Psychologist Paul Eastwick of the University of Texas at Austin says, “Passion is best defined as a combination of sexual connection and attachment longing.” I like his definition. Many experts believe passionate monogamy is impossible, boring, and dull. Passion is supposed to provide a high, much like a drug, and you can’t stay intoxicated forever with the same person. Several evolutionary biologists say men in particular are programmed to spread their seed around, assuring the survival of the species. Most want us to believe romantic love cannot be sustained and once it has died, it is gone. Let it go, get over it, and move on.
Such nonsense has disrupted our ability to think straight on this topic. God made us for permanent, solid, and secure attachments. There will be disruptions; romantic love is a series of connections and disconnections. But instead of moving away from one another and believing romantic love is dead, we need to move in, heal the traumatic or hurtful breech, and repair our love through empathic listening, attunement to the needs of our spouse, and touch.
Just being together
We are going to miss each other as husband and wife on occasion, but it doesn’t mean we should find excuses to neglect our sexual relationship. This part of a marital union is important. It has more value than we have assigned it. We can treat it casually and think it is supposed to happen like in the movies: automatic desire, instant arousal, spontaneous orgasm. That is silly. We have to work at anything worth having. Don’t neglect this part of your relationship, even if it hasn’t been great.
I think God thinks it is great when we make an effort to make love to our partner even if fireworks don’t happen; there is still goodness happening. Just being together is good. Caressing, kissing, holding, cuddling, playing, and fondling are all good.
We need to take the focus off of having intercourse and an orgasm and put the value on giving each other pleasure. Pleasure is underrated. Pleasure for your body and giving your spouse pleasure is worthy of our time and effort. God wants you to have the feel-good hormones released in your body to make marriage easier. It’s like a free mini-vacation—why wouldn’t you go?
If your spouse doesn’t want sex
What if my spouse doesn’t like making love? Great question. There is a reason someone doesn’t like sex. Instead of personalizing it and making it about yourself, why not explore with your spouse what they don’t like. Be empathetic, listen, ask good questions. Maybe she or he feels pressured. Maybe she feels misunderstood or taken for granted. Or maybe he feels like he is supposed to be a sexual machine.
Men, especially after your wife has a baby, you have to tune into her more, not less. I know it’s hard. Husbands can feel they have been replaced with this little person who is having a love affair with your woman, or maybe your wife is having postpartum depression. It’s not easy; be patient and sensitive. God has provided a beautiful opportunity to mature you into a sensitive partner to the woman He has given you.
Be present with her; ask her what she needs and how you can support her. Tell her you miss being sexually close with her and what that means to you, but reassure her you will wait until she is ready. Connect with her emotionally. It’s really tempting after children come for the husband to just work more hours because he feels neglected. Move in toward her, not away.
Sexy takes on new meaning for a woman once she has children. Helping her with the kids is the sexiest thing you can do. I remember watching Ron playing with the boys and thinking, Wow, that man is the sexiest thing on the earth and I can’t wait to get him alone after those kids of ours go to bed! I am telling you, woo her by helping her.
Women, I want to caution you, it’s so easy to judge a man and think all he wants is sex; or the other extreme, he never wants me anymore. Get into your own solid self and pursue him sexually. Men want to be wanted as much as a woman wants to be wanted.
No one wants to be judged for his or her sexual desires or lack of desire. If you don’t want him pawing at you then give him reassurance that he is desirable by pursuing him. In the Song of Solomon it is the woman who opens the book by saying, “Kiss me—full on the mouth! Yes! For your love is better than wine, headier than your aromatic oils” (Song of Sol. 1:2).
If you carefully read this book about marital sexual love and desire, you will find she frequently pursues him. She openly desires him. She allows herself to soak in and receive sexual pleasure.
Married couples who have sex regularly live longer, have better heart health, enjoy a deeper connection, and can let go of annoyances easier. I’m sure someday in heaven, God will give us a million more reasons why He made sex for husband and wife to enjoy and why it was so good for us.
Push yourself a little
So here is my encouragement to you: Do it. Do it often, as often as is fun. Push yourself a little. Get your groove on. Find your mojo. Don’t let this beautiful thing God made die. That’s a sad, long, painful death. Fight for it. Don’t give up on it. Don’t be passive or aggressive about it. Do whatever you have to do to make this work for you both. Talk. Become sexual friends. Turn him on. Turn her on. Get help. Give it your best and your all. Be courageous. Go for it.
Seriously, your marriage will be more fun, richer, deeper, sexier, much more connected if you do! It’s the only thing you have that is all yours. It’s your private heaven on earth. Make out on the couch, in the shower, in the car. Be sexual with each other. Make it all it can be. There are no limits, only the ones you put on it.
Excerpted from Love and Sex. Copyright © 2018 by Nancy Houston. Used with permission of Regnery Faith Publishing.