Two Ways to Fire Up Passion in the Bedroom

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.
I Corinthians 6:16

The loss of passionate romance is a common complaint in marriage. It seems that once the confetti and rice are swept away and the last of the wedding cake is put in the freezer, so is the couple’s passion.

But marriage in no way requires passion to be put on ice. Love grows less exciting with time for the same reasons that the second run on a fast toboggan slide is less exciting than the first. But as any long-term, happily married couple can tell you, the excitement may decrease, but the real pleasure can still increase.

So what do couples who enjoy passion do that’s different than others? How do they rekindle the flickering flame of passion? Here are two proven practices:

  • Practice meaningful touch. Sex therapists have long known what successfully married couples soon learn. Affection, in the form of touching, is not only a preliminary to making love, it is a language that speaks more eloquently than words. Sheldon Van Auken, writing about his marriage to Davy in the book A Severe Mercy, illustrates the profoundness of touch: “Davy had crept near to me still crouching and I put my arm about her, and she snuggled close. Neither of us spoke, not so much as a whispered word. We were together, we were close, we were overwhelmed by a great beauty. I know that it seemed to us both that we were completely one: we had no need to speak.” Meaningful touch is the language of passion.
  • Compliment your partner daily. The most important element of romantic passion for both husbands and wives is to feel special. Not only do they want to feel sexually attractive to their mates, but they want to know they are appreciated. Compliments feel good — both to give and to receive. So, to paraphrase a James Taylor song, “Shower the person you love with compliments.”

When it comes to passion in marriage, the bottom line is that the intensity of early passion is only the beginning.

We often illustrate it this way: A jet airliner from Seattle to New York uses 80 percent of its fuel in takeoff. A tremendous amount of energy is required to get the plane launched so it can reach a comfortable cruising altitude. The takeoff, however, is only the beginning.

The cruise is the important part of the journey, and it requires a different kind of energy, one with more sustaining and even power. By cultivating a deep-rooted passion, you can avoid years of needless marital turbulence and enjoy soaring at altitudes never imagined.

How do you and your spouse keep the passion alive in your marriage? Share your tips in the comments section below.

14 Comments

  • Bill says:

    The most important part is coming before God’s throne of grace, first thing, repenting of any sin and particularly repenting of bitterness over unmet expectations, then lowering expectations, and in humility, asking Jesus to give me exactly what I need to love her well. I do this because i do not have what it takes, but in reliance on Jesus, He gives me what i need. Then, and only then, can i do any sweet thing for her, like giving gifts, cleaning, washing her car, touch, giving compliments, without being “needy” and weak and selfish by wanting something in return. When i do, expecting sex, that is needy and weak. When Jesus fills my heart with love, i can freely give to her.

    • Howard says:

      So we’ll said, and so true. Thank you.

    • jim says:

      Married 47 years this week, sad to say, I am still on the uphill side of the learning curve. Learning what Bill put in just a few words. I didn’t know it then, but I went into marriage thinking it would satisfy me. I tried to do loving, kind things that I would like. Then I learned it didn’t have a good result in my wife until I found out then did what she perceived as loving and kind. Then I found out the Bible’s instructions to husbands were regardless of how my wife behaved or received my gifts. Today I think much of the daily grind of life is really to be done for God and He will reward as appropriate. I’m pleasing Him, then my wife and least of all myself. But I feel like I’m loosing myself to a duty, a service to others drudgery at the end of which there is a possible reward which I could never deserve. Feeling a little empty today but Tomorrow “I will know even as I am known.” – – finally it will make sense.

      • Tim says:

        Mr. Jim,
        Your post has a similar tone to my life. (I’ve been married a mere 40/years, 118/days, 20/hours… and 57/minutes.)Marriage, family and life require a good deal of ‘trench work’. Our Lord gave His life for us and we are called to follow His example. In the end, we gain our worth from Him and through His eyes, He sees us as “complete, whole, forgiven, redeemed, of GREAT worth… we are TOTALLY LOVED!” I conclude from your post that you are committed to stay on His course, in spite of any difficult life circumstances. Good job! I appreciate your post. It encourages me and I want to encourage you with a silly little ‘press on’ catch phrase I recall when I am struggling; “This too shall pass.”, it helps me stay on target and avoid pitfalls of selfish behavior.
        P.S. NONE of us make it to the down hill side of the learning curve… keep climbing brother!

