Note: Today’s post is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can find the introduction and links to the posts in this series right here.
Of all the assignments in this challenge, today’s is the one I’ve been most dreading. Why? Well, we’re going to dip a toe into some potentially uncomfortable waters: physical intimacy. (Cue all the embarrassment emojis.) But even though this topic makes me squirm, a series on serving our spouses simply wouldn’t be complete without at least briefly addressing this sensitive subject.
Even though it’s a little embarrassing to talk about, for most of our married life, I’ve kept a record of our intimate moments. I don’t even remember what prompted me to start such an odd habit, but over the years, it’s been helpful to be able to look back and notice trends and patterns.
I honestly think this is an excellent practice for all married couples. But doing so also comes with a few cautions as well.
And that’s why today, I want you to start keeping track, not score.
When you keep track of how frequently you and your husband come together, it can be a useful tool for remembering to prioritize this very important aspect of your marriage. It will be obvious at a glance whether or not you’re with one another often enough or if you need to find ways to increase the frequency.
But here’s the caution: you should never, ever use a track record to keep score. I’ve known wives to keep a score card so that if their husbands desire intimacy more often than they want, they simply wave their little tracker in their husband’s face and declare, “See? We were together twice last week! I’m done!” And that’s exactly what we want to avoid.
Can I be really candid? You can hate me, disagree with me, and argue with me all you want on this point, but I firmly believe that you should aim to be intimate with your husband a minimum of every 2-3 days. Minimum! My actual recommendation is to try for every other day. Let me explain my reasoning.
(Note: Although this is my general advice to healthy couples, there will be seasons when this schedule isn’t practical or advisable, such as when one spouse is ill, when you have a new baby, etc. Pray about your current season and decide with your spouse what your personal goal for intimacy should be.)
In most marriages, wives simply don’t need physical intimacy as often as husbands do. It’s easy for wives to begin to feel used, while husbands begin to feel neglected. But if we as wives prepare and plan for it more frequently than we might actually want, it shows our husbands that we understand their needs and that they are important to us. It’s an excellent way to minister to them and to show that we value them.
I didn’t come up with my “every other day” goal on a whim; it actually stems from information I’ve gathered over time. Many wives have expressed that once a week is about all they need, while many husbands have commented that every day wouldn’t be too much for them. That’s a BIG difference between the two! So, if you aim for every other day all the while knowing that you probably won’t quite hit that mark, the result will be approximately every 2-3 days, which is a good balance between once a week and every day.
But while I encourage an every-other-day goal, I don’t ever want intimacy to become a drudgery or for it to foster resentment. It should be a joy to serve your spouse in this way. Keep in mind the many blessings that God gives you. Shouldn’t you want to bless your husband in a similar way? If you know that intimacy pleases him, encourages him, and satisfies him, we should look forward to washing his feet in this way!
The enjoyment of physical intimacy isn’t only for husbands. We wives can - and should! - learn to enjoy a more frequent schedule for our own pleasure and benefit, too. And, I’m convinced that when things are going well in the bedroom, other unrelated issues often correct themselves. But if things aren’t good with intimacy, those other issues can bloom into full-blown problems that are hard to resolve.
Before I get into the “how” of keeping track, I need to express a few more warnings. When it comes to physical intimacy, both the husband and the wife are to serve one another (see 1 Corinthians 7) and to love one another in humility and gentleness. Intimacy should never go against God’s design.
If you need some help in this area, my friend Arabah Joy has an excellent series on Christian sex right here. Note that I may not always agree on every specific thing this series addresses, but for the most part, I have found these posts to be very helpful.
Also, if you’re struggling with pain, emotional trauma, abuse, or other serious issues associated with physical intimacy, I would suggest that you to seek out a trusted counselor right away. While those delicate topics are beyond the scope of this blog post, I’ll simply say that there’s no quick fix to them, but I do believe it’s good and Biblical to address them with a wise counselor, a knowledgeable doctor, and with a tremendous amount of prayer and honesty with your husband.
Additionally, blogger Sheila Gregoire touches on a number of marital problems on her blog, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Chances are good that if you’re struggling with a specific issue, you’ll find Biblical, reasonable help on her site.
Back to marriage habit tracking. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. I personally either print out a 1-page calendar or snag one of those freebie tear-away calendars that comes in the mail (if only the advertisers knew how I actually used their calendars, lol). Mark the days that you’re intimate. You can circle the date, draw a heart around it, star it, whatever.
The point here is to do something so that you can begin noticing patterns. Is it harder or easier to find time to be together on the weekends? Do you tend to skip weeknights, and if so, is there a way to squeeze in a quick moment with one another?
If you’re not keeping track, it’s all too easy for days or even weeks to slip by without finding time for intimacy with your husband. And ladies, I’m just going to lay this out there: you need to make sure you’re doing your best to fulfill your husband’s needs in this area so that you don’t inadvertently give provision to his flesh (see Romans 13:14).
Please don’t misunderstand me - I’m not at all insinuating that if your husband hasn’t remained faithful to you, that it’s somehow your fault for not having sex with him often enough. He is still fully responsible for his actions. But I do think a satisfied husband can be less tempted to find embrace outside of marriage. Even so, your motivation for being frequently intimate with your husband should be because you want to love and serve him, not because you’re afraid that he’ll go somewhere else if you don’t.
Remember, working up to a more frequent schedule won’t happen over night. Developing a greater interest in intimacy will take time and effort, especially if there are physical or emotional issues to work through as well. Be patient. Don’t give up. Keep track so that you can see your progress. Continue learning and growing in this area throughout your married life!
Alright, I’ve pretty much ripped the band aid right off on the subject of physical intimacy. I’ve also made some pretty bold statements that you may or may not agree with. While I’m always open to discussion and other opinions and welcome everyone’s input, I would ask that if you would like to comment, that you do so as tactfully as possible. Thank you so much for being sensitive to the nature of this post.
Whew! I’m so glad that tomorrow’s post focuses on a completely different aspect of married life!