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I'm not big on looking for signs, so to speak.
I've talked to many people at various places in their marriage, and when it comes to the marriages that are sticky strong -- they have a few distinct characteristics.
A few signs, you might say.
And because I blog about sex, obviously that's where my conversation wants to wander. (Always. Even when it's awkwardly inappropriate. But that's probably something I should tackle in another post. Or in therapy.)
I hear all the time from people who are discouraged with sex in their marriage (disagreements about frequency, stuck in a pattern of "going through the motions," arguments about sex, indifference about sex, "I want a divorce because we aren't having sex." Those. Types. Of. Conversations.)
Occasionally, though, I talk with Christians who love sex. Really really love it.
Some common threads that run through those conversations, no matter who I talk to? I've narrowed it down to five things.
Deeply passionate, fun and sacred sexual connection abides in the friendship you share with each other. You both feel freedom in that covenant connection to express your sexual desire for each other.
You grasp what it means to want to be wanted.
I am so encouraged when I hear from couples who are unabashed about protecting their time for sex and intentionally pursuing it.
We are at our most vulnerable during sexual intimacy. Exposed emotionally and physically.
No surprise that some married couples find it really hard to navigate that vulnerability and to teach each other what feels good.
Yet there is humble significance in exploring arousal with each other and letting go of the need to instantaneously "know" how to turn your spouse on. The healthiest couples learn sex together.
They both are teachable and can teach. And therein they mutually value each other's sexual pleasure. For more reading on this, consider these 3 Things Your Husband Wants in Bed and a whole slew of posts on a woman's orgasm.
A friend once said to me that she can tell when she and her husband have gone too long without sex. She feels and senses the tension in their ordinary walk of life, far away from the nakedness of their marriage bed.
In that regard, she knows -- has grown to intuitively pay attention to -- what sex does for her marriage beyond the bedsheets. I get that too. For more on my thoughts on this, check out my post I Like Him Better After We Have Sex.
Yup. A sure sign that you have arrived sexually in your marriage is you stopped (or never started!) using sex as a bargaining chip.
You don't sex him up to simply get him to say yes to something you want.
You don't withhold sex simply to punish him for slight offenses, like not helping enough around the house or being grumpy about going to the family thingy at your sister's.
The best sexual intimacy is not a scorecard. It's not a manipulative tool, wielded around to get what you want or to make an angry point.
Do you know what I find most fascinating about entrepreneurs and artists and anyone who finds the ordinary extraordinary? It's that they are always "arriving."
They hunger for growth and new observations.
This process of always "arriving" is a rare, yet much needed, characteristic in life. And in sex.
People who savor sex recognize that the relationship as a whole is still unfolding.
Great sex is rooted in strong enduring friendship between a husband and a wife. And that kind of friendship -- the kind we know is safe haven yet we can never find enough words to describe -- is constantly evolving.
My husband and I are not the same people we were five years ago or even one year ago. That being the case, we are always bringing to the table -- and to our intimacy (sexual and otherwise) -- new perspectives and abilities to nurture our sacred exclusive connection.
When you consider the above "signs," have you arrived sexually in your marriage?
I mean, even if you aren't into the whole "sign" thing, the above points have got you thinking, right?
Copyright 2014, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.