Hot, Holy & Humorous

Finding Friends to Support Your Marital Intimacy

Three women chattingLori of The Generous Wife recently shared about the beauty of having a good friend with whom you can talk and pray.

I’ve also written about the importance of having friends who support your marriage and sexual intimacy. Whether you need information, encouragement, advice, or prayer, godly friends can be a lifeline for your marriage.

So how do you find friends like this? It’s not like you start chatting with a woman one day at church and the next you’re spilling your struggle with sex in your marriage. It takes time and effort and discernment to find women willing to discuss sexuality honestly and respectfully.

My new book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage, is dedicated to four such ladies in my life — identified only by their initials (C, J, L, M). When I realized I had four women with whom I can chat honestly about sex and marriage, I was amazed. For an introvert like me, that’s kind of a lot. I know some wives would be happy to have one such friend.

I developed these relationships in different ways, so I don’t know the magic formula. One has been my friend since college, and we walked each other through bad-choice boyfriends, cheered when we each found The One, and then shared the hardships and hallelujahs of marriage. Another woman, I met when our children attended preschool together. But it was years of McDonald’s lunches and play dates before we got deep enough in conversation to share openly. A third was a former ministry coworker turned friend. And somehow that friendship has survived us each quitting our jobs at different times, moving churches, and her moving out of town. And the fourth is a recent recruit, so to speak. She’s a fellow marriage blogger, with whom I share a lot in common.

So why am I detailing all of this? Because I want wives to know that it has taken me a while to get to this place, but you can get there too. I don’t have a magic formula, but I have a few tips for finding friends who’ll support your marital intimacy:

Look for godly women. Each of my four friends is clearly seeking God in their own lives and has a spiritual foundation I admire. When we became friends, it wasn’t with the direct purpose of encouraging and praying for one another, but we shared a biblical world view, a desire to grow closer to God, and a commitment to go the distance in our marriages.

Make yourself appealing. There’s a reason why the character “Debbie Downer” gained traction; it’s because we’ve all known someone like that — a constant complainer who squelches happiness wherever they go. That’s an extreme, of course, but take care to be the kind of person you’d want to be around. That doesn’t mean faking it or being dishonest, rather displaying godly virtues in your interactions with others.

Be a good friend. You know how this goes, ladies: One-sided friendships are draining. Yes, of course, we can have mentors who give more to us than we to them, or we can be mentors ourselves. However, lifelong friends tend to have more balanced relationships. If you want someone to invest in your life, invest in hers.

Choose authenticity. When I was a young mom, one of my peeves was getting in a group of church moms who swore that motherhood was a never-ending celebration of cuddles, cute things their kid said or did, and snapshot memories. Meanwhile, I was swimming in sleep-deprivation, spit-up, and self-doubt. I just wanted to say, “That’s not my life; that’s a Hallmark commercial!” But you know what? Years later, I’ve noticed those women aren’t close friends. Or they didn’t become close friends until they shared more deeply, about the wonderful cuddles and the difficult challenges. So be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone or something else. You don’t have to reveal everything right away, but when the topic comes up and you have an opportunity to get real, be real.

Speak lovingly about your husband. I started to write “speak well about your husband,” but I’m uncomfortable with some of the advice out there that says you can never, ever say anything negative about your husband to someone else. If I’d never said to any of these friends, “My husband is driving me crazy because he’s doing X,” I’d never have received godly counsel on how to deal with X. But what we have always done is make it undoubtedly clear to one another that we love our husbands. We chose these men, stay with these men, plan to make it til’ death do us part with these men. Any concerns we have and calls for advice don’t negate the covenant love we have for our husbands. We all speak lovingly about our husbands, so it’s clear that we’ll be supporting one another’s marriages.

Be willing to step out. Once you have a friendship with some trust, you may need to be the one to speak up first about marriage and sexuality. We often worry about the potential awkwardness of such a conversation, but you’ll discover one of three things: (1) you can converse back and forth with this person about sex; (2) your openness can help the other person with sex, even if they’re not in a position to help you; or (3) you can’t talk to this person about sex. I do have close friends with whom I don’t really talk about sexual intimacy, not because I didn’t try, but because it just didn’t work out. Okay, so now I know. But by being willing to speak up, I deepened other friendships.

I pray that every wife can find at least one friend to be a confidante, a supporter, and an encourager for her marriage and sexual intimacy.

How have you found such a friend? Or how do you struggle to find friends like these?

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (NLT). — Proverbs 17:17

* * * * *

Intimacy Revealed Book Cover

What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

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14 thoughts on “Finding Friends to Support Your Marital Intimacy”

  1. I do not share anything about my sex life with my friends, even my close friends. I do have a therapist who listens to my concerns about my sex life. Since my therapist is legally sworn to uphold confidentiality, I think it is safe and appropriate to share these personal issues with him.

  2. I read through your post carefully. Perhaps somewhere else you made this point but, and if I missed it I apologize. Do you have somewhere that you ask your husband’s permission to take your intimate details to some other person before you speak to any other person?

    No matter the emotional or biological closeness of this third party, it could invite a rift where one is not needed.

