Category: authentic

low sex drive
September 29th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Few things sabotage sex in a marriage more consistently than low sex drive of one of the spouses.

Frequency of sexual intimacy becomes a battleground, where a husband and a wife have extreme difficulty finding common ground.

Bonny Logsdon Burns of Bonny's Oyster Bed does an amazing job today looking intimately and thoroughly at this issue of low sex drive.

Though the blog post is about low sex drive, I think the post is full of nuggets of relationship gold that you won't want to miss.

Bonny's post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage

Once the bird seed and bubbles of newlywed bliss settle, most marriages discover that a husband and wife don’t quite agree on the frequency of love-making.

low sex driveThen arguments build, and pretty soon you have a full-blown battle.

A shiny new marriage usually has plenty of physical urgency coming from both spouses.

So, what happens?

Biochemically, the tingles of first romance putter out after 24 months and one spouse is less motivated to be sexual than the other.

Low sex drive can affect both wives AND husbands.

The low-drive spouse no longer can rely on the lust cocktail of brain chemicals to trigger physical urgency to connect in the bedroom.

The high-drive spouse starts to feel short-changed. Their need, which at first was vigorously met, is slowly brushed to the side and finally lands low on the priority list.

The low-drive spouse starts to feel objectified as the high-drive spouse tries to persuade, cajole and convince their mate to meet them in the bedroom.

Low-sex drive can absolutely destroy sex in marriage.

Having a sexless marriage (sexual encounters less than 10 times per year) can lead to destruction of the entire relationship through adultery. And yes, the straying spouse bears much blame for their wrong choice. However, a low-libido spouse must take the higher-drive needs of their mate seriously.That’s part of selflessly loving like Christ.

I’m here to tell you low-libido is not a permanent condition.

It just takes finding what replenishes the desire for sexual intimacy outside of the physical "gotta have you now."

A low-libido spouse has to more fully rely on the spiritual and emotional nature of intimacy in order to desire to connect through sexual intimacy.

This is the blessing of the low-libido challenge. To improve low-libido, it usually involves growing as a couple.

Here are three basics that helped change me from, “No way!” to “Okay!”


First of all you must know that it is absolutely OK to pray to God about your sexual relationship with your husband. Just because the church at large cringes at talking about sex, God gives it a big ol’ nod!

When I first started praying about my marriage’s sexual conflict, I prayed for God to increase my sex drive. That didn’t work. So, I prayed for God to decrease his. That didn’t work either.

Then, I simply prayed for understanding. This was the prayer God answered (Matthew 7:7, James 1:5, Daniel 2:21).

Love pours into me through conversation. I eventually understood that love-making was my husband’s most intimate conversation. For my high-drive spouse, touch said what words could not. Love pours into the high-drive spouse through sexual intimacy.

God placed resources in our path to improve other aspects of our marriage. I came to see that my low-drive was partly from a physical place, but it also had emotional reasons.

Pray for wisdom to know how to connect more fully with your spouse. When you figure out how to connect emotionally with your spouse, you will both feel more "heard." Feeling understood will help a low-drive spouse tap into another libido, the emotional libido.

Sexual intimacy has been compared to the type of relationship God wants to have with us through Christ (Ephesians 3:8-12, Ephesians 5:32), an earthly symbol of a heavenly reality. Pray that you both grow in spiritual maturity to understand this as you walk with the Lord.

And finally, work towards praying with your spouse about your marriage bed. This will help the low-drive spouse tap into the third and most important dimension of libido, spiritual.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

It only takes one little decision.

Decide to try meeting your high-drive spouse in the bedroom. That one little decision will spark a change in the entire atmosphere of your marriage. I can 98% guarantee it.

When I finally made my decision to go "all in," I began to do a little studying. At the time, blogs weren’t on the radar and there were only a few books on sexual intimacy written by Christian authors.

I bought every one of them and spent a little time each night learning about God’s approval of "gettin’ busy." Studying God’s ideas about sexual intimacy helped me get rid of skewed ideas that remained from pre-marital baggage and understand that I could give myself permission to be a sensual creature.

One little decision led to another little decision to visit the doctor. Which led to other little decisions about medical and scientific research. Which led to another little decision about being actively engaged during each rendezvous.

God’s path for your rejuvenated libido may not look exactly like mine. However, if you make the decision to start seeking. He will answer.

Spend Most of Your Non-Work Hours Together

If a marriage is spiraling downward, some spouses run away from each other. I get it. You’ve been hurting each other with words and you want to avoid being hurt. If you’re not in your spouse’s presence, you can’t be hurt.

However, the answer is to run toward each other when things get tough. Don’t look outside of your marriage, especially with a person of the opposite sex, for any kind of emotional validation.

