Becoming One

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Overview

Open the pages of this book and learn how to experience exciting intensity in your sexual relationship, deeper levels of closeness on an emotional level, and the most fulfilling intimacy of all — spiritual ONEness.

  • With God's help you can make your marriage all it should be and all you crave it to be — no matter what it's like now. (page 24)
  • Men want action. Women want feeling. From day one they're set up to ...
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Becoming One: Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually

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Overview

Open the pages of this book and learn how to experience exciting intensity in your sexual relationship, deeper levels of closeness on an emotional level, and the most fulfilling intimacy of all — spiritual ONEness.

  • With God's help you can make your marriage all it should be and all you crave it to be — no matter what it's like now. (page 24)
  • Men want action. Women want feeling. From day one they're set up to misunderstand each other. (page 12)
  • Sometimes you must tell your mate the things you've done wrong, and sometimes you are much better off not to tell. The secret of a strong and intimate marriage is knowing what to share and what to leave buried. (page 108)
  • If you're in conflict over sexual desires—one wants to do something other doesn't — there is a logical and spiritual way to satisfy you both. (page 168)
  • As you grow closer to God, you will grow closer to each other. (page 225)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582293622
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,058,047
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Beam is an internationally known inspirational speaker and author. He founded Beam Research Center and serves as its chairman. He has spoken to millions of people worldwide in personal appearances as well as appearances on TV and radio, including ABC’s Good Morning America, Focus on the Family, the Montel Williams Show, NBC's Today Show, The Dave Ramsey Show, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and magazines such as People and Better Homes and Gardens.

After earning his bachelor's degree (Magna Cum Laude) from Southern Christian University, Joe did graduate studies in clinical psychology at the University of Evansville. He is currently involved in research to complete his PhD in biomedical science at the University of Sydney, consistently rated one of the top fifty universities in the world. The emphasis of his research is in sexology.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

He walked into my hotel room with a mumbled "hello."

Though my life's work is helping people and though I enjoy it very much, I employ a policy that never allows people to come to my hotel room. Never. But Sam had seen an ad in his local newspaper advertising that the president of Family Dynamics was speaking at a local church. Hoping that I might deliver him from the demon tormenting him, he found my lodging and implored a meeting until I yielded.

Now he stood silently before me, head hanging and shoulders drooping, until I directed him to the worn sofa situated in the middle of the room. I took the only other chair the proprietor had thought to furnish. Without looking up, Sam started into his story. It was the same story I've heard from countless others who, by their own actions, have caused the walls of their lives to crash in on themselves and everyone they love.

He'd been married twenty years, but for some time now, his relationship with his wife had barely existed. They'd drifted apart, taken up separate interests, and spent little time together — except during social functions, like church. They weren't sure they loved each other anymore. At least that was Sam's perspective.

Just two weeks before — on a whim — he had wheeled into a strip bar. Strip bars weren't a part of his lifestyle, and under normal circumstances they held no temptation for him. But on that particular night, he was feeling empty, alone. He was looking for something; he just wasn't sure what it was. Without any acknowledged thought process, he walked through the door into a world that had never existed for him before, unaware that he was leaving a world to which he might never return.

It was quite an eventful night.

By the time the sun groggily crawled over the horizon to reveal its own bloated, flushed face, Sam was recovering from his drinking binge while finishing breakfast at an all-night greasy spoon with a stripper half his age. They'd talked about life, dreams, and the futures they wished for but feared might never be. He told me how they'd instantly hit it off on some deep level, how she understood him like no one ever had, and how he had always longed for this kind of friendship with a woman.

Within a week he'd left his wife, rented an apartment, and moved in with this twenty-something whose trade in life was erotically enticing drunken men to give her their money.

Quite a rapid change for a churchgoing, pillar-in-the-community businessman and father.

Too much change. He couldn't live with it.

After just a few days with his newfound "soul mate," Sam had awakened to the realization that he didn't want to spend another night with this stripper. Guilt consumed him, and he surprised himself by discovering that he missed his wife — the woman he had convinced himself he had no affection for whatsoever. Bewildered and disoriented, he told the stripper to leave and spent the rest of the day wandering about in dazed confusion until he noticed the ad in the newspaper. That's when he tracked me down — the stranger he hoped could fix all this.

