Video Q&A: How To Build Non-Physical Intimacy, Part 1
Barry and Lori Byrne explore the question of how people can build healthy, non-physical intimacy in their relationships. Part 1 of 2.
LORI: Hi, everybody.
BARRY: Hi, guys. Welcome back. We want to talk to you today – actually had a question come to us about how do you develop healthy – build good, non-physical relationship –
LORI: Without sex.
BARRY: Yeah, intimacy, connection without sex – the non-physical.
LORI: Really, emotional connection.
BARRY: Yeah. And it’s a very big question, a very good, important question, and we can’t cover it all, but we each came up with two things that we wanted to share with you today – a couple things each to give you some guidelines on how to build a good, strong, healthy, non-physical connection.
LORI: Yes. And the first thing I thought about is, you can’t build any kind of emotional connection without spending time together. You know, we live in a society where it’s like we’re so busy, we pass like ships in the night. And that is not going to work for developing intimacy emotionally and relationally and even spiritually. And it’s funny because we this is just what we’ve done; we didn’t try to do this. But there’s so many parts of our lives that we’ve chosen to live life together; you know, raising our kids and everything. When you have kids, I think it forces you to come together because you need to be with your kids and you need to be as a family, and that has stuck. And we can end up enjoying being together almost in any situation. Like, we don’t have to have a big, wonderful date planned – which I’m not saying those aren’t good; those are, and we love that when we can do that, too. But most of life – if you could find things that you do every day that are in your normal schedule that you’re going to have to do anyway, and you can find ways to do these together, that is going to be really helpful because that’s going to be something that’s going to be constant and sure.
BARRY: Yeah. You know, I wanted to just emphasize one of things you said; we’ve chosen to be together, and it really is a choice. We all have the same amount of time. We may not live as long, but we have twenty-four hours in a day. We have to choose what we do with our time. We have to make relationship a priority, make time for the relationship a priority, and it’s easy not to do that. So, it’s an important choice that we make.
LORI: Yeah. And we’re at a time in our lives where we don’t have kids, so ours is going to look a little different than when we had kids. You know, we were kind of passing like ships in the night, but we still were intentional even back in those days. We would get up very early in the morning to go walk and pray and have our exercise time. And even when where our kids were very, very small, we would have them stand up on the piano bench and look out the window of the front room and watch. And we timed it. We could get around our whole block if we were booking; if we were going fast, we could do it in about two or three minutes. And so we’d say, “You know, if you get up early, and Mommy and Daddy aren’t there, go stand on the piano bench and look out and you can see.” And there’s always ways of working things out if you’re choosing and you’re wanting to be together. And that was a very important time for us because we worked long hours, and he came home. And you know, then we were together. And I want to say this, being intentional about the times that you can work being together. And we couldn’t do this when our kids were little, but we certainly can now. We can choose to exercise together. We can get up and go run on the River Trail together, or we can exercise in our basement when it’s raining. Or not – some days we do, some times we don’t. We go food shopping together sometimes; sometimes we divide and conquer because we don’t have time to do that. But we’ll think, “You know what? That – ” and it actually makes it more fun. And when you are working at staying connected – and I think that’s the biggest thing, is you’re making a choice to stay connected. Then like going to WinCo is great. Doing –
BARRY: And one other little bit of that is, when you do those things together, and you’re both contributing, you’re both giving, you’re serving each other also. And that giving to each other, even little things, daily things, builds connection also.
BARRY: And it kind of builds gratitude, thankfulness for each other.
LORI: Yes, that’s really true. You know, even just doing stuff in the yard. You know, he’s always done the lawns and done all of that, and I don’t really want to do that. But when there’s times where we could plant flowers together, or just sometimes I would just go out and watch him doing a project if I had some time. Again, those are choices you make. Because you could think, “Oh, I could go shopping, or I could do this,” and lots of times I want to do that, and I do that. But then there’s times like the other day that I was thinking, “Oh, I want to go down and watch him shoot his bow and arrow,” you know? And that’s not the most fun thing in the world for me because I can’t –
BARRY: It is for me.
