Marital Intimacy, Part 3
About the Guest
Sometimes the sexual differences between men and women feel like a cruel joke. The reality is, it's part of God's plan to unite a couple in marriage. Bob Lepine talks sensitively but frankly about how to work with your spouse regarding the different needs, and ways you relate to intimacy.
Sometimes the sexual differences between men and women feel like a cruel joke.
Marital Intimacy, Part 3
Bob: We live in an era, in a culture that has really cheapened and undervalued God’s great gift of sexuality in marriage. Today we’re going to explore some of what God had in mind when he came up with the idea for human sexuality back in the Garden.
This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, July 22nd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Join us today as we look at the differences between men and women when it comes to marital intimacy, and why God created us so different in the first place.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. I’ve got to confess. There are times when I’ll be standing in the supermarket check-out line and I see those magazines that are there, and they’ve got some headline that says “These Six Tips Can Revolutionize Your Marriage Intimacy.” Most of the time they’re not talking about your marital intimacy, they’re talking about immoral intimacy . . .
Dennis: Yeah, right.
Bob: But I’ve got to confess. I look at that and I go, “I just want to know what they’re suggesting.” I mean, don’t you? Aren’t you just curious, that you want to pick it up and go . . .
Bob: We’re all curious. I think all of us have this illusion that if we could just find this one thing . . .
Dennis: Oh, yeah. It’s a formula.
Bob: The magic pill.
Dennis: This one thing . . .
Bob: . . . would fix it all.
Dennis: Well, you know what Barbara says about it?
Dennis: She says, “If it’s A plus B plus C equal D tonight,
Bob: We’re going to change the formula tomorrow.
Dennis: We’re going to change the formula to Z plus Q plus . . .
Bob: I remember I heard her talking about this and she said, “Women don’t want to be figured out, so as soon as a guy thinks ‘I know, I know what does it for my wife,’ she’s going to go, ‘uh-huh.’”
Dennis: “No way.” You know, here’s the thing: we’ve been holding Weekend to Remember®marriage getaways now since 1976. We’ve trained over two million people through these conferences. This year we’re going to have over 135 Weekend to Remember® marriage getawaysin nearly all 50 states.
It’s time you and your spouse set aside a weekend to go hear God’s perspective on sex, on conflict resolution, on communication, on the roles of husband and wife. I mean, it’s just a great conference, Bob, that’s not just a data dump, but it also has very practical projects that help a husband and a wife who are coming at subjects like sex from two very different perspectives to work through a project and to come out on the other side with a better understanding of how to meet one another’s needs.
Bob: I would say to those couples who might think, “You know, we don’t really need that. We’re doing okay,” I would say, “You need it for yourself so you can keep doing okay, because you never know what’s around the corner.”
Dennis: No, you don’t. That’s right.
Bob: You want to keep the marriage tuned up. The second thing I would say is, “Do you know somebody who you look at and go, ‘They could really use an event like this.’” If you want them to attend, the best way to get your friend to attend a Weekend to Remember® is for you to call them and say, “Hey, we’re going. Why don’t you go with us?
So not only will it be beneficial for you, but if you know somebody who would benefit, don’t just call and say, “Hey, you guys ought to go. We don’t need it, but you ought to go.” No, call and say, “We’re going. Why don’t you guys join us?”
And we’ve got a special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners, and this will apply for your friends as well, if you want to take advantage of it. When you sign up, find up when one of the getaways is going to be in a location near you, someplace where you guys can go together, if you identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener, you can save at least $100 per couple off the regular registration fee.
So if you’re signing up for yourself online or signing up for your friends online, just make sure you type my name; type “BOB” in the group name box on the online registration form. Or, if you call 1-800-FLTODAY and get signed up over the phone, just mention that you’re a FamilyLife Today listener and you want to take advantage of the special group offer that we’re making to FamilyLife Today listeners.
And if we hear from you before the end of the month, we’ll also send along a copy of a game for couples called Spouse-ology. It’s a fun, interactive game that a number of couples can play together and get to know one another better. It’s our early-bird signing bonus for you if you’ll go ahead and register for an up-coming fall Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway.
Sign up online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY. Make sure you sign up as a part of my group. Put “BOB” in the group box, or mention that you’re a FamilyLife Today listener when you call in, and you’ll save at least $100 per couple off the regular registration fee. And you’ll have a great time at the Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway.
Dennis: Well, today we’re going to listen to part three of a message that Bob Lepine gave that is the same content you’ll hear at a Weekend to Remember®marriagegetaway. It’s about how to experience sexual intimacy when you have a man and a woman in a marriage relationship with two sets of very different needs, very different expectations, how that works in a marriage relationship.
