Category: sexual intimacy

November 15th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


sex-begins-in-churchIt sounds blasphemous to say sex begins in church.  I mean, it really does.

But not when it's the kind of sex I'm talking about -- between a husband and a wife who see the value of nurtured sexual intimacy.

I dare say that church is one of the BEST places to begin sex, what with God being the designer of sex and all.

(One of the posts I loved writing a few years ago was Worship the Lord. Make Love to Your Spouse.)

When I say sex begins in church, I'm in essence saying sex can begin anywhere. It just takes being intentional with our affection.

Worried you're going to miss the sermon? Or forget about the canned food drive that just scrolled in the messages on the big screen? I'm not worried at all.

For most women, multi-tasking is like sport.  If ever there was a gender that could be affectionate  and engage in worship and listen to the sermon and remember the canned food drive, it's us women, right?!

Sexual arousal between you and your husband relies heavily on what happens when your clothes are on and you aren't verbally saying anything.  The way you discreetly communicate your attraction for your husband can do wonders for what happens when the clothes come off.

We get this.

I mean, it wasn't long ago that the wildly popular song "When You Say Nothing at All" could be heard at countless weddings.

Keith Whitley, Alison Kraus and Ronan Keating all recorded this song, which is a modern-day anthem for speaking love and desire without words. (If you want a sizzlin' hot old school version, just read Song of Songs in the Old Testament).

Anyway. I digress.

Back to this idea that sex begins in church (uh, I mean anywhere. Sex begins anywhere).

Below are 5 tips on playfully saying, "I want you, even though I can't have you right now."

1. Use your fingernails. 

Light touch is amazingly alluring. When you run your fingernails along the back of his neck or just under the cuff of his shirt or to caress his hand and trace his fingers, that will pique his interest.

2.  Hold his hand.

All hand holding is not created equally.  Sure, there's the hand holding that says, "Wow! It sure is fun to be at the amusement park together! Let's go!!"

And then there's the hand holding that reassuringly says, "I am so attracted to you. So grateful you are mine. So turned on. Maybe later after this lovely rendition of Amazing Grace, we can go back home and find new and creative ways to agree with God on His amazing gift of sex."

Okay. Maybe it doesn't say all that. But you get the idea.

You can convey your sexual attraction through hand holding. Probably works best if you mix in some light touches along his forearm and wrist as your hand makes its way to his.  (I know, I keep coming back to those fingernails, don't I?)

3. Whisper something.

Whispering is not only acceptable between a husband and a wife, it's almost expected if what they're communicating is exclusive to the two of them.  We as a society are neither shocked nor offended when lovers whisper to each other.

Lean over and whisper something sweet, sexy or inviting into your husband's ear.

4. Put your hand on his knee.

There's just something about a wife's hand resting softly on her husband's knee or thigh.

This particular gesture is incredibly sexy in its own unique way.  Maybe because it's an appropriate public touch that is alluring at the same time.

I think we'd have to search high and low to find a husband who doesn't like the feel of his wife's hand on his knee or thigh, whether they are sitting on the couch together or sitting in church together.

5. Lay your head on his shoulder.

Yes, I know.  This seems a bit cliche and meek and maybe even a bit sappy.   Who cares.

Laying your head on his shoulder and leaning into him can be a great way to say, "I want to be close to you."

When you do any of the above, you are discreetly and passionately giving clues to a puzzle the two of you will solve later.

Foreplay isn't just what happens in your bed.  Foreplay is what happens throughout the day, in simple and profound interactions between you and your husband.  In your home.  In your community. In your car. In your church.

My great-grandmother Iva MacDonald Deaver wrote in her diary on February 5, 1915, about the love between her and my great-grandfather.

Her words echo wisdom that is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago:

"I guess love doesn't reason. It just feels and knows from the little things that would mean nothing at all to anyone else."

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.












Posted in authentic, passion, sexual intimacy, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

25 Questions Cover
November 10th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


25 Questions CoverI have great news!

Author and speaker Dr. Juli Slattery has released a book I believe will become a vital "go to" guide for any woman wanting to better understand love, sex and intimacy.

