Sex and Marriage, Part 1: Emotional Unity

How can sex be so beautiful and so bewildering at the same time? Using lessons learned from St. John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility, Dr. Edward and Beth Sri reflect on the emotional connections within marital intimacy, and how a couples’ preparing their own emotional climate can be the key to achieving deeper physical and spiritual intimacy.

Snippet of the Show:
The heart of sex is not physical pleasure, but what that pleasure points to: a deeper interpersonal union–physically, emotionally, and spiritually–of husband and wife.


Much of the content from today’s episode is based on the teaching from St. John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility and from the Sris’ new book!

St. John Paul II teaches that for the sexual aspect of the marital relationship to thrive and to be something that helps deepen their love and union together, spouses need a healthy “emotional climate” in their overall relationship, an environment in which they are able to enter into each other’s lives, emotions, and experiences, “to feel with and for” the other person.

Men and women are “wired” differently: men are more sensual, women more emotional. There needs to be acknowledgement and acceptance of that on both sides, in order for the emotional climate to thrive.

If a husband isn’t investing in his wife’s emotional and spiritual heart, then physically sex is not as unitive as it could be. On the other hand, if the wife is “keeping score” in the marriage, using sex as a carrot to manage, punish, or control her husband, then she risks holding him to a standard of perfection that he’ll never be able to meet. 

As Beth says, a wife can have the spirit of humility in saying, “I chose you, I choose you, and I will choose you again.”

Song of Songs 4:12

“A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed.”

As Beth shares in the episode, for women, there is so much inside one’s heart that can be “locked” away. But there is a safety and security in knowing that, with an attentive husband, you are not alone in that. That is a building block that then leads to a richer, deeper life of intimacy.

Sex is not a Band-Aid

Jesus wants to meet you in those hurts and wounds of your spousal relationship and heal them. But he cannot do that if you are turning a blind eye to those problems and using sex to distract you from what you and your beloved need to address. (For more on finding healing in your marriage, please see Chapter 7 in our new book!)

Giving and Receiving

When a spouse engages in the marital act, it is as if he or she is saying to the beloved, “I give myself to you completely—emotionally, spiritually, and physically—holding nothing back. And I receive you as a gift completely—emotionally, spiritually, and physically—accepting you totally.” Indeed, the bodily union of marital intimacy is meant to be a physical expression of what already exists heart-to-heart between husband and wife.

As husbands, we need to go out of ourselves and enter into meaningful conversation with our wife. We need to continue pursuing her, somewhat similar to when we were dating. We need to ask her about the day. Listen to what she wants to discuss. Take a sincere interest. Ask questions. And share from our life as well. We also need to try to notice what she might need, step in and help, perform acts of service, express gratitude for her.

We want to hear your questions about marriage and family life!
Please send your questions to:
(If you want your questions to be anonymous, please just mention that in your email!)


  • Visit Dr. Sri’s website at and to book online events with Dr. Sri email
  • Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at 
  • Ascension is pleased to offer our new and improved online bible study programs and sacramental preparation programs digitally to help you minister with flexibility. Go to to view all our offerings

Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, well-known Catholic speaker, and author of several best-selling books. His work with Ascension includes study programs such as A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion and Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Several of Dr. Sri’s programs were filmed on-site in the Holy Land, and feature immersive video explorations of the sacred sites where Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles lived and died.

Dr. Sri is the host of the acclaimed Ascension podcast All Things Catholic with Dr. Edward Sri.  Together with Curtis Martin, Dr. Sri is a founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), of which he serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach.

Dr. Sri lives with his wife Beth and their children in Colorado.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Never Miss an Episode!

Get show notes, exclusive bonus content, and more sent straight to your inbox.