Sex is a beautiful gift to married couples; a gift to be pursued and enjoyed.
Sadly, in trying to help couples prioritize it, we’ve made it seem like it’s the only health-meter; if a couple’s sex life is off-base even to a modest degree, we tend to classify their entire marriage off-base.
I’ve read and heard this thought – “if you want to know how you are doing as a couple, look at your sex life.”
I understand, to some degree, what most people mean by that. But I also see how it can be misleading.
The physical side of a marriage, or any one side, should not be the only indicator of health, in the sense that its absence means a whole marriage is destroyed.
In fact, there’s a reason why many wedding vows read “until death do us part.” And not “until a lack of plenty of sex do us part.”
A great marriage should be more than the sex life.
My husband and I have gone through seasons when sex was, well, not up there due to various things going on in our lives.
And since I believed a couple’s sex life measures the greatness of marriage, I beat up on myself and us.
In spite of the fact that our life outside the bedroom was flourishing; we were good friends, we were laughing and growing; we were working hard to build a great marriage overall.
Let me say it again; sex is important. So important that God created us to release feel-good hormones during lovemaking which bind our hearts in extraordinary ways.
Lovemaking is a profound love language for most husbands. As wives, we sleep better after sex. We feel less stressed. We are less jumpy and more willing to go the extra mile for our spouse.
Lovemaking is like a secret oil that makes the marriage car run smoothly. Sex is important.
But it is not everything.
A healthy marriage is both inside and outside the bedroom.
So how can we better phrase this discussion?
Maybe we need to emphasize that while sex is a gift to be pursued and enjoyed, its absence, or struggle, should not define a couple.
We need to point out that a great marriage is made up of different elements coming together; good communication, dating each other, cheering each others dreams, living purposefully, chasing Jesus, serving others.
The more you chase health outside the bedroom, the more likely you’ll work as a team to overcome challenges inside the bedroom.
We could preach a more balanced gospel so that those that are struggling in their sex life could feel hopeful, not despair.
The newlywed couple working through vaginismus need to be affirmed in their once-a-month effort.
The fact that they are lovingly and intentionally building their relationship outside the bedroom as they seek healing inside counts. Their marriage is more than the number of times love making happens.
The wife working through past sexual abuse needs to be reminded she’s not a sexual object. Because that is how she feels when she hears “lots of sex equal a happy marriage.”
We tear open the scab and wound her all over again when we ignore the efforts being made outside the bedroom – the counseling, the patience, and baby-steps, the courage.
People who are working through difficult seasons need to know that marriage can be beautiful broken; two people committed to loving each other through the highs and lows.
That is what real marriage is all about; not just swooning and soaring on mountain peaks, but cleaving and faithfully loving through the valley lows.
You don’t quit on your love because the physical side flickered or dimmed. No, you cleave through it. You love each other, come rain or shine, for better or worse.
When we give a much broader view of what constitutes a happy growing marriage, couples who are struggling or going through a season, feel hopeful and affirmed.
Newlyweds ought to hear that the number of times you make love is wonderful but what counts is the health of your overall marriage.
A wife can “service the husband” thrice a week while she scans flowers on the bedroom curtains.
That is not true intimacy. When we say the number of times is of utmost importance, she thinks she’s going great. But she’s not.
Sex is important and we need to talk about its importance so couples can thrive.
But at the same time, people go through seasons and stuff, and it can affect intimacy, and at that moment they need to remember that a good marriage is more than lots of sex.
It is commitment, showing up, serving, loving, sticking together, no matter what.
What do you think? Have you struggled with this thought? How have you dealt with it?
To learn how to create a healthy marriage inside out, pick up my book “Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In the Early Years”. You will learn how to change the internal conversation about your marriage and husband, love selflessly so you can enjoy the marriage of your dreams. Find more information here
Here are more thoughts on sex in marriage.
- 3 Reasons to Make Love when You Don’t Feel Like it
- 5 Bible Verses to Strengthen Your Sex Life
- Of Oral Sex and Inhibitions
- What is Permissible in the Married Bed
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