Sometimes the mood hits quickly. And sometimes, the mood builds slowly. At either of those times, the mood for physical intimacy with your spouse is more fragile than you might imagine. We’ve all done it…we’ve all killed the mood, mostly unintentionally.
If we’re to cultivate a healthy sexual relationship with our spouses, these are 4 mood killers we must avoid…those things that often dash the hopes of a romantic rendezvous.
Mood Killer #1 – Only Thing You Want: When one spouse does things for the other only to get something in return, the desire for intimacy from the other spouse quickly fades. Love is not a transaction, it is an action. Here are some transactional examples that kill the mood.
- Only time you show interest in your spouse is when you are interested sexually. To avoid this, look for opportunities to remind your spouse that you find her interesting, admirable, and just enjoy her company with no strings attached.
- Only time you help your spouse with something is when there are sexual expectations in return for the help. I’ve been guilty of this one. I’d do the dishes and let my wife, Susan, know it. Then I’d say, “Honey…I’m doing the dishes for you…you know what that means!” Now it’s an ongoing joke we have. Again, take time to help — no strings attached. Ironically, a pattern of helping, just helping, will often help create opportunities for physical intimacy.
- Only take her out…to get her in bed. When you create a pattern like “dinner-movie-sex,” you plant the idea in her head that you are giving something only to get something. Look for creative date nights to avoid ruts, and be willing to have fun without the consistent expectation lurking in the background.
Mood Killer #2 – Untamed Tongue: Careless words destroy the buildup and expectation of intimacy with your spouse.
- Speak harshly, sarcastically or judgmentally with your spouse. If you’re like me, you might have killed the mood with some harsh words. And if the buildup has been going well, it might surprise you that the mood has suddenly changed. Also, it’s not just speaking words that build up and encourage for a few hours. I remember one time saying to my wife, when she said I haven’t been kind lately, “What do you mean I haven’t been kind? I’ve been kind for the last 3 hours to you!” So make it a practice to use these 5 types of powerful words in your marriage.
- Don’t express appreciation for your spouse. Your spouse wants to be appreciated for more than just his or her “physical assets and compatibility” with you. As I’ve already noted, it’s dangerous to convey to your spouse that you only appreciate them physically. On the other hand, developing your spouse’s sense of self confidence beyond your sexual relationship not only builds up your intimacy but strengthens your marriage as well.
- Compare your spouse to others. Your spouse wants to know that you are thinking of her, enjoy her, and are focused on her. The minute she thinks you’re thinking of someone else or wishing she were someone else, you’re in danger of killing the mood and hurting her heart. Avoid comparing her to others, whether physically or otherwise. Never start a sentence with Why can’t you be more like ______ or Now if you had a _______ like that… Unless you’re suggesting that other women are unfortunate to not be like her, you’re likely in danger of killing the mood in grand fashion. Of course, this applies to wives comparing their husbands to other husbands as well.
Mood Killer #3 – Rude and Crude: Sometimes the mood is lost simply because we lose the common sense of common courtesies.
- Use bad manners. A lack of gentlemanly chivalry can hurt the mood quite quickly. Just because you’ve become comfortable with each other over several years of marriage doesn’t mean you have to ignore your manners. Open the door for her. Pull her chair out at the restaurant. And by all mean’s don’t…
- Act like a pig, then expect to be attractive to wife. Enough said on this one.
Mood Killer #4 – Unnecessary Distractions: Sometimes the mood dies simply because you allow something completely unimportant or unrelated intrude into the moment.
- Pull out and empty your baggage. When you’re together and the moment is approaching, starting a heavy conversation or addressing a sore issue in your relationship quickly kills the mood. Put off difficult conversations until a better time.
- Make a business meeting out of the evening. This mood killer starts out simply with a laundry list of events at home, to-do lists, and problems to solve. Put those lists away if you want to help your cause. Those issues will still be there later, but your opportunity for intimacy may not…if you insist on solving everything else first.
- Kill romance with realism. Killing the mood can be really easy if you lose a sense of romantic flair. Of course, there are times you need to be real about what’s going on with your kids, with finances, and in life, but intimacy is built up best when you can also be romantic, imaginative, and creative.
If you’ve found yourself killing the mood or you’re perplexed about what to do when you’re not in the mood, check out this podcast. And for marriage killers and how to slay them, check out this podcast.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned on this topic? Ladies, what are some other tips you might have for us men? Share your thoughts in the comments below.