Nancy and the kids were already in bed. Josh was in his home office, finishing up a major presentation for work. As Josh was about to shut down his computer, the monitor faintly illuminated a nearby picture that captured his attention. Josh picked up the frame, sat back in his chair and began to reflect on its image.
Taken over 10 years earlier, it was a picture of the newly married couple's customary first dance. Nancy was absolutely stunning in her white, tastefully sequined wedding dress. The veil no longer shrouded her face, but formed a translucent drape over her dark hair that softened its ebony shade. The look in their eyes, along with their unrestrained smiles, evinced their love for one another and the possibilities for their future.
Josh stared into space and fondly remembered those early years. He and Nancy knew they were a "match made in heaven." They both took their faith seriously and held to the same basic values. During premarital counseling, they had talked about everything from finances to martial expectations. Each session served to deepen their commitment to one another, and confirmed their mutual, authentic love.
Neither he nor Nancy had wavered from their marriage commitment. Since their first dance, their family had grown. They now had three children, ages 8, 5 and 2. Josh's income provided them a modest lifestyle and allowed Nancy to be the stay-at-home mom she had always envisioned. They both were involved in their church family and residential community. Though there were those typical moments of tension between them, Josh felt generally good about his relationship to Nancy.
Yet, as he held the picture in his hand, Josh couldn't help but wonder: Does Nancy still feel toward me as she did on our wedding night? Is it possible for our relationship to experience deeper intimacy and increased joy? They had worked out the necessary roles and responsibilities that come with running a household. And, they had responded in generally positive ways to various crises that presented themselves. Yet, Josh still wondered: Can there still be more to this marriage? Is it possible to "dance" once again?
Many couples find themselves in this quandary. For the most part, their marriages are intact, and their lives are fairly well managed. They may not be facing any major relational tension, but the typical rigors and stresses of life's responsibilities leave them somewhat dull of heart, longing for deeper connection and intimacy.
Such growth in intimacy and connection is possible. Marriages are not predestined to devolve into mere social contracts in which a husband and wife simply fulfill roles and responsibilities while passion and romance become inevitable casualties. A basic understanding of God, and how He created humans, will help develop deeper intimacy in marriage.
When we learn that God, who is love, created humans to exist in intimate relationship with Him and one another, we are in a better position to develop our relationships. By allowing God, the ultimate and infinite source of authentic love, to flow through us, we find ourselves loving each other in divine ways. We begin to experience marriage more as a "sacred dance" than a human contract.
This series will explore the theological basis for this human longing to connect. In so doing, it will consider the real source of authentic love, and some possible ways we can tap into it. Finally, it will flesh out some practical relational implications from these basic principles.