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Marriage can be a wonderful experience when both spouses are connected and headed in the same direction. Life can be beautiful when you walk side by side, working together. But marriage isn’t always this way. My wife and I recently celebrated 18 years of marriage, and we haven’t always been on the same page. But we’ve learned having a happy, healthy marriage takes intentionality and commitment. And it requires a healthy level of intimacy. It’s important to keep intimacy strong in your marriage.

Let me clarify what is meant by the word intimacy. Intimacy is not sex, although that’s part of it. Intimacy is so much more! It’s the close connection you have with another person. It’s feeling comfortable around your partner. It’s communicating your needs and feelings. It’s appreciating each other for who you are, not what you do or bring to the relationship. Intimacy is the intentional, ongoing process of fully knowing your spouse and being fully known by your spouse.

Did you know there was more to intimacy than just sex?

There are several types of intimacy: Emotional, Intellectual, Experiential, Spiritual, and Sexual. And they’re all intertwined.

Nurturing intimacy in your marriage requires building up these types. As you strengthen one area, the whole becomes stronger. Think of it as your health. Being healthy is more than just working out. It’s eating right, getting plenty of rest, hydrating, and exercising. When you focus on one area, you feel better. But to get healthy, you have to work on all the areas. Here’s a cool thing about strengthening intimacy in your marriage: When you strengthen one area, others are boosted as well.

So, if we want to keep intimacy strong in our marriage, we must do some work. Marriage isn’t easy. But having a happy, healthy, thriving marriage is possible for any couple who commits to the work. And it’s so worth the effort.

Let’s look at each type of intimacy and some workouts to strengthen them.

Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is understanding what’s happening inside your spouse (and feeling like they know you the same way). Emotional intimacy is demonstrated through communication and requires vulnerability. You have to listen and share. This is often the toughest intimacy to build, but it’s the glue that holds them all together. These conversations usually involve tough topics like feelings in response to someone’s actions, perception of yourself, or a difficult childhood. They may also include your hopes, dreams, and desires.

Take The First Step:

When you and your spouse see each other next, ask them, ‘What is one thing you wish went differently today? Why?'”Listen and validate their feelings. This creates a vulnerable and safe environment. 

Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is about getting to know how your spouse’s mind works and letting them understand you better. Don’t get scared! And no, this doesn’t mean you can learn to read their mind. We all have a worldview shaped by our values, beliefs, and experiences. You and your spouse grew up in different families, work different jobs, and may have grown up in different cultures. 

Take The First Step:

Ask your spouse, “What’s one thing or topic you’ve always wanted to do/learn? Let’s find a time to put it on the calendar and learn it together!” Sometimes, intellectual intimacy can lead to talking about things you disagree on. If you disagree with your spouse, ask questions about why they believe what they believe and make sure you’re asking those questions to learn more about them, not change their mind.

Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy is the experiences and quality time you spend together. It’s bonding over shared interests. You don’t have to do everything together, but experiences together are often how relationships begin and grow. 

Take The First Step:

Ask your spouse, “When is the last time we did something new together? Let’s decide on one new thing to try this month!” Setting regular time in your schedule to experience new things together can help strengthen your experiential intimacy. 

Spiritual Intimacy

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, faith and religion are essential. For others, meditation or nature may feed their spirits. Spirituality involves your belief and values.

Take The First Step:

If faith is an integral part of your life, worshipping and praying together is an ideal way to grow your spiritual intimacy. Ask your spouse, “What’s one thing you do to help you feel grounded? Can we try it together, or do you prefer to do it alone?” One of my favorite ways to increase spiritual intimacy is by getting into nature. Take a walk in nature with your spouse, hand in hand and device free. 

Sexual Intimacy

This one seems straightforward, but there is so much more than sex. It’s the physical connection between you and your spouse. It’s all the touching, kissing, and hugging.

Sexual intimacy may be hard for some people because of past trauma or abuse. Be attentive to your spouse. If there is past trauma, offer to walk alongside them as they seek help to address it. 

