Category: sexual intimacy struggles

August 25th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

The older I get, the more aware I am that time is fleeting.

A friend and I were talking about this recently. We were thinking back to when we were in our 20s and how anyone over the age of 40 (like our parents at that time) seemed soooo old!!

We were laughing about the irony that we are now that to our own kids. We are in our 40s, and though we still view ourselves as "young" in our minds, we are indeed closer to the grave than the cradle (Sorry. Just keeping it real).

And, if you want to get really philosophical and spiritual about it all, we see value in being closer to the grave than the cradle. Word. (Insert Fist Bump!)

As a writer about all things sexual, I of course look at this "time is fleeting" revelation through the lens of intimacy in marriage.

When you look back on sex in your marriage, what will you see?

Will the lens be foggy because of all the passion or will it be foggy because of all the confusion, disconnect and misunderstanding?

I've received a few emails as of late from people understandably at their wits end with sexual rejection and disillusionment. Some of these people (wives and husbands) have gone years without receiving any sexual interest and attention from their spouse.

It's heartbreaking.

They are angry, sure, but more often than not, they are profoundly sad, feeling as if they have endured needlessly, all because their spouse just "didn't want to have sex."

And then I got a cool email from a gal in New Zealand who spoke so authentically about changing unhealthy sexual patterns in her marriage into healthy ones. Now she courageously and enthusiastically is encouraging other women in her circle of influence to nurture sexual intimacy in their marriages.

Good stories. Sad stories.  Lots of stories flowing into my inbox that all have to do with how we handle sex in marriage.

Sex is part of marriage. When we say those vows, who among us could make any sane argument that sex is simply optional, like an ala carte item that's ours for taking -- or passing right on by? No one could make that argument.

When we get married, whether we realize it or not, we are agreeing with God that sex is a good and holy part of His plan, meant for pleasure and oneness in our marriage (not just for making babies).

I write about the importance of healthy sexual intimacy in marriage because my first marriage was marked by a lot of sexual struggle, and looking back now I know I didn't put in the effort to figure that out then.  I didn't know what I didn't know.

I know now, of course, being in a healthy second marriage that sexual desires and sexual struggles and sexual pleasure all deserve tremendous attention.

Or the marriage is going to suffer. Horribly.

Some of you have been married long enough that you do have enough time to look back upon in your marriage -- you can, right now, look back at sex in your marriage and piece together a fairly complete picture of what that has looked like.

Others of you reading this have been married only a few months or a few years.  Your look back period is short.  My guess is it still reveals something.

Wherever you are in marriage, how would you describe your sexual intimacy?

Is it mutually valued, pursued and enjoyed? Does it add oneness and pleasure and bring you closer to each other?

Or is it a source of conflict, distancing you from each other to the point that your marriage is a mere shell -- a mere arrangement on paper, but void of abundant life?

These are big questions.

I know.

They are worth asking, though.

And if you have young marrieds or soon-to-be marrieds in your circle of influence, you could be saving them years of heartache if you help them see the significance of sexual intimacy -- that they shouldn't take it for granted or assume that slight sexual struggles won't turn into full fledged unhealthy sexual patterns.

When you look back on sex in your marriage, what will you see?

For more reading on this, consider my posts What if The Last time You Made Love Was Truly the Last Time? and Do You Really Have "Plenty of Time Later" to Nurture Your Marriage?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

July 7th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

I'm going to start with a disclaimer.

It's the quickest way I can clarify my audience for this post.  (You may be my audience. You may not. But I figure you'd like to know that within the first few paragraphs.  I mean seriously, we're all limited with time).

This post is not for you if you don't like sex because your husband is basically a jerk.  In a variety of ways, he makes sex less than appealing at best and downright intolerable at worse.

If you are a husband who is not a jerk, don't worry -- I'm not stereotyping. Stay with me.

It's just that this is not my first rodeo and I know there are guys out there who have created the sexual problems in their marriages. They see nothing wrong with looking at porn or having affairs or belittling their wives or rarely taking a shower or being abusive. So on and so forth.

Maybe the wife has even pleaded with him to get help, but to no avail.

Needless to say, if as a wife this describes your situation, I understand why you have a difficult time cuddling up next to all that. You don't like sex and you have totally figured out why. And while I do have other posts that speak into this, this particular post today is not for you.

If, however, you are a wife who actually enjoys a fairly decent marriage, this post IS for you.