Bob: And we should just say we all follow the same outline when we present this material, but the sixty-plus couples who speak at the Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway, all of them great communicators, they each bring something a little different –
Dennis: Yeah. Right.
Bob: -- to their presentation. So if you hear the message once, the next time you hear it from somebody different, it will have some different insights as well.
Dennis: Let’s listen to Bob Lepine on sexual intimacy in marriage.
Bob: You understand that the fact that we are different, that we’re men and women, that’s an obstacle as well, right? Guys do think differently about sex than women think about sex, and until we understand that those differences were designed by God for our good, we can miss one another. And it’s good that we’re different. I mean, God made it that way. If we were both the same, it wouldn’t be all it’s supposed to be.
For example, in terms of differences, when it comes to attitude, guys tend to be compartmentalized when it comes to this issue. Women tend to be more holistic when it comes to this issue.
Here’s what I mean: For a guy, you can go through your day and you live your day in shoeboxes or in compartments. Each aspect of your life is a separate entity. So you get up in the morning, you’ve got your morning routine, you open that shoebox, you go through it. When you’re done with your morning routine, you put that away, you’re done. You’re done with that for the day.
You drive to work. You spend the day at work, you go to meetings. That’s your work shoebox. When you’re done with that, at the end of the day, you put the lid on that shoebox, you put it away. When you’re with the kids, you’ve got that shoebox, you open it up – these are all separate compartments.
How you’re doing at work really doesn’t spill over all that much into your time with the kids. I mean, you can kind of compartmentalize that a little better than your wife can. That’s why, at the end of a bad day, when things have not gone well at work and you got a ticket on the way to work and it’s just been a bad day, you can still be in the mood. Because that’s a different shoebox. That’s a whole different thing. Yeah, you just put everything away, but that’s okay. Let’s get that sex thing out and let’s go for it.
Women are not like that. They are not compartmentalized. They are holistic. That’s why, guys, we can say, “So what do you think about tonight?” and she can say, “Are you kidding? After what Susie said to me at lunch yesterday?”
“What Susie said to you at lunch yesterday? Why should that have any – are you --?”
“I’m still grieving over that.”
“Well, okay, well, can we put that shoebox away?”
She’s blended yogurt. I mean, you’ve got yours on the top and not stirred up yet. No, it’s all together for her, alright?
Our stimulation is different. Men are more visually oriented, women are more relationally oriented. We are turned on by physical stuff; women are turned on by relational stuff. We’re different in that regard. Men are sight and actions; women are words and expressions.
Mary Ann and I have laughed about this. We were in a Bible study together one time, and the question for the group was, “What’s the most romantic thing your spouse has done recently?” And we were going around the room and I was sitting going, “Man, what have I done recently?” I was just thinking, “What is she going to come up with? Is she going to have to go back decades to find something that I’ve done romantic?” I’m trying to come up with a list in my own mind.
Finally they get to Mary Ann. I can’t wait to hear what she’s going to say. She said, “Well, the other night he was watching TV and I was in doing the dishes, and without me saying anything he turned off the TV and he came in and started drying the dishes.” And she said, “That was so –“
I said, “Now, honey, they’re asking about romantic stuff.” She said, “That was so romantic for me.” And I went, “You’re kidding me.” Now every time I pick up a dish towel, she just looks at me and goes, “I know what you’re thinking.”
For her, acts of service – that’s a love language, so when I came in without prompting and started to do it, she just wanted – she wanted me. Right? Okay, so we’ve got to understand we’re different in that regard. If I was working out in the yard and she came and picked up a rake, that wouldn’t cause me to go, “I want you.” You know?
When it comes to our needs in the area of sexuality – now listen to me on this. This is so important. When you dig past all of the sexual stuff and you go to what’s at the core here? What is it that’s really at the core of a man’s soul? What’s he want, sexually? What’s he desiring?
You know what it is? It’s not the orgasm, okay? You know what it is? He wants to be respected. There’s something in his heart and soul that he wants to be affirmed, admired and respected. And women, listen to me. When you respond to your husband sexually, that ministers to him at that level like nothing else.
Mary Ann and I have talked about this, and I have said, “You know, you can go throughout the day and you can say things to me like, ‘I think you are a wonderful husband and father. You’re so smart. You did such a good job.” She can be complimenting and affirming and all of that.
If she does that all day long and then I say to her, “So are you in the mood tonight?” and she goes, “Not really,” my thought is, “Well, then why did you lie to me all day? Because if that was true, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to be with that guy sexually.“ There’s something at the core of our being that sexual responsiveness ministers to our need to be respected, admired, and affirmed like nothing else.
