Marriage is hard and building intimacy with your spouse takes a lot of work. Fully knowing each other and fully loving each other at the same time…that’s a commitment. But thankfully we have an example of what that looks like for our marriages. Jesus knows our every flaw but it does not limit or pause His love for us. Rather, He loves us in the midst of those flaws and gives us the grace to grow.
But how do you actually develop this kind of intimacy in your marriage? In my last post, I shared that the first key of daily forgiveness has helped Megan and I develop deeper intimacy over the years. Today, I want to share the second key that has made a major difference for our marriage too.
If we look at Ephesians 5:31-33, it’s impossible to miss the level of personal sacrifice that both Christ and The Church willingly practice. I’ve often said that the marriage vow is voluntary death to selfishness (and parenting is forced death to selfishness!). But dying to self is no easy task because our marriages are made up of two different people…which means there are often two different opinions on how things should be done. Whether we are deciding where to eat, how to discipline our kids or even how we should manage our money, Megan and I rarely start off on the same page. I want “A” and she wants “B”. But over the years we have discovered the faster we sacrifice our own personal opinions, the faster we discover “C”, which is what God wanted to show us all along!
Of course, it’s always easier said than done. Putting someone else’s needs above our own is one of the most difficult things we can do in life. But we know that we will never escape conflict in marriage. So in our conflict, we can either build up intimacy or tear it down. And from personal experience, the fastest way to tear it down is to focus on winning the argument. When one wins, both lose. But your marriage wins when you begin to sacrifice your personal desires and learn how to compromise. Don’t miss what they key ingredient is though…it’s personal sacrifice. Compromise and intimacy are impossible without it.
So take the time to work together to discover new options or how you can put your spouse’s needs above your own. Resolving conflict with your spouse begins by dying to self. And dying to self deepens the intimacy in your marriage every time.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part three. Or better yet, subscribe to our blog and you can have each of our posts show up in your email inbox!