The book is 25 Questions You're Afraid to Ask about Love, Sex and Intimacy, and Juli asked if I would read it and get the word out about it.

She sent me a copy and offered an additional one I could give away (because honestly, I'm not giving up my copy!)

Keep reading to the end of the post to find out how you can enter for an opportunity to win the free copy.

Here are three things that are astonishingly profound and beautiful about this book:

It's comprehensive without being cumbersome.

Seriously, this is what first caught my attention by the time I was 2-3 chapters in.  Juli tackles tough questions and strikes the right chord between saying too much and not saying enough.

She doesn't gloss over tough topics, which makes me think she put a lot of thought into her word choices.  She makes every word count.  The end result is that in every chapter, she gives us deeply needed points and clarifications -- without drowning us in lengthy hard-to-follow paragraphs.

It's an "easy" read, so to speak, yet doesn't back down from the challenging questions where many women are hungering for solid feedback.

It's biblical.

Make no mistake, she drenches this book in God's love and in His indisputable Word.  Juli humbly recognizes that without God's wisdom, generosity and truth, we cannot frame sex and intimate love in its right context.  We simply can't do it.

If we want to follow His plan, we are left with no choice but to align ourselves with His heart and Word.  What we do with our bodies and our relationships matters.

She does a great job conveying all that with grace and love.

It's conversational.

The first two points I made are obviously deal-breakers for me if I'm going to recommend a book, but this last one is what really piques my interest.

Is the book conversational?  Do I read it and feel like I'm having coffee with this woman?


This is why I think this will be a book that can spur great conversations across generations.

It would be easy to assume the book is geared only toward younger women, but I believe it also would be an ideal book for a women's book club or small group, no matter the ages of the women.

I also think it would be a great book for a couple of single female friends to go through together to help encourage each other and hold each other accountable.

And no doubt it has nuggets of insight for women who are engaged, as well as those who have been married for quite awhile.

So, all that being said, you want to read this book, right?

If you simply can't wait one minute longer, head on over to Amazon and buy it.

Or, if you're patient and want a shot at winning the free copy, you can do this:

Simply comment on this post by sharing one question you would love to ask about love, sex and intimacy. (Or maybe it's a question you wish you would have asked long ago).

You can do this anonymously (just put "anonymous" in the name section or make up a name), but be sure to include a real email address where I can reach you (this address won't appear with your comment, but I can see it on the admin side).

On Dec. 1, I will randomly pick a number, and whichever comment that number matches up to, that will be the winner!   I'll then email you to get your address so I can have the publisher send you your book.

IMPORTANT:  I moderate my comments, so if you make a comment, but don't see it right away, that's because I have to go in and hit "approve."  I do this to protect my blog from all those icky links and fake comments that tend to fill blogs if not moderated.  I write about sex, people. So you can imagine some of the icky links trying to sabotage my site!

Juli Slattery

Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker and host of the weekly radio program Java with Juli. She is also the cofounder of Authentic Intimacy, a ministry passionate about reclaiming God's design for intimacy.  Juli and her husband, Mike, have been married for over 20 years and are raising their three boys in Colorado.







Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.












Posted in authentic, marriage problems, orgasm, passion, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual sin, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

sexual intimacy in marriage
September 2nd, 2015 by Julie Sibert

sexual intimacy in marriage

Well, it's really a redesign of the old website, but you get the idea!

I am pumped about the new look of my site!  I am so excited to continue to offer up resources that will help you heal, improve, grow and strengthen sex in your marriage.

The call on my heart is to encourage couples, particularly Christian wives, in nurturing authentic sexual intimacy in marriage.  I know -- I really know -- how difficult that can be at times.

Yet God regular reminds me that we never stop learning how to be married.  A big part of that is continually learning, through all seasons of marriage, how to build amazing intimacy (not just sexual intimacy, but what can I say?! That's what I like to talk about the most).

So bookmark the site, sign up for to receive the posts through my feed or via email, and don't hesitate to comment or contact me about your thoughts on the topic!

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:










Posted in intimacy, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

August 15th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Orgasmic pleasure in a marriage can elude many couples.  The causes behind the struggle can vary.