A low-libido spouse must connect emotionally and spiritually with their spouse. Emotional and spiritual libido substitute for the lack of physical urgency.

The way to connect is simple. Spend lots of time with your spouse outside of the bedroom doing fun stuff and having conversations. Optimally, 2 hours a day with just the two of you. But, I realize with young families, that’s not easy.

In whatever way you spend time together, avoid being snarky, disrespectful, sarcastic, demanding, threatening and angry.

Author Michele Weiner Davis states, “A more loving marriage may be the only aphrodisiac your marriage needs.”

Final Thoughts

It is possible to regain the birdseed and bubbles of newlywed sexual craving. It just might be in a way you hadn’t contemplated before.

Pray for resources to help you through the maze of low-libido. Decide to see your marriage as a relationship worth fighting for. Spend more time with your spouse being the person your spouse married; fun, happy, and friendly.

If you do all these things, not only will your libido come out of hiding, but your spouse will probably return all the love you are investing.

I’d like to place a resource in your view right now.

Written for the low-libido Christian wife, Unlock Your Libido: 52-Week Sex Drive Transformation, will help you uncover little known aspects of her lost inner sensuality.  Ramping up lagging libido doesn’t happen by magic.  However, it can be an easy journey with profound results by following along with this 52-Week guide.

Although not a Bible study, its foundation is God’s Word.  Based upon a 2012 French study, the blend of science and scripture helps wives re-discover their sensual hidden nature, covering not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual aspects of libido.

Each week, a commentary sets the theme.  The key is consistent thought and prayer revolving around the theme.  It only takes 5 minutes a day.

BonnyBonny Logsdon Burns writes to encourage the low libido wife at She and her husband, David, are candid about their struggles and victories revolving around sexual intimacy. She is passionate about empowering and equipping hurting women through God’s Word and practical tools. They have three sons, like to try new foods, laugh at corny jokes, and dance to their own music. (You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.)


Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

September 16th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

It is no wonder that skewed beliefs about sex begin to take a huge toll on sexual intimacy in marriage. Sadly, some people are numb to all these skewed beliefs.

Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband sheds light today on the reasons we need to hold up any of our beliefs about sex against what the Bible really says. 

Too often, what we believe about sex doesn't even come close to God's vision for our marriage. Paul's post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriageI so appreciate Paul and his wife Lori, who have been champions of authentic intimacy for years.

Google defines skew as "make biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading."

We’re surrounded by skewed sexuality.

skewed-sexual-beliefsPorn skews the thinking of men and a growing number of women. Various non-porn magazines teach all kinds of inaccurate things about sex.

We get sexual messages from TV, our friends, church, and our culture in general.

So many sexual messages, and virtually all of them are inaccurate, unfair or misleading.

As a part of our modern culture, you’ve had a number of skewed sexual beliefs piled on you. Even worse, it started long before you were interested in sex.

Your thinking about sex was skewed before you were really thinking about sex. We’re like fish who have no idea we are in water because it's always been there.

Are those skewed beliefs destroying sex in your marriage? They certainly are not making sex great!

More than a decade ago, a missionary to China told my wife and me a very sad story. Western-style porn had become available in China, and those who watched it tended to decide what they saw was how sex is supposed to happen. Husband and wife would watch porn, and then try to emulate what they watched.

Unable to do what they saw, they blamed each other. At best this led to frustration and anger; at worst, it led to divorce. Skewed sexual beliefs destroyed not only their sex lives, but also sometimes ended their marriages!

We tell ourselves we're more sophisticated than those folks in China seeing porn for the first time. We tell ourselves we're less easily influenced by skewed sex messages. Perhaps both of these are true, but only to a degree.

Some of the most dangerous skewed sexual beliefs are the negative things we get from our family of origin and the church.

These range from subtle hints that sex is overrated to blatant proclamations sex is just for men. Mothers "warn" their daughters to protect themselves from their husbands, rather than encouraging them to enjoy sex with abandon. They pass their disappointment and frustration on to the next generation, setting up another marriage for sexual problems.

God says sex is good.

He says both men and women should greatly want and wildly enjoy sex.

In the Song of Songs and elsewhere in the Bible, several passages talk about sexual abandon using words normally applied to being intoxicated with alcohol.

God is not calling us to limited, orderly sex; He’s calling us to wild, uninhibited enjoyment of His gift of sex in marriage.

Any beliefs at odds with what God says are skewed beliefs. If you want a better sex life, root out skewed beliefs and reject them the way you would reject any other kind of posion!

Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” [SS 5:1b ESV]

p-l-kissPaul has been blogging about marriage since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. He blogs to men on The Generous Husband, to women on The XY Code, and writes about all things sexual with his wife Lori on The Marriage Bed. He and Lori recently set out on an adventure to become full-time RVers. 

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:








Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sex education, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

September 15th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


I'm probably going to frustrate a few people with this post.

Or maybe not.  I'm not sure.

At any rate, soldier on in reading, even if you are tempted to stop. Where I am going may surprise you.

Sometimes I hear from husbands who are not interested in sex because their wife has "let herself go" -- not shown interest in being healthy, wearing attractive clothing or embracing her femininity.

Sometimes it is wives who are emailing me about their husband who has put on some extra pounds, not paid attention to his grooming like he did when they were first married and stopped embracing his manliness.

And sometimes the emails are from people lamenting not about their spouse, but about themselves, claiming they "let themselves go" and this is the reason for the intimacy woes that are plaguing the marriage.

Whether someone is complaining about their spouse or complaining about themselves, I think this whole "let yourself go" issue is not really the issue.

Because let's be honest.  For the vast majority of people, your body at 40 or 50 is not going to look like your body at 20.

It's just not, what with that thing called aging (not to mention carrying and birthing and nursing the little tykes for us women).

That's not to say you can't aim toward being physically healthy, dressing in appropriately fitting and attractive clothing, and so forth. Yes, this is all well and good.

BUT, the real issue, in my opinion, is your attitude about sexual intimacy and your willingness to have healthy confidence in yourself (not just in your body).

Do you want to know something about those scenarios I shared at the beginning of this post? The ones where I hear from people complaining about their spouse "letting themselves go"?

Those emails by far are a tiny percentage compared to the number of emails and comments I receive, particularly from husbands, who actually have a different quandary.

What torments these guys is their wife has let go of her sexual confidence, despite the husband's repeated encouragement and affirmation.

You see, these men don't care about the extra pounds their wife has put on. And they don't care that she doesn't look like she did when they first married.

What the husband hungers for is a wife who wants to make love, wants to be close and wants to give him the privilege of seeing her naked body.

But she is resistant, even belligerently self-defeating when it comes to nurtured sexual intimacy and sexual passion in the marriage.

The husband isn't hung up on what she perceives as having "let herself go."

She is.

If you are still reading, this may well be your come to Jesus moment as far as what has truly been sabotaging intimacy in your marriage bed.

Maybe you have.  And maybe it has nothing to do with your body.

I hear from countless guys who say that what they find incredibly sexy is sexual confidence.

Given the choice, they would be more excited about a wife who maybe has put on some extra weight and has a few wrinkles YET still has interest and enthusiasm in bed than a wife who looks like a Victoria Secret model YET has zero interest in sexual passion with her husband.

I could do a "man on the street" survey (because, honestly, that sounds like fun). You know where I would arrive with that survey?

That a wife's sexual confidence is sacred ground -- thoroughly enjoyed by husbands whose wives exhibit it -- and coveted by countless husbands whose wives don't have it (and have no interest in having it).

I'm just not so sure this "let yourself go" argument is really about what we have too often made it about.

I think the deeper issue is about sexual confidence. Not the extra baby weight.

If you're going to let go of anything, let go of this idea that you first have to lose the extra weight or get in better shape before you build sexual confidence.

A better approach just might be to build sexual confidence now.

What do you think?

And for more reading, check out my favorite post on "body image" at this link.

And I might catch some grief for sharing the below video, but it has an incredibly powerful message (warning though, especially for guys, it does contain subtle nudity).

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

Click on the below image for more about the book:








Posted in authentic, body image, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

September 10th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Today, Nebraska legislators will hear testimony "for" and "against" comprehensive sex education.

The resolution being discussed is aimed at understanding the "integral link between academic achievement and risky health behaviors."

According to the resolution, the effort is to find "strategies in schools proven to simultaneously address and improve academic achievement and health outcomes."

So what's that have to do with comprehensive sex education?

Sadly, quite a bit -- at least in regard to what comprehensive sex education has come to mean.

Comprehensive sex education across the country is a broad initiative to teach students not only about abstinence and contraception (such as condoms and other birth control methods), but also about abortion, sexual identity, masturbation, etc.

Planned Parenthood, no surprise, is intent on seeing comprehensive sex education become the standard in schools.

Clearly, I'm not a big fan of comprehensive sex education, at least how it is commonly defined right now.

And I am grateful there are voices on the state and national level who are trying to slow the relentless momentum of the liberal agenda.

BUT equally important is that you as a parent recognize that you have great influence in your own home.

Regardless of what happens in school curriculum, you have to be willing in your own home to look intentionally at this question:  "Who is teaching my kids about sex?"

