You may be asking, does recreational intimacy really matter? Seems pretty shallow compared to the rest of it.
Yes, it really matters. Let's take a closer look at it.
Recreational intimacy requires being friends. Being friends is foundational to a marriage these days unless you're background is from a culture of arranged marriages. Even then, after the wedding day I hope you become good friends.
A married couple generally spends a lot of time together so liking each other is most beneficial. :)
Here is Brennan Manning's definition of a friend.
A friend is someone who is glad to see you and doesn’t have an agenda to change you.
Isn't that great? It implies acceptance at a deep level. So, your spouse is going to have a few habits that annoy you. Get over it. You have some that annoy him or her. It's part of what makes a relationship great.
In Good Will Hunting Robin Williams reminisces about his wife who passed away. He laughs out loud as he tells Matt Damon how his wife used to fart in her sleep. :) It's fun. It's not your typical remembered moment of husband and wife. But friends sometimes laugh at each other's bodily functions. I think fun is a subcategory of recreation. Acceptance is essential in friendship.
This is my lover, this is my friend. Song of Solomon 5:16 NIV
Ann: That’s my lover, that’s my man! I love to encourage Ben as is mentioned in Song of Solomon. In The Message it says, That's my lover, that's my man! Join me ladies and bounce up and down and clap like I did as I cheerleader in junior high. Sing it with me ladies, If he can't do it nobody can. Be his Cheerleader! Affirm him; be his friend.
Acceptance and affirmation are important for both men and women.
And also, it is important to be authentic. Being authentic requires us to let our guards down. Given that you are dealing with an affair, this could be the person that has hurt you most, EVER. And we want you to let your guard down? Yes.
This whole journey is a journey of rebuilding trust. Without it there is no intimacy. We aren't telling you the exact time frame for this to happen, but at some point you'll have to risk it. Eleven months into this deal, if both of you have stayed engaged we hope there has been some basis for a risk of trust to occur. We hope that each of you are moving toward an attitude that contains the ability and willingness to trust and to let go of controlling a situation.
Friends accept one another, affirm one another and are authentic with one another. And they relish one another.
Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Ecclesiastes 9:9 MSG
Definition of Relish? “Hearty enjoyment, zest” “vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment” “derive or receive pleasure from; get enjoyment from; take pleasure in” “to take keen or zestful pleasure in”
Feel the energy in relish? Just like when you hang out with a good friend.
It's important to be in ‘like’ with one another.
Here is your assignment. It is simple and may or may not be difficult.
Turn to one another, look into each the eyes of your spouse and say, “I like you!”