All my religious and moral values were offended by his actions, but I felt no anger toward him. What he had done was wrong — very wrong — but I was more interested in saving him than chastising him. Besides, I don't think I could have awakened any more guilt in him than he already felt.

As he finished telling me about the events of the last two weeks, he looked at me and asked the question I knew was coming. Not only did I anticipate the question, I knew the answer.

"Why?" he begged. "Why would I do a thing like that? It's so foreign to everything that I believe, everything that I am. Can you tell me why I'm doing what I'm doing?"

I paused just for a moment as an involuntary sigh escaped, then replied gently, "Sam, more of us have struggled with that question than you can ever know. I think I know exactly what is driving you — the same thing that drives so many people to misguided actions. It's the search for intimacy.

"You crave a warm, intimate, close relationship with another human being, and you were trying desperately to find something, someone, who promised to give it to you. Even though you didn't know what to call it, you knew that you wanted someone to share your very self with — your hopes, your dreams, your fears. That's what you thought you'd found in your stripper.

"But somehow, you've managed to discover what so many haven't yet figured out: Sex and intimacy aren't the same thing. That's why you told the stripper to leave. You longed for intimacy, but all you got was sex.

"If you ever had intimacy with your wife, you lost it long ago. But you don't want it lost. You want it so badly that your misguided search has cost you what little intimacy you had left. Sadly, your search is taking you farther from the treasure you seek."

I talked longer, fleshing out the thoughts above, until he interrupted my soliloquy by beginning to cry. Not the gentle, quiet weeping of tender moments. No, it was the bitter, angry expression of grief that accompanies a crushing discovery. With wonderment washing his eyes, he nearly shouted, "You're right! Oh, my God, you're right!"

Ultimately, I convinced Sam to call his minister. I sat listening as he laid out the skeleton of the story over the line, asking if the minister would go with him to tell his wife. They worked out a time to meet, talk in more detail, and pray before visiting with her. When Sam finished the conversation, I prayed with him and sent him on his way.

He left with a mixture of horror and hope.

I didn't know which of those emotions would find its fulfillment.

I knew that by the grace of God I'd started Sam on the right path, but I also knew that his own sinful actions had strewn that path with danger, pitfalls, and seemingly insurmountable obstructions. I watched through the curtains as he drove away, praying again for God's will to be done for Sam and his wife. I wanted to have hope for them. Maybe his wife would forgive him and, despite what he had done, work toward intimacy. Maybe he could focus on his relationship with her, find forgiveness, and find what he was seeking.

Maybe.

My Own Story

The reason I was able to so easily identify what Sam really wanted is that I, too, had to discover my intense need for intimacy the hard way. I have been in situations and done things of which I'm terribly ashamed. Many times in my life I've had to face overwhelming guilt, trying to figure out how I got into some situation or why I did some sinful act. I vainly tried to understand myself by analyzing environment, childhood events, potential genetic flaws, satanic traps, and even the possibility that at heart I am fatally morally flawed.

At one time or another I blamed each of those causes, but my understanding of my struggles wasn't to come through self-analysis. God decided to teach me a different way.

Because God sees me in a different light than I see myself — the light of grace — He continually gives me the ministry of helping people who struggle and fail as much as I do. He's done it for as long as I can remember. Not only does He graciously use me to help them, He often uses them to explain me to me.

It was during one of those times when I was helping another struggling Christian that I suddenly realized what God had been revealing to me through others for years. I finally understood that very often it is a person's drive for intimacy that misguides him or her into sin. As soon as that awareness blossomed, I immediately understood my own struggles and, better yet, the final solution to them.

I'd been seeking intimacy with God and a good marriage with Alice but had never seen the two goals as more than indirectly related. Instantly I knew that the only way to develop the godliness and wholeness I craved was to seek intimacy with God and with Alice as a unified goal. Unless I could accomplish that, I would struggle spiritually for the remainder of my life.