I have a 17-year-old and a 10-year-old, and the reality is that their generations are growing up in (and will eventually be adults in) a society that is increasingly accepting of a more liberal sexual agenda.

By this point, none of this should surprise us (evil constantly comes masquerading as light).  It certainly does not surprise God.

My children and your children will go to school among, work among, live among and possibly go to church with people who are homosexual, transgender, cohabitating with partners, having sex outside of marriage, viewing pornography, etc.

There never has been a more vital time to teach young people how to exhibit Christ's love AND simultaneously hold to a biblical framework that God designed sexual intimacy as an exclusive gift only for a husband and wife.

That's. Not. Easy.

I know.

Our children are exposed to more sexual images, references, innuendos and discussions than any previous generations.

It can feel scary and confusing to talk with your kids about sex, sexual identity, gay marriage, abortion and so forth.  But having those discussions, against a backdrop of God's truth and Word, is vital.

And you are better equipped than you realize.

You can give them a solid foundation and vision of God's design for sex.

At the same time, you can equip them to feel confident that "loving their neighbor" (or coworker, classmate, etc.) does not mean they have to agree with everything that person does.

You can teach them that God offers hope and forgiveness for anyone (including ourselves) who repents of their sins and seeks God's truth.

Abortion, homosexuality, and sex outside of marriage are no greater or smaller sins than gossip or theft or idolatry. Sin is sin, which is both a humbling and an encouraging reality drenched in God's relentless pursuit of us.

You can help your kids be kind and Christ-like toward people who are gay, transgender, are cohabitating, support gay marriage, have had abortions -- and still know that it is fine to not agree with those choices.

Probably one of the best places to start is to talk to your kids about sex as God designed it.  It's not a "one time" talk, but rather a lifetime of age appropriate conversations.

You have to be intentional, though.  These conversations don't just materialize out of thin air.

How do you do that?

Below are three blog posts I've written on talking to your kids about sex.  Whether your kids are little or almost on their way out of your home, I highly encourage you to read all of these posts.

10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Talking to Your Kids About Sex (Part 1)

10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Talking to Your Kids About Sex (Part 2)

The 5 Secrets to Talking to Your Kids About Sex

Let's do this, okay?

And I also encourage you to find out what your schools teach about puberty, sex, sexual choices, birth control and sexual identity.

You can seek to opt your children out of those courses (a friend of mine in Minnesota successfully did this with her children in public school, without it detrimentally impacting their school transcript) and/or you can have your children take the coursework -- and then use it as a springboard at home for discussion about ultimately following God as our authority.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, sex education, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

ty and terri schenzel
September 5th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


ty and terri schenzelI'm asking you to watch a video I've embedded in this post.

It has a powerful message of why it is so important to listen to the call God puts upon our hearts.

The video includes interviews with Pastor Ty Schenzel and his wife, Terri, who share authentically about what they did when God called them to pour themselves into desolate parts of Omaha, Nebraska.

It is a message that has resonated deeply the past few weeks in Omaha, where I live.

On the afternoon of August 20, Ty and Terri Schenzel, as well as their friend Ryan Hrubes, were killed in a horrific head-on collision with a man driving the wrong way on the interstate.

Ryan's wife, Emily, was the only survivor of the accident and continues to recover.

I did not know Ty and Terri well, but I did know them.  Ty and I spoke together at a funeral three years ago, and his genuine love of Christ was undeniable.

So many people felt their loss in Omaha, where they had radically transformed lives by obeying the call God had put on their hearts.

The Schenzels were best known in Omaha for founding the Hope Center for Kids.  Countless lives are different -- better -- today because of the Schenzels' relentless pursuit of being Jesus with skin on.

They also were true champions of marriage, as they mentored couples and spoke and wrote frequently on what it takes to build a Christ-centered marriage.

As I sat at their funeral August 26, my heart was wrecked -- and encouraged -- by their love of Jesus.

As I listened to their four grown children speak with such raw emotion, pain and admiration, I felt tremendously grateful for the impact Ty and Terri made.

So why am I sharing this all with you?

In the video, Ty talks about paying attention to the burden on your heart, whatever it is -- the problem God places in your life -- that you cannot ignore.

The Schenzels are dead.

But their legacy lives on.

Because they refused to ignore the problem God placed in their life.

"I think when the Lord puts His heart in your heart, it becomes your problem too," Ty said. "Yeah, I think everybody should have a problem, meaning a cause, a burden, an assignment, a mission."

Watch the video and you will better understand.

You will better understand why my "problem" -- the burden on my heart -- is to see marriages healed of their sexual struggles. I agree with Ty.  Everybody needs a problem God puts in their life that they can't ignore.

