Monthly Archives: March 2018

5 Times of Day to Make Love

One of the statements I often hear from wives is they’re too exhausted to have sex. By the time all the day’s to-dos are done, the kids have finished their activities and gone to sleep, and you’ve gotten ready for bed, you’re too pooped to play.

I get it. I really do.

But perhaps we believe a little too much in Ray Charles’s lyrics that “the nighttime is the right time to be with the one you love.” Or rather, we don’t listen well enough to the background singers chanting “night and day” throughout the whole song.

With that in mind, let’s talk about five different times of day that are great for making love!

Blog post title + clock face themed with love birds in a cage

1. Good Morning!

Now before you night owls jump right to the next point, I want to iterate that I am not a morning person. But whether you are a lark or a nightingale, morning really is a wonderful time to have sex with your husband.

One study showed that couples who have intercourse first thing in the day report better moods, probably because of all the feel-good chemicals released when they make love. But even more interesting is that morning sex seems to boost your immune system.

Also, men’s testosterone levels are highest in the morning, meaning it’s a great time for him to engage. I mean, you know how when he wakes up, he has that “maintenance erection” already going? Might as well that readiness to have a little fun, all while helping yourself avoid catching the next cold your children bring home from school.

2. Time for a Nooner

Recently, a councilman in a small town in Sweden proposed giving the municipality’s employees an hour-long paid break at lunchtime each week to go home and have sex. His reasons? To increase the birthrate and promote physical and emotional health: “Sex is also a great form of exercise and has documented positive effects on well-being.” Now if that proposal somehow passed, it would only affect those 550 Swedish employees, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing lunchtime sex on your own.

Of course, the “nooner,” as it’s called, is easier to squeeze in if you work from home or your workplace is close to home. For commuters, this is more difficult to effect. But if you can grab a quickie during lunch, it can boost your mood for the rest of the day and remind you two that even a little bit of time together can result in sexual intimacy.

There’s a playfulness to nooners that you should also lean into. A little “grab your lunch and then come find dessert” message helps to get things going. Then you and your spouse can enjoy all the deliciousness of lunchtime before heading back to the job.

3. Afternoon Delight

I could easily argue that the reason you should have afternoon sex is just so you can sing the Starland Vocal Band song about it. But here’s another good reason: One hormonal expert argues that 3 p.m. is the optimal time for a couple to make love.

Why? Because in the afternoon, women have higher levels of cortisol, which increases alertness and energy. Meanwhile, this is when men have elevated levels of estrogen, meaning they’re “more emotionally present” during sex. In terms of hormones, mid-afternoon could be a sweet spot for your lovemaking.

Not to mention that it feels a bit luxurious to shove aside everything else you could be doing to have sex with your beloved. So rather than ask why, ask why not!

4. Honey, I’m Home!

After we finish work but before supper is a favorite time in my marriage. But frankly, the research I saw goes against me, because late afternoon to early evening is one of the windows couples report as not good for lovemaking. Yet I suspect this is related to our after-work circumstances.

When my children were little, this time of day was “the witching hour.” That’s what plenty of parents call that early evening time when babies are prone to fussiness and colic rears its ugly head. But once our kids got older, and definitely once they were teenagers, this was a great time to make love. Our kids were involved in evening activities or burning off steam after school playing video games with headphones in their ears, meaning we could head to our bedroom, lock the door, and have uninterrupted time.

Plus, it’s a lovely way to reconnect after being apart from one another throughout the day. It can give you a little boost of energy and reasons to smile at each other the rest of the evening.

5. Nighttime is the right time

Nighttime can be the right time too. In a recent survey of 2,000 UK participants, nighttime still caught 7 of the top 10 spots for best times to make love.

If you can push off your fatigue and get things going, you might discover that you really enjoy making love right before you nod off to sleep. In fact, sex could well help you fall asleep. That’s because sex increases oxytocin, the bonding chemical that makes you feel close to the man you’re sharing the bed with, and decreases cortisol, a stress hormone that can impede sleep. In addition, when you experience an orgasm, your body releases prolactin which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy.

By staying awake a little longer and having sex, you could help both your marital intimacy and your sleep cycle. And given everything else you’ve got going on, it’s nice for one activity to knock out two benefits at once.

Be willing to try different times of day to make love! You might just find something different from your usual works really great for you and your husband.

