I have been married for over 25 years, and we enjoy each other sexually now more than ever. I feel like that’s not the message going out these days. In the movies, online, or in magazines, the memo is: young love is passionate and old love is stale. I’ve found it to be quite the opposite, and feel the need to add my voice and share what we’ve done to keep our intimacy exciting.
- Make time for it. Somewhere around year 10, we realized our everyday interactions were becoming more transactional, and less intimate in nature. If we aren’t talking/thinking/acting intimate throughout the day, we certainly aren’t going to suddenly feel that way when we’re alone. We made the decision to set apart two hours every day to just be together without competing roles (no laundry, emailing, working, parenting, house managing…) For us, it takes place 9:30-11:30 every night, and it’s the BEST PART OF MY DAY. A decade and a half later, we’ve found just making space to connect, has led to lots of… well,
- Be creative. If Song of Solomon is our playbook, then we are encouraged to be: responsive, (SS 4:16) adventurous, (SS 7:11-13) expressive, (SS1: 16, 2:3) inhibitive, (SS 6:13-7:8) and sensuous (SS 5:10-16.) We have quite literally, been given permission to be passionate! I wish the Church talked about this more often. There are plenty of activities anyone can do with my husband: work with him, play a game, have a conversation, create something, fight, and the list goes on. There is only one person the Bible says he can be intimate with: He told me once being together is like taking a deep breath. If I don’t make time to connect with him, it’s like I am telling him to hold his breath.
- Budget your energy. In the same way we know how to make a fixed income span over the course of a pay period, we can learn how to budget our energy over the course of a day. If I spend myself all day on behalf of others, what do I have left for my husband? I take a look at my following day the night before, and ask God how I can have a healthy rhythm, so I have something to offer Todd (emotionally, relationally, and physically) when night falls.
- Protect your vineyard. Song of Solomon 2:15 says “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards (while our vineyards are in blossom.)” The vineyard represents our bodies, and while they might enjoy being in “blossom,” there are foxes always threatening us and scaring us to shut down. Some foxes are innocent, like busyness, or fatigue, while others may require more work to get rid of: body image, expectations, hurt, fear, or shame. I used to think I was supposed to hide my foxes from Todd, and always put my best foot forward, but I have learned sharing my foxes with him allows him to fight them alongside of me (which cultivates intimacy.)
- Get accountability. I have some girlfriends with whom I have given permission to cheer me on in this area. The result: we have stronger marriages, more vulnerable friendships and a healthy place to go when there are problems.
While some of you are energized by reading those words, other marriages have work to do before they are comfortable expressing themselves physically and freely. I am hoping this little list is a prompt to not put it off. God made sex to be more than for procreation, and more than mechanical. He created hormones and nerves, emotions and sensory receptors so we’d enjoy each other and stick together.