Tag Archives: The Romantic Vineyard

Pursuing 4-Dimensional Intimacy

When someone asks me where to get date night ideas, The Romantic Vineyard is the first place I send them. The authors, Tom and Debi Walter, have been blogging for many years with practical tips, biblical truths, and romantic ideas to help couples nurture companionship and intimacy, including 430 date night posts. Wow.

But when I think about Debi Walter, I can’t help but think about how she inspired a chapter in my book. When I took up her challenge to the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association to talk specifically about the gospel, I wrote “The Gospel in the Bedroom.” Not only did I feel that chapter was a special message about sex in marriage — but that God had used Debi to invite me into His calling. An angel in the true sense of God’s messenger.

Thus, I feel particularly privileged to have this angel here on my blog today with a wonderful message about intimacy. Here’s Debi Walter.

Blog post title + close-up of couple embracing in a vineyard

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your form,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your form is lovely.”

“Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
While our vineyards are in blossom.”

Song of Solomon 2:14-15

This passage speaks of the precious gift a husband and wife share behind closed doors. He longs to see her form and to hear her voice. He compliments her, encouraging her into deeper intimacy with him. Such a picture of innocence and trust. It is precious and worth pursuing.

A man who has eyes only for his bride and a bride who lovingly allows him to have all of her without holding back is intimacy as God designed it. It is beautiful.

Our pastor shared a definition of intimacy that has helped us judge how we are doing in this regard. He says when we share intimacy with our spouse, we are inviting them “into me see.” We aren’t holding back in any area. Total disclosure and total trust.

Intimacy includes four areas where we must regularly invite our spouse in. We refer to it as 4-dimensional intimacy. If you’re not familiar with the term, 4-D is a fairly new way of viewing movies at the theater.

Definition: 4-D (adjective) describes a 3-D film experience that is supplemented with synchronized physical effects.

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they were one of the first to showcase this effect. We went to a 3-D presentation of A Bug’s Life. While we were watching the ants march on the screen, we felt something crawl under our seat. It made everyone jump and scream. Laughter followed when we realized that we were experiencing the movie on a new level.

Imagine what 4-D intimacy could do for our marriages? Let’s consider these four dimensions:

Dimension 1 – The Mind (Intellectual intimacy)

Every day our minds are bombarded with thoughts about work, family, budgets, and schedules. They can be like a tidal wave, and we must spend time sharing what is on our mind with our each other. To stay on the same page, so to speak, in regards to priorities and responsibilities. We must help each other take each thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

This is where we are tempted to worry about the future. Being honest about all the temptations you are both facing will go a long way in building intellectual intimacy together. This intimacy also includes growing and learning new things like current events, science, and history.

Dimension 2 – The Heart (Spiritual intimacy)

Feeding our Spirit with the Word of God and sharing what we are hearing the Holy Spirit say to us is important for our growth in godliness. When we got married, we invited the Holy Spirit to unite us forever, and a miracle took place. No longer were we two, but now we are one flesh.

Spend regular time talking about what God is saying to you. Encourage each other to pursue the Lord. This is spiritual intimacy helping your spouse cultivate their personal relationship with the Lord. This intimacy also includes commitment to the local church and serving others together.

Dimension 3 – The Soul (Emotional intimacy)

Emotions can change like the tide of the ocean — up one day and down the next. They can be predictable in their unpredictability, knowing for certain they will change. We must be committed to not only share our emotions with each other, but also giving each other time to be heard.

When I am feeling the most emotional is when the ground is ripe for a conflict. It takes patience and kindness on my husband’s part, not to mention discernment, in knowing what to say or not say. Often times a hug is all that is needed to let me know that he cares and is there for me. This intimacy also includes having fun together and finding ways to laugh.

Dimension 4 – The Body (Physical intimacy)

This is the intimacy that is supported by all the other intimacies mentioned above. You can have physical intimacy without the first three, but it will be one-dimensional only and not what God intended. Adding this element to the three above is as ecstatic and exhilarating as we felt experiencing the 4-D movie effect for the first time. It caused all the other dimensions to come alive.

