Spiritual intimacy begins at the source: God. God is love, the apostle John assures us in 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” To love means to give. Jesus makes this very clear throughout his teachings and by his example. He died to allow us to love and be loved by God the Father. His loss was our gain.
But it was His gain too. Jesus returned to the Father to be one with Him, living in love for eternity. When you love your partner like Jesus loved you, you give. Their gain is your loss. But in the end, you gain too. You discover that in giving your partner what he/she needs, you experience love. Spiritual love. The kind where your ego and self-oriented needs die.
Dying hurts. It is ego and pride that shrinks, crying out in pain and despair along the way. Yet that is the path to spiritual intimacy with God and true love for your partner. You cannot love God if you hate your neighbour. The Bible says it and I’ve experienced it. Holding judgments against even one person out there, blocks you from feeling God’s love for you. Jesus said that the greatest command is to love God. Then he said in Mt 22:39 ”And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.”
The key words are “like it.” It means the same as. To love your neighbour is to love God. To love your spouse the way Jesus taught us to love, by putting ourselves last and others first may feel painful, but the reward is heavenly.
You will experience spiritual intimacy with your spouse when you put their needs ahead of yours, without compromising God’s teachings for you. It comes down to boundaries. You have to know when to give and when to take a stand. Give away what is their right to do. Take a stand where it is your right and even obligation to do (such as time spent building your faith).