Jeff Foxworthy, the redneck comedian who readily admits that he is “not smarter than a fifth-grader” is wiser than he looks. In spite of his humble roots, Foxworthy teaches us a thing or two about keeping romance alive in our marriages. The country boy chides women for becoming lackadaisical in their bedroom attire. The newlywed bride owns a veritable treasure trove of Victoria Secret’s finest lingerie to entice her new mate. After five years of wedlock, Wifey-Poo pads around the house in flannel polka-dot jammies she bought in bulk from Costco. After ten years of wedded bliss, her sleep attire consists of her husband’s old football jerseys. And, God forbid, on their twentieth anniversary, the blushing bride consistently wears holey granny panties and anything else she can retrieve from the Goodwill donation bag. Sad.
What happened to the mystery? What happened to the romance? When did passion, pleasure and spontaneity disappear? One factoid you may not know is that most Christian couples NEVER talk about sex, especially regarding what pleases and arouses their partner. Sex is a guessing game where both parties remain disappointed, bored and unsatisfied. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom. Twice a week or even less. Sadly the beautiful act of intimacy God created to bind a man and woman together is lost the shuffle of mundane family routine. Kids are no help in the love-making department. My husband and I were looking forward to a sexy tryst in the New Mexico mountains when we discovered we had to bring along our fifteen-month old daughter with us. Thinking she was asleep, Roger and I were in the midst of a passionate kiss when Brie toddled through the door and said, “You Peskies!!!” So much for the romantic getaway.
Keeping a marriage exciting is an art. Here are a few tips that may assist you in “firing up” a stale sex life.
Praise the one you love sincerely and often. Accompany that praise with genuine affection. King Solomon waxed eloquent about his bride in Song of Solomon 4:1-3 NIV.
“How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead.
2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.
3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.”
I’ve always felt plain compared to my stunning sister. But from Day One Roger assured me I was gorgeous and alluring. Daily, consistently, he elaborated upon my beauty and charms. My Honey was sincere, poetic and persistent. One morning I was kinking my locks with a curling iron when my true love passed by. He put his arms around my neck and whispered in my ear, “Hello Beautiful!” My heart melted. For the first time, I looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m not so bad looking after all!” I felt so loved and secure.
Intimacy is the foundation for a rich, romantic union. Roger and I have taught hundreds of marriage seminars on intimacy. We always ask our couples, “What are some synonyms for intimacy?” The shy folks from Oklahoma blurt out “trust, transparency, communication, openness and vulnerability.” The Californian couples yell “hot, steamy sex” right off the bat. Wow, what a cultural contrast! Genesis states that Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. It was only after munching on the forbidden apple that the pair went clothes shopping!
“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:24-25 NIV
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:7 (NIV)
What is true intimacy and why is it foundational for good sex? God gave us three Hebrew words for intimacy. Yada-to know (Jeremiah 1:5), Sod-to disclose (Proverbs 3:32), and Sakan-deep, caring involvement. (Psalm 139:3).
Don’t ever stop “getting to know” your partner. Learn what they love, how they think, what they need. Your mate is always growing and evolving. Don’t miss the transformation. Let them know you. Guys, this is usually more challenging for you. According to Psychology Today, women speak 25,000 words a day while men speak a measly 12,000. Guys, open your heart and let your wife in, even if it is difficult for you.
Finally, remember Sakan. The reason you can let someone into your heart is because you know that your spouse wants to be caringly and intimately involved in your life. You don’t want to open up to someone and be wounded and betrayed. Trust is the basis for intimacy.
Take time to think about sex with your partner. Psychology Today, in another study, reported that men think about sex18.6 times a day and women had sexual thoughts 9.9 times daily. In summary, men learn to talk about sex more often and openly with your wife. Women, purpose to think about sex more frequently (about your partner, of course!)
Here’s a practical way to implement the process of igniting the fire of passion. Make a love map. Each partner describes what a pleasurable sexual encounter would look like for him or her. This is where the differences between men and women become apparent. Here is the love map from one of our female conference attendees:
Wednesday night: Home on time for dinner.
Thursday night: Take a walk.
Friday night: Dinner date and a movie.
Saturday night: Hot, burning love!
Most men would look at that list and say: That’s wasting time! The first thing on EVERY man’s list? GET NAKED.
Couples, meet in the middle. Learn what your partner desires and design a love map that works for both of you. (By the way, don’t leave the list on the coffee table for the kids to find. Discreetly stuff it in a dresser drawer away from prying eyes…).
Finally, remember sex is spiritual-created and ordained by God. Paul says abstaining from relations with your spouse can hinder your prayers. Honor the Lord with the purest picture of Christ’s love for His bride, the church!
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32 NIV
Don’t let your marriage grow stale. Light the fire!!!
Statistics taken from Psychology Today. Some marriage content comes from www.greatcommandment.net.
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About Julie Barrier
For over 25 years, Dr. Julie Barrier, along with her pastor-husband, Dr. Roger Barrier, has been in demand as a national and international conference speaker, addressing topics such as marriage, ministry, Biblical study, and women’s issues in 32 countries. The Barriers are founders and directors of the Preach It, Teach It website, www.preachitteachit.org, providing sermons, devotionals, blogs, and videos by 100 internationally renowned teachers and authors such as Francis Chan, Josh McDowell, Max Lucado, and Beth Moore in 212 countries. Julie also taught Biblical Foundations of Worship, Conducting, and Arranging as an adjunct Professor at the Dixon School of Church Music at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. In their 35-year ministry at Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona, Julie has served as a minister of worship, orchestra conductor, and arranger. Julie is also a concert artist and radio talk show host. Dr. Barrier is the author or composer of over 100 published works: books, articles, devotionals, dramas, choral and orchestral pieces. Her latest book is Bored in Big Church: Recollections of a Church Brat and Tattletale (Xulon Press, 2011).
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