Why is it that passionate romance routinely fizzles out over the years? Why does a soulmate so easily become a roommate? Why does the rapid heartbeat of excitement in the early years morph into the heavyheartedness of disappointment in the later years?
But passion in marriage doesn’t have to fizzle out with the passing years. That certainly isn’t God’s plan. He has a much different desire for your marriage and mine. Yes, sexual intimacy will change as we grow older. Hormones wane. Libido lessens. Stamina decreases. Bodies don’t always cooperate. That’s a given. But I believe intimacy can grow and mature into something sweeter, deeper, and more profound than any clothes-ripping frantic frenzy ever could be.
Marriage is Like Your Relationship with Jesus
What if you’re just not as interested in romance and physical intimacy as you used to be? What do you do about that? I think of it like this: When I first became a Christian, I was so in love with Jesus! No one ever had to tell me to read my Bible, pray, or make sure I was in fellowship with other believers. I would have been happy as a peach to stop everything and simply focus on my relationship with Jesus.
However, with time, some of that enthusiasm waned. Daily life threw cold water on spiritual fervor. I knew that in order to have a maturing relationship with Jesus, I needed to establish some disciplined times of Bible reading and prayer, get plugged into a local church, and have accountability. I didn’t love Jesus any less than the first day I met him, but our relationship changed, at least on my part. I had to be intentional to keep the relationship strong.
It’s the same way with a husband and wife. Remember, marriage is a physical example of a spiritual relationship with Christ. If we have to practice certain disciplines to grow and mature in our relationship with our heavenly bridegroom, then it only makes sense that we would have to do the same with our earthly bridegroom.
Prioritizing Your Relationship
Great marriages don’t just happen. It’s crucial for a couple to keep their marriage a priority. Years ago a woman with children who didn’t have an outside job was called a housewife. Now that same woman is called a stay-at-home mom. Some might think that’s a good change. Who wants to be married to their house, right? But here’s the tragedy. Rather than focusing on being a wife, the focus has shifted to being a mom, and marriages have suffered because of it.
Sometimes your husband wants you all to himself. He might not tell you, but he does! He needs to know that you can take off the mommy hat and give him your full attention. I can still remember the first time Steve and I went away by ourselves and left one-year-old Steven at home with Grandma. I cried a few times when Steve wasn’t looking. It was hard at first. But the weekend did wonders for Steve. He needed to know that he was still the king of my heart, even though that little prince took up so much of my time. We’ve made sure to have at least one weekend away each year since, and that was more than thirty-five years ago.
If you’re empty nesters and are home alone every night anyway, that doesn’t count. A date night needs to be time away from the home to reconnect and have fun. There’s more to getting away as a couple than romance—it’s also about deepening your friendship and simply having a good time together.
Relishing the Sweetness of Aging Intimacy
You’ve seen it. So have I. You’re watching a movie or television program when a man and a woman catch each other’s eye. Before the sixty minutes are up, they’re ripping each other’s clothes off and having passionate sex . . . usually standing up against a wall. But that’s not the reality of lifelong intimacy.
Here’s something that might surprise you. When the National Health and Social Life Survey completed an extensive survey of Americans’ sex lives, they found:
- Sexually active singles have the most sexual problems and get the least pleasure out of sex.
- Men with the most “liberal attitudes about sex” are seventy-five percent more likely to fail to satisfy their partners.
- Married couples by far reported the happiest satisfaction with their sex lives.
- The most sexually satisfied demographic group of them is that of married couples between fifty and fifty-nine!
Fifty and fifty-nine? Yep. Intimacy grows sweeter with time.
As a husband and wife grow old together, some aspects of lovemaking will change. It is the perceptive husband and wise wife who are attuned to what brings pleasure as normal physical changes occur and are then intentional about bringing satisfaction and joy.
The Real Magic Comes LaterPeople often talk about the magic of the honeymoon night, but the real magic comes much later.Click To Tweet
People often talk about the magic of the honeymoon night, but the real magic comes much later. The longer a couple is married, the more comfortable they become. The awkwardness gives way to confidence as each learns what the other enjoys and how their bodies respond. The wine of lovemaking grows sweeter with the years. The garden grows to be abundant with ripened fruit. Inexperience gives way to comfort and ease.
My in-laws were such a couple. They were a walking duet synchronized to the melody of tender devotion. I remember watching them on their sixtieth wedding anniversary in a dimly lit restaurant surrounded by children and grandchildren. Faces lined with years embraced cheek-to-cheek, weathered hands and arthritic fingers interlaced and a slow-but-steady pace served as a picture of enduring love that spanned over half a century. Bruce pulled out Mary Ellen’s chair for her to take her seat; Mary Ellen brushed a crumb from Bruce’s wrinkled cheek. He poured water in her glass; she added cream to his coffee. Still loving. Still serving. Still lovestruck in the winter of their lives. Every husband and wife’s dream.
Taken from Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon by Sharon Jaynes. Copyright © 2019 by Sharon Jaynes. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.