Tips for a Fresh Start
I wish someone would sell a big reset button that we could use in the bedroom.
Many of us could really use one. We’ve developed some bad habits, sex has become blah, and now we’re not sure how to find passion again—if the passion was ever there in the first place.
Maybe when you were first married, she didn’t experience a lot of fireworks, but she insisted it was no big deal. You never really worked out how to make her feel great, so now sex seems like a duty for her, and something you feel guilty asking for.
Or perhaps you both crossed some lines early in your marriage, using pornography or sex toys that have tainted sex. You wonder how to get back that pure excitement for just each other.
Or maybe sex has just become routine. It’s always in the same position, with the lights off, for exactly nine and a half minutes. You’re sure there should be something more!
So how do we find that reset button so that we can experience real passion?
Talk Through Your Reset
If sex isn’t frequent in your marriage because her libido is lower than yours, talking about how you need more sex is likely to backfire. To the low-libido spouse, it makes you sound needy—like she has more self-control and maturity than you have.
Instead, frame the conversation about passion, something you both need, like this: “I love being intimate with you, but I feel like we’re missing something. I want it to be stupendous. I feel like it’s been rushed, and while I love being with you, I don’t want to settle for good or okay. I want great—for both of us! Can we try to ‘create great’ together?”
Pray Through Your Reset
If many of your issues are rooted in baggage—whether it’s baggage from past relationships or baggage from porn use—confess what you need to before God, and then ask Him to give you both His view of sex now: that it is sacred, and beautiful, and only for the two of you.
Make Your Reset Visible
If the reset is necessary because of hurtful patterns from the past, it may be helpful to have a “physical reset.” Buy different bedding. Change the position of the bed in your bedroom. Buy new candles or new pillows. Visibly announce, “We are starting fresh.”
Explore Each Other Anew
Usually the problem when a reset is required is either sex has become purely physical—where there isn’t a sense of spiritual or emotional intimacy—or you’ve been rushing through sex and there isn’t enough foreplay. Here’s an exercise to help with both!
Have her lie still, naked, for fifteen minutes as you explore her body. Why? You’ll learn what she actually likes. (Many men have never figured this out, but many women don’t even know either!) You’ll reassure her that she can feel real pleasure, and you’ll get over the pressure to “just get to the main event.” Then, switch roles the next night. It’s actually more intimate to explore each other for a prolonged time than just to have intercourse.
If you’ve experienced some serious problems, like sin issues that need forgiveness, abuse issues that need healing, or physical issues that have made sex painful, consider committing to each other that you will spend a week (or more) just getting to know each other’s bodies like this, and you won’t actually make love. This doesn’t mean you can’t climax; but it means that you do it in different ways.
Not having intercourse may sound like a stretch, yet even though you both may initially agree that you want a reset, it’s all too easy to fall into old patterns. By saying, “we won’t have sex, but we will explore,” you dedicate yourself to more foreplay while making a definitive break with the past.
Here’s another chance to turn up the heat and really learn about each other! One night let her be the teacher, and you the student. She can order you around and show you how to make her feel good. The next night, swap roles. When we tell ourselves, “I’m the teacher now,” it gives us more confidence to be up front about what feels good. Often women, especially, are embarrassed to state their preferences out loud. This gives your wife that chance!
Have “His” and “Hers” Nights
Maybe there’s something in the bedroom that you like, but she’s not a big fan. Or maybe there’s something she’d like to do more of while you’re content with letting that pass. Deciding that one night a month is “his” night and one night is “her” night lets both of you feel like your desires are being taken into account. Even write down different things you’d like to try—maybe it’s a new position, or maybe she’d like to start with a 25 minute back massage! Then on “her” night you draw her piece of paper, and on “his” nights she draws yours. And the other nights of the month? They’re for both of you, where you do things you both always enjoy.
Remember the Pizza Principle
Spicing things up is important. Finding more passion keeps our marriages fresh, but also helps us to tap into that secret part of ourselves that is the most intimate. And because that deep part of ourselves is also connected with our spiritual selves, as couples grow closer sexually they also tend to grow closer to God.
Yet passion is not primarily about what we do in bed—it’s about the dedication and commitment we feel towards each other. So let’s never forget that the real recipe for passion is to chase after each other and fall madly in love with each other—not to become a gymnast in the bedroom. When we focus only on the physical, it’s easy to lose the capacity that sex has for making us feel truly intimate—one flesh. And it’s that intimacy that makes the physical feel better anyway!
Finally, in the words of a friend of mine, remember the pizza principle: “Sex is a lot like pizza. When it’s good, it’s very, very good. And when it’s not so good, it’s still pretty good.” Even if the physical side of sex isn’t always stupendous, when you love each other and laugh together, it will still always be pretty good.