A few decades ago, “life coaches” like Steven Covey began giving advice about living for the important rather than simply for the urgent. I remember the first time I ever heard this distinction. Urgent things demand our time right now. An overflowing sink, a growling stomach, or one of my boys yelling for my attention—all urgent. Often, the most important things in life don’t become urgent until it’s too late. After decades of neglect, it becomes urgent to put your marriage back together, to save a child from wrong decisions, or to avoid another heart attack.
Intimacy in your marriage will naturally slip from your priority list right after the honeymoon if you are not convinced of its importance. In fact, even if you know it is important, you may still struggle to save the time and energy necessary to keep passion a priority.
With bills to pay, children to tend to, and work demands, why should romance and sex be high on the priority list? For many years, it wasn’t high on mine. Sex became the obligatory part of marriage to keep my husband at least marginally satisfied. I never got excited about it and often complained about it. What changed my attitude? Yes, it helped when my children got out of diapers and I was able to get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. But let’s be honest: the life of an American woman is always filled with some new urgency or energy drain. Intimacy in my marriage didn’t become a priority until I realized this: Sex is a powerful force that will inevitably unite or divide husband and wife.1