Your guy isn't a jerk.

In fact, you might say the opposite if asked by your gal friends or your neighbors or the random grocery store clerk. You'd willingly admit your man is the real deal.  Good man.  Good provider.  Good dad. Romantic. Attentive.

And yet. Here you are.

Still not overly interested in sex with him.

Do you not like sex? Have you figured out why?

It is a freakishly important question. Seriously, it is.

Because if you are willing to look closely at that question, unpack it in the most vulnerable of ways, get at the heart of your indifference and resistance, then there is much hope that you and your husband can build amazing intimacy together.

And amazing sexual intimacy is worth it.

Because here's the deal -- great sex in a marriage is never just about great sex.  Every married person who enjoys phenomenal sexual connection in their marriage will tell you this.

Nurtured sexual intimacy in marriage is particularly generous. Pay attention to it often and it will graciously open doors for you to an overall sense of "We are on the same team! Yeah us!"

If you do not like sex, you and your husband would benefit much if you can figure out why (and then do something about it, of course, but let's first focus on the figuring out why).

Now I know that you may not like sex for serious reasons from your past (past abuse, a skewed message of sex doled out by adults who raised you, your own struggles with promiscuity or pornography use, etc.)

OR maybe you don't like sex because you're not experiencing much pleasure (possibly no pleasure), and you have been timid in clueing your husband in on this.  Whenever you have sex, you're bored out of your mind (and have a mess to clean up afterwards, with not an ounce of orgasmic "wow" to show for it all).

OR maybe there's something wacky with your hormones or other physical issues and you don't like sex because you have no drive or sex is painful. Sure, some physical challenges are more involved than others, but many physical issues impacting sex can be resolved or at least improved with the right professional care.

Anyway, I don't know your reasons for not liking sex.  BUT I would bet my last dollar that you have an inkling of what may be going on.

You have an idea, right, of why you don't like sex?

My heart cry to you, one wife to another, is to figure that out.  Get real and humble with your man -- you know, that guy you love and do life with -- and say, "This is really hard for me to talk about.  But I think I know why sex is a struggle for me."

Then ask him to join you on the journey toward better sexual connection.

It's not going to happen over night.  But offer your heart and intention to it enough, and it will happen.

You'll wake up on the other side of this sexual frustration and drought and you'll both realize that you do have it in you to nurture amazing sexual intimacy in your marriage.

And you'll be glad you figured out the why.

Like super glad.  More glad than you are about all those Pinterest ideas and recipes on Tasty and TipHero.

Yes, more glad than all that.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

April 28th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

It's wedding season.

And I can't help but to reflect back on a wedding I attended years ago.

The pastor looked at the groom during the ceremony and boldly said, "Son, you better satisfy her sexually. Or someone else will."

Wow.

You could hear the collective gasp in that sanctuary.

But you know what?!

That pastor was full of profound insight.

Sure, we can think of a few other ways he maybe could have said it (like maybe that they should both satisfy each other sexually).

BUT, honestly, I passionately believe his point was spot on.

Sex matters in a marriage.

And the sooner we help young marriages realize this, the BETTER.

I'll be headed to my niece's wedding early this summer, and I can't help but ponder about what young marriages really need these days.

Actually, it's what young marriages have ALWAYS needed.

Solid information about sexual intimacy in marriage.

Think about how much better off marriages would be if they could start with a healthy perspective on sex?

Think how much heartache would be prevented?  How much sexual struggle could be minimized if a couple could build a solid sexual foundation from the get-go, rather than try to repair the sexual disconnect years or decades later?!

No, I'm not so naive to believe that building a strong healthy marriage all comes down to sex.  I know full well that marriage is hard and takes tremendous commitment, sacrifice, compromise and investment on all fronts.

But still this truth remains: When sexual connection is ignored, downplayed or relegated to the "we'll get to nurturing it someday," the marriage suffers.  There is no question about this.

Don't even get me started about the infamous "someday."  I remember telling myself that in my first marriage.  You can read more about my story here.

Sex matters in a marriage.

Today, I encourage you to do a brave and wise thing.

Invest in the young marriages you care about -- the ones that are about to begin and the ones that are still in their early years.

When I co-authored the book Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage, my heart was to make a difference in marriages -- to help them be PRO-ACTIVE in pursuing amazing sexual connection.

pursuit-of-passionMy book is available in eBook, audio book and PRINT, so you have many options.

