It is often said that sex is the barometer of a marriage relationship. In other words, if the relationship is going well, sex is going well, and vice versa.

While there is truth in that statement, there are times the relationship can be going well despite tension in the area of sex. In this case, you don’t have a heart issue, you have receptivity issue. We are often married to a spouse who receives the invitation for sex differently.

Men are Microwaves. Women are Crockpots.

I’m not sure who said it first, but when I heard this statement years ago, I agreed whole-heartedly: “Sexually, men are like microwaves and women are like crockpots.”

Meaning, men are typically ready for sex almost immediately upon hearing the idea. Women enjoy sex, it just takes them a while to warm up to the idea.

About 25% of the time, the reverse is true. It’s the wife who is quickly ready, and the husband who needs a little more time.

How to Deal with the Difference

Regardless who is the sexual microwave or crockpot in your marriage, this dynamic can quickly cause friction. Microwaves can feel rejected. Crockpots can feel overwhelm with the sudden invitation.

So what’s the answer? I heard a piece of simple advice that is so powerful and so doable.

For Crockpots

For those of you who are crockpots, when you spouse initiates sex and you aren’t in the mood (yet), say, “I’m not saying no to you, but no for now. I’m saying yes for [when].” (i.e. for tomorrow night right after dinner, later this afternoon, at the end of date night, etc.)

For Microwaves

For those of us who are microwaves, we need to figure out ways to turn on the crockpot. Ask your spouse how they would like to be notified in advance that you are in the mood.

One of my friends lights a candle in the morning when he hopes to have sex that night. This was actually his wife’s suggestion. I typically send a flirty text during the workday. Just choose a way to let them know in advanced. This gives them time to simmer.

Which One Are You?

While sex brings can be a complicated thing, often times small changes and clarities can make a big difference.

  • So how about all you microwaves, how do you lovingly turn on the crockpot?
  • How about you crockpots, how do you lovingly handle your microwave spouse?

Getting the invitation right, can make for a much better party.

Ted Lowe is a speaker and the director of MarriedPeople, the marriage division at Orange. Ted is the author of two books—one for marriage ministry leaders (Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last) and one for married couples (Your Best US: Marriage Is Easier Than You Think). He served for almost 10 years as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children.