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So let me paint a few scenarios. Maybe they will ring familiar:
You and your husband are moving along in foreplay and you notice that he is not becoming aroused.
Your husband makes a casual comment that he wishes you were more creative during sex.
You wear a sexy negligee and your husband doesn't respond with the enthusiasm you were expecting.
What's a gal to do? If you are like many wives, you may find yourself getting offended.
I offered three scenarios above, but I'm sure we could come up with oodles of other circumstances where the possibility of feeling offended is high.
I recognize that sometimes spouses are just plain rude and mean to each other, so feeling offended isn't just probable, it's more than likely justified. For purposes here, I'm not talking about those hateful situations.
What I am talking about is when you are easily offended in bed -- BUT your husband's heart motive wasn't to hurt you.
Have you even considered why you are so easily offended when it comes to sex?
Maybe you even notice that in other interactions with your husband, you typically don't take offense.
Here are 3 reasons we can be easily offended with regard to sex:
1. We are most vulnerable in our sexual intimacy.
Sex with our husband should be a place of tremendous safety, where we can genuinely be ourselves -- physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I'm not saying it is the only place we are vulnerable in our relationship, but there is a raw vulnerability that is present during sex in a way that is unlike other aspects of our marriage. We are naked -- literally and figuratively.
Because of this heightened sensitivity, we may be unaware of how quickly we shut-down at even minor slights.
It could be a casual remark your husband makes. It could be a look on his face, a sigh in his voice or a body demeanor that seems less than thrilled.
Or it could be we are offended because of how we perceive something (like a husband whose arousal is slow or non-existent -- when typically his arousal is quick).
Solution: Recognize your tendency to become easily offended. Resist the urge to shut down when faced with that tendency.
Ask God to give you a discerning heart as to whether something your husband has done or said is an opportunity for you to simply extend grace -- or if you need to address it in a compassionate way that expresses your hurt, but still respects his heart.
In other words, do all you can to intentionally foster dialogue, forgiveness and strengthened intimacy.
As for a husband who seems to struggle with getting or maintaining an erection, please know that there could be a variety of reasons for this -- and it's unlikely any of those reasons have to do with your beauty or appeal.
Maybe he's tired.
Maybe he is stressed about something.
Maybe there are physical reasons that need to be explored with a doctor.
Maybe he's just not in the mood.
The list could go on, but the point is that if your husband isn't all revved up and ready to round the bases, then you as a wife have tremendous influence in helping him feel safe to express what he is feeling.
2. Media puts a tremendous emphasis on a woman's sexual ability.
Have you ever considered that you are so easily offended because of the inaccurate tapes running rampant in your own mind?
The Cosmo magazine covers taunt us, suggesting merely by their headlines that there must be better ways to sexually satisfy our husband -- and we just don't know what those ways are.
Whether it be magazine covers, perfume ads, mall storefronts or nighttime television programs, as wives we wouldn't have to look too far to find messages that make us question our abilities to allure and satisfy a man sexually.
This can even be true for women who in all other situations are the epitome of confidence and leadership. Maybe you excel in the workforce or as a leader in your church or community -- but when the lights go out with the man you married, you find yourself feeling anxious and inadequate.
Solution: Start recognizing the counterfeit images for what they are. Stop buying into this idea that you "just don't have what it takes" to please your husband sexually.
I hate to say it, but I don't think the stores are going to stop putting scantily dressed models in their ads or Cosmo on their checkout stands any time soon.
It's up to you to take thoughts captive, stand firmly in truth, and claim your God-given ability to not just have sex with your husband, but to do so with confidence and appreciation for your own sexual pleasure.
3. You and your husband have different ideas of what constitutes a turn on.
Maybe your idea of "hot" is a sensual backrub that leads to off-the-charts sex.
Maybe your husband has a few other ideas. Instead of hearing him out, you immediately go to a place of being offended. Not only are you offended, you immediately assume his wild suggestions are rooted in things like pornography.
Now I'm not going to minimize how pornography can taint what is otherwise a beautiful interaction between a husband and wife. But as my fellow blogger Paul Byerly wisely observed, just because a sexual act appears in pornography doesn't automatically mean the act itself is bad.
Solution: It all comes down to heart motive. If your husband is expressing his desire for more creativity, it could very well be because he hungers for intense sexual connection with the woman he loves. That's a good thing ladies. Don't quickly dismiss his motive.
To all you husbands reading this, please make sure your motive is pure.
Your wife needs to feel treasured and protected and affirmed, especially within this sensitive area of sex. When you approach her with new ideas, I suggest you certainly do so with a tone of desired oneness.
And if there hasn't been too much happening in your bed beyond missionary position, it probably isn't a good idea to begin your creative quest by handing her leather boots, handcuffs and edible underwear.
I'm just saying. Pace yourself.
And for you wives reading this -- take the initiative. If your husband hints at or directly asks for some variety in bed, find ways to honor that -- and ENJOY it!
You don't have to compromise your own beliefs, but you probably will have to get out of your comfort zone.
Sadly, when it comes to offense, we can allow unhealthy reactions and patterns to take up residence in our marriage bed. It doesn't have to be that way, though.
Take a good hard look at your own heart.
Be honest with yourself -- and with your husband. Have you been sabotaging intimacy by building walls, instead of tearing them down?
Refuse to allow a spirit of offense to hinder sexual oneness with your groom.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.