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Caring for Body and Soul

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"There are only two ways to live
your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is, as if everything is a miracle."

--Albert Einstein

One-Flesh Intimacy

The word intimacy is tossed around quite a bit these days. What's it really about?

by Joe Beam

The word intimacy is tossed around quite a bit these days. Often when we describe a couple as intimate, we mean the two appear extremely familiar with each other — so familiar that the spouses often finish each other’s sentences. But having the familiarity to predict the other’s reactions does not necessarily indicate intimacy. In popular entertainment, intimacy is used to describe a couple’s sex life. Though indispensable to an intimate marriage, sexual activity is not the lone factor in experiencing intimacy.

Jesus tells us in Mark 10:7-8 that marriage creates an intimacy of one flesh. The phrase one flesh teaches us a great deal about how real intimacy develops and is cultivated in marriage relationships. If we become one flesh with our spouse, then we must open all aspects of our emotional, spiritual and physical lives to that person to the point that we are not unknown in any dimension.

Sadly, even among Christians, one-flesh intimacy is rare. Many husbands and wives wonder why they chose to marry their spouse in the first place and wish they could escape what feels like a prison instead of a loving and intimate relationship. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

God wants you to experience that one-flesh intimacy described by Jesus. But many go about it the wrong way by failing to realize the three dimensions of an intimate marriage.

Emotional intimacy means couples share facts, feelings, opinions, dreams, fears and frustrations. They experience happiness and sadness together as if the two were one person. They live their lives openly, without secrets or fear of condemnation from their spouse. Conversations are frequent and expected because sharing is vital to building and maintaining this dimension of intimacy.

If emotional intimacy is not achieved in marriage, a person may seek it with someone outside of marriage. Emotional intimacy with someone other than your spouse is dangerous because it often leads to physical intimacy.

Spiritual intimacy can take place only between two people who share Jesus Christ as their Savior. All Christians have the potential to share a part of this dimension with one another. But, when a husband and wife share their spiritual lives, they pray and study God’s Word together, talk about spiritual issues and encourage and challenge one another in their faith. By doing this, they grow together in their relationship with God and walk together in His light.

Physical intimacy is equally important. Mates who think that spiritual and emotional intimacy are enough only fool themselves. God placed powerful sexual drives in us and intended for husband and wife to fulfill each other (1 Corinthians 7:2-4). Though one spouse might become convinced that sexual fulfillment is unnecessary, that doesn’t make it so. Especially in our cultural climate, sexual intimacy in marriage is important to cultivate and protect.

While we can share some sense of emotional intimacy with others, our deepest intimacies should be reserved for our spouse alone. That means I share my emotion, my spirit and my body with my spouse. If I withhold any dimension of myself, I am preventing us from becoming one flesh. Yield yourself to your spouse. Let down the walls in every area of your being to experience the kind of intimacy God intended for you.

Joe Beam is president and founder of Family Dynamics Institute and author of Becoming One.

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The following list of on-line cookie recipes was making the circuits a few years back in Christmas mailers. I was fascinated by it then and still am so I thought I would share it with those of you who love cookies.

Chill the milk and let's begin.