It's comprehensive and biblical and specific encouragement, so I have no doubt that ANY couple could glean nuggets of gold from it.

Even if you don't want to buy my book, there are countless books out there by Christian authors.  We really have no excuse for not helping couples discover true intimacy in their marriage.

You can find out more about the various buying options for Pursuit of Passion at this link.  Or if you are an Amazon fan, you could just go directly to the Amazon link.

At any rate, give the perfect gift this wedding season.  Invest in the marriages you care about.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

PURSUIT OF PASSION:  Now Available in PRINT and Ebook!

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Posted in authentic, intimacy, orgasm, passion, sexual intimacy struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

emotionally-abusive-marriage
April 23rd, 2016 by Julie Sibert

emotionally-abusive-marriageNearly every post I write is aimed at nudging individuals or couples toward deeper intimacy and healthy sexual connection.

Maybe their sexual intimacy is already pretty good, but they are looking to strengthen it more.

Or maybe their sexual intimacy is slightly off track (frequency, variety, miscommunication), and they are looking to shore up those aspects that have been neglected.

Occasionally, though, there are days when I must -- absolutely must -- write specifically about marriages that are crumbling under much more than occasional sexual disconnect.

Some marriages are struggling (often in secret) with the devastation of emotional abuse and/or spiritual abuse.

Such struggles tend to be harder to identify, because the symptoms are less obvious than what we find with physical abuse.

Add to this that in situations of emotional and spiritual abuse, wives in particular are more likely to receive guidance that may sound biblical on the surface, but really isn't.

Maybe she reaches out and vulnerably shares her pain, fear and concern with a church leader, Bible study group or another Christian, only to be told to simply "pray more" about her marriage or "study the scriptures on what it means to be a godly wife."

In emotionally abusive Christian marriages, one spouse is likely using God's Word manipulatively to threaten, coerce or demand compliance (sexually, emotionally, financially, etc.)

I'm not an expert on emotional and spiritual destruction in a marriage, but I want to point you to someone who is.

Over the years, I've grown to greatly respect the work of Leslie Vernick.  She is a Christian counselor with extensive understanding about emotional and spiritual abuse, particularly in Christian marriages.

She has helpful ways to discern if something truly is abuse, as opposed to dissatisfaction with marriage.

Her work has hit home with me as of late, because I sometimes receive emails, comments and questions from people who find themselves in situations that are textbook examples of what Vernick has found in her work.

A common feeling of people who are emotionally abused is that they have no voice, have "lost" themselves, and do not have the freedom disagree with their spouse on anything.

If you or someone you know is being emotionally abused, I HIGHLY encourage you to get Vernick's book "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope."  She also wrote the book "How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong."

Even if you only suspect emotional abuse is happening, get the book. With great clarity, Vernick walks the reader through signs to look for, as well as ways to respond.

Vernick also blogs and offers other resources at her website www.LeslieVernick.com.

She's the real deal and offers godly wisdom that is needed in too many marriages.

I have no doubt God is using her to equip emotionally-abused spouses to navigate and, in some cases, break free from dangerous situations.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

April 22nd, 2016 by Julie Sibert

Our youngest cub screamed "MOM!!" at the top of his lungs. (And I was a mere 20 feet away, mind you).

Obviously, I was going to walk into the living room and find a severed limb (which has never happened in my house) or a broken big screen TV (which has happened in my house. But that's a story for another time).

Takes a lot to rattle me, but I got up from my chair at my desk and nonchalantly responded to what must be a life-or-death situation.

Nope.

It was dog puke.

There's much truth in that saying that once a woman becomes a mother, her tolerance for gross stuff goes way up.

Out of necessity.  Out of frequency of said scenarios.

Out of reality that as her tolerance is rising, the tolerance of every other capable person in the house seems to systematically plummet.

So I pulled the carpet cleaning machine from the closet to clean up dog puke from carpet that I think was installed in the early 80s. (That's no lie.)

Always the optimist, I rationalized it was a good time to clean the carpet anyway, because there were already muddy prints on it.  (Thanks to the pup. And the rain.)

What could all this possibly have to do with sex?

Well, nothing directly per se.  I mean, after all, cleaning up dog puke hardly could be considered foreplay, even with the loosest definitions of foreplay.

BUT, life is messy, right?

And it's more often messy than it is crisp and clean.  Messy hearts. Messy emotions.  Messy calendars. Messy floors. Messy jobs. So on and so forth.  You know what I'm talking about.