Ad for Hot, Holy & Humorous - $1.99 at Christian Book - click to buySources: DailyMail.com – How a spot of morning passion can make you glow all day long; The New York Times – A Paid Hour a Week for Sex? Swedish Town Considers It; DailyMail.com – Why 3pm is the best time for making love: Time is when men and women are most in tune with each other’s desires due to hormone levels; Medical Daily – 3 Benefits Of Morning Sex, Plus Science Reveals Best Day And Time To Get Naked In Bed; Sleep.org – Is Sex Helping or Hurting Your Sleep?

 

Q&A with J: Engaging Your Mind in Lovemaking

A while ago, I talked about having over 300 emails in my inbox. Through various efforts, I’m now down to 69 messages. (And yes, I do see the humor in that.)

Slowly but surely, I’m trying to get to the remaining questions either directly or through posts. And today’s question is from (gasp!) May 2017. But it’s such a good one, I wanted to cover it today. Here’s what the reader asks:

I have a question about “engaging your mind.” I’ve read from various Christian intimacy bloggers that many women need to engage their minds in order to be aroused. I feel like this is true for me, but I’m uncertain how to do it in the holiest way. I often feel guilty if I visualize anything because it usually involves other people (not specific people just general other people), or other situations, think anything that doesn’t necessarily involve being happily married. I know it’s a flesh desire, and I have learned, whether I meant to or not, that the arousal from that thinking is very fleeting and doesn’t help me feel close to my husband. So I don’t allow it, but then I feel like I can’t let loose. So what does it mean to engage your mind without turning to something sinful?

Blog post title + silhouette of woman with colored lines swirling through her head

I periodically talk about all the myths that romance novels perpetuate, and I’m no fan whatsoever of erotica, but there are some things the romance genre gets right. And here’s one: Not once have I ever read a love scene where the woman was mentally going through her to-do list, fantasizing about some random guy she saw in a movie or a magazine, or thinking yeah, that feels okay, but I’d rather be watching Netflix.

Oh no — if you’re going to write a romantic, passionate, or even sexy scene, your main character is going to be into it. Seriously into it. Sure, she might think about how she wishes she hadn’t worn the granny panties tonight, but most of her thoughts are about what she’s seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and touching. She’s sinking deeply into her senses, as well as her emotions about the man with whom she’s making love.

Much as I hate to grab any wisdom from the pages of a bodice-ripper, I think they’re onto something here.

But wait a minute… God was way ahead of the romance section of your bookstore! Thousands of years ago, He made sure we have examples of what it means to engage in your mind in lovemaking with your spouse. Together let’s visit a book I’ve mentioned quite a bit on my blog (and in my books): Song of Songs, a poetic exchange between husband and wife, lover to lover.

God was way ahead of the romance section of your bookstore! Click To Tweet

It begins like this:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

What’s her mind doing here? She’s thinking about the sensations and taste of her husband’s kiss and his oh-so-appealing scent. Also, how much she loves him, and even how his stellar reputation is alluring. She imagines getting whisked away by this particular man to make mad, passionate love!

Whew. Wipe off your brow, y’all — that was sexy.

Now as much as I’d like to go through the remaining 7¾ chapters, breaking down all the amazing takeaways, that would be an insanely long blog post. Instead, I encourage you to go read it for yourself. And notice where and how these lovers engage their minds.

Focus on your five senses.

Instead of fantasizing about someone or something that’s not in the bed with you, how about paying attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of lovemaking. There’s a bounty of all that going on, and you can train yourself to tune in to it.

While making love, ask yourself what your senses are experiencing, and revel in those sensations. This practice is really what people now call “mindfulness,” where you increase your awareness of what’s right around you and learn to attend to it more fully.

Here’s an example from the husband in Song of Songs attending to the senses:

Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon” (4:1).

Open your eyes.

It’s harder to think about someone or something else when you’re looking your spouse in the eye. Or really, anywhere on their body. Oftentimes, we find it uncomfortable to keep our eyes open, because there’s vulnerability in that — especially given that our facial expressions during sex can be rather curious, shall we say.

But looking into one another’s eyes, taking in the sight of our beloved, and even watching intently where and how your bodies connect can also be beautifully intimate. And it can help your focus remain right there, on the wonderful husband with whom you are making love.

Here’s one example of how the Song of Songs wife gazed at her husband:

His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.
His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.
His arms are rods of gold set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli.
His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars (5:12-16).

Use your voice.

It’s also hard not to concentrate on what’s happening right here and right now if you have to describe it. So speak up and talk about what you’re seeing, what you’re sensing, what you desire. Express the depth of your feelings for your husband through everything from “I love you” to “You rock my world, baby!”

