You Don’t Need Candles for Great Sex

Tips for the Christian Marriage

I knew a lady once who would give a simple gift to girls at their wedding shower: a small bag with candles and bubble bath. She would explain that it was a wonderful way to relax on your wedding night prior to making love.

She was and is still right.

Mood setting is a wonderful way to enhance the experience of marital intimacy. In fact, for couples who are struggling to connect, emphasizing more of the senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) can really help. Even so – there is so much more to marital intimacy than the setting or the actual behaviors of sexual activity.

Here are just some of the tips you would get if you did a search for “How to Have Better Sex.”

Behaviorally-Based Tips:

– Learn your body and what turns you on

– Lean what turns your partner on

– Exercise and lower your stress levels

– Turn the TV off (so you go to bed earlier)

– Fix your diet

Environmentally-Based Tips:

– Use mood music

– Remove the distractions from your room

And Problem-Solving Tips:

– Seek counseling for sexual problems

– Get on (or off) medications

All of these tips are great and definitely worthy of using. But I fully believe that most couples who are struggling in their sexual relationship actually need more than “bedroom tips.” 

Good Sex Isn’t Just About the Orgasm

We live in a culture that equates good sex with a good orgasm. If there are not fireworks and toe curls, or if the sexual relationship is not one that HBO would show on screen – than it isn’t worth having. But, the truth is, a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship is only partly due to whether or not one or both of you orgasm.

Now, please understand that I am not against orgasm. Not at all. I believe couples should enjoy their orgasms with one another. And, if you’re finding it difficult to reach orgasm, here is a list of 35 (yes, 35!) helpful blogs about reaching orgasm. 

But, scripture elevates sexuality beyond a physical act. In Genesis 4:1, we read that Adam knew Eve. ‘Knew’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘yada.’ And while this certainly indicates sexual intimacy, the definition of this word is actually much more complex than “Adam had sex with Eve.”

There are five dimensions of knowing that is explained by the word yada.

#1: Knowing in complete detail.

Psalm 139:1 gives us another example of this form of knowing. “You have searched me Lord, and you know me.”

To know someone in this way means to be completely familiar with that person. You’ve analyzed that person and made it a goal to truly understand them.

You know when someone has this type of knowledge of you because they can give the perfect gift to you, say just what you need to hear, or can know just by looking at you if you have had a bad day. In marriage, this type of knowledge means making it your goal to fully understand your spouse.

#2: Having a technical knowledge of something.

This goes beyond knowing something works to knowing why something works.

This is the type of ‘knowing’ that King Solomon asked for when he asked God for wisdom. And, he proved he had that knowledge when two women came to him each claiming that they had given birth to the same child. In his wisdom, he ordered that the baby be cut in half so that each woman could have a piece. He made this ruling because he knew how motherhood worked.

A mother would do anything to save the life of her child. The true birth mother was ready to let her child live with another woman to keep her baby from being murdered. Solomon had a technical knowledge of ruling the land and making decisions.

In marriage, this technical knowledge means understanding how your spouse is different from other men and women. It means not just understanding that your wife likes to have dinner at the table with the TV off, but knowing that her parents almost divorced when she was 12, but rebuilt their marriage by committing to family dinners around the table with no interruptions. Dinnertime is not just a meal to her, but a symbol of commitment, security, and stability.

#3: Knowing by personal experience.

Psalm 9:10 explains this type of knowing – “Those who know your name trust in you, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who trust in you.” The idea here is that those who have experienced God, know that he is trustworthy. He has not let them down.

In your marriage, you can only truly have that experiential knowledge by spending time with your spouse. The more experiences you have with your spouse (pleasant, difficult, and ordinary) the more you will have this experiential type of knowledge.

#4: A face-to-face encounter.

In John chapter 17, Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and for all of the people that his disciples will eventually speak to. The longest part of that prayer is his prayer for his disciples, those that he had the face-to-face interaction with. Because of his face time with them, there was a special relationship built with them.

In marriage, couples can find themselves so busy throughout the day and in their time with one another that much of their communication comes when they are not even looking at one another. It may be in front of the TV, while chasing down children, or laying in bed right before they go to sleep. Face-to-face time with your spouse is one key way to build your knowledge of and intimacy with one another. Make time for this daily!

#5: Sexual intimacy.