In today's post, Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo of One Extraordinary Marriage share about the impact orgasm has not only on sexual intimacy, but marriage as a whole. The DiLorenzos' post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.

I so appreciate them sharing as part of this series.  Tony and Alisa were some of the first bloggers I met in the internet world of speaking encouragement into the lives of married couples trying to nurture their intimacy.


lack-of-orgasmIs lack of orgasm destroying your marriage? The short answer is yes AND no.

Well, that cleared things up for each of you, didn't it?

The truth is that marriages are destroyed by many things and there are two sides to this particular question.

Let's explore this in more detail.

First, let me be very clear, I am able to have an orgasm and I do enjoy them.

I do not have an orgasm every time that I have sex.

Sometimes that is by choice and sometimes that is by circumstances.

I know that not everyone is able to have an orgasm. There can be medical reasons for lack of orgasm. There can be emotional reasons for lack of orgasm. There can even be knowledge reasons for lack of orgasm.

Let's start with that last point -- the fact that you have to know how your body works.

You have to know what feels good for you in order to be able to share that with your spouse. If you don't know what works, how can you expect your spouse to figure it out?

Your spouse does not have ESP.

Am I referring to self-exploration? Yes! Mutual self-exploration.

When you were in school, did you have a  Sex Ed class?

Well…, you get to participate in the grown-up, married version, and it's SO much better than what was in any textbook.

You have the opportunity to explore and learn with your spouse in a loving and creating environment. So what are you waiting for?

Now, back to the original question:

Is Lack of Orgasm Destroying Your Marriage? YES

For a person to experience orgasm, especially a woman, there has to be a combination of factors:

  • emotional connection
  • vulnerability
  • trust
  • communication

To fully let go in a sexual experience, to be willing to throw all caution to the wind, to be fully present in the moment, you have to let go of everything else around you.

You have to be willing to be caught up in the experiences, to surrender your body, mind, and soul to another person.

In the busyness of our world, that is a hard thing to do.  It takes a combination of willpower and desire to "flip the switch" to decide to be vulnerable, to decide to be fully present.

When these factors are not present, the chances for an orgasm are greatly diminished.

It's more than just the orgasm though.

When these particular factors are not present, there are greater problems in the marriage.

The lack of orgasm, and more likely the lack of sex, becomes a symptom of something else going on in the relationship.

So yes, if a lack of orgasm is due to the factors listed above, it could be indicative that your marriage is being destroyed.

Is Lack of Orgasm Destroying Your Marriage? NO

On the other hand, there are those times when the two of you are engaged in sexual activity with no orgasm. It happens and it's OK, as long as the two of you are able to communicate what's going on.

You won't always come to orgasm when you are having a quickie or when you are in a different place.

Many times there is a medical or situational lack of orgasm, and the two of you are aware of it.

You know that something is going on with the health of your spouse. You know that you only have 5 minutes before a child is going to come and knock on the door.

It's no surprise that due to stress, one of you might not be able to orgasm…

...and yet, the two of you are making the time to connect with one another, to be physical with each other.

To do what you can, with what you have, allows the two of you to be able to grow your marriage, no matter what the circumstances are.

The orgasm can be a barometer of what's going on the relationship, but not the only measure.

The most important thing in your marriage is that the two of you making time for one another and making each other a priority.

If you would like to read more posts about orgasm, check out this page.

Tony & Alisa equip couples struggling with a lack of time, communication or intimacy with specific tools and strategies to create the extraordinary relationship they desire. One quick tool is their 6 Questions To Get The Conversation Started This Week (And Keep It Going).






Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:










Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

Sorrowful couple after having an argument
August 6th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

… show up?

Do you make your body available, but never your heart and soul?

While "lack of sex" is a common storyline that sadly shows up in many marriages, equally discouraging is accommodation sex -- whereby one spouse merely goes through the motions, but never really shows up.

We can try to argue it otherwise (and trust me, many people have), but God truly designed sex to be a profound encounter between a husband and wife.

A oneness.

A reaffirmation of what is good and holy and right in the covenant of marriage.