All of that can keep your mind preoccupied on coming up with relevant thoughts and translating that into words. Besides, verbal expression can also increase the arousal factor in your marriage bed.

Consider this was something the husband in Song of Songs requested:

My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely” (2:14).

Keep on trying.

One reason we fail when we try to engage our minds is we give up too soon. Distractions invade, and we push away the first one or two, but then others come and it feels hopeless. How can we ever stop getting sidetracked? And especially if those rabbit trails lead to greater arousal?

But retraining your mind isn’t a one-day workout program. You’re in a marathon, girlfriend. When that first stray thought comes in the middle of lovemaking, push it aside. Then push aside the next one, and the next, and the next…and so on. Replace each with the kind of engagement discussed in previous points — for instance, shifting your thoughts from that one general guy to gazing into your husband’s eyes. Do this again and again, and you’ll build a new habit. And your pleasure will be even better because it will be all you and all him engaging intimately in the marriage bed.

Remember this verse from Song of Songs:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away (8:6-7).

Your marital love is unyielding. Lean into that — mind, heart, body, and soul.

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Are You a Fan of Your Husband’s Man-Part?

I asked my husband for his permission to tell the following story from our marriage bed:

Neither of us is a big talker during lovemaking. Even so, I’ve been known to lose control of my tongue and blurt out something that may or may not be all that coherent. Anyway, several months ago, we were in the middle of a particularly passionate sexual encounter. As I approached climax, my brain shot a single focused thought to my mouth and it burst out of my mouth: “I love your penis!”

Oh yes, I did.

After we finished that part of our intimacy, my husband and I laughed heartily about what I’d said. I turned pink about my comment, feeling so embarrassed for saying such a thing. But although Spock was amused (if you’re new, Spock is what I call my husband), he was also rather complimented. I’d shown genuine, unfiltered appreciation for his manhood.

Blog post title + image of large foam hand saying "Fan"

Now I haven’t always been at the point in my marriage that I’d say such a thing while in the throes of passion. Perhaps you can’t imagine saying, or even thinking, something like that.

But it’s important to appreciate your husband’s penis — to be its biggest fan.

It's important to appreciate your husband's penis — to be its biggest fan. Click To Tweet

Before you run away and decide your time would be better spent searching Pinterest for yet another amazing cupcake recipe you’ll never actually make, give me a few more minutes to make my case. Because I was also hesitant to adore the soldier at first.

I didn’t go all Fan Girl and blurt out that above statement in year one of our marriage, or even year ten. It took a while for me to fully embrace the astounding creation that is The Penis. Why have I become a fan?

1. Familiarity

I’m well aware of the saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” But what a lot of hogwash! For anyone who’s ever had a favorite something — favorite blanket, favorite pair of jeans, favorite coffee cup — you know that hanging out with something you like doesn’t diminish how you feel about it. In fact, it makes your experience better.

My favorite pair of jeans doesn’t become my favorite pair of jeans until I’ve worn them several times over, the material has softened up a bit, and they’ve stretched out just right fit to my body. Likewise, hanging out more often with your husband’s penis means that you get used to its shape and size, its movements and responses, its function and beauty.

Take time to look at and touch his penis. Explore the area with your eyes and hands, becoming familiar with this body part that is “yours, mine, and ours.”

2. Physiology

As I learned more about how male anatomy and the penis work, my appreciation for God’s creation deepened. Male anatomy is designed in a rather remarkable way, so that the penis can become erect yet sufficiently flexible, the systems work together to produce sperm and semen, and the muscles and nerves produce both pleasure and ejaculation.

Learning more about how God created his body can have a positive and even awe-inducing effect. It can also help a wife know where and how to touch him, further increasing her appreciation as his man-part happily responds. This is when the classroom physiology becomes in-the-field experience. As anyone who’s taken biology knows, reading the textbook isn’t nearly as fun as experimenting in the lab.

But of course, it helps to have some head knowledge before you go encounter the, well, head up-close. To that end, this TED Talk was illuminating for me on how amazing God’s creation really is.

You can also learn more about penis size here: Penis Size – From a Wife’s Point of View.

3. Pleasure

You know why I like chocolate? Chocolate has been good to me. It’s provided many wonderful moments of pleasure, when my taste buds awakened and savored that rich delight. Likewise, a husband’s penis receives greater admiration when it provides his wife rich pleasure.

