Twelve-Step Bonding

“Above all, love each other deeply.”  
1 Peter 4:8

Do you feel “bonded” to your mate? Bonding refers to the emotional connectedness that links a man and woman together for life and makes them irreplaceable to each other. It is God’s gift of closest companionship to those who have experienced it.

According to Drs. Donald Joy and Desmond Morris, bonding is most likely to occur between those who have moved systematically and slowly through the following twelve steps during their courtship and marriage:

1) Eye to body. 2) Eye to eye. 3) Voice to voice. 4) Hand to hand. 5) Hand to shoulder. 6) Hand to waist. 7) Face to face. 8) Hand to head. 9) Hand to body. 10) Mouth to breast. 11) Touching below the waist. 12) Intercourse.                                          

The final acts of physical contact should, of course, be reserved for the marital relationship. In the most successful unions, husbands and wives journey through each of the twelve steps regularly. Touching, talking, holding hands, and gazing into one another’s eyes are as important to partners in their midlife years as to twenty‐year‐olds. Indeed, the best way to reinvigorate a tired sex life is to walk through the twelve steps of courtship frequently and with gusto!

Just between us . . .

• During our courtship, did we follow this progression of bonding steps?
• Are we regularly experiencing each level of bonding now?
• How can we strengthen our physical and emotional bonding in our relationship?

Dear Father, if we have been careless in the different kinds of relational bonding, forgive us. Help us to become one in body and soul. Amen.

• Twelve Steps from Intimate Behavior by Desmond Morris (New York, N.Y.: Random House, 1971).

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.