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surprised-by-the-healer
February 2nd, 2016 by Julie Sibert

surprised-by-the-healerWhenever I speak to women's groups on sexual intimacy, I know that within the group there are some women who have experienced sexual pain.

Maybe it is their husband's pornography addiction.

Maybe it is their own past or current promiscuity.

Maybe it is abortion or sexual abuse or infidelity.

And maybe it's confusion about the vision they had for sex in their lives -- or the shame about being careless with sex.

Whatever the unique circumstances of the pain, it's there -- and often these women think they are the only one.

And this isn't just true when I speak before a group.  The same could be said whenever I sit in church or at my kid's baseball game or in a restaurant.

If we could glimpse into the heartache of countless women's pasts and presents, we'd see sexual brokenness that seems insurmountable, even for an all-powerful and faithful God.

But -- and this is an important revelation -- there are true stories of redemption and healing that give us hope.

We can claim hope that sexual tragedy, whatever its form, does not have the final say about anyone's identity and future.  God wants to meet everyone at their point of sadness and loss.

Surprised by the Healer, a new book by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery, gives us nine of those true stories -- women who found God's heart and faithfulness were stronger than the devastation of sexual disillusionment and scars.

I was invited to be part of the launch team for this book, which I think will become a tender resource to help any woman on her path toward sexual healing and wholeness.

An aspect I greatly appreciated about Surprised by the Healer is that while not all of the stories have fairytale endings, each is rich with evidence that God's hand is on more than our earthly circumstances.

The authors share this with us:

"God has not promised to heal our temporary brokenness, although He can and sometimes does. What He does promise is to redeem completely those things that are everlasting: our hearts, souls, and spirits."

I admit, these women's stories are not easy to read.

But they are sacred reminders that no matter the details of someone's path, God longs to permeate with His truths and love.  He longs to coax anyone who is hurting out of the shadows of their sexual regret, abuse and heartache.

Throughout their book, Linda and Juli offer insights and encouragement as well, including a 10-week Bible study at the back that would be ideal for a women's small group, support group or individually.

(My suggestion would be go through the Bible study with at least a few other trusted women, as I think it's good to have comrades when we're looking at our deepest hurts).

I shared the book with a couple of friends who I know have faced sexual struggles.  One of my friends immediately told me she knew of other women who could benefit from the book.

And isn't that what God longs for us to do -- shine light into dark places and offer encouragement where it is needed most?

Whether you have faced sexual regret or pain of any sort, pick up a copy of this book.  And even if you don't think you can identify with the women's stories, I guarantee Surprised by the Healer will help build your empathy for women who are hurting.

I'm tremendously grateful for the work Linda and Juli are doing. We need more voices like theirs in the arena, particularly in the body of believers.  We need voices that courageously speak up when others prefer silence, and courageously paint a framework of God's love, His truths about sex, and His vision for sexual redemption.

You all know I'm a fan of voices like that!

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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Posted in authentic, body image, intimacy, marriage problems, promiscuity, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,

February 2nd, 2016 by Julie Sibert

Over the years of speaking and writing about sex, I've noticed common themes in the sexual struggles -- what they are, when they started, what it takes to face them and overcome them.

One tendency that is particularly prevalent (and troubling) in the Christian community is we haven't equipped young marrieds in how to talk about sex.

I mean, really talk.

And that's probably because we don't do a stellar job in teaching engaged people how to talk about sex.

And that's probably because we are afraid.

We as a body of believers are afraid that any mention of sex beyond vague not-so-helpful generalities is going to ignite uncontrollable passion between these two people who are madly in love and picking out tux colors.

Here is my problem -- my heart's cry, you might say -- with this fear-based line of thinking.

It presumes temptation is inherently stronger than self-control.  And it presumes that silence is less detrimental than specific godly information.

(I won't event throw in the irony of the church being so vague about a topic that young engaged folks are already exposed to, seeing how we live in a overtly-sexualized society.  The church withholding its voice from the arena really hasn't done these young people any service.)

Back to those common themes I hear in the sexual struggles people vulnerably share with me in emails and comments.

So many Christian couples go into marriage with either a skewed lens or NO lens on how to build healthy sexual intimacy.  It's no shocker that sex often then becomes a source of contention, confusion and conflict.

And those struggles can go on for years, leaving in their wake more collateral damage than we could really qualify.  Sometimes even landing marriages in divorce courts.

Making any kind of dent in limiting the tragic impact of sexual struggle has to include some kind of proactive plan, right?

I mean, we can continue pouring nearly all our effort into mending marriages after the fact --  you know, 10, 15, 20 years in, when sexual apathy and struggle have become the engrained habit.