      • Mary CC says:

        Jim, I am praying for you. Your note reminds me that there is a profound difference not in WHAT we do for God or others, or ourselves for that matter, but in WHY we do what we do. What motivates us. When I think and act out of a genuine response to God’s love and grace (through that relationship Bill highlights), though the actions may be identical, my heart is fueled and flooded with love, not obligation or rote obedience. This expands my spirit and my capacity to glorify God, rather than wearing me down and, as a natural result, adding nothing to the Kingdom, much less my marriage, or any one who sees my hollow (at best) or selfish and resentful actions. May you and I, and all who seek to love God and others well, continually and increasingly find that sweet and amazing place of not just denying ourselves, but responding so strongly in love and thanksgiving to God that the earthly desires of ourselves no longer resonate in our hearts. THEN we operate in His power and grace. THEN we and the world gain the blessings and joy of boundless love. In Jesus’ amazingly loving name. Amen. xxoo

      • John says:

        Amen , just when you think your alone!

    • Vernon Brant says:

      Good word Bill. A Christ centered marriage is the key foundation principle.

    • Janet Bush says:

      This is the absolute truth.

  • Robert Hartshorn says:

    I am 79, my wife is 66. Today we celebrated our 3rd anniversary. Lying next to each other in just the way you said was a beautiful expression of God’s love . Just lying in each other’s arms was extremely enjoyable.

  • Cheryl B says:

    If I could give an encouragement in response to several of the comments here…read the book Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, by Gary Thomas. Cooperating with God’s transforming work in our lives, produces amazing results over time….

  • Debbie says:

    I agree with Cheryl – the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas is a wonderful guide for us all to live by. I also recommend Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages – it helps us to realize that our spouse may respond and show love differently than we do. It is a great book and provides good insight to help us show love to each other – and others around us – using the ‘language’ that reaches them!

  • Tomi Jarrell says:

    My husband and I will be celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary this year, we have six kids and run a full time business and have a young couples group we mentor. Our life is full and there have been times we have unintentionally shut each other out sexually, not realizing the damage we were doing to our relationship when we truly needed each other the most. However, each time this wane in our sex life occurs one or both of us ‘wake up’ and start that hard conversation again, the one with repentance, confession and forgiveness and our sex life comes alive once again. I wish I could say we found the key that keeps it alive all the time, but sometimes life just happens. Communication is our saving grace, our ability to raise our hand and say, “Hey, I miss you, I need you and I need sex to be frequent and fun,” it brings both of us back to putting first things first in our marriage. As a wife I love knowing that my husband desires me daily, that his heart is full when we come together on a regular basis and my prayer is more wives would begin to understand that the male mind does think about sex all the time but that doesn’t mean he is broken, that means his wiring by God was designed to need his wife more and more each day. It is a blessing to me for my husband to need me sexually, there is no one else in this world God gave that intimate place of love and connection to but me!

  • Just a note to some who find little or no sexual satisfaction in their marriage: When people indulge in porn or other sexual behaviors outside of marriage, their brain gets re-wired, and gets to a point where God’s design of one man and one woman for a lifetime just won’t “do it” for them. If this sounds like it applies to you, please, for God’s sake and the sake of your marriage (the most important relationship in your life), get help from a qualified counselor and attend New Life’s Every Man’s Battle Weekend. It is a game-changer.

    From a formerly betrayed spouse, and a current marriage counselor. (I’m 14 yrs remarried to a man of integrity, and we are so happy!)

  • Jamie Haskell says:

    There has been so much wisdom spoken throughout these messages as well as pain…I would also recommend a book written by Penner and Penner that some may be a bit timid to look into, however, after reading it for course material for a Liberty University Christian Counseling class, my husband and I (after 21 years of marriage) are going to be reading it together. The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment begins by addressing some of the cultural confusion and helps to close the door on the myths and falsehoods that hold people back from not only themselves, and their spouses but the valuable potential closeness within their marriages as well. The authors take on many difficult, intimate issues in a down-to-earth manner with suggestions and exercises. The entire book is written from a strong biblical perspective, intended to foster communication, intimacy, understanding, and sharing for couples all brought forth in such a way that is respectful, delicate, and dignified way while challenging them enough to encourage them to move forward in their relationship. The sexual relationship will always encompass the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of those involved. In order for a couple to be receiving complete fulfillment as God designed His gift of a pleasurable sexual union between husband and wife, any other representation is missing the mark…
    I described it to a group lately like sitting in a Ferrari while it was being pulled by a team of horses vs. actually driving the sports car the way it was designed to be driven ( the men got a kick out of that analogy I think).

    Just my two-cents…

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