- What expectations do you have about sex in marriage? What are your spouse’s expectations? Have you discussed those?
- Can you remember a time when your sex life was a satisfying and rewarding part of your marriage? Why were things working so well then as opposed to now? What specific things have changed? When did things start to change?
- When you discuss sex, are you affirming of your spouse or do you choose words that are degrading or hurtful?
- Do you save enough time and energy to enjoy lovemaking or is your schedule so full it’s just one more “to do” on your list?
- Is friendship and companionship the foundation of your lovemaking? Could you invest more in that area?
- Is your bedroom a sanctuary or is it full of distractions, like television, computer, kids’ toys, laundry, or clutter? What if you worked with your spouse to remove those distractions to create a bedroom that felt like an oasis for just the two of you?
- Do you go to bed at the same time? Do you allow enough time to talk and listen and laugh together?
- Do you and your spouse practice proper hygiene? If you feel this is a problem, would you be willing to talk to your spouse?
- Are you and your spouse getting enough exercise to stay in shape and maintain energy for sexual intimacy?
- Are you or your spouse holding onto bitterness or resentment over past grievances?
- Does your sex edify your spouse? Are you seeking to meet your spouse’s needs first? How would your spouse answer that?
- Is the past negatively affecting your sex life? Poor habits that have needed to change? Past sexual sin needing forgiveness? Past abuse needing wise counsel and healing?
- Is there any emotional or physical abuse presently in your marriage? What does that look like? Have you sought help?
- How do you think God views sex in marriage? What changes do you think He would want the two of you to make?
- Are there specific questions or concerns that you’d like to discuss with me?
- What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
By Branden DesCarpentrie
Tonight I am taking the woman I love out for Valentine’s Day. What did you do to romance your spouse? Maybe you purchased a dozen red roses, went to an extravagant restaurant or perhaps you got her some lingerie. Let me encourage you now…find out what really makes your wife tick. Simply ask her what makes her feel romanced and start to practice it. Now, you might be wondering what all this has to do with romance. Let me explain.
Several years ago, I found myself sleeping in my wife Julia’s old bedroom at my in-laws. We were not there to visit. In fact, we lived only a few minutes away. We were there to say goodbye to a woman whose memory still makes me smile – her mom. I was awakened to join my wife, my father-in-law, her sister, three brothers and my two sisters-in-law. As a family, we tearfully shared her last breath that night, knowing she was drawing in her next one on the other side – cancer free.
In the weeks and months following the loss of her mother, my wife coped with a huge pain-filled void in her life. The loss also exposed another large void, one I had never before realized but that was now painfully evident. Julia had lost her biggest cheerleader, the person who gave her encouragement – something she craved in order to feel loved. I had never been that to her…in fact my gift seems to be finding what’s wrong, not right. This trait came in very handy at my job, but not so much at home. Now, instead of getting fed a daily dose of encouragement and attentive conversation, she was left with me, and because of this, our romantic relationship suffered.
Julia needed that cheerleader. Her mom wore that “uniform” before, but now I had to put it on… and it was an uncomfortable fit. It was time for me to tell her she was doing a good job, ask her how her day went and care enough to listen well. I needed to give credence to her dreams, laugh with her and honor her efforts as important.
So here I am today, three years later, writing these words and still struggling to be what came so naturally to my mother-in-law. However, here is what I’ve found: In the times when I’m walking in the Spirit and am able to encourage her like she needs to be encouraged, I find a woman who is more prepared to engage with me romantically.
Well, I am off on a date with Julia, ready to cheer her on like she deserves. For my wife, true romance begins with encouragement.
by Jim Mitchell
I’m too tired” the wife says, meaning too tired for sex of course. But is that really what she means?
For many wives, yes, that is precisely what she means. She’s tired… physically exhausted, in fact. This is especially true for young mothers and women who work outside the home. Any man who doubts this should try being “Mr. Mom” for a day. Trust me, you’ll be begging for your regular job back in no time!
What a wife doesn’t mean by “I’m too tired” is some kind of indictment on her husband, though that’s often what he hears.
Despite a woman’s best intentions, studies show that being physically tired is her most common sexual deterrent. Add to this the fact that even when she is interested, it usually takes her considerably more time to “warm up” and this even further explains why sex can get left off the daily agenda.
She’s not just physically tired either. Emotional fatigue can occur when a wife feels prolonged isolation and disconnection from her husband. For her sex is built on a foundation of deep, regular, non-sexual romance, as Emerson Eggerichs writes in his book Love and Respect:
“When Scripture speaks of ‘cleaving,’ the idea in the Hebrew is to cling, hold, or keep close… Cleaving, however, is more than sexual. Cleaving also means spiritual and emotional closeness. This is a salient passage for husbands–full of insight. Your wife will feel loved when your move toward her and let her know you want to be close with a look, a touch, or a smile.” (p.125)
The wise husband, if he truly desires real sexual intimacy and not just immediate sexual gratification, will be a man who strives to carry a heavier share of the household chores to relieve her physical burden and who will invest in regular, meaningful conversation to make her feel cherished and secure.
In other words, healthy marital sex starts well before the physical. To put it graphically, husbands, you need to penetrate her world… offer companionship… offer loving self-sacrifice. She’s not too tired for that.
By Jim Mitchell
“I’m too tired” the wife says, meaning too tired for sex of course. She falls asleep thinking what she said is what he heard. It’s not. Robert Lewis explains why in his book Rocking the Roles:
“Few things affirm a man in his masculinity as does his wife’s sexual responsiveness. Spontaneous hugs, kisses, and other demonstrations of affection, as well as intercourse, do more than make a man feel good. These actions meet a much deeper need. They reassure a man. They confirm him in his masculinity!” (p.128)
So wives, when you say, “I’m too tired,” here’s a short list of what he might be hearing:
“I’m too tired… for you.”
“I’m too tired… for you to feel desired.”
“I’m too tired… for you to feel admired.
“I’m too tired… to show you how much you mean to me and the kids.”
“I’m too tired… for you to show me how much I need your protection and strength.”
“I’m too tired… to make you feel like a man… my man.”
“I’m too tired… to show you how much I believe in you.”
“I’m too tired… to remind you again that all your sexual satisfaction comes from me alone!”
Sounds a lot different than what you intended, doesn’t it? Why is what he hears so different than what you mean? Again, for a husband the physical act of sex communicates much more than just the physical act of sex.
Fifteen years of marriage and I’m just now realizing how true this is. And I’m only now getting to the point where I have the courage to admit to any fears or insecurities in this area.
To be sure, we husbands have a lot to learn too. The last thing a tired wife needs is marital guilt. Husbands click here for a few thoughts on that.
But can I encourage you wives to take a look at the list above one more time? Are you too tired for more than you realized?