A few months ago, I wrote a post titled 10 things every bride should know before her wedding night.
It’s currently one of the most popular posts on the blog and I thought it’s time to write some follow-up thoughts!
Because the wedding night is really the beginning of the rest of married life.
A surprising discovery for many newlyweds, after the wedding and honeymoon is the realization that sex, (the actual deed) makes for less than *10% of married life.
Once you factor in jobs, businesses, chores, church, activities, extended families, friends, sleep – we sleep a lot – there isn’t a whole lot of time or ability left.
Hot on the heels of that discovery, is figuring out ways to keep sex a high priority, regardless of all the other things calling for their attention.
So here are tips for cultivating a healthy sex life, beyond the wedding night.
My list is in no way exhaustive and I hope y’all can chime in and offer your own (publicly consumable) tips below!
Beyond the Wedding Night; 7 Tips for Cultivating a Healthy Sex Life in Marriage.
1. Keep the whole marriage healthy
Married sex takes work.
Because for the fun to happen in the bedroom, the rest of your marriage needs to be working too.
So work on the rest of your marriage.
Build your friendship – call him during the day, just because.
Bless him – do “his” chores and let him watch a game.
Go out of your way – initiate hard conversations even when you think he should.
Pursue common and individual interests – don’t choke your marriage.
Move around and stay physically healthy.
While it’s true that a healthy sex life can keep the rest of your marriage in much better form, your life outside the bedroom still determines if you are having sex to begin with.
It’s like a cycle and you need to keep it running. Don’t isolate your bedroom.
2. Pursue conversation
In this post, I talk about the importance of communication on your wedding night.
How to let him know what’s working/not working, as opposed to keeping quiet, hoping he will figure everything out by himself, without your involvement.
These conversations are not just for the wedding night but for the rest of your married life.
And not just for within your bedroom, in that moment – but outside the bedroom, long before you go to bed.
“In that moment” – If you like something, think it could be better, it’s uncomfortable, want more of it, say it.
Learn good communication skills because you don’t want to be critical, casting blame e.t.c
Also don’t wait for your husband to take the initiative with these conversation here because, frankly, your guy is pretty simple. And obvious.
You on the other hand are more complicated and he can’t always tell what’s going on unless you say it or show it.
Outside the bedroom – Heavier topics (e.g challenges) are better discussed long before that time.
When both of you are relaxed and have enough energy and margin to hear one another.
3. Then there was makeup sex
Wherever you have conflict, and even when you haven’t completely ironed out your differences, seek to come together.
I am not a scientist or theologian and I can’t completely explain it but I do know that sex connects and weaves a husband and wife’s hearts in profound ways.
So when you have issues and fluff in in the air, intimacy can lower your defenses and level out that “right to be right” monster.
It will help you see things you weren’t able to see before i.e each others point of view.
So once in a while (or not- so-once-in-a-while), instead of staying up half the night trying to work out challenges, driving each other crazy, head on to the bedroom.
Don’t shut him down when he reaches for you in the middle of the night after an unresolved debate.
Tweak things and see how that works for your relationship.
4. A trusted mentor
It’s one thing to have one or two dashing people standing by your side on your wedding day.
Quite another to have someone encouraging, cheering and mentoring your beyond the wedding night.
In other words, I hope you prioritized finding a mentor couple/persons over finding best couple/person.
You need a trustworthy woman mentor, not just to ask you tough questions before the wedding night but to provide a sounding board, accountability, encouragement, after the wedding.
I am not suggesting you will need to share all the intimates of your bedroom with her, nope.
But all girls have girl-stuff.
Questions, clarifications, joys. You need a grounded person, someone who’s been there/is there.
So don’t take off after the wedding. Cultivate that relationship. Use that relationship.
As one who’s mentored singles and marrieds for years, I can tell you that good mentors love to help.
So it’s not like you are imposing on them when you seek answers and clarifications or just want to get together for coffee.
Don’t keep quiet with struggles, if any. Open up.
(Ps. Worth emphasizing, choose your mentor well. God-fearing, balanced – she calls you out real quick -, loves marriage and has a thriving marriage herself are some of the qualities to look out for. )
5. Take some initiative
As a newlywed, I remember asking my mentor who should be taking the initiative in our marriage.
My question was phrased “Who should be texting the other more during the day?”
I wanted to hear that it was my husband’s job to pursue me, to put all the effort at keeping romance alive.
“Text him, you both must be texting one another“. Was her in-my-face response
Talk about shock!
Like I did, most new brides have to work through and unlearn lots of things; passivity and ignorance included.
You have to go beyond wanting and coveting great romance and love-making to actually diving in and getting involved in it’s creation. (Click to tweet that)
Don’t leave it to your husband to do all the work, in and out of the bedroom. Dig in with him.
Let him know you find him desirable. Encourage his efforts. Pursue him.
You’ll find that the more you celebrate intimacy, the more you’ll fall in love with it!
Because what you magnify does become bigger and better in your eyes.
6. Invite God in
As newlywed wives we tend to feel the awkwardness and adjustments of married sex and it’s easy to crowd God out.
But you want God to be involved in all areas of your marriage.
Sex is His idea so, really, there’s nothing new or shocking you are bringing to the table.
So learn early to invite God into your bedroom, beyond the wedding night.
If there are any challenges, get on your knees first, before you open your mouth to “share”.
Constantly cover this connection with your husband in prayer.
Think about about it this way; we pray about our finances, jobs, ministry, health, wisdom e.t.c. all the time.
Why not our sex life?
Intimacy is not just about body parts coming together: it’s much deeper than that.
So seek health there by way of prayer.
7. When you don’t feel like making love..
This is a hard one to fathom before the wedding night: that one day in the future, you or your husband might not be in the mood for sex!
But you get married and realize that life, does indeed go on but with a much fuller plate.
Sometimes your hormones will be out of whack.
Sex might be painful. Health challenges might crop up.
Hidden pains and addictions rise to the surface. Past issues knocking on your door.
Life doesn’t necessarily become easier.
And so you must learn how to thrive even in the valleys.
Here, we’ll talk about the “normal” – for lack of a better word – not-in-the-mood moments. For deeper issues seek the help of a trusted Christian counselor/pastoral/mentor help.
Here’s Sheila Gregoire a marriage writer and speaker explaining the “not in the mood” phenomenon;
“Most women just are not “in the mood” at the drop of a hat, panting and waiting to fall into bed. It means that we need to rethink what being “in the mood” actually means.
You see, men were designed to need very little stimulation. They see something and they’re ready to go.
Women, on the other hand, simply don’t work that way. We need to relax, be able to concentrate on what’s going on, and slowly heat up.
So how do we press through and get in the mood when we are not feeling in the mood?
Sheila goes on
“You make a decision to respond, your body will follow. If you don’t make that mental leap that says, “I’m going to throw myself into this and enjoy it”, then you likely won’t. You’ll keep thinking, “I don’t want sex”, and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“You have to turn on your own switch. No matter what he (your husband) does, he can’t arouse you unless you decide to become aroused, because we control our own sex drive.”
(You can read Sheila’s article here. It’s part of her “29 Days to Great Sex” series – lots of good stuff in there)
So there’s my 7 thoughts for creating your happily-ever-after in the bedroom, beyond the wedding night. What can you add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Let’s talk about godly intimacy and marriage! It’s time to shorten the learning curve and enjoy sex sooner, not later! Check out my book “The Wedding Night: Embracing Sexual Intimacy as a New Bride” Click here to learn more and to find purchase links.