Q. When we first married we experienced great sex. But since kids, work pressures and the pace of life kicked into hyper drive, I don't have much sexual desire. What can we do to get back to having great sex again?
A. To say you are experiencing a “case of the normals” would be a great understatement. When we wrote the book The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women we reported our findings from surveying about 700 couples. We asked couples what they needed in order to have great sex in a Godly marriage and what they “couldn’t stand about sex.” We learned that men and women alike reported “we don’t talk much about sex and we don’t know what ‘normal’ really is.” Most couples reported that sex starts out vibrant and often in young marriages. And then “life happens” and with the onset of kids (or the integration of kids into blended families), stress from work and life, either or both spouses experience diminished desire. Sound familiar?
If so, what is the antidote? Let’s start with what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:5. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. We love this teaching because although it is over 2,000 years old it works remarkably well in giving husbands and wives clarity of direction in our sexual lives today. So let’s unpack this Scripture together as a foundation for our response.
First of all, when you married, your spouse became your “only provision” for the sexual needs of your covenant marriage. Period. Not lust. Not pornography. Not emotional affairs. Period. With that being the case then, when we deprive one another of the fulfillment of the sexual needs we have without agreeing or for an extended period of time, we are stepping outside of God’s instruction. Paul gives us the prescription that when we do “hold back” it needs to be for something more important than sexual fulfillment and connection: spiritual connection. Prayer. Fasting. An extended time of reading the Word. In other words, spiritual connection trumps sexual connection. Connecting vertically to the Lord and then to each other helps us love and serve each other well. He then instructs us to reconnect sexually to avoid temptation from Satan because we may not exercise self-control. Great insights.
We coach couples to start with a deep desire to fulfill our marital vows of the covenant. How? Partially by being the “only one” for each other in all areas of marriage: emotionally, sexually and in our hearts and minds. When a man is out-serving his bride, it will make her sexual responsiveness and inclination to initiate sex reasonable.
In order to “get back to great sex,” plan time together, save energy for one another, swap kid-sitting with friends, visit a B&B or take a mini vacation, romance each other, pray together over your marriage bed and for great sex. In other words, connect spiritually and emotionally and then when the time is right, initiate and respond to one another protecting the marriage bed!
Returning to great sex necessitates serving each other, honoring one another, connecting with one another and providing safety and security in our marriage. Resolve the conflicts of open loops to protect you from allowing hardened hearts to threaten your marriage bed. Go for it! It is a great way to continue to nurture your marriage.