In marriage, which comes first: sex or friendship?
That’s a great question, isn’t it? A while back I asked the awesome Christian sex blogger J from Hot, Holy and Humorous to give me her answer, and I’d like to share it with you today:
Ah, the chicken and the egg question! As a believer, I would note that chickens were created on Day 5…and then came the eggs. Similarly, plenty of Christians espouse that the great relationship comes first.
The common advice is that if you want wonderful intimacy in the marital bedroom, then invest in your relationship with your spouse. Husbands should thus help out around the house, shower their wives with appreciation and affection, and make quality time together a priority. Wives are instructed to respect and support their husbands, engage in recreational time with them, and attend to their own health and beauty.
I agree with those suggestions.
But there is a presumption at times that the sex life will fall into place once husbands and wives improve their relationship. Friendship, in this line of thinking, trumps sex.
Or that relationship must precede improvement in the bedroom.
Yet my own marriage story is that our quality physical intimacy helped us weather our relationship difficulties, hang in there, and work things out. A reader of my blog recently told her story to this effect, sharing that she and her husband tackled the sex area of their marriage first, talking honestly and making that a priority. Then she said, “The funny thing is, when THAT area of our life returned to what, I believe, God intended it to be, everything else in our marriage came together, as well. We communicate better, we laugh more and we talk more openly. Sex matters and God created sex for man and wife!”
So often, we wives hold off on making physical intimacy better because we want to see our relationship improve first.
Understandably, we don’t feel like having sex with a husband to whom we don’t feel close. I get that. I’ve been there. However, bear with me a moment while I throw out a different perspective.
God created all humans to be sexual beings, but our gender differences carry over into the bedroom. Men are typically more visual, more quickly aroused, and can reach climax almost every time. Even if you fought 10 minutes ago, if you then walk naked through the room, most hubbies will forget the argument and will desire you as much ever. (That’s not such a bad thing; my husband has forgotten quite a few my oops through nude persuasion.)
In addition, husbands are usually in-the-moment during sex. They are given over to the act of physical union with their wife. On top of that (and this is the kicker), at sexual climax, men experience a wash of Oxytocin—a body chemical that creates a sense of bonding. It is the same chemical that mothers secrete when their babies nurse at their breasts. Husbands BOND with their wives through sex.
Sex can thus provide some glue for your marriage, to keep your husband and you together while you work out the other stuff.
Indeed, if you are heatin’ it up in the bedroom, you are more motivated to get the other pieces of the marriage worked out to keep that fire burning.
Ideally, sex and friendship form a loop.
Investing in the relationship makes you desire sex more, and then investing in sex makes you desire relationship more, and then investing in the relationship…and so on and so on.If this is true, then does it really matter where the ball gets rolling?
Mind you, I don’t think having great sex can salvage a sinking marriage. However, if you stop having sex in a sinking marriage, you may be giving yourselves one more reason to walk away. And if you focus on being there for physical intimacy with your husband, and communicate about your desire for and delight in him, you might find that this positivity helps improve the whole relationship.
Chicken? Egg? Who cares as long as there are hens in the coop and scrambled eggs for breakfast?
Want a great marriage? Put yourself into ALL of it–both sex and friendship:
- Foster the friendship.
- Learn your spouse’s love language and speak it.
- Deal with tricky issues like finances, in-laws, and child rearing.
- Practice the Fruit of the Spirit with your spouse – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Pray for your husband and your relationship.
- Work on having and improving sexual intimacy in your marriage.
For that last one, follow this blog (and follow mine: Hot, Holy & Humorous). Go through the 29 Days of Sex exercises and read her book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. Read the Song of Songs in the Bible and get inspired. Sit down and talk to your husband about your desire not only for a better relationship, but also better sexual intimacy. (See if he doesn’t perk up at the mention of that second one.) Pray about your specific situation.
Don’t wait for everything in your relationship to be perfect before you commit to having the marital intimacy God intended for you two to enjoy. Start today.
J. Parker is a Christian, a wife, a mom, a writer, and a work in progress. She writes at Hot, Holy & Humorous, where she uses a biblical perspective and a blunt sense of humor to foster Christian sexuality in marriage.
She also co-hosts the awesome Sex Chat for Christian Wives, with a recent episode featuring ME talking about how to talk to your kids about sex & puberty. Listen in here!
And J is one of my favourite bloggers! So head on over and follow her.