LORI: I look in the binoculars, and I can tell him how close he is. And sometimes it’s hard for me to see, but it’s fun to be there with him in something that he is enjoying, and he’s loving. Walking and praying – I already said that; we still try to do that every day that we can, even on Saturdays and Sundays. Eating dinner together. Sometimes you would just expect that you would eat dinner together, but no. Sometimes we’re so busy; we’re on the run. We are not able to do that. And there’s a lot of stuff that happens during dinner. You can talk; you can look at each other. You can reach over and touch one another. It just gives you more opportunity. Just even getting ready in the mornings together. We try to go to bed together; we try to wake up together so that we are on the same schedule.
BARRY: Or at least get up at the same time and wake the other one up if one of them is asleep.
LORI: Yes. And we can’t always do that. This is not legalistic; it’s what we try to do, what we choose to do. And you know, the other night – let me give you just a quick example. We ate dinner. We fixed dinner; we got home late from work, and we fixed dinner. And it was so beautiful outside because, you know, it’s been raining so much. And it wasn’t raining, and the sun came out. So, we went, and we sat on the front porch swing. And we ate our dinner sitting on the swing together. And you know, we were just being so thankful. I mean, we didn’t work hard to be thankful for how beautiful everything was.
BARRY: And it had stopped raining, so that was really nice. There was so much rain.
LORI: Yeah, there was no rain. And then we went for a little walk because you know, our neighborhood has been burned, so we’re always going and checking and seeing how it’s doing and what’s happening –
BARRY: What’s growing and what’s turning green.
LORI: And what’s growing and what’s turning green and who is putting up what. We still haven’t had Wi-Fi, and so they’re putting fiber optics in. And we’ve been going and checking that. And then we came back, and because everything’s burned down so much, we can see a neighbor who lives clear across on another hill that we’ve not really been able to see that well. So Barry goes in, and he gets his binoculars, and we’re – “Yeah, we could see the front of their house, and we could see the windmill and everything.” And then we came inside, and we just felt like we really wanted to just pray for some things and take communion. And so, we did that for a while. We prayed for our kids; we prayed for friends. We prayed for situations, circumstances, and that was really cool. And then there’s a book that we started reading together by Joel Rosenberg. And he’s a great writer; we love him as a writer. And so, we ended our night reading, and we went to bed early because we’re really exhausted because we got up really early. But we ended our night reading in bed. And I only got about two or three pages, and I keep going, “Are you awake?” And you go, “Yes, I’m awake,” and then – but he wasn’t.
BARRY: I was falling asleep.
LORI: But those kinds of things – and we went to bed thinking, “That was such a fun evening together.”
BARRY: Yeah. One more thing I want to say about time and relationship and developing personal connection and intimacy – and, you know, I think we may not get through all four of our things this week; we have to come back next week and do the second half. But I had to make choices even about work, and important choices that made financial impact in our life, about like, for instance, not going into private practice right away after we got married and when our kids were little. When I started, we were in Southern California at the time; if I had done that, I would have needed to work evenings –
LORI: You wouldn’t have seen the kids.
BARRY: while Lori and the kids were at home. And I’m thankful that, largely through her father – Lori’s father was a pastor, our pastor, and he really emphasized family a lot and the importance of dedicating time and being devoted to your family as a father, as a mother, and each other as husband and wife. And it was just clear in my mind, “I don’t want to put work and making money – I don’t want to put my career ahead of my family.” And that was a big decision. I had to make another big decision later. I’ve made several big decisions regarding money and income. Another time I left a job and took a really significant cut in pay to go to a job that was less stress, fewer hours –
LORI: Closer, so you didn’t have travel as far.
BARRY: Right. And that one was partly for me because just the job wasn’t the right job for me, but it was also for our family. And so those decisions – sometimes, building a personal connection involves those kinds of decisions, that scale of decision –
LORI: Those kinds of sacrifice.
BARRY: Yeah, life decisions about, “I’m not going to do these things that maybe a lot of people think are very important, very valuable, other people esteem.” You know they get you a nice car, a nice house, make things look really good. But what if you have a great house, a great car, and you smile when you go out, and everything looks great, and you go home, and you don’t really have the emotional connection? You don’t really like being with each other; you’re not happy being at home with your spouse and your children. To me, it’s just not worth it at all.
