I randomly flip around magazines at the store checkout stands. The covers of magazines like Cosmopolitan are filled with topics I have no desire for my children (or other people’s children) to read. To be honest, I don’t want to read them either.
These magazines can be discouraging to those in monogamous, marital relationships. Bright colors and fancy fonts tell us we should seek “hook ups” rather than intimacy, that a firmer backside or trimmer waistline will grab our spouse’s attention far better than our hearts. And some headlines highlight topics I am too much of a lady to discuss here.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. In the right context, some of these tips for improving sexual intimacy have some merit. Good health, for example, is linked to a better sex life.
And to be honest, I love when I can turn my husband’s head just by walking by. But there’s more to maintaining a good sex life than the editors of these magazines realize.
According to Scripture, our bodies are not our own within marriage. In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote that both the husband and wife have authority over each other’s body. As a married couple, we are not to “deprive one another … so that Satan may not tempt you …” (7:4-5). And let’s face it, there’s a lot of temptation surrounding us.
Maintaining the marital bed isn’t always easy. More often than not, it’s the day-to-day stuff that slowly destroys a couple’s intimacy rather than larger, singular events. Isolation doesn’t happen in one day, and neither does a fading sex life.
Keep your marriage strong by coming together often as husband and wife. Here are some ideas to help spark your sex life:
1. Kick the kids out of your bed.
This may sound harsh, but other than the occasional thunderstorm or nightmare, tuck those kids back in their own beds. It’s the marital bed, not the parental bed. There’s a reason you and your spouse don’t have bunk beds. If you don’t know what that is, please go straight to No. 10.
2. Practice foreplay.
Yes, I said practice. If you aren’t in the habit of, um, preheating the oven, it might take a little while to know what works best for you both. Don’t give up just because it feels awkward at first. And it’s true, guys—foreplay for women does not start in the bedroom.
3. Prioritize time with your spouse.
We can easily place kids, jobs, or even hobbies above our spouses. As a mom, I can fall into taking care of everyone’s needs around me so much that I have nothing left to give my husband at the end of the day. Sometimes I need to say no to good things—even my kids at times—in order to give my best to my husband.
If work is taking priority, come home early at least one day a week to have an extra hour or two with your spouse. And yes, showing them they are important might mean you miss the occasional NFL game. But scoring your own touchdown at home is probably more fulfilling.
4. Connect with your spouse daily.
Like you, your spouse needs to be known. In fact, women in particular, feel more sexually attracted to a man they feel cares what is going on in their lives. Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare, spend it free of distractions. Look one another in the eye, and share what’s going on in your lives.
5. Say no to pornography.
Whether it’s watching lewd videos when no one’s around or reading erotic romance, porn has a detrimental effect on your sex life. It causes hurt and shame, and other psychological issues that lead to a lack of performance in the bedroom.
And although this has historically been a bigger issue for men, statistics show that this is an increasing problem for women. No one should have to compete with a porn star or fictional character for the attention or desire of their spouse.
6. Stop fantasizing about other people.
Be faithful mentally as well as physically. Scripture addresses this in Matthew 5:28: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Faithfulness is a heart issue. Where the heart strays, the body will follow. And like number 3, your spouse should not have to compete for your attention.
7. Flirt with your spouse.
You want to feel wanted, right? Your spouse does, too. It’s amazing what a little wink across the breakfast table, squeeze of the hand, or raised eyebrow can convey.
Text your husband to let him know you can’t wait to see him later tonight, or slip a little note in your wife’s purse telling her how fantastic she looks today.
8. Build your spouse up.
Short, to the point statements can go a long way in building up your spouse’s self-image. Dang, honey, you look good in those jeans! … Thank you for all you do. I have no idea what I’d do without you. … Have I mentioned lately what a fantastic lover you are?
9. Bear each other’s burdens.
Life’s burdens can easily rob us of intimacy. How can you lighten your spouse’s load?
Drop the kids off at school. Pick up dinner on your way home. Or maybe just offer a backrub at the end of a long day. Stop comparing your load to your spouse’s. It’s not a competition. And don’t offer help and expect favor in the bedroom for it.
In his letter to the Philippians Paul encouraged followers to do nothing from selfish ambition, but to consider others (in this case, our spouses) as more important than ourselves. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” he wrote (2:4).
10. Talk about your sexual relationship.
If you aren’t comfortable enough talking about sex with your spouse, you’re shortchanging yourself in the intimacy department. Sometimes, things just aren’t working bedroom-wise and your partner needs to know.
Also, unless you are in marital counseling, talk only to your partner about your sex life. The guys at work or your closest girlfriends don’t need to know the personal details you and your husband share. Intimacy between a husband and wife requires trust. Don’t break it by sharing with those who have no place in your bedroom.
This isn’t an instantaneous, “path to a perfect sex life” guide. There will always be other factors that play into the bedroom scene—health, past experiences or indiscretions. But these suggestions help lay a strong foundation for a sex life that strengthens the bond between you and your spouse, rather than opening the door to temptation.
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