intimacy in marriage


Men and Women Are Wired Differently
By Gary and Barbara Rosberg
America's Family Coaches

(c) 2000 by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg
Used with Permission

As Gary says, man's spell intimacy S-E-X, and women spell it T-A-L-K. How true is that for you? If you are like most men, when you hear the word intimacy, you think of a passionate physical experience. But when your wife hears the word intimacy, she thinks about emotional connection and communication.

God has wired men and women quite differently. Your sex drive is connected to your eyes; you become visually aroused. Your wife's sex drive is connected to her heart; she is aroused only after she feels emotional closeness and harmony.

You compartmentalize sex from everything else in your life. Your wife sees everything connected to everything else.

You feel less masculine if your wife resists your sexual advances. Your wife feels like a machine if she doesn't experience emotional intimacy before sexual intimacy.

The word intimacy comes from a Latin word that means "innermost." In the marriage relationship, this translates into a vulnerable sharing of our inner thoughts, feelings, spirit, and true self. Both men and women need to feel secure in this sharing and confidant of their spouse’s support. This support is achieved through listening, empathy, prayer, or reassurance. Generally, this sharing and support must be in place before a woman will share herself physically in sexual closeness.

For Brenda, pursuing intimacy with Stewart is a rich experience when they truly open up with each other and share their deeper thoughts. The first ten years of their marriage were rather rocky because Stewart didn't understand how Brenda was wired. He thought she looked at intimacy the same way he did. It's only recently that Stewart has noticed how fulfilling talk time is for his wife.

Carla is a strong personality, and extrovert. She thinks of intimacy as sex with her husband, and it upsets her that John always wants to talk. Carla can easily come across as controlling and critical. That's why John has a strong need to talk as preparation for times of intimacy; communication with her creates safety in the marriage, softens her control, and gets them on the same page. The way John thinks is representative of how most women view intimacy, which may help you better understand your wife's own needs.

Men are by nature compartmentalized creatures. Figuratively speaking, you view your work, your family, your hobbies, and your recreation in separate boxes. You eat breakfast in one box. You have disagreements with your wife in another box. You spend your work day in a box. Men go through their entire day with each box standing alone, unconnected.

Women are totally different! We go through the same activities, but each box has an invisible, emotional thread connecting them all together. And all those boxes are open at the same time. Our emotions are connected to our thoughts, to our hearts, to our minds, and to our bodies. When one box is affected, there is a chain reaction that ultimately affects our spirits. For example, if your wife has had a rough day with the kids or a co-worker, her emotional tank will be depleted. As a result, her physical energy may be shot, and she may need to withdraw to regroup. Her parenting or workplace box is connected to her emotional box, which is connected to her energy box, which is connected to her relational box.

Have you noticed how quickly your wife can recall a disappointing event that happened three years ago? That's also why she can remember exactly when you last gave her flowers. A woman's life events are carefully threaded together.

Part Three: "Understanding Your Wife's Need for Emotional Intimacy

(Editor's Note:  Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg are America's Family Coaches!  As such, their ministry includes a powerful and yet practical approach to building your family and marriage.  I first heard Gary speak at a Promise Keeper's event.  To this day, his message of "guarding your heart" and "staying focused on your family" has impacted my life.  Both Gary and Barbara are gifted and powerful speakers.  Please take a moment to consider how your marriage can benefit from their ministry, whether through visiting their website, purchasing one of their best-selling books, listing to their popular radio program, or attending a life-changing seminar.  You can also reach them toll-free by dialing 1-888-ROSBERG.)   





(c) 2003 Caton Development, Inc.

marriage intimacy