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