And I will say this; sexual rejection – to be non-responsive – stabs a man at the core of his being.
Now, I’m not saying that every time your husband reaches the hand over that you have to go, “Okay, here I go. I’ve got to do this.” There are times when you can say, “Look, tonight not’s good for me, but can we plan maybe for tomorrow and I’ll be ready?” You see, to say that to your husband is so much easier for him to hear than “Not tonight,” because “Not tonight” means to him, “You’re not desirable,” at the core of his being. Got that, ladies?
Now men. Got to talk to you. The core need for a woman in the sexual area: She has got to know that in her relationship with you she is safe and secure and protected. How can she give herself to you if she’s worried about what you’re going to be thinking, who else you’re thinking about, what you’re going to say to other people. If she doesn’t feel safe, if she doesn’t feel protected, if she doesn’t feel cherished and nourished outside the bedroom, how can she be open and give herself to you?
Safety and security is at the core of her need, and so you can’t just be one way with her, treat her like one of the guys, joke around and kid with her in a way that is somehow hurtful, and then expect her to respond to you sexually. It’s not a switch she can turn on. You have got to be affirming and admiring and respecting and cherishing and nourishing her for her to be able to say, “Yes, I want to be with you.” That’s what’s going on underneath the whole deal, okay?
When it comes to sexual excitement – men are acyclical, which basically means any time, any place, you name it. That’s what acyclical means. Women are cyclical; they go through moods and times and cycles in terms of their sexual interest. We’ve got to be aware of that. God built that in. One of the reasons God built that in, gentlemen, is so that we can learn self-control, so that we can learn that if it’s not the right time, okay, we’ve got to deal with that.
The fact that you have sexual interest doesn’t mean that you should always get that fulfilled. Think of guys who are serving in Iraq right now. They’ve been over there for 11 months, and God would call them to be faithful. Well, they had better have learned some self-control before they went, right? So it’s not like every time you have a desire there should be someone there to fulfill it for you. You’ve got to learn some self-control, and that cyclical part is a part of what God built that in for.
And then our sexual responsiveness is different. Men are quick to excite and women are slow to excite. A guy can go from nothing to done in about three minutes, right? I mean, I’m not trying to be crass, but you can go from zero to sixty in three minutes. Women it takes about fifteen minutes for them to have been nowhere to a point of arousal.
And what that means, guys, is that we’ve got to be patient and we’ve got to be loving, and we’ve got to wait. If our goal is just to get my thing done and then I’m done, that’s no good. Our goal should be for each other to have a mutually fulfilling sexual experience, however that’s defined for that particular time.
And then, when it comes to the orgasm, for men it’s shorter, it’s more intense. For women it’s longer and it’s more emotionally in depth.
Alright, I mentioned the four things: commitment, companionship, passion and spiritual intimacy. You remember those at the beginning? Let me just quickly touch on those, because here’s what I want you to see.
Commitment – for a husband and wife, this is why the best sex happens in a marriage relationship, because the marriage relationship begins with a commitment to one another, where we say things like “For better, for worse, rich or poor, sick or in health.” We say those things – “Forsaking all others, I’m yours. This is it. I’m committed. I’m not going anywhere until death do us part.”
To have that commitment in place provides the security groundwork for somebody to be open with one another sexually. Now there are plenty of people who are being sexual outside of marriage, and they can have an orgasm and they can have passion, but I guarantee you what they can’t have is intimacy at the deepest level. They can’t.
I grew up in the 60s when Carole King wrote the pop song that was on the radio that said, “Tonight you’re mine, completely. You give your love so sweetly. Tonight, the look of love is in your eyes, but will you still love me tomorrow?” That question, that question is in the heart of every man and every woman, and you have to, when you come together sexually, you have to know that you know that “Yeah, I’m going to be here tomorrow. He’s going to be here tomorrow. She’s going to be here tomorrow.” If you’re doubting that, that’s going to have an impact. It’s going to make sex risky. Okay? So commitment is key.
Second thing that’s key is companionship. You want to be having sex with a friend, somebody you like being with, somebody who you have common interest in, someone you laugh with, someone you can enjoy spending time with. There are a lot of people who are so busy they’re not doing anything to cultivate companionship in their relationship, and they’re trying to throw a little sex in there and it’s not fulfilling. Why?
Because when you were dating and you had these long period of time when you’d just walk in the park together and hold hands and talk and – that draws you together. Then being together sexually is easier. But when you’re trying to cram it in to an already overcrowded schedule, when you’re not taking time out for date nights or for couples retreats or for things like that – when that’s not happening, then it’s going to make sex shallow and empty.