As soon as I experienced that "aha!" I realized that because intimacy was missing in our marriage, Satan's forces had been able to lead me astray. For the first time, I finally saw the truth that I would later share with Sam. Intimacy is the key. We seek it from the moment we are conscious that we are alive and continue until the moment we have our last conscious thought on this planet. Only when we live in an intimate relationship with another person and an intimate relationship with God do we have the very treasure we live our lives to find.

God made us that way.

Our God-Given Craving for Intimacy

God Himself placed the desire for intimacy within each one of us. He made us with two powerful carvings that permeate or motivate nearly everything we do:

1. Every human craves intimacy with another human.

2. Every human craves intimacy with God.

Understanding those two under girding drives within human nature gives great insight into many of our actions, both logical and illogical, holy and sinful. They explain a lot about why we do what we do. Sound simple? Maybe it should be, but it gets complicated because of the difference in men and women.

One thing we at Family Dynamics Institute have discovered is that while both men and women need the same kind of intimacy, their approaches to trying to fulfill that need aren't always the same. Though we refuse to stereotype, we have noted in our work with thousands of men and women that there are some general characteristics that tend to be repeated within genders.

For example, we have learned that men tend to focus more on the actions of intimacy while women tend to focus more on the feelings of intimacy. Not every man. Not every woman. But enough of each that many people find themselves unfulfilled in their search for intimacy, even though they are married to a person driven by the same craving.

Why?

Many men think that being intimate with their wives means having sex with them. If one man describes the night before with his wife as being intimate, most other men would think he was saying they made sexual love. Even when you remove sex from the equation, a man is still more likely to think that intimacy with his wife is doing something for her, like building her a gazebo in the backyard or bringing her breakfast in bed. For many, if not most, men, intimacy is something you do.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to view intimacy as a feeling of closeness that may not be associated with any action at all. She wants conversation, sharing, warmth, and affection. She can feel those things just sitting on the sofa with him, daydreaming. He, on the other hand, is much more likely to want romantic encounters, uninhibited passion, or a saucy, seductive telephone call in the middle of his workday.

Let's illustrate further. A man like I'm describing would complete a rather energetic lovemaking session with his wife by falling into a contented sleep, having experienced intimacy as he defines it. If his wife is like women I'm describing, sleep may not come so easily for her. Suppose they had drifted apart emotionally, even in dimensions so small the husband may not have noticed. In a situation like that, she may lie there for hours after their lovemaking, wondering where their marriage is failing, before finally escaping into a restless sleep filled with wishes for some magical rekindling of their relationship. The act of intimacy had taken place, satisfying him, but the feeling of intimacy didn't exist for her. He thought they had both experienced intimacy; she felt that neither of them did.

Who is right? What is intimacy? Is it an action or a feeling?

In reality, both actions and feelings play a crucial role in real intimacy. In a sense, it's like faith in James 2. It exists in the heart (feeling), but the only way it proves its existence is by what it does (action). The actions aren't intimacy; they are merely vital signs that prove that intimacy is alive. You can no more replace intimacy with actions than you can replace faith with works. But intimacy isn't just feelings either. A claimed faith that never demonstrates itself isn't faith at all. In the same way, a proclaimed intimacy that doesn't express itself in actions isn't intimacy. True intimacy means more than having an active sex life, and it means more than warm, romantic feelings for a knight in shining armor. It means investing time and effort into satisfying the deepest longings of each other. It means making a safe place to share the secret parts of yourselves — your hopes, your dreams, your fears. It means sharing in a physical union that is open and free, ranging from touching to sexual fulfillment. It means having fun with each other. It means growing together spiritually and in your own personal relationship with God. Isn't that what you really want? I know I do.

The Craving for Intimacy with Another Human

From the very beginning, God has shown us that we humans desperately need intimacy with another human.

So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

To understand yourself and your mate, please take the time to think this passage through carefully. Likely you've read it or heard it many times, but see it afresh as we dig into its depths. It holds the key to the most powerful drives within us.