A physical playing out of marriage vows.

It's no wonder that we intuitively and quickly recognize when such experience is reduced to nothing more than duty or "going through the motions."

We know when our spouse is begrudgingly doing something, rather than vulnerably offering their whole self.

I've heard from some people (mostly husbands, but some wives as well) who say they can't decide which would be worse -- no sex at all or sex that is done only out of obligation.

Ask yourself these questions:

Has accommodation sex become the standard in my marriage?

Is it the pattern from which we never deviate?

Does it define all (or nearly all) of the sexual encounters between me and my spouse?

Why is accommodation sex so devastating? If you are the one going through the motions, you may actually be asking this question with contempt, rather than contemplation.

Many wives have argued, "He is getting what he wants -- sex. What does it matter if I'm really into it or not?  Why is he disappointed? He got what he wanted! He got his release."

Well, that's not what he truly wanted.

He wanted the woman he married to desire him sexually.

He wanted the woman he loves and does life with to value sex not simply for the physical release, but for the indescribable connection it creates.

He wanted his wife to crave his touch and his mouth and his body.

He wanted her to show up.  Really show up.

The good news is that if accommodation sex is all that you have ever offered, you don't have to stay stuck in that pattern.

Change is hard and awkward and sometimes overwhelming. I get that.  But it is possible.

And if it is the kind of change that can strengthen your marriage, why wouldn't you walk in the direction of change?

Not sure where to start?  How about getting real with your spouse about wanting sex to look different in your marriage.   How about a humble, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've treated sex as duty rather than a gift."

Maybe the hardest part will be digging into why you feel the way you do about sex.  As bewildering and overwhelming as that can be, it is so worth the heart work.  You're worth it.  Your marriage is worth it.

Sure, you could just sit back and hope things will improve on their own.  But why gamble with something as precious as the relationship with the person you fell in love with and married?

For more reading along these lines, check out Why the Excuse "Sex Isn't a Need" Doesn't Hold Water.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:










Posted in marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

August 4th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


It's hard to argue that society doesn't impact marriages. A busy and sometimes expensive lifestyle can spell doom for a couple's intimacy.

Lori Lowe of Marriage Gems shares sound wisdom on nurturing our marriages, despite society's standards that rail against margin. Lori's post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.


Fuel gaugeI recently read about a family's decision to leave an expensive city lifestyle and move to a rural, laid back community to reduce stress and have more time together.

It was a reminder that our lives are full of choices, and that our lifestyle is not a permanent decision.

I'm convinced the societal standards for most Americans are putting an immense strain on families and marriages; so much so, that many couples are too exhausted for physical and emotional intimacy.

For couples just getting by financially, the pressures are even greater to make ends meet, putting the marriage on the back burner.

The pressure to live in a large home filled with expensive furniture, to wear fashionable clothes, to send children to the best schools with private lessons, to take nice vacations, and to drive new cars contributes to a perceived need to work longer hours and attain promotions.

Many couples believe they can't live on one salary, even when one of the salaries is quite high.

These desires are promoted by the culture (through advertising, movies, Facebook, etc.) and lead to either debt or the need to earn more.

The result: Increased stress and less time, both of which contribute to a poor sex life.

Families with children have to face additional societal pressures to join artistic, educational, and athletic teams and activities.

A generation ago, a baseball team would practice perhaps one day a week in addition to a weekend game. Today's sports teams often require daily practices and most of the weekend. Many kids I know practice before and after school every day, plus weekends.

Ballet, piano, swim, choir, band, soccer—the options are endless and costly, and the pressure to join starts very early. Family time suffers, and budgets are strained. Parents often divide on weekends to cover all the activities, making weekends as much work as the weekday.

Where does sex fit into the schedule?

Frankly, it's difficult to be in the mood when you haven't had time to connect during the week or the weekend. You're both tired and trying to catch up on household chores. There may even be resentment when one or both spouses feel they are doing more (of the childcare, of the chores, or earning the money).

If only one spouse is working, he or she may feel compelled to focus on work to fulfill the family's needs and wants. A lack of connection can develop if not enough time is spent with one's spouse and family, hurting the relationship and getting in the way of a good sex life.