So, let me just say a little bit more about that one, then we can come back and finish this next week. So, Lori talked a lot about how we discuss, how we talk to each other and needing to talk to each other. And actually in our Love After Marriage workshop, we talk about ways to go deeper in your communication. And one of the hindrances to going deep in an emotional, relational, non-physical connection is, we get wrapped up in life; we talk about everything in life except for us. Usually relationships start by talking about each other, and then you go on, and you get married. You have kids; you have jobs. You have all kinds of things – your church, ministry, vacation. You’re working out life together. And those things have to be done, but it doesn’t really build emotional connection very well. It doesn’t build non-physical intimacy very well. That comes from sharing from your lives, from your heart, from your mind, from your thoughts with each other. And you know, you can’t just talk about everything you’re upset about in the world and everything you’re complaining about, you know, in your life and your job or the world or whatever it might be, complaining about other people. That kind of communicating from what’s inside won’t build emotional connection. There’s a time for that, and some of those things may need to be talked through and worked through. But if that’s typical of the way you talk, it is not going to work. If you talk in a manipulative way with an agenda –
LORI: To try to get some something.
BARRY: Something from your spouse or whatever, you’re not being open. And, you know, our ministry is called Nothing Hidden Ministries, and we talk about this a lot of being truthful and loving in the way you communicate. So, you have to really pay attention and be intentional about how you talk and what you talk about, and open up from the inside. Continue to make time for that; share with each other what’s going on – what you are struggling with, but also what you’re excited about, what dreams you’re having. Not just things about where you want to go in life, but dreams you have at night, and learn to see how God is leading you in those dreams.
LORI: And what’s meaningful.
LORI: What’s meaningful to you and what’s meaningful to your spouse, and that could be two different things.
LORI: But being intentional about that.
BARRY: And one of the gifts that we’ve had in our marriage is that I really believe that the core of our attraction to each other is our values and our beliefs. And those things stay the same, even though there’s a lot of differences in personality, differences in interests.
LORI: We have lots of differences.
BARRY: Yeah, we’re very, very different. But those things – talking about what God is doing in our lives, what He means to us. Our faith, for both of us, is –
LORI: That’s the biggest thing.
BARRY: It’s the biggest, most important thing in our life. And that gets to the heart of who we are.
BARRY: There’s many other ideas, thoughts of stuff, politics and, you know, life and everything that is interesting, and we talk about those things.
LORI: And talking about your kids in a meaningful way is very enjoyable. You know, not the business stuff of, “I took so-and-so to the doctor, and I – ” you know, but meaningful. “This is what’s happening in their lives.” And there’s so many things, but I would say that, too, that I think spiritually what God is saying to us, what He’s doing, what He’s showing us, what He’s doing in our kids, what He’s – that is, I think – and we’re not just being religious. I hope this doesn’t sound religious, but it really has become the center of our emotional connection as well.
BARRY: Yeah. It’s very meaningful for us, and you can make it real for you, too. So, we’re just going to end there today. And I bless you to really want emotional connection, emotional intimacy, non-physical – I mean, if you’re married, obviously we want you to have sexual intimacy as well. But Lord, I pray that everyone that’s listening will really want this and will go after it and will seek after it and search for it and find ways to get this in their life and take risks to do it. And I pray, too, that you’d have the courage to – if you’re just in a developing relationship, to make sure the person that you’re with really wants to be connected to you.
LORI: He wants to know you.
BARRY: Yeah. And not just physically, but really wants to know you, wants to be connected to you, cares about you and relates, and they will continue to do that – they’re that kind of person. I bless you to have relationships that really are full of meaning, even non-physical meaning, for you. We bless you in Jesus’ name.
BARRY: And I wanted to mention one thing before we close today, and that is, we have a workshop coming up in May.
LORI: A two-day, special workshop.
BARRY: Right. Deeper Intimacy 2019. This will actually connect with what we were talking about today, and it’s for people who have been through LAM already, the Love After Marriage Workshop or our eCourse –
LORI: Or reading the book together.
BARRY: Or even reading the book, and just want to go deeper in your relationship. It’s new materials.
LORI: It’s stuff actually God’s been giving us all this year that we’re so excited; we didn’t know He was going to give us this much new revelation, but we’re trying to do this every year. And we have 2018 that we did last year, and 2019 that we’re doing this year. And it’s different, but we’re excited about it.
BARRY: It’s two days, Thursday and Friday, May 24th and 25th – what is it? Oh, 23rd and 24th – it’s the Thursday and Friday right before Memorial Day, so you can check the dates on your calendar. And we would love to see you there. We really believe God will help you go deeper in your marriage, in your relationship, through this time. If you’re interested in registering, go to our website, nothinghidden.com – nothinghidden.com.
LORI: Bless you guys.