    If not done correctly it violates Ephesians 5:33 by showing disrespect towards him.

    In our ministry, we have worked with a lot of couples and this is one area that husbands feel deeply wounded if not handled kindly and appropriately.

    Women need love from their husbands and husbands need respect and appreciation and talking about a problem in your marriage without the other persons knowledge could cause hurt feelings or worse.

    You have my email so please get back to me on this.

    Thank you!

    1. I’m going to run this comment by my husband as well later, but this is a good point you make. Because I probably could have added a tip on “Don’t share graphic details.” When I say that I can speak honestly and respectfully about my marriage and intimacy with others, I don’t mean that I share what actually happens in our marriage bed. By no means! It’s more about our approach to marital intimacy, and maybe where we differ or struggle. For instance, I’ve discussed with a friend how to find more time to make love to my husband and with another how to deal with perimenopause affecting my intimacy. Those are certainly not disrespectful to my husband, but something about which godly friends can give good counsel.

      Still, my hubby knows that I talk to these confidantes, and I sometimes share a summary of our conversation and specific things we said. So he’s aware. In my case, and I suspect it would be true for other husbands, he’s fine with what I share because he trusts me to keep the truly private things private, he knows these women are in our corner (not just my corner), and he recognizes that my intent is having a better marriage and sexual intimacy with him.

  3. J,

    That is a really great explanation for your readers. I was not trying to be confrontational and I was pleased that your answer did not seem as such

    My wife and I have been a long time reader of your blog and books.

    You do a wonderful job encouraging couples to be open with each other. I just had a red flag probably because many couples from both sides, do not respect their spouse enough to be transparent about a problem they feel they need some extra help to solve.

    We work to coach both partners in the marriage together but there are some times we meet with one partner and then the other. However, we try to ensure that they know we are meeting for the betterment of their relationship.

    Keep up the great work! Thanks for the response.

    1. Oh, I completely appreciate inquiries and even challenges. Iron sharpens iron and all that. 😉 Thanks for the great question.

  4. Thanks so much for pointing out that there is a difference between speaking lovingly & speaking well. There have been a couple of times when I have really needed a friend to bounce things off of but have held back for fear of being a husband basher. And I truly think there is a difference between “you know we are really struggling in this area” and “my husband is such a jerk because…” Sometimes the “don’t disrespect your husband with your words” message leaves women feeling like they are all alone when what we genuinely want is wise counsel from a friend.

    1. So here’s a test I have given myself: If this conversation with a friend were being recorded and my husband got a hold of it someday, how would he feel? If I would be horrified for him to hear the way I talked about him, I’m likely not speaking respectfully. But if in hindsight, he listened and thought, “So THAT’s where you got that great advice that improved our marital intimacy!” we’re probably okay. (And since I’ve shared such conversations with him later, after the fact, I’m pretty sure I’m on point here.)

      And yes, you put it so well about genuinely wanting wise counsel from a friend. Thanks so much for that!

  5. “Speak lovingly about your husband. ”

    I agree with your take on this. You can’t ask for specific help with a problem until you define the problem. It really is about the intent behind the remark not so much what was said. It does need to be done with proper discretion which may vary in each marriage.

    1. Thanks, Dan.

      I think one of the most important aspects is choosing godly wives who support my marriage, not merely a group of women who’ll agree with whatever I say. Thus, when I’ve brought a problem to one of these friends, they’ve sometimes nailed me for my own selfish behavior and pointed out where I need to change to make our marriage stronger. In doing so, I believe they honor me, my husband, and our marriage.

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  8. I think it is important you find someone in your life you can talk about sex to. I know that is a really hard thing for people to disclose.

    I think you do need to be respectful of your spouse though and not share every single part of your intimate experiences. However, having a friend that you can say, “Hey, have you ever had this happen when you’re being intimate?” that is pretty important.

    For me, I have a friend from high school I can talk to. That is just a long-term relationship that has its comfort levels.

    However, I have a friend that I started opening up to a few years ago. One thing I did to open the conversations about sex was to put together a gift basket for her and her husband to have romantic night. I didn’t put sex toys in it or anything. I just bought some massage oil, a candle, chocolate, and body lotion. Simple things that would help create a romantic setting.

    After I gave her and her husband that gift, it sent them both a signal that my husband and I were ok talking about sex. I think it surprised them to receive that gift, as innocent as it was. However, it gave them the permission to talk with us individually and together about sex and our marriage relationship.

    We’ve talked about how to tell your kids about sex. We’ve had conversations about vasectomy and getting tubes tied. I’ve had other more intimate conversations the wife about questions I have in regards to sex. It really is great to have a couple friend that you and your husband can talk to about intimacy.

  9. Please be careful their is a fine line between good married sex and the worship of the idol sex. Worship sex or worship God with sex. When God sees my wife and I have sex I would hope he would say it’s very good when I see you two together naked uninhibited enjoying each other’s opposite sexual bodies the way I (God ) created it to be. My wife and I often ask each other I wonder what Adam and Eve did together in the garden? Personally and speaking for my wife I believe almost anything they could think of and I believe they were very creative!!

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