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AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of the book From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.
With wedding season upon us, some discussion of the sexual relationship before marriage is very important for young couples to be able to start their intimate relationship on better footing instead of going into marriage unprepared. There are several factors that can complicate such discussions. First, most young people who are striving to live the law of chastity may feel uncomfortable or even guilty discussing sexual issues prior to marriage. Second, for many premarital couples, they may not know what topics are necessary and/or appropriate to discuss.
To prepare for a healthy intimate relationship within marriage, discussing expectations, attitudes, and opinions on the topic of sex are vital. We all need to have a respectful, yet more relaxed approach to the subject of sex even while reverencing its sanctity. This can help alleviate the often automatic negative response to the topic of sex.
What to Talk About
Open and honest communication creates a foundation of trust that is essential in marriage. Discussions relating to intimacy have the ability to draw couples closer together, especially when reverence and respect for the subject is shown. In addition, it is crucial to be mindful, mature, and wise in these conversations so that you can know how to talk about sex and what to talk about without causing undue temptation.
The following topics and questions provide a brief overview of what to discuss as well as some tips on how to discuss these subjects. It might be wise to have these conversations in a public, well-lit place, and of course, use good judgment on how much to talk about and how many details to share. Extensive details of the sexual relationship do not need to be shared until after marriage.
The following topics and questions will help you gain important insights and develop some comfort with discussing this important topic. These conversations are vital to get on the same page and prepare to build a better intimate foundation going into marriage:
- Your sexual mindset/beliefs. Questions to ask: What are your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about sex? How was sex talked about in your family? What did you learn? Addressing any concerns, negative thoughts or beliefs, or fears one may have is important so that partners can help the other, as needed, in shifting their mindset to seeing sex as a positive and healthy aspect of marriage.
- Intimate boundaries. Question to ask: What are some intimate physical boundaries we want to have in place to remain chaste before getting married? Setting good physical boundaries as a couple before marriage will make it easier to stay strong amidst temptation. Remaining chaste and worthy before marriage can make sexual intimacy within marriage that much more beautiful and powerful. Certainly, people make mistakes and fortunately, we are all able to repent and become clean again.
- Menstrual cycles. Questions to ask her: How does your menstrual cycle typically affect you physically and emotionally? What do we want to do if our honeymoon coincides with your period? A women’s menstrual cycle does not have to interfere with intimacy, but depending on how it affects her, it is important to talk about it so that both the husband and wife know what to expect.
- Birth control. Question to ask: What are your thoughts, feelings, and opinions on birth control? Discussing what you think about birth control and what type you will use or not are things that need to be addressed before the honeymoon. Pre-honeymoon planning will be required as some birth control methods require time before they are effective.
- Premarital sexual activity. Question to ask: What, if any, sexual activity or abuse have you experienced that I should be aware of? Discussing any premarital sexual activity either of you have had is a necessary part of building a foundation of openness, honesty, transparency, and trust. Some don’t think this is necessary if mistakes have been repented of. In reality, when such sensitive information is kept from their significant other, it becomes a secret and a form of deception that can wreak havoc on the foundation of trust in a relationship.
- Pornography use. Questions to ask: What kind of exposure have you had to pornography? What, if any, difficulties have you had with it in the past or present? With the ease of access to unhealthy, over-sexualized media, it’s almost impossible to avoid some exposure to erotically charged material. Concealing or minimizing a pornography problem can cause significant damage to the relationship. When the spouse eventually learns about the deception (and they will at some point), he or she will likely experience feelings of betrayal. Broken trust is excruciatingly difficult to repair.
- Honeymoon expectations. Question to ask: How do you imagine our honeymoon/wedding night going? Since intimate expectations can be so different for men and women—especially given their differing sexual wiring, it’s a very good idea to discuss prior to marriage what each of you anticipates on the wedding night and subsequent honeymoon. It may be best to have this discussion close to your wedding day to avoid too much temptation, but don’t overlook having this conversation. If it’s easier, each of you could write out your expectations then share your writings with one another. Plan your honeymoon to accommodate both of you as much as possible. These conversations will be vital to avoid creating a “honeymoon horror story” where expectations were not shared ahead of time.
As you can see there are many important things for a couple to discuss prior to getting married that will set them on the right path to having a fabulous sexual relationship in marriage. In addition to these discussions, partner with God and do your best to learn and prepare yourself. Have relaxed and flexible expectations about the honeymoon, and continue to learn about the intimate relationship to grow your own sextraordinary relationship within marriage. By doing these things couples can now be so much better prepared than ever before!
[Excerpted from Chapter 5 of Laura M. Brotherson’s book — From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.]
Stay tuned for additional articles in this series…
Other articles in this series include:
- “From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After,” (excerpted from the Introduction of From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After)
- “6 Steps to Prepare for Intimacy,” (excerpted from Ch 1 of From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After)
- “Developing a Healthy Sexual Mindset,” (excerpted from Ch 2 of From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After)
- “Alleviating Fear and Anxiety About Sex,” (excerpted from Ch 3 of From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After)
- “What to Know – Before the Honeymoon,” (excerpted from Ch 4 of From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After)
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Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist, Laura M. Brotherson is the founder of “The Marital Intimacy Institute“ with a mission to help couples create “sextraordinary marriages.” She counsels with couples, individuals and families in private practice (and online) and is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy–specializing in healthy sexuality, sex therapy, and sex addiction. Laura is the author of the best-selling books, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage, and now her latest book — From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.
As a Certified Family Life Educator, Laura is also actively engaged in providing marriage education through “Couples’ Cruises,” articles, newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is a regular contributor to the KSL Television “Studio 5” morning show. She is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy to help build strong marriages and families. Laura and her husband, Kevin, are the parents of three grown children and are the founders of StrengtheningMarriage.com—your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages … intimately!
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