As uncomfortable as some people are discussing it, sex is a huge part of marriage, and one for which you should prepare. And by prepare, I do not mean practice. ~smile~ In preparing for intimacy in marriage, you need to understand how your body works and how your future spouse’s body works (i.e. the sexual differences between males and females). You also need to understand how your parents’, friends’, and televisions’ views of sex have influenced you, and what you think is normal. You also need to know what your future spouse expects. Believe me, that is something you will want to know before getting married!
One book I strongly recommend for the soon-to-be-married couple is Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman. Before marriage, he recommends reading chapters one through four and another chapter that is written for men (if you are male) or women (if you are female). He strongly recommends waiting until after marriage to read the other chapters (as do we).
When I discovered the book, I was already married, and let me tell you, it made me blush. I would have to concur with Dr. Leman that the book is excellent, but that reading beyond chapter four before marriage will only lead to temptation! Just now, I thumbed through the book again and I can guarantee that the first four chapters of this book, plus the chapters written for men and women, will help you prepare for your wedding night and beyond – even if you think you don’t need any help. ~smile~
If you abstain from sex until you are married, or even if you don’t, you won’t know what sex in the context of marriage is like until you are married. Pre-marital sex and post-marital sex are very different. The focus of pre-marital sex is self-gratification, while the focus of post-marital sex should be gratifying each other.
One problem I did not foresee when I got married was how many conflicting opinions and messages I would recall about the topic. Chapter two in Sheet Music deals specifically with this issue. When we get married, we have so many influences in our minds telling us what to expect, what is right, what is wrong, etc. Sometimes the church makes sex seem dirty and sinful to keep kids from engaging in it premaritally. Unfortunately, the “sex is dirty” talk is not keeping many young people from premarital sex, but it is making a lot of newlywed couples have a hard time switching gears from “sex is dirty,” to “sex is a wonderful gift.”
Take some time before getting married and take a good look at all the sources you have listened to in regards to the marriage bed. Is Hollywood painting a realistic picture? No. Have your parents treated sex as something so taboo that you are afraid of it? Confront that issue. Read Dr. Leman’s book and other Christian material about marital sex. The more prepared you are, the less uncomfortable you will be when your wedding night comes!
While I would recommend that you and your future spouse not spend excessive time talking about sex (again, temptation is never far away from the topic), I would recommend that you discuss your sexual expectations (in a well-lit, public area not far from other people). Some women are horrified to discover once they are married that their husband expects sexual intimacy daily. Some women are horrified to discover that their husband does not want sex three or more times per week. Some men are disillusioned when they discover that the woman they married, who seemed like she couldn’t wait to get to the marriage bed, isn’t as sexually energetic as she thought she would be when they were dating. You won’t be able to know for sure what your sex life will be like once you are married, but you can discuss your expectations before getting married. This will give you both a frame of reference so you will know what your future spouse is expecting and it will give you the chance to do some myth busting before marriage if your future spouse’s expectations are outlandish (e.g., sex three times a day in a tree house).
It is good and healthy to look forward to sex in marriage, but also remember – sex is like the whipped cream on top of the marital sundae… it doesn’t make the sundae, it just enhances it. Just be sure to spend some time preparing for the realities of sex so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Your sexual relationship will improve the longer you’re married if you make a priority of gratifying the other person more than gratifying yourself.
Have you started preparing for your wedding night and beyond?