This blog entry is the fourth follow up to our challenge to develop top 10 Reasons to Stay Married.
DR. MARGARET JAMAL WRITES…
My husband and I discussed this a bit before agreeing to make this topic the next entry in our follow-up blog series regarding the top 10 Reasons to Stay Married. Sex was among my husband’s top 10 Reasons to Stay Married, and I thoroughly agree.
This may be one of those articles that our children would rather not read, but we both agree that it is a topic worth our time and effort. Both of our backgrounds include (perhaps too many) opportunities to make a reasonable comparison about sexual relations with and without the marital bond.
- FROM HAVING SEX TO MAKING LOVE
There is little that my husband and I have not experienced in relationships, which allows us to speak from experiential perspectives. I realize that there is really no way to prove to others that sex is better in a good marriage than with being single. And I also realize that it is still up to the couple to maximize their marital relationship. However, I have found that as love grows deeper in marriage, everything needed for great sexual relations is also developed.
We understand and appreciate the gift of sexual gratification that results from our love for each other. After so many years of experiencing his selfless contributions towards pleasing me, I have absolutely no desire to explore any sexual relationship with anyone other than my husband. I certainly hope that my husband feels the same way about me. However it took time to arrive at this realization. The type of sexual bliss that we now have took time to develop. My youthful lust was gradually replaced by deep love, passionate engagement and sincere enjoyment that continues to grow for my husband.
- SINGLE SEX VS. MARRIED SEX
There are those who might argue that sex outside of marriage is just as good. I have no inclination to argue with someone who wants to think that way. I simply know from my own experience that there is no way that I would welcome a return to that lifestyle. One of the greatest reasons is that without the security of a marital relationship, sex tends to remain open to possibilities outside of the couple. I believe that this openness causes distractions that prevent the opportunity to experience the holistic bond that occurs through long term monogamy. This holistic bond is what has significantly enhanced our sexual relationship. And our enhanced sexual relationship has other benefits as well. It helps relieve stress and really aids our weight management and health regimen.
Although many unmarried people are able to be dedicated to one partner at a time, other people will tend to view them as available. Until there is a declaration of commitment through marriage, unmarried people are considered fair game. They may even be hounded by those looking to “get lucky.”
I also have found that for many single people, sex may even be a source of stress and fear. Single people are often more concerned with performance and competition (stress)as well as what disease their partners might have (fear) than married people.
- TIME WASTING SEX
Sex outside of my marriage would be a waste of valuable time and effort. I already know that my husband excites and stimulates me. There is no need nor desire for pretense or performance. I never feel guilty, cheated or bored with regards to having sex with my husband. I also know that even if something is not quite right, we can talk about it and try again. I believe that the state of deeply enjoyable and gratifying sexuality is most achievable in a relationship that is free of outside interference and distractions that occur when outside relationships are involved.
I am not impressed nor appreciative when people express that they consider me to be “sexy.” Being sexy simply means that someone thinks that you would make an enjoyable sex partner. I believe that anyone at any given time could wear that label. However, I am impressed that one man wants to have a thriving sexual relationship with me after so many years of marriage. I am very impressed that he cares enough about me to discuss and explore what makes us both happy.
- A HIGH YIELD INVESTMENT
While growing in our marriage, we are also learning how to navigate the timing. I am still learning how to manage my time in a way that keeps me from being too tired when my husband is especially desiring intimacy with me. Likewise, I know that I have an open invitation to engage my husband’s full participation in satisfying my sexual desires. I am grateful that my husband spends the time to learn about my needs and desires as well. We have both invested the time to learn about each other’s sexuality. We trust and care about each other enough to inquire about what is good and what is not good.
I find that investing deep love and commitment into our marriage continues to produce highly gratifying physical rewards. However, I must add that there is also the element of spiritual investment that further contributes to our enjoyment. For example, I pray for my husband to find pleasure with me in every way. I also pray that we grow in our love and that we only desire each other. Then I am mindful to give thanks to God for blessing us with the ability to enjoy each other with such totality.
- IN CONCLUSION
I believe that truly great sex begins with a great marriage. This is why I agree with my husband that sex should be listed among the top 10 reasons to stay married.
DR. AARON JAMAL WRITES…
God’s Perfect Design for Intimacy
- Passion, Rhythm and Grace
The lights dim and a sultry acoustic guitar begins to strum a simple but compelling latin rhythm of Jose Feliciano’s rendition of Light My Fire. A single spot light fades in and directs the audience’s eyes toward the center of the room. An attractive couple embraces each other with the man positioned behind the woman and arms wrapped around her. They begin moving in perfect rhythm, synchronized to this slow latin rhumba. Their eyes gaze in to each other, however, no words are spoken. They anticipate each others moves and engage into a sensual dance celebrating their passion of their relationship.
The man is graceful and yet masculine as his guiding hands lead his elegant and sensual partner through a series of twists, and turns that culminates in a very close embrace. Their breathing seems exaggerated and intentionally synched with the beat of the song. The woman flirtatiously pulls away from him only to be pulled back in with a firm and controlling grip. She surrenders because there is no competition here during this moment.
Both appear determined to please one another producing a synergy of passion, rhythm and hot breathing in an intimate and familiar zone that provides a refreshing and entertaining rhumba dance. The audience applauds with each turn and gasp in awe like voyeurs peeping into a private encounter of passion. The song ends with the couple facing each other wrapped tightly in each other’s arms. They thank each other and then bow toward the audience in appreciation of the applause of the audience.