God bless who the Schenzels and Ryan Hrubes were to the city of Omaha and, more importantly, to their closest family and friends.  God bless Emily Hrubes.

Will you watch this video? Please.


Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, Uncategorized Tagged with:

August 15th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Orgasmic pleasure in a marriage can elude many couples.  The causes behind the struggle can vary.

In today's post, Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo of One Extraordinary Marriage share about the impact orgasm has not only on sexual intimacy, but marriage as a whole. The DiLorenzos' post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.

I so appreciate them sharing as part of this series.  Tony and Alisa were some of the first bloggers I met in the internet world of speaking encouragement into the lives of married couples trying to nurture their intimacy.


lack-of-orgasmIs lack of orgasm destroying your marriage? The short answer is yes AND no.

Well, that cleared things up for each of you, didn't it?

The truth is that marriages are destroyed by many things and there are two sides to this particular question.

Let's explore this in more detail.

First, let me be very clear, I am able to have an orgasm and I do enjoy them.

I do not have an orgasm every time that I have sex.

Sometimes that is by choice and sometimes that is by circumstances.

I know that not everyone is able to have an orgasm. There can be medical reasons for lack of orgasm. There can be emotional reasons for lack of orgasm. There can even be knowledge reasons for lack of orgasm.

Let's start with that last point -- the fact that you have to know how your body works.

You have to know what feels good for you in order to be able to share that with your spouse. If you don't know what works, how can you expect your spouse to figure it out?

Your spouse does not have ESP.

Am I referring to self-exploration? Yes! Mutual self-exploration.

When you were in school, did you have a  Sex Ed class?

Well…, you get to participate in the grown-up, married version, and it's SO much better than what was in any textbook.

You have the opportunity to explore and learn with your spouse in a loving and creating environment. So what are you waiting for?

Now, back to the original question:

Is Lack of Orgasm Destroying Your Marriage? YES

For a person to experience orgasm, especially a woman, there has to be a combination of factors:

  • emotional connection
  • vulnerability
  • trust
  • communication

To fully let go in a sexual experience, to be willing to throw all caution to the wind, to be fully present in the moment, you have to let go of everything else around you.

You have to be willing to be caught up in the experiences, to surrender your body, mind, and soul to another person.

In the busyness of our world, that is a hard thing to do.  It takes a combination of willpower and desire to "flip the switch" to decide to be vulnerable, to decide to be fully present.

When these factors are not present, the chances for an orgasm are greatly diminished.

It's more than just the orgasm though.

When these particular factors are not present, there are greater problems in the marriage.

The lack of orgasm, and more likely the lack of sex, becomes a symptom of something else going on in the relationship.

So yes, if a lack of orgasm is due to the factors listed above, it could be indicative that your marriage is being destroyed.

Is Lack of Orgasm Destroying Your Marriage? NO

On the other hand, there are those times when the two of you are engaged in sexual activity with no orgasm. It happens and it's OK, as long as the two of you are able to communicate what's going on.

You won't always come to orgasm when you are having a quickie or when you are in a different place.

Many times there is a medical or situational lack of orgasm, and the two of you are aware of it.

You know that something is going on with the health of your spouse. You know that you only have 5 minutes before a child is going to come and knock on the door.

It's no surprise that due to stress, one of you might not be able to orgasm…

...and yet, the two of you are making the time to connect with one another, to be physical with each other.

To do what you can, with what you have, allows the two of you to be able to grow your marriage, no matter what the circumstances are.

The orgasm can be a barometer of what's going on the relationship, but not the only measure.

The most important thing in your marriage is that the two of you making time for one another and making each other a priority.

If you would like to read more posts about orgasm, check out this page.

Tony & Alisa equip couples struggling with a lack of time, communication or intimacy with specific tools and strategies to create the extraordinary relationship they desire. One quick tool is their 6 Questions To Get The Conversation Started This Week (And Keep It Going).






Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

July 24th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


Many married Christians have unintentionally let their sexual intimacy suffer, all because they were busy doing ministry.

Kevin Bullard of Marriage Works! is sharing today as part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.

I so appreciate Kevin and his wife Cetelia, and the great wisdom Kevin offers in this post.

churchIf you are in ministry as a pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, worship leader, administrator or any other position that requires significant time, you need to read this blog to ensure ministry doesn't destroy sex in your marriage.

Although it may seem weird, the truth is that out-of-control ministry can destroy sex in your marriage, because true sexual intimacy is built on genuine intimacy -- not just physical actions.

That said, heed the following 3 strategies to ensure you're building intimacy in your marriage so you’re not destroying sex:

Strategy 1: Beware the Sprinkler effect

As leaders we're ready to serve and reach the world. What happens all too often, however, is the sprinkler effect.