It is what King Solomon was describing in our opening verse. Make love not because you have to, but because you get to. It is a gift. If it feels otherwise, I encourage you to seek help to find out why?

Make love not because you have to, but because you get to. Click To Tweet

This brings us to the last part of the verse in Song of Solomon that speaks of catching the foxes that spoil the vine.

Foxes were capable of completely destroying a healthy vineyard. They are known to not only eat the fruit, but also to chew on the trunk, killing the entire vine.

There can be many foxes after your intimacy, and only you know what they are. The question is, have you talked it over with your spouse? Do they know you well enough to know the foxes stalking your mind, heart, soul, and body? If they don’t I encourage you to open up and start the conversation. This is how you go after those little foxes and catch them before the damage is permanent.

Our new book, Cherishing Us: 365 Tips for a Healthy Marriage, can help you begin talking on a regular basis to help deepen your intimacy.

♥     ♥     ♥

Thanks so much, Debi! And to my readers, here’s more about the book:

CLICK TO LEARN MORE OR BUY

Cherishing Us is a compilation of advice shared the past several years on The Romantic Vineyard Facebook page. We brought them together in this handbook to allow you to keep the tips close for easy reference. Read one daily and use it as a springboard to assess your marriage. Let it be a constant reminder of the priority your marriage holds in your life as you seek to grow closer together for a lifetime. Includes monthly Contemplation Questions, Date Night suggestions, and ruminations on the importance of cherishing one another. Ideal for engaged couples, newlyweds, and enduring marriages. Give this as a wedding gift, or anniversary gift, or just because. Every marriage can benefit from daily reminders to honor the one you’ve promised to love and to cherish!

Dedicating This Love Song to My Hubby

Remember listening to the radio and people calling in to dedicate songs to their loved ones? The Romantic Vineyard marriage blog is currently hosting the Love Song Dedication to My Spouse Contest.

For the contest, entrants write or video what they would want a radio host to read to their spouse on air and include a link to their chosen love song and artist. There are more contest rules and details on the website, but I love this idea.

Dedicating This Love Song to My Hubby

Here are just a few possibilities for my list:

Somewhere during our engaged/early marriage days, hubby started singing (a little off-key) a song for me at random times: You Are So Beautiful to Me. I love the sentiments within, but I confess — I’m not a Joe Cocker fan, so I’m sharing a version by the man who co-wrote the song, Billy Preston (a duet with Ruth Jacott). This song is great for slow dancing!

I could get realistic about the journey of marriage — learning to live with someone who is not like you in every way and unlike you in some very annoying ways — and suggest Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off. It’s been recorded by many singers, but who doesn’t like a bit of Harry Connick Jr. (from one of my favorite movies ever)?

Or hey, I could simply hearken back to my college days and suggest this straightforward song from Sinead O’Connor: I Want Your Hands on Me. Yeah, that’s true of how I feel about my husband.

But without a doubt, I know my favorite love song. It’s a standard, written by George and Ira Gershwin, and performed many times through the years. However, I’m a huge Gene Kelly fan, and I first fell head over heels for the song in An American in Paris:

[Incomplete video, but it’s the best one I could find…]

The song has become even more beautiful and meaningful for me, because it matches how I feel about my husband, Despite the hardships and odds being against us at times, our relationship has stood the test of time. We are here to stay, because we’ve decided to be. We make that commitment, prioritize our relationship, and pursue intimacy.

What should the DJ say in the introduction?

I dedicate this song to Spock,” my loving husband of more than 20 years. We may not be typical in many ways, and plenty of times it would have been smarter to bet against us. We brought baggage into our marriage, had different expectations, faced plenty of challenges, and thought sometimes we wouldn’t make it. But God’s grace and our persistence have brought us to a place of deeper love and joy. You are the only one I want, the only one I love — and our love is absolutely here to stay.

Your turn. What song would you dedicate to hubby? Or wife? Be sure to share your pick with your spouse! (And you’re welcome to borrow any of my suggestions for your choice or just to get things started this weekend. 😉 )

Also, be sure to head over to The Romantic Vineyard to check out their contest!

