Be honest… Did the title of this email startle you?
I don’t know why, but in the Christian community discussing sex is too often a taboo conversation. Even though we would give verbal assent to the truth that sex is a gift to married couples, bestowed by a gracious and loving God, somehow talking about it just seems… well, wrong!
Steve and I are both trained biblical counselors. As we’ve counseled with hundreds of married couples over the years, three major topics have risen to the top of the “problem” list for spouses. What are those topics? You probably won’t be surprised to hear that communication, finances, and sex are the top three areas that are causing strife and derailing relationships.
As we travel speaking to church and homeschooling audiences, the nervousness around the topic of sex would be almost funny, if it wasn’t so sad. At times, I’ve joked with audiences of mothers that if we didn’t have sex, we wouldn’t have any children to homeschool! In the church, sex is rarely spoken about, let alone taught from a biblical standpoint. Yet, we know for a fact that many of the couples sitting in the Sunday morning service are silently struggling at home in their bedrooms.
So ladies… this email is for us! If we long for our marriages to be biblically centered, God honoring, intimately strong relationships that will stand the test of time, we’re going to have to address the topic of sex head-on.
First things first…
More and more studies are showing that married couples, and especially young married couples, just aren’t having sex! Many young couples are going weeks, or even months, between their times of intimacy. This growing trend is problematic in many ways. For one thing, the Word of God instructs us that we are to become “one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) God never instructs us to do anything that is not for our good and His glory! He knew exactly what He was doing when He told us to enjoy our sexual relationship within the confines of our marriages.
Secondly, when we don’t habitually engage in sexual intimacy, our desire for that intimacy will diminish. Quite honestly, regular times of sexual activity will build the desire for more sexual intimacy. Conversely, a lack of physical intimacy will lead to less desire for marital intimacy. It’s almost a “use it or lose it” proposition.
Compounding the issue is the guilt we, as wives, feel when we are characterized by turning down our husband’s sexual advances. Whether it’s because we’re tired, uninterested, feeling distant, or any other myriad of reasons, when we consistently say NO to our husbands, we will begin to feel guilty and they will feel rejected and unloved. Guilt leads to avoidance and sexual guilt will lead to conflict and strife in other areas of our marriage.
Then, imagine how our husbands feel when we are ready to have a baby and suddenly the “intimacy switch” flips and we are constantly interested in sex! They feel used, and for good reason… we’re using them! What a mixed message we send and what damage we can cause.
God intended our sexual relationship to be unifying and intimacy building. If you’re relationship is troubled, or if it’s become an area of strife and arguments, may I encourage you to seek pastoral counsel. Don’t let it continue down a road of destruction… Get help now!
However, if your sexual relationship just needs a tune-up, here are some ideas to get you back on track.
- Those things we don’t discuss have the power to cause the most damage in our marriages. Even though it may be a difficult subject to broach, talk to your husband about what is going on sexually in your marriage. Ask his opinion about your sexual relationship and discuss together how to improve what is lacking. Just a note: Don’t have this conversation during a time of strife! Wait for a time of non-conflict, prayerfully prepare yourself to hear your husband’s heart on the matter, and then, proceed confidently!
- Often, the physical demands of our busy days cause us to tiredly avoid sex. Plan times of rest into your day. Your sexual relationship with your husband is just as important as any other appointment or activity in which you are involved. In fact, it’s more important. If necessary, curtail other activities in order to save some energy for your husband! Trust me, running around all day will never get you “in the mood” at night.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about the technicalities of your physical intimacy. Your husband longs to know how to please you physically and he’ll be thankful for your input. Tell him what you enjoy. Communicate clearly those things that hurt or make you uncomfortable. Let him know if there is something new you’d like to try, and then, try it out! Don’t be afraid to laugh at the awkwardness of new things.
- Bring God into your bedroom! Isn’t it interesting that we are so quick to involve God in every other area of life, but when it comes to our sex lives we try to “go it alone!” God is not only interested in your marital intimacy… He’s rooting for you to be successful. Ask Him for energy, and interest, and an others-oriented attitude in the bedroom. Trust me, if you’re focused on bring God glory and your husband joy when it comes to intimacy, you’ll be fulfilled as well.
- Deal with strife and miscommunication quickly. When we allow the mild irritations we experience as a married couple to build up and compound, we will quickly lose interest in being intimate with one another. Instead, purpose in your heart to resolve conflict and restore with one another quickly and biblically.
Finally, if you’ve set up an atmosphere of “No” in your relationship with your husband, for now, you may have to take the initiative in your sexual relationship. If a man has been consistently turned down and rebuffed, he will hesitate to initiate sex. It may take some time and it will certainly take clear communication to change that wrong paradigm in your marriage, but trust me, it’s worth the effort!
Sex, it’s a gift from God for our good and His glory! How will you receive that gift, today?