The Maintenance Plan for Marital Intimacy

My husband approached me in the bathroom with the corners of his mouth slightly upturned and asked, “Do you want to copulate this morning or wait until this evening?”

Really?  Is this what we’ve come to?

After telling him it might be time to consult the Romance 101 manual again, I informed him that I didn’t have time that morning.  Sex would have to get penciled into the calendar for that evening–somewhere between cleaning the kitchen, putting the kids to bed, folding a load of laundry, donning pajamas, removing make-up, and passing out on my mattress.  So much for romance.

As much as I wish that our every sexual encounter was a long and soulful experience, sometimes we’re relegated to what my husband once termed Maintenance Sex.  Perhaps you can only fit in a 10-minute quickie before breakfast.  Maybe you have to schedule a half-hour into the calendar because otherwise it won’t happen. 

But that maintenance can be very important.  Think about it this way:  It’s fun to make home improvements.  New carpet, fresh paint, kitchen or bathroom renovations are exciting and satisfying.  But we can’t ignore the minor repairs that the keep the house going–steaming the carpet, painting touch-ups, cleaning those kitchens and bathrooms.  Both are good for your home.

The same with sex.  We married couples might wish that our sexual encounters were as spectacular as the community fireworks display, but shorter encounters can be fun too, like playing with sparklers.  They’re all firecrackers, baby.

If you neglect simply meeting that God-given need for each other, eventually it will affect your relationship.  In case you haven’t noticed, men often get cranky when they haven’t had a sexual release in a while.  Women often feel neglected when they haven’t been sexually pursued and appreciated.  I’ve known a few couples who were at each other’s throats for several days when they suddenly realized in the middle of an argument, “Oh yeah, we’re sexually tense!”  They made love, and voilá! a bit of sanity and perspective returned.

I’m all about the music-in-the-background, candles-in-the-bedroom, silky-lingerie, sweet-talking, slow-going love-making.  But sometimes, you don’t have an hour or so to devote to sex.  Don’t feel like those scheduled sessions or spur-of-the-moment quickies aren’t valid in increasing physical intimacy.

Sometimes, it is the most selfless love to shove all the folded laundry off the bed, lock out the demanding children, resolve to be five minutes late to work, and make time to meet your spouse’s needs.  Sometimes, it is the most selfless love to throw off the robe, grab the KY, and get tangled up for a few minutes on the unmade bed.  Sometimes, it is the most selfless love to engage in Maintenance Sex until you can get your real groove on–like at an overnight hotel stay or a fortuitous night when the kids all fall asleep a little early.

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs,

and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.”

1 Corinthians 7:3 (NLT)

10 thoughts on “The Maintenance Plan for Marital Intimacy

  1. ET @ Titus2:3-5

    I agree wholeheartedly! I’ll have to add the word “copulate” to my hubby’s repertoire, lol! We’re stuck on fool around, get naked, and do it. 😉

  2. Ed

    I found this post linked from another blog and think it is good advice. If only my wife would follow it. She insists that sex must occur under certain circumstances. Now, these don’t have to be perfect, really, but they are fairly exacting.

    She just doesn’t understand that there isn’t always time for more or less drawn out encounter and doesn’t get that sometimes opportunities must be taken as they present themselves.

    We once went the better part of a year without because she refuses to have sex if the children are awake. We therefore typically only have happens ridiculously late at night or ridiculously early in the morning. It wasn’t a lack of desire on her part but just being picky.

  3. J

    Thanks so much for your comment, Ed! Perhaps it’s the practical girl in me, but I would dose those kids with some Benadryl and get my groove on. (Disclaimer: My pediatrician swore it wouldn’t hurt them every now and then.)

    Perhaps in your instance, you need time away from your kids. Using grandparents, bartering with friends, or finding a babysitter to watch your children might remove them from the equation altogether – thus giving you time to really enjoy.

    I have to say that I’m one of those hard-to-arouse-when-kids-could-walk-in women, so early mornings are sometimes a better choice for us. (Nothing like waking up to your hubby gently caressing your skin!)