Take The First Step:

I could say have more sex, but it takes a lot more. Ask your spouse, “How many times a week would you say is ideal for us to have sex?” Scheduling sex doesn’t have to mean it’ll be boring! Sometimes the anticipation can add to the excitement.

But don’t just focus on the sex. Be intentional about physically connecting with your spouse in ways that make them feel safe. Maybe that’s cuddling, holding hands, or a massage.

Choosing to strengthen the intimacy in your marriage is a beautiful journey. It takes trust, acceptance, vulnerability, compassion, communication, and time. Enjoy the journey!

Mitchell is the VP of Operations at First Things First. Contact him at [email protected].

Sources:

Weinberger, M.I., et al. (2008). Intimacy in young adulthood as a predictor of divorce in midlife. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00215.x

Sinclair, & Dowdy, S. W. (2005). Development and Validation of the Emotional Intimacy Scale. https://doi.org/10.1891/jnum.13.3.193

Kardan-Souraki, M., et al. (2016). A Review of Marital Intimacy-Enhancing Interventions among Married Individuals. https://doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v8n8p74

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

READY TO HAVE AMAZING, MIND-BLOWING SEX?

A better sex life is totally possible.

Your marriage goes through ups and downs, highs and lows, crazy passion and mundane routine-filled days. But sometimes you can get stuck in that monotony. Not only does your sex life go out the window, you may find conversations are lacking and that you’re both just generally not connecting with each other.

Discover Deeper Intimacy in Your Marriage offers simple, practical strategies to help you reignite the passion and connection with your spouse in 5 intimacy-building modules.

How to Keep Romance Strong in Marriage: Part 2

Get closer in all five areas of intimacy.

Intimacy can be a scary word for some people, but it is an essential part of keeping romance strong in your marriage. We often think of intimacy as sex, but it’s so much more than that. It’s how we connect at the deepest levels. Connecting in one of the five types of intimacy (emotional, intellectual, experiential, spiritual and sexual) deepens the others. That’s totally a win for your relationship.

Ready to dive a little deeper into each type of intimacy and learn ways to pursue it? Let’s go!

1. Emotional intimacy happens through trust and vulnerability. 

It’s about revealing yourself fully to your spouse. 

How can you build emotional intimacy? For starters, be vulnerable with one another. Sharing your dreams, faults, fears, and hopes increases emotional intimacy. Each day, commit to really talking about your day and more. Ditching the technology and making eye contact can help you focus. It can help you grow emotionally closer, too.

2. Intellectual intimacy creates a space to share thoughts without fear of judgment. 

Remember, you’re two people with different backgrounds and views. You may not always agree on everything. And that’s ok. 

How can you build intellectual intimacy? Practice having conversations around challenging topics. This isn’t about changing each other’s minds; it’s about better understanding one another. Ask lots of questions to make sure you understand. Genuinely listen to what your partner says. 

3. Experiential intimacy is what you get when sharing experiences. 

Trips, adventures, hobbies – all those things you do together that bring you closer.

How can you build experiential intimacy? Do something together you both enjoy or try something new. Take a crafting class, go for a hike, kayaking, or a bike ride. Make a list of things one or both of you would like to do. Doing fun stuff together makes you want to do more, strengthening your bond.

4. Spiritual intimacy isn’t just about religion. 

It’s about sharing values and beliefs. More than likely, you and your spouse share some core values. That may be part of what brought you together.

How can you build spiritual intimacy? Start by writing down your family values and beliefs. Look for ways to implement those. 

5. Sexual intimacy seems pretty obvious. But getting to a place of sexual intimacy isn’t always easy.

If you aren’t connecting intimately in the other ways, this one can be pretty tricky (or non-existent). Physical and emotional changes, stress, and kids can impact this intimacy. This intimacy can also be difficult if there’s past trauma. 

