50% of Christians in the US believe that casual sex between consenting adults is sometimes or always acceptable.
But what does the Bible say concerning intimacy?
To answer that question, let’s discover God’s design for intimacy, along with the following:
- 7 facts about that design
- 7 ways to uphold that divine standard
Let’s begin by first understanding the concept of intimacy and how it relates to sexuality.
What is Intimacy in the Bible?
Intimacy refers to the “intimate relationships between Jesus Christ and the Father, between God and His people, and between various individuals” 1.
It underscores the significance of two being better than one, as they can offer each other help and warmth (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Intimacy also deals with marital intimacy. This highlights the mutual duty to fulfill each other’s physical and emotional needs within the bounds of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).
It also expresses an intimate longing for God. It recognizes that true satisfaction and intimacy are found in a personal, spiritual relationship with the Creator (Psalm 63:1).
In essence, it is the deep, emotional connection and closeness between individuals, emphasizing the value of companionship and mutual support.
How is It Related to Sexuality?
1) Intimacy is the foundation of sexuality.
Intimacy forms the foundation of sexuality. It entails the emotional, spiritual, and relational aspects essential for a meaningful physical connection within a marriage.
In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, the Scriptures underscore the significance of sexual intimacy within the marital bond. It emphasizes the mutuality of giving yourself to your spouse.
This deep emotional connection, as seen in Proverbs 5:18-19, is the cornerstone for a fulfilling and God-honoring sexual relationship.
It highlights that sexual intimacy is most meaningful when rooted in genuine emotional and spiritual closeness between you and your spouse 2.
2) It nurtures sexual desire.
Studies show that higher levels of intimacy contribute to higher levels of sexual desire in long-term relationships 3.
True enough, intimacy nurtures sexual desire by fostering a deep emotional connection and trust within a married couple.
In Song of Songs 4:9-10 (NIV), the poetic imagery of intimacy in marriage portrays the mutual admiration and desire that intimacy engenders.
The passage says, “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride…How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine…”
In addition, the security and vulnerability shared within an intimate relationship, as seen in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, create an environment where sexual desire can flourish.
Ultimately, a loving and intimate bond strengthens the romantic and physical aspects of a marriage. It nurtures a healthy and passionate desire between you and your spouse.
3) It enhances sexual satisfaction.
Sexual satisfaction increases as your relationship moves towards a more intimate commitment 4.
This is made possible by creating a safe and trusting environment where you and your spouse can freely express your needs and desires.
In the Song of Songs 4:9-10, the passionate expressions of love and desire underscore how intimacy enriches the physical aspect of a marital union.
In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, a satisfying sexual relationship is founded on mutual, selfless giving within the context of a loving and intimate marriage.
Therefore, sexual fulfillment is heightened when rooted in a profound sense of intimacy, trust, and emotional closeness between you and your spouse.
4) It is being preserved by sexual purity.
95% of religiously devoted teens plan on saving sex for marriage 5.
This implies preserving your sexual purity to uphold the sanctity of your marital union (Hebrews 13:4).
By remaining sexually pure before and within marriage, you and your spouse safeguard the exclusivity and trust that characterize deep intimacy (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
This purity cultivates a sacred environment within which intimacy can thrive. It reflects God’s plan for sexual relationships, preserving the profound connection between you and your spouse.
5) It builds trust in sexual relationships.
Intimacy plays a crucial role in building trust within sexual relationships.
In Proverbs 31:11-12, the Scriptures highlight the importance of trust in marriage.
Specifically, when you and your spouse share your innermost thoughts and emotions in an intimate context, it strengthens the trust and bond between you.
The honesty and transparency encouraged in intimate partnership, as mentioned in Ephesians 4:25, create a safe and trusting environment.
These are essential for the deep connection and fulfillment that characterize a healthy sexual relationship within marriage.
7 Things That Describe God’s Design for Intimacy
1) It is exclusive for marriage.
Intimacy, as created by God, is characterized by exclusivity within marriage.
Genesis 2:24 emphasizes that a man leaves his parents and cleaves to a woman, indicating a unique and exclusive bond. And they become husband and wife.
This exclusivity fosters trust and security, allowing you and your spouse to share your deepest emotions and vulnerabilities without reservation (Proverbs 5:15-20).
Such exclusivity reflects God’s intent for the marital union, where the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of intimacy are reserved for one’s spouse 2.
This creates a strong foundation for a deeply fulfilling and God-honoring connection.
2) It is nurtured through communication.
God’s plan for intimacy places great importance on communication within marriage.
Ephesians 4:15 encourages speaking the truth in love, emphasizing open and honest communication.
True enough, effective communication is vital in understanding each other’s needs and desires, promoting emotional connection (Proverbs 24:26).
As you and your spouse share your thoughts, feelings, and dreams, you nurture the depth of your intimacy.
This serves as a testament to God’s plan for a marriage filled with meaningful and intimate dialogue (Song of Songs 2:14).
3) It reflects God’s love.
Intimacy, as outlined in God’s plan, is a reflection of His divine love within a marital union.
Ephesians 5:25 highlights that the husband should love his wife as Christ loved the church. This demonstrates a sacrificial and selfless love that mirrors God’s love for His people.
This selfless love, when reciprocated by your spouse, deepens your emotional connection and intimacy within the marriage.
Such love, rooted in God’s unconditional and unwavering love for you, serves as a powerful example of His design for intimacy that radiates His divine love within the sacred union of marriage 6.
4) It fosters trust and vulnerability.
God’s vision for intimacy within a marital union encourages trust and vulnerability.
In Proverbs 31:11-12, the Scriptures underscore how trust is cultivated as a man relies on his wife.
