19 September 2016

Marriage Monday: 5 Simple Questions that Will Change Your Marriage - Question 4

It's the week we've all been waiting for! Well... except for me. As it turns out, sex is kind of an awkward topic to discuss with lots of people. Some of which could include my parents (hi mom!), fellow church members, and even some people I've never even met (this will be a great ice breaker!). But good thing I don't shy away from awkwardness, so let's dive right in!

If you are just now joining us, we are four weeks into a post series on weekly marriage questions that my hubby and I like to call Marriage Monday (originally from this amazing blog). Make sure to go back to read the questions in order, starting with this post

This week, you will discuss the previous three questions with your spouse and add in this fourth question: "How do you feel about our sexual intimacy and how can we work together to strengthen it?" Just to clarify, if it isn't obvious enough, I am talking about sex. Not just snuggling. Not emotional intimacy, which was covered in prior questions. For question #4 we are talking about sexual intercourse, doing the deed, insert tab "A" into slot "B," nakey time, or whatever you want to call it. Okay, I'm glad we are now all on the same page!

I know this topic is super hard for many people to talk about, especially if you've never discussed it together before. It's interesting to me how spouses will have sex, which is incredibly intimate, but they don't feel comfortable talking about it, because that somehow feels even more intimate and scary to do. For some couples, especially if sex has been taken off the table for awhile by one spouse, this may take a professional counselor to walk through this process. I encourage you to take that step this week to strengthen this vital part of your marriage if you need to.

As Christians, we need to remember that God created sex as a gift for married couples to enjoy! It's meant to be a fun, pleasurable, and extremely bonding experience. My hubby did an amazing job discussing this topic in detail in this video called "Ideal Sex," so I won't take time replicating what he already said, but I encourage you to watch it. If I thought it would be awkward discussing sex on my blog when I can hide behind a screen, I guess my hubby should be given major bravery points for talking about sex in front of an entire church!

One essential aspect to remember about question #4 is that it asks, "How do you feel about our sexual intimacy..." There is a tendency to think how you feel about your sex life is the right way to feel. But your spouse may feel differently and it is important to know this. Your spouse is allowed to feel however he or she feels about it. Feelings are just that - feelings. Not right or wrong. They are subjective. Just remember that the end goal is stronger sexual intimacy, which can in turn strengthen the marriage.

There's lots of things that you could talk about during this question:

- Are you having sex too much? Not enough?
- Do you wish you could try something new or work on a specific technique together?
- Are you worried about a partner's sudden change in libido? (tip: sometimes a doctor's visit or bloodwork could reveal a hormonal shift or other physical ailment that could be fixed to bring the sex drive back to normal).
- Are you experiencing physical pain of any sort during sex? (one couple had a tough conversation but then discovered that lube was their new best friend and the answer to all their problems!)
- Is there past sexual trauma or abuse that is holding you or your spouse back that needs to be discussed with a counselor?
- Is there something your spouse could do more of or less of during sex?
- Could you benefit from spending a lazy Saturday in bed for a couple of hours just exploring each other's bodies?
- Are there any things you are enjoying during sex that you want to become a regular occurrence? It's good to focus on positives as well! What blew your socks off? (suggestion: don't actually wear socks during sex)

Don't be afraid to get very technical with your answer. The more detailed, the better. It may feel extremely awkward and uncomfortable the first time you discuss this question, but it gradually gets easier and less awkward each time. Just hang in there! 

If you are stumped where to even begin, there's lots of great books out there on the topic. My personal favorite that I always recommend to couples is Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman. He is a Christian author that gets VERY explicit on details, how-to's, ideas, etc. There's a chapter on sexual positions, another called "Oral Delights," and another called "Thirty-One Flavors - and None of Them Are Ice Cream!" Trust me, you want to read this book. It prompts some great discussions! I have one friend who uses this book as his go-to wedding gift, which is pure genius. This first week doing question #4, you could tell your spouse that reading this book together is what you want to do to start working on and strengthening your sexual intimacy.

As a mom of two littles, as much as I want my husband to always be at the top of my "to-do" list, sometimes my very honest answer to question #4 is that I'm soooooo stinkin tired (which can easily cause a crazy drop in libido). Since I have to come up with a solution, I suggest that if hubby can get me to bed by "x" time - by helping get the kiddos into bed, dividing and conquering the dishes, etc, I'll be much more likely to still have energy left for him. Instead of leaving my sleep deprivation as an obstacle to our sex life, I clue him in on how we can overcome that hindrance. He is more than happy to help out!

Let me know how your Marriage Mondays are going! Next week we will be discussing the fifth and final question to add to your weekly questions. Your training wheels will be officially off!

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