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Have you ever been at the zoo or in an airport and seen a small child on a "leash?"
Nowadays these leashes look like little cuddly stuffed animal harness backpacks. The "tail" is long so the parent can hold on to it.
I was always a little disgusted by seeing a child on a leash -- quickly judging that it was lazy parenting or the first step toward irreversible psychological damage.
Needless to say, I swore I would never put my child on a leash.
Then I became a parent.
Then I had a child who needed to be leashed -- for his safety and for my sanity. Go figure. The things we most judge are usually the things that will come back to teach us something.
When our youngest son was about 3 1/2, we flew to a family wedding in Florida. It was our first experience in an airport with our children in tow. Even before the day of the trip, my husband and I both had nagging concerns that our son was a likely candidate to easily escape from us -- especially in crowded chaotic settings. Like an airport.
We envisioned ourselves on the 5 p.m. news and we did not like the images our minds conjured up.
So I bought a leash. It looked like a cute little stuffed monkey. (Seems we aren't the only ones with these concerns, because you can find these things smack dab in the baby aisle at Target. Little monkeys, lions, etc.)
It was our attempt to keep our child "attached" to us. Mind you, he wasn't really thrilled with the concept of the leash, despite our best efforts to convince him how cool and cuddly this monkey was.
But we did it anyway, because we saw it as necessary to navigate an otherwise bewildering journey.
So what's this have to do with sexual intimacy in your marriage?
Well, read the line I wrote once again-- "We saw it as necessary to navigate an otherwise bewildering journey."
We did what we had to do. And when all was said and done, we have no regrets that we did.
So, if sexual intimacy has become a bewildering or heartbreaking journey in your marriage, are you doing what you need to do to navigate better?
That probably involves not only learning how to navigate together, but learning how to navigate individually as well. In other words, the ultimate goal is nurtured sexual intimacy -- that things would improve to become a place where sex is not only mutually-valued, but also incredibly uniting spiritually, emotionally, physically.
The hope is that it would indeed become sacred and powerful ground on your marital landscape.
But if within that journey, it never reaches that place -- and there are still disappointments, disconnect and disillusionment -- my hope is you would still lean on the Lord and other safe resources to navigate that pain. Learning how to navigate. Together. And individually.
Possibly when it comes to sex in your marriage, you once thought like I did about the "leash" -- I'm never going to need anything to help me with this.
But here you are. And you need something.
The good news is there are a lot of "somethings" that are ready to come along side you. There are Christian resources -- books, websites, Bible studies, etc. There is Christian counseling. There are medical doctors who can help with physical struggles you may be experiencing in your sexual intimacy.
And my prayer is there are also safe confidantes in your life who will allow you to be transparent about your struggles and will prayerfully listen and encourage. (Female confidantes for women and male confidantes for men).
Is now the time you need to do something to at least try to improve sexual intimacy in your marriage?
Sure, you could do nothing. And with regard to this matter (unlike my fears about my wandering child), there is no risk you'll end up on the nightly news. But the likelihood is high that your sense of isolation and desperation will increase. Your aloneness will intensify.
The upside is that if you do something, there is a likelihood that sexual intimacy will indeed become better in your marriage.
As for me, I'm now a big proponent of leashes on children when necessary. And reaching out for help with sexual intimacy when necessary.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.