Many women wonder how to keep things fresh in their marriage when you spend every waking minute together year after year. The answer is simple. SEX. Yes! I just said the “S” word! Why is it that this word makes Muslim women cringe or want to cover our ears like we’re in grade school again? Is it because we don’t have a clue about what our men really want? Or we are afraid of being judged for talking about it openly? Yes, our religion tells us to guard our private lives. But let’s not forget the saying of our Prophet Muhammad, “La hayaa fideen,” a statement that encourages Muslims to seek knowledge about all matters, even the very personal. Believe me, I know no one wants to lay out their private life on the table. But the problem is that more and more couples are suffering from a lack of physical intimacy. In fact, 15-20% are in sexless marriages (having sex less than 10 times a year). We need to be having meaningful sex, and having it regularly.
I recently went through a shift in my own marriage, where I noticed things were not quite what they used to be between my husband and I. The changes were subtle, and so I brushed them aside. However, as time passed, these small changes in our intimacy trickled down into our overall interactions and communication with one another. I began to feel a distance I had never before experienced before in our eight years together. Instead of confronting the issue, I packed up to visit relatives out of the country. About 9 days into my vacation something amazing happened. My husband began to miss me! For some reason I did not quite believe he was sincere. But as our time apart grew, his emotional flood gate burst, and out poured waves and waves of feelings and emotions that I had not experienced since our engagement period. We had broken new ground in our marriage (in his words). We would stay up all night talking about our future and how we felt for each other after all these years. We realized the cause of our blip was from a lack of meaningful intimacy and open communication. He explained how men are very simple when it comes to keeping the sparks flying. Here is some of his insight.
1. Meaningful Sex: Men usually want intimacy regularly. But we women want it to be meaningful and passionate with long kisses, eye gazing and cuddling. Let him know this, because you deserve to be wanted. Don’t let the sex fade from your marriage, you can quickly turn into roommates rather than husband and wife.
2. Respect: If you don’t have respect for one another, then the love will die quickly. Respect can be as simple as choosing to never say “shut up” to each other or hanging up the phone in heated moments. We may not love our spouses’ professions or cooking, but making that known at a dinner party will definitely not earn you any love points and it will be hard to forgive.
4. Communication: Speak your mind when something is bothering you. Don’t let it build up. Guys can’t read our minds, and while they know we are upset, they won’t know why. If you can’t talk face to face, send an email, or a text message, but get it off your chest.
5. Fidelity: This takes on many forms, including emotional. Keep your desires for your spouse alone. I can’t tell you how many Muslim marriages I have seen ruined by this. This includes porn, flirting, talking on the phone, and emails and texts with the opposite sex.
6. Flattery: Send sweet texts and emails to each other throughout the day. Sex-t! Send naughty texts to keep excitement and anticipation going in the marriage. A simple “I want you!” will often work wonders.
7. Dress to impress: Yes, we may feel tired and out of shape, but come on ladies, no man wants to come home to wife in baggy sweats and a stained t-shirt- at least not everyday. There is too much enticement out there. Often times a cute pair of undies and matching bra is all they want. Most men would rather you consistently did your hair and came to bed in sexy pj’s than wear a corset and garter once a year.
8. Family time: We all live in the hustle and bustle of this fast paced world. Yes, sometimes a man would rather spend their time watching football to relax. But don’t let it become the norm as it can be a marriage breaker! The time your husband spends with you and your children greatly increases the love, respect and appreciation you have for each other.
9. Pamper Yourself: If you really want to keep romance alive, then make time for yourself. Get your hair and nails done and give yourself a good Brazilian wax every now and then to keep things fresh. Make these things consistent and budget them in if you have to. Men will appreciate you trying to take care of yourself.
10. Date Night: It’s very important to have alone time with the spouse. Can’t go out? Put kids to sleep early and light some candles in the living room or bathroom. Take a hot bath together or have a romantic dinner in your own dining room.
11. Goals: Financial pressure is often a killer of romance. Do whatever you can to support or alleviate your spouse’s financial pressures without sacrificing you and your family’s needs. Support each other’s dreams for the future and talk about them often.
No marriage is perfect, but you can have a healthy, loving marriage with some effort on both parts.
Serene Issa is a loving mom of 3 who aspires to be a writer, and enjoys curling up with a good book, getting lost in the woods on a hike, and cold rainy days sitting by the fireplace.