Intimacy between lovers happens magically and spontaneously in most romance movies, but what about in real world married life? If you have children or live a busy life, spontaneous may not be in your vocabulary when it comes to sex. But thankfully intimacy doesn’t have to be spur-of-the-moment to take your breath away. Planned time together - as practical as it may sound- can still be magical for the husband and wife who prioritize pursuing one another.

Several years ago, I entered a video contest to win a free night stay at the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego. I unashamedly put my cute kids in the video, and we won! Although the kids didn’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labor, James and I did enjoy a downtown rendezvous. Thanks to that contest, James and I spent our tenth wedding anniversary in a luxurious corner room on the twenty-third floor. The hotel sent up complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries, truffles, and champagne to celebrate the occasion. It was perfectly romantic - and the fact that everything was free made the whole weekend seem like a huge gift.

Every couple needs highs to look forward to, as in staying on the twenty-third floor far away from the pressures and demands of everyday life. When you have regular getaways on the calendar, it gives you and your spouse something to look forward to and anticipate. That anticipation of romance helps breathe life and adventure into the deep friendship you share with your spouse. You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to achieve this. You may simply have a staycation at home and turn your home into a hotel by unplugging from your digital life and lighting candles instead.

In everyday life, intimacy often takes a backseat to other priorities such as carpooling, work, going back to school, or answering emails and texts. One common frustration for couples is finding time for sex. Most of us need to schedule in regular times for intimacy, date nights, and seasonal getaways. If physical closeness is a priority in your marriage, you and your husband must communicate often about sex.

What if you’re a night person but your spouse is exhausted after a long day at work? What if your spouse enjoys making love in the morning but that’s completely out of the question because you’re half asleep until 9 am? Together, you have to talk about solutions that work out for both of you. You have the same goal - to enjoy intimacy together on a regular basis - so remember you are on the same team as you talk.

You may arrive at a compromise - sometimes you’ll be open to a morning of romance and sometimes your spouse will engage in the evening. Maybe one evening a week you clear your calendar of other activities so that can be your date night. The main thing is to work together on building intimacy by design.

Once James made the comparison between me writing a book and lovemaking. He said that when I’m writing a book, I interview people and research my topic. I’m focused. He challenged me to be purposeful like that when it comes to intimacy. Could I read good books about sexuality and be purposeful in the bedroom? I must admit my initial reaction was to shirk back and think, I don’t need another thing to do. But as I thought about it more, my attitude began to change. I wanted to learn more about intimacy because I want to be close to my man, and physical intimacy is a main path to his heart.

Pam Farrel, author of Red Hot Monogamy, says this:

“When your relationship with your husband is the highest priority on your plate, it puts everything else in the proper perspective. The kids, the work, the house duties...it just puts everything else in the proper place when our relationship with our husband is doing well and when it’s red-hot.”