Ninety-six. It’s the favorite number of any member of the United States military. Getting a ninety-six means you are getting ninety-six hours (four whole days) off duty. The Lieutenant of my Marine platoon had a dismissal routine that included the phrase “some much deserved R&R.” Lieutenant Bland meant rest and relaxation, but R&R takes on an entirely different meaning in marriage sex.
Over our twenty-three year marriage, I’ve read countless books, listened to endless podcast and radio episodes, worked through multiple Bible studies, and attended hours upon hours of mentoring sessions, but none of them really cracked the code of balancing sex drive in our marriage. I’ve followed every piece of advice offered – everything from “sex starts in the kitchen, so start with washing dishes” to “she’s a crockpot that has to simmer for long periods, so start early.”
Now in full disclosure, I’m the higher desire partner in our marriage. So naturally, marriage advice and topics related to marriage sex have always captured my attention. I credit Michael Smalley of Smalley Institute for helping me understand the R&R of marriage sex. R&R wasn’t the main topic of his podcast, but one sentence mentioned resonated with me and helped me uncover a secret about marriage sex that most couples miss.
So, R&R in marriage sex? What does it mean? What is this secret so many married couples miss?
Well, R&R is related to rest and relaxation, but there is an added dimension that can lead to great marriage sex. The R&R of marriage sex is “required for” and “results in.”
Let me explain. Rest and relaxation is a part of great marriage sex, but only if a couple recognizes the “required for” and “results in” dimensions. These two dimensions apply separately to the husband and wife in the marriage. Statistics tell us the wife is most likely the lower desire spouse, thus the “required for” dimension is crucial to great marriage sex. While the husband is typically the higher desire spouse, the “results in” dimension applies regardless of the husband’s sex drive.
I’m certain you want more detail, so let me explain R&R from both view points – the husband and the wife.
For the husbands
Let me make it simple for you guys. You must recognize that rest and relaxation are “required for” sex in your marriage. This is what all those books were trying to tell me all along. They simply beat around the bush enough that I missed the point. How was I supposed to know that washing dishes, folding clothes, and vacuuming the carpet would offer rest and relaxation for my wife? Furthermore, how was I supposed to know my wife needed rest and relaxation to even consider sex? Well, now I know. Rest and relaxation are required for great marriage sex.
Guys, ask yourself this question, what can I do for my wife that will bring her rest and relaxation? Take action on your answer to that question and you are setting up the prerequisites for great marriage sex. It will take time and you must serve her in a manner that isn’t expectant of reciprocation. Serve her with a servant heart and attitude. This will allow her the time of rest and relaxation required for great marriage sex.
For the wives
You don’t feel attracted to your husband any longer? You feel like your husband doesn’t pursue or romance you the way he once did? You feel he is always so preoccupied with his career or other work related activities? It’s likely your husband suffers also from a lack of rest and relaxation. What you’ve likely missed is the fact great marriage sex “results in” rest and relaxation for your husband. The act of physical intimacy floods the male brain with oxytocin and dopamine, two powerful hormones that create attraction. These hormones are also released in the brain during activities like career recognition, problem-solving, or big wins – all of which are involved in those other activities you feel are pulling your husband away from you.
However, none of these other activities compare to the flood of these relationship building hormones released into the male brain during great marriage sex. Ladies, ask yourself this question, when was the last time I initiated and pursued sex with my husband? If you want to get his mind off work and you want him to pursue you like he did when you were dating, then give him something to pursue. Flood his brain with the attraction hormones oxytocin and dopamine to point he can’t help but pursue you.
One last view point
For those marriages that contradict the statistics, those marriages where the wife is the higher desire spouse, these same R&R dimensions still apply to your marriage. Just simply reverse the gender in the dimensions I described above.
Now that we’ve got through all that, I feel like we need a ninety-six! So I have a challenge for you. Take the next ninety-six hours and devote yourself to providing needed rest and relaxation for your spouse. If you’re the higher desire spouse, serve your spouse in ways that will reduce their stress and offer them rest and relaxation. For you lower desire spouses, initiate and pursue your spouse with physical intimacy that will result in their ability to rest and relax.
If you accept my ninety-six challenge, please let me know how it turns out. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.