Becoming more assertive in saying and showing what you need can help you find greater pleasure in his penis. Use his penis to stroke your body where you like to be touched. Use ample lubrication, adding personal lubricant if you don’t have enough, so that his penis slicks against your skin. Ask for sexual positions that make penetration feel even better to you. Give a shot at finding more sensitive spots with his penis. Add direct clitoral stimulation to intercourse, so that the spasms of a clitoral orgasm still happen around his penis.

When you’ve experienced a lot of pleasure that involves Mr. Happy, you’ll be happy he’s there too. If he’s helped you “win” a lot, you’ll become a big fan.

And a message for the hubbies…

If your wife isn’t immediately your man-part’s biggest fan, please don’t take it personally. I know it’s very personal to you, but I’ve met many women through the years who didn’t know much of anything about male anatomy, excepting what they learned in biology class and pop culture references. And some women have encountered awful men who used the existence of that body part as an excuse for sexual harassment or even assault.

More often, we gals just aren’t all that familiar with the equipment in a way that makes us feel confident. And that takes some time and intentionality.

Help her feel free to explore at a slower pace than you might like, and show her where you like to be touched and how. Explain to her what it means to you for her to appreciate your penis, because it’s something a lot of women don’t fully understand.

And make sure you use your penis to provide her pleasure, not just you. Once you’re married, it really is a case of yours, mine, and ours. (And yes, I would say that to your wife about her body too.) Prioritize her pleasure so that she can appreciate all of you, the way you appreciate all of her.

Honestly, we should each be one another’s biggest body fans. But today, I’ve been focused on the ladies. So let’s do this, gals — let’s show our husbands that we are indeed his man-part’s biggest fan.

Be sure to listen to our recent Sex Chat for Christian Wives episode on male anatomy!

5 Questions to Ask about Your Sexual Intimacy

It’s Saturday, meaning I’m back with another high-five! That is, five somethings that I want to share with you about sexual intimacy in marriage.

Today I want us to ask some questions about our sex lives. These are hardly the only questions you could ask, but they are five important ones that might illuminate where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. Let’s go for it!

Blog post title + sketch of silhouette man and woman kissing

1. What am I afraid of?

No, not the dark or the Big Bad Wolf or the very idea of a swallowing a spider in your sleep. I’m talking about what fears you have about sex.

Most of us have something that causes us to tense, worry, or even avoid some aspect of sex. For many, the fears are based in real experiences, such as sexual abuse or harassment, or even poor teaching about sexuality that made sex seem scary. We might have performance anxiety or body image issues. We might be worried that he’s thinking of porn or she’s unhappy with penis size.

But even though these fears change how we view the marriage bed, we don’t often delve into what they are, why we have these fears, and if they’re real. It might not be as bad as you think. For instance, that swallowing-spiders story? Sleep soundly — it’s an urban legend. Likewise, your fears could either spotlight areas to work on or be worries that you can safely let go of and choose a better reality instead.

2. What does my spouse really think about our sex life?

One of the biggest issues I see in marriages that struggle with sexual intimacy is one spouse thinks they know what the other feels and believes about sex … but they don’t. She thinks he just wants a physical release, but he wants emotional connection through sexual intimacy. He thinks she doesn’t ever want to have sex, but she does want sex if it could be more mutually satisfying….

I could give more examples, but the point is that at least some of your assumptions about your spouse are likely wrong. We tend to look at a situation and think, If I said or behaved like that, it would mean X. But it doesn’t mean X for your spouse, because they’re a different person.

Take a look at all of the messages your spouse has given you about your marriage bed. For instance, if you think he’d rather be with a prettier woman, but he’s asked to see you naked, wants to kiss and touch you, and says positive things about your body, that’s probably the truth about what he thinks. And be willing to ask your spouse, with an open mind and heart, what they think. You might find out something you didn’t know.

3. Would I want to make love with me?

A while back, Kevin A. Thompson, minister and blogger, wrote a post titled “I Wouldn’t Sleep With You Either.” It was addressed to husbands who wanted to have more sex, but there was good reason why the wife wasn’t obliging. If you want to read the post now, I’ll wait while you do that. (Whistles and taps fingers on desk…)

Okay, sometimes the reason your sex life isn’t going well is because the rest of you isn’t all that peachy. Yes, I know that’s a hard thing to hear. But ask yourself this question: If we switched places, and all I saw of my spouse is what he gets from me, would I want to make love with that person? Would that be an appealing prospect?

