Enjoying the Gift of Sex in Your Marriage

When my husband and I moved to Dallas five years ago, we joined a church that stressed the importance of living in authentic community. We plugged into a small group that consisted of couples who’d been married 1-3 years. Our mentor couple paved the way for us to be open and accountable in all areas of our marriage, including the often-taboo topic of sex.

One evening around the table in confidentiality, one of the girls told just us girls about the concerns she had in her sexual relationship with her husband. It had been several weeks since they made love. Most evenings she was tired from work, being a mom, and just didn’t feel in the mood. She was frustrated and knew he was too. Above all, she was concerned about his purity.

We listened and encouraged her to be intentional about having a regular time for intimacy and that we would hold her accountable. We gave her ideas to freshen things up and what we acknowledged right away was that her situation was not extraordinary. We had been there as wives before and probably would again.

How God intended sex to be          
When you’re single and dating sex is so incredibly enticing, it’s easy to think that sex will be so easy in marriage. Besides, you love each other so much. How could something so delightful take so much work?

But you quickly realize after the wedding day and honeymoon that you have to be diligent at cultivating your sexual relationship with your spouse. Keeping it alive and exciting doesn’t always come naturally. Sex can become common. And arguments and conflict often surface when sexual intimacy is lacking.

But the amazing thing is that God designed sexual intimacy between a husband and wife to be enjoyable, even in the midst of life’s demands, as well as our own insecurities and imperfections. He designed sex to be delightful, vibrant, intoxicating, pleasing, fun, adventurous, and bonding. But I can’t promise that you’ll see the marriage relationship portrayed like that on your flat screen.

The secret of the joy of sex
In Song of Solomon, Chapter 4, King Solomon and the Shulamite woman have consummated their marriage. Their sexual desires and passions are no longer restrained. They are diving into all the delights they’ve been waiting for with wild passion:

I have entered my garden, O my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my balsam spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk!” (Song of Solomon 5:1).

His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem” (5:15-17).

May your mouth be like the best wine, flowing smoothly for my beloved, gliding gently over our lips as we sleep together” (7:9).

I am my beloved’s, and he desires me!” (7:10).

Those are just a few words out of lines of descriptive Hebrew poetry that reveal the beauty of Solomon and his bride’s sexual relationship. Who needs romance novels and movies when you can just pick up the Bible! God clearly had a purpose for including it in Scripture. He cares about the sexual relationship because he created it as a good thing.

In marriage, God has given us the incredible blessing of enjoying our spouse’s body, mind, soul, and spirit to its absolute fullest. And it’s a pleasure we get to enjoy for however many years God gives us with our spouse.

In the book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, contributor Ben Patterson says,

The gigantic secret of the joy of sex is this: Sex is good because the God who created sex is good. And God is glorified greatly when we receive his gift with thanksgiving and enjoy it the way he meant for it to be enjoyed.”

If we don’t accept the gift of our sexual relationship with thanksgiving and joy, then we’re being disobedient to God’s word and doing a huge disfavor to our spouse’s needs and to their purity. But when we enjoy the gift of sex with a joyful and selfless heart as God intended, there is nothing better in the world that exists.

The reality of sexual brokenness
If sexual brokenness or victimization has been a reality for you prior to marriage, no pain is too great for God to heal and restore. It’s never too late to seek biblical counsel with your spouse and bring to light those hurts. Talking about your sexual past can help save you from a lot of pain on down the road and can save your marriage.

Past or present misuses of sexuality like adultery, fornication, masturbation, pornography, and so on that have entered the marriage bed are never beyond God’s forgiveness and grace. God is in the redemption business. Our sin and struggles with sin are why we so desperately need the cross. In our unfaithfulness, Jesus already paid our debt. And He is always calling us back to him.

Committed to the sexual relationship
The sexual relationship with our spouse is a huge deal and we were created to enjoy the gift of sex to its fullest. It must be protected and kept a priority.

