Today's post was written by Phyllis Herron. She and her husband Pat lead a Marriage Prep Small Group at Brook Hills for engaged and newly married couples, and they have a passion for pointing marriages to Christ.

If I were to ask you if women are good communicators, most of us would say “Yes!” We communicate with our parents, in-laws, girlfriends, our kids, our kids’ teachers and coaches, the grocery store checkout clerk, our co-workers, people at the gym, and even the mailman. We probably think that we are even the better communicator in our marriage. But can you talk to your husband about sex? I don’t mean to discuss whether “it” will happen tonight. I mean can you talk about what you like and don’t like and why? Can you describe what feels good and what doesn’t? Do you check with him to see if he’s satisfied in that area? If we can’t talk about sex with our husbands, how can we be comfortable in the act of sex?

Along these same lines, do you have secrets from your husband? I’m not suggesting that you have to account for every word you say in a day or what you had for lunch. But are there things that you intentionally don’t tell him? If so, why are you hiding it? The answer could lead you to an issue that the two of you really should deal with. If you don’t want to tell him about the conversation that you had with a co-worker of the opposite sex, could that indicate that you are attracted to some aspect of that co-worker? Your husband needs to know how you feel, and you need to allow your husband to fill that aspect in your marriage instead of that relationship with your co-worker. Are there things you tell your best girlfriend or your mom that you don’t tell your husband? Again, this should be a red-flag that there’s something that you need to talk with your husband about.

I believe that communication is one of the foundations of a great sex life.

How often do you say yes to your husband when he initiates sexual intimacy with you? How often do you say no? This topic is foreign to most engaged couples we talk with. They are trying everything they can to stay pure and not engage in sex, and they can’t comprehend saying no. I have a friend who has been married for almost ten years and has never told her husband no. Think about this with me for a minute – how many of you want your husband to be the spiritual leader of your family? Based on the number of questions we’ve had on this topic, probably most of us. If we want our husbands to lead and initiate and then we take control and tell them no, are we allowing or even encouraging them to lead? I want to be like my friend! I want to encourage my husband to lead and support him.

In 1 Corinthians 7:5, Paul urges married couples, "Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

Now, I can almost hear the sighs and see the rolled eyes. What about when you are tired after a long day of work and family? I struggle with this. By the time I climb into bed at night, I’m already half asleep and already wishing I could sleep longer. Lots of times, I’m just not thinking about sex, and it really surprises me when my hubby initiates it. That’s a major difference in men and women! However, if I allow myself to actually like the idea and be okay, actually happy with it, my body really does respond. So give yourselves a chance to answer positively instead of the automatic no.

Next, how many of you like your bodies? Some of us might admit that we like parts of our bodies, but some of us don’t like anything. We see every imperfection. Here’s a news flash – our husbands don’t see our imperfections. They love our bodies, and when they see our bodies, it usually leads somewhere. The only way I can halfway understand this is to think about how much I love when my husband and I have one of those moments when we laugh at something only we can understand and think is funny and then equate that to how much he loves my body.

So, I’m actually talking about two of the three kinds of love in the Greek language. There’s phileo love, which is friendship love and really describes the husband and wife as best friends. Think about Romans 12:9-13 where our attitude and commitment impacts the relationship. Next, there’s eros love, which is characterized by passion and sexual desire. This is not bad – read Song of Soloman, and you’ll get lots of passion and sexual desire from that married couple. God created erotic love to be shared in our marriages. I think that most women would say there’s not enough phileo in their marriages, and most men would say there’s not enough eros in their marriages. But really, there’s not enough of the third kind of love – agape love. We think about agape love as how God loves us. But, think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, commonly called the love chapter. These verses describe when you give and don’t expect anything in return. Phileo and eros both give and take in their actions of love. Agape love is when you give love unconditionally and not because your spouse is wonderful or has done something nice. You give agape kind of love to serve your spouse. We’re only able to do this because God demonstrates agape love to us when He accepts us unconditionally.

So, I know you are thinking what does agape love have to do with sex? Actually, it has everything to do with sex. Our marriage relationships aren’t complete if we are missing any of these three aspects of love. We need the agape to accept each other and love each other no matter what. We need the phileo to share love together as best friends. And we need the eros to experience the oneness and pleasure that sex brings in marriage.

A great book (especially for singles, but even for married folks) having to do with our attitudes about sex is Love, Sex, & Lasting Relationships by Chip Ingram.