And then, passion. I mean, it was designed to be passionate. If your sexual relationship is just a little boring and routine, then it’s less fulfilling than it ought to be, and it may be that you need to find ways to spice things up a little bit. I’m not talking about getting weird. We created this resource called Simply Romantic Nights: License for Creative Intimacy.
In this box there are 12 dates for a man to initiate, 12 dates for a woman to initiate, designed to come up with some fresh romantic date nights together. I will tell you ladies, all 12 of yours end in sex, okay? Because a romantic date night with your husband that doesn’t end in sex is a disappointment for him, okay? Just telling you. Guys, there are some of yours that don’t end in sex, because that can be okay for her, and you can deal with that. But this is just a way to help spice things up a little bit.
I have Mary Ann’s permission to tell this story. One night, when our kids were little, they were involved in Awana, and it was a Wednesday night and Mary Ann said, “Do you want to drive them to Awana?” and I said, “Sure, I’ll do that.” So we finished dinner, I took the kids to Awana, I came back, and as I came into the garage, on the back door of the garage hanging on the back door was a sweatshirt on the door knob.
I thought, “What’s a sweatshirt doing hanging here?” I picked it off the doorknob and I went in, and there in the laundry room, which is where you walk through, was a pair of blue jeans, just laying on the floor. “Sweatshirt,” I thought, “Mary Ann was wearing this when I left.” I just followed the trail, okay?
You know what? Didn’t cost anything, didn’t take any time, but that little bit of creativity, that little bit of spark, that little bit of passion, that little love note, that little “I’ve been thinking of you,” that’s some of the magic of a passionate relationship. So you’ve got to find some ways to inject that back in, bring a little creativity and spark back in.
And then, spiritual intimacy. As I said, when you’re praying together, when you’re connected spiritually, that brings a depth to your sexual relationship that you won’t find anyplace else.
Well, we’ve been listening to part three of a message on sexual intimacy in marriage from a recent FamilyLife Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway. I was at one of these events recently and one of our speakers had just presented this material, and he said, “Alright, those of you who are in the room who are premarrieds, engaged couples, I want you to turn to page –“ and I forget which page he said – “I want you to turn to this page, because it will outline what we want you to do in response to this message.”
Dennis: Yeah, the application for the message.
Bob: And so they turned to that page, and it was blank. He said, “That’s what we want you to do. Nothing.”
Dennis: Actually, what we end up saying at that point, at the Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway, is “We’d like you to meet us out in front of the hotel at about six o’clock. We’re going to jog until tomorrow morning when the session starts.” Because they need to jog after hearing this message at that point.
But you know, Bob, seriously, there are two groups of people who hear this message. One are the married couples who desperately need a better understanding of sexual intimacy in marriage. But secondly, there are those engaged couples or those contemplating engagement, who have the most distorted view of sex –
Dennis: -- because of what the world has done, and they need to hear what the Bible teaches about sexual intimacy. I think you quoted Dr. Howard Hendricks in your message, but it’s worth repeating. He said, “We should not be ashamed to discuss that which God was not ashamed to create.”
Dennis: And what we do at the Weekend to Remember® marriage getawayis we unashamedly discuss the most intimate issue of all in a marriage relationship, and that’s your sexual relationship with your spouse, and help you move to an application of what God teaches in his Word. For that reason alone, Bob, couples ought to plan to attend a Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway.
Bob: And make sure when you get in touch with us that you identify yourself as a FamilyLife Today listener, and that way you can take advantage of a special offer we’re making where you save at least $100 per couple on the regular registration fee. So if you’re signing up online at FamilyLifeToday.com, type my name, “BOB,” in the group box on the online registration form.
This is after you’ve figured out what weekend you want to attend and the right location for you. All that information is available online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Just make sure when you fill out the registration form you put “BOB” in the group box so that you can take advantage of the special offer that we’re making for FamilyLife Today listeners.
Or call 1-800-FLTODAY. We can answer any questions you have about the getaway over the phone, and again, make sure you mention that you listen to FamilyLife Today, and you’ll be eligible for the group rate for FamilyLife Today listeners. Again our website: FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY to register.
And if we hear from you before the end of the month and you identify as part of the FamilyLife Today listening group, we’ll also send you a game for couples called Spouse-ology. It’s a fun, interactive game that a number of couples can play together and get to know one another better. It’s kind of an early-bird bonus that you get if you sign up now for an upcoming Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway.
Sign up online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY to get registered for one of these upcoming events.
And with that, we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to hear a message from Dennis Rainey about how couples can work through conflict when it occurs in a marriage relationship. What does the Bible have to say about how we resolve conflict in marriage? That comes up Monday, and I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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