Post written by money and career columnist Dustin Riechmann of Engaged Marriage.

When is the last time you asked your spouse what sex really means to them?
While there are exceptions to every rule, there’s a good chance a husband and wife will have different feelings about sex and what makes it important to them.
In fact, it seems that our feelings toward sex are largely related to…well, our sexuality.
Generally speaking, men need to have sex to feel close to their mate, while women need to feel close to their mate to have sex.

Very funny, God.

Again, there are obviously marriages where these motivations aren’t the case, but for most of us, this sexual paradox is a very real part of our nature.  And if you ignore it, or misunderstand it, you could be setting up your marriage for some real strife.
It is vitally important that you understand your spouse’s thoughts and feelings around sexual intimacy.
If your wife views sex as a confirmation of your closeness, don’t you see why she needs intimacy and romance throughout the day before she’s really interested in getting together physically?
And if you really understand that your husband needs sex as a means to feel connected and close to you, doesn’t it help you understand why he can feel outright rejected when you roll over and tell him “no” after a long day?

Take 15 Minutes to Chat About It

There is unbelieveable power in spending just 1% of your day (15 minutes) sharing some intimate Couple Time with your spouse.
I challenge you to set aside 15 minutes each day for the next week to spend with your husband or wife free of distractions, and you’ll see the remarkable difference it will make in your marriage.
Would you like a better sex life? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.
One way to make it happen is to spend one of your 15-minute periods together talking about it.  Tell your spouse what sex means to you and what makes it important to you.  Talk about your ideal frequency for sex in your marriage.  Then listen attentively as they share their thoughts with you.
Do not judge your spouse’s feelings on this subject.  It may drive you crazy that she says she just doesn’t feel “sexy” some nights even though you can’t look at her without being turned on.  And you may not understand how he can come home after “ignoring” you all day and feel like it’s high time for some passionate sex.
Men are different than women, particularly with regards to our motivations for sexual intimacy.  You cannot change that, but you need to be willing to work with this “insider” knowledge for the benefit of your marriage.

Control & Irresponsibility Rear Their Ugly Heads

One issue that is sure to arise during this conversation is the idea of control.  For years, my wife would dictate the time, place and frequency of our sexual relationship, and this tendency to control the sexual aspect of a marriage is pretty typical for women.
Likewise, you may find that your husband tends to be irresponsible when it comes to sex.  He may put all of the family planning responsibilities on your shoulders and not do his part to ensure that the environment (physically and emotionally) is prepared for your intimate time together.  Again, I have been guilty of this in our marriage.
There are some great, practical things that we can do to help address the whole control vs. irresonsibility issue, but for this 15-minute discussion you should simply be aware that these are major constraints in many marriages.
You’re not alone if you find you struggle at times with the issues of control and irresponsibility in your relationship, and particularly in your sex life.

Tips for Today’s Couple Time

  • Again, this is a sensitive topic and you need to be careful not to fall into the trap of using your Couple Time today to point blame at each other.  This is your time to learn more about your spouse and improve the intimacy in your marriage.
  • While your spouse isn’t likely to change based on a single 15-minute conversation, you can certainly take this opportunity to shift your own perspective.
  • Next time he initiates sex, think about what it means to him before you immediately throw up your Stop sign.  Consider how close she feels to you at the end of the day, and work at closing any perceived gaps in your daily intimacy.

If you’re ready for a better marriage, invest 15 minutes and go make it happen!
This exercise is adapted from one of the 28 easy 15-minute exercises in my new book:
15 Minute Marriage Makeover: Refresh Your Relationship, Add Sizzle to Your Sex Life & Be Happier in Just Minutes a Day.
It’s guaranteed to help you with your communication, romance, sex life and even your finances.  You can download two sample chapters for free at the link above if you’re not sure it’s for you.
As a thank you to the Simple Marriage community for welcoming me as a monthly columnist, I am giving you 25% off the e-book when you pick it up between now and Friday 5/20 at Noon CST=> Just enter the coupon code “simple” at checkout!

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