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About a year ago, I pulled into my driveway one evening to find two men trying to break in our basement door.
Of course, the sudden appearance of headlights compelled them to run, leaving me and my two young boys sitting in our vehicle completely rattled.
I immediately called the police, who soon discovered that the burglars were only trying to break in the basement door -- because their attempts to kick in our front door had been unsuccessful.
Yes, they tried to kick in our beautiful wood door that has been on the house since my husband's grandparents built it in 1927.
(Side note: Deadbolts that operate from the inside with a key that is not left in the lock are well worth the investment. We used to keep the key in the lock, but when our youngest figured out how to open the door when he was 2, we wisely took to storing the key near the door, but not in it. When the door didn't give in from the burglars' firm kick, they broke the glass on it -- only to reach in and discover there was no key for them to turn).
"So," you may be asking, "what does any of this have to do with sex?" (Because, with me, just about everything eventually makes its way back to sex).
Obviously, my husband and I were a bit shaken by this chain of events -- slightly angry at the violation, not to mention the huge inconvenience and expense of fixing a badly damaged door.
Sure, burglaries happen all the time (as the nightly news regularly reminds us). One just had never happened to us.
To add to our uneasiness, we couldn't help but think of what would have happened had the kids and I walked in the basement door (our usual entry point) and discovered two strange men in our house.
Trust me -- a thousand different scenarios begin to run through your mind when your sense of security is weakened.
Despite all the uneasiness we felt, do you know what I most needed that night from my husband?
I needed to make love.
I needed to find reassurance in one of the safest places I know -- my husband's arms and the truth of the one-flesh mystery.
Does that sound crazy? Maybe. (I'm not especially known for my steadfast sanity. Go figure).
As crazy as it sounds, I think my desire for sex that night sheds a bit of light on what happens when sexual intimacy is nurtured in a marriage -- it does indeed became a sacred haven.
When all else seems unsteady, plagued by uncertainty or disappointment, there is power in reaffirming oneness through sex. Raw vulnerability is allowed to find its core.
Literally and figuratively, my husband and I were saying that night that we are "in this together" --- life's chaos, life's joy, life's journey and even life's uncertainties. (You could even say we were spiritually taking a stand "for" our marriage and our family).
You see, vulnerability is multi-faceted. There is tremendous power when two people who love one another are truly vulnerable with each other.
On the other side of the vulnerability coin, we discover reassurance when relationship calms the fear-based vulnerability we feel when our world is shaken. Hmmm. All that sounds a lot like what God desires we experience with Him.
Is it a mere coincidence that God in His Word expresses that marriage is the best reflection of Christ's love for His church? I hope not. Our relationship with Him -- and our relationship within marriage -- they are covenant relationships, rich with a sacredness and safety not available elsewhere.
Can sex indeed be healing?
Can it be restorative?
Can sex indeed be "safe?" (I mean beyond the counterfeit idea of "safe" that is doled out to teenagers in a way that suggests sex is nothing more than a physical transaction?)
I believe that by God's design, within a marriage, sex is the epitome of what "safe" means. Yes, I know -- for some of you reading this, your heart is breaking. Within your marriage, you long for exactly what I am describing... and for a variety of complex reasons, such soul-drenching oneness feels just beyond your reach.
My heart cries out with you. My prayer is that something -- even if it is just a small glimmer of something -- begins to heal and strengthen your sexual intimacy.
Tell me in your own words -- in your own experience -- what does it mean in a marriage? On a frightful night a year ago, I learned new truths about safe sex. In my bed. With the man I married.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.