Have you ever noticed that the grass closest to the sprinkler is always dry? It's because the water always shoots to the far edges of the yard while missing the grass closest to it. This can happen in marriage if we're not careful.

Everyone else will get fed while our spouse is malnourished (and perhaps becoming bitter).

I've seen this happen too many times, and it's unfortunate. Understand there's nothing wrong with serving the Lord. You just need to ensure you're ALSO serving the one you entered into holy covenant with.

Strategy 2: Save the Preaching for the Pulpit

To the spouse who preaches at church and at home, let me tell you that you're not alone. I've done it to my wife Cetelia more than once, and I've seen how damaging it is.

I'll always remember one occasion before marriage when I preached a pretty lengthy sermon on the virtues of money management. It sounded and felt good to me, until I realized that I had demoralized Cetelia, and made her feel like a little kid. Ouch!

I'd like to say that I have not given her some sermons (another name for a lecture) since then, but that would not be genuine. The only way I know to keep from preaching to her (and my kids for that matter) is to first of all LISTEN without offering a solution.

It's not easy, but it's doable. When Cetelia wants to share heart, she wants my ears, not my mouth, which requires empathy.

Strategy 3: Spend Time Together

Perhaps this should have been number one (or perhaps this is a good spot for it, now that your mind is being stirred up).

The simple fact is this: If you don't spend time with your spouse, you're going to grow apart. We get distracted by ministry responsibilities and opportunities, and lose sight of the one we committed to spending our forever with.

Get this: If all your time is spent going to church, and you're not spending time with your spouse outside of church, the two of you are going to move further and further apart until you either become roommates who occasionally have sex or yet another couple who can't find a reason to stay together.

I've been zinged for making that assertion, but I stand by it.

Couples must spend time together outside of church where they can focus on one another, rather than the business of the church.

Strategy 4: Ensure Your Church Respects You as a Leader and a Spouse

If given the opportunity, people at church will drain you dry, then leave your carcass lying at the altar for Jesus to resurrect.

While folks don't mean to be parasites, sometimes they are. They will call on you day and night until you're stretched thinly, worn out, and have no more energy to give to your spouse (and family).

The answer is to guard feverishly against this by setting boundaries for your time and availability. This is easier said than done, I know.

As ministry leaders, we have this incorrect attitude that says, "If I don't, it won't." Viz., if I don't do this, it won't get done. This is a double booby trap, and here's why:

(1) We can become full of ourselves thinking that we're God's gift to the world, and

(2) We handicap everyone around us and stymie them from becoming leaders in their own right, because we're doing everything (been there, done that).

When we ensure that people respect us as leaders and as spouses, we send an important message that says, "I am your leader, yes, but I am also my mate's spouse."

From my experience, we must teach people this principle because they do not intuitively get it. The best ways to successfully teach this is to continually say it then live it.


Blending marriage and ministry is NOT easy. There is a lot of pressure from both sides to do everything well and without error.

First, free yourself from that unfair and unrealistic expectation.

Second, know that when you build intimacy in your marriage, you set yourself up to have a loving and successful sex life.

Make ministry a part of your life and marriage, not the master of your life and marriage.

Kevin and Cetelia Bullard encourage marriages through their Marriage Works! blog and their countless marriage resources.  They are true champions of marriage, hosting conferences, mentoring other couples, and speaking hope and biblical encouragement into broken places.

They live in Texas with their children.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

July 22nd, 2015 by Julie Sibert

A young married couple emailed me recently, admitting that they were both aroused by using  certain obscene and/or slang language during sex.

They wondered if I thought this was okay.

Some of you may think the couple's quandary is a rare exception among Christian couples.

I would argue otherwise, though.

If more married couples were candid about this, I think we would discover that many face the same dilemma.

As Christians, they would never use the F word or other "cuss" words in their public conversations or even in private casual conversations in their own home.

Yet when it comes to being in the throes of passion in their marriage bed, they find the use of such language surprisingly arousing.

Hey, don't shoot the messenger.

I'm simply shedding light on something that is worthy of discussion, especially if a married couple is feeling angst about whether something is right or wrong in their marriage bed.

I mean, it's kind of my wheelhouse to talk out loud about these things rather than allow silence and darkness to fuel uncertainty and struggle.

Just for clarification, I'm not talking about using language that is done with the intention of berating the other spouse or when one spouse has clearly said they are not comfortable with it.  I think we can all agree those scenarios do not exemplify love.


I'm talking about when both of the spouses find the use of vulgar language arousing. They are not turned off by it, but are incredibly turned on by it and find it heightens the intensity of the sexual encounter.