    Best wishes!

  4. Ed

    Thanks for your reply.

    Unfortunately, we live a rather large distance away from the rest of the family, so that type of break is fairly rare. We do, of course, take advantage of it when we can. On one such instance, we got a hotel room and over the course of an entire weekend, our sex paused only for the occasional shower or bite to eat.

    I like early mornings myself, but the problem is that they tend to occur on weekends, which are the only times when I’m not obligated to wake up extremely early for career purposes.

    My personal philosophy is that if the bedroom door locks, the spur of the moment quickie ought to happen at least occasionally. In my experience, the more a couple does this, the more they like to do it and more often they WANT to do it. It’s when they fall out of the habit that one or both of the couple becomes reluctant.

  5. Anonymous

    I used to be the type of person who just could not go there if the kids were awak…used to drive hubby nuts! However, I determined to get over it and now we have strategies to get away with it. DVD’s for the kids work well, as well as telling them we are going in to have a nap and they are not allowed to disturb us…we also now have a lock on our bedroom door. The other altrnative is to say that it is naptime or rest time for EVERYONE in the family where no one is allowed to leave their rooms for a certain period of time (except to go to the loo)…works well for us, but then our kids are under 7…might not work so well for older kids…I remember being grossed out by my folks as a preteen when I figured out what they were up to LOL.

  6. Anonymous

    Please forgive how jealous this makes me. We have talked about Maintenance Sex maybe a dozen times in 30 years, and she always agrees with the idea wholeheartedly—and then never does it. Just compassionate kindness is all I ask for: a gentle hand or warm mouth for just few moments, a couple of times a week, in between when SHE wants it, maybe once a month. And, yes, I DO help (more than ‘help’) around the house…I cook, clean, do laundry, you name it, and I do it all the time. I do not cheat, I don’t do porn, I’m a decent Christian man. I will not beg; I have dignity. How much can a man take?

    1. J

      If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard this one…sadly.

      My heart goes out to you. I suspect God’s answer to “how much can a man take?” would be His answer to all of those other times in our lives when we feel buried under: “More than you think.” We are called to go far above and beyond in living as Christ-like as we can. Continue to be the husband you should be, knowing before God that you gave it all you could.

      And a note of great hope for you: I also hear from couples who have lived for 10, 20, 30, and 40 years with a poor sex life, and then something happened to turn it around. I do wish your wife was the one at this blog. 😉

      My prayers for you and your marriage.

    2. L

      I want to encourage you to pray to our Mighty, All powerful God. His resources are UNLIMITED resources. Its difficult for me too, because I married an older man, and he had bad sexual habits, and has a tendency to be selfish sexually. Things felt hopeless, I became depressed and even considered suicide (I also was dealing with post-partum). I thought once I got married I would have a husband who would want sex more or as often as me so I could fulfill all his needs. Not so! I have been praying for God to transform my husbands heart, our marriage, our sex, and my heart. To help me to be compassionate to my husband, and forgiving. One thing we also have done, is we have a close married couple for accountability. We both want to honor God, and be transformed by His grace, and so this is something that has helped. The woman friend helps me by telling me scripture about my self-worth being found in Christ, and to be forgiving, enduring, and persevering, praying with me encouraging me not to nag about his lack of, to show grace to my husband when he sins, and the man speaks privately, over breakfast in the corner local restaurant or coffee shop I’m sure in the same manner. It has been very fruitful. We have complete confidence in this couple. They also strive to grow in holiness. I will say that we broke a record, and had sex 3 times this past week! I NEVER thought that would happen. What limits I put on God’s power to think this! God has changed my heart, and I can see God is pushing my husband to be more intentional. I have felt more reassured of his love for me, and see the Power of God working inside of both of us. I give God all the Glory for His ways are higher than mine.
      Romans5:1-5
      Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

      Suffering results in HOPE in God that will not be put to shame. God is sanctifying those he loves, and through our suffering it should cause us to turn to God for help, and we can and should endure.

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