If we’re honest, all of us are tired. And when it comes to marriage intimacy, we’re tired and we lack energy. And how do you switch from “mom” or “full time working woman” to “lover”? I don’t even like that word. So when it comes to marriage intimacy—well, it’s just not a priority in our marriages, like we’d like it to be, or know it should be because we’re spent. And who has time for sex? And for me, this topic really resonates with me because of my own professional life and personal story.
What is the meaning of sexual intimacy?
To start, I’ve been married to my husband Joel for 10 years and we have a son, named Sebastian. Now we haven’t been married long and by no means am I an expert. But I do have a funny story that describes the meaning of sexual intimacy—at least how sex is viewed in our culture—and how we as Christians tend to respond.
Prior to being married, I worked for a non–profit that helped establish organizations like pregnancy resource centers around the world. My role was to research, write and produce high quality educational resources about biblical sexuality and women’s health. One year I had the opportunity to travel to Romania to help train others on those topics.
When the team and I came back to the states from our trip to Romania, we went through the normal process of going through customs. I started to go through the line and the woman looked up at me and asked the normal questions.
Like, “What were you doing in Europe?”
I replied by saying that we were training some pregnancy center workers in Romania. She asked if I was alone and I said that most of my team had already gone ahead, but the guy behind me was with us too. She looked at me and then she looked at him.
Then she smiled real big then said,“So you’re sexperts?!!”
My face turned beet red. “Um…no…” I replied.
Then she said, “Welcome home.”
Now I may not be a sexpert…but this is the culture that we live in, right? This is what culture defines as the meaning of sexual intimacy. Sex in our culture on one end of the spectrum is I’ll do it when I want with who I want, and even, how I want it. On the other side of the spectrum sexual intimacy has no value. It’s just activity with our bodies.
Marriage Intimacy Issues in the Christian Community
To make things even more complex, specifically within the Christian community, physical intimacy in marriage is something that has embarrassment and shame attached to it.
A few years ago I heard a story about a young couple that was interested in developing their marriage intimacy. When talking with a counselor, they shared that they felt shame. Specifically, the couple had a picture of Jesus hanging over their bed and every time they had sex, they turned the picture around.
With that being said, I personally, have only heard someone talk about Christian marriage intimacy maybe once since my husband I have been married. Granted we haven’t been married a long time—but as a Christian community we just aren’t talking about priority of and importance of biblical sexual marriage intimacy. And it needs to be something that we talk about more.
Sex will never be neutral in your marriage. Either marriage intimacy will bond you together or it will tear you apart. 70% of divorces are caused by a sexual component. A healthy sex life is directly correlated to a healthy marriage.
So today I’m going to share with you why sex and marriage intimacy needs to be a priority, What you can do as a wife to rebuilding sexual intimacy in your marriage, and 3 ways on how to be more sexually intimate with your husband.
How Important is Intimacy in Christian Marriage?
Is intimacy in Christian Marriage important? Yes! Here’s a Biblical Perspective of marriage intimacy for us to consider:
1. God created sex for our good. We’re introduced to marriage intimacy in the following verses in Genesis 2:18–25 (ESV).
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
There’s a whole lot more to the marriage intimacy verse when it says, “they shall become one flesh”.
God actually created us physically to be joined together at every level—with a hormone called Oxytocin. It’s actually referred to as the bonding hormone. As women have doses of it all the time. Like when you have a baby, there’s a massive amount of it running through your body. Or when you are nursing, oxytocin is what bonds you to your baby. But as women, we also get that surge of oxytocin when we connect with a good friend.
Your husband though—he will only get large amounts of this hormone after orgasm. Have you ever had your husband look at you after having sex and then he says,
“Oh you look so beautiful”, and you think, huh?
My hair is all over the place and I have morning breath?!! O…kay.
That is oxytocin!
I learned a lot about this when I worked for the International Organization, so I was very familiar with this hormone. There’s lots of information about Oxytocin out there, but the statistic that I’ve consistently used is that the dosage men get from orgasm is somewhere around 500% to 700% increase. The bottom line is that sex needs to be a priority in marriage because God designed it so that through sexual intercourse we can be “one” together in everything—mind, body, and spirit.
2. God created us differently in how we think about sex—and that’s a good thing!
Typically we think men just think about sex more than women…but there’s a reason that they think this way and it’s actually a big insight for us as wives. And because I’m a woman, it helps me to hear how a man views marriage intimacy, from a man’s perspective.
I like how Jonathan Daugherty from Be Broken Ministries says,“He feels strong—when he feels like he can be sexual. As a man because we have so tied the ego to sexuality, being sexual makes us feel like a man” (Episode 233 of Java with Juli Podcast).
To start…for a man this is what he thinks about sex: Sex is how he connects with you. Sex is how he feels really like a man. But if we dig a little deeper, it gets even more interesting when we’re talking about how women think about sex and how men think about sex.
As women we tend to think,
“If our marriage is great then we’ll have great sex.”
But for men, they think, “If we have great sex then our marriage is great.”
Think about that for a moment!
That sounds like we’re both looking at the same thing—but it’s actually the complete opposite.
How many of you are thinking right now…boy…my husband must think our marriage isn’t that great? Yep….I’m talking to myself right now too. I’ll admit that when I’m tired, lack energy or it’s really hard for me to “get in the mood” sometimes I can feel this way. Because if I’m honest, I feel distant relationally from my husband too. And…I have to remind myself that for my husband if there’s no sexual connection then he doesn’t have an emotional connection with me either. That’s why it was important for me to share that Oxytocin statistic. Your husband wants emotional connection, but he doesn’t know how to connect with you.
