Home Life by Bev and Phil Haas
Rick and Kay Warren say, “In our sex-obsessed culture, it’s amazing how few husbands and wives actually talk to each other about their sexual feelings, frustrations, and fears.” Most of us would agree that two of the hardest things for couples to talk about are death and sex (not taxes).
Years ago newspaper columnist Ann Landers asked her married readers, “Has your sex life gone downhill since you got married?” Eighty two percent of the 141,210 people who responded said yes. When a young couple begin their life together as husband and wife, they typically take the physical aspect of their relationship for granted. After all, they’re young, they’re in love, and they’re married. Isn’t that the recipe for passionate physical intimacy? In reality, experts tell us that the more accurate reasons for a lack of satisfaction in this area really have nothing to do with age or physical fitness and everything to do with how much work a couple is willing to put into their marriage.
Principles from the Penners
Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner are two of the most knowledgeable people in the field of sex education. Many Christian couples have read their landmark guide for newlywed couples, Getting Your Sex Life Off to a Great Start (Thomas Nelson, 1994). Dr. Penner is a clinical psychologist with a Master’s Degree in Theology and a Ph.D. from Fuller Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology. His wife, Joyce, is a registered nurse and holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from UCLA. The Penners point out that “a vibrant intimate relationship requires work and that work can lead a couple to a lifetime of passion.” The following list of principles and practices is adapted from the Penner’s book, The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment (Thomas Nelson, 2003).
Work at Marital Intimacy
Remember, sexuality is a gift from God. Our sexuality is part of God’s plan of creation. God made us male and female (Genesis 1:26). Our sexuality as husbands and wives has been wired-in by God.
Sexual pleasure within marriage is encouraged and expected. Sex was created by God for the enjoyment of a man and woman in marriage. If your times of physical intimacy are infrequent and unsatisfactory, take the steps necessary to find out what’s not working for both of you. This part of your marriage is too important to ignore if there’s a problem. According to the Bible, sex is for unity, procreation, and pleasure, so enjoy it!
Keep mutuality at the center of your sexuality. We’re expected to give ourselves to each other in marriage; this is a mutual command. Dr. Jim Burns notes that each passage in the New Testament that teaches about the husband-wife sexual relationship either begins or ends with a command for mutuality. Not only are husband and wife equal in God’s sight, they have mutual rights and responsibilities.
Allow for couple time regularly. This may sound pretty basic, but one of the best ways to get “in the mood” for physical intimacy is simply to spend time together. This isn’t easy with the demands of career, kids, and everything else life puts in your path. Couples need regularly scheduled “us time.”
Conserve energy. This doesn’t refer to using less electricity in the home! If all of your energy is being spent on building a new business, taking care of the kids, serving in a ministry, or any other worthwhile but time-consuming activity, your sex life will suffer as a result. Save something for your spouse!
Decrease distractions. The high-speed pace of modern life makes this a challenging principle to follow. Few of us can multi-task well, and the more you have on your plate, the less interested you’ll be in physical intimacy with your spouse. Work to eliminate stress and distractions in your home, and your sex life has a much better chance of improving.
The physical intimacy you desire in your marriage will liven up as you work on each of these principles, so start talking about your sex life and working on what you both want. Be willing to make some changes and enjoy the relationship God intended for you to have. Solomon’s wise words in Proverbs 5:18 encourage us to “Enjoy the wife [husband] you married as a young man [woman] (The Message).
Send your questions about family life to Phil and Bev Haas in care of The Lookout, 8805 Governor’s Hill Drive, Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45249, firstname.lastname@example.org.We regret that personal replies are not always possible. Phil and Bev Haas are involved in education and family ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are the parents of two children, and they have one grandson.