And I have found that sexual intimacy with my husband helps me keep sane amidst all that mess.

Sex builds our resilience to weather the ups and downs of life, the annoying inconveniences (dog puke), the debilitating tragedies (grief, loss, confusion), and the crazy-making that just comes with being human.

And with being married.

This is why I have sex.  Much more than the biblical command behind it, but rather because sexually connecting with the man I love gives me perspective.

Keeps me grounded.

Reassures my heart.

Helps me not be derailed by life's messiness.

I think God just knew -- He knew that when a husband and wife mutually and respectfully and intentionally treasure each other intimately, they would find solace there.  They would be rejuvenated by their sexual oneness in unexpected ways.

So I cleaned up the dog puke. Marveled at my now somewhat-clean 1980s carpet.

And felt grateful my husband and I had made love last night.  God must have known I needed it.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

intimacy when parenting young children
March 25th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

intimacy when parenting young childrenAs many of you know, some other wives and I did a day retreat recently for engaged and newly-married Christian women.

Our goal was to give them a solid and exciting foundation for building great sexual intimacy in their marriage earlier rather than later.

One of the questions that came up during the Q/A period was, "How do I nurture intimacy while my children are young?  It seems really difficult to find the time and energy."

If you are a mom of littles, you know what we're talking about here.

For all the strides we've made with dual parenting, the reality is that in most homes, the bulk of caring for babies and small children falls to the mamas.

For one, if a mother is nursing, her body literally is not her own, but rather is a feeding trough for the little tyke (yes, I know it is a bonding experience, but it can be hard to view your breasts as an arousal point when they are a hot commodity as a food source).

And even if you aren't nursing, but have monkeys children under the age of 5, you spend a great deal of your time as a makeshift jungle gym -- holding, cuddling, reading, soothing, zipping, snapping, washing, wiping, dressing, playing, and so forth.

By the end of the day, the thought of being touched, even by the man you married, doesn't sound near as appealing as falling asleep beneath your sheets or slipping into a hot bath.

But.

(You knew I would have a disclaimer).

Here's the thing.

If you don't figure out how to have sex (and have it often) when they are little, you may be shocked to discover that you have less time and motivation when they turn into annoying inquisitive middle-schoolers or rebellious independent high-schoolers.

If you don't nurture sex now, then when?

Every season of parenting has its time constraints and energy depletion. Every. Season.

I kid you not.

I remember when my children were small, a friend of mine with older children essentially said to me, "Brace yourself. If you think your life is crazy now, you haven't seen anything yet."

Sure, the little tykes turn into big tykes who no longer paw at you (or want to be seen with you), BUT your parenting responsibilities tend to double, triple and quadruple (like rabbits, but less adorable).

And on a more serious note, one of the more common times of divorce in a marriage is between years 20 and 25 (depending on which source you read).

Why?

Because by that time, if a couple hasn't nurtured their intimacy and marriage, there's no compelling reason to stay together.  The kids are grown and gone (or at least on their way out).  More often than not, finances are more stable, making living separate lives seem more doable.

And one or both spouses finds themselves looking at the other and thinking, "I just don't know you anymore. And I really don't want to stay."

Don't shoot the messenger.

Remember, I'm here to give you hope that you don't have to be like those couples who get 20 years in, only to realize they really want out.

If you are a parent of babies or littles, intimacy in your marriage doesn't have to be put on hold until that youngest child is heading out the door.

Here are 5 tips for nurturing hot sex in your marriage NOW, rather than LATER:

1. Put the kids in their own room.

I know, I know.

Some of you are big on the whole family bed concept.  Sadly, what I think happens in too many houses isn't family bed at all, but rather "mom and kid" bed, while dad sleeps elsewhere.

Regardless of whether you're all sharing a bed or if you've told yourself "just while they are little,"  I'm going to challenge you to reclaim some marital ground.

Personally, I think your bed should be the one place in the house that is just about the two of you.  Much easier to teach those kids that they have their own space in their room, rather than fight the battle of getting them out of your bed after they've been sleeping in it for 6 years.

2.  Lower your standards on what doesn't matter.

About 85% of it doesn't matter.  Pour most of your heart into what does matter -- your relationships.

If you have to push the unfolded laundry off the bed or leave the dishes till morning or constantly have a family room that looks like Toys R Us just blew up, so be it.

There's something profound about drawing a line in the sand.