So…this brings up a problem. Someone has to go first.
Rebuilding Sexual Intimacy In Your Marriage
Today, I’m going to invite you to go first by becoming a strong wife with a soft heart—so that you can be the one in your marriage to go first—to pursue marriage intimacy.
1. Become a wife with a soft heart.
- Be willing to look at yourself. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal any ways that you have been neglecting your marriage. Confess that to the Lord.
- Pray and ask the Lord to help you to bring restoration, healing, and new life into your marriage.
- If you don’t already, start praying for your husband daily. Pray about your marriage and making your marriage intimacy a priority. Ask the Lord to help you.
2. Become a wife of strength.
This is where you can really start taking specific action. Here is how you can know how you’re doing and what you can do to sexually and emotionally reconnect with your husband.
1. Take a Marriage Check Up. Look at your relationship with your husband—what is going well? What isn’t—what are those marriage intimacy issues? Also, what are some barriers that prevent you from making sex a priority? These all are contributing factors to why there is a lack of sexual intimacy in marriage.
1. Marriage Intimacy Physical Issues
2. Emotional Barriers
2. Become a student of your husband. Just watch him—how does he do things? Be a noticer. Then…follow that up with step three!
3. Say Thank You. Shaunti Feldhan, a social research expert described in the best way to tell your man you appreciate him, besides sex. “…a man’s greatest desire is to do something well—but since he doubts himself, his greatest need is for what he does to be noticed and appreciated.” Do you see how this is also tied to sex, like I shared earlier with the quote from Jonathan Daugherty?
4. Make a point to talk with your husband every day. Why do I mention this? Good sex and good communication go hand in hand. I have a really close friend of mine who both she and her husband are both Licenced Professional Counselors. They both understand this and to help them stay focused, they have a motto, “Great sex, great communication, great marriage.” A way to do this is to make a point to talk with each other every night, or every morning.
I talk more about how to be a strong wife with a soft heart in how to be a better wife.
How to Be More Sexually Intimate With Your Husband
1. Just do it!
Maybe all you needed was for me to encourage you. So…go home tonight with the intention of pursuing your husband! But sometimes it’s just not that easy…
2. Start addressing and removing these barriers to sexual intimacy.
- Take a 20 Minute Refresh – Do something to “freshen” yourself up. Take a shower, put on some makeup, do you hair…ect.
- Secondly, try just being honest and tell your husband, “I’m just not into it right now…but you can persuade me. You need to bring the energy.” (BIG SMILE) and I’ll tell you…every godly man loves a challenge when it comes to sex. And if you invite him to pursue you this way, you are honoring him and inviting him to thrive in being a man.
3. Make it happen, but make it meaningful.
When we’re talking about sex, men like anticipation. Women like the middle of it. If you find that “just doing it” or “winging it” seems to not be working to make things happen often enough or even at all…because you have a hard time getting into it. Here’s a couple of ideas for you.
• Track it! Then it might be a good idea for you to literally track your intimacy. So you are more aware of how much you are making sex a priority in your marriage. Then it’s really obvious. You know now why it needs to be a priority in your life and a tracker will help you know just how you’re doing to make that happen. And while this can be helpful, be careful not to slip into sex as a task to check off your list!
• Plan it! I have some friends who have literally made Wednesday “their night”. They know it ahead of time, so he anticipates it and she is mentally prepared for it. And they do it, every week. Pun intended! Another way to do this is to give your husband a code word—so that within the next 12 hours—you then initiate within that window. Or use a special piece of clothing that you set out in a certain spot in the morning so your husband anticipates it all day.
My Personal Story about Marriage Intimacy
Now, I can share this with all of you from what I know and have studied, but about 4 years ago this really became personal for me. It started with me experiencing unexplained bleeding. The doctors were so baffled because no matter what, they weren’t able to resolve it. It wasn’t life threatening for me, but for nearly three years, our marriage intimacy just about ceased to exist because of it.
I had multiple procedures and two reconstructive surgeries to correct the issue and it never really resolved until I started to see a holistic doctor. Needless to say, marriage intimacy was, well, a challenge for us. We were doing okay, but, I really missed the sexual intimacy with my husband and I knew that it was directly impacting him with how close he felt to me as well.
We had to walk through this season in our life and it was challenging. So if this is you, where health struggles are getting in the way, I want to encourage you to pray and continue to talk with your husband about your marriage intimacy. Ask God for wisdom for how to grow through this time and what to do during this time. And although I’d like to say that when all those health struggles started to resolve that our sexual intimacy returned to the way it was…but it hasn’t. It’s been a journey for us. But again, it’s all about mindset. We’re learning and growing. I have to continue to remind myself of this simple analogy from Juli Slattery of AuthenticIntimacy.com She says marriage intimacy is like legos. You learn to build. You tear it down and build it again. It’s not “great” all the time but you’re learning to build.
A Marriage Intimacy Challenge
So to wrap things up I want to say to you. You will make time for something that you believe is a priority. My prayer is that in response to what I’ve shared today you’d be encouraged to take that brave intentional step to go first—to pursue great sex and great communication in your marriage.
Remember…God designed sexual marriage intimacy to protect and strengthen your marriage relationship and your husband feels more connected to you through it. If you’ve been encouraged today by what I’ve shared, I want to challenge you can take a more intentional step in making marriage intimacy a priority—grab the free resource, The Healthy Marriage Check Up.