Episode 17: Why Nurturing Your Intimacy Will Uplift Your Marriage and Life

Transcript

Welcome to the Best Versions Podcast, where I help you unlock your fullest potential to move from average to excellence in Worship, Energy, Love and Legacy.  

I’m your Host, Rushdhi Ismail. A computer engineer turned nutrition and life coach. I will use my experience of over 25 years in the personal and spiritual development field to provide you with practical tools to move from average to excellence, bi’idnillah

Alhamdulillah, as usual, I’m super excited to meet you again in another episode of the Best Versions Podcast.

In my attempt to help you quit mediocrity and work towards excellence, I’ve prepared another incredible episode to spice up your love life!

If you are a regular listener, you know that we talked about ten tips to transform your marriage from average to excellence in the last two weeks. I hope you have listened to that two-part series.

Out of 10 tips I gave you to transform your marriage from average to excellence, the third tip I mentioned was to nurture your intimacy. I promised that we’ll talk about intimacy in more detail today.

So, here we are! 

Today, we will discuss why nurturing your intimacy will uplift your marriage and life.

Now, before we move forward, I want to clarify what I mean by the word intimacy because this word can mean many things depending on the context. 

Whenever I talk about the word intimacy today, I mean the sexual intercourse between a husband and wife. So it’s about the act of lovemaking.

As I mentioned in the last episode, one of the biggest destroyers of marriage is the lack of intimacy between husband and wife. 

When couples don’t have a fulfilling intimacy, that’s when most problems start to simmer in their marriage.

In today’s episode, I want to bring the Quran and Sunnah to support the claim that we can uplift our marriage and life by nurturing intimacy.

Again, I want you to pay attention to my word of choice. I say “nurturing your intimacy”, not “increasing your intimacy”. That’s because the phrase “nurturing intimacy” implies that you take care of intimacy seriously and try to enhance the quality and the quantity of your intimacy to the best of your ability.

In other words, “nurturing your intimacy” is to make sure that you and your spouse both enjoy the act as Islam has prescribed! 

Okay, with that short intro, let’s begin with the first reason why intimacy helps us thrive in our marriage.

Reason #1: Intimacy is one of the main objectives of marriage

When Allah subuhanawuta’la created us, He also programmed us with the need for intimacy. And then He made the marriage a means to fulfil our sensual desires.

There is no denying the fact that intimacy is indeed one of the main objectives of our marriage; when that objective is not met or is not fulfilling, that impacts our marital relationship.

I guess it’s an excellent reminder for the couples to remind themselves about the objectives of the marriage often so that they both can work together to nurture their intimacy.

When talking about the objective of the marriage, the “hadith of Jabir” comes to my mind, which is reported both in Bukhari and Muslim. 

Many prominent scholars of the past wrote treatises just on this one hadith. 

The hadith revolves around intimacy, and particularly, it’s stunning to see the frankness of the Prophet ﷺ about teaching sexuality to us. 

He teaches us in a candid way, without being vulgar in any form or shape. 

Okay, let’s take a very quick look at this hadith.  

Jabir ibn Abdullah narrates this hadith. Hence, it became known as the “hadith of Jabir”.

He said that once, he was returning from an expedition with the Prophet ﷺ. When the army was close to the city of Madinah, he wanted to hurry while riding on a slow camel.

The Prophet ﷺ noticed this strange behaviour of Jabir and asked him why he was in such a hurry to return home. 

Jabir said, “Ya, Rasulullah, I recently got married.

That’s where the interesting conversation started. So the Prophet ﷺ asked him whether he got married to a young or old lady. 

You may now wonder why the Prophet would ask such a question. 

Here is the thing, the Prophet ﷺ was concerned about every aspect of his shahaba. He raised this question because Jabir was very young, perhaps 17 or 18. And He ﷺ thought that it would be best for Jabir to marry a young lady. 