It’s neat to see how over the years the friend in my small group has grown in her intimacy with her husband. She started making changes when it came to the time of day they were intimate—she bought new lingerie, and made sure she was taking care of herself physically in the midst of being a busy mom and working.

Her husband appreciated the efforts made and they’re doing well in their overall relationship today. They’re committed to keeping their sexual relationship the best it can be, while recognizing that there will be days that are harder than others.

My friend’s efforts continue to encourage all the wives in our group to honor God and our husbands in such a way.


Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mom, writer and editor in rural Colorado. Through story, personal experience, and biblical insight she is passionate about helping others live out their faith in everyday life and relationships. She has been writing for leading Christian books and magazines for over 12 years and holds a BA in English and Master’s in Religion. Samantha and her husband, Jeremiah, have been married for a decade and have four young children. Samantha writes candidly about marriage, motherhood, and faith at samanthakrieger.com

  • I don’t know if it’s my age, or what, but frankly, the thought of sharing my sexual problems in a GROUP of other women is completely unfathomable to me. What a violation of my husband’s privacy! Those matters are better left one on one. I also found this comment interesting:

    “She was frustrated and knew he was too. Above all, she was concerned about his purity.”

    What about her own purity? Do women still actually believe that men are the only ones who struggle with sexual purity? Ever heard of emotional adultery?

    The amount of ignorance I had about marriage only having been married 1-3 years would have filled volumes, and I would never have given advice to another person, nor asked for accountability. It is a violation of a husband’s privacy to discuss matters in such a large group setting. It is better done in a private situation, with a mature counsellor.

    • I think different generations are more open than others to discussing the issue of sex. I believe it is something the church has ignored for a very long time. It was radical for me at first to be open but it was within a small group setting among women who I trust and who had my best interest in mind. Today, four of those women are doing very well to which they attribute it to the accountability they had to be the best wives they could be for their husbands.

  • Kristen

    Great article! I have been apart of leading groups like the one mentioned, sex is discussed after meeting together for over a year and the privacy of such matter are emphasized. No one has to share anything they or their spouse is not comfortable with sharing. I have seen this discussion to be extremely freeing, couples feel there is something wrong with them if sex isn’t fun and easy, to know they don’t struggle alone is helpful. I would also say that any husband would be thrilled for his wife to share their struggles if it meant more frequent, more exciting, more intimate sex! It’s not about comparing it is about loving and being one as we are biblically called to.

  • In the right context, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sharing concerns over one’s sexual life. I think the church (both building and body) has shunned this discussion, pushing it into the outermost corners of our lives, and no one feels comfortable even thinking about bringing it up. From the article, and the fact that I know Samantha, I don’t think these were “tell all sessions” where gratuitous high-school girl type details were discussed. THAT would be inappropriate and possibly even pushing it for a one-on-one session.
    Of course groups talks like this, or that deal with anything personal, need to be assessed on a case by case basis. Good, biblical relationships need to be established and the knowledge that no one is going to go gossip about it to others….well the hope of that anyways. I think the hope with these sessions is that the wives get comfortable enough sharing it with their peers that they will be comfortable sharing with their husbands. I know spouses should have that comfort already but it’s obvious, for some, that doesn’t exist.
    I do agree that marriages that are 1-3 years old may not have the “wisdom” of older marriages but they also don’t have the same struggles. I would hope that the people that were in the group weren’t naive enough to think they had it all together! Ha.
    Anyways, good article and I appreciate the candor of it….we need more of that.

  • awesome points Nathan. Good to hear a husband’s perspective. I completely agree that it’s all about context. And I couldn’t agree with you more that the church has shunned the discussion- whether they think it’s awkward, inappropriate, or whatever. But it is sooo needed as it has a huge impact on a marriage. Especially past baggage or if the sexual life even exists presently in the marriage. I am encouraged that more Christians are talking about it, however, especially more than what was seen years ago.

  • Julia Wells

    Being transparent and vulnerable in a group setting where we can “spur one another on towards love and good deeds” is such a wonderful biblical concept. To be able to share struggles, especially sexual struggles as an individual and a couple can only strengthen a marriage with a trusted small group.

