Do you need to change what you wear in the bedroom? Like me, maybe you choose your sleepwear based on comfort and not based on enticing your husband. I much prefer a "Life is Good" T-shirt to Victoria's Secret lingerie in the bedroom, but we will save that conversation for another day. Even though I often write and speak on spicing up sex in marriage, this blog post is about a different kind of “bedroom clothes.”
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12–14, NIV)
A few years ago, I read these verses and started praying, Lord, help me to treat other people like this. . . to be compassionate, kind, gentle, forgiving, and loving. I really thought the Lord would convict me to make cookies for my neighbor. Instead, the conviction from the Holy Spirit came from a whole different angle: Juli, love your husband.
Overall, I'm pretty loving toward my husband. However, I don’t always love him in the way he would most like to receive love, specifically sexual intimacy. Honestly, there are times that I would rather love him in every other way. I’m willing to make his favorite dinner and listen patiently about struggles at work, but in this one area I am naturally selfish, unforgiving, and insensitive.
I’ve learned over the years that many other wives have similar struggles. A woman may be willing to sell all of her earthly goods and move to Africa to serve the Lord, but she can’t quite muster the strength to love her husband sexually. In many marriages, the sexual relationship is the most tangible and difficult way to show love. I’ve rarely met a couple who hasn’t encountered some conflict in the bedroom. Any number of serious roadblocks (issues from the past, physical ailments, differing levels of desire, body image issues, and pornography to name a few) keep them from enjoying the gift of sexual intimacy.
While sexy lingerie may spice up the bedroom, that’s only a superficial fix. The real wardrobe change I’ve needed (and I think most women would agree) is to change the “wardrobe” of my heart.
The passage from Colossians I referred to not only tells us what to “put on” but also what to take off. Take a look:
Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world… now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. Colossians 3:8-10 (NIV)
What a practical passage—if only we would be willing to apply it! So, what are we supposed to take off and put on? And what would that look like in my bedroom?
Take Off. . .
Sexual immorality, impurity, and lust—I don’t want to have sexual thoughts about anyone else except for my husband.
Evil desires—If I’m honest, my heart has all sorts of evil and selfish desires. Instead of giving into them, I want to honor the Lord in everything I do.
Greed—Am I content with what I have? Do I ever pressure my husband to give me more?God, I don’t think I’m greedy, but how much time do I spend worrying about material things, things of this world?
Anger, rage, and malicious behavior—While I don’t have a bad temper, I can stew and withdraw from my husband when I’m angry. God, please teach me how to address my anger in the right way and never to let it simmer into rage—even silent rage.
Slander and dirty language—“Good Christian girls” can be so conscientious of what we do without giving much thought to what we say. Do I ever say things about my husband to others that would dishonor him? I think many wives slander their husbands without realizing it.
Put On. . .
Compassion, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness.
Rather than go through the list of what each of these character qualities would look like in my marriage, let me ask you a question that Gary Thomas has written about: If you looked only at your intimacy with your husband, would someone be able to tell that you are a follower of Christ? Do your actions toward your husband, specifically concerning sex, demonstrate the character and love of God?
In regards to our sexuality, we are often told, explicitly or implicitly, “It’s your body—it’s your right." This is true. Women need to know we have a voice and we do not have to be victims. Yet I am also reminded of the call to discipleship. My body is not my own; I was purchased by the blood of Jesus. I am to honor God with my body—including my sexuality.
My commitment as a follower of God isn’t suspended when I step over the threshold of the bedroom door. May God’s love and character be represented in all areas of my life, including intimacy.
If you really want to know how to rekindle passion in your marriage, start by looking at what you are wearing. Which list in Colossians best describes your bedroom wardrobe? Is it time for a change?