Romance Infused with the Gospel

Well, color me happy! One of my favorite marriage bloggers is here today, talking to us about a subject I’d probably get a C- in — at best. Thankfully, Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard, is here to talk about romance — romance infused with the Gospel.

Take it, Debi!

♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

My cousin’s daughter just moved in with us for the summer. I could say she’s my 1st cousin twice removed, but then I’d have to explain what that means. So. I. won’t. 😉

tea & fruit steepingBut what I do want to share with you is this — she brought with her a tea infuser that holds loose tea and frozen fruit. She was putting the whole thing together last night to place in the refrigerator for a healthy drink in the morning. I was fascinated the next day when I saw how rich the color of the water was after steeping for hours. The fruit had dissolved its juices into the clear water making what I imagine was a very refreshing drink.

It made me think about how the Gospel infuses every aspect of our marriage with a richness that is fascinating and life-giving as well. It makes all the difference in how our marriage looks to others and most importantly how it tastes to us.

Romance is one of the best ways to enjoy the fruit of the Gospel in our marriage. You might not have considered this before, but it’s true. Without the Gospel — which is the finished work of Christ on the Cross that enables us to live our lives in sacrifice for the benefit of others as well as the glory of God — our romance would be for temporary pleasure alone. It would have no lasting value other than the enjoyment it brings in the moment. But when we romance our spouse because of the love Christ has shown us, preferring them in all we do, it produces a fresh aroma that others can’t help but notice.

I would define romance as the outward expression of an inward feeling. It could be shown through love letters written, date nights planned, passionate lovemaking, dinner out or a favorite meal cooked at home. Romance could be a look or a smile, a kiss or a warm embrace. But most importantly when infused with the Gospel, underneath it all is what motivates our acts of romance. It’s not just for the pleasure of our spouse — although that is a valid one. It’s for the glory of God. It’s our way of allowing His love to shine through us as we treat our spouse in a way we treat no one else on the earth.

This kind of romantic love is attractive. It makes others stop and ask if you’re newlyweds, which Tom and I have had people ask us before. We love watching their reaction when they hear we’ve been doing this for decades!  And immediately our gratefulness goes to God, for apart from Him we wouldn’t love each other the way we do. His love infuses everything we do — from our feelings, to our thoughts, to our prayers and to all our relationships, but mostly in how we treat each other.

I realize some reading this post might be in the midst of a very difficult time in your marriage. It may seem that what’s infused in your relationship is bitterness and discontent. I know how hard it can be to endure difficult seasons in your marriage. Tom and I have certainly had our share. But what you need to hear right now while steeping in this cold, dark place, is that God is faithful. He is at work and promises to bring about good to those who truly love Him and are seeking to live according to His purposes.

If you are lacking faith that your marriage will ever change, I encourage you to take your concerns to God. Cry out to Him for help in your time of need. Ask Him to infuse your marriage with the sweet fruit of the Gospel, not the bitter pill of what’s gone before.

We recently shared a daily marriage tip on Facebook that I think is the perfect way to end this post. It says:

My spouse should be the safest place where I can be myself and know I will be loved, accepted and encouraged to be the best I can be. Our past may inform our present, but it shouldn’t define our future.” 

Did you catch that? We can’t ignore our past, even what has already happened in our marriage that we’d like to forget. But with the Gospel Truth at work in our lives, our past shouldn’t define our future. God loves to take impossible situations and make them into something beautiful. 

May The Lord help you discover how to allow His Gospel truth to infuse the way you love and romance your spouse. As you do, be certain others will notice, and your marriage will grow all the stronger day by day, year by year, decade by decade.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV).

About Debi Walter

Debi WalterTom and Debi Walter have been cultivating their romantic vineyard for most of their 35 years of marriage. It has been their conviction from the start. Now they are passionate about helping other couples discover the rich harvest of romance available to them no matter the current season. Through their marriage blog, The Romantic Vineyard established in 2008, they provide regular posts about growing your marriage for God’s glory.