When God made Adam, He left him as a lone creature with no counterpart. Every other animal had a mate, but not Adam. God wouldn't complete the creation of humankind until man craved the completion. To make sure that Adam grasped his incompleteness, God directed him to name all the animals so that in that naming process, poor Adam would come to a great and crushing realization: Not only was he different from the others in terms of intelligence and spiritual dimension, but of all God's creatures, he was the only one totally alone. The only one without a matching part.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word translated alone in Genesis 1:18 is written in English as bad. Perhaps that's coincidental, but it seems almost prophetic — as if God looked forward in history to a time when people would speak English and wanted to give them a message, as if he wanted them in their own language to comprehend that it's bad for a person to be alone. We know God feels this way because it was He who said, "It is not good for the man to be alone."

But the greater dimension of the Hebrew word for alone means a "piece or part of something." And this also applies: Adam was only a part or piece of the whole. He was made to be a part of something that did not yet exist in totality. Only when God made the woman was the process finished.

Verse 18 of Genesis 2 uses the phrase "help meet" (kjv) or "helper suitable" (niv). In the original Hebrew, that phrase means someone to correspond to or match the other. That's why Adam was so alone: His corresponding or matching part didn't exist yet. God made Eve to complete Adam. And of course, Adam, in turn, completed Eve. Humankind requires two parts to make the whole: a man and a woman. By the design of God, each needs the other.

As soon as Eve came into existence, Adam knew that she completed him. She was his ideal and perfect match, his corresponding being. The two of them together would make one. That's why the text says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

One flesh.

United.

God created us with this need for intimacy with a mate. We've craved it from the beginning of the world. And He created this union to be the closest relationship on earth — even closer than our relationship with the father and mother who gave us life and sustenance. And since God made humankind with this strong need for intimacy with a mate, it exists for all people who have lived or ever will live on this planet — except for specific individuals whom God has intentionally gifted for singleness.

If your life seems empty or unfulfilled, it may well be because you don't feel the intimacy with your spouse God designed you to have. If you experience feelings of loneliness or occasionally find yourself longing for a relationship very different from the one you now have, it's almost a sure thing that intimacy hasn't reached its intended level.

The Craving for Intimacy with God

Not only did God create us to crave intimacy with our spouses, He also created us to have just as strong a desire for intimacy with Him. And just as a human alone is only a part of the whole, people without God are only a part of what God intended them to be. Hear this well: You will never achieve intimacy with your mate to the level God intended if each of you doesn't also strive for intimacy with Him.

Don't underestimate the power of what you just read. It isn't just "religious" talk; it's the absolute truth. Let me say it again: If you want the deepest level of intimacy with each other, you must first each develop a deep level of personal intimacy with God. If you try to develop marital intimacy without intimacy with God, you will shortchange yourself and your mate.

What makes me so sure of that? Again, it's the way God made us. Let me illustrate that from the Bible by sharing the outpourings of the inspired psalmist as he articulates his deep craving for intimacy with God on high.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you. . . . Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. . . . On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. . . . My soul clings to you.

"Your love is better than life." Quite a statement, isn't it? He sounds like a man completely lost in his love for a woman. But it isn't that kind of intimacy he craves here. It's just as intense, but it's directed not toward another human but toward God Himself.

Whether you recognize it or not, you, too, have that kind of longing for the presence of God. That need is just as inherent in us as our need for union with another person. But just as some people are too misfocused or unfocused to understand their need for intimacy with a mate, others are too misfocused or unfocused to understand their need for intimacy with God. The craving is there but buried under layers of misdirection and misunderstanding.

If a person says he or she doesn't need God, does this mean the need is not there? No; it just means that the need isn't acknowledged. And because it isn't acknowledged, the person is missing out on the most fulfilling relationship he or she could have — intimacy with God. Unfortunately, it means missing out on the second most fulfilling relationship as well. A lack of intimacy with God affects not only your relationship with God but also your relationship with your spouse.

That even applies when one spouse craves and seeks intimacy with God and the other doesn't. That couple's intimacy suffers as well. If either of the spouses varies greatly from the other in any of the three areas of intimacy (sexual, emotional, and spiritual), they drift farther apart rather than coming closer together. But if both come closer to God, their intimacy grows dramatically.