How can you build sexual intimacy? Have a conversation about your sexual needs and desires. Be open and talk about it. And schedule sex. Your calendar is full of appointments and activities, so why not add sex? When you prioritize it, you’re more likely to make it happen. Anticipating it can make it more enjoyable for you both, too. [How’s Your Sex Life Quiz]

Connecting with your spouse intimately in each of these ways can fuel the romance in your marriage. 

Turn toward each other and talk honestly about how your relationship is going in each of these five areas. Learn each other’s intimacy needs. If you feel that one area needs work, focus on growing that intimacy together. 

Keeping romance strong in your marriage takes intentionality and commitment from both of you to make it happen. Taking small steps toward each other every day can keep you from getting overwhelmed. And seeing your romance blossom can motivate you to stay the course.

Other blogs:

6 Exercises to Strengthen Emotional Intimacy in Your Marriage

What is Romance in Marriage?

5 Things To Do When You Feel Disconnected From Your Spouse

Course: Discover Deeper Intimacy – INTRO – First Things First

How to Keep Romance Strong in Marriage: Part 1

Knowing each other more deeply is within your reach!

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the romance doesn’t have to end. For some, the weeks leading up to and away from the “love holiday” are filled with romantic gestures. Others may have lost that loving feeling. Maybe the romance has faded in your marriage. Life gets hectic, and we lose focus. Work demands increase. Kids bring on a whole new level of exhaustion. Our relationship becomes routine.

Routines don’t have to ruin your romance, though. You can always rekindle that fire, and with a bit of intentionality, you and your spouse can keep the romance strong.

Here are a few ways to get started:

1. Keep dating your spouse.

Remember what it was like when you were dating, before you got married? The long walks holding hands? The intimate conversations while getting to know each other? Prioritizing your budding relationship? Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that all has to stop. Your relationship probably needs those dates now more than ever. Put those date nights on the calendar and prioritize them. Hold hands often. Treat the person you married the same as you treated them when you were falling in love. [This date night can help!]

2. Study your spouse.

We are constantly growing as individuals. Our opinions and views evolve. There’s always something to learn about your spouse. If you don’t know their love language, that’s a great place to start. Your love language is the way that you receive love. Dr. Gary Chapman says there are five love languages: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. We all have a love language (or two) that we prefer. Get to know your spouse, but don’t stop there. Keep learning and pursuing them. Curiosity is a beautiful thing in a relationship.

3. Surprise and delight your spouse.

Leave notes in their lunch, car, or on the bathroom mirror. Text them throughout the day just to say I love you. Surprise them with their favorite drink. Use the knowledge you gained from studying them to speak their love language. Maybe that means taking on some of their household chores or responsibilities so they can relax and recharge. Looking for ways to surprise your spouse shows them they are on your mind, and their feelings are a priority.

4. Commit to pursuing intimacy in all its forms.

It’s common to equate intimacy with sex, but it’s so much more than that. Intimacy is our innermost thoughts and feelings. It allows us to bond with each other on several levels. While many healthy relationships involve intimacy, marriage should be the most intimate. Your spouse should know you more deeply than anyone else.

There are five types of intimacy: emotional, intellectual, experiential, spiritual and sexual. Focusing on each one increases the others. Continual conversation is a necessity to grow your intimacy as well.

Start the conversation with your spouse about these ways to keep romance strong in your marriage. 

If you’re ready to dive into each type of intimacy and find out how to build it in your relationship, let’s take a deeper look and talk about practical ways to grow your intimacy in How to Keep Romance Strong in Marriage: Part 2.

Other blogs:

4 Signs Your Marriage Is Healthy – First Things First

7 Questions Every Couple Needs to Ask Each Other to Improve Their Sex Life – First Things First

What Is Emotional Intimacy in Marriage? (And Why Does It Matter?) – First Things First

5 Ways to Make this Valentine’s Special

Start with these ideas and take it from there!

Valentine’s Day is special. It’s a day of love – a day to shower our significant other with flowers, gifts, and romance. The expectations can be overwhelming. But the day doesn’t have to be. 