Millennials are starting to pave the way with prioritizing work/life balance above climbing the corporate ladder. Building balance into our lives allows us to nurture our relationships.

There's nothing wrong with living in a nice home, driving a nice car, and taking your kids to soccer practice.

However, if societal pressures are preventing a quality family life, consider what changes could be made.

Are you willing to live in a smaller house to have more time together?

Could you drop out of some activities and have more free time together?

Is it possible to live on one salary or for one partner to go part-time?

How can you carve out time for daily/weekly connection?

When my family found ourselves spread too thin and separating for sporting activities on the weekend, we dropped my son out of the travel soccer team. Instead, we found ourselves enjoying relaxing Saturdays as a family, and able to go to church at our regular time on Sunday.

We adjusted our lives so that I could work part-time. The extra time allows me to have much of the shopping, laundry and chores done during the workday. Evenings and weekends aren't overwhelmed with these tasks.

I don’t think we have won the battle against all of society’s expectations.

One struggle we often have is the high volume of homework, studying, and projects our kids complete each night, sometimes requiring our support. The pressure to help our kids succeed is high and time consuming. This stress can also bleed into the marriage relationship and keep us from having time to relax as a couple.

Now that our children are teens/tweens, we sometimes have to force ourselves to leave them to do their work, and take time for ourselves as a couple. We go out to dinner and allow them the practice of cooking and cleaning up after themselves.

It's important for us to prioritize the marriage; a strong marriage is a great gift for our children.

We plan for long-term goals, including trips and college, but we try not to succumb to many of the pressures that would take too much time from our marriage and family. We are blessed to have our children at home, and we also look forward to different phases of our lives.

To be successful and have a happy marriage once our children are gone, we need to make time and space for one another now. We make frequent changes to try to achieve better balance, and at least question the activities in which we are involved. Balance is a moving target.

If you think your marriage and sex life is getting put on the back burner, sit down individually, as a couple and as a family to determine what changes are possible to give you more of the life you want.

Lori_LOWE Red_Dress_50Lori Lowe writes research-based marriage tips at Her book First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage is available on and in all e-book formats. Lori has been married to her high school sweetheart for 20 years this fall. They live in Indianapolis with their two children.





Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:










Posted in marriage problems, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

July 22nd, 2015 by Julie Sibert

A young married couple emailed me recently, admitting that they were both aroused by using  certain obscene and/or slang language during sex.

They wondered if I thought this was okay.

Some of you may think the couple's quandary is a rare exception among Christian couples.

I would argue otherwise, though.

If more married couples were candid about this, I think we would discover that many face the same dilemma.

As Christians, they would never use the F word or other "cuss" words in their public conversations or even in private casual conversations in their own home.

Yet when it comes to being in the throes of passion in their marriage bed, they find the use of such language surprisingly arousing.

Hey, don't shoot the messenger.

I'm simply shedding light on something that is worthy of discussion, especially if a married couple is feeling angst about whether something is right or wrong in their marriage bed.

I mean, it's kind of my wheelhouse to talk out loud about these things rather than allow silence and darkness to fuel uncertainty and struggle.

Just for clarification, I'm not talking about using language that is done with the intention of berating the other spouse or when one spouse has clearly said they are not comfortable with it.  I think we can all agree those scenarios do not exemplify love.


I'm talking about when both of the spouses find the use of vulgar language arousing. They are not turned off by it, but are incredibly turned on by it and find it heightens the intensity of the sexual encounter.

What is a couple to do?

Below is what I told the young couple (Spoiler alert, you probably aren't going to like my answer).

I told them I could argue it both ways -- that it's okay and that it's not okay.

In one regard, I believe we must consider the spirit and context of such conversations.

When a word -- even what most people generally consider is an obscene word -- is used within the context of mutual, exclusive and passionate sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, in the privacy of their lovemaking, some would argue this isn't damaging to anyone or anything.

In another regard, though, when we hold everything up to scripture, some would argue that an obscene word could never, in any context, meet the standard of...

"whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8); or

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

Of course, we could take this deeper and cause all kinds of theological debate by posing the question:

"Is obscenity that is mutually enjoyed by a married couple in the privacy of their lovemaking actually an example of the above scriptures being upheld -- rather than an example of the scriptures being violated?"

Ornery of me, I know, to try to come at this from all angles.  I'm mischievous that way.  I'm just trying to get you to think.

And suffice to say, I can't answer these questions for you.

They are "wrestling with God" matters.  If you and your spouse are struggling with this issue of certain obscene words being a turn on during sex, then I encourage you to seek God on it.

The Holy Spirit is faithful.  And He will reveal direction for you.

I will say this, though:

Don't beat yourself up if you have used obscene words during sex and found it arousing.  It's wise to seek discernment, yes. But it's not helpful at all to wallow and get stuck in self defeat.

If you want to stop using certain obscene words, then find other expressions and words that can be equally arousing.

Honestly, I think the more descriptive a husband and wife can become in telling each other what they like sexually, the better.

You don't have to use the F word.

You and your husband may be surprised you both are just as turned on when you say to your husband, "I need you in me" or "I like when you ________ with the head of your penis."

You both may be turned on when he tells you in vivid detail what he likes you to do with your breasts or your hands or your mouth.

Anyway. You get the idea.

If you and/or your spouse are not used to talking or making any sound of ecstasy during sex, then becoming more descriptive may seem awkward or distracting, especially at first.

But I think this is a great aspect of lovemaking to explore.

I think staying completely silent during sex is frustrating (and, in my case, almost impossible. Not gonna lie.)  But I have had to, at times, stay quiet in certain circumstances so that the exclusivity of our lovemaking wouldn't be compromised.

I'm guessing that's a topic for another blog, though.  Quiet Lovemaking When There Is No Other Option.  (I can assure you it will be a short post. I have so little practical experience to write a post like that).

Your turn to chime in.  Have you and your husband struggled with wondering if it is okay to use obscene language during your lovemaking?

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:










Posted in authentic, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

July 12th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Dustin Riechmann of Engaged Marriage is sharing today as part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.

For many of us, parenting does take a toll on sexual intimacy!  Dustin offers great insights...

When we become parents, it's super easy to put our kids at the center of our lives.

It all starts when they're babies, and they legitimately require a major part of our time and attention.

toll of parenting on intimacyAs our kids get older, the tasks transition from diapers to baseball games to school projects and beyond, but the constant needs (and wants) of our children never cease.

It sounds innocent enough to pour everything you have into your kids, and you should rightfully be proud to be engaged and involved in the lives of your children.

But where does that leave your spouse in your list of priorities?

Put Your Kids Second…or Third!

The problem with putting your kids first is that it means you're putting two other MORE important people after them when it comes to how you spend your time and energy.

If you're a Christian like me, you should really strive to put God first and at the center of your life. When you do, prayer is a top priority and your faith is the rock from which you live and serve others.

Right after God should be your spouse – the one you vowed to love for life above all others. As a married couple, it's your job to serve your spouse and to help your husband or wife get to heaven.

It's no small task, and it requires that you put your marriage first…ahead of your role as a parent.

It may seem weird to say that your kids aren't your top priority, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider what comes ahead of them.

As Christians, we have no greater responsibility than to pass along our faith and love of God to our children. And the best thing we can do to help our kids live happy and healthy lives is love our spouse well and model God's love through our marriage.

How to Be a Great Parent and an Even Better Sexy Spouse

So, hopefully you can see now WHY you should put your vocation as husband or wife ahead of your role as parent.

But how do you put it into action?

Below are three simple actions you can take starting today to make it happen. It's all about quality:

Quality Affection

It's super easy to get into a "Romantic Rut" after a few years of marriage, especially after kids come along. That's why it's more vital than ever that you consciously and proactively do something special to show your spouse affection.

The best way I've found to accomplish this is through a simple, heartfelt romantic love letter. When's the last time you’'ve shared a love letter with your husband or wife?

To make it easy, we have a free Love Letter Checklist (click here to grab it) that hundreds of couples have used to reignite the romance. It only takes a few minutes and doesn't cost you a dime.