But if both spouses move closer to God (each moving up their respective sides of the triangle), the distance between the spouses decreases. In other words, by coming closer to God, they come closer to each other.

ONEness

Alice and I learned this firsthand. We'd just finished a very special weekend that I called Wounded Believers. With more bravado than courage, I'd called a Christian couple I didn't know in Atlanta and asked them if I could take over their house for an entire weekend. Because God had blessed this couple financially, they owned a rather large dwelling that could accommodate a large group.

I brought about thirty.

Everyone there was a Christian who had been through some type of spiritual suffering — some because of their own actions and some because of what others had done to them. The idea was that we Wounded Believers would spend an intensive weekend in spiritual study and growth. We'd worship, pray, study, share, and, if needed, confess. No schedule guided us. We ignored clocks. We stopped and cooked when we wanted to eat. We ended our sessions late and drifted off to sleep in the wee hours. Our focus was completely on how each of us could restore or renew our relationships with God.

Exhausted physically and emotionally, Alice and I were the last ones to leave on Sunday afternoon. Alice has a servant's heart and wouldn't leave the donated house until it was absolutely perfect. That's one of the things that makes her so special. As we drove on the three-hour trip home, we talked little and thought a lot. During the drive home, Alice suddenly said, "You're different somehow."

I looked at Alice as she said it and thought, "Yeah, I am. And it's not just on the surface. Something happened to me deep inside, and I didn't even notice it as it happened. I just know that I'm different. Changed. Better."

During that weekend, my own relationship with God changed and, as a result, I changed too. I wasn't hyped or exhilarated. I was calm. Calmer than I'd been in years. And at peace. At peace with God. At peace with where I was in life. At peace with myself.

While the weekend affected Alice in very dramatic ways as well, it seemed to affect me more. It didn't take long to figure why. I needed it more. She was closer to God than I. I'd let too many things get too important and too demanding to keep myself on an even spiritual keel like she had.

What happened next was one of the most profound experiences of our marriage.

Alice said, "I've lied to you."

Surprisingly, her statement didn't startle me. No defenses came up. No adrenaline rushed into my bloodstream. None of my normal reactions that might have slammed me on hearing those words.

"Really? About what?"

It's not important for you to know what the lie was. In the context of many things it could have been, it wasn't even that big a deal. She had manipulated something because she was trying to protect me from feeling bad, and now she wanted to set it right. The lie wasn't the important thing. What was happening in our relationship was. We talked with complete openness and honesty. We each shared our hearts with each other without any defensiveness, dodging, or denigration. We talked more intimately than we had in years.

And it was all because of a deeply spiritual weekend where each of us had worked on his or her own relationship with God. By becoming closer to Him, we had changed for the better our relationship with each other.

We recommend that same process for you.

By now, you've seen that God's natural order for men and women is that they be one. So let's make the word one easy to remember. Forming it into an acrostic we see:

O - our

N - natural

E - element

Becoming ONE simply means fulfilling and living within our natural element. It isn't supposed to be unusual or extraordinary: Instead, it's the union that God intended from the very beginning. When two people marry each other, ONEness is the way it's supposed to be! So from now on, when we refer to becoming one, we'll do so with capital letters. Becoming ONE. Achieving ONEness.

Two parts that make a whole.

Two people becoming ONE.

That's what you wanted when you married, wasn't it? Wholeness. Completeness. ONEness.

What Happens When Intimacy Is Missing?

The sad truth is that the vast majority of marriages — even Christian marriages — have failed to achieve ONEness. Too many husbands and wives live in marriages that range from empty and unfulfilling to miserable, often wondering how in the world they got into their marriages and wishing for a way out. We at FDI continually hear a statistic that our work with thousands of couples leads us to believe is accurate. It says that only one in four marriages is happy.

One in four.

Scary, isn't it?

