My husband, Greg, and I have travelled together for years in order to speak at marriage events. We love doing this! We have even noticed that this has been wonderfully beneficial to our marriage — including the increase of passion and sexual intimacy in our relationship. Now, I'm not saying that you have to travel with your husband and do marriage events to have a great sex life. What I am saying is that there might be additional things you could be doing that would rev it up in your marriage relationship.
I have had an interesting experience talking about sexual intimacy with married women. Often there are two camps that emerge around the topic of sex in marriage: One group swears they could have sex all the time and they love it; and the other camp of women just seems to dread it.
So, what's the secret? Research is showing that the "little things" — the small choices we make each and every day — can actually reignite the passion in marriage.
Preparing your whole self (heart, soul, mind and body) to engage in romance with your husband is the key to improvement. And as you will read — it's the simple things we choose to do that can make all the difference. Please keep in mind that in one short article I cannot possibly address all the variables related to this topic. If you are wrestling with memories of sexual abuse, struggling with depression, dealing with physical pain or other medical concerns, please seek professional help. Call your medical doctor or you can reach Focus on the Family's counseling service by phone at 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time).
Be ready to receive your husband.
If the husband's body was made to initiate, the female's body was made to open and receive her husband. By God's perfect design, physiologically, a man's erect penis is received by the open wife. In the same way you cannot control whether your husband initiates, you need to focus on what you can control — you. It is up to you to be open and able to receive from your husband. To receive means to "accept" or "welcome."
Pursue personal availability (get yourself ready for sex). The woman is responsible to prepare her whole person for sex — to be open. This means she can joyfully serve her husband sexually by nourishing the whole person (heart, soul, mind and body). Let's look at each of these elements in detail.
Consider how you can prepare your heart for sex.
Some women complain: "My husband isn't romantic — all he ever thinks about is sex." Women care about romance; that's why so many female readers are drawn to romance novels. If you really want romance, think about how you can romance your husband. But you have to romance him like a guy wants to be romanced. Romance has elements of both a relationship and a love affair. Have you considered having a love affair with your husband?
Just as a man is like a microwave oven sexually, a woman is like a microwave oven relationally. Women can quickly go to deep emotional levels. But men are more like Crock-Pots relationally — they are slow to warm up.
So you might try creating a physical connection first and let the emotional connection follow.
Focus on preparing your soul for sex.
Praying together, talking about what God is teaching you, embracing the beauty of God's creation, worshiping together — all of these involve what we call "spiritual intercourse." When you connect with your husband about spiritual matters, you are joining together on a very intimate level.
Prepare your mind for sex
It starts with having the right perspective. Some women misunderstand their husbands' sexual drive. They see it as a never-ending demand or as something distasteful. It's important for a wife to understand about how God wired her man for intimacy.
Realize that sex is intimacy to a man. Though most women need to have an emotional connection in order to have sex, most men can separate the sex act from a relationship. For men, emotional connection flows from physical intimacy. Sex is a man's way of showing his wife how much he loves her.
It can be difficult for a woman to understand a man's sex drive. You may realize that your sex drive is less than your husband's, but too often women completely underestimate how important sex is to their husband. Sex is a legitimate physical need for a man, involving a physiological drive and a need to release in a way that isn't typical for a woman.
Men get turned on very quickly. Although women generally get aroused gradually and need to warm up to the idea of sex, men don't require much foreplay, or even forethought, to be ready for sex.
On the other hand, some husbands don't initiate sex. Issues such as unresolved anger, conflict, stress, work problems, pornography, substance abuse or physical issues including erectile dysfunction and changes in testosterone levels can affect a husband's sex drive.
Help your husband battle against sexual temptation. Realize that God brought you into his life as a helpmate. You help guard him against temptation when you are regularly connected sexually. Dr. Juli Slattery says, "Your husband depends on you to be his partner in his battle against sexual temptation. Although you aren't responsible for his actions, you are a component in his victory. You're the only woman in the world whom your husband can look at sexually without compromising his integrity!"
Consider how you might prepare your body for sex.
While physical concerns are often the biggest barrier to a fulfilling sex life, don't passively accept exhaustion, emptiness, fatigue and stress. Become aware of what might be keeping you from receiving your husband sexually. A few possibilities include:
- Lack of sleep
- Marital conflict or other relationship problems
- Fear of intimacy
- Hormonal problems
- Depression or anxiety
- Decreased sex drive from the use of birth control
- Certain medicines for depression, blood pressure and diabetes
- Guilt over past intimate relationships
- Negative feelings about your own body
- Worries about getting pregnant
- Physical issues such as pain from an injury or illness
- Physical changes related to menopause
- Sexual problems such as difficulty with arousal or orgasm, or pain during intercourse
Sex is a precious gift given to us in marriage by the Lord — I encourage you to take even the tiniest of steps to begin walking toward fully enjoying it.
Erin Smalley is a co-author of The Wholehearted Wife and serves in the Marriage and Family Formation department at Focus on the Family. This article was adapted from Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage by Greg and Erin Smalley.
Focus on the Family has resources and counseling to help you and your family. You can contact us Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain time) at: 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) or help@FocusOnTheFamily.com.