Anyway, Jabir replied that he had married an old lady. Old lady, in a sense, not as young as he. 

Now, listen to the response of the Prophet ﷺ. He was like, “But why didn’t you marry a younger girl so that you could play with her, and she could play with you, and you could make her laugh, and she could make you laugh?

In another authentic version of this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ asked Jabir a strikingly frank question, “Why did you turn away from a young girl and her saliva?”

Based on these narrations, scholars say the wordings of the Prophet ﷺ, “so that you could play with her, and she could play with you,” actually refers to intimacy. It’s about having halal fun with your spouse. Or, to be more candid, it’s about having tantalising halal sex with your spouse. 

So what do we learn from this part of hadith? 

Well, intimacy was the first thing the Prophet ﷺ mentioned when he heard about Jaabir’s marriage. And that shows us that one of the main objectives of marriage is indeed to enjoy a fulfilling intimacy. 

Okay, let’s get back to the hadith now. 

So when the Prophet ﷺ asked this question, Jabir gave his reason why he chose an older lady. “O Messenger of Allah! My father died a Shaheed at Uhud, leaving behind daughters, so I did not wish to marry a young girl like them, but rather an older one who could take care of them and look after them.” 

Upon that, the Prophet ﷺ replied, “You have made the correct choice“.

Then Jabir continued and said how the Prophet ﷺ taught him how to prepare and beautify oneself for intimacy. “So when we were about to enter the city, the Prophet ﷺ said to me, ‘Slow down, and enter at night, so that she who has not combed may comb her hair, and she who has not shaved may shave her private area.’ Then he ﷺ said to me, ‘When you enter upon her, then be wise and gentle.‘” [Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Subhanallah! Look at the frankness of the Prophet ﷺ. 

Not only does he teach us how to beautify ourselves for intimacy, but he also teaches us how we should even make our body, including our private parts, presentable to the spouse. 

Subhanallah, see the beauty of Islam. It teaches us everything we should know about life. 

Incredible! 

Okay, let’s now move on to the second reason why nurturing intimacy will uplift your marriage and life.

Reason #2: Intimacy increases tranquillity and love

Yep, another important reason to nurture our intimacy is that it’s one the means for us to find tranquillity and love in our spouses.

When Allah subuhanawuta’la talks about marriage, He says in the Quran, “And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquillity in them, and He has created love and kindness between you” (Al-Quran, 30:21). 

So in this verse, we learn another objective of the marriage. What is that objective?  

The goal of the marriage is to find tranquillity in our spouse. 

While explaining this verse, Ibn Abbas, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest mufassir among the Sahaba, said that “love” in this verse actually implies intercourse, i.e. a loving relationship originates from the act of sexual intercourse.

In other words, he says that tranquillity is actually found through intimacy.

So he implies that it is simply inconceivable for the relationship to be a loving one if the husband or wife doesn’t find satisfaction through intercourse. 

That’s why many other great Salaf, such as Mujahid and al-Hassan al-Basri, ascribed the same meaning to love as Ibn-Abbas.

So this is a crucial point to note. One of the means to find peace in our partners is to nurture our intimacy. Sure, it’s not the only means, but it’s one of the important means to pay attention to.

Great, what’s the third reason?

Reason #3: Intimacy is the glue that keeps the marital bond together

Glue? Yes! 

Look at the infinite wisdom of Allah subuhanawuta’la. He created us and then ingrained the need in us to live with a partner.

When He created Adam, He gave him Hawwa because even Jannah wouldn’t be Jannah without a great Partner. 

Despite all the incredible enjoyment of paradise, paradise wouldn’t be an exciting place without a partner. That’s why none of us will be single in Jannah! 

So, regardless of our marital status in this world, we’ll have a partner in Jannah because nothing is worth enjoyable without a partner.

Okay, now back to earth. What did Allah do to keep the bond of marriage together?

Well, He gave us the pleasure of intimacy. When that pleasure is intense, it binds our relationship and makes it strong. 