It would be wonderful if this type of synchronization and synergy characterized the sexual encounters of every married couples. However, many married couples would state a different story regarding their own intimate encounters. On the other hand, the statistics state that there are more married couples that enjoy this intimacy with more frequency than their single counter parts.
Studies show that 40-50% of married people claim their sex lives are satisfying compared to 20-25% of the single and cohabiting counterparts. (Maggie Gallagher and researcher/co-author Linda J. Waite of The Case for Marriage (2001)) Of course there are those that would challenge the accuracy of the study. However, the crowded bars, clubs and frequent prowling of people seeking companionship suggest that finding a partner is not an easy chore. Additionally, the familiarity, trust and selflessness that is rooted within the structure of marriage frames a far more favorable setting for enjoyable intimacy.
- Risky Business
Dating encounters that are often filled with clumsy pick up lines, and awkward conversations that are intended to lure the targets into a sexual relationship are rarely presented accurately in today’s TV sitcoms and movies. There are no second takes for the guy that approaches the woman that he has been lusting for the past half an hour only to forget his name while introducing him self before he begins to tell a story about something that has no barring on who he is or what she likes. Despite the level of mystery and intrigue of dating, I think there is little chance of this encounter reaching the levels of intimacy and satisfaction I have grown accustomed to within my marriage.
I agree there are a number of distractions and pressures that tend to plague and even hijack the spontaneous lust filled encounters that steamy movies and TV shows tend to profile. Even in a solid marriage, it is not easy for a man that has just experienced a humiliating and hard day at work, or a woman that fought her way through traffic to get home from her job early enough to make a dinner and pick up the kids to turn on the flirtatious and sensual non-verbal communicators that inspire an atmosphere for intimacy.
On the other hand, the seasoned couple that finds a way to develop the rhythm and synchronization needed to anticipate the moves and moods of their partner are far more likely to experience more frequent and satisfying sexual encounters. This seasoned couple has progressed beyond the awkward stages of clumsy experimentations. They have discovered a set of tried and true satisfying practices they can rely upon. They still experiment and are open for spontaneity, however, they can also do those things that continue to deliver satisfaction without worry of growing bored. I find it hard to fathom ever growing tired of the frequency and heights of satisfaction I share with my wife. The prelude is not often the same but the resolve always leaves us spent and satisfied. That’s not an experience I could count on during dating episodes before I married my wife.
- Passion Sanctioned by God
Personally, I believe this type of intimacy is protected and designed by God Almighty for the heart’s desire of married couples. I can’t imagine anything I have ever done proving worthy enough to justify the level of intimacy and enjoyment I experience with my beautiful wife. We have what we have through His grace and mercy. Hallelujah!
In the Bible, we read; ” Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled”. I interpret that verse of Scripture to mean that my union with my wife is righteous in the site of God and that whatever we decide to do in bed is permitted. We are allowed to be creative, spontaneous, to moan as a quiet storm or scream as a loud volcano and God is alright with that. I will refrain from any other illustrations in order to keep this fit for family reading. However, the point I am making is I believe that what we do in the privacy of our bedroom is without regret, guilt or blame. That is one of the many reasons that I can look forward to the morning after our making love rather than my single, or cohabiting counterparts.
I heard it said that chocolate tastes better if you had to steal it, however, when it comes to my wife, I believe our intimacy is better because she is mine. I would never trade my plentiful gift from heaven for a risky night of being a thief. We hold nothing back during our intimacy and the reward is consistently satisfying.
The Biblical model for marriage makes a provision for frequency as a safe guard:
1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
This provision is not a license for either partner to abuse the other. It is the framework of trusting one’s own body into the hands and motives of your partner. It frames an offering toward the prolonged satisfaction of your partner. The authority over your partner’s body should be rooted in love and not lust. Love is sacrificial. Lust is self seeking.
For those that continue to insist that they enjoy a greater level of frequency and satisfaction because they are single or cohabiting, I am willing to consider that you may not know what you don’t know. Additionally, I believe there is no chance at all of my ever becoming a candidate to join your ranks.
- Hazardous Hunting Grounds
On the other hand I have counseled a number of single and cohabiting adults that I have deep compassion for. The volume of social networks, dating sites, and singles clubs tell me that there are extremely large numbers of people that are hoping to “get lucky.” Their hunting grounds are dangerous, full of predators, STDs, and unknown challenges that are often deceitful, disappointing and under-deliver on their promises to satisfy.
Unfortunately, failed marriages may make the loudest noise regarding their dissatisfaction. However, my experience (and those of the couples that I know are happy), tend to avoid boasts about how great and or how frequent the levels of our intimacy meet or exceed satisfaction. It’s not a secret, but the intimate details should remain between us. We should never become arrogant or prideful.
- Sharing Your Burning Passions for Each Other
In closing, I want to revisit the example of the dance partners I used in the beginning of this blog. The very graceful and exciting couples that win in dance competitions require training, practice, and a healthy level of boldness. Likewise, married couples must develop those things that work best for them. That level of communication requires trust, honesty, patience, sensitivity, confidence, a sincere desire to satisfy your spouse and a very active prayer life to protect your thought life and motives. If those lines of communication are active and proficient it is probable that this couple has learned and even established a consistent ritual of satisfying intimacy.
My wife and I often pray to only have desire for each other. I ask that God will help me to hold captive every thought obedient to Christ. If my mind, my heart and my spirit are all in line with God’s perfect design for intimacy, the results are always extraordinary. We always thank God for our marriage and the gift of intimacy He has designed for us.
- IN CONCLUSION
I completely agree with the Scripture : “it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”