Or.

We could start devoting some of that attention to setting the sexual foundation right from the get go.

Should we try to fix the gaping chest wound?

Or should we teach people how to stay healthy and occasionally use Snoopy bandages?

Sure, we need both.

But wouldn't it be refreshingly biblical to have the church on the frontline of encouraging and equipping newly-married couples to not only build passionate intimacy, but also to heal sexual stumbling blocks before they become major roadblocks?

I am so passionate about this topic (I'm guessing hoping you gathered that by now, what with all my subtle writing and haphazard use of words like "tragic" and "sexual struggle").

It's just that I know -- genuinely know -- that many of the struggling marriages I hear about could have benefitted tremendously from better sexual information and encouragement at the start of their covenant.

"But Julie, you do realize a lot of these engaged Christian couples are already having sex, right?  I mean, what's the point of trying to talk to them about sex in marriage?"

I'm not naive and I know that countless engaged Christian couples are already having sex.

But here's the deal. Whether a couple is already having sex or they have maintained their sexual purity, the REALITY is they still need God's vision for sex in marriage.

The church is in the BEST position to talk about sex, because we have the truth.

We have the relationship with the One who created it.  The One who could have designed marriage any way He wanted, and CHOSE to intertwine sexual oneness into that design.

Sexual unity, passion, emotional and physical vulnerability, orgasm -- all His handiwork, right?

I cannot fathom that He would forge into marriage the mystery and power of sex without also wanting us as a body of believers to share His vision of sexual intimacy.

So, if you are engaged, I want you to talk about sex with a heart to seek after God's Word and truth, to listen to mature Christian counsel, and to invest in solid Christian resources.  A big reason I co-authored the book Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage is because I want married couples better equipped!

And if you know of couples who are engaged, what could you say to them to help them understand what it will take to build healthy and long-lasting sexual intimacy in their marriage?

Pursuit of Passion ResizeSome other Christian wives and I are so passionate about this topic that we are offering an event March 5 in Omaha, Nebraska, for engaged and newly-married women.

This is an amazing opportunity and step toward a beautiful and biblical foundation of nurtured sexual intimacy.

Will you please SHARE this post? In so doing, it just may land on the computer or phone of someone who needs to hear what it has to say.

 

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, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

Still life of martini mixed drink with raspberry fruit agaisnt white background.
February 1st, 2016 by Julie Sibert

I can feel some of you tensing up even just reading that question.

"Julie, if you're about to vilify me for kicking back with a few brewskis or a glass of wine before getting crazy beneath the sheets, I don't want to hear it."

I'm not about to vilify you. Relax.

But don't tune me out either.

I like an occasional glass of wine or beer as much as many people, but as someone who blogs about sexual intimacy in marriage, I would be careless to not devote a blog post to this topic of alcohol and sex.

And I'm not talking about alcohol addiction, because obviously if someone is addicted to alcohol, that's creating all kinds of problems in their life (sloppy sex is probably the least of those, but no doubt it's in the mix. No pun intended).

You may not be addicted to alcohol (as addiction is generally defined), yet you may still rely on a drink or two to "get you in the mood" for sex -- to the point that nearly all of your sexual encounters don't happen unless you've had something to drink first.

And for some of you, it's really not about getting in the mood -- as much as it is about numbing pain.  You use a drink or two to keep at bay the emotional pain that sex triggers in you.

The pain of past sexual abuse or sexual indiscretions is too much, and you believe you're better able to manage it with a little alcohol.

Whatever the reasons, some people simply believe alcohol makes them a better lover.

Maybe you think it makes you a better lover.

But alcohol is a depressant, so its calling cards are hardly more coordination or more alertness.  If anything, too much alcohol quickly will cascade you into one chaotic sexual mess.

Sure, it may be memorable.

But for all the wrong reasons.

And as far as numbing emotional pain, alcohol will never usher you into authentic and long-lasting healing.  That's found only through learning from the one true Healer -- Jesus Christ -- and trusting Him as you walk a journey toward authentic healing.

I know.

This post is getting heavy, right?

And some of you are saying right now that you don't have deep issues. You just like the way alcohol helps you feel less inhibited sexually.

"Julie, after I have a drink, I loosen up!" you may say. "I feel more relaxed. I  feel more sexually confident."

Your spouse may even echo that sentiment.  They are totally on board with you having a drink before crawling into seduction.  "The sex is better!  It's like they are someone else --  a sexier version of themselves!"

So where have we arrived, now that I've painted all the above scenarios?

My hope is you are starting to see where all the circumstances start to drift into one huge underlying problem.

