Every great marriage I know has a great sex life. God’s good gift of sex breathes oxygen into a marriage and creates bonds of intimacy that can grow without limit, which is why great sex is common to great marriages. But listen carefully — contrary to commonly held belief, frequency and technique are not the most important factors. There are four foundational issues, that, when in place, create the perfect environment for great sex and a great marriage.

1. BE COMMITTED

If you want great sex and a great marriage, start by clarifying your commitment. The truth is that the best sex happens when your partner feels the safest. I do mean physically safe — there is no place at all for physical threat, intimidation or violence in a relationship — but I also mean relationally safe.

Sex is a place of great vulnerability and we will open up the most when we feel the safest in the relationship. God has designed the perfect environment for great sex and that is within a faithful-to-you-alone, for-better-for-worse, ‘til-death-do-us-part marriage covenant. If your wife feels that you could be gone tomorrow, she won’t let you fully into her life — body, mind and soul — and she shouldn’t. But when you or I make a clear, exclusive, lifetime marriage commitment, we are offering our wife a place safe enough for her to fully open up to us, sexually and in every other way.

2. PUT YOUR SPOUSE FIRST

The profound paradox of marriage is this: if you get married in order to make yourself complete and happy, you will be sadly disappointed and so will your spouse; but if you enter marriage determined to put your spouse’s well being and happiness first in all things, you will have a great marriage. And when you make pleasing your wife sexually your most important task, instead of seeking your own pleasure first, you are headed for great sex.

3. PAY ATTENTION

If we are going to enjoy great sex, we need to pay attention to our wife. We need to become a student of her because she is different than us… wonderfully different for sure but for sure she’s different. Here’s just one example. Researchers tell us that on average, it takes a woman 17 minutes to reach orgasm from the initiation of sex. The average for men is 2 minutes! Gentlemen, if we want to have great sex, you and I need to figure out how to navigate that gap, whether it’s 15 minutes, something less… or even more.

4. TALK HONESTLY

So many couples we work with really want to have a great sex life but they have never had an honest, helpful conversation about it. They may have expressed hurt and disappointment, anger or frustration, gotten emotional or grown cold, but at the end of it all, neither party knew how to make things better. That was sure true for my wife and me when we were at the most difficult place in our sexual relationship. It started to turn around when we had our first deeply honest conversation.

For the first time, I heard and understood that I wasn’t the only one hurting or frustrated with the way things were. I had been selfishly thinking I was the only one who had a reason to be unhappy. As long as I played the victim then she had to be the villain and there was no hopeful future possible.

An honest conversation about your sex life might be your next step toward great sex too. “Here is the way I am feeling. Here’s what I like. Here’s what I wish we could change.” Not accusing and defending, just an honest conversation. Start from the assumption that you both want greater sex and then speak to help and not hurt, listen to understand not to win a debate. Give it a try.

One last note — if you and your wife are stuck in a difficult place or if this article has started you thinking, another good next step might be to reach out to another guy or group of guys and have a humble, honest conversation. Let’s learn from one another. Let’s support one another. Because no man is an island.

NEIL JOSEPHSON is the National Director with FamilyLife Canada. Neil, together with his wife Sharol, lead FamilyLife Canada. Neil loves to learn, teach and write about anything related to marriage, family and Christian discipleship. Married since 1982, Neil and Sharol have two great sons, two awesome daughters-in-law and three of the sweetest grandchildren ever.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN SEVEN MAGAZINE.

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