22 Apr Five Questions to Ask Your Romantic Partner
I admit it, and I bet you’d agree with me. Talking about sex is hard, especially for Christians. Whether you’re talking to a friend, one of your children or even your spouse, the conversation isn’t typically easy. Despite the awkward feelings we get when talking about sex, it is something that stands to truly benefit the relationships in our home.
I want to focus on the marriage relationship today.
In most marriages, sex is something that is understood rather than discussed. As stereotypes go, a husband expects to get it, and a wife expects she will have to have it. But let’s step out of that stereotype for a minute. Physical touch, including sexual touch, drives a deep connection between a husband and a wife. It helps create that unbreakable bond that will last a lifetime.
I am a sexual health doctor, so I talk about the human body, its organs, and its function each day with my patients. I am more comfortable than most talking about these things. It wasn’t always that way, and at times, it is still awkward, especially when it comes to talking to my teenage children.
We still need to have those conversations. To help make having those conversations a bit easier, I want to give you five starter questions to ask your spouse about their thoughts, emotions, and sensations when it comes to your love life and intimate relations. You are gathering information here to learn about your spouse and to know them better. Just as in our relationship with Jesus, we can continually strive to learn more about our spouse in an effort to grow closer.
There’s no need to whiz through these questions with simple, short answers, but rather take your time to learn about each other and deeply explore these questions. Take one a week while you get some alone time and sit and relax, take a walk, or even take a bath. Give each other some warning that you want to have these conversations and allow each other some grace with getting starting. Be patient with your wife. Be patient with your husband. This may be the first time they have thought about or discussed these things out loud. It isn’t easy for most people, but I want to reassure you that as you get more comfortable with the conversation, your intimacy will grow, and your sex life will improve.
When your intimacy behind closed doors improves, your mood, energy, and confidence will soar!
A word of warning. This is not meant to create darts to throw at one another. Please have grace for yourself and for your spouse. It takes courage to open up, and it can be scary. We must guard our hearts and those of the one we love. Through respectful, honest, and loving conversation, you can discuss the positives and negatives and create a healthy sex life. The temptation will be to take things personally. Don’t. I know that is easier said than done, but it is vital to continuing growth as a couple on every level to hear where things are good as well as to understand where things could improve or be different. This is a conversation stemming from a deep love and commitment made to last a lifetime.
What was the conversation like in your childhood home about sex?
When we get married, we often make faulty assumptions that others went through similar experiences as we did in our childhood homes. Even when we know there are glaring differences, the natural, unspoken assumption is a shared experience. This question is a good start because it takes the pressure off of you and your spouse directly and allows you to talk about how much you have or have not talked about this stuff in your growing up years.
The way our parents talked about, labeled, or imitated touch will play a role in how we feel about having these discussions as adults.
What is one of your favorite memories about a sexual experience we shared?
Talk about the good times.
Focus on the positive.
Remember when sex was fun, new, exciting, or different—and it made an impression. This question can be helpful for couples, especially if sex has been a struggle throughout their marriage or if it’s taken a significant downhill turn. You may be able to uncover where the hardship lies. You may be able to remember how much you loved physically connecting when life was slower, less hectic, or even “easier.” Talk. Reminisce. The good times you uncover may surprise you.
Where do you most like to be touched to receive affection?
I am not talking about foreplay here. I am talking about connecting outside of the sexual experience; touch that doesn’t directly lead to sex. Especially for those who have physical touch as a primary love language, non-sexual touch is imperative to connect with those we love. If you are a parent, think about your children. It is often easier to show love to a child via touch, and we may forget that our spouse needs that too!
Whether it is a soft touch on the shoulder as you walk by, a hand-hold at the store, or cuddling on the couch, affectionate touch should be a part of your marriage. The more you lovingly touch one another outside of the bedroom, the greater the chances you will eventually touch each other sexually inside of the bedroom. Find out what matters to your spouse and try it—I bet you’ll be surprised.
What time of day do you enjoy sex the most?
You mean nighttime isn’t the only time? As our families grow and time passes, couples often resort to compulsory sex at night before sleep. Kids are asleep. Work is done. TV shows are over. The house is clean. It just feels right. It’s what we were taught.
The answer to this question often surprises couples. You gain a new level of freedom, and pressure can be released when you discover that perhaps one of the problems has been a timing issue. One spouse may have a twenty-four-hours a day preference while the other prefers a late morning rendezvous when there is absolutely no way for kids to intrude because they are at school. Bingo! Now with some special arrangements, an additional opportunity can be found in a marriage that perhaps would never have been an option before this discussion. It really can become a win-win for both partners.
Given that our lives change as circumstances change, these questions are not meant to be one and done. As with all of these, continue to ask this question periodically in your marriage. Time passes, situations change. Hormones shift, kids grow, work shifts, and more. Whatever is happening in your day-to-day, don’t forget there are 24 hours in a day, and, in the right setting, they all are good times to have sex with your husband or wife.
Where on your body is your favorite place to be kissed?
Without directly asking questions like this, couples can make wrong assumptions. You or your spouse may not even know the answer, and you’ll need a bit of exploration. That is my hope with each of these. Learn something new or validate the thoughts you’ve had about one another. It’s ok to be shy. Take the tender moments this creates and hold one another’s answer, and heart, safely.
As you begin to develop your repertoire of questions, remember that open-ended questions allow for more in-depth discussion. Yes and no questions often create frustration for the spouse more interested in diving deeper.
Let me know if you are already having these conversations or if you’re ready to get started.
If opening up this box feels too overwhelming or hard, don’t beat yourself up. Remember, grace is essential here and there are doctors and counselors to help you along. At AgeWell, I meet with couples and we discuss important aspects of sex in the context of medical issues. I have an extensive network of Christian counselors that can walk alongside you and your spouse if wanted or needed. You are never alone.
You got this!