Intimacy in Marriage

Encouraging Christian Women toward Healthy Sexual Intimacy

We Can’t Have Sex Because the House Isn’t Clean (and other lies we tell ourselves)

A long time ago, my grandmother and I were talking about some of the differences between husbands and wives. I imagine I was lamenting about everything that I needed to get done and how such a list leaves me often feeling perpetually tired. I was wondering if men feel this way too.

My grandma wisely observed, "Women just see more that needs to be done." It's true, isn't it? I'm not bashing husbands, because that's a hasty careless road to go down. I'm simply saying that as wives (and mothers), we gaze around the house and we do see so much that needs to be done. Library books to return. Laundry to start. Bills to pay. Closets to organize. Empty cupboards to fill. Noses to wipe. Dinner to cook. Etc. Etc. Etc. (And if you work outside the home as well or have paid employment you do from home, then there are a million little work details vying for your attention also).

Before long, all that needs to be done morphs into a huge list of reasons why "we can't have sex." And then this can progress into resentment, because not only are you overwhelmed by the actual list, you are now a little pissed off that he doesn't feel equally hounded by "all that needs to be done." "How can he possibly not see all this?!" you wonder with great agitation.

You may hate me for this, but I gotta call it for what it is. When you consistently use "the house has to be clean" or any other to-do list item as a pre-requisite for having sex, you are lying to yourself. There. I said it. You are making excuses for not making love to your husband. That is a very unhealthy pattern to get rooted in your marriage.

The reality is that there will ALWAYS be more on your to-do list than can reasonably be completed on any given day. You wear a lot of hats (not sure which ones are in your assorted collection, but I imagine they include wife, mother, worker, friend, neighbor, volunteer, caregiver, and family member). I'm not going to give you some fancy formula for completing your to-do list. Nope. There are no easy tricks. The neat and organized life will elude you...some days are worse than others, of course, but the messiness of life never completely goes away.

So, a different lens is needed...one that encourages you to make room for sexual intimacy, even if it means you have to push the unfolded laundry on to the floor. Take a deep breath. Stop waiting for ideal circumstances. Instead, create a focus in your heart that sees making love to your husband more important than the overdue library book. Start weighing the consequences.

If you have really let sexual intimacy fall by the wayside, relegating it to hang out in the wings while you clean the house or tackle your to-do list, then consider this. Six months from now, will your life be richer because of a clean house or because of nurtured intimacy with your husband? Do your kids need shiny floors or do they need a mom and dad in love?

And it's good to point out too that just as the completely orderly life eludes us, so too does the completely chaotic life. In other words, choosing to make sexual intimacy a priority is not going to result living in squalor or your life spinning out of control. You are an amazing capable woman. And you are doing a lot better than you probably give yourself credit for. Really. So start weighing the consequences of what it will cost you and your marriage if you are always choosing your to-do list over sex. I'm just saying.

July 26th, 2010 by