The Intimate Marriage

by Howard J. and Charlotte H. Clinebell

Howard J. Clinebell Jr. Is Professor of Pastoral Counseling (1965), School of Theology, Claremont, California. Charlotte Ellen, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist in private practice. She has lectured and been a frequent consultant and leader at Marriage and Family Conferences, Institutes, Woman’s Studies, and Human Liberation Programs. She also writes for use of her material by ministers and pastoral counselors.

Book used by permission of the authors. It was prepared for Religion Online by Paul Mobley.


The role of intimacy in marriage. Includes practical steps for group discussion.


  • How To Get The Most From This Book

    Instructive material usually requires a plan of study and use. This section offers the suggestions that should help the reader gain the most from use of this book.

  • Chapter 1: Reaching For Greater Intimacy

    The authors introduce the subject of intimacy in marriage, which is closely tied to the will to relate.

  • Chapter 2: The Many Facets Of Intimacy

    Here are explored the faces, the facets of intimacy, alerting the reader that it is not a simple subject, nor is it one that cannot be understood. The exploration reveals critical criteria for study.

  • Chapter 3: Pain and Gain for Women and Men

    As women continue to re-define themselves, both men and women find themselves involved in new problems and situations that need resolving. Thereby comes the pain for gain.

  • Chapter 4: The Growth Of Intimacy

    Genuine intimacy with one person, usually the spouse, has proven satisfying to both persons. In a good marriage intimacy can often be grown while a bad marriage may need to learn true intimacy.

  • Chapter 5: Communication: Key To Creative Closeness

    Closeness and intimacy, especially in marriage, is a must, and it begins with good communications between the parties.

  • Chapter 6: Enriching the Seasons of Marriage

    A deep relationship will have its ups and downs. The authors suggest eight stages of life, and how marriage relationship can grow, be enriched, when the overall goal is a better and better relationship.

  • Chapter 7: Increasing Sexual Intimacy

    Successful sexual intimacy results from communications between the partners, and learning what is the most pleasant for each partner. Then increased sexual intimacy will result.

  • Chapter 8: Developing Parent-Child Intimacy

    Parent-child intimacy begins when the infant is learning. This learning continues throughout the child’s life until at least it has left home to make a home of its own. Understanding the stages of a child’s life and how to cultivate intimacy from and with the child will help develop parent-child intimacy.

  • Chapter 9: The Spiritual Dimension of Marriage

    A marriage is not complete when spiritual intimacy is absent.

  • A Final Word

    The authors encourage each couple to grow and continue in growth allowing the efforts here to be a guide along the way, though not necessarily the last word for particular couples.