Be My Valentine (Gut-Level Honesty About Married Intimacy)
WARNING: This post contains information and references about married sexuality. It is wholesome and appropriate for the context of marriage. It is geared mostly towards women, but could be helpful for men as well.
When I was a few months away from getting married at the young age of 21, a special woman named Anna asked me over for coffee. She had a wonderful porch swing we liked to sit on for long talks. That day, I wasn’t expecting the turn our conversation took. But twenty years later, living in the middle of my dream for a family, I still can’t thank God enough for her advice.
Leading up to the wedding, the last thing on my mind was imagining a time I would want to refuse my husband’s advances. I still laugh thinking about it. No, I certainly wasn’t about to embark on our honeymoon with a big, fat, stop sign on my face. But that’s where my friend’s excellent advice began . . .
Be available: You’ve probably heard the phrase “Women get married for love, and men get married for sex.” Though it may be a bit blunt, there’s truth to this statement according to how males and females are wired. It’s silly to get married and be crazy about your husband and fighting being all over each other before you get married, then expect that desire in him to change. And the covenant of marriage is the awesome and holy place for this to happen. It’s blessed and precious, and that’s a mindset change in this crazy society. So ladies, that means our hearts should try be open to receive our husband’s advances, even if it’s the last thing on our mind.
Be engaged: So you have the grocery list and the kid’s calendar of games running through your mind, along with what’s for dinner and the pile of laundry on your bedroom floor. Shocking as it is, all of these trivial things can inch up to the top of our priorities. Real-life circumstances like these are out to keep you from being a great team. And all of those “things” grabbing your attention won’t matter anyway if everything falls apart between you. (Yes, they’ll have to be done, but you get my drift.) Placing priority on your husband’s needs can completely erase the workload off of his shoulders, resulting in a calmer and sweeter atmosphere in your home. And when he trusts that your open to him, being tense and grumpy can become a thing of his past. Hey! What about our workload and stress? Well, don’t forget, I’m a woman writing this, so more on that later.
Be passionate: It’s easy to get down in the dumps doing the seemingly mundane everyday. It’s also easy to forget what we have. I’m sure those who have been married many years would look back and see that they never imagined their lives flying by so furiously. My hubby and I like to say “NOW is the good old days.” (I know, bad grammar, but I like how it sounds!) Maybe those significant moments, the ones that take our breath away, need to happen more often. Sending a love note (or text, lol), taking a trip, or even prettying up your bedroom can all help create a special, passionate moment.
Be playful: My very favorite quote ever is from the newer Sabrina movie: “Sometimes more isn’t better, sometimes it’s just more.” Though this sounds contradictory to my previous thought, they both work for different seasons. Even if you’re eating mac and cheese instead of steak, you’re still eating. So, making the most of a little time without high expectations can really help. Hanging off the chandeliers is great when it works, but it could be a bit uncomfortable on a consistent basis. . .
Be a pursuer: This thought is my favorite revelation on our subject. It’s one thing to be available and engaged as a response to your husband, but it’s another thing entirely to actively pursue him. How did we act walking down the aisle? What were we thinking about riding away from the crowd that day? Hopefully, you were thinking about jumping his bones! How do movies and Nicholas Sparks novels and 1980’s love songs keep your attention? Someone is in hot pursuit! Surely the beautiful connection given to us in marriage by God Himself can exceed those cheap imitations! You were pursuing him with all of your heart (and body) at one time not so far back. Why not run that race again?
The trick of nourishing a husband and wife relationship is retreating in our minds to our landmarks and dwelling on the sweet memories until, amidst all of the stuff that makes up life on earth, we can go back to that place our covenant was struck. This means forgiveness of wrongs, taking the high road when we’re hurt, and being willing to be open and vulnerable. And let me add here, that means we girls would be extremely grateful to see a hubby giving the kids a bath or washing dishes, or volunteering for a grocery trip or Wal-Mart run (ugh). It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg and which came first. Either one of you can make the first step, so why not be the one that does?
No, keeping our marriages on the right track isn’t for the fainthearted. But it’s worth it. Every day. Every year. Until forever.