Sex. Even after being married for years, it can still be a mystery sometimes—how are a man and woman with different sex drives and desires supposed to make it work?

I’ve come to believe that God designed sex as a journey. It’s not always hot steam and bliss, as modern media portrays it. There will be both bliss and frustration, just as in other areas of marriage, as you journey together through the years. It’s a process that requires love, communication and a heart toward serving your spouse.

Here are some practical steps you and your spouse can take to improve your physical intimacy and make it a priority:

Prayer: Pray regularly about sex. Here’s an example to get you started: God, please restore what is broken in me and help heal any negative feelings and thoughts I have about sex. Please help me to desire my spouse and to accept his/her advances. Help me to feel free to receive the gift and mystery of sex that you have given us to share together.  

Say Yes Instead of No: Perhaps you can relate with this scenario: One person is in bed, say the wife, exhausted from the day. The husband initiates intimacy, but the wife turns it down. Feeling rejected, he rolls away in frustration and the wife immediately feels terrible. She lies awake for the next 30-60 minutes thinking about how if she had just said yes, they could have enjoyed the time together and already been asleep. If you’ve found yourself in this cycle, try to say yes more than you say no.

As a couple, read and pray about 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. In these verses, Paul says that our bodies do not belong to us alone, but also to our spouse. He also says for spouses not to deprive one another of sexual intimacy. It took me a few years to understand why Paul gives these instructions: it’s not so that your spouse can be controlling and demanding, but so that you can help meet your spouse’s sexual needs and your spouse can meet yours. You are the only person in the world with whom your spouse can come to for sexual satisfaction. When you deprive each other of that role and the gift of physical intimacy, trouble is sure to follow. So make it a goal to say yes instead of no to your spouse’s physical advances.

Find Some Prime Times: With all that goes on in a busy day, most couples often leave sex as the very last thing, which often means they’re either too tired or not interested. So, change it up. Why not get up a little earlier and spend intimate time together before getting ready for the day? Or how about on weekends while the kids are napping? Find out when you have time throughout the week that would be more desirable than 11 PM.

Make a Flexible Schedule and Alternate Who Initiates: Talk with your spouse about how often you’d each realistically like to have sex each week. Come to a consensus and develop a flexible weekly schedule.

To some, a schedule might seem too rigid, but knowing when to expect sex can begin to change your attitude about it, if you struggle. You can look forward to it and prepare your heart and mind for this special time with your spouse.

Talk to you spouse about these steps and how you both can help one another to make sex a regular, enjoyable part of your life together.