In this context, trust enables you to open up emotionally and spiritually, creating a deep bond (Ephesians 5:31-33).
Vulnerability and trust go hand in hand as a safe and exclusive environment within marriage promotes the sharing of one’s innermost thoughts and feelings 7.
This profound connection, rooted in trust and vulnerability, exemplifies God’s plan for intimate, authentic, and loving unions.
5) It is being enjoyed.
God’s purpose for intimacy includes the element of enjoyment within the marital union.
The Bible echoes this in Song of Songs 7:6-12, where it encourages enjoying the intimate connection between you and your spouse.
God intends for this closeness to bring you delight, fostering a loving and satisfying bond 8.
This enjoyment reflects His desire for you to experience the fullness of love and pleasure within the context of a loving and exclusive marriage. This affirms His divine plan for intimacy.
6) It reflects spiritual unity.
God’s motive for intimacy is intricately connected to spiritual unity within a marital union.
“Whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17, NIV). True enough, there is spiritual oneness when two people are joined together as one in marriage.
This unity is a reflection of God’s intention for you and your spouse to draw closer to each other and to Him through intimacy. It creates a harmonious and spiritually fulfilling bond that aligns with His divine design 9.
7) It is holy and honorable.
God’s desire for intimacy emphasizes that it should be holy and honorable within the confines of marriage.
“Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4, NIV).
True enough, sexual intimacy within the boundaries of marriage is considered sacred and pure in the eyes of God 10.
The honor and sanctity of this union are vital components of His design for intimacy. This emphasizes His desire for you to engage in a physical and emotional connection that is both morally upright and spiritually commendable.
7 Ways to Uphold God’s Standards for Intimacy
1) Enjoy God-given pleasure.
Upholding God’s standards for intimacy means embracing and enjoying His gift of pleasure within marriage.
The Word of God acknowledges the significance of this gift in Proverbs 5:18-19 (NIV): “May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”
As implied, take joy in each other’s love and delight in your intimate relationship as husband and wife 1.
This aligns with God’s intent for you to find happiness and satisfaction in the gift of marital intimacy, promoting a loving and fulfilling connection rooted in His divine plan.
2) Seek exclusivity.
One key principle of aligning with God’s plan for intimacy is to seek exclusivity within the marital union.
This means committing to a monogamous union where intimacy is shared exclusively between a man and a woman.
The Scriptures uphold the importance of exclusivity in marriage. Specifically, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24, NIV).
This pursuit of exclusivity aligns with God’s purpose for intimacy. It ensures that marriage remains a sacred and special connection shared solely between you and your spouse 11.
3) Practice open communication.
Practicing open communication fosters understanding and connection within the marital union.
By openly sharing thoughts, feelings, and concerns with one another, you can strengthen your emotional bond and resolve conflicts (Proverbs 24:3-4; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; Colossians 3:13).
But the Bible poses a reminder in Ephesians 4:29 (NIV): “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
True enough, the use of wholesome and edifying words is essential for maintaining healthy communication between you and your spouse.
This aligns with God’s design for intimacy, where transparency and openness in communication contribute to a deep and fulfilling connection. It promotes trust, vulnerability, and unity within the marriage 12.
4) Demonstrate Christian love and holiness.
Demonstrating Christian love and holiness is a key aspect of upholding God’s standards for intimacy.
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25, NIV).
This selfless love and pursuit of holiness promote a harmonious and God-honoring intimacy within the marital union 11.
By embodying Christian love and holiness, you can create an environment where intimacy reflects the divine love and purity intended by God in His design for marriage.
5) Build trust.
Building trust is essential in maximizing the plan God created for intimacy.
Proverbs 31:11 highlights the importance of trust between you and your spouse. This trust is a foundation for deep intimacy.
Confiding in each other and revealing your true selves foster a sense of vulnerability that strengthens your emotional connection 13.
This enables you to share your fears, desires, and struggles openly. It leads to a more profound and fulfilling intimacy in line with God’s design for marriage.
This emotional bond allows for a deep sense of unity and oneness in the marital union 14.
6) Maintain purity.
“Among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3, NIV).
True enough, maintaining purity is essential for upholding God’s standards for intimacy. It creates a foundation for a healthy and fulfilling marital union 15.
Doing so also safeguards the sacredness of the marital bond. It allows you to experience intimacy with a deep sense of holiness and honor, as God intended 11.
7) Protect your marriage.
Protecting your marriage is a crucial aspect of upholding God’s standards for intimacy.
In Proverbs 5:15-19, the Scriptures emphasize the importance of finding satisfaction in your spouse and being captivated by his or her love.
By safeguarding the sanctity of your marital union and remaining faithful to one another, you can ensure the longevity and strength of your marriage.
This commitment to fidelity, rooted in biblical principles, prevents the erosion of intimacy and secures your bond 1.
Doing so lets you enjoy the plan God created for intimacy within the safety of your marriage 11.
Express Your Thoughts
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Learn more about this topic by browsing through this course: Season 1 Lesson 10: God’s Design for IntimacyREFERENCES
- Benjamin Simpson, 2016, The Lexham Bible Dictionary
- Walter Elwell and Barry Beitzel, 1988, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
- Jacques van Lankveld, Nele Jacobs, et al., 2018, National Library of Medicine
- Allen Mallory, Amelia Stanton, et al., 2019, National Library of Medicine
- Bruce Chadwick, Brent Top, 2022, Brigham Young University
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- Amazing Facts International
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- Christianity, 2021
- Wendy Rose Gould, 2023, Very Well Mind
- Elaine and Willie Oliver, 2023, Adventist Family Ministries
- Wm Countryman, 2000, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible