Tag Archives: Ultimate Intimacy

Are You Dating Your Spouse Enough?

When my children were little, going out on a date felt like an excursion to the Orient. At least in terms of planning, preparation, and cost. Lining up a babysitter, buying movie tickets, getting kids ready, and forking out enough money to fund Mommy & Me classes for a month just for one night? Often didn’t feel worth it.

Especially when what hubby and I most wanted was just more sleep.

Fast forward to those children become teenagers, and it was so much easier to find our way out the door, sitting at a restaurant enjoying grown-up conversation, and having the energy to finish the night properly when we got home.

And now, we’ve just entered the Empty Nest stage, and dates are becoming more about dinners at home alone and sex, well, wherever we want to have it in this big house. (Don’t tell my sons. They may never sit on the living room couch again.)

But looking back, I realize that we needed dating at every stage of our marriage. Those times when we weren’t dating much? Things weren’t great in our marriage. We were in survival mode, rather than nurturing our connection.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have ample family time and alone time, but being a couple now and then—without the demands or distractions of work, household, and parenting—reminds you why you fell in love. And why you should keep falling in love, over and over.

Research has even shown that we experience a boost of feel-good chemicals when we’re first falling in love that can be later mimicked by experiencing novel activities together. The typical dinner-and-movie probably won’t have that effect, but exploring your town together, taking walks in different places and in different seasons, or visiting new restaurants, museums, or sports activities can bring you closer together. You associate those feel-good times with the one who was with you — your beloved spouse.

But whatever season you’re in, how can you find the resources of time and money to date your spouse regularly? Here are a few ideas.

Organize a babysitting co-op.

Spock (husband) and I started dating again regularly when we joined our church’s babysitting co-op. Couples took turns babysitting groups of children, ages 2–11, using church facilities and a regular routine. For four hours, children played, watched a video, ate kids’ fare, and had adult supervision throughout. Meanwhile, couples who weren’t on call that night paid a few dollars for their kids’ meals and got those four hours to go out and do whatever they wanted. 

While we had the use of a gym and adjoining classrooms, you could organize a smaller co-op in couples’ homes or a church nursery. Adjust the ages to what works for you. Come up with a routine that appeals to kids and works for adults. See if area restaurants will deliver food or purchase grocery items that are easy to prepare, like frozen pizzas or sandwiches. Make sure you get parental permission to seek health care in an emergency and have good contact numbers for everyone.

If you can’t get that going, at least find another couple to swap with or ask around at your church for who the good, reasonably priced babysitters are.

Get creative about your dates.

My husband and I default to dinner-and-movie dates too. Or dinner and wandering through a store. But while those count for good maintenance, the dates that have brought us closest together and made for great memories are the more creative ones.

We’ve taken day trips to historical spots, visited various museums (many offer free admission on certain days), attended the Texas Renaissance Festival, cheered on our awesome Houston Astros at the ballpark, kayaked at our local town lake, and attended Shakespeare in the Park.

Google your town’s or your state’s tourist bureau and see what’s going on around you. Tour Pinterest for ideas on having a special date night at home. Also, check out The Dating Divas, which has a gazillion date-night ideas on their website. Just think outside the box!

Talk about expectations.

What does a “date” involve in your mind? It might not be what your spouse pictures. While dating before marriage, most of us expected the night to end with a kiss. Once married, a fair number of spouses expect a date to end with a roll in the hay.

Then there’s the romance/wooing factor. Let’s face it: some of you tried a lot harder when you were dating. Perhaps you got spiffied up, went out to a nice restaurant, and then went dancing, but now you think the local sandwich shop and a tour of Walmart should count. While your spouse is scratching their head and wondering, What happened to the romance?

Talk about what dating should look like. Discuss expectations, activities you can mutually agree on, and how the date might end. Figure out what will make you each feel more cherished and more connected to the other.

Attend a marriage event.

One of the best dates you can go on is a marriage enrichment event. That could be a regional conference, a ministry retreat, or a date night hosted by your local church. My husband and I have attended, and once coordinated, weekend marriage retreats for our church couples class, and they stick out in my memories as wonderful times we dedicated to nurturing out relationship. Not to mention we stayed in hotel rooms, a setting especially conducive to physical intimacy.

I have one particular event in mind, though. The Get Your Marriage On marriage conference is a single-evening event on Saturday, November 17, in St. George, Utah. And I’ll be delivering a keynote about sexual intimacy!

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St. George is located in Southwestern Utah, with beautiful views and plenty of those novelty experiences to enjoy together. And you can stay in a hotel room at the Amira Resort & Spa at a discount, when booked through the conference. Then there are the presenters: marriage and family therapists, a professor providing relationship education, a massage expert, Tara Carson of The Data Divas, and yours truly (that’s me!).

The event is underwritten by the Ultimate Intimacy app, The Dating Divas, The Center for Couples and Families, and more. On top of all that, I’m crossing my fingers (cross yours with me, please!) that I’ll have my newest book, Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations to Have with Your Spouse about Sex, out in time for Get Your Marriage On. If so, that’s the first place print copies will be sold!

And now you’re all like: Oh my goodness, this sounds fabulous, but we could never afford it! Y’all, it’s only $99. For a couple. Seriously, this is a great value and investment for your marriage!

Yes, you’ll have additional costs with lodging, transportation, and meals. But if you can swing it, you’ll have an unforgettable experience. And you’ll meet not only me, but also my beloved Spock — the man crazy enough to marry me and stay married to me for 25 years.

Get Your Marriage On might be just the kick in your two pairs of pants to revitalize your dating life. Regardless, prioritize dating in marriage. It leads to greater connection, a stronger foundation, and yes, typically more sex.

