Sorry dear, I am really tired tonight.” “I have a splitting headache, for the tenth night in a row.” “I have to get up really early tomorrow.” “There’s a really good movie on Netflix we should watch instead.”
You get where I am going with this? How many married couples have let any of these excuses roll out of your mouths? We all probably giggled a bit when we read those, but the downward trend related to intimacy in marriage is no laughing matter. One startling statistic from a survey conducted in 2018 notes that one in four adults would rather watch Netflix than be intimate with their significant other.
While there may be some great flicks to watch, prioritizing a movie or even scrolling on your device in lieu of something designed to intimately connect you to your spouse, is dangerous. Being intimate with your spouse has a purpose that goes beyond making children! There are so many reasons and benefits to making this a priority in your marriage.
Did you know having sex (there I said the “s” word) boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart attack, helps you sleep and eases stress. Here is one more reason-- it’s great exercise. Maybe the next time your doctor asks how often you exercise you can add it to the list!
Besides the health benefits, there is also the mental and emotional aspect that goes along with intimacy in your marriage. There is a big difference in the connotation of the word “sex” and the word “intimacy.” Which one is harder to say without blushing? The act of sex is where all those physical benefits come from, but intimacy is something completely different. Intimacy is about relationship. It is about connecting, not just physically, but emotionally. Let’s be honest, it is hard to be intimate when you aren’t connecting emotionally.
How do so many marriages end up in the danger zone of complacency? Because our lives change-- new jobs, new home, new season (like those babies), new stressors. Other things seem to be more important and before you know it, your marriage and intimacy are at the bottom of your priority list.
Is there an easy answer or a quick fix? Ask any couple whose marriage is one you admire and their answer would be “No.” Marriage takes work and intentionality all the time, not just when it gets bad. So here are a few practical things you can do to help put your marriage and intimacy (come on, it is the fun part!) back at the top of your priority list.
Communicate and ask each other what intimacy means. It should be no surprise that men and women will have a different response. The important part is that you are talking about it and listening to what the other has to say.
Do what it takes to feel good about yourself. Make it a priority to set aside time to relax, read, exercise, get a makeover, go out with friends, etc.
Make it a point to dress for your spouse, like you did when you were dating. This might mean sweatpants or yoga pants only three days out of the week!
Date, date, date! Make time in your calendar to go out (no kiddos, no friends, just the two of you). You need to put it in the calendar and stick to it.
Have conversations about things other than kids and work. Remember when you used to want to know everything about the other person? Do that again.
Ask questions about what they are hoping for in the next year, what they would love to learn, where they would love to travel to, what keeps them up at night. Listen and share.
Your marriage relationship will constantly change. Intimacy in marriage sets that relationship apart from any other in your life. Enjoy all that you have, all that it is, and all that it is going to be.