Sometimes the reason your sex life isn't going well is because the rest of you isn't all that peachy. Click To Tweet

This is why I often tell people who whine and complain about sex to Stop It Already. Even though there are issues that need to be addressed, who wants to bed someone who’s always throwing a conniption fit? By being a prickly person to be around, you could be making things worse. But if you love your spouse like a walking 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (“Love is patient, love is kind, etc.”), that’s really attractive. And then if/when you work out the other issues, you’re rather bed-able.

4. What’s the number one area you need to nurture?

One of the three points above may have hit on an area you need to work on. But oftentimes, the marriage bed has several areas where improvement could be made. Whether you’re in the sexual doldrums or riding high, you can always find something to nurture.

But rather than taking a scatter-shot approach, focus on a single target at a time. What’s the number one area you need to nurture? If you can identify it, then you can tackle that next step and see some progress in your sexual intimacy. Step by step, target by target, you can build greater intimacy in your marriage bed.

Now your number one area might not — or probably won’t — be your spouse’s number one area. And that’s okay. Work on your stuff, and be willing to cooperate with your spouse’s. But know that you don’t have to work everything out all in a day. That’s part of the beauty of God’s design for sex in a covenant marriage — you have a lifetime to learn and improve and experience the intimacy He longs for you to have.

5. What’s the next step I need to take?

This question may sound like a repeat, but it’s not. Knowing what area you need to nurture isn’t the same as identifying the specific action you’ll take. It’s the difference between saying, “I’m going to exercise more,” and “I’m going to take Zumba classes three times a week, starting tomorrow.” And then paying for the classes. Goals are great, but they don’t mean much unless and until you list specific actions you’ll take to reach them.

Goals are great, but they don't mean much unless and until you list specific actions you'll take to reach them. #marriage #Christiansex Click To Tweet

So what action should you take? Well, it depends on your goal. If you want to address physical discomfort during lovemaking, you make an appointment with your doctor or a sexual health specialist. If you’ve experienced a lot of conflict surrounding the topic of sex in your marriage, it could be time to meet with a counselor, together or on your own. If you’re struggling with a porn habit, you install filtering software and/or join a porn recovery group. If you just want to add some spice to your sexual repertoire, you buy my book with a lot of suggestions for that!

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Whatever you decide to focus on, identify the next step to take. And then take it.

Now what questions do you think couples should ask about their sexual intimacy?

Q&A with J: I Just Found Out My Husband Cheated

Among the fears some spouses have about marriage is the worry that their mate will cheat on them. It seems like one of the worst things you could learn. But it’s happened to couples out there who have come through, found healing, and even nurtured their relationship to a better place than it was in before. Still, no one wants to get that news.

And today’s question addresses just that — finding out your husband cheated. What now?

If you had asked me last week how I felt about my marriage, I would have said with confidence that we have a great marriage, one that was far stronger than most.

Then this weekend, my husband admitted to me that he had cheated on me several times during the first 5 years of our marriage. He made out with and/or received oral sex from several different women…. I’m just at a loss. I feel curiously numb, but my mind is spinning with thoughts of every kind.

My husband is extremely remorseful. I know all this happened before he got serious about his faith, and I still love him and I want to forgive him and find a way to work this out. He admitted his sins to our pastor and to his men’s bible study group a couple years ago. It seems it took him a long time to work up the courage to confess to me. He also said that for awhile he worried if telling me was actually a selfish thing for him to do, because it would make him feel better while inflicting serious pain on me. He said he wanted to protect me from that, but after continuing to pray he felt God saying he needed to tell me. So he did. Now that burden is off his shoulders, and I’m glad, but the hard part for me is only just beginning.

I know that if we’re going to have any chance at repairing our marriage we need to commit to doing it right. I am so overwhelmed though that I don’t even know where to start. 

blog post title + illustration of woman burying her face in her hands

When I receive messages like this, where someone shares their personal heartbreak, I try to imagine how I would feel in their situation. Of course I can’t say for sure, but I imagine this news like a wall falling and crushing me under—something I thought had kept me secure suddenly becoming a weight on my chest that makes it hard for me to breathe. While I wouldn’t want to demolish the whole house, because so many beautiful memories and good things happened there, it would feel overwhelming, like there’s so much to repair.

