Recently, Kristen and I taught a newly married event at our church on physical intimacy. Since we typically teach on intimacy to premarital couples, we enjoyed getting to teach those who are already married. In this next series of posts, I will share what we taught these newlyweds: an overview and theology of intimacy, followed by six reasons why couples typically struggle with physical intimacy in marriage.
A friend recently shared a fascinating statistic with me. If the “average” married couple has sex six times per month, and the average time per “intimate encounter” is a generous 45 minutes, then the total intimate time per month accounts for 0.625% of married life. Now of course some couples are intimate more than six times/month, and some for longer than 45 minutes (and vice versa, less than six times and less than 45 minutes).
Even with a more generous time cushion, this means that the average couple spends less than 1% of married life physically, sexually intimate with one another. We spend a LOT more time communicating, sleeping, resolving conflict and watching television. While intimacy claims less than 1% of the lives of the average couple, this 1% represents a very significant 1%.
Most individuals and couples feel and experience some kind of emotional hurt, disappointment, and/or physical pain when it comes to physical intimacy. Addictions, abuse, pornography, unmet expectations and an oversexualized culture dominate our world. Often we find ourselves wondering how something so good can cause so much disappointment. In fact, we often wonder if sex is really good. In spite of all of the pain and unmet expectations, physical intimacy is a great gift from a loving God to His children, in the context of marriage.
My goal in this series of posts is for you to have conversations with your spouse. Most couples don’t know how to talk about intimacy and may not even know that they can and should talk about intimacy. Typically we can discuss just about everything in marriage with one another, except for intimacy.
If you are an engaged couple, please exercise caution in how in-depth you go with these conversations. The closer you get to the altar, the more open you can and should be with your significant other. If you are seriously dating, then please read this series for your own edification, file away for another day and do not cause one another to stumble by even pursuing this discussion.
I’ve been planning this series of posts for a while now, so I am hopeful and prayerful for some significant life change for the reader in the area of sexual intimacy. Every Monday I will post the next part of the series. You can receive these posts directly in your inbox by subscribing to my blog through the sign-up box in the upper right corner of my site. I am praying your minds will be transformed, your hearts will seek to serve, and your “less than 1% of married life” would blow your minds!
Next time: (Click here for Part 2)
Before we discuss physical intimacy in marriage, it is helpful to understand a theology of sex. In order to practice it rightly, we need to rightly understand God’s view and design of sexual intimacy.
At the end of each of the posts in this series there will be a few questions for you and your significant other to discuss.
Take some time, as a couple, to discuss what or who has shaped your view of sex (i.e. pornography, friends, experience, God’s Word).
Is sex a god/idol to you? Is it gross to you (due to pain and hurt from the past)? Or do you see sex as a gift from a good God?
What’s your comfort level in discussing sexual intimacy with your spouse? Why do you think you are or are not comfortable in discussing intimacy together?
Also in this series:
- 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 6 – Crazy Busy: The Fourth Barrier to Sexual Intimacy as God Intends
- Part 7 – How to Live in Freedom: Working Through Your Unresolved Sexual Pain or Sin