It’s a day for the two of you, so make it memorable in your own way. It may mean a night out on the town or an intimate night in.

Focusing on what makes your spouse feel loved is what makes it memorable.

Here are 5 ways to make this Valentine’s special:

1. Tell your spouse 10 ways they’re a great partner.

It’s easy to take for granted all the ways your spouse is remarkable. Life’s busy, and we forget to express our gratitude to each other. Take this Valentine’s to tell them just how great they are, but it doesn’t have to be confined to a card. Get creative in the delivery. Here are a few ideas for how to express your feelings.

  • Leave Post-it notes around the house. Hide them in places like their underwear drawer, work bag, or shoes. After the first few notes, it gets exciting to figure out where the rest are.
  • Give them a note a day for 10 days. If they take their lunch to work, that’s a great place to hide them. Or on the bathroom mirror if you wake up before they do.
  • Employ the kids as messengers. Let them get creative.

2. Ditch the fancy dinner for a food tour.

Mix it up for dinner this year. Instead of making a reservation for dinner, select a part of town with several restaurants and make it a food tour. Have appetizers and drinks at one location, pick a different spot for the main course, then head for dessert and coffee. If the restaurants are close together, you can go for a nice walk as well.

This creates the perfect opportunity to explore what each of you likes. You can alternate picking locations. As you transition from one location to another, talk about what you like about that particular place or food. Smells and tastes have the power to transport us to a time and place in our past. Explore those sensations together.

3. Take a scenic drive.

Make a playlist and hit the road. There’s nothing more I love than driving through the countryside and talking. One rule, though: Ditch the phones! (Okay, let me specify. You may need GPS or music but no social media, texting, or phone calls.)Take in all the scenery and have some deep conversations. My wife and I have the deepest conversations when we’re out driving.

4. Tour your local area.

Have you explored all of your city? Are there places you want to visit but never have? Think of this as a scavenger hunt without the clues. Choose a couple of sites each, then surprise each other with the locations. 

Here’s a couple of ideas to make this special:

  • Choose places significant to your relationship, like your first date, where you met, or your first kiss. You can revisit those memories and talk about how you’ve grown.
  • Choose an area you’ve never visited, but you’d like to. Go for a walk and discover the food, stores, and parks in the area. Talk about what you find. You may just find your new favorite place!

5. Make intimacy a priority.

Before you think, “Of course, he said make sex a priority,” read that again. The Oxford dictionary defines intimacy as “the inmost thoughts or feelings; proceeding from, concerning, or affecting one’s inmost self: closely personal.” 

Intimacy comes in different forms, too. Yes, there’s sexual intimacy, but that’s only one form. There’s also emotional, intellectual, physical, experiential, and spiritual intimacy.

We all need intimacy. And your needs may be different from your spouse’s. That’s okay! Part of marriage is learning about and discovering each other. So make it a priority to get more intimate with your spouse. [Boost your intimacy with this Heart to Heart text series!]

Make this Valentine’s even more special by committing to celebrate your love throughout the year. Be intentional about studying your spouse and growing closer together every day.

Other blogs:

What is “Romance” in Marriage? – First Things First

Why Date Night Matters – First Things First

3 Ways Good Communication Can Enhance Sex In Marriage

DIY Date Night | Appreciation Station – First Things First

What is Intimacy Anorexia and How to Handle it in Marriage

If intimacy is lacking, you'll want to find out why.

A healthy marriage is built upon connection and intimacy, but intimacy and sex are not the same. Connection in five types of intimacy (emotional, intellectual, experiential, spiritual and sexual) leads to a healthier, happier, more fulfilling marriage. But when one type is missing, it can have a serious negative impact on your relationship. After all, a big part of being married is sharing thoughts, emotions, and physical affection, right? So what happens when one spouse withholds some of those connections?

