I read this article on a popular news site and the title piqued my attention. After reading it, the source quoted is not in anyway related to a Christian or moral ideology, so I won’t give details further but thought that a response would be worth the time.
Here are the points made:
Time Brings a Deeper Connection
Un-selfconscious Sex is Better
Fantasies are Meant for Sharing
Practice Makes Perfect
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Great Sex Transcends the Bedroom
You’ve Got to be Open to Learn new Things
Most of the points made in the article have been established repeatedly through surveys of couples in long term marriages, clinical interviews, and clinical studies by both secular and Christian research. Since that is the case; I have been reading such findings for years; I thought it useful to comment on most of these points from a Christian, pastoral, biblical perspective.
Firstly, let me join the chorus of other Bible teachers and say that sex is GOOD because God the Father created it and He created nothing that was not good in His original intent. He was pleased to create the first couple this way and to make this relationship, sexuality in marriage, a paradigm for all mankind. I am grateful for it. Yes, we have since Genesis 3 corrupted it beyond all plans and intents of God our Father, but He still blesses it when it is exercised within His prescribed plan, marriage.
Now, to the points of the article.
“Time brings a deeper connection”
There is no way I can overemphasize this statement. The more time you spend with someone be it in marriage or in a friendship the deeper the appreciation for and the emotional and mental connection grow. In the Christian community the spiritual connection is even more important and stronger that other human connections. You question this. How many marriages or couples have you known that have broken apart because of differing spiritual bents? Conversely, how many marriages or couples have you known that have stayed together through insurmountable difficulties because of their spiritual connection? Time together in quality and quantity grow and strengthen a relationship.
“Un-selfconscious sex is better.”
Let me explain. The most important concept here is that two people must accept one another unconditionally. This is not unlike the old, old definition of a friend given by a child decades ago. “A friend is someone who knows all about you but likes you anyway.” Unconditional! In the context of marriage, we need to accept and receive one another in body, mind, and soul. It is not enough to accept our spouse or future spouse for their bodily attractiveness or their mental acuity, creativity, wit or for the emotional support and stimulation they provide. If only one of these is the focus of our acceptance of our spouse, then if and when that fails to meet our expectations, the relationship suffers and often fails. Women in particular and men respond best in a sexual relationship when they are secure in the acceptance that the other person extends toward them. It actually brings an emotional relaxation to each person. Without this acceptance, it is easy for a couple to fall into the worldly trap of “performance.” In a marriage wrapped up in the purpose and plan of God, performance is not all important because love, acceptance, and being received is paramount.
“Fantasies are meant for sharing”
In today’s society, this is most often thought of as sexual fantasies involving specific other persons outside the relationship. For this discussion, that is not where one should go mentally. However, fantasies or dreaming of time together, times in the past that were particularly enjoyable or memorable, or planning an encounter together are a special part of a marriage. These day dreams as it were are a natural part of a vital, growing relationship.
“Practice Makes Perfect.”
Once again this cannot be overstated. Gini and I have almost from the beginning when talking with premarried couples and at times those in long term marriages told them that sexual response is a learned skill. If you are an athlete, you understand this but whether it is a musician, a teacher, or an athlete; it takes time to learn the best practices, techniques, and timing to be an accomplished practitioner in a particular field. This is true in human relations, business, medicine, law, or any other vocation where experience trumps academic knowledge. Nowhere is it more important than in a marriage relationship. I can remember our honeymoon. The first night was awkward but we were determined to share intercourse that first night. After the first night, we began to relax and practice what we had heard from Dr. Ed Wheat in his audio series, Sex Techniques and Problems in Marriage, at the time, 1976, there was no one else offering anything in the context of Christian marriage counseling. The more we practiced, nightly, the more proficient we became at loving one another in this new realm of our relationship. I will expand on this more when I discuss the last point of the article.
