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Here is an important thing to understand about your wife: in her mind, foreplay for the next time you are going to make love begins immediately after her last orgasm! With regard to your wife, the bible tells you to “Dwell with her with understanding.” (1 Peter 3:7) Notice this passage does not say to understand why your wife does certain things or why she acts a certain way. It simply says that you are to understand her. You are not responsible for understanding what makes your wife tick, but you are responsible for knowing every detail about how she ticks!

What’s the largest sex organ in the body? No, it’s not what you’re thinking. It is your brain! You can use it in ways that will improve your sexual relationship with your wife. Understanding your wife takes hard work, careful attention, and time. It takes your brain. But when you begin to understand your wife, she will see your effort, and she is wired for response. Your attempts to understand your wife, even when you get it wrong, will draw her closer to you and make her more sexually responsive.

In a Focus on the Family study, the 80 to 90 percent of men out there for whom sex is all-consuming were asked what they would like to change in their marriages. The vast majority of these men stated that they wished their wives would, number one, “be more interested in sex” and, number two, “be more willing to initiate physical intimacy.” (And by the way, if you are part of the 10 to 20 percent, there are likely some issues that we can work on in counseling that would greatly increase the enjoyment of your sexual relationship, if you are interested!)

But let’s break down the findings from Focus on the Family.

Men wished their wives would be “more interested in sex.” She actually is very interested in sex; maybe even more so than you. The difference is that we men compartmentalize everything: Work, play, family, responsibilities, relationships, sex, etc. In your wife’s mind, it is all interdependent and emotionally connected.

For example, if you come home after a hard day at work, you might even want to make love to unwind from your day. You shut the “work” compartment and open the “sex” compartment. Making love might actually help you to shut the work compartment and recover more completely from the work day. As men, that closeness with our wives kind of puts into perspective and makes sense out of why we’re out there working so hard.

If your wife has had a rough day at work, making love is not the first thing on her mind. She may need to process about her day at work. Just listen. Helping her to process her day at work is foreplay to her! After she is finished, she can now devote the emotional energy to lovemaking that was being drained off (they are connected!) by her hard day at work. Remember, it is all hard-wired together in her mind and emotions.

There’s a Catch 22. The processing that your wife needs on a particular day may take up all of the available time for making love that evening. That’s okay! Your effort is not wasted. Remember, connecting with her and helping her process is all foreplay to her. Your attentiveness is recharging her sexual desire. She may not be ready that night, but be patient, understanding, and loving, and it will pay off.

The second item in the Focus on the Family research was that men wanted their wives to “be more willing to initiate physical intimacy.” Here’s a newsflash: what if one of the important ways you showed your wife you loved her is to reinforce that you love her unconditionally? One way you can show your wife that you love her unconditionally is to give her the complete freedom to reject your initiation of sex and show her that you still cherish and value her just as much in that moment. Nothing wounds a woman’s spirit like making her feel that she is loved conditionally, based upon response or performance. And experiencing this unconditional love is a very strong motivator for your wife to initiate sex on her own!

Conversely, never reject your wife for those times when she want to make love just for you. This is sometimes a gift that she wants to give to you, even if she is not completely on board with making love to meet her own needs. It is so strongly wired in to her to be responsive that sometimes she feels very connected emotionally by giving herself to you, just for your sake. In actuality, often she will end up enjoying it just as much as if she had wanted to make love from the beginning. Remember, we turn on like a microwave, and they heat up like an oven.

Men are wired to be initiators. That’s why we are sight-stimulated. Women are wired for responsiveness. That’s why they are touch-stimulated. Understand this about your wife. There is simply a deep mystery as to the “why” she acts or responds in a certain way that we will never understand. Concentrate on the “how” and meeting her needs. Give your wife the space to be a woman and respond the way she wants, and be a man by showing her vulnerability with strength. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your foreplay!

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