If true, this means that 75 percent of married couples exist in a marriage without the intimacy God intended. Unhappy and unfulfilled, they remain in their marriages for one reason or another — religious values, children, economic reasons, lack of alternatives, and the like. Some accept their sad state, believing that nothing can be done, and try to find other things in their lives to fulfill them. Others cannot accept such an empty union and grow angrier by the day, fighting and quarreling until the marriage explodes into fragments that even professional marriage therapists cannot put back together. Still others try to ignore the need, pretending that things are okay, until one day one of the partners finds that he or she has fallen in love with someone new.

Maybe your marriage is one of those unfulfilled ones. Is it possible? Might you be unfulfilled and unhappy in your marriage? If you have the accompanying workbook, Becoming ONE: Exercises in Intimacy, the first exercise in chapter 1 should help you get an idea of how satisfied you really are. We suggest you complete it and see. Why? Because if you aren't happy in your marriage, then you — like the rest of those in the 75 percent category — are a perfect target for satanic attack. No Christian should be naive enough to think that Satan's evil ones would bypass such a great opportunity to sow their seeds of discord, discontent, and deceit.12 If you've settled into lethargy about your marriage, bad times are coming.

Don't think that everything will be okay and that you should just accept and endure a marriage without intimacy. Incomplete marriages — marriages that have not achieved ONEness — may seem acceptable on the surface, but the people who exist in them continually find themselves confronted with temptations or failings that wouldn't exist — or at least wouldn't have the same level of power — if ONEness existed in their marriages. Their susceptibilities to these pitfalls aren't because of some inward evil or lack of moral fiber, though they may end up committing moral evil. Their struggles with sexual temptations or unacceptable emotional involvements or excessive striving for success, fame, and recognition or a host of other character weaknesses come as an indirect result of their unfulfilled need for complete intimacy.

Remember Sam? He didn't walk into that strip bar because of sexual addiction or even overpowering sexual temptation. Sam didn't know it, but what drove him into that bar was his craving for intimacy — sexually, emotionally, and spiritually. Because he didn't understand the true inner need that propelled him, all he keyed on was his lack of sexual fulfillment. Too godly to openly seek out a paramour, he instead paid to watch provocative women. In his emotionally confused state, he was unaware that once he crossed that barrier, he opened himself up to whatever impulse seized him next.

His unconscious search for intimacy led him into an act of degrading sin.

Don't be so spiritually and emotionally naive as to think that a similar delusional process couldn't happen to you or your spouse.

God Will Give You ONEness

If you have the intimacy we've talked about thus far, praise the Lord! But if your marriage isn't all it should be, God is not happy with your marriage. As we saw in Genesis 2, He created us to find fulfillment in marriage, and that is what He wants for you.

If God doesn't accept your lack of ONEness in marriage, then neither should you!

If you don't have ONEness, don't have it on the level you feel it should exist, or just want more of it, what can you do?

We believe we can help. That's why we developed this study; the accompanying workbook, Becoming ONE: Exercises in Intimacy; and the interactive course, Becoming ONE. You don't have to live your whole lifetime — or even another year — without having what God intended for your marriage. God not only wants you to have intimacy in your marriage, He tells you how to have real, fulfilling intimacy — and we will show you His plan throughout this book.

Demand ONEness. Work for it. Do what it takes to achieve it.

Strive for the ONEness God wants you to have with the person to whom you are now married. No matter what you feel about that person at this moment — love, mild affection, hatred, or emptiness — you can and will have the intimacy God intends. All you have to do is follow His direction. We've seen it happen time and again.

The following story of one couple illustrates how pursuing intimacy with God and with your spouse can reap rich rewards. A couple of years ago, I briskly entered an auditorium filled to standing room only by thousands of people impatiently waiting for the speaker to arrive. That's why I moved briskly: I was the tardy speaker. A hurting couple had commandeered me in the parking lot and wouldn't release me until I heard their hurt and told them where to find the cure. Now, making my way down the overcrowded side aisle, mumbling apologies to the people I was stepping on and tripping over, I found myself suddenly brought up short by a giant of a man standing determinedly in my way.

"You Joe Beam?" he arched his eyebrow and bored his eyes into me as he asked, making me a little unsure of whether I wanted to identify myself.