What is a couple to do?

Below is what I told the young couple (Spoiler alert, you probably aren't going to like my answer).

I told them I could argue it both ways -- that it's okay and that it's not okay.

In one regard, I believe we must consider the spirit and context of such conversations.

When a word -- even what most people generally consider is an obscene word -- is used within the context of mutual, exclusive and passionate sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, in the privacy of their lovemaking, some would argue this isn't damaging to anyone or anything.

In another regard, though, when we hold everything up to scripture, some would argue that an obscene word could never, in any context, meet the standard of...

"whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8); or

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

Of course, we could take this deeper and cause all kinds of theological debate by posing the question:

"Is obscenity that is mutually enjoyed by a married couple in the privacy of their lovemaking actually an example of the above scriptures being upheld -- rather than an example of the scriptures being violated?"

Ornery of me, I know, to try to come at this from all angles.  I'm mischievous that way.  I'm just trying to get you to think.

And suffice to say, I can't answer these questions for you.

They are "wrestling with God" matters.  If you and your spouse are struggling with this issue of certain obscene words being a turn on during sex, then I encourage you to seek God on it.

The Holy Spirit is faithful.  And He will reveal direction for you.

I will say this, though:

Don't beat yourself up if you have used obscene words during sex and found it arousing.  It's wise to seek discernment, yes. But it's not helpful at all to wallow and get stuck in self defeat.

If you want to stop using certain obscene words, then find other expressions and words that can be equally arousing.

Honestly, I think the more descriptive a husband and wife can become in telling each other what they like sexually, the better.

You don't have to use the F word.

You and your husband may be surprised you both are just as turned on when you say to your husband, "I need you in me" or "I like when you ________ with the head of your penis."

You both may be turned on when he tells you in vivid detail what he likes you to do with your breasts or your hands or your mouth.

Anyway. You get the idea.

If you and/or your spouse are not used to talking or making any sound of ecstasy during sex, then becoming more descriptive may seem awkward or distracting, especially at first.

But I think this is a great aspect of lovemaking to explore.

I think staying completely silent during sex is frustrating (and, in my case, almost impossible. Not gonna lie.)  But I have had to, at times, stay quiet in certain circumstances so that the exclusivity of our lovemaking wouldn't be compromised.

I'm guessing that's a topic for another blog, though.  Quiet Lovemaking When There Is No Other Option.  (I can assure you it will be a short post. I have so little practical experience to write a post like that).

Your turn to chime in.  Have you and your husband struggled with wondering if it is okay to use obscene language during your lovemaking?

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

July 11th, 2015 by Julie Sibert


The-Unveiled-WifeI recently finished reading Jennifer Smith's book "The Unveiled Wife," in which she chronicles with raw vulnerability the struggles she and her husband Aaron faced from the start of their young marriage.

With transparency and courage, she shares about her hopes for an amazing marriage, including profound sexual intimacy, once she became a bride -- only to encounter instead physical pain during sex that left both her and Aaron exasperated and confused.

Digging deeper, she peels back even more layers of emotional pain rooted in both of their pasts, and the horrendous impact such pain was taking on their fragile marriage.

Their difficulty in coping was compounded by denial, poor communication, selfishness, pride and an unwillingness to be honest about the depth of the struggles.

She at times contemplated divorce.  I have to be honest -- as I was reading the book, I was expecting at any moment that she would share they did indeed separate.

Through betrayal, disappointment, anger and anxiety, she and Aaron fought hard for their marriage (although not always at the same time).

They found comfort and truth in the Lord's Word and in the wisdom of other married couples who were safe haven for them as they sought to heal their marriage.

Jennifer and Aaron had begun their marriage steeped in her romanticized version of a Christ-centered relationship. They instead found themselves with no other alternative but to mature toward something even better and more reflective of God's provision.

It was there where they built genuine intimacy with each other and with God.

Jennifer writes the book primarily through her voice and lens, which I think makes it a book to which other women may easily relate.

While the physical pain Jennifer experienced during sex is a key thread throughout the book, the book definitely explores other marital struggles that are more universal.

Jennifer is quick to point out that her experiences may not mirror other women's experiences, but that her journey is abundant with lessons that can enlighten and encourage any marriage.

I couldn't agree more.

Throughout the pages, I easily sense Jennifer's hunger for deep abiding relationship with the Lord, amidst flawed and sometimes uncomfortable human frailties.  That, no doubt, is a lesson for all of us, regardless of the circumstances we face.

This is a good read, particularly because it feels unsettling at times -- to be so honest about disillusionment within marriage.