Every now and again, a new term, condition, or theory creates a buzz in relational and mental health communities. It trickles into social feeds, inboxes, and even everyday language. “Intimacy anorexia” is one of those terms right now. It’s been searched for on Google 345,000 times since January 2021. 

Psychologist Dr. Doug Weiss coined the term. He says intimacy anorexia (IA) is the “active withholding of emotional, spiritual, and/or sexual intimacy from a spouse or significant other” without regard to how it affects the other spouse. 

Before we dive into the characteristics defined by Weiss, let’s address his use of the term “anorexia.” 

First, anorexia can be a deadly eating disorder. Withholding intimacy can be a serious thing. Next, Weiss suggests that those withholding intimacy choose to do so. Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting that anyone chooses an eating disorder or mental health condition. Please understand that I don’t take the term anorexia lightly. 

Now, let’s look deeper into intimacy anorexia.

So what exactly does intimacy anorexia mean? And what do you need to know about it?

Weiss calls it a hidden addiction. Weiss has identified four characteristics to help someone figure out if a lack of intimacy is caused by IA.

1. Busyness.

We’re all busy, especially parents. The difference is that anorexics intentionally stay busy to avoid intimacy. They may fill their time with the kids’ activities, housework, home projects, hobbies, or work. While these are good things, an intimacy anorexic will intentionally exclude their spouse from participating. They’ll do so much that they’re exhausted.

2. Withholding Love.

We all have a way that we like to be loved: our love language. Anorexics withhold that love language from their spouse. For example, a spouse may desire to spend quality time together, hold hands often, or hear affirming words. So what will an anorexic spouse do in that case? They will intentionally withhold affection in those ways.

Withholding Praise.

In a healthy marriage, couples celebrate each other’s successes and accomplishments. They praise their spouse in private and in front of others. An anorexic spouse will withhold this praise. They either won’t see the good in their spouse, or they see it and choose not to acknowledge it.

Withholding Sex.

Sexual intimacy is an integral part of a healthy marriage. Withholding sex is the most apparent characteristic of IA. According to Weiss, withholding sex is “avoiding sex, sabotaging sexual encounters, or not connecting emotionally during sex.” If you question whether your spouse is intimately anorexic, think about the last time you had sex. What was the experience like?

These are just four IA characteristics Weiss has identified. Others include blame, not sharing feelings, withholding spiritually, criticizing, anger or silence, money, and treating their spouse as a roommate.

So, what do you do if you think you or your spouse is suffering from intimacy anorexia? 

It hurts when your relationship isn’t all you want it to be. I would highly suggest finding an experienced marriage counselor to help you address intimacy issues. Note: Not all therapists recognize IA as a condition, and this is not a diagnosis. You or your spouse may not be suffering from this. Other problems may be causing decreased intimacy, such as abuse, toxic behavior, health issues, or past trauma.

All of the characteristics that Weiss lists are damaging to a healthy marriage, but this doesn’t mean they are symptomatic of this condition. 

Achieving a healthy, intimate relationship isn’t always easy. Just ask anyone who’s married, and they’ll tell you. It requires partners to be intentional and vulnerable. If your relationship is lacking the intimacy you crave, intimacy anorexia seems like a valid explanation. Keep in mind, though: it isn’t a formally recognized condition. The best place for you to start may be counseling. I want you to have the happiest, healthiest marriage possible, and I’m sure you do, too. It’s ok to ask for the help you need in your marriage.

Other helpful blogs:

Feeling Lonely in Your Marriage? Here’s What to Do.

I’m Trying to Save My Marriage, but My Spouse Isn’t

How to Deal with Manipulation in Your Marriage

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5 Tips To Keep Sex Healthy In Your Marriage

Build intimacy, connect and do life well together.

How’d you get stuck in a sex rut? It’s just life. It’s normal and to be expected. More importantly, how do you get out? You know, fun, passionate, surprising, and playful sex!

Here are some tips to keep sex healthy, hot, and happenin’ in your marriage.

