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As many of us are winding down the holidays, some of you are just starting on plans for a wedding!
If you rang in the holiday season with a ring on your finger, congratulations!
Before you get too immersed in picking out colors, a reception venue and ceremony songs, let's have a frank discussion about SEX.
NOW is the time to be thinking about how to build great sexual intimacy in your marriage. Yes. NOW.
Too many engaged couples have an overly romanticized idea about sexual intimacy, mostly that everything will happen naturally and they won't have to put much effort into having phenomenal sexual intimacy.
That kind of thinking couldn't be further from the truth and will leave you with a boatload of misunderstanding and sexual difficulty.
Even if you and your fiancé have had sex (even among Christian couples, few reach the altar as virgins), you still may be surprised that sex in marriage can easily become a source of struggle rather than a pathway to profound connectedness.
Especially as a woman, you would be wise to get a full gynecological exam. This makes good common sense even if you have had sex, but it definitely is a must if you have never had sex.
If you do not already have an OB/GYN or midwife (they do more than handle pregnancy) with whom you feel comfortable, then ask your friends or family members for recommendations. You want someone who is professional and also open to any questions you may have.
Professional and well-trained medical providers who are immersed day in and day out with the human body, sexuality and reproduction are never going to be caught off guard by your questions. If anything, they want to make sure that you not only understand your body, but also that you feel comfortable speaking up about any questions you may have about sex.
Before your appointment, write down a list of questions you want to ask. DO NOT rely on your memory,
If you and your fiancé have not yet talked about birth control that you will or will not be using after you are married, be sure to discuss this with your fiancé BEFORE you go to your doctor. That way you will be able to weigh the pros and cons of various birth control methods with the input from you doctor, who will likely have a solid understanding of how all those methods work.
Also, with regard to birth control, I know that some women like the convenience and relatively high effectiveness of hormonal birth control, such as the pill. I was that way in my first marriage. HOWEVER, I did not know that for me, the pill would kill my sex drive.
When I got married the second time, I told my husband I would never be on hormonal birth control again. I've never regretted that decision.
When you schedule your physical, encourage your future husband to schedule one for himself as well.
Now, before you are married, is the time to be talking about expectations, fears, uncertainties and hopes regarding sexual intimacy in marriage.
If your future spouse envisions having sex every day and you are thinking twice a month would be plenty, you are going to run into some serious sexual struggles within the first week of your marriage.
If you feel hesitant talking about sex now, trust me that such hesitancy will not vanish once you say "I do." If anything, the opposite is likely to happen -- you'll head into marriage with so little authentic and mature conversation about sex under your belt (sorry about that pun) that you will become even more inhibited talking about it.
So, let's head that problem off at the pass.
You wouldn't believe the number of married folk I hear from who wish they would have talked more about sex before their marriage and early in their marriage. After years of not talking, they find themselves with sexual struggles that have become their norm. Breaching that longstanding silence is monumentally hard.
As for talking about sex fueling uncontrollable sexual temptation in engaged couples, I'm just not buying it.
If you are mature enough to agree to commit your entire life to another person and take on all the responsibilities of marriage, you should be mature enough to talk about sex without ripping each others' clothes off.
Talk with each other about expectations, fears, uncertainties and hopes for your sexual intimacy. You'll be laying good groundwork (okay, that pun I'm not sorry about).
This kind of builds on the last point. There are just so many Christian resources out there right now. Engaged couples really have no excuse for not heading into marriage with at least some framework on how to build great sexual intimacy.
My book, Pursuit of Passion, would be a good place to start, but there are plenty of others. The point isn't so much which Christian book or website you seek out, but rather that you both have a heart to make sex a priority in your marriage.
And by "priority" I'm not just talking about frequency.
I'm all for quantity, but not if it comes at the expense of quality. Personally, I think both are worthy endeavors, especially when you have youth and time on your side.
Regardless, though, a good Christian resource or two on sex will help you gain perspective on how important sex is to the health of a marriage.
Enjoy all the fun and romance and eagerness that are hallmarks of wedding plans! Just don't forget that planning a wedding will never be as important as planning a marriage. I want great sex to be a foundational aspect of your marriage!
For further reading, consider these posts:
Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.