How many times have you pulled away from the drive-thru of your favorite fast food restaurant only to open the bag and find they got your order wrong? You said no lettuce, but there is lettuce. You asked for extra ketchup, but there is only one packet. You ordered a large fry, but they gave you a small. It’s happened enough to me that I have become cynical and insist on double-checking that I have exactly what I ordered before driving away.

When you don’t get what you want, where did it go wrong?

When you don’t get what you want, where did it go wrong? Most of the time it goes back to when you placed the order. You told them what you expected and apparently they didn’t hear you because you got something different. In recent years, however, fast food places have minimized this problem by placing a screen that displays what you asked for, and then they ask you, “Does everything look right on the screen?”

Clear communication solves a lot of problems.

I’m not sure it would be very romantic to have a screen like that for our marriages that we could use to clearly communicate our expectations and desires, but it would certainly help. My wife may say, “Honey would you rub my back?” But I’m thinking, “I know what you’re really trying to say.” Most of us could use a little screen to clear up the miscommunication.

Everyone knows the sexual bed can be an emotional minefield. Men and women both make their share of mistakes, sometimes because we can’t put things into words and other times because we take the wrong messages from a look or a gesture.

In a very erotic verse, Solomon’s bride placed her order:

Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. – Song of Solomon 4:16

Communication is huge.

Let me say that again in case you weren’t paying attention: communication is huge. But when it comes to our sex lives, we have a hard time communicating clearly and listening carefully.

Solomon’s new bride was telling him, in poetic language, just what she wanted and needed. The north wind was strong, but the south wind was gentle; this woman needed both tough and tender. She welcomed the “strong winds” to come across her garden, but some gentle breezes would be nice too.

We need to do more than simply take what we want. We need to pay attention to the needs of our spouse. The irony (and this is true in every part of faith) is that the more we give, the more we receive. Intimacy grows as we nurture one another rather than simply taking selfishly. That requires saying it clearly and listening carefully.

I know—sometimes we want to take a cue from Nike and go with a “just do it” approach to sex. Some things are hard to put into words. We worry that talking about it will make it less sexy and more clinical. You’ve got a surprise in store. Intelligent romance is the way to go, my friends! Talk about it. Listen to each other. Then focus on pleasing one another rather than on personal pleasure, and you’re going to like how it turns out. There is no I in intimacy. Wait a minute, actually there are two. Maybe there’s something to that.

Dare to talk about personal needs and ask God to give you the desire to meet the needs of your spouse. One of the prayers I pray for the bride and groom whenever I perform a wedding ceremony goes something like this: “God, may their greatest moments of pleasure come not from having their own needs met but by meeting each other’s needs.” The ideal attitude is expressed in the verses below from Philippians.

The way of Christ is always service, always putting one another first—even sexually.

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. (Philippians 2:3-4)

“Tell Me What You Want and I’ll Give You What You Need,” is part of the bible study curriculum, “The Song: Small Group Study” written by Kyle and DesiRae Idleman.

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