Looking for ways to improve intimacy in your Christian marriage? It could be as simple as eating a little less junk food or cutting back on a bit of sodium in your diet. Really. It worked for us – it can work for you too!
Good self-care can help you stay healthy and well.
It can bring you joy.
Good self-care is important, most of us know that.
And, self-care can also help your marriage too.
Self-care Can Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage
But, it doesn’t require making drastic changes. Small, incremental changes will do.
I’ll start with my story. The short version: we struggled with infertility for almost seven years. We were trying to start a family, work full time, and go to night school all at the same time.
We pretty much ignored the whole ‘take good care of yourself’ jargon. Honestly, we weren’t ignoring it on purpose, we were just trying to get through the day. So, investing in the intimacy of our marriage was the furthest thing from our minds!
But, we weren’t pouring into our marriage with this way of living.
And, we certainly weren’t sacrificially giving ourselves to each other as the Bible tells us to do.
Yes, we were being physically intimate. But that was driven by a fertility calendar. We were dog-tired almost every night; so we lacked the desire to be emotionally or spiritually connected.
Ephesians 5:21-30 states, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body.” (NIV)
These verses are instructions that tell us the depth of how we should be taking care of our marriage. Per Scripture, if you want to improve intimacy in your marriage, you are to do so sacrificially.
An additional way to look at it may be how to take care of ourselves – our minds, bodies
It says, submit to the body of marriage. And submit YOUR body to each other to keep your mind, body, and soul in a place to be obedient for 1 Cor 7:3-5 (see below).
This verse describes the conduct and responsibility for intimacy. It sounds like it’s all related to the physical aspect of intimacy. But an emotional connection will occur too. The emotional connection comes through the courting, the flirting, the smiling, the sweet-talking, and the foreplay. It’s the blend of spontaneity and day-long flirting that makes sex and intimacy exciting and fun. It’s not just intercourse.
But who has the creative thoughts or energy to do all that when you’re so freaking exhausted you can’t wait to crawl into bed just to crash?
The reality is when you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re going to end up thinking. “Hmmm…sleep or sex? Um, I’m too tired for sex so I guess its sleep!” Unfortunately, s
leep does not improve intimacy in your marriage.
Which leads me to another piece of advice Paul gives in 1 Cor 7:3-5, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (NIV)
It helps your marriage because it offers protection – it gives the enemy fewer opportunities for attack.
So, we changed some things.
We started making a better effort at eating healthy foods. Not so we would ‘lose weight’ (but I mean who couldn’t lose a few pounds) but to have clarity in our minds and not be in a brain fog so we could be mindful and aware of what was going on regarding our marriage and intimacy.
We ate less of the bad food and more of the good so we could feel less tired and have more energy. We made food choices based on how we wanted to feel and what was good for us, instead of what would taste good. The biggest help? Making a meal plan.
Believe or not overeating and feeling stuffed and groggy does not lend to a night of intimacy. Don’t believe me? Just think ‘Thanksgiving dinner’.
We also focused on getting eight hours of sleep so we wouldn’t be fighting with the ‘hunger’ hormones that come with sleep deprivation.
We tried to get outside more often to enjoy nature with each other, get some exercise and relax.
All of these small things eventually resulted in big changes, and ultimately the improvement of intimacy in our marriage.
Five REAL WAYS self-care can improve intimacy in your marriage
- You feel better and aren’t so tired as discussed above! Cut a little of the carbs and a lot of the junk (empty calories).
- Proper self-care can prevent the development of lifestyle-related conditions that require medication (which can decrease libido). High blood pressure medication is a cause of decreased libido.
- Sometimes we can’t completely avoid taking medication for various reasons – for example, a family history of an illness. And sometimes, people do everything right and still have health conditions that require medications or treatment. However, h
avinga healthy lifestyle can allow taking the lowest dose of a drug so you experience fewer side-effects.
- Healthy self-care can help you emotionally – through positive self-esteem or body image – even after having kids or aging – because you know you are taking the best care of yourself – no guilt or shame.
- And, self-care can help spiritually through the complete and sacrificial submission of yourself to the sanctification of marriage as the verse describes.
I’m sure you know that life is full of changes. But with the right attitude towards your self-care, you can be prepared to deal with things that are going to come up, so the intimacy in your marriage doesn’t suffer.
If you want to improve intimacy in your marriage, and are ready to start taking better care of yourself, subscribe to my FREE 5 Day Bible Study, Be Well Through Worship.