All that said, I want to point out some positives (which don’t exist with everyone who gets news of their spouse’s infidelity):

  • You say this happened before your husband got serious about his faith. Meaning that the deepening of his faith has had the effect of convicting and changing him.
  • You learned about this from him, meaning he was willing (though delayed) to come clean.
  • The infidelity has stopped. (I’m assuming that’s true based on his statements, but see point number two below.)
  • Your husband is extremely remorseful.
  • You believed you had a great marriage — which likely means you have a lot to build on.
  • Your husband was very concerned about the effect this information would have on you.
  • He listened to God’s nudging him toward honesty, even though there might be a personal price to pay.

But now what do you do? Well, those who recover from infidelity report similar processes for healing.

1. You need time and space to grieve.

Something has been lost, and it’s entirely understandable for you to grieve this betrayal.

Sometimes when an unfaithful spouse confesses, they feel like it’s over. They’ve finally dumped the weight of their guilt by fully confessing and can feel a sense of closure in that moment, but, as you point out, the road has only just begun for the wounded spouse.

Be clear with your husband that you are grieving and need to be given the opportunity to do so, even if it means that you are sad, angry, or withdrawn. It may be painful for him to feel shut out, but you need that own that grief and work through it unheeded.

2. If he wants your marriage to heal, his life is now an open book.

You get to ask questions, and he should answer them. If you want to know where he is, when he’ll be home, and who he’s with, he needs to tell you. If you ask to see his phone, he needs to hand it over. If you want his passwords to social media, that should be shared information.

To some unfaithful spouses, that feels unfair. But the wounded spouse feels thrown off-kilter, and they need to see evidence that the relationship is exclusive and secure. They need to know that no other inappropriate contact is happening and that the marriage takes priority.

That said, the wounded spouse shouldn’t make unfounded accusations and should be thoughtful in which questions to ask about the infidelity. If you ask your husband for specifics about someone he was with, and he complies and tells you, that’s in your brain now and isn’t likely to go away. Ask what you need to know to re-establish trust, but don’t ask questions you don’t need or want the answer to — hearing the sordid details isn’t likely to help you understand more and may make you, and him, simply feel worse.

3. You need to find out what was absent during those times.

Typically a spouse cheats because they feel something is missing. Now, to be clear, what could be missing is a compass of personal morality that has zero to do with the spouse cheated on. It could also be that he felt something missing in your relationship and failed to resolve it with you, instead selfishly choosing an extramarital outlet for those feelings.

Answering the question, “Why did you cheat?” can illuminate any areas of your relationship that you might want to work on to make sure your marriage is on solid ground. Maybe your marriage has already grown to the point that this would never happen again, but it’s worth asking.

And know there likely isn’t a simple answer to this question—there could be layers of reasons you have to work through, such as a poor misunderstanding of sex in marriage coupled with a porn background and work stress and this, that, and the other.

4. You should both foster your friendship and romance.

In the midst of dealing with all of these issues, you can begin to feel like all of your discussions with your husband are tense and painful. Clear away moments and evenings and outings when you just spend time with each other.

Take the issue of infidelity off the table for those times—not that it will go away completely, but save your expressions of hurt and problem-solving on that issue for other times. Commit to dating again, reminding yourselves why you fell in love and why your marriage is worth investing in.

5. You should aim for a return of intimacy.

Some wounded spouses don’t want to have sex for a long time after discovering infidelity, while others plunge into sexual intimacy in a longing to remind themselves of this physical bond. Neither way is unreasonable, but it seems to me that the wounded spouse should take the lead.

Yes, this can go on too long where it becomes a spiteful gatekeeping exercise that can tear the marriage down further, but most of the time it’s just that the wounded spouse needs to re-establish a sense of security to become vulnerable again in the marriage bed.

Take steps to move in that direction at the pace you need, knowing that the end goal is to become one in your marriage, including physically.

For many couples, all of these suggestions proceed more smoothly when overseen by a Christian counselor who can help you address your feelings, your relationship’s weaknesses, and your goals for the marriage.

You might need to visit a counselor alone at first, to work through your emotional pain. But conversations with your husband might also flow better with someone there to mediate and interpret and make wise suggestions on how to nurture your marriage.

Finally, although the following post doesn’t address your scenario, it includes links to relevant resources: Q&A with J: Can God Heal Any Marriage after Infidelity?

As for where to start, start in prayer. Then, if I were in your shoes, I’d make a phone call to a counselor and set up an appointment. I’d peruse the resources in that post. I’d ask my husband for certain promises and access to information. I’d do some self-care. I’d schedule a date night. I’d see the counselor. I’d keep praying.

The road isn’t easy, but you can reach a destination of healing, trust, and intimacy. Not simply again, but deeper than before.

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