So intimacy is the glue that binds the husband and wife together. This glue keeps us physically and emotionally healthy.

Once the glue starts to weaken, that’s when it has implications on many different levels.

So make sure the glue is strong enough to keep your spouse spellbound! Pun intended! 

Reason #4: Intimacy protects our chastity

This is another incredibly important reason that is mostly overlooked. 

If our carnal desires aren’t channelled through halal intimacy, this will not only destroy our chastity but also lead us to engage in major sins!

May Allah subuhanawuta’la protect us from such terrible sins!

So every time we engage in intimacy, it should remind us that we indeed engage in an act to protect our and our spouse’s chastity.

Protecting one’s chastity is a vital subject, which the Quran and Sunnah explicitly talk about. 

When we fail to protect our chastity, it has not only personal consequences but also societal consequences. In fact, the modern western world is proof of how losing chastity can destroy the morality of an entire society.

So the halal intimacy we engage with our spouses becomes this crucial vehicle to protect the morality of a society at large.

But, here is the thing. Intimacy doesn’t just protect our purity. It also helps us achieve more rewards while engaging in a pleasurable act.

In a long hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet said, “Having intercourse (with one’s wife) is a charity.

The Shahaba’s were very surprised. They said, “O Messenger of Allah, if one of us fulfils his desire, is there reward in that?” He said, “Do you not see that he will have the burden of sin if he does it in a haraam way? So if he does it in a halaal way, he will have a reward for that.

Subhanallah, how amazing is that!

When our intention is pure, the very act that fulfils our desires and protects our chastity paves the way to earn a lot of rewards too!

Isn’t it amazing to be a Muslim? 

Alhamdulillah!

Honestly, there are so many more reasons I could mention why nurturing your intimacy will uplift your marriage and life. 

Instead of talking more about theory, I just want to provide three simple, practical actions you can do to nurture your intimacy. 

Are you ready for it? 

Act #1: Increase your physical connection 

Yep, physical touches such as kisses, hugs, caresses, massage, etc., contribute to a more fulfilling intimacy in bed. 

Perhaps you can recall. In episode 03, I talked about the power of touch.

As I mentioned in that episode, physical touch is incredibly powerful and beneficial towards nurturing your intimacy. 

One of the leading neuroscientists and researchers, Dr Schanberg, says that “touch is ten times stronger than any verbal or emotional contact.”

Think about that. 

Saying “I love you” to your partner is great, but saying the same thing with a gentle rub or kiss, is much more potent than your verbal affirmation alone. 

That’s why many other research studies show that couples who engage in affectionate touch are more likely to have a closer relationship. They are more likely to stay together and rate their satisfaction with their partner as high. 

Affection and satisfaction are crucial for nurturing your intimacy. 

And what does our beloved Prophet ﷺ show us to increase the affection? 

Kiss! 

The Prophet ﷺ would kiss his wives very often. We find many narrations from A’isha radiyallahu anha that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would kiss her before leaving for Masjid. 

In a beautiful hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud, A’isha narrated that the Prophet ﷺ would kiss her whilst he was fasting, and he would even suck her tongue.

So basically, he would do the so-called passionate french kissing. 

These narrations also show that the Prophet ﷺ  was passionate while he was kissing his wives. It wasn’t just a quick peck on the cheek for the sake of kissing. He took time to show his affection by sucking his wife’s tongue. 

And talking about kissing, even our scholars have written about its importance extensively and vividly. 

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, in his “Zaad al Maad”, writes “One should fondle his wife first before having sex by kissing her and sucking her tongue. The Prophet used to fondle and kiss his wives.” 

Then, Imam Ibn Qudaamah goes even further and says: It is mustahabb to engage in foreplay with one’s wife before having intercourse and to arouse her desire so that she will get the same enjoyment from intercourse as he does.

The famous Imam Nawawi also said that it is Mustahab to fondle and caress the spouse before having intimacy. 