Quality Time

When I'm asked for my #1 tip for married couples, especially new parents, it's always to commit to 15 minutes each day of quality "Couple Time."

While it doesn't take much of your time (less than 1% of your day), the impact on your relationship will be profound!

If you're ready to get started or just learn more, don't miss this post on how to get your 15 Minutes of Couple Time each day – and what to do during this special time together.

Quality Sexual Expression

To this point, I've barely talked about the act of sex itself since so many aspects of "life" impact our sexual intimacy. However, I'm willing to bet that you and your spouse have faced some sexual challenges in your marriage. I haven't met a couple yet who has not.

Whether it's low libido, a lack of romance and anticipation, or a straight-up loss of passion between you, sexual challenges are real. But there is also help available to you!

Julie does an amazing job with many of these topics, so you can start your search right here on her blog.

At Engaged Marriage, our most popular program is called Intimacy Reignited. It's a complete step-by-step guide to rekindling the passion and romance in your marriage.

You really can have it all - even after kids bring about all the joys and chaos of parenthood.

Just remember that you'll be a better parent when you focus first and foremost on having great sex with your spouse!

Dustin and Bethany PhotoDustin Riechmann is the author of 15 Minute Marriage Makeover and creator of Engaged Marriage, a site devoted to helping other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen.

Dustin's passion is providing practical tools that you can use to keep your marriage fresh and fully "engaged" even when life gets hectic. He's been married for over 14 years to his best friend Bethany, and they are proud parents to three very energetic kids under the age of ten.

You deserve your dream marriage, and it's Dustin's mission to help you make it happen.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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July 11th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


The-Unveiled-WifeI recently finished reading Jennifer Smith's book "The Unveiled Wife," in which she chronicles with raw vulnerability the struggles she and her husband Aaron faced from the start of their young marriage.

With transparency and courage, she shares about her hopes for an amazing marriage, including profound sexual intimacy, once she became a bride -- only to encounter instead physical pain during sex that left both her and Aaron exasperated and confused.

Digging deeper, she peels back even more layers of emotional pain rooted in both of their pasts, and the horrendous impact such pain was taking on their fragile marriage.

Their difficulty in coping was compounded by denial, poor communication, selfishness, pride and an unwillingness to be honest about the depth of the struggles.

She at times contemplated divorce.  I have to be honest -- as I was reading the book, I was expecting at any moment that she would share they did indeed separate.

Through betrayal, disappointment, anger and anxiety, she and Aaron fought hard for their marriage (although not always at the same time).

They found comfort and truth in the Lord's Word and in the wisdom of other married couples who were safe haven for them as they sought to heal their marriage.

Jennifer and Aaron had begun their marriage steeped in her romanticized version of a Christ-centered relationship. They instead found themselves with no other alternative but to mature toward something even better and more reflective of God's provision.

It was there where they built genuine intimacy with each other and with God.

Jennifer writes the book primarily through her voice and lens, which I think makes it a book to which other women may easily relate.

While the physical pain Jennifer experienced during sex is a key thread throughout the book, the book definitely explores other marital struggles that are more universal.

Jennifer is quick to point out that her experiences may not mirror other women's experiences, but that her journey is abundant with lessons that can enlighten and encourage any marriage.

I couldn't agree more.

Throughout the pages, I easily sense Jennifer's hunger for deep abiding relationship with the Lord, amidst flawed and sometimes uncomfortable human frailties.  That, no doubt, is a lesson for all of us, regardless of the circumstances we face.

This is a good read, particularly because it feels unsettling at times -- to be so honest about disillusionment within marriage.

I appreciate anytime someone vulnerably shares their story and sheds light where light needs to be shed.  Thank you for that, Jen.   When we do this, especially as Christians, we empower others to be real about their own struggles.

Ultimately, as a body of Christ, we can then celebrate that authentic relationship -- with each other and with the Lord -- is a messy, messy endeavor.  And it is rich with potential.