Song of Solomon is by far the best portrayal of a sexual relationship that we can read in scripture. And, in marriage, the sexual relationship is certainly a very important piece. But, this can also be a place of struggle for people. Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that if they can improve their sex lives (which may mean actually having sex) that their relationship will improve also. In actuality, the opposite is much more likely to be true. Improve your relationship, and your sex lives will improve as well.

Take some time to consider the 5 forms of intimate knowledge. Are there certain ones that have been missing from your marriage?

I encourage you to continuously work on building an intimate relationship with your spouse. If you need a few practical tips for improving your marital intimacy, download my free guide, Becoming One. It’s full of great tips that have worked for many of the couples I work with. Grab it here!

Blessing on you, your marriage, and your sex life!
Dr. Jessica

How to Have a Difficult Conversation Without Upsetting Your Spouse

Communication Over Conflict

Just over a month ago I sent out a survey asking people what their biggest question was about communication, conflict resolution, and intimacy. There were several answers that I’ll be addressing over the next couple of months, but overwhelmingly the biggest question was, “How do I tell my spouse something difficult without either making them angry or hurting their feelings?” It’s interesting that such a broad question could be asked and 1/4th of the people would answer with nearly the same words. It goes to show you just how often marriages are affected by this very concern.

Most of us do what we can to avoid conflict in our marriage. Nobody likes the idea of being at odds with the person they share a bed with. But because of our gender differences, personality differences, or differences in our behaviors or core beliefs; conflict is an inevitable part of marriage. Luckily, you can learn some ways to have hard conversations that will not necessarily lead to conflict. And, when it’s avoidable, not fighting will always win out over having an argument. 

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Getting and Keeping the Marriage You Want

Big Tips for Keeping Love and Happiness Alive

Have you ever heard advice from people online about finding love? For most of the people that read this blog, love has been found at some point. Love is why you got married after all. But, there are many couples who wonder what it looks like to have more love and intimacy in their marriage. I’ve written about having a more intimate marriage here and here, and even offer several of these tips in my free guide.

I’m certainly not the only one to write about this. Just earlier today I actually read an ad on Facebook from a woman saying, “Don’t go to marriage counseling! Follow my advice to have the life you want and make your partner fall in love with you over night.” Yes, that’s right. She promises that you can do something now that will revolutionize your relationship over night. Sadly – I just don’t believe that’s possible.

I didn’t sign up for her program and listen to her tips, but I’ve worked with marriages for long enough to know that whether or not you go to marriage counseling, change doesn’t happen over night. Marriage can be pretty difficult for a number of reasons, but it can still be really great as well. Having a positive perspective of your spouse will help you have a more fulfilling marriage.

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I Don’t Always Send Surveys About Marriage, But When I do…

A One-Question Survey About Marriage

When I tell people that I’m a Christian psychologist that specializes in marriage counseling and sex, I always get a question or two.

So, today – I’m reminding you that I love helping couples enjoy their marriage.

See, I get what it’s like to feel like marriage is extremely hard work (I’ve written about it on this blog), and I understand what it’s like to find healing and fun in marriage.

Believe me, the fun marriage is WAY better than the hard marriage.

So, I want to know your big question regarding communication, conflict resolution, and sex.

No question is off limits here and it’s completely anonymous. I’ll be asking for your email so I can let you know what those top questions were and to give you my feedback. I’m not tracking who said what and you’re not being added to an email list (unless of course you ask me to add you).  🙂

It would be super-duper helpful if you’d click here to fill out my One Question Marriage Survey.

UPDATE: The survey has now closed and I’m rummaging through all of the responses to bring you awesome content related to your questions. I’ve already started planning some of it out and can hardly wait to share with you. So many of you had the same few questions!!!

If you want to make sure you get updated when I release the info, join my VIP list. Not only will you be the first to hear about the latest and greatest, but you’ll also get my free guide all about increasing the intimacy in your marriage. Click here to join!

Be blessed, friend!

3 Tips for Building a Strong Marriage

I really hate divorce! Like, seriously…HATE divorce. It’s truly heart-breaking to see two people who used to be so in love with one another that they committed to a lifetime together get to the place where they can say, “I just don’t want to be with you. Maybe I never did.” For couples in this position, they’ve typically had a slow build up of disappointments and unhappiness leading to this stage. The good news is you can put some protective factors in place so that you don’t become one of those couples.

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