1. Talk About Sex. 

This is the gateway right here. Many people just aren’t comfortable talking about sex with their spouse. Create an environment where it’s safe for both of you to be honest and vulnerable about your sexual thoughts and feelings. Easier said than done? Probably. 

Here You Go:

Option 1. Make a game out of it. Sexual Truth Or Dare

Option 2. The internet. Is full of questions. To help couples. Get talking. About sex.

Pro-Tip: Keep it positive. No complaining. No judgments. Take turns listening.

2. But What About The Kids?

Isn’t it ironic that you (typically) have kids by having sex, but by having kids, it’s harder to have sex? Again, totally normal, but Kids-In-The-House-Sex: Quick. Muffled. Vanilla. It’s like Splenda. Sure, it’s sweet, but it’s not that pure raw sugar.

The Workaround:

Option 1. Hotel Sex. It doesn’t have to be a vacation or your anniversary. It can be because it’s Thursday and you have a babysitter. You don’t even have to go out of town or somewhere nice. Make it part of the family budget. Best money you’ll spend. Repeat a couple of times a year.

Option 2. Stay-At-Home Synchronized Sick Days. Or take vacation days. Go through your typical morning routines and dress for work. Take the kids to school or daycare like a typical weekday. Nothing going on here. Then meet back at the house. Take your time. It’s not all about sex. Talk through some “get to know you” questions. Go for a walk, then shower together. Have a great day of which sex is just a part.

Pro-Tip: Tell your spouse to take such and such day off. (Don’t tell them why. Plan a fun day.)

3. Don’t Have Sex. Yet.

Anticipation is a powerful stimulant. 

Wait For It:

Option 1. Agree to have sex in 24 hours. Spend that time flirting. Leaving love letters. Texting what you’re looking forward to doing. Engaging in some non-sexual touch. Teasing. Then, finally, pleasing.

Option 2. Same as above, but 72 hours. (Yup.) Crank up that sexual tension. Enjoy it. Don’t neglect the biggest human sexual organ — the mind. Have some great conversations. Do some fun things together. Strengthen your bond. Talk about your relationship.

Pro-Tip: Put your energy into connecting with your spouse in non-sexual ways. Pressure, or wondering if sex is on the table, is off the table. (But you know it’s coming.) Get emotionally intimate in the meantime. When you do connect sexually, it will be more profound.

4. Roll Play.

Equipment Needed: Two dice. You. Your spouse.

The Roll Rules:

Option 1. First dice: (1.) Caress. (2.) Kiss. (3.) Tickle. (4.) Lick. (5.) Nibble. (6.) Roller’s Choice. Second dice: (1.) Neck. (2.) Hands. (3.) Mouth. (4.) Chest. (5.) Tummy. (6.) ???

Roll the dice, feel something nice. Time limit per roll? Hey, this is your game.

Option 2. (I think you can see how this game lends itself to modification.) 

Pro-Tip: Roller with the highest score after 4 rounds gets to “make a request.”

5. Play Doctor.

Sorry, not THAT playing doctor. Have weekly or monthly “check-ups” or “check-ins.” Coming full circle, talking about it is the best way to improve sex and keep it healthy in your marriage. Connecting on levels beyond the physical enhances sex. Connected couples who talk about sex have more satisfying sex lives. Talk honestly about your sexual health. Discuss sexual frequency. Talk about what’s working and what might need to be modified. 

Don’t turn to the internet with questions like, “How much sex should couples have?” Turn to your spouse. Sex is best when you don’t just focus on “doing it,” but doing life well together. 

Other helpful blogs:

How Often Should We Have Sex?

7 Questions Every Couple Needs to Ask Each Other to Improve Their Sex Life

3 Ways Good Communication Can Enhance Sex In Marriage

4 Reasons Why Sex Matters In Marriage

Ready to raise the temp in your relationship with some hot summer date nights? These 10 dates to heat up your marriage during this summer of love can really turn up the thermostat in your relationship. (And you won’t even want to cool off.