To find out more about Jennifer and her books, check out her wildly successful blog The Unveiled Wife.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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July 8th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


As part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage and what we can do about those things, I today welcome Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." -- Isaiah 43:18

When I married my husband, I brought a fair amount of baggage to our marriage bed.

Quite a lot it involved my sexual past – both with my husband and before I met him.

sexual pastInstead of enjoying marital intimacy with my husband, my marriage bed overflowed with stuff that got in the way:

Guilt and shame.

I felt so guilty and ashamed of the sex I’d had before marriage. These feelings made me feel unworthy of joyful sexual intimacy, so I avoided anything what would give me what I was convinced I didn’t deserve.

Negative views about sex.

Sex is for the man. Sex is something you need to keep secret and that you rush to finish. Sex was my only source of power or value to men. The only way to keep a boyfriend was to give him what he wanted sexually. All of these negative views were taking a toll on my intimacy with my husband.

Negative views about my husband.

As the man who wanted to have sex with me for the rest of our lives, my husband bore the burden of the lessons I'd learned about men. I thought he cared only about his own pleasure and not about my whole self or about my sexual pleasure. I thought he valued me only for sex.

Sadly, I am not alone.

A survey I conducted about the effect of premarital sex on women's marriages showed that two-thirds of the respondents thought their marriages had been negatively affected. This was the case even when the woman's only premarital sexual partner was the man she married.

The premarital sexual luggage is pretty full and includes the following:

  • The feeling that sex is dirty or bad
  • Expectations of husband based on previous partners
  • False perception of what intimacy is
  • The belief that sex is only for the man
  • A connection between sexual sensations and guilt or shame
  • The inability to trust husband because he pushed boundaries before marriage
  • Spiritual and emotional attachment to previous partners, leaving less left for husband
  • Not understanding that sex is a gift from God
  • Unwanted memories during some sexual acts

Many Christian wives have found that their premarital sexual activity follows them into the marital bedroom:

  • Sex feels wrong, so we avoid it.
  • We are unwilling to express our own sexual desires.
  • We dismiss a husband's sexual desire for us.
  • We are unable to embrace the role of sex in marriage and to address problems as they arise.

Fortunately, there is hope for moving past your past!

If your sexual past has overwhelmed your marriage bed, work to loosen the chains holding back your growth.

Focus on the truth.

Read what the bible says about marriage and intimacy. Especially read Song of Songs. Read Christian blogs about marriage and sex. Do a bible study about marital intimacy. Rebuild your beliefs based on truth, replacing the negative lessons that grew out of premarital sexual activity.

Some wonderful resources are Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage, Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?, and Intimacy Ignited.

Get support.

Talk with your pastor or a counselor if you're struggling to deal with your feelings and beliefs about your premarital sexual activity. If your sexual past includes trauma such as childhood sexual abuse or rape, this support is especially helpful.

Talk with close Christian girlfriends who will listen and give you a hug.

Communicate with your husband.

Share your struggles with him. Ask for his prayer. Read, study, and pray together. (Not only can this help your sexual intimacy, it can also strengthen your non-sexual intimacy.)

If you haven't been truthful with your husband about your sexual past, perhaps now is the time. If your personal sexual history is affecting your husband's sex life, he deserves to know.

Invite god into the healing of your marriage bed.

Repent and seek God's forgiveness—and accept that forgiveness. You are a new creation in Christ. Spend time in prayer specifically for your sex intimacy. God designed sex and wants you to enjoy sex with your husband—so ask Him to work on your heart.

When you bring sexual baggage in your marriage, letting it clutter up your marriage bed can destroy your sex life.

You cannot change the past, but you can loosen the chains it has cast on you.

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." -- Ephesians 4:22-24

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series at this page!

Chris TaylorChris Taylor has been married to her husband Doug for 24 years. They live in southeastern Wisconsin and have three adult kids who are in various stages of leaving the nest. After a fulfilling career in higher education, Chris now writes at The Forgiven Wife, where she encourages women to tend to the sexual intimacy in their marriages. She draws on her own journey of healing to walk alongside other women trying to embrace full intimacy in their marriages. Chris thrives on coffee, knitting, and chocolate; the order of importance varies depending on the day. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.


Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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