“Communicate, Communicate, Communicate”
In 2014, I read an article or post that was written by a CEO of a company in which he listed seven, 7, traits of a great leader or something of that nature in a LinkedIn email update. It was not very long and as noted had seven points to it. Guess what three of those points were? Okay, I know you likely have not seen the article but I want you to think before I tell you what three of the seven points were. . . . . . . . . . . Three of the seven points were listen, listen, and listen. Think about this. A CEO of a company or corporation states that listening is the most important mark of a good or great leader. So, if you want a long term marriage relationship and you want great sexual events and relationship, the number one thing you must do is “listen.” You must train yourself to listen well away from the sexual relationship and to listen well during the height of passion while acting and responding in the sexual relationship. Why is listening so important? Here are a few reasons: it tells the other person/spouse or mate that he or she is important to YOU; it tells them that you care about what they have to say; it tells them that what they have to say is more important than what you want to say in response; it tells them that you are at the moment intimate with them; it encourages them to listen to truly hear what you say when you need to share something; it is a foundation for almost everything else that happens in your long term marriage relationship. Without listening, your relationship can work well, very well in fact, mechanically. You can go places, do things together, spend time with friends or family, attend events, and even go to church and a thousand other things together and it all be a mechanical response. Is that what you really want? If so, you can skip the rest of this post. If not and you want everything that a relationship with a spouse or mate can be, then you need to read, reread, and think long and hard about “listening.” It is one of the most important keys to a successful, long-term relationship.
“Great Sex Transcends the Bedroom”
Dr. Kevin Leman put it this way Sex Begins in the Kitchen the title of one of his best books. Men, for your wife, intimacy almost always begins somewhere else other than the bedroom or bed. The little things you do for her, the simple touches (non-sexual particularly), the little comments and compliments, listening intently, and the list goes on all tell your wife that she is special and valuable and worthy of your time and effort. When a woman particularly a wife feels this way, she finds it much, much easier to respond to you physically. Often she will be drawn to you when you don’t expect it and come to you for an embrace or a kiss. By the way, a long, leisurely hug for no particular reason is very good for her health and for your long term marriage. Science now knows that a hug for a woman stimulates the bonding chemical in her brain, oxytocin. If you want to subtly strengthen and continue the bonding between you, be liberal with your hugs. Men, they need to be free and with no intended goal of sharing sex together. You should hug when sharing sex too but there need to be other times when the goal is not the bed.
“You’ve got to be Open to New Things”
In today’s culture this might refer to something like “50 Shades of Gray”, but that is not the way I will present it. For your information, “50 Shades of Gray” has been billed as liberating for women by allowing them to discover their sexuality. However, if you read beyond the hype, you will find that the behaviors described in this book/movie are in fact degrading, demeaning, subjugating, and can be dangerous–mentally, physically, and spiritually. Just don’t go there.
Let me be simple here. We you begin your relationship, sexually and otherwise, the learning curve is pretty steep. Often, sharing sex becomes the outlet for stress in other areas of a young marriage. Sex can be so exciting that the need to study and learn is simply not realized or considered. We often simply just go at it headlong and often that works out fine for the first few years. As time passes, many many couples get in a routine and sex becomes an outlet, an act, or anything but what is should be and was intended to be by the Creator. No one wants to deliberately head in that direction knowing that ultimately sharing sex becomes just sex. At that point, it is no longer fun, exciting, or fulfilling.
Consider any tragedy or serious illness or surgery. After almost any kind of trauma in a couple’s marriage, re-initializing the sexual relationship is necessary. An abdominal surgery often requires from a few to many weeks of recovery. What you may find is that the old way of sharing sex is not as good or simply will not work anymore. You may need to experiment with one or more new positions to reengage sexually. I can assure you from experience that new positions are not always bad, nor is the unfamiliar dissatisfying. One of the blessings of changes in life is that new phases of life often bring new experiences to old habits which in turn provides new interest and vigor to our lives. Please, do not get stuck in such a rut that if something comes into your relationship that forces a sexual change that you cannot or will not endeavor to find a way to reunite sexually.
Proceed and have fun growing in your long term marriage.