"Ahhh, yeah, ummm, I'm Joe Beam."

"My name's Brad, and this is Thelma," he said as he magically produced a bashfully smiling, petite lady from behind him. "We were married for twelve years before we split up. When I left, I couldn't remember ever loving her and just wanted to be free of her, her family, and anything else that had to do with her. You felt the same way about me, didn't you, honey?"

She smiled more broadly in reply.

"Well, anyway, our preacher wouldn't give up on us. Kept telling us that God could fix this if we'd let Him, but that just sounded like preacher talk to me, you know? Finally, just to get him off my back, I agreed to go through your His Needs, Her Needs course at church. Thelma had already said she'd go."

At that point, he got misty-eyed and hugged her tight against him. "Man, did I ever see the power of God! He worked on me for those eight weeks, bringing me closer to Him. And when that happened, something changed in the way I thought about Thelma. I don't even know that I can explain it except to say that I don't think I would ever have come to love her if I hadn't first learned something about loving God.

"Thelma and I struggled through the tough parts of that course as we did all the things you told us to do on the tapes and in the handbook. We worked hard, not because we wanted to, but because we got to liking the folks in our group and didn't want to let 'em down, and because I was beginning to grow in God like never before. I don't know that I can tell you the exact moment it happened, but one day I realized that I loved this woman. And I found out that she never stopped loving me.

"I just want to make sure you tell these people that God can do anything with a marriage, no matter how bad it is. If He can turn me around and give me love and a great marriage with my wife, He can do it for anybody. If you just do what God tells you to do, you get what God promises. You tell 'em that for Brad and Thelma."

I did tell them, and now I'm telling you: God can do anything in your marriage — no matter what it's like right now. If you love each other now, He can show you how to love with deeper levels of intimacy. If you don't love each other, He can create love in your relationship in ways that defy comprehension. Just as He created our world from absolutely nothing, He can create deep, abiding, intimate love in your heart even if none lives there now.

He is Creator.

He can do it.

Trust Him.

But remember, if you want deeper, more fulfilling intimacy with your mate, you must first develop deeper, more fulfilling intimacy with God.

Personal Application

If you have the accompanying workbook, Exercises in Intimacy, we recommend that you complete the exercises there. If you don't, we give Personal Applications at the end of each chapter in this book to help you apply what you're reading to your life.

1. Remember your dreams. Try to remember the dreams and expectations you had about marriage when you were a child or young teen. Write as many of those dreams and expectations as you can.

2. Review and reflect. Review what you've written to find which of your childhood expectations about marriage involved your desire for intimacy. Reflect on what those expectations tell you about how you could be most fulfilled in marriage now.

3. Share together. As a couple, make a time when you will have no distractions and share with each other your reflections from activity 2 above.

4. Talk openly. Talk openly about what would fulfill each of you and how the two of you together could develop your relationship to that level.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction: Intentional Intimacy

1: The Craving for Intimacy

God Created Us for ONEness

2: The Triune Nature of Intimacy

Learning How to Love — Sexually, Emotionally, and Spiritually

3: Repairing Intimacy Diversions and Drains

Understanding How Intimacy Is Generated

4: Developing Emotional Intimacy, Part 1

Learning Intimacy from the Inside Out

5: Developing Emotional Intimacy, Part 2

Learning How to Make Intimacy Grow

6: Developing Sexual Intimacy, Part 1

Opening the Door to Sexual Ecstacy

7: Developing Sexual Intimacy, Part 2

Becoming Consummate Lovers

8: Developing Spiritual Intimacy — As a Couple

Removing Barriers and Finding Intimacy through Acceptance

9: Developing Intimacy with God — Personally

Becoming His in Mind, Body, and Spirit

Appendix: Overcoming Negative Sexual History

Getting Past the Bad to Enjoy the Good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2003

    Intense, Practical, and Real

    Not your typical, 'buy my book and I will tell you to communicate.' This book is exceptional in that it is intensely real and useful. It is immediately applicable to your relationship and it is unique.

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