When I picked up this book and thumbed through the chapters, I was especially intrigued by Chapter 12: “Are You Ready to ‘Get Naked’?” When I flipped to it and began reading, I had to laugh. The first sentence reads, “When Charie and I were writing this chapter, we knew it would be the first one the guys would turn to.” Well, I’m not a guy, but I confess that I did read this chapter first!
Preparing for your Marital Sexual Relationship
Eric and I tell the couples we work with to prepare for their wedding night. No, I don’t mean practice, but mentally and emotionally prepare to give yourself to your future spouse in marriage. Don’t expect to go on your honeymoon and have everything fall into place naturally without any forethought or planning. So, I appreciated Clayton and Charie’s warning to not be caught off guard.
Because sex is such a natural part of the human experience, unmarried couples (both virgins and non-virgins) may expect the sexual element of their upcoming marriages to flawlessly flow together into an avalanche of daily ecstasy. As nice as that sounds… it’s not how it works.
Sex, like any other part of marriage, requires learning, patience, and understanding to get better. Even if your first sexual experience as man and wife is good, chances are your sexual experiences together in ten, twenty, and even thirty years will be better if your relationship continues to grow and remains healthy.
Clayton and Charie list ten basic points about sex which men and women should read before getting married. One of their points spoke specifically about previous sexual experience. Those who have had sex before marriage may think that their experience will make them better lovers after marriage, but that’s a myth. In Clayton and Charie’s words, “Sexual experience does not make you an expert. It doesn’t even mean you’re good at it or that you know what you’re doing. In fact, it may be an obstacle to overcome.”
If you have had sex prior to marriage, prepare for marital sex by cleansing your mind with what God’s Word says about the marriage bed, receiving God’s forgiveness, and choosing to live as a virgin until your wedding day. If by God’s grace you are still a virgin, spend time reading what God has to say about His gift of sex, talk to older men (for you guys) or women (for you ladies) in private about questions or concerns you have, and practically plan for your wedding night (e.g., lubricants, decorating the room, Scripture reading, candles, special poem, roses, etc.).
How Men and Women Approach Sex Differently
The tips section in this chapter made me smile. Clayton’s list of tips for the men was longer than Charie’s list of tips for the women, but most of Clayton’s tips were short, sweet, and to the point (e.g., make sure you’re clean, etc.) while Charie elaborated on her tips in greater depth. This illustrates one of the basic differences between men and women, in the bedroom, and in life: it doesn’t take men long to “warm up.”
Women like to talk, explore their feelings, and ease into sexual experiences with a lot of foreplay. Women need to connect with their husbands in order to have sex, and men connect with their wives by having sex. Even though men are happy with to the point sexual experiences (i.e., they don’t need a lot of intimate conversation and foreplay to get in the mood), it’s a helpful and loving gesture for men to engage their wives in conversation before and after a sexual experience. She’ll feel valued and close to you. In fact, women who feel close to their men may just initiate sexual escapades more often than he expects.
On the other hand, sometimes ladies will need to have simple, to the point sex with their husbands. This doesn’t mean you go into a room, lie still, and let him use you. That’s not what men who need to connect with their wives are looking for in a sexual encounter. Sometimes men need their wives to understand that they are under a lot of stress, they are tired, and they need the loving and comforting embrace of their wives without having to tap into their depleted emotional banks. So, in short: men, talk to your wives – and wives, take notice of when your husband simply needs uncomplicated sex.
Macaroni and Cheese… or Steak?
Eric and I both had a college professor that coined the phrases “macaroni and cheese sex” and “steak sex.” Macaroni and Cheese sex is that every day, after dinner and before late night TV entertainment kind of sex. It’s meaningful, but it’s not a huge production. Just as macaroni and cheese (and other pasta) is a staple in the American diet, macaroni and cheese sex is a staple in a married couple’s sexual diet. It is nourishing, but not likely to be followed by a choir of singing angels. In fact, the threat of children getting up in the night may rush the experience. However, without run of the mill, staple foods on our tables, we would go hungry. Macaroni and cheese sex is a healthy part of a complete marital diet.
Steak sex, on the other hand, is the kind of sex that follows a special date where a couple has deeply connected. Picture this: candlelight steak dinner followed by cheesecake, a moonlit walk along the beach, and rose petals leading to the bedroom. The sexual experience that follows such a date is the culmination of a grand event. This couple has emotionally connected and one or both people have made a concerted effort to create an incredible sexual experience. These times are wonderful, but all sex can’t be steak sex. Marriages would starve! And not all sex can be macaroni and cheese sex. Marriages need more substantial meals from time to time. ~smile~
So, what are Clayton and Charie’s other tips? Read their book to find out! ~smile~ You won’t be sorry!
Personal and Practical
Reading this book was like having a personal conversation with Clayton and Charie. In their ministry, they have worked with a number of relationships. In doing so, they have seen what factors make or break relationships (e.g., money, maturity, etc.), and they wrote this book to help couples come face to face with important questions that need to be answered before deciding to get married. This book wasn’t around when Eric and I were dating, but if it had been, I’m sure we would have been blessed by it!
When couples prepare for marriage, they are often inundated with advice from family and friends. This book doesn’t simply give advice; rather, it encourages couples to be introspective, to ask important and sometimes difficult questions, and to be sure they are prepared to make a lifelong, sacrificial commitment to someone else. If you are dating, engaged, or waiting for God to connect you with your future spouse, now is a great time to read 12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry! ~smile~
Are you prepared to engage in a fulfilling, intimate, sexual relationship in marriage?