Godly Sources of Intimacy with Guest Daniel Purcell

I haven’t had many men write for my blog — not that I don’t think they have a lot to say on the subject of God’s design for sex in marriage, but my primary goal has always been reaching wives. But when I came into contact with the creator of a neat little marriage app called Ultimate Intimacy, he told me a bit of his story and I asked him to share his perspective with my readers.

Hope y’all enjoy this as much as I did and that you’ll check out the Ultimate Intimacy app! (More into at the bottom.)

I’ve been married to my sweetheart for 14 years. We’re both active in our faith and church. We avoid R-rated movies, and definitely anything pornographic or salacious.  We have an Internet filter to help protect us and our six kids. We’ve seen friends marriages disintegrate because of pornography and a view of sex that’s more like what you read in grocery store checkout-line magazines.

Although my wife and I had what we thought was a good intimate relationship, there were many things we didn’t know we didn’t know because we didn’t feel safe looking for answers. We were too afraid that reading or watching something wouldn’t be appropriate, so we avoided it altogether. It appeared that it was easier than to navigate what appeared to be a moral minefield.

A Friend Tells Me…

One day a friend told my wife and me that his marriage changed dramatically in the last few months after he and his wife got a few things working really well in the bedroom. He mentioned a community of Christian bloggers that discuss sex in positive and wholesome ways. Let’s just say it was an exciting conversation I don’t usually have on a regular basis!

I was intrigued, but skeptical. I didn’t want to compromise my values, and going online  searching for information about sex seemed scary. However, I was yearning for what my friend had in his marriage. He just seemed so sincere! My wife and I jumped in together and decided to see what my friend was so excited about. This is how we found the blog and book, Hot, Holy & Humorous.

…But Is It Okay?

Besides unanswered questions we’ve always had about sex, we were now introduced to new ideas we hadn’t considered (I guess you don’t know what you don’t know, right?). In addition, we weren’t sure if it was right to be reading tips from other couples of what they enjoy their lovemaking (in general terms). This became our moral dilemma — if reading material like this was right with God. I believe that we can receive answers to prayers and guidance from a loving Heavenly Father, but He expects us to do our homework too.

The answers didn’t come all at once, but little bits at a time. Here were some of our guiding principles that helped us along the way:

  • “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). I believe that God is the source of all truth, including truths about sex. We could rely on him to teach us if we put in the effort.
God is the source of all truth, including truths about sex. We could rely on him to teach us if we put in the effort. ~ Daniel Purcell Click To Tweet
  • God is a giver of good gifts (Matthew 7:11). Although I knew God approved of sex (multiply and replenish the earth!), for the first time I came to realize deep in my heart that God actually loves sex. He invented it! He designed it not only for procreation but for husbands and wives to express love and strengthen marital bonds. As the creator of it, He made it amazing and wants His children to partake fully of this special gift He’s set apart for his children.
  • By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). To me, this meant I could experiment a little with what we read and observe the outcome. The fruits I was looking for were a strengthened connection with my wife and things that would encourage me to be a faithful and devoted husband. If the fruits are good, then the tree the fruits come from must also be good.

With the above in mind, my wife and I spent a lot of time over the next few weeks talking, reading, and … ahem … doing our “homework.”  

The Fruits of a Healthy & Happy Sex Life

All of the sudden our marriage started to change! The first “fruit” we noticed is we started communicating better about everything, including the sensitive and the sacred. Another “fruit” was those twitterpated feelings from early on came back. We felt like newlyweds all over again, but better! I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop thinking of my wife during the day, just like back in the earlier dating days.

As for our physical intimacy, our frequency doubled, quality quadrupled, and overall marital satisfaction increased by an order of a magnitude. A weekly date night became a real set-in-stone thing. We were sleeping better and our stress levels went down. As a result, there was more peace in the home; it seemed like the kids started getting along better too.

My desire to be the best person I could be for my precious wife increased dramatically too. This meant I had some personal changes to make. Changing one’s habits aren’t easy, and it took some sacrifice on my part but have been well worth it for my dear, sweet angel wife Emily. I could go on further about the blessings we’ve enjoyed, but I think you get the picture.

My Soapbox

Improving the sexual dimension was just a part of our renewed enthusiasm for each other in our marriage. It seems though that a healthy, happy sexual relationship brings out the best in us. It leads people to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and to do good. It gives us strength to endure all things and fills our days with hope and excitement for our future. It leads us to honor our vows and be fully committed to each other.

It seems though that a healthy, happy sexual relationship brings out the best in us. ~ Daniel Purcell #marriage Click To Tweet

In our situation, it was knowhow, techniques, and new things to explore to keep things fresh that made the initial difference. Then, like a virtuous cycle, other areas of our marriage improved. When other areas improved, our sexually intimate area improved too.

I learned how important it is to make lovemaking fun and mutually fulfilling. None of this would be possible without feeling safe to explore helpful resources that we could apply in the bedroom. We’re grateful for the brave souls out there that are willing to share what they’ve learned in a healthy, positive, and constructive way. They’re blessing many lives, probably more than they’d ever know.

If there are readers with a spouse who’s unsure about this blog, podcast, books, or Facebook group, I hope they’ll at least read about our experience and reconsider. I want to tell them to be brave and realize there’s a lot of good people out there sharing real experiences based on true principles. I hope they find that learning more about God’s design for intimacy is uplifting, wholesome, and encouraging. And can be really, really fun too!

J again: Be sure to check out Daniel’s app! Trust me—go ahead and pay for the premium. (It’s about the same cost as a Chick-fil-A meal, y’all.) You can thank me later.

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