Marriage is the most intimate relationship two people on earth can have. As Genesis 2:25 describes Adam and Eve, husbands and wives are “naked and not ashamed.” It’s a powerful union, having the ability to bind hearts together like spiritual glue, produce offspring, and even heal the body and soul. In their book Intended for Pleasure, Ed and Gaye Wheat write, “… Today therapists and researchers are discovering that genuine sexual intimacy has a remarkable power to heal, renew, refresh, restore, and sustain the marriage relationship.”

Yet the one place where marital fidelity is most intimate —the bedroom — is often treated as a storeroom for clutter. Instead, the bedroom should be a place where love and romance are cultivated, encouraged, and celebrated. This is the one room where you and your spouse can enjoy the relationship that God created for you to share, so there should be special attention paid to it.

Women are especially affected by the state of the bedroom because we feel connected to the home in a personal way. We often see the home as an extension of our personalities and style. The colors, wall decorations, furniture, pictures, etc., are all selected based on what we want others to know about us.

Ask yourself this question: If a friend were to walk into your bedroom today, what would she say about your marriage based on what she found? If the answer to that question leaves you feeling inadequate, these 10 ideas will help you turn your bedroom into an incubator for romance.

1. Put away clutter. Everyone has them — stacks of bills, coupons, random newsletters that haven’t been read … the list goes on. And since you don’t want to forget about them (or maybe you just don’t know where to store them), the default system is to make a stack on the dresser or chest of drawers in your bedroom. Perhaps the dirty laundry has found a gathering place on the floor next to the bed. And all those pictures, candlesticks, decorations, and children’s painting that you are planning to find a place for have found their way to the tops of your bedroom furniture.

If you want a romantic bedroom, all of this clutter must go somewhere else. To help de-clutter, put large items in a box and store them in the hall closet or under the bed, and stack loose papers in tall baskets, preferably with lids, that can double as hiding spaces and decor.

By simply straightening up the room, you’ll be less burdened without the constant reminders of looming projects and feel more relaxed.

2. Don’t use your bedroom as storage. This is similar to the previous suggestion, except this is a more permanent problem. As much as possible, remove stored items from your room. This requires an investment of time. Take a day to sort through the stored items and decide which need to be put away in their proper place, given away or sold, or moved someplace else for continued storage. Then take advantage of hidden spaces in your house to store the leftover items. Use places such as:

  • Space under beds. Invest in storage boxes that are made to fit under the bed and roll for easy access. If you are storing toys and children’s clothing, utilize this space in children’s rooms, as well.
  • Trunks. Depending on the size, trunks can double as tables and/or decorations in a bedroom or living area. It gives both an aesthetic value and a practical one.
  • Baskets. This is another valuable de-cluttering item. You can fill baskets with storage and put them on a bookshelf or under tables as decorations.

3. Choose colors that soothe. The color scheme you choose for your bedroom is as important as the decorations. The reason is that colors have a way of connecting with emotions. Sharon Hanby-Robie and Deb Strubel authors of Beautiful Places, Spiritual Spaces write, “Decorate your home with the colors you and your family love. It doesn’t matter what the latest trends are or what the fashion gurus think. What does matter is that you love your home and that your choices make sense for you and your family.”

If you don’t know what colors and styles you like, start looking through home magazines and catalogs. Tear out the pages that have colors and designs you are drawn to. Soon, you will begin to see a pattern develop, and you can use these ideas to decorate your own bedroom.

4. Use many of your best decorations. Women often use their best decor for the living room, den, or kitchen, where guests are most likely to frequent, and send the leftovers to the bedroom. But the heart of your home lies within the relationship between husband and wife, so the bedroom should be a priority. Not only that, but your spouse will appreciate the extra attention to enhance your romance.

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Go through your house and find several of your best decorations that fit with the color scheme in your bedroom. Then find a place for them, being careful not to create more clutter, but instead flatter the room. Put as much effort into this room as you would a room with higher traffic.

5. Use decorations to remind you of special memories. In our bedroom you will find framed dried flowers from one of our first dates, wedding and honeymoon pictures, our marriage covenant matted and framed, and several books that have ministered to our marriage in a powerful way.

Looking at these tokens from the past, I am continually reminded of how our love blossoms and grows over the years. They warm my heart in good times, and convict my heart in times of conflict. When I roll over to my side of the bed in a fit of annoyed anger, I can’t help but reminisce these precious memories as my eyes scan the room. They remind me that I have a good marriage and challenge me to check my motives.

6. Invest in candles and burn them often. Some couples use candles mainly to decorate tables and shelves. But they miss out on the soft lighting and subtle fragrances that candles can offer a room. Nothing gives a romantic ambiance like candlelight, so find several fragrances and colors that you and your husband love, and make it a habit of burning them.

7. Spray linens and clothing with refreshing scents. Linen spray is a quick and easy way to keep sheets smelling fresh, and the soothing fragrances can calm a stressed loved one. In the same way, body sprays can also keep you smelling fresh and even sweeten your time together.

8. Take out the television. Spending time in front of the television keeps the attention off of your lives and onto shadows of life. Before you know it, your time together before bed slips away through the world of media. Bob DeMoss, author of T.V.: The Great Escape, wrote, “I am convinced that the simple decision to unplug TV [even] for just one month has the power to revolutionize our relationships with our spouse, our children, our world, and most importantly with our God.” Just by the simple act of removing the TV, you open up free time to reconnect with your spouse in a special way without distractions.

9. Play romantic music. There is something in music that can make or break the mood in a room. In his book A Minute of Margin, Dr. Richard A. Swenson writes, “We can’t explain what [music] is, where it comes from, or why it works. One person warbles her vocal chords while another blows on his pipe — and somehow it soothes. Music is free, is equally available to every person, and has a powerful healing effect on the human spirit.”

Whether you use a full stereo set with surround sound, or simple iPod speakers, find a way to play music in your bedroom. Choose a variety of music that soothes both you and your spouse, whether it’s a collection of standards, classical, or soft rock, and don’t forget to include songs that carry special meanings and memories. Make it a habit of putting on your favorite tunes to both relax and create a loving mood.

10. Wear an attitude to match. A beautiful bedroom only provides half the romance. If you give your spouse the cold shoulder, or use the bedroom to manipulate to get what you want, it will not be the warm place of love that it was meant to be. Work to make your time in the bedroom a time of building up your marriage emotionally and spiritually. Pray together regularly, avoid getting into conflicts before bedtime, and make efforts to communicate in loving ways. If you practice these things, no matter how your bedroom looks to the eye, the heart will recognize it as a place of true love.

Used with permission of FamilyLife, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, Copyright © 2007 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.