Hey friends- this is kathi. you are going to love my friend sheila wray gregoire and her thoughts on sex (yes – it is for you, too!) I love how she honors marriage, wives and husbands all in one fell swoop. don’t forget to comment at the end and be entered in to win all five of our books featured this week!
Today’s post is taken from Sheila Wray Gregoire’s new book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage.
My husband and I have been married for 24 years and happily married for 21.
Most of our early problems were with sex. It was uncomfortable, icky, and awkward. The more Keith wanted it, the more I felt he only loved me for what I could do for him. So I would pray, “God, please help him see how much he’s hurting me. Help him just to love me again.” I’d pour out my heart, certain that the God who wipes away tears would hear me and answer me.
I did everything I felt the church had told me to do: I prayed. I cast my cares on God. I drew close to Jesus. Yet my prayers didn’t work. Keith still wanted sex! And he still got grumpy when I wasn’t frisky.
I wanted a marriage where my husband understood and cherished and valued me. Didn’t I deserve that? So what was Keith’s problem? And more to the point, what was God’s problem? I was doing my part, after all.
After I had prayed for two exhausting years that Keith would start caring about me, God put a thought into my head: Do you believe the only one who can fix this relationship is Keith? Don’t you have something to do with it?
I didn’t particularly like that thought, and so I vehemently argued with myself–and with God–about why changing was impossible. Even if we only considered sex, how was I supposed to enjoy something so gross and uncomfortable?
Then another thought hit me even harder: If God says that sex is good, and the whole world says that sex is good, maybe you should start figuring out how to make sex good.
I was stunned. If that thought was right, then the responsibility fell on me to do something about my struggle. I had to stop thinking sex was awful and start thinking, Sex is great—I just don’t have it all figured out yet. The problem may have started in the bedroom, but it wasn’t a problem with sex. It was a problem with how I was thinking.
A lot of us in church have awfully lousy thinking about sex. Maybe it’s for good reason–we were sexually abused or assaulted; we grew up thinking sex was shameful; we are burdened by a promiscuous past.
But then there’s the added burden that the Christian message about sex throws at us, and it goes something like this:
Just do it! Men need it, and if you don’t satisfy him, he’ll be super-tempted and might fall.
Wow, has anyone ever considered how totally UNsexy that message is? Just have sex–or your husband will cheat on you! Definitely not cool.
And also definitely a misunderstanding of what God created sex for.
You see, what I learned in my sexual journey is that there is a vast difference between just having sex and making love. Having sex has to do with the body; making love is an intimate joining on so many levels–physical, spiritual, and emotional. And actually, the closer you are emotionally and spiritually, the better the physical feels anyway!
The church is getting so concerned with things like porn that sometimes we give the “Just Have Sex” message a little too much, without elaborating on WHY we should just have sex. So let me share with you some of the things that I needed to learn about why sex is great for me, too (and not just for my husband!). When I started thinking this way about sex, then suddenly I wasn’t searching for my “No Trespassing” flannel nightgown anymore:
Sex helps you “let go”
We women have a non-stop to-do list in our brains every minute of the day. But sex is a way to turn all of that off and just feel. You don’t have to think. You don’t even have to do much of anything. You just get to experience your husband.
With sex, you can’t be a control freak. You have to let it just happen–or it won’t feel very good. That chance to turn off your brain, for just a few minutes, is a real gift.
Sex helps us sleep
How many times have you said, “not tonight, because I’m just too tired,” only to toss and turn all night because you know your husband is disappointed. And then the next day you’re so defensive you push him away?
But the nights that we do make love I fall asleep almost immediately and sleep so deeply! So now when I’m tired, I say, “Come put me to sleep, Baby!”
Making love helps you feel closer
When Keith and I haven’t made love in a while, it drives me nuts that he bites his nails. On the days after we do connect, though, I don’t even notice.
Making love truly covers a multitude of minor annoyances.
When you connect, you feel closer. You feel like, “everything’s okay.” We’re a team. When you don’t, then you’re always a little defensive about the relationship. And that’s why we tend to get more ticked off by little things!
Making love helps us “know” each other
No one else knows the things about me that Keith does, because this is something we only experience together. And the longer we’ve been married, the more “wild” I can be. It’s like everything that we do can become truly sacred, because we’re doing it together.
I feel this most after a fight. After we’ve let words fly perhaps a little too fast, and we’ve emptied ourselves emotionally, suddenly we’re so drawn to each other. We’ve become so vulnerable with each other that we need to connect even more.
It was the same the night that our son died. There we were, in total and complete anguish, and we turned to each other. Not because we were turned on in any way, but because there was this gaping hole that only the other person could fill. And we needed that intimacy.
Our culture–even our Christian culture–has made sex seem like it’s just for men. And it’s reduced sex to something purely physical. But it’s not. Making love is so much more. You empty yourself. You bare yourself. You truly see each other. And then, after all that, you can truly relax and find peace. That’s a wonderful gift!
And if sex can do all that, and you’re not experiencing it yet, don’t settle for that! Make this the most fun research project you’ve ever done with your husband. God made sex to be amazing. When we start believing that, and stop believing all the gross things we’ve heard about sex, then maybe, just maybe, we can truly make love, too.
Get your FREE ebook – 36 Ways to Bring Sexy Back to Your Marriage now!
Sheila Wray Gregoire is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and 9 Thoughts That Will Change Your Marriage. If you feel stuck in your marriage–and even your sex life–9 Thoughts will help you see the options God has available to you–and help you see how God wants to help you get unstuck! Sheila blogs daily at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.