When Kristen and I joined our first married community group in the fall of 2002, I remember silently laughing at the other five couples in the group. We were discussing intimacy, and one of the other couples shared how infrequently they were intimate with each other. Their marriage was in a good spot, but they shared how different things were after being married a few years with a baby on the way. The other couples nodded enthusiastically along with the couple who shared. This was a nod of familiarity, except for Kristen and me.
At the time, I remember thinking (one whole year into marriage) that our frequency would never drop or change. We were going to be different than all the other couples in the group. We weren’t going to let kids, jobs, or schedules get in the way. Fast forward to year 13.5 of marriage and we absolutely get it. Kids, jobs, sports, ministry, and much more get in the way of intimacy that we desire and as God intends.
The fourth barrier to intimacy in marriage is simply that we don’t make it a priority and we don’t make time for it (for the other barriers, click here, here or here). Author Kevin Leman, in the book Sheet Music, says the biggest enemy of intimacy is weariness. We are flat worn-out by the pace of life.
I have shared about busyness and schedules previously in my series of posts on “catching the foxes.” Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” One of the little foxes is our schedule. Busyness is a barrier to marriage in general and to intimacy specifically.
We all have good reasons for our busyness. Our jobs are hectic, the kids have sports every night of the week, and we are both exhausted after work or shuttling kids around all day. By the time lunches are made, laundry is done, and the kitchen is clean, who has time for sex?
Gary Thomas, in his outstanding article The Power of a Pure Passion, says the following: “Every season of marriage seems to fight against frequent sexual expression, which is why if a couple isn’t intentional and committed to keeping this aspect of their marriage alive, it will surely die. Here’s the danger of that: most people’s desire for sexual intimacy doesn’t die, which sets up a fierce temptation for destructive extra-marital sexual activity.”
In other words… we are treading on thin ice in our marriage if we make time for everything else, but don’t make time for intimacy in marriage. Our sexual temptations do not go away in spite of how crazy busy we make our lives.
Much more has been and can be said on busyness, but here are a few things to think through and applications to keep this barrier from ruining your 0.625%.
- I hate to give you something else to do, but… Read the book Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung. DeYoung does a great job of diagnosing the problem and giving you the solution to your crazy busy life.
- Be intentional about scheduling intimacy with your spouse. Yes, sex should be spontaneous at times, but it is OK to schedule it and plan ahead. This seems to work well for most couples with kids. Some women will even plan ahead by writing ‘TS’ (short for ‘Think Sex’) in their planners so they help anticipate being intimate with their husband later that night. Ain’t no shame in that game.
- Put your phone away, put down your iPad and turn off the TV. Nothing will put you asleep faster and get you out of the mood quicker than a game of baseball (sorry, I’m not sorry baseball fans).
- Quit making excuses. Every season of life has its own obstacles. The problems for couples come when we think things will get better in the next season of life. The next season rolls around and we have a new set of problems. There will always be something holding us back or an excuse we can make. Give yourselves some grace, but don’t make excuses.
So far in this series, the barriers I have shared are all marriage issues: you must work on your marriage, communicate with one another, discover and discuss expectations and make time in your crazy busy lives for sex. I hope you see that you cannot separate your sex life from the rest of your marriage. Next week I will discuss how to live in freedom sexually and how to work through unresolved pain or sin.
- How can we as a couple overcome the effects of weariness?
- What in our schedule prevents us from being more intentional sexually? What changes do we feel like we need to make to keep our marriage a priority?
- When is the last time you pursued your spouse romantically? Sexually?
Also in this series:
- Part 1 – The Most Important 0.625% of Your Marriage
- Part 2 – The 411 on the Most Important 0.625%
- Part 3 – The Law of the Farm: Will you Work Hard to Make the 0.625% of Your Marriage Great?
- Part 4 – Unmet Expectations: The Second Barrier to Intimacy as God Intends
- Part 5 – Let’s Talk About Sex: The Most Important Skill Needed for Great Intimacy
- Part 7 – How to Live in Freedom: Working Through Your Unresolved Sexual Pain or Sin