The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait.  Put those kids to bed, take your spouse's hand, go into your bedroom, and shut the door.

Shut the door. And open your heart and arms.

3.  Be sexually suggestive throughout the day.

Our bodies tend to follow the lead of our thoughts and words.  Be sexually playful with each other, through your phone calls, an occasional note in the brief case or lunch box, creative texts, "I can't wait till we can be alone" glances.

You get the idea. I don't have to paint you a picture.  But if I did, it would have a lot of sexual innuendo in it.

4. Don't wait for perfect moments.

A lot of great sex can be had in 20 minutes. Sure, we'd all like an ideal setting and a leisurely hour, but are you really going to build anything solid on the rare occasions when the stars align and everything is perfect?

Nope.

A better approach is to adapt.  You're in a season of having little kids, so you have no choice but to get creative. If you don't, your intimacy will suffer.

5.  Don't just go through the motions.

Sadly, a lie that a lot of women tell themselves is, "I'll give him what he wants and then he'll stop asking."

Have you entertained such thought?

If so, not only have your shortchanged your husband (who likely doesn't want obligatory sex), you've also shortchanged yourself.  Orgasm and sexual closeness are great stress relievers and help us keep things in perspective.

A little sexual perspective can do wonders for the chaos of parenting littles.

I get that you're in a demanding time of life.  And it's messy.  But here's the deal.  Life is messy.

If you don't nurture sex now, then when?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

February 21st, 2016 by Julie Sibert

Occasionally, I have readers lament that I ignore women who are the higher-drive spouse in a marriage.

It's never my heart to marginalize anyone, so I wanted to take the opportunity to share that I do have a page on my site with about 20 blog posts specifically on the topic of wives who want more sex.

Some of the posts I wrote, but there are also several posts from other writers I respect.

This page is a GREAT resource.  Seriously, it is.

On the page you will find so many ideas and insights and encouragements for those wives who hunger for and desire more intimacy with their husbands, and often find themselves feeling terribly alone in the process.

Check out the page and be sure to share it as well.  You never know the marriage you could be helping!

Wives Who Want More Sex and Aren't Getting It

Never want to miss one of my posts?  Subscribe via email on this page.  And be sure to join my more than 7,000 followers on my Facebook page and 9,000 followers on Twitter.

Pursuit of Passion ResizeIf you know of engaged or newly-married women, please help them get their marriages off to the right start sexually by telling them about the March 5, 2016, Pursuit of Passion Event in Omaha!

 

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

February 16th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

I received an email from a young husband who was struggling with his thought life that was wandering to a woman who was not his wife.

It all started with a dream he had (obviously dreams are beyond our control), but then he found himself while he was awake occasionally drifting back to the images in the dream.

He felt horrible.  Didn't know what to do.

Admittedly, he loves his wife tremendously, so he wondered why his thought life was such a struggle.

Before we tag this sort of problem as just being a male tendency, let's be honest.

We all are prone to our hearts and thoughts wandering, even if we wouldn't act upon such thoughts.  Wandering thoughts are a human issue, not just a guy issue.

Have you ever thought sexy thoughts about someone other than your spouse?  I don't think it's uncommon, whether it be someone we actually know or someone in the media and entertainment.

That being said, I don't think thoughts are automatically cause for alarm. We have to be wise to hold them up to God's truths and promises.

And that means we have to be disciplined to actually seek God's truths and promises -- always, but especially when we feel confused or overwhelmed.

The Lord will not disappoint.  He is faithful to reveal to us, teach us and grow us beyond thoughts that are less than honorable.

Here are 3 things to remember:

1. Don't stay stuck.

If you find yourself thinking romantic or elicit thoughts about someone other than your spouse, don't dwell on those thoughts. Easier said than done? Well sure, but not as hard as you think if you look for strength in the right place.

Immediately, find a scripture verse that holds God's promise AND ask God for help and wisdom.

Some verses that are extremely helpful and clear:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

See what I'm talking about? God is for you. Satan is against you. Make sure you are aligning yourself with the One who is for you.

Another wise decision is to put some accountability in place. At the minimum, find a mature Christian who you trust to keep things in confidence and tell them about your struggle with your thought life.

Ask this person to hold you accountable, both in direct questions to you, as well as you having the freedom to call them when you are struggling.

Men should have male accountability partners and women should have female accountability partners. (This should be obvious, but sadly too many people don't follow this wisdom and just end up worse off than they were with their original struggle, if you know what I mean).