1. Be a Kid Again 

When I think of the summers of my childhood, I remember endless games of tag and hide and seek. Now we have adult responsibilities that prevent us from being footloose and fancy-free. How can you bring some of that joy back? Be a kid again. Activities can include mini-golf, bowling, roller skating, visiting an amusement park, or an arcade. 

2. Group Date Nights 

Remember when you used to hang out with your friends? It may have been at the mall, a park, or the local eatery. There was nothing better than spending time with your friends, talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Get a group of your favorite married couples together. Go on a walking tour of your town, go ax throwing, or even participate in an escape room together. 

3. Retro Date night

You know the saying, “What’s old is new again.” Think about the clothes, music, or hairstyles from the past. Find a thrift shop that has clothes from the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s. Select an outfit for each of you. Host your own Retro Date Night with friends, or you all can dress up and have a date like they would have had in the past. For example, 50s Date: Go to a drive-in movie and then hit a hamburger spot or ice cream shop where you can share a milkshake together.

4. Future Date Dight 

Think about what your life might look like in 30 years. Would you be retired? Would you own that boat or lake house you’ve dreamed about? Would you have grandchildren? Would you have an RV? Try renting an RV and go camping near your home. Or go ahead and rent a lake house for the weekend.

5. Enjoy Your Town

You may have lived in your town for years but have never experienced it like a tourist. It may be fun to go on a walking tour. Enjoy the sights and sounds of a local farmer’s market.  

6. FTF Summer of Love

Summer of Love is a FREE experience for couples. Just sign up and get an email each week from FTF. In that email, you’ll find 6 days of LOVE for you and your spouse to enjoy through games, conversation starters, Virtual and DIY Date nights, challenges, and activities. All of this combined will help you learn skills, create new habits and make your marriage HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

7. Music of Your Life

Do you and your honey have a song? This summer may be a great time to take in an outdoor concert. One of my favorite local concerts is when our local symphony plays on the 4th of July. Classical may not be your favorite. However, see if your town has any music festivals or local artists playing your favorite genres. “Sometimes music is the only medicine the heart and soul need.”

8. Expand Your Mind 

Maybe the thought of heat or crowds of people doesn’t seem like fun to you. Instead, you may enjoy quieter moments together where you stimulate your brain, which is the largest sex organ in the body. Seek out art or history museums. If your town has public art, find it. Go see a play performed by a theater group. Find and watch a lecture by your favorite poet or writer.

9. On the Road Again 

Take a short drive, a weekend trip to the beach, or even a planned 2-week road trip that allows you to see and experience something other than the ordinary. While together, be conscious of talking to each other, not spending so much time on your phone or device. If you feel like you run out of things to talk about, here are a few conversation starters. 

10. Let’s Get Physical

Being physical with your spouse creates a deeper level of intimacy and greater bonding to each other. Participate in a virtual race and train together. Or, take any outdoor exercise class like walking, yoga, kayaking, etc. (If you run out of ideas, you can always do a bedroom date!)

Let this be your summer of love!!

Other helpful blogs: 

3 Great Dates To Enhance Communication In Your Marriage

5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Fit

6 Exercises to Strengthen Emotional Intimacy in Your Marriage

7 Questions Every Couple Needs to Ask Each Other to Improve Their Sex Life

How to Have More Sex in Marriage

Keeping these things in mind can help it to happen.

I know it ain’t easy to keep things rolling in the bedroom. 

Life happens. Marriage goes through seasons of busyness and stress. Not to mention—one of you may be “in the mood” or tired more often than the other. And finding time to have more sex may not be at the top of your list.

But healthy sexual intimacy in marriage is a good thing. It can enhance and stimulate other parts of your marriage, like emotional intimacy, too. And vice versa. (Related: 4 Reasons Why Sex Matters in Marriage

But if there’s conflict, well… chances are, sparks aren’t flying in the B-E-D. 

