We started out having coffee together, every day at the local espresso place just down the street from our first apartment. They were always busy but that was okay. We only needed one chair . . . or should I say, one chair and one lap. Trust me, it was very comfortable. We were eagerly exploring that new country called Marriage, and sitting across the table from each other was just too great a distance.
A few decades down the road and we’re still at it – coffee together every morning.
I’m an early riser, which is perfect because I love making coffee for my woman (and, now my older girls too). Lisa loves waking up to that inviting aroma wafting down the hall into our bedroom.
It’s routine – the same every morning. Grind the beans, put just the right amount into the two French Presses, skim the cream from the raw milk, get the bowl of raw sugar, find Lisa’s porcelain cup with the little birds, and warm up my cup with hot water before the coffee is poured in. Then, I put it all on a tray and serve it to St. Lisa on our back porch (summer) or in the living room, near the fire (winter). I love serving her coffee, just the way she likes it.
Once in a while the roles are reversed, but the same thing happens . . . my cup gets warmed up with boiling water . . . because that’s the way I like it . . . because she loves to serve me.
What if I didn’t bother to find out she always prefers the porcelain cup with the little birds and instead, morning after morning, served her coffee in a heavy grey mug like you might find at a truck stop? Unimportant? Maybe, in the grand scheme of things – but why would I miss an opportunity to show her that even in her small preferences, I want to bless her?
What if she always poured my first cup of coffee into a stone cold cup, knowing I prefer the cup hot to begin with? Again, hardly the stuff of apocalyptic concern. I don’t have to have my coffee piping hot but, that is the way I like it.
These things aren’t “right” or “wrong” – just preferences – what we like. Meeting your spouses preferences in the nonessentials are really just small acts of love that over time add up to something big.
A loving relationship is made up of delighting to serve your spouse in the small things and in the big things . . . like making love. But, we can’t know how to delight each other unless we take the time to seek each other out and listen to each other’s preferences. Thoughtfulness in marriage is really just another way of saying, I love you. But, to be thoughtful in marriage requires attentiveness to one’s spouse.
Wouldn’t it be great to understand what your spouse prefers, what he doesn’t like . . . what she finds appealing and relaxing – what she finds arousing, what turns him on? We don’t know because we don’t seek each other out . . . because we don’t ask . . . because we don’t talk.
So many spouses are unfulfilled in this area – men and women, frustrated or worse because they don’t feel their spouse is responsive to or interested in what they prefer. It’s not only unnecessary, it’s unbiblical. Married couples were designed by God to delight in each other. But that can’t happen if we never talk about these things with our spouse.
Getting the conversation started can be a challenge. How do you go about talking about what you would like? It requires being vulnerable – a hazardous place for many. Start with the attitude of giving – How can I bless you in the matter of our lovemaking? It’s so much easier for our spouse to care about what we may desire when he/she knows how much we care.
Here are 5 Suggestions to help get the conversation going.
1) Timing is important. Make sure you talk when your spouse can give full attention (no distractions . . . away from the kids!)
2) Choose a place. Pick a place where your spouse will be comfortable openly discussing details of your intimacy.
3) Make it special. It’s a special conversation . . . make the moment special. What does your spouse like? A quiet walk holding hands . . . a dinner at a favorite restaurant . . . sitting close on the couch?
4) Start the discussion focused on Her needs or His, depending on who is driving the discussion. The needs and desires of your spouse should always come first. It’s always easier to listen after you’ve been heard.
5) Begin sharing your thought like this – In your own words, begin by saying something like . . . “I’ve been thinking about our love making and I care a lot about delighting your heart, about pleasing you. Am I meeting your needs? How about your desires? What do I do that you like? Is there anything you’d like me to do that I’m not doing, or could do differently?”
When it comes to your turn to talk about what you need and like, be sure to start with gratefulness for the things your spouse does that you like and appreciate – keep it positive.
The richness in marriage is found in giving, serving, and delighting each other. It’s true for coffee, for lovemaking, and everything in between.
God’s blessing is waiting for you and any couple who will embrace this truth.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach, founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is also the creator of FREEDOM Course, an 8 session class, including a workbook, where he teaches men the biblical path to finding total victory from pornography and sexual sin. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Cline Falls Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).