In marriage, sex is more like a thermometer than a thermostat. What do I mean by that you might be asking? Well, a thermometer is used to measure the temperature of the atmosphere, right?
In marriage, sex can be used to measure the health of the atmosphere of your relationship with your spouse. In other words, a warm relationship with your spouse usually measures a warmer sex life. A relationship that is struggling usually measures a cooler sex life.
You’ve probably heard the saying that “Sex starts in the kitchen”. This doesn’t mean that the kitchen is a location. It means good sex starts with a strong trusting relationship with your spouse outside of the bedroom. So, spending time helping prepare and clean up after dinner with your spouse and doing things together can lead to better sex.
The “Art of Marriage” by Family Life is a 6-lesson video workshop that helps strengthen marriages. The AOM says that a satisfying sex life is built on a foundation of commitment, companionship, passion and spiritual intimacy.
Commitment is shown in our faithfulness, respect for our spouse and in forgiveness.
How do we show faithfulness?
*by reaffirming your commitment to your spouse.
*by building or rebuilding trust.
*by developing a healthy attitude toward your spouse.
*by developing a healthy attitude towards sex.
How do we show respect?
*by being a good listener.
*by validating each other’s perspectives and opinions.
*by never condescending or talking down to each other.
How do we show forgiveness?
*by keeping short accounts with each other.
*by choosing to live in the power of blessing?
*by remembering “love covers a multitude of sins”(1 Pet 4:8)
When commitment is lacking, sex can seem risky and can leave a spouse feeling vulnerable.
Companionship is built on communication, tenderness, and spending time together.
How do we build communication?
*by sharing openly.
*by listening carefully.
How do we show tenderness?
*by giving creative expressions of affection.
*by showing your love through nonsexual touch.
How do we spend time together?
*by sharing mutual interests.
*by reviving the lost art of dating.
When companionship is lacking, sex often loses its depth.
Passion is developed through planning and creativity.
How can we plan for passion?
*by making sex a priority
*by scheduling sex for the best part of your day.
When passion is lacking, sex can become routine and stale.
Spiritual intimacy can be created through prayer and the Bible.
How can prayer create spiritual intimacy?
*by praying together as a couple.
*by praying for each other regularly.
How can the Bible help with spiritual intimacy?
*by spending time reading the Bible together.
*by finding verses you can memorize together.
When spiritual intimacy is lacking, sex can become shallow and self-focused.
A good sex life is all about a trusting relationship. Sexual problems are usually a symptom of another problem going on. Pastor and author Paul David Tripp said “I’m convinced that for most couples, you fix sexual dysfunction outside of the marriage bed.” In other words, you always drag your relationship with you into the marriage bed. If the relationship is cold, then sex is usually cold as well. If the relationship is warm and friendly, then sex can be warm and satisfying.
Challenges to Sexual Intimacy (from AOM):
1. Past Sexual History can have an affect on your marriage. The cultural myth says that sex
before marriage has very little bearing on your sex life after marriage. In reality, many deal
with shame, guilt and lack of trust because of past decisions.
2. Other Priorities can tend to make sex take a back seat to intimacy with your spouse. For
example, distractions, kids, jobs, sports, family needs, health issues and the list goes on and
on. A long day at work, coming home to a bunch of rambunctious kids can be hard for a
couple to even find time for sex.
3. Children can invade your time with your spouse. Sometimes, a couple can inadvertently put
their children’s relationship above their spouses relationship. Remember, your vertical
relationship with God is foremost. Then your horizontal relationship with your spouse should
be second. Your children should be third. All other relationships should fall under these.
4. Pornography can also challenge sexual intimacy. 38% of adults believe there is nothing wrong.
with porn. A survey in 2006 found 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women addicted
to porn. If you need to break free from porn, the first thing to do is realize you can’t do it under
your own power. You need God’s presence in your life, an accountability partner and you need
help from experts, even if is through a book.
5. Misinformation and Misconceptions about sex from TV, movies, magazines, music, the internet,
etc. can cause confusion. Get the right information about sex and get on the same page with
your spouse so you can make decisions together by talking about your desires and differences.
6. Abuse can have a significant hinderance to intimacy. Approximately 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of
6 boys have experienced sexual abuse before age 18. Victims from abuse are more likely to
suffer from depression, abuse, alcohol and drugs, and contemplate suicide. A painful
experience can be triggered at an unexpected time and ruin a romantic moment with your
spouse. If you or your spouse has suffered abuse, please get help.
7. Romantic Fantasies can be a problem. Many women engage in romantic fantasies fueled by
romance novels, movies, TV shows and more. This can create an unrealistic picture of
romance and cause women to become dissatisfied with their husbands.
8. Physical Issues can be a cause of underlying sexual dissatisfaction. Physical and mental
health can play a huge factor in intimacy. Keep yourself physically active by walking for 30
minutes at least 3 times a week. Get a medical checkup once a year. Take your vitamins and
supplements regularly. Eat a healthy balanced diet.
Communicating about Sex (from AOM):
Talking about sex can be awkward and cumbersome. Learn to talk openly with your spouse about your likes and dislikes between the sheets. Here are a few ideas. . .
*Pray. Spend time praying for wisdom and for God to soften you and your spouses heart.
*Wait for the right moment. Timing is everything when communicating. When talking about sensitive subjects, find the right location and time to defuse some of the obstacles you are going through.
*Be clear about your likes and dislikes. Your spouse can’t read your mind so let them know what you like. As hard as it can be sometimes, your spouse also needs to know what you don’t like. Your spouse wants to please you so let them know how they can help.
*Use good communication principles. Avoid words like “You always. . .” or “You never. . .” or being accusing in your tone. Assume the best intentions and desires from your spouse by using phrases like “I feel like. . .” and “Help me understand. . .”
*Learn to flirt! It’s okay to flirt with your spouse outside the bedroom. Discreetly mention your desires to each other. It can build excitement, anticipation and raise the temperature for the big moment together.
Remember, sex can be like a thermometer. Building a relationship with your spouse on commitment, companionship, passion, and spiritual intimacy can lead to a warm healthy sex life. May God bless you and your spouse with satisfying sex as a result of a satisfying marriage relationship of trust and love.