    Truthfully, most every woman I know that is not in a group of trusted believers NEEDS a group where she can be encouraged to love her husband better in the area of sex and help him in his purity. Thank you for sharing all of this Samantha! Women as well as men need to see that they are not the only ones who struggle. Understanding what your peers are going through and not isolating yourself has a freedom to it that comes ony in the workings of the body of Christ. Great article!!!

  • Beth

    I’m a newly wed and yes still in my honeymoon stage. Almost been married for a year. I disagree that you can’t open up in a big group, I wish I had a group like that. I’ve opened up with my mom, so I think anything is possible! Haha. Now I do disagree that masterbation is wrong in marriage during sexual intercourse. Pleasure is not wrong, and if it helps during those times (mostly for a woman) there is nothing wrong with it. Nor going to am adult store for toys, games ect. Just not porn. If it’s fun , enticing and it’s with your spouse alone, nothing wrong with it. Sex is meant for pleasure, passion and intimacy. More than just making babies.

  • MIchelle

    Since the birth of my second baby 9 months ago, actually since I started showing when I was pregnant I’ve had an extreamly hard time enjoying sex. I swear it feels like a hormone change or something because my desire is so low and it really sucks. He on the other hand, wants it often and I find myself “just getting it over with.” Its almost more stressful than pleasurale. We take care of my mother who is disabled, I go to school, work and have the new baby. Plus I’m working on loosing this weight. So between being tired, stressed, and not feeling as attractive as I did before.. Sex just sucks for me now. I feel bad for him. We do have sex, but Sometimes I literally just dont have the time to get all made up everyday. He does not complain about the weight Ive gained. He doesnt need me to have my hair or makeup on, but in my mind I”m like.. ya right… I do have a good man. He has watched porn before. Which made me feel more insecure.. I’m just hopeing once I loose all the weight (Im getting there lost 20lbs so far) that my confidence will go up and my drive. The act itself is not as good as I’d like… but my confidence keeps me from communicating to let him know what I like. So I’m just completely frustrated for the time being. And although it does get done.. it always sucks for me and I’m just faking it. I have never had this problem before.. Im not sure what to do.

  • Michelle- thank you for your honesty. I have been in your shoes before when it comes to having the “desire” after baby and while expecting.

    Know that there will come a season when you feel better. In the mean time, when you continue to serve your husband the way you do, know that it’s such a gift to him. I’d encourage you to pray that God will help you and give you the desire and even when you don’t feel like to continue serving and giving of yourself- even though I know that is soo hard.

    It sounds like you have a ton on your plate. Don’t be too hard on yourself but like you said, don’t be afraid to communicate with your husband in a loving way about how you feel. Ask if he can help you in this struggle and help him understand how you are feeling. This has really helped in my marriage.

    The reality is that there will be ups and downs, even on a weekly basis. Sex isn’t always perfect and can be a stress at times. Hang in there. I’ll be praying that you will be able to find rest as well. God Bless you.

  • sarah

    Interesting article. I have to admit, I would be willing to share in a small group about sexual struggles, however my husband would not. And he would be extremely upset if he found out I did. I think spouses should respect their mates desire for confidentiality, but on the flip side be understanding if their partner needs someone to talk to outside the relationship….and the counsellor should be an agreed upon person. These guidelines may have saved me from some major blowups during the course of our marriage, and helped us sexually as well. All that to say small groups aren’t always a good thing on this issue. Use some caution extroverts.

  • Jade

    U think this just supports the fact that society especially mainstream Christians think that the
    Women is the only one who has to fix sexual problems. What did he do to help? Did he start going to the gym? Did e but new cologne and wear nice things Toni rice her? Did he help extra with the kids so she could look after herself? Did he just hold her without agenda of sex as motivation? Why is it always the women who has to change and act to “keep her man” so he won’t stray from his purity? Where’s his responsibility?

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