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Can the language that we speak affect intimacy in our marriage?

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! And today I want to share an email I received recently from a reader that I think is just fascinating.

I love hearing from so many of you, even though I’m so sorry that I can’t respond to many of you personally (just so many come in!). But I get so many ideas for blog posts from the questions that you all ask.

And recently a missionary sent me the most interesting story, and I just want to share it with you today.

Intimacy in Bilingual Marriages: Do we realize how much the language we use when we're intimate affects how we feel?


She writes,

31 Days to Great SexFirst of all, thank you so much for this blog. I read it regularly through my first couple years of marriage and it was such a blessing. My husband and I even bought and read “31 Days to Great Sex” together and loved it!

This past year, though, has been super stressful for my husband and me. We’re serving as missionaries in a closed access country, coming up on 1.5 years on the field. The transition hasn’t been easy, and I’ve been struggling with mild depression for the past 4-5 months.

This took a real toll on how frequently we were being intimate. I felt too tired to respond to his advances, then guilty for not doing so, you know the cycle. Even when I did say YES it was hard for me to be mentally and emotionally present, and foreplay just wasn’t doing anything for me.

I’ve been making changes to my life in general to deal with the depression, but the solution to our bedroom problems came from a really unexpected place.

I was listening to a podcast about languages and how we respond differently to stimuli in our mother tongue versus our second language. This really caught my attention since my mother tongue isn’t English, but Spanish.

Luckily, my husband is also bilingual in Spanish. So I asked him to try an experiment with me: what if we spoke Spanish instead of English when we were intimate? Would it make a difference?

Oh boy, did it ever!! Wow, I haven’t felt that way in a long time! It was the sexiest thing in the world for me. I had no idea I was missing out so bad!

In a bilingual marriage? Which language you use when you're being intimate makes a big differenceClick To Tweet

We’ve made the switch permanently and it’s been a total game changer for me. I feel connected, passionate, sexy. It’s been great. Even just saying certain words and phrases out loud in my own language seems to tap into a part of myself that English just doesn’t touch, even though it’s the primary language I use everyday (except for the national language of the country we live in).

But nobody is talking about this! So I thought I would reach out to you and tell you my story. If you wanted to share it with your readers, who knows? Maybe some other bilingual woman out there might experience a breakthrough.

In a bilingual marriage? Speak your native language in the bedroom for the best fireworks!Click To Tweet

Isn’t that neat? I love it! I hope that it may have encouraged some of you, too.

It reminds me again how important it is to worship in our native language. We have to be able to pray and sing and read the Scriptures in the language of our hearts, because it’s the language of desperation, of vulnerability, of identity. And because, as I talked about all last month, vulnerability is so related to passion, when we’re putting on a “mask” by using a second language, sometimes that really can hinder intimacy.

But what if you’re bilingual and your spouse isn’t?

Well, maybe sometimes while you’re having sex it’s okay to speak in your native language, even if your husband doesn’t understand! He may even appreciate learning a few important phrases! 🙂

What do you think? Anyone else in a bilingual marriage ever experienced this? As a Canadian, with so many friends who have French/English marriages (including in my own extended family), I imagine many may really need this advice!

So let’s talk in the comments: does language influence your ability to feel intimate?

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