How to Grow Intimacy in a Relationship and Get What You Really Want

by | Relationship Burnout

When it comes to growing intimacy in a relationship, I have a term I like to use; it’s called the Big Ask. It happens the very moment you expose who you really are without knowing for sure what the other person’s response will be. You take a chance. Let down your guard. Remove the barriers, take off the mask and reveal, This is who I am. All the while wondering, If I let you see who I really am, will you still like me? Love me? Choose me? That’s the Big Ask.

Is Intimacy Important in a Relationship?

Some people say our greatest need is to be loved. But I would say our greatest need when it comes to intimacy in a relationship is to be known and still loved. Seen and still liked. Still chosen. Accepted. Aah! That’s the good stuff! That’s when you know that you know, this love is real. 

I also believe a lack of intimacy in a relationship can slowly, over time, lead to burnout in the relationship. Because here’s the thing, if we hide who we really are and choose not to live known and seen, we never experience real love. We can’t because we’re hiding who we really are, and we know it.

For example, one afternoon, as my husband Larry Dale and I walked through a department store, I let it slip that I needed a dress to wear to weddings. All excited, Larry Dale says, Let’s go find you one!

Hoping to redirect him, Oh no, baby, I’ll come back and find one by myself. Let’s go shop for you!

Too late. LD had already turned towards the ladies’ department. Ugh. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Being Known is Scary

I mean, right out of the gate, I can feel what’s coming next, Size! For crying out loud, he’s going to ask me what size dress to pick out!!! 

Sure nuff, holding up a beautiful dress, Is this your size?

Now, I gotta tell you, in a nanosecond, I spun a perfectly deceptive plan in my mind, I’ll lie! Take the dress to the fitting room. Wait a few minutes. Come back out and tell him I didn’t like it. Boom. Done. Crisis adverted. 

I really, really wanted to lie. But lying kills any chance for intimacy in a relationship. And so I faced the embarrassment and said, No, Larry Dale, that’s not my size. Here’s my size. 

So after we picked out some dresses, I headed off to try them on, believing the worse was behind me. But wait, something’s wrong. Is that? It sounds like…? Sure enough, I turn to find my happy-camper man following me. For the love.

As I lifted my hand to give him the Heisman, I said, Oh no! No. You go sit over there.

But I want to help you like you always help me, he persists.

I’m giggling, but inside, I start to panic, No baby, it doesn’t work like that. 

I can see the disappointment – the joy leaving his face as I turn to walk away. Arranging the dresses on the fitting room hooks, I realized – I’m hiding from Larry Dale. 

Trying on clothes in front of your spouse might not be a Big Ask moment for you. But when it comes to intimacy in marriage – physical vulnerability is always high-risk territory for me. I felt the internal pull to live known – what we all really want. And I knew it was God encouraging me toward intimacy. But OMGoodness, I was terrified. Like seriously, my heart was racing.

Intimacy in a Relationship is Worth the Risk

Invited inside, Larry Dale was completely precious and kind and only wanted the best for me. We laughed and laughed and had the best of best times. And tucked inside one cherished moment, the sweetest gift of true love. He sees the real me and still wants me. Intimacy in a relationship is always worth the risk.

There’s this sweet phrase in 1 Corinthians 13, “just as God now knows me completely.” I really savor those words because they’re found in the love chapter, and they speak beautifully about intimacy in a relationship. And so, to me, they are the answer to my Big Ask with God. If you see who I really am, will you still love me? Like me? Choose me? Accept me? Yes! Oh, yes! You can always trust God to answer back, Yes!

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

Live Known, Seen, Loved

So, if you struggle with a lack of intimacy in relationships, here’s my prayer and challenge for you. With the ultimate security of knowing God sees you fully and knows you fully and still loves you, you’re safe to take chances with others. Go ahead! Let down your guard. Remove the barriers. Take off the mask and reveal, This is who I really am. 

My friend, nobody can beat you at being you! And even tho you might struggle to believe it, your uniqueness, your quirks, your failures, your story, and yes, even how you’re physically knit together has immense value and purpose in our world. So, as my preciously wise granddaughter loves to sing, This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. 

Live known – the glory of God shines brightly through you!

Question: Physical vulnerability is just one of many ways I struggle with intimacy in a relationship. How about you? In what way do you struggle with living known and seen? I’m listening. And I would love to hear from you!

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Thanks for stopping by! Until we meet again, remember – Trusting in Jesus, you’ll have more treasure than pockets. From my heart to yours,

Sandra Adcock Signature