The need for intimacy is a part of every human heart, regardless of relationship status. For those who are married you probably expect sex to be a primary part of intimacy. Yes, God invented marriage – and sex. And He intended covenant marriage, sex, and intimacy to be entwined, and to be good. Not every couple experiences the sexual part as good. But almost every couple can experience better married sex.
Volumes could – and have – been written about how to make married sex better. But rather than focus on tips and tricks and techniques in the bedroom, which are occasionally helpful, today we’re talking about the deeper matters of the heart that must be there if married sex is to be good.
First, a foundational truth. Married sex is truly important, but if you want it to be good you will need to get over yourself long enough to realize the world does not revolve around you. In God’s design, you and your spouse are the most important people to each other. But if Adam looks to Eve to fill him up he will be sorely disappointed. If Eve looks to Adam as her everything she will never become whole.
And one additional foundational truth; you are not entitled to anything, including sex. Marriage, including married sex, must be about giving, not getting, or it will become destructive.
With those things out of the way, can you experience better married sex even if things have been totally broken between you? Yes! At the risk of sounding cookie-cutter simplistic, here are five necessary things to address.
Deal with your own stuff
Married sex will not get better by demanding more or different sex from your spouse! You can’t change them; you can only work on you. What’s it been like to be married to you? Would you want to experience intimacy with you? How safe are you? What baggage do you have yet to address? What walls do you have within your own heart?
Part of dealing with your own stuff is learning about intimacy itself. Have you become capable of intimacy? Have you learned to pursue intimacy with God that’s more than left-brain facts? Has He been changing you from the inside out? If the answer to those things is Yes, you will naturally be becoming an invitation for your spouse to come closer to you.
Talk about it
Many spouses I talk to say, “I’ve told my spouse how much I need sex, and they don’t care.” Or, “I can’t stand sex, and I’ve told my spouse, but they keep pressuring me.” Talking about it doesn’t mean asking for sex or refusing sex; it means seeking to understand. It means taking the walls down around your heart and being vulnerable, listening not to rebut your spouse’s perspective but to come closer together.
Talk together about how you each learned about sex, what sex means to you, what helps or could help you each feel closer to each other, what arouses you, what you like or don’t like about sex, what frightens or turns you off. You need to have the sex talk together regularly, along with developing rhythms of communication about all aspects of your relationship.
Make sex about the relationship, not about you
Duty sex or obligation sex doesn’t satisfy anyway. God designed sex as a means to bring you closer together. As my friend Dr. Jennifer Degler says, “God knew that if we were to remain married for fifty years there would have to be drugs involved.” The neurochemicals released during mutual healthy married sex are like Velcro sticking you together.
This means that if either of you believe having sex today would drive you farther apart, don’t do it. Make sex a priority in your marriage equal to communication, practical working together, and prayer – neither more nor less important, but at a similar level. Married sex is neither a god nor unimportant. Remember, it’s not about you or me alone; it’s about us.
BE the invitation for your spouse to come closer
Manipulating or complaining doesn’t create intimacy. How can you become the invitation for your spouse to come closer? This is not simply being nice. Sometimes it means having hard conversations so the barriers between you can be cleared away. It does mean you dispense with criticism or manipulation. What would help your spouse want to come closer to you? Do that.
And then do it again, and again. Intimacy is like food; you don’t eat once and then forget about it for a year. Keep being the invitation – today, tomorrow, and every day. Make it a lifestyle. Remember, Jesus continued to seek intimacy with a few other humans even when He got hurt. (Note: if your marriage is toxic, you will need a different approach.)
Invite God into your bedroom
Good married sex was God’s idea, and it’s a key target of the enemy. In many ways this is bigger than you. What might it look like to invite God into the room as you make love to each other? Something exhilarating happens when the clothes come off your bodies, minds, and spirits in God’s presence. Physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy all at one moment. Not every sexual encounter will have the same intensity, but if you invite the Inventor of sex to be present things won’t be the same.
At least sometimes, pray together before making love. Ask God to bless your bodies, minds, and hearts and to be the glue holding you together. Thank Him for the gift of sex. Imagine Him being beside you as you pleasure each other, share your love, and once again become one flesh.
Can you see now how intimacy is not simply two bodies taking off their clothes? True married intimacy requires two whole people being “naked and unashamed.” That’s a life-long pursuit. Doing the work to deal with your past sexual story makes it possible to invite your spouse to see and know you, and for you to see and know your spouse. Physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy all wrapped into one.
Your Turn: Have you been truly pursuing intimacy with your spouse? Or has it been always fighting about sex? Can you see how pursuing intimacy can lead to better married sex? Which of these steps will you focus on next? I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment below.
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- God designed married sex to be good. But many married couples find it anything but good. Here are 5 out-of-the-bedroom keys to better married sex – and intimacy. Tweet that.
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