So then… how do you go about having more sex? Here are some thoughts:

1. Don’t make more sex the goal.

Wait, what?! Isn’t the title of this article How to Have More Sex? Yes, but here’s the deal. 

Quantity and quality are not the same. And sexual intimacy doesn’t equal emotional intimacy, either.

Emotional intimacy involves understanding each other. Learning and growing together. Caring for and knowing each other well. When each spouse feels valued and understood, that closeness translates into a more satisfying sex life for you both. (Try these 6 exercises to strengthen emotional intimacy.)

Quality sex is where emotional and sexual intimacy meet. It means realizing what goes on in the day to day affects how much you enjoy your sexual experiences. Don’t underestimate the impact that considering your spouse’s needs in AND out of the bedroom can have on your sexual fulfillment. 

So what is your goal? It’s being aware and working toward that emotional connectedness, which naturally leads to  (you guessed it!) some pretty awesome sex. Who doesn’t want more of that?

(Up your Emotional Intimacy IQ here: What Is Emotional Intimacy in Marriage and Why Does It Matter?

2. Don’t let your kids get in the way. 

We’ve all been there: the heat is rising in the bedroom when KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK… “Mommy? Daddy? I can’t sleep. I’m thirsty.

And just like that, the mood is shot.

No doubt, kids can unintentionally hinder sexual intimacy. Over the years, my wife and 

I have established a lockdown procedure. 

Lock door. ✅

Minimize the noise level. ✅. (There’s a closet door close that rattles if it’s not cracked. TMI? Well, now you know…) 

If my wife thinks our activity could draw our kids’ attention, the deal’s off the table. Can you relate? 

So, set up some lockdown rules. 

  • Install locks. 
  • Teach your kids that the bedroom is your room, and knocking is required. 
  • Establish “closing time” for both your bedroom and you; if it’s after closing time, don’t drop by. (Double Bonus: Kids learn respect and boundaries.) 

If they’re old enough, you might bribe your kids to leave the house sometimes. Here’s a dollar; if you go play in the yard and don’t come in for half an hour, I’ll give you another. 

Or, if you’re like a friend of mine, throw 99 pennies in the backyard and tell the kids they can’t come in the house until they find all 100 of them. ; )



3. Talk about sex (more). 

Studies tell us that couples who talk about sex have more satisfying sex lives. 

  • What turns each of you on or off? I mean, what if you’re doing something you think your spouse LOVES, but they don’t (or the other way around)? 
  • That thing they did that drove you crazy? Tell them.
  • Discuss your favorite positions or things you’d like to do that you’ve never done.
  • Send a sexy text, write a racy Post-it note or leave a steamy voicemail to build anticipation for your next rendezvous. 

These ideas can be beneficial if one of you is more like a crockpot that needs to simmer and get ready for sexy time. If one of you is more like the Instant Pot, building up the pressure beforehand will make the release that much sweeter when it’s time to get down to business.  

4. Schedule it.

Seriously, get a room. Or find a sitter. Have some “alone” time that works for both of you. 

  • Getting the kids to bed is a great incentive if you know prime time comes afterward. 
  • Are your kids late sleepers? Just might be worth it to be the early bird.
  • Kids in school? You won’t have to worry about interruptions or those lockdown procedures if you take a long lunch here and there… just sayin’. 

5. Get busy with dates.

Couples who have regular date nights report greater happiness. It’s true! 

  • Use what you learned from your sex talks to creatively plan something new and exciting for each other. Finding ways to please each other outside of the bedroom can help you score inside the bedroom. 
  • Invest in conversation and activities that help you connect more deeply.  
  • Plan it or be spontaneous! Dating your spouse doesn’t have to be expensive, but NOT dating your spouse can cost you some of the closeness you crave. (These date nights can make it easier!)  

Doing these things will not only improve the quality of sex you have—it also sets you up for more frequent romps. You’ll be well on your way to more (and better) sex.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t you have some lockdown procedures to take care of?

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