Intellectual Intimacy in Marriage

Intellectual intimacy is NOT an option in marriage – It is primal and necessary for marital success and fulfilment of partners. We cannot deny the weight of intellectual activity on our lives. If we decide to shut our spouse out of our business life or think we should not be interested in their own business, we are definitely creating a significant gulf in our relationship. 

Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.

Genesis 2:18 [Amplified Bible]

Intellectual intimacy occurs when couples are open-minded towards each other. They are comfortable to exchange ideas and thoughts and are not scared to accept their similarities or even differences in their inclinations to issues of life. Intellectual intimacy cannot grow in an oppressive and intimidating environment. Intellectual intimacy flourishes in an environment that accepts that partners in the relationship are equal but different. It is also important that appropriate respect is given to each other’s intelligence. This is not about who is superior or who is inferior; this is about developing mutual respect for each other’s ideas and inclinations. 

In Genesis 2:20, “… Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. Adam had the mind and the intelligence to name all the creatures but he also had enough insight into what would make him complete that he found none of these creatures good enough to be an help meet for him. It is pertinent to note that God was not surprised that Adam did not find a suitable help from all of them. This exercise made it clear to Adam that none of all these creatures which he had named would be suitable enough for him to fulfil his dreams. Adam needed someone to talk with, someone to discuss with; someone to reason together with and someone who would spur him on to fulfilment. He needed someone he could love and show affection to. Someone who is not just helping him, but someone he also can help. How can a dog or a lizard meet these needs? He needed a woman who has the mental and spiritual awareness to stand with him and walk with him for the fulfilment of purpose. Adam needed someone of his essence and quality to help him. God had to make the woman from the man so that both Adam and Eve are of the same essence. Both are from the same stuff. God took of the body of Adam to fashion the woman. 

If you can do it all by yourself and if you do not need your spouse then you should not have been married. Once we have decided to marry, we should accept that we do need our spouse and we should be ready to be connected to them intellectually. They must be good enough for our destiny if we chose to marry them! If you think your spouse is not smart enough then your own smartness is questionable. How can you be so smart and you choose someone who is not smart? Your marital choice cannot be divorced from your capacity to make right decisions.

Intellectual intimacy becomes very difficult in a sexist relationship where one sex is preferred to the other or valued more than the other. Some husbands do not see any reason why they should share their business thoughts, triumphs and challenges with their wives because they think their wives are not supposed to be involved in that area of their lives. Marriage is not a competition ground and God has not brought the man and the woman together for them to compete for superiority or trophies. The woman is a suitable help and therefore should be able to connect to the man in all areas of his life. In many marriages this is where the tension lies. Wives need to be able to relate with their husbands intellectually and husbands should engage their wives in all matters that pertain to life and business. Remember, the bible makes it clear that it is not sufficient for the man to be alone, or the woman to be alone – husbands and wives should be able to plan together to move forward in life. It is amazing how many people get married only to suddenly discover that they are too smart for their spouse. We should be careful not to allow arrogance rule our marriages. Intellectual intimacy helps us to develop mutual dependence and trust in our relationship.

We should be concerned about each other’s dreams, purpose and career. There should be nothing hidden between a man and his wife. Let everything be laid bare. Transparency in marriage is not a weakness; it is a sign of strength and oneness. How can we effectively help our spouses if we are intellectually disconnected from them? If we cannot reason together, how can we plan to move forward together? We need patience to bring our spouse into our world. They should not be scared or intimidated to connect to us. What gain do we have in making our spouses inferior to us? Why should they feel disadvantaged because of the disparity in educational qualifications or family background? If you chose to marry someone, you should choose to bring them into every area of your life without any form of fear or arrogance. Our relationships need to move toward the position where no one feels threatened or inadequate to meet up intellectually with their spouse. We obviously can learn from each other as iron sharpens iron.

A change in your mind-set will fuel your capacity to make this happen in your marriage. More Grace!

Lekan Wellington Adegunwa