Should you share your struggle with your spouse?

Well, I think this is ideal, but you will have to discern if and when this is appropriate.  As scary as it may seem to admit to your spouse your area of struggle, I think many couples, if they are mature and have a heart for God, will find the battle easier to fight if they are fighting it together.

God works in the light; Satan works in the dark.

When you and your spouse get to a point where you can share vulnerably about your deepest struggles, you're better able to pray for each other and strengthen your marriage against temptation.

2. Don't put yourself in a position where temptation is more likely to progress to sin.

Temptation is not a sin.  Even Jesus was tempted.

But simply knowing we won't act on thoughts is sometimes not enough to guard our hearts.

We need to be proactive to not put ourselves in situations where it is more likely we could sin or even stir up more thoughts about the person who is not our spouse.

So you might have to make some tough choices.

If the person you have had sexy thoughts about is someone you see regularly (such at work, at church or in your circle of friends), strive to limit those times you will see them and/or make sure there are plenty of other people around.

I recognize that we can't always cut off all contact with the person.  Sometimes this is reasonable, but life often is messier than that.

For example, if you work with the person, it probably isn't realistic that you quit your job or ask your boss to make accommodations and put you on a different project, etc.  (Although, I have heard of situations where indeed someone did find a different job rather than face what felt like unbearable temptation, so for some people, quitting is the best choice).

Regardless of the circumstances, I do think we can at least limit our time with the person. Be a grown up and figure out what you need to do.

3. Be intentional about nurturing your marriage.

A good defense is a strong offense.  Be proactive about nurturing your marriage.  Spend the time and sometimes the money to enjoy each other.

Go on those walks you say you're going to take, but never do.

Schedule the weekend getaway.

Find a mutual hobby.

Talk.

Pray together specifically for your relationship.

Make love more often and with greater passion.

Read a marriage book together.

Get involved in a small group with other married couples.

Find an older, more mature Christian couple, who can mentor you and your spouse.

Send each other sexy love notes and texts.

Exercise together. Join a gym.

Address the hard issues that have taken a toll on your marriage. Learn how to heal and grow.

Back each other up.

Hold hands more.

Touch each other more affectionately, particularly in public (while shopping, at church, etc.)

Make a list of reasons you fell in love with each other.

Do something spontaneous with each other.

Make your marriage a priority over the kids.

Believe in your vows enough to live them.

When it comes right down to it, the more we pour our hearts, thoughts, and actions into loving the person we married, the less room we have in our hearts, thoughts, and actions for someone else.

Have you struggled thinking sexy thoughts about someone else? Then do more that will give you reason to think sexy thoughts about your spouse.

Baby steps count. Take them. Today.

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Pursuit of Passion ResizeIf you know of engaged or newly-married women, please help them get their marriages off to the right start sexually by telling them about the March 5, 2016, Pursuit of Passion Event in Omaha!

 

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

PURSUIT OF PASSION:  Now Available in PRINT and Ebook!

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

clean sheets
February 8th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

clean sheetsEvery now and then, I receive comments or emails from husbands that read like a laundry list of the worst excuses their wife has ever given for not wanting to have sex.

Sometimes I laugh.

Most often, though, I'm sad.

Yes, I know, I'm hearing only one side of the story when these husbands reach out.

But even if I were to hear both sides of the story, we would still arrive at the same picture -- marriages struggling sexually.

Until a comment I received recently, it had been awhile since I had heard the "clean sheets" excuse, meaning, "I just changed the bed and the last thing I want to do is mess up these clean sheets with sex."

Some of you have said it.

Some of you have heard it.

Ultimately, though, God longs for us to ask what our marriage means to us.

By what should a marriage be recognized?

I sure hope it's not clean linen.  Sweet baby Jesus, help us if it's clean linen, because that would be sad commentary.

"Well, their marriage was nothing special.  But did you see the sheets?  Phenomenal. 1,200-thread count Egyptian cotton, and I swear it looked like they'd never been used, if you know what I mean."

Joking aside, this is one of those "ya gotta count the costs" sorta things in a relationship.

What if the "clean sheets" excuse really isn't the reason.  What's the story behind the story, so to speak?

Is it possible that "clean sheets" is just code for some deeper struggle in your sexual relationship with your spouse (especially if it's one of many excuses on the laundry list. No pun intended)?

