This series of blogs comes from FAQ’s from the guys in Summit’s “Preparing for Marriage” ministry. They represent a conglomeration of questions from many different husbands-to-be during the Engaged Discovery Weekend. If you are interested in serving as a marriage mentor or are engaged, click here to learn more about Summit’s “Preparing for Marriage” ministry.
How do you ensure you and your spouse are having “enough” sex given a hectic and busy weekly schedule? How “intentional” do you find yourself having to be to have a “good” sex life? Are encounters scheduled a la date nights? What is the best way to maintain passion within sex as your marriage progresses?
Take this as a general rule: your sex life will not be healthier (consistently or for long, anyway) than the weakest part of your marriage. If you try to improve your sex life without taking seriously the responsibility to manage the rest of your life well, you will fail.
So the place to begin in answering this question is to challenge the assumption that you should try to begin your marriage with a “hectic” life as a “given.” That is a strong indicator that you are not beginning your marriage with your family as the appropriate priority in your life. Your sex life will only be one of many things that suffer in your marriage if you begin by molding your home to fit the rest of your life.
I would encourage you to take some time and examine how you plan to spend your 168 hour week. How many hours are you reserving for your wife (and eventually kids) that are off limits to the rest of the world and with which you give them your undivided attention? I recommend at least 17 hours (that is a mere tithe or 10% of your time for family). Start with allocating “enough time” for your marriage and then you will have much less concern regarding “enough sex.”
Once you have time protected, then you can begin to examine the frequency of intimacy. Now when the two of you are together you are rested, unrushed, and know what is going on in each other’s lives (assuming you make good use of the time you have set aside). That is a relational environment in which a “good sex life” can thrive.
With this amount of time protected, you can engage in the breadth of interactions that allow for a vibrant marriage: conversation, prayer, going for walks, mutual interest activities, Bible study, flirting, planning, etc… Without time and intentionality, your interaction with your spouse will become monotone and repetitious. It is this variety and quality of interaction that keeps a marriage fresh and passionate. That passion is expressed through sex not created by sex.
Many (if not most) married couples do begin to have some degree of schedule to their sex life. Even with intentionality, schedules have rhythms. There are times during the week when each of you will consistently have more energy. There will be some nights when at least one of you have responsibilities.
Schedule and rhythm should not mean taken for granted and that is one of the temptations that drains the vitality of marital sex. You do not want to begin to “check in” for sex every Tuesday and Saturday at 9:00 pm. This is where I think your date night parallel is effective, but I would emphasize the “forethought” aspect of dating more than “scheduling.” Going on a date implies preparation. So should sex.
If the two of you walk in the bedroom, take off your clothes, kiss for a minute, and then have sex 2.5 times per week for the next 10 years, statistically your sex life will be “above average” in terms of frequency. But I doubt either of you will be excited about it. However, if each of you put thought into how to please and arouse your spouse for one sexual encounter per week, statistically your sex would be “below average” and (probably) much more satisfying.
A satisfying sex life is not created by frequency. A satisfying sex life creates frequency. If you put your energy (which you protected with your schedule) into anticipating and satisfying your spouse, then you (plural) will mutually enjoy your intimacy enough that frequency will take care of itself.
Pour your energy into thinking of new compliments for your wife (don’t let the old ones become stale), ways to make your wife laugh, interesting conversations to have, playful ways to initiate sex, ways to remind her you’re thinking of her throughout the day, how to facilitate her spiritual growth, ways you can help her relax or feel safe, and other encouraging ways to engage your wife. This is the intentionality that fuels the passion of a life long marriage.
Pray that God will give you a passion and creativity in these areas. If you maintain your passion and interest in your spouse, then it will be hard to lose your passion and connection in sex. If, however, you neglect your time and attention upon your spouse outside of sex, then it will be hard to maintain a passion and connection in sex.