If you rely on alcohol to numb you or boost your sexual confidence or make you a sexier version of yourself, you likely are robbing yourself of authentic sexual freedom, in my humble opinion.

What?!

Yeah. It's true.

You may think all that alcohol-induced sexual passion is the real deal, when all the while, the real deal is just beneath the surface, waiting for you to discover it -- without alcohol as your admission ticket.

When we let go of the training-wheels alcohol appears to give us, we make room for something better.

Genuine relaxation.

Rich communication about sex.

True transparency between a husband and a wife.

Vulnerable nakedness that feels safe, not overwhelming.

There is nothing quite like experiencing sexual freedom and oneness in the exclusivity of your marriage bed without relying on alcohol to get you there.

So hear my heart when I say that if you enjoy a drink every now and then before sex, that in and of itself is not wrong.

But if you know you're using alcohol as a mask to protect yourself from true vulnerability or as a counterfeit way to build passion quickly, then I believe God has something better in store for you and your spouse.

Do you believe God has something better in store?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

PURSUIT OF PASSION:  Now Available in PRINT and Ebook!

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January 30th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

navigaging-singleness-and-sexualitySure, we know that the Bible is clear that sex is for married people, not for singles.

But that doesn't mean single people don't experience sexual desire.

By God's very design, He wired us for sexual attraction, thoughts, longings and curiosity.

Those things aren't simply flipped on once someone sports a wedding ring.  More often than not, they are on the scene long before a wedding.

Some of you struggle with sexual desires, yet haven't acted upon them.

And some of you may be struggling with shame because of ways you haven't maintain your purity -- and you're wondering how to do things God's way going forward.

If you have never been married, or if you are divorced, how do you navigate sexual feelings and singleness?

While exploring sexual intimacy as a single person is not a Godly reaction, trying to pretend those feelings don't exist isn't a solution either.

No matter our situation, God wants to grow us through self-control, teach us intimate truths about His love and strength and forgiveness, and equip us for righteousness in all areas of our life.

I've pulled together some links to posts from various marriage bloggers that address singleness and sexuality.

My hope is that if you are single, you will glean from these posts encouragement and insights for the journey.

Every post does not apply to every situation, but I guarantee there are nuggets of gold in here:

What to Do With Sexual Desire Before Marriage

Coming to Terms With Sexual Desire as a Single Woman

A Letter to Those Who Feel They Have Lost Their Purity

How to Handle Your Sexual Desires as a Single Girl

How Do I Defeat Sexual Temptation?

How Intimate Can You Really Get and Still Remain Pure

I Chose Celibacy: 5 Reasons to Abstain

Sex Before Marriage: 6 Reasons Why and How to Prevent It

You Don't Want to Lose Him... But Maybe You Should

6 Signs He or She Isn't Marriage Material

7 Things I Would Tell My Single Self

Staying Sexually Pure When You're Divorced and Dating (Part 1)

Staying Sexually Pure When You're Divorced and Dating (Part 2)

Also, my friends Jamal and Natasha Miller -- along with several other speakers -- are hosting an online Christian conference specifically for singles.

The conference is March 11-12 and will feature great topics like "Stopping Your Past from Determining Your Future" and "God's Plan vs. Your Plan: When Your Future Spouse Doesn't Come When You Want" and many more!   Check out The Online Singles Conference 2016!

And Lee Warren, a Christian writer I know, has written a devotional for singles.  It is not specifically about sexuality, but I wanted to include it here because I think he offers some valuable insights, particularly for people who have never been married and are age 30+.

flying-solo

 

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

PURSUIT OF PASSION:  Now Available in PRINT and Ebook!

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safety online
January 19th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

safety onlineLet's face it. Sometimes we all do it.

We lull ourselves into a false sense of security that sex trafficking is just a coast problem.

Or a big city problem.

Or a "wrong side of the tracks" problem.

But sex trafficking is a nationwide (and actually, world) problem, affecting more cities and towns and communities and families and individuals than you can imagine.

My friend Stephanie has a heart not only for the young people already caught up in the sex trafficking trade, but also for the kids who are potential targets for this horrendous industry.

Because, sadly, that's what it is -- an industry bent on destruction, driven by money and illicit sex, and always looking for new victims who can be brokered as a commodity.

But the good news -- the really good news -- is that my friend and others are being proactive in protecting kids.

Two things to consider:

(1) Educate yourself about ways to protect your children.

Generate good conversation with your kids that strangers who befriend them online (or sometimes in person) are rarely who they appear to be.

In age-appropriate on-going conversations, talk to them about red flags, the risks of sharing personal information, and the dangers of meeting someone in person.

The more we can help kids build good discernment and the more we build our own discernment, the better equipped we are to protect kids.