The Prophet ﷺ even advised the Sahaba on how to approach their wives when they wanted to be intimate. He ﷺ “When one of you comes to their spouse for intercourse, let them cover themselves and not approach each other like two wild mules.” (Hasan, Sunan Ibn Mājah)

Commenting on this hadith, Imam Al-Ghazali said in his Ihya ulum Al-din, “Be not like two donkeys means that we approach our spouse with kind words and kisses before engaging in intimacy.”

So as you can sense from these hadiths and the saying of the prominent scholars, physical touch and kiss become an increasingly vital tool to nurture intimacy. 

Both Islam and science prove that physical touch helps to promote intimacy and strengthen the bonds between a husband and wife. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Act #2: Communicate your needs and desires

Okay, may I ask you something, frankly? 

Do you know your partner’s preferences when it comes to intimacy? 

The fact is, many couples are oblivious to this. 

Why? 

Well, they never talk about it. 

You see, intimacy is this beautiful two-way communication. Just like you need two hands to clap, you need a partner to engage in intimacy. 

Though that sounds obvious, many people neglect the fact that the partner has similar needs and desires to them. For some, it’s all about fulfilling their needs. That’s it. They engage in intimacy without considering their partner’s needs and wishes. 

However, if you are serious about nurturing this beautiful and blessed act, you need to do some talking. 

You need to take your partner on board and have a frank but loving conversation about your and your partner’s needs and wishes. 

Like many things in life, it’s about giving and taking. You may not get everything you want, but at least your partner will know your preferences and perhaps accommodate it gradually. Or you may be surprised to know that your partner has some similar tastes to you. 

In any way, a frank, gentle, but not demanding discussion will certainly help both of you. 

If you don’t communicate, your partner doesn’t know your needs and desires. And you’ll also not know what his or her needs and wants are. And that’s not ideal for nurturing your intimacy. 

So brace up and do some sensual talking about your wishes and needs, and more importantly, ask your partner what their wishes and needs are. 

And, voila, you’ll find your partner pretty excited to deeply engage and nurture intimacy. 

Act #3: Plan your “intimacy days.”

Okay, the third tip might sound strange to some of you. You may even cringe at that idea. 

But here is the fact: when life gets busy and you are overwhelmed with your work and errands, you may not really have the energy or time to spend intimate time with your partner. 

As you probably know by now, when you don’t engage enough in intimacy, you may fail in transforming your marriage. 

So sitting together with your partner and planning some regular intimate days will not only help you thrive in your marriage but also help you increase the excitement for that act. 

Why do I say that? Because the research shows that it’s the anticipation of the events that give us more happiness. 

Five experiments in the Journal of Experimental Psychology show that people reported more intense emotions when anticipating an event than they did when recalling an event after it had happened.

So by planning in advance, both you and your partner can increase the excitement while also increasing your mental readiness for intimacy. 

Again, these are some of my practical but straightforward ways to nurture intimacy. Though much can be said, I think the message and the tips are pretty simple to understand and implement, insha Allah. 

I sincerely hope you’ll give some thought to what I said today, and perhaps that will help you optimise your intimacy with your partner, bi’idnillah! 

May Allah subuhanawuta’la enable us to have a flourishing marriage that helps us achieve success in this world and Aakhira. 

That’s all from me for today. 

If you want to read the transcript of this podcast, you can find it at https://bestversions.me/podcasts/17

Thanks so very much for listening to my podcast. I sincerely pray that this episode helps you go from average to excellence in worship, energy, love and legacy. 

And last but not least, please subscribe to my podcast, and share the podcast with your family and friends. I’m confident you can make a difference in others’ lives by sharing this information with them.

Until we meet in the next episode insha Allah next Friday, I pray that Allah subuhanawuta’la showers his choicest blessings on you and your family. 

Love you all! 

And let me end the podcast with the greetings of Jannah, Asssalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu.