Sex + marriage.
Whoa! As I wrote the first line, a deep sigh left my body.
From the beginning of starting my blog, wives asked me to approach this sensitive topic. Women who love their husbands. Women who want a healthy sex life with their husbands. Women who want to talk.
As a wife and Christian, I think it’s important we talk about developing a healthy sex life and intimacy IN marriage. I just wasn’t sure where I wanted to start. I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to share.
But now, it’s time.
You see, even in the best of marriages, we can let subtle bad habits sneak into our sex lives. It doesn’t matter if you have no kids, small kids, teens, or are an empty nester, sometimes our sex lives in marriage take a hit.
Life gets hard. Hormones shift. Bodies change.
I’ve been the wife who gained weight.
I’ve been the wife who felt awkward after having a baby.
I’ve been the wife who just wanted to go to bed after a long day with four fellas.
I’ve been the wife who prioritized work over my marriage.
I’ve been the wife who had hormonal changes.
Oh, yes! I have been her.
So I know firsthand how easy it is for intimacy and our sex lives to be reshaped by outside influences.
Now, I do realize there are deeper physical and mental health issues that impact sex in marriages. Today, I am not addressing this significant dynamic.
Instead, let’s talk about three common bad habits we allow to sneak into our marriages causing us to disconnect from a healthy, regular sex life in our marriages (plus ways you can turn it around).
Lack of communication
When it comes to sex, no matter how long you have been married, we can take for granted our spouses know what we want and that we know what our spouses want. We don’t have the conversations. Let’s be real–the talks can be awkward, especially if you were never taught about healthy communication in marriage.
In those early years of my marriage, I was reserved to talk with my hubby about our sex life. It just felt a little weird saying the words out loud, especially since talking about our sex life requires a deeper level of vulnerability. Even though talking was different, not talking creates bigger issues. So this lady was determined to talk. Thankfully, my hubby and I were intentional in creating a safe space for us to be transparent and vulnerable. I got over my awkwardness and shared. (Let me say, this was particularly beneficial once we started having kids and my body started changing.)
Sexual intimacy in marriage is meant to be beautiful and a reflection of our oneness in marriage. Unfortunately, wives and husbands don’t always have the same views about sex or the same definition of intimacy.
Make talking about your sex life and intimacy a priority. Ask challenging questions.
Some questions to help kickstart your conversations:
- When do you feel most connected to me before sex?
- What prevents us from having regular sex?
- How can we prioritize sex in our marriage?
- Are you happy with our sex life?
- What would you like to improve?
- What about our sex life is going well?
- What would you like to start doing?
- What would you like to stop doing?
- How often do you want to have sex?
Embrace “I” statements as well.
- I like it when you ________.
- I feel sexy when you _________.
- I feel most connected to you when you _____.
- I enjoy ________.
Being married for over 15 years, my hubby and I discuss these questions regularly. When we do, I make a conscious decision to hear with an open mind and heart. I choose not to be offended if my hubby says something hard to hear, because I know having the conversations are worth it. We become closer, and our intimacy improves. Be mindful of creating a safe space to talk, to share, and to connect.
Technology in bed
Sadly, many of us (myself included) are guilty of bringing that third guest to bed—your phone.
How many times have you said you are too tired for sex or don’t have time for sex, but you stayed up watching the latest tv show or spent an hour skimming through Instagram? How often have you laid in the bed next to your spouse working on sending that last-minute email for work? Or have you stayed up responding to the group text from your friends?
It seems harmless enough, but this bad habit hurts the intimacy in our marriages. Our time, our focus, and our energy is in the technology instead of the loving spouse we have in the bed next to us. We are physically present but emotionally and mentally distracted.
It’s not surprising our spouse would choose to go to bed without initiating sex. Our behavior communicates the technology is more important than being present.
Thankfully, we can turn this around.
- Give your technology a bedtime.
- If you must work, consider working AFTER spending time to connect with your spouse.
- Communicate your boundaries with others. Let them know unless it is an emergency; you are prioritizing your time with your spouse.
Now this one hit home. As someone who often puts the needs of others ahead of my own, I had a bad habit of prioritizing others before my marriage. I focused on taking care of our children, the responsibilities of my career, helping friends, and being available for family. I spent more time making sure they were okay, only leading to days where I was too tired and too distracted to connect with my hubby.
This was NOT okay.
I didn’t see prioritizing others as not prioritizing my marriage, but that’s precisely what it is. Although my children, my career, my extended family, friends, etc. are important to me, they are not meant to take priority over my marriage. My priorities were out of order and order needed to be restored. Can you relate?
I started praying for God to reveal ways I was distracted and disconnected in my marriage.
Instead of prioritizing others, I started focusing my eyes in my own home and in my marriage.
Are you more available for your extended family member, friends, career, or kids more than you are for your spouse? Do you find yourself struggling to make time for your spouse? Do you often make excuses about why you don’t have time or are too tired to have sex?
If we want to improve the sex lives in our marriages, then our marriages must be a priority.
So how do we shift this?
- Say no: Just because a good opportunity comes up doesn’t mean it’s the best for your marriage.
- Say yes: Take time to initiate the intimacy you want
- Plan: Be intentional in creating time for you to be intimate
- Communicate throughout the day: Send a loving, flirty text. Make the phone call to say, “I love you.”
- Remember: God intentionally chose you to be your husband’s wife. Remember to choose your marriage every day.
Sometimes these bad habits hurting your sex life in marriage are simply symptoms of hidden issues of rejection, fear, isolation, or hurt. As a wife, take time to reflect on your heart and views toward intimacy and sex in your marriage. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal areas where your heart may have become hardened, or you have allowed others to take up space in your life where your husband should be (this includes your kids).
Don’t hesitate to reach out for additional help if needed. Talk to your doctor, a therapist, or help at your local church for prayer. You don’t have to walk alone.
Above all, talk to your spouse, pray together, and be intentional in prioritizing intimacy in your marriage.
Cheering you on,