Yes, sometimes you have to put boundaries in place on electronic devices. Often times, though, what has the greater impact is the relationship you build with your kids so they know how to recognize when someone is trying to take advantage of them (sexual or otherwise).

(2) If you are in the Omaha, Nebraska, area, consider coming to this upcoming night for parents:

The Set Me Free Project
Night for Parents
February 9, 2016 / 6:30-8:30 pm
Westwood Church / 13056 Atwood Ave. Omaha

This is a great FREE opportunity to learn about online safety, boundaries for devices, human trafficking and PRACTICAL tips to help keep your kids safe.

To find out more, go to this link.  And please, share this post. It could save a life. Maybe even the life of a kid you know!

And for more reading on talking to your kids about sex, consider these posts:

10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Talking to Your Kids About Sex (PART ONE)
10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Talking to Your Kids About Sex (PART TWO)
5 Secrets to Talking to Your Kids About Sex
Conversations With Your Kids About Sex
Talking to Your Kids About Sex: No More One and Done
Top 10 Tips for Teaching Kids About Sex
4 Things to Know About Teens, the Media and God
Top 10 Questions Teens Ask About Sex
Tips for Talking to Kids About Sex

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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January 18th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

Occasionally, I hear from women who have struggled tremendously with vaginismus, a condition that causes the vagina to tighten, making sexual intercourse extremely painful.

So you can imagine how grateful I was to open up my email and see an alert about a new post from my fellow writer and pal Sheila Gregoire.

Sheila recently did a series on vaginismus, and highly recommend you read the series!

Profound and needed information in these posts. (I included the links further down, so keep scrolling).

Not only did Sheila suffer from this condition early in her marriage, she also has heard from countless other women.

Some of these women are bravely sharing their stories in an effort to shed more light.

Even if you have never suffered from vaginismus, reading the posts could help us all build good empathy for women who do.

A big thank you to Sheila and the women who have shared for this series. Here are the links:

A Story of Vaginismus: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known
The Voices of Women with Vaginismus
Overcoming Vaginismus: 9 Steps Towards Recovery

 

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

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January 12th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

sexual-intimacy-in-marriage-curmblingAn accidental fire destroyed a treasured old building in Omaha's Historic Old Market District.

What happened before and after the fire started contains three lessons we can apply to marriages that are struggling sexually.

But first, let me tell you about the fire that happened Saturday.

Omaha's Old Market is a quaint mix of shops and restaurants, many housed in the brick buildings built in the 1800s and early 1900s in downtown Omaha.

This area is special not only for the people of Omaha, but also for anyone who visits Omaha annually for the Men's College World Series.

An eclectic collection of bars, gift shops, boutiques, galleries and eateries canvas about a 10 block area -- and in the upper level of many of the buildings, equally unique apartments and offices.

To say it's a gem would be an understatement.

It finds its past -- and its present -- securely anchored in an era that thankfully didn't know a thing about cookie cutter construction.  It has forged its footing deep, juxtaposed against the steel and glass and precisely-designed modern buildings that surround it.

The Old Market has offered itself up as the backdrop for countless wedding proposals, graduation photos, family dinners, farmers' markets, romantic carriage rides, street performers, college pizza runs and summer strolls.

It is believed the explosion happened Saturday afternoon below M's Pub, a beloved steady since 1973.  The pub sits in part of the main level of a massive brick building.

Investigations are still underway, but it is believed that a struck gas line possibly triggered a series of events that led to the explosion, which led to the fire, which destroyed the massive building.

It took firefighters more than 30 hours to consider the fire completely extinguished.

More. Than. 30. Hours.  Think about that for a moment.

Did I mention the temperature was frigid the entire time, turning water to ice, ultimately leaving the shell of the building -- and everything around it -- encased in ice?

So what lessons from this devastating event could we possibly apply to marriages struggling sexually?

I know. You think I'm stretching a bit.

You won't when I'm done.

LESSON ONE: Pay Attention to Your Instincts

It is believed a main reason NO ONE died in this fire is because an aware waitress at the pub took action as soon as she smelled gas.

She asked her coworkers if they smelled anything.  Even when they initially said they did not, she trusted her instincts and went outside to talk to a contractor working nearby.

She asked if they struck a gas line, and they told her they had.

She immediately went back into the restaurant to tell people to get out and to tell the kitchen crew to cut the gas to the stoves and equipment.

She trusted -- and followed -- her instincts.

The lesson for marriage? When it comes to something that doesn't seem right in your marriage, trust your instincts -- at least enough to investigate further if there is a serious problem or a minor problem.

How many serious sexual struggles could be prevented because we heeded the warning of initial struggles?

