way. For example, one person is angry with another. He or she is absolute in his/her demands. The other person responds in anger.

This method shoots holes into the couple's relationship. The real need is covered over and forgotten. Meanwhile deep frustrations grow and leak out in disturbing ways during crisis times .
Good marriages are founded upon growing intimacy. Increasing intimacy only comes through good relationships. Good relationships are built from good relational skills. Some spouses have learned these relational skills from their parents. The parents' good example can go a long way in helping their children have a good marriage. However, not everyone has sufficiently learned these values.

Most importantly, we should recognize that all these social 'skills' are in fact principles stemming from the truth of God. Politeness, humility, sincerity, concern, purity, devotion, sacrifice, and love are just a few of these practical out workings of God's truth in a person's life. Cultures might define politeness in different ways, but there is a nice way and a rude way in handling situations.

Genuine openness is dependent upon a couple's determination to genuinely and gently discuss their conflicts. These are Christian virtues. They come from the example of Jesus Christ. If a person has not learned them from his or her parents, then they can learn them and gain the power to observe them by God's work in their lives. Parents support this training when they model and teach their children as to what is right.

Good marriages 'happen' because people put the truths into practice. The more a couple can recognize these truths and affirm them, the easier it is to live in the midst of an antagonistic culture. Parents must share with the next generation how the truths of God are worked out through different relational skills.

Relational skills are good, but not good enough. Secularism is destroying the cultural roots of our lives that taught and preserved these relational skills. Without them, people have little hope that they will have a good marriage. Many are bypassing the marriage option. They opt out of the system by living together out of wedlock. They have lost hope that marriage works.

In our age couples need more then social skills. Their values are being challenged. When their values are not based on God's Word, then they think these ways of dealing with people is optional. People can only go so far on their own. They need the power of Christ: His humility, love, standards and kindness to endure the challenges marriages are going through today. Only Christ's teachings and power will give a long lasting solution.

Although good relational skills will bring one far in having a good marriage, it is not enough to bring a couple to the deep intimacy God has planned for them to experience in a hostile culture.

Misconception #5  

Right Focus 
    Lie:      Intimacy comes from being close together.
   Truth: Physical intimacy only can express the deepness of heart intimacy between the married couple.

Many people think that physical intimacy is the only intimacy that is available. In fact, it is a secondary rather than a primary intimacy. Physical intimacy is based upon heart intimacy. This is the reason physical intimacy only is rightly shared between married partners.

This concept of intimacy is not derived from physical closeness but from God's own perspective of how God established marriage. The source passage from Genesis gives rise to the New Testament teaching. Two are quoted here.

For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24).

AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. (Mark 10:8)


Close physical relationships were never meant to substitute the heart relationships between the couple. The physical relationship was designed to deepen the expression of the one-heart relationship.

Misconceptions give false confidence to couples that keep them from seeking God their Designer for directions on how to conduct their marriage. There are other misconceptions, but we trust enough has been shown to see that we dare not conclude our understandings are right without first studying what God says about marriage.

When a couple can recognize that the goal to work towards is not the marriage ceremony but genuine intimacy, everything can turn around. This goal of intimacy becomes a life goal for their marriage "as long as they both do live.


Read more exciting and practical articles on marriage. Just click on a link or graphic below.

Developing Love in Your Marriage
Strengthening Godly Marriages: The Marriage Navigator
Renewing Affections between Husband and Wife
God's Sexual Design for Our Lives and Marriages
Goal and Design of Marriage: Intimacy
Helping Solve Marital Problems