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I don’t think my wife really understands what sex means to me. I think if she did, she would make it a much higher priority than she does. Sexual intimacy is probably a little different for everyone, but for me I never feel more alive in ALL my senses than through true sexual intimacy with my wife. I have tried to communicate to her that for me sexual intimacy is tied closely with emotional and spiritual intimacy.
When we make love, I feel I am giving all that I am, and ever want to be to her. To me, this love is the purpose and meaning of life, and all creation. I believe every man and woman is designed to desire and need this love–this total acceptance, this total giving and receiving with one’s spouse. The object of our existence is to become ONE with our spouse and Deity. There is no greater happiness, joy, and peace.
Time is a big part of making our marriages strong. Making time for making love is a significant challenge in our fast-paced lifestyles. Like the husband above, many spouses feel like they are just not a high priority when their needs for intimate connection are neglected. In this article we’ll discuss how the element of “Time” plays a role in the challenges of developing a healthy sexual relationship especially as it relates to wives.
Making Your Spouse a Priority
Spouses need to know that they are a priority in each other’s lives. How you show someone that they are a priority has to do with how much time and energy you devote to them. The quality of the time they are given matters as well. Do they get left over time, or do they get your priority time and attention?
Adam felt like his wife was constantly adding new “projects” to her “to do” list. He was never one of them. He wanted her to work on their intimate relationship, but she just always had too much else to do. He said, “I just wish she would put me at the top of her to do list sometimes instead of always at the bottom.”
Making your spouse a priority is a necessary ingredient in making your spouse feel loved. In a loving, mutually respectful relationship when sex is a high priority for one spouse, then it needs to be a high priority for the other.
As illustrated in the opening story, most men consider sex to be of utmost importance. Whether wives like it, or agree with it or not, husbands generally consider sex to be the highest expression of love. Sometimes just knowing how men define sex in such a profound way can help wives to want to make more time for such expressions of their love.
Over time when the newness and novelty of sex wears off in a marriage, women tend to see sex as simply a means of physical release for their husbands. Or they see it as an inappropriately important need. Many men feel shamed for their “preferred” form of intimate connection, while their wives get easy affirmation that their emotional needs get met. Such thinking does little to inspire the necessary effort to make lovemaking an important part of one’s marital life.
Most women want to be good wives. They want to love their husbands well. But the clamors of life and the lack of understanding about our differing meanings of sex can easily build barriers to frequent lovemaking in today’s marriages.
Benefits of Making Sexual Intimacy a Priority
Making intimate passion a priority is not just for husbands―it’s also for wives. Benefits of making time for your mate sexually include: awakened senses, a deepened relationship, and feeling more whole and complete as a sexual human being.
Physical touch alone has healing powers. Research shows that orgasm, as well as skin-on-skin contact, releases the powerful hormone oxytocin, which is considered the “bonding” or connecting hormone.i Making your marriage and sexual relationship a priority not only makes your life better in many ways, it also reduces your stress and frees up your psychological energy.
Jon and Maria had worked hard at improving their relationship and the sexual dimension of their marriage. Jon recently reflected, “You know, I used to feel almost consumed by the lack of intimate connection in our marriage. But now that it’s better, I don’t think about it so much. The anxiety in our relationship has significantly diminished.”
It reminds me of the t-shirt a client saw that says, “Sex is like air. It’s not a big deal until you’re not getting any.” The quality of the sexual relationship represents what I call an 80/20 rule. When the intimate relationship is struggling, it feels like it consumes 80 percent of our thoughts and energy. But when it’s good, it takes a more balanced place among the other important dimensions. We have more time and energy to focus elsewhere. This helps us live a more productive and balanced life–mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, physically and sexually.
Making sex a priority is not just for your spouse’s sake, or even for your sake. It’s also for the sake of your children. Not much would benefit your children more than providing them with the strong foundation of securely and intimately bonded parents. Making your spouse and your marriage a priority also shows your children what it looks like to have a good, strong, happy marriage. Setting that example makes it easier for them to create a strong marriage for themselves in the future.
I encourage couples to find ways to make time for each other and their intimate relationship. Whether that’s being sure to have a regular date night or even scheduling opportunities for lovemaking, priority time and energy is needed to make your intimate relationship a priority.
Self-Evaluation – “Time”
To give yourself a little guide as to how you are doing in this dimension of creating a “sextraordinary marriage,” ask yourself how you would currently rate yourself, and your spouse overall in the area of “Time”? — I make my sexuality and my intimate relationship with my spouse a high priority. I make time to be together with my spouse. I find ways to cut back on other less important things in order to make time for developing my sexual self, strengthening my marriage relationship, learning sexually, and having enough time for mutually fulfilling sexual intimacy.
RATING (0 – disagree to 10 – agree): You ______ Your Spouse ______
For help with improving this aspect of marital intimacy and many others read Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage by Laura M. Brotherson. This article was excerpted from Chapter 4 — “TIME” of Laura’s NEW book — Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. Get your copy here for a fabulously discounted price…especially for Meridian readers!
Other articles in this series:
- “Creating a Secure Foundation for Intimacy” (Dec 5, 2016)
- “Spiritual Principles for Determining What’s Okay in Intimacy” (Oct 31, 2016)
- “Sexuality is Part of Your Divine Nature” (Oct 3, 2016)
- “12 Keys for Creating a Happy Intimate Life in Your Marriage” (Sep 8, 2016)
BIO — Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT, CST, CFLE
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Laura M. Brotherson, is the author of the best-selling book, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, and her latest book Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. She counsels with individuals, couples and families in private practice (and online), and is the host of “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcast.
As a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), Laura is actively engaged in providing marriage education through Couples Cruises, articles, a newsletter, radio and television broadcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy to help build stronger marriages and families. She and her husband, Kevin, of 25 years are the founders of StrengtheningMarriage.com—your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages… intimately!
Connect with Laura:
i Johnson, Dr. Sue, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
Laura M. BrothersonJanuary 23, 2017
Yes Vickie, there are a few good books on the subject like, "When Sex Hurts." You may also want to see a good physical therapist that specializes in sexual/vulvar pain. They tend to be much more knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to painful sex.
Laura M. BrothersonJanuary 23, 2017
Crystal and Kambel, I completely agree! That is why the book this information is taken from is 12 chapters addressing 12 T's (Talk, Touch, Time, Tenderness, etc.) and is nearly 300 pages. This T for "Time" only addresses the need for women to make their marriage and their intimate relationship a priority. Their husbands can't do it for them and often husbands are doing everything they can to help. As Kambel mentions, many husbands can do much to help their wives want to make intimacy a priority. But you are right on that it's not just about "putting out" just cuz you're supposed to!!