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Every now and then, I'll ask my husband, "How can I be a better wife?"
Long ago, one of his answers to that question was "better meal planning," because truth be told -- I could eat a bowl of cereal for nearly every meal and call it good.
Not so much with my beloved.
He actually needs meals... you know, something with a main course and a few side dishes. Something that doesn't typically come out of a box or on a little microwaveable tray that first requires you peel back plastic.
God bless him.
I'm glad I asked that question years ago, though, because it did inspire me to get better at meal planning. I mean, I won't win "The Next Food Network Star," but I rarely hear complaints about what I place in front of him.
As for sex, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to try that we haven't already tried. He said he would give it some thought. (We already have fairly stellar communication and satisfaction in the bedroom, but it never hurts to ask).
My point is -- What would your husband say if you asked him, "How do you feel about our sex life?"
In many marriages, it takes courage to ask such a question. Here's why:
1. Sex is a private and sensitive issue.
Sex just isn't a common topic of conversation -- anywhere, let alone in the privacy of your home.
Many other aspects of marriage -- finances, in-laws, vacations, home remodeling projects, parenting dilemmas, etc. -- we openly discuss in our families, circle of friends, workplaces and churches. Countless marriage ministries are devoted to the overall general health of marriage.
But sex? Yeah, that's not randomly coming up at the backyard barbecue.
In other words, we typically aren't comfortable talking about sex because... well... we don't talk about it very much in the course of everyday life.
2. It reveals our own shortcomings or those in our relationship.
If a wife (or husband for that matter) has been less than enthusiastic about nurturing sex, then bringing it up as a topic of conversation obviously sheds light on this.
Or, if a couple together has been negligent about their intimacy, talking about it can start to feel like a huge marital failure.
Not too many of us want to broach a conversation on something that is wrought with feelings of inadequacy, regret and pain.
3. We don't want to know the answer.
Token questions really do nothing to feed our relationships -- if anything, they starve our relationship even further.
Sometimes we are afraid to ask a vulnerable question, because we really don't want to hear an answer that would then require us to change unhealthy patterns in our marriage.
Asking the question "How do you feel about our sex life?" implies that you are indeed interested in improving sexual intimacy with the man you married.
If you have no intention to take even baby steps toward improved sexual intimacy, then it is practically cruel to pose the question.
My guess is, though, you wouldn't want to ask it as a token question.
The Upside of Asking "How Do You Feel About Our Sex Life?"
There are a lot of positives that can result from this one little question. For one, it can finally bring to center stage an issue that you have been pretending doesn't matter.
Sex matters in your marriage.
You can rationalize all you want that "it's no big deal" or he doesn't "need" it or "we've gone so long without it," but those are feeble attempts to downplay what I'm guessing you know to be truth -- sex does matter.
God says it matters.
You stood at an altar and vowed that it matters.
The general consensus of the entire field of marriage counseling says it matters.
If you love your husband -- and I'm assuming you do if you are still reading at this point -- then I encourage you to ask him how he feels about sex in your marriage.
Ask the question in a tone of love.
Affirm to him that you really want him to share openly.
Listen some more.
Ask him to explain further about anything he has just shared.
If you have been careless with your sexual intimacy -- if you have withheld your body from him on a regular basis -- if you have been manipulative with sex or have used it to barter to get something you want -- apologize. Genuinely ask for his forgiveness.
Then, ask, "How can we together make sex a greater priority?"
You love this man, right? Grown up marriage begs for courageous questions to be asked.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.