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Sexual Devotion in Marriage: Not a Mental Exercise

When we think about devotion what usually pops into our head? Maybe it’s the thought of a forever love. Maybe, when we think about devotion, we think about passion, or someone who always has our back.

Devotion is a powerful word, and though it certainly encompasses all of the things we just mentioned, to actually experience it we need a much more practical approach—especially when we talk about sexual devotion.

The definition of the word is: “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.” That cause, in marriage, is our spouse—the lover we chose for all time.

But what’s that look like in our daily, practical, sensual life?

It means, plain and simply, that if we want to experience the adoration of a lover’s devotion, then we have to give it. We have to practice adoring our partner, find the things we love about him or her and celebrate those things, and then, be constant in searching out a love experience based on them.

Most of us, particularly as we age, get lazy in this domain. We marginalize our self by thinking we’re not perfect enough physically (or maybe we turn that judgement on our partner, too); we turn to porn instead of our lover’s skin; we stop searching for the beauty and sensuality in our partner’s embrace. We miss the gifts of each era of love because we’ve bought into the cultural stereotypes of what it’s supposed to look like.

And our culture supports all of that nonsense—that somehow, we shouldn’t be sexual over time; that we shouldn’t adore each other’s flesh as we age; that someone it’s more appropriate to look at sexual images of people who are way younger than our spouse (and possibly younger our own children) to get aroused.

I’m calling out devotion for what it is: it is an intense focus on our lover. It is an attention-magnet for the love of the one we chose. It is, in essence, adoration. And adoration does not spring out of our instantaneous passion. We have to practice it, pay attention to it, and get our hands and hearts into it in order to feel it.

Put another way, our partner will surely feel the wind go out of the sails if we sideline him or her for some fantasy object. The real world of sexual devotion lives in the real world—not on our screens.

I like to look at it from the lens of what I saw when I first looked upon the painted patina walls of Venice, Italy. I could see what those homes looked like 1000 years ago when they were young; I could see what they looked like in their seasoned adulthood; and I could see before me what they look like now I their cracked, vibrant, exquisite and aging glory. That’s the vision of devotion I’m standing for: adoration and sexual grace the whole way through.

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