I appreciate anytime someone vulnerably shares their story and sheds light where light needs to be shed.  Thank you for that, Jen.   When we do this, especially as Christians, we empower others to be real about their own struggles.

Ultimately, as a body of Christ, we can then celebrate that authentic relationship -- with each other and with the Lord -- is a messy, messy endeavor.  And it is rich with potential.

To find out more about Jennifer and her books, check out her wildly successful blog The Unveiled Wife.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, marriage problems, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

June 8th, 2015 by JulieSibert

destroying61Today is part 1 of a guest blog series on what destroys sex in marriage and what we can do about it.

We are fortunate today to have my friend J Parker from Hot Holy Humorous digging into this issue of body image and how it impacts sexual intimacy in marriage...


What are two words most wives never want to hear in the same sentence? Naked and mirror.

If you shuddered just then, you’re not alone. Body image is one major reason wives cite for not feeling comfortable getting naked and engaging in sexual intimacy with their husbands.

Whenever I write on how we feel about our bodies, I receive comments and concerns from wives struggling with this issue. Understandably, their deeply-felt concerns about their bodies interfere with wanting to make body-image-and-sexlove.

If only God had made sex where you didn’t have to get naked…

Actually, I believe “get naked” is a good provision from God. But before you can feel that way, you have to adopt His perspective about your beauty.

Don’t feel pretty enough to pare down to your barely theres, much less your bare necessities?

Why do you feel bad about yourself?

Although I don’t know you, I’ll tell you why: You’re believing lies. I don’t know your specific situation, so I can’t say which lies you’re believing. Yet I feel confident you have messages running through your brain about your appearance, your worth, your beauty that don’t comport with how your Heavenly Father made and sees you.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

Maybe you’ve read this scripture, perhaps many times, but do you believe it about yourself?

God knit you, right? In your mama’s tummy? Then yep, you’re “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The real question is…do you know that full well?

Begin today by replacing the wrong messages looping through your head with God’s truth. Place this scripture on your mirror, recite it daily, memorize it. Plant it deep in your heart.

What’s so great about you?

A lot actually. But unfortunately we get stuck in recounting our flaws more than our assets. What always fascinates me is talking to a gorgeous woman—you know, that gal everyone agrees has been kissed by good genes and the fickle Fairy of Fabulous Fortune—and discovering she hates her thunder thighs. Or whatever it is.

I’m not expecting you to send sympathy gifts to that woman, but realize we all do ourselves a vast disservice and don’t represent the truth when we focus on those aspects we don’t like. Everyone has stuff they don’t like, but what matters is what you emphasize.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, clothed or naked, start pointing out your goodies, girlfriend! Everyone has those too.

If you can’t name three things off the top of your head or while staring in the mirror you like about yourself, try harder or ask a good friend for help. Repeat those three beauty traits to yourself like a mantra, and eventually add another trait, then another, and so on and so on.

Make a habit of being good to yourself when you look in the mirror. Be your own Fabulous Fairy of Fortune. You don’t even need a magic wand.

What about your husband?

Another certainty when I blog about body image is hubbies defending their wives. Most husbands are protective of their wives already, but it’s weird that when it comes to our beauty, our men are often defending us against, well, us.

Time and time again, I hear from husbands who say, in spite of whatever flaws his wife concentrates on, he married a "make-my-heart-thump" hottie. And he hates it when you won’t share your body with him because you’ve decided it’s not good enough.

Allow your husband to reassure you of your beauty. Let him see you naked and proclaim, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!”

It’s not about perfection to him—and newsflash, he ain’t perfect either—but rather your femininity, openness, confidence, and connection. He adores that this woman’s body is his—his to view, his to appreciate, his to pleasure, his to satisfy.

Yes, it’s your body, but it also belongs to your husband.

“The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:4).

Let go of worries about your body’s imperfections and let your husband reassure you of your beauty.

Will you accomplish all of this tomorrow? No, of course not. This is a journey from feeling inadequate to feeling beautiful. But if you don’t feel good about your body, your marriage’s sexual intimacy is suffering. And you are suffering—not experiencing fully what God wants you to have.

Take a first step. Recognize the importance of embracing your self-worth and the unique beauty God knitted into you.

Walk confidently into the marital bedroom, reveal all your beauty and imperfections, and make something that’s also beautiful—make love with your husband.

“For your royal husband delights in your beauty” Psalm 45:11 (NLT).

HHH Headshot SmallJ. Parker is the author of two books on sex in marriage, Sex Savvy and Intimacy Revealed, and most recently a collection of marriage stories, Behind Closed Doors. She writes the Hot, Holy & Humorous blog, where she uses a biblical perspective and blunt sense of humor to foster Christian sexuality in marriage. You can read more of her thoughts at

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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