How many marriages could be saved because of paying close attention to fixing and healing what has gone askew as soon as (or relatively close to) when it has first gone askew?

LESSON TWO: Help Is Not Far Away

I was watching a press conference about the fire, and a fire department official -- nearly in tears -- said he couldn't express enough gratitude to the nearby businesses and restaurants that invited firefighters and other first responders into their establishments.

Food and coffee and floor space and tables and warmth and encouragement abundantly flowed throughout the duration of this wearisome and dangerous battle.

The fire department official also sang the praises of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, primarily made up of volunteers who head toward tragic events like this as vital on-the-scene support.

As if that wasn't enough generosity, strangers showed up with cases of Gatorade and food -- and many other businesses in the Omaha area contacted the owner of M's Pub to say they want to help however possible.

My point for a marriage struggling sexually? Help in time of need is often not far away at all.

You may be quick to think that sex is a topic that Christians shouldn't discuss, especially if there is sexual disconnect and discouragement in your marriage.

But there is no better time than now to find solid Christian resources on sexual intimacy and sexual healing.  There are numerous books, ministries, and resources -- specifically by Christians for Christians -- all about sex.

Help is not far away.

But you have to do your part and walk in the direction of help. You will find reassurance and renewed energy to tackle the struggle at hand (just like those firefighters found support when they needed it most).

LESSON THREE:  Sometimes We Don't Know What We've Lost Till It's Too Late

I cannot begin to tell you how devastating it is for Omaha -- and particularly Old Market regular patrons -- to lose M's Pub, not to mention the other businesses destroyed and the apartments on the building's upper levels.

Isn't that always the case?

When we lose something we treasure, we begin to deeply reflect on its significance to our lives.

When we can't go back to how it was.

When we can't take one more in-person glance at something that was etched in our memories.

It's hopeful that M's Pub and the other tenants affected by the fire will rebuild and again thrive in the Old Market.  If the shell of the building can be saved, maybe devastation of the interior won't sting as bad.

But you and I both know, there is now a dividing point.

Before the fire.

And after the fire.

That's true with devastated marriages too.

Some married couples never resolve their sexual struggles -- they either merely exist in a marriage void of authentic sexual intimacy OR they go their separate ways through a divorce.

But whether they stay together in an empty marriage or go their separate ways, they likely could look back on a time when their love was intense and rich -- and they'll grieve it may be too late to save what was lost.

Do any of these three lessons resonate with you?  Why?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

sexual-intimacy-struggles
January 11th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

 

sexual-intimacy-strugglesI hear many stories about marriages struggling sexually.

The circumstances are as varied and vast as stars in the sky, as cliche as it may sound.

And there is legitimate and heart-wrenching pain within every scenario, where behind closed doors, the true character (or lack thereof) of a marriage is forged and revealed.

Many, many sexual struggles.

But do you know the one reason at the root of almost all of them?

One person in the marriage wants nurtured healthy sexually intimacy.  And the other person does not.

Another (yet less frequent) version of this scenario is the two people do want to heal, but they can't agree on what healing looks like.  So they stay stuck in their corners.

Lack of mutual resolve on doing something -- anything -- about the sexual disconnect sets the foundation for more of the same.  Sexual struggle becomes their normal.

"Oh. My. God. How did we get here?!" you could hear at least one of them (maybe both of them) screaming from the pit of their soul.

Sexual struggle may even become so normal that it seems completely counterintuitive and cumbersome for the couple to climb their way to a better healthier sexual normal.

It's tenacious and tender work to create something better, isn't it?

And you know what?

Without even hearing all the details about such a marriage, if I would arrive on the scene, I would bet my last dollar I would find one person who genuinely and humbly wants to walk in the direction of healthy intimacy.

And one who does not.

RELATED POST: Sexual Intimacy and Marriage: I Didn't Know What I Didn't Know

I was talking to a great friend of mine the other day and we were musing about feeling excited about the new year.

Quite the segue I'm making here, huh?!

Any. Way.

My friend and I were talking about the new year, and she said her word for the year is "intentionality."

"I love that!" I said.

Being intentional about anything takes effort, which is probably why the word doesn't inspire waves of action among the vast majority of people.

Being intentional means having to fight against your natural tendency of taking the path of least resistance.

And it means having to baby step and big step your way out of longstanding unhealthy normals.

Hard. Tiring. Frustrating. Overwhelming.

And yet.

Something better at the other end of all that intentionality, if you stick with it.

There's a lot of psychology behind why we as the masses suck at this whole thing of being intentional and pursuing healthiness as our normal.

But come on. You don't want to hear a psychology lesson right now.

You