14 in February

valentines day intimacy

Let’s play a word association game.  I say February, you think ______.  (I hope it’s not Presidents Day or we have bigger problems here!). You think Valentine’s Day, right?  When I say Valentine’s, you think ______.  Love.  Chocolate. Shoe boxes covered in construction paper.

What about sex?  What words come to mind?  Oh yeah! Oh no! Don’t remind me.  Sleep. Fulfillment.  Do I have to?

No doubt, we married women have a variety of words that come to mind when the s-word is mentioned*.  I want to ask you to lay those words on the table for a minute. Let’s take a quick look at what God’s Word has to say about it.  (I use the word “quick” intentionally as this topic is bigger than one blog post.  And bigger than I am ready to go; I am blushing just from typing this for you to read.)

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.  1 Corinthian 7:3-4.

The word “duty” in this passage has never been all that appealing to me.  It makes it sound like work; grin and bear it stuff.  But if we shed the romantic NIV language and look at the original word, the picture gets a little brighter.  The Greek here is eunoia, or good will and kindness.  Ah, that’s much better!

1 Corinthians 7:3Ladies, let’s leave duty in the drawer with our flannel pajama bottoms and pull out goodness and kindness during the month of February!

I am am issuing a challenge to myself and anyone else who wants to see their marriage ignite during the month of love.  Fourteen intimate connections in the month of February.  Why fourteen?  Well, Valentine’s day is on the 14th; it is alliterative (I am a sucker for alliteration); and it is challenging but do-able.

There is a little science behind this challenge.  Gary Thomas, in his book Sacred Influence, opens the male brain up for us women to examine.  In an interview with Focus on the Family, he says most men run on 72 hour cycle, meaning after 72 hours their mind is restless with the desire to enjoy their marriage again. They think of it often and are more susceptible to temptation and frustration.

A man who feels sexually fulfilled is much more motivated to become emotionally and spiritually intimate with his wife, as well as to want to please her.  He is far more likely to be more heavily involved and invested in the home if his wife pursues him sexually.  Gary Thomas, Sacred Influence

We will also face a cultural war during the month of February.  The popular erotica novel 50 Shades of Gray will hit the big screen on Valentine’s Day.  This book has circulated among Christian women reeking havoc in minds and bedrooms across the nation.

Dr. Julii Slattery and Dannah Gresh wrote an amazing response to the growing problem of pornography in the Christian culture, specifically women reading erotica.  Pulling Back the Shades addresses not only the ways erotica can erode intimacy, but also provides tools to strengthen intimacy between you and your husband.

This challenge is not just about the physical intimacy.  It is about spiritual and emotional intimacy.  Dannah Gresh speaks of deep friendship in marriage:  “When the deep knowing is given priority in our love lives, the physical aspect of sex just works better” (Pulling Back the Shades).

Fourteen intimate connections in 28 days is a little under the 72 hour threshold.  But, it is the month of love!  It doesn’t have to be the Friday night special every time.  Explore new ways to connect with your man:  a massage, a love letter, a quiet walk by the lake.  Then, take notice of the ways your marriage changes as you take the time to pursue intimacy–together.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

To help you get your February off to a steamy start, I am giving away a Pulling Back the Shades ebook over on Facebook! Join the conversation!  Courtesy of Moody Publishers.

*There are a myriad of complicated relationships.  For answers to specific questions or concerns you may have about intimacy in your marriage, visit Dr. Juli Slattery’s site, Authentic Intimacy.

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