I received an email from a man asking me how I came to believe sex was so important in marriage and asking me if I could convince his wife to share my belief. The email made me laugh and also tugged at my heart.
Marriage is hard work. It’s not all lovey-dovey, cutsey-wootsey, snuggley-buggley warmth. There are some very cold, distant caves hidden in wedded bliss; some caused by mistakes and some just by a lack of time, communication and priority. It takes commitment on every level. You have to give your body, your mind and your heart; not just one, but all. For a marriage to thrive, both partners must be ALL in, ALL invested, ALL of the time.
Sex is one part of what makes up a good marriage. It is one form of intimacy, and it should be noted that ALL forms of intimacy are necessary to keep the engine humming.
Years ago, my marriage was stagnant. My husband and I weren’t connecting and I didn’t feel as close to him as I had previously. We weren’t fighting a lot, but we had grown apart and there was a distance in our hearts. He was traveling a lot and I was exhausted with my job and the kids… by the time we got any time together we were, quite frankly, too tired to connect, physically or emotionally. Neither one of us was content or fulfilled.
We decided to conduct a little experiment. While talking over Margaritas and nachos we devised a jump-start plan of action. Determined to re-connect with one another, we made a sexual commitment. We vowed to make-love every day. Every day for one month. (He traveled so we weren’t able to hit the every day mark, but we did have sex every day that he was in town.) We began this experiment in August and during that first month we had sex 24 of the 31 days.
Our relationship was taken to a new level! We were talking more, laughing more, enjoying our stolen moments and looking forward to our time together. We liked it so much that we extended it to another month, and another month, and another month until we completed one full year.
It was this experiment that taught me the value of the physical manifestation of love between partners. See, sex isn’t just about the act or the climax…it’s about the bonding and the intimacy. Sure, the orgasm is fun, but that’s short-lived. The lasting emotional connection that comes from the sexual interaction is what matters most.
It is difficult, almost impossible, to make-love to someone and simultaneously stay angry at them. If you don’t believe me, try it. In your next argument with your partner, try getting naked and laying close while you’re fighting.
Nakedness is not just physical, but it is symbolic of emotional openness. Complete exposure and disclosure. It’s about acceptance and excitement.
Many couples don’t engage in sexual activity because they are ashamed of their own bodies, or they think they’re not good enough at it, or they get too tired and too lazy to make the commitment. The butterflies in the stomach are dead and sex becomes just another chore on the to-do list. After all, the touch is the same, the movement is the same, the panting is the same…. over time, it gets redundant, for both men and women. Welcome to marriage. Your job is to commit to spicing it up in and out of the bedroom. Your commitment to each other is to make the marriage not only work, but thrive. Attention to detail matters. Knowing what your partner likes and dis-likes matters, both in and out of the bedroom, and then applying that knowledge is crucial.
Get creative! It all starts with communication.
Talk to each other about things you want to do, places you want to go, elements of your marriage you wish you could change. Then, incorporate intimacy into that. For example: If you can’t afford a trip to Paris, bring Paris to your bedroom. Buy some French Champagne, light candles all over, put up a poster of the Eifel Tower, and make French kissing the theme of the evening. In between conversations, lean over and just start kissing…and don’t stop.
Buy a book on sexual positions and commit to one another that within the next six months, you’re going to try every position in the book. Then, get ready to laugh and laugh hard because some of the things you’re going to see will look downright impossible. But, it’s fun to try and it gives you and your partner a little private joke to share. (“Honey, remember the time you broke your collar bone trying to ….”) Seriously, though, be careful.
Have a Touching night. The rules are simple, you’re both blindfolded and you are forbidden to speak. The object is to guide one another’s hands to wherever you want them to go. This is a great way to tell your partner what you like without having to say it or face him/her. I’m from the Show-Me State, and trust me, sometimes actions speak a lot louder than words. (Safety tip: Remember to remove your blindfold before you get up to use the bathroom!)
Buy some magazines or look up some websites/articles on some of the more outlandish sexual activities. Explore submission and dominance. Try handcuffs, straps, whipped cream, etc. Find out together what appeals to you and to your partner. If you don’t like something, you don’t have to do it again. But the act of experimenting together heightens your trust in one another, acceptance of one another, ability to be open and honest about your feelings going forward and strengthens your bond as a couple. The word “bondage” starts with “bond” for a reason. J
Role play. It seems silly and people drop their heads and blush when it’s mentioned but role playing is a natural, human trait. When we are children we are not taught to pretend, we come by it naturally. The human imagination is a powerful tool, so use it to strengthen your marriage. Is he the sexy fireman that comes to rescue you with his hose? Is she the flirty nurse who comes to give you a sponge bath? Let your imagination run wild and then have fun with it.
These are just some quick ideas off the top of my head… I’m sure you can come up better ones. The point is, do something, anything. Marriages die because people stop trying. Sex is not the answer, but while you’re naked, lying together, you just might come face-to-face with the solution. Talk. Act. Listen. Love. It’s a T.A.L.L. order, but the juice is worth the squeeze. ~