Do you need to change what you wear in the bedroom? Like me, maybe you choose your sleepwear based on comfort and not to entice. I much prefer Life is Good to Victoria Secret in the bedroom, but we will save that conversation for another day. Even though I sometimes write and speak on spicing up sex in marriage, this blog 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.”
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.
Overall, I am pretty loving toward my husband. However, I don’t always love him in the way he would most like to receive love, specifically within our sexual relationship. 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. The sexual relationship, in many marriages, 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 3:5-11 NLT).
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 the bedroom?
Sexual immorality, impurity, and lust – I don’t want to have sexual thoughts about anyone else except my husband.
Evil Desires – Evil desires come out of my selfish heart. This might look like punishing my husband by withholding love or affection when I don’t get my way. God, please show me the hidden evil desires that can lurk beneath my words and actions.
Greed – God, I live in a culture that always demands more. More comfort, more beauty, more pleasure. I know this has crept into my thinking. Please help me be content with what you have given me and Mike to enjoy in our marriage.
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 – Lord, you say that my words can bring life or death. Do I ever say things about my husband to others that would dishonor him? Please keep me from words that dishonor Him or you.
Loving your husband in this way also means courageously confronting him if he brings sinful patterns into your marriage. You don’t simply turn a blind eye to pornography, raging, and other forms of “evil desires” in which your husband may be engaging. You simply can’t move forward in true intimacy without addressing attitudes and actions that sabotage trust. Yet, God calls us to confront with an invitation to repentance and godliness rather than an attitude of self-righteous blaming.
My commitment as a follower of God isn’t suspended when I step over the threshold of the bedroom door.
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?
We are often told, explicitly or implicitly, “It’s your body… it’s your right” when it comes to sexuality. This is true. Women need to know we have a voice. We can’t say “yes” to intimacy until we also have the voice to say “no.” 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 for Colossians best describes your bedroom wardrobe? Is it time for a change?
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You will learn the difference between having sex and building intimacy.
You will be challenged to address violations of trust that make sex feel too vulnerable.
You will be encouraged to pursue intimacy, even through the busy years of parenting and difficult life circumstances.
You will see the beauty of navigating what seem to be incompatibilities in your sexual relationship.