Intimacy in marriage is more than just the textbook definition of closeness. Total intimacy requires the full expression of the whole self - all of your emotional, spiritual, and physical desires. This complete openness with your spouse requires intimacy not just in the bedroom, but in all things throughout your days together.
People crave a great sex life. It's a natural and beautiful desire deeply rooted in the heart of every person. A fulfilling sex life does more than just make or break your marriage, it really defines your marriage and who you are as a couple. Your life inside the bedroom is the culmination of everything outside of the bedroom, both the good and the bad. If your sex life is suffering, chances are something is probably lacking. If your sex life is great, it's inevitably linked to something you do for your partner throughout the day that allows deep intimacy to flourish. Real and lasting sexual passion exists because of the intimate relationship you strive to cultivate outside the bedroom, not in place of it.
If your sex life is great, it is inevitably linked to something you do for your partner throughout the day that allows deep intimacy to flourish.
Being intimate is difficult. It challenges us, pushes us, and often requires that we are more vulnerable than what we feel comfortable with. As with most things in life, if we want the benefits of intimacy, we have to put in the work that it takes to foster intimacy. Being fully intimate requires that we not only expose and express our total selves but understand and know the complete person of our spouse. While fully expressing ourselves can be a little intimidating, if not downright terrifying, being fully known is a much greater desire than most of us realize.
Being fully intimate requires that we not only expose and express our total selves but understand and know the complete person of our spouse.
So how do we achieve this lofty ideal of intimacy? Is it possible to fully express ourselves emotionally and physically to another? Can we have a sexual life in which we are fully open to the needs and desires of our significant other? Absolutely. But that level of intimacy goes far beyond just actions in bed.
Giving to one another in the bedroom begins with the desire to give to one another throughout the day. Loving another person means working for their good, which sometimes entails placing their needs above your own. Of course, there are many times when working for your spouse’s good is mutually beneficial, but there are also times when this requires a little sacrifice and work on your part.
Find those moments throughout the day when you can serve your spouse, both in big and small ways. This is inherently much easier the better you know your spouse, so take the time to have some intentional conversations about daily ways in which you can help each other. Discovering the things that mean a lot to them, and the things that don’t matter so much will make it much easier to complete actions they find meaningful and helpful. This might be folding the socks or wiping down the bathroom counters before your spouse gets home because you know they hate those jobs. It could be picking up their favorite veggies for dinner on your way home, or getting their favorite flavor of ice cream instead of yours.
Discovering the things that mean a lot to them, and the things that don’t matter so much will make it much easier to complete actions they find meaningful and helpful.
The point is not so much the semantics of the task, but the completion of a generous act that your spouse finds meaningful. Giving generously doesn’t just create positive and romantic feelings, it allows these feelings to continue to manifest themselves in the generous act of donation of selves to each other during sex.
Intentionally generous acts are made possible through the knowledge and pursuit of your partner. If your spouse doesn’t really mind a messy kitchen, going the extra mile to clean it up is really not going to make much of a difference to them, let alone stir up feelings of romance and appreciation. To truly discover which actions are most valued by your spouse, intentional conversations are necessary for serving one another meaningfully.
Set aside time to talk with your partner about which parts of their day add stress and how you can help alleviate those stressors. You may not be able to control their frustration with that new intern, but knowing that they also stress about making dinner on top of that can give you the insight needed to assist in ways you do have control over.
Set aside time to talk with your partner about which parts of their day add stress and how you can help alleviate those stressors.
Establish a routine that works for you. Each day, or at least each week, check in with your partner about what they have coming up that they may be of concern to them and take specific actions to help either with that specific stressor or other things that are concerning. If you're wondering what specific actions would be viewed as meaningful, ask!
Dig deeper into the things you're doing to love your spouse well, and why they find those actions meaningful. This constant pursuit allows you to continue getting to know your partner on a deeper level, and why they feel appreciative of certain efforts. Understanding this will allow you to serve them better throughout the day, and, inevitably, in the bedroom.
Respect is vital in any relationship but is especially crucial for creating a great sex life. Respecting one another throughout the day shows that you value the other person and are not simply using them only for the satisfaction they provide you with at the end of the day. This is not to say they can’t satisfy you, but respecting your partner means looking to them as someone whose value is more than just a means of satisfying you. A relationship in which the partners are merely givers and receivers of pleasure leaves feelings of incompleteness because we are more than just physical beings.
We have deep physical desires, sure. But we also have deep emotional and psychological desires as well. Respecting one another means understanding and being receptive to our spouse in all matters. Sexual respect is no exception; we have to be willing to understand our spouse in ways that are sometimes difficult. We must not only attempt to understand our partner’s sexual desires as a means of pleasure but as a means of connecting with us on a deeper level.
Respecting one another throughout the day shows that you value the other person and are not simply using them only for the satisfaction they provide you with at the end of the day.
Experimenting or adding variety to your sex life requires understanding and a willingness to respect your spouse’s desires for things that may be different than your own. While your desires may not always be the same, a willingness to understand their wants shows that you respect them for more than just the pleasure they provide you with, but that you value and respect who they are as a person.
Closing Thoughts: Make the Effort
Ultimately, it comes down to a willingness to make an effort to show your significant other you care about them in all ways and at all times. Don’t underestimate the little things or random ways in which you can show your spouse you care. It's these small actions that add up throughout the day that culminates in your sexual experiences together, and it's in these experiences that you can celebrate fully the gift of each other.