Whenever I speak to women's groups, I always try to at some point to bring the conversation to a "count the costs" focal point.  I'm annoying that way, but some of them actually tell me afterward they appreciate this kind of candid transparency.

If there is something you and your spouse could do to heal sexual brokenness and better nurture sexual intimacy, isn't your marriage worth that kind of effort?

I think it is.

Yes, it takes courage and humility and possibly even the trusted resource of a professional Christian counselor to start digging yourself out of sexual disconnect.  But there are many couples who have done it.

And along the way, they've discovered that sex is never just about sex.  it's about a oneness and strengthening to a marriage that can't quite be described.  Intimate and exclusive sexual intimacy is one of the main things that God designed to set marriage apart from any other human relationship.

So, when we ask the question, by what should a marriage be recognized, most Christians who have studied God's heart and word would indeed have "sex" in their answer.

If there is more to your "clean sheets" excuse than "clean sheets," I encourage you to hunger for God's truth and redemption in this tender area of your marriage.

And if there really is nothing more behind your "clean sheets" excuse?  I mean, if your sexual intimacy is actually quite great, except when you've just changed the sheets?

Well, there are these crazy contraptions called towels.  With a little planning, it's amazing the way they can protect clean sheets.

See, I do care.  About your marriage. And your sheets.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

PURSUIT OF PASSION:  Now Available in PRINT and Ebook!

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

xes cover
January 23rd, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

xes coverI was digging through my email inbox not long ago, and (embarrassingly) came across an email to which I hadn't responded in more than a year.

Yup. A year. Ugh.

It was from Joy McMillan, author of XES: Why Church Girls Tend to Get It Backwards... and How to Get it Right.

In her email she was complimenting me for a guest blog post I wrote on another site.

I humbly responded to Joy, tripping over myself with apologies for not responding sooner.

Boy am I glad I didn't let my embarrassment stop me from hitting the reply button!

We ended up exchanging posts for each other's sites.  You can see her post at this link, and my post at this link.

Here's the deal.

This woman is a crazy good writer.

Cra. Zy. Good.

Which is why you should have on your nightstand XES: Why Church Girls Tend to Get It Backwards... and How to Get it Right.

At first I couldn't tell if this is a sex book masquerading as a marriage book or a marriage book masquerading as a sex book. But by the time I reached the end, I decided.

It's both a sex book and a marriage book, and a delightfully authentic one at that.

What I like about this book is what always draws me to good writing:  Joy doesn't hold back in being transparent about how hard marriage is (let alone trying to build authentic sexual intimacy in the midst of it).

She is real about her own marriage and what nurtures or destroys sex between a husband and a wife.  I found myself nodding a lot and saying "yes" to her many great insights about passionately pursuing and enjoying sex in the oneness of a marriage covenant.

All of that would be enough, but she goes further and lets us in on the story behind the story, so to speak.  (We really don't see most of this till we near the end of the book, but it's worth the wait).

She courageously bares her soul about what it took for her to shed light on and heal from the devastation in her past, including promiscuity, sexual abuse and criminal activity.

That kind of authenticity is so attractive.

It equips and encourages women to trust in the forgiveness and redemption of the Lord.

And it reminds all of us that through the ups and downs and in-betweens of doing life as a married couple, anything profound is always found on the other side of intentional heart (and hard) work.

Joy loves the Lord and loves her husband, and she shares with humor, heart and humility the reality of a faith refined and rekindled in the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Each chapter includes questions at the end to compel you to dig deeper.

I believe there's no sense reading something if you aren't going to glean from it and apply to your own situation the nuggets of gold that are transformational.

And this book is definitely one from which you can glean.

It's not a quick read. And it's not an easy read.  But it's a rich read.

Joy McMillan is a crazy good writer.  Personally, I'm glad she didn't keep it all inside.

I think you will be glad too.

"It's easy to wait until your marriage experiences a crisis to spring into action, but having a thriving marriage means doing the work, consistently, and often behind the scenes, on a daily basis.  It means little by little putting things into place before they're ever needed.

"It's choosing to intentionally stock your marital tool belt with effective tools, carve out time for each other daily, and prioritize your intimacy -- spiritual, emotional and sexual -- when things are going well so that when things aren't, you're prepared."

Joy McMillan in XES: Why Church Girls Tend to Get it Backwards... and How to Get it Right.

Thank you Joy!  The marital landscape is a better place with Christian books like yours.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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