Journey Through Passion Pursuit

Prioritizing Passion

Why you need to put sex on your to-do list

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.

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.

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.

It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that the quality of your marriage is likely correlated to the quality of your sex life. From a female perspective, we translate it this way: “If my marriage is going well, then sex will be good.” But the opposite may also be true. Sex is more than the expression of a healthy marriage. It is also a key factor in building a healthy marriage.

While God created sex to be a powerful force in bonding a husband and wife, we more often see it becoming a powerful force to divide them. Sexual issues are one of the most common sources of conflict in marriage and also the most commonly cited as reasons for divorce. So the question is, “Does sex in your marriage unite you or divide you?”

For too many women, sex may be a “non-issue” in marriage until they discover their husband’s porn use or find themselves attracted to an attentive man at work. Like anything else important, if you do not make sex an important priority it will likely become an urgent problem.

Once I realized this, what did I do differently? Ladies, we always find time to focus on what is important to us. The woman who doesn’t have five minutes to read the Bible somehow has an hour every morning to fix her hair and makeup. If you make passion a priority in your marriage, you will find the time and energy to enjoy more than a weekly “quickie.”

Saying yes to intimacy means saying no to urgent things that I’m realizing are far less important. I love what my mentor (a wife of 50 years!) Linda Dillow wrote about what we will and will not regret as we look back on our lives:

While God created sex to be a powerful force in bonding a husband and wife, we more often see it becoming a powerful force to divide them.
  • You will not regret a single dreamy walk together in the park.

  • You will not regret the time you stayed up so late talking and holding each other that you were both zombies at work the next day.

  • You will not regret all the times you made love and let the housework go.

But I’ll tell you what you will regret:

  • You will regret the hundreds of hours you spent fighting.

  • You will regret the times you held a grudge.

  • You will regret saying, “Maybe next year sex will get better.”

  • You will regret not really believing that your time as lovers was limited.

Now is the time to make passion a priority!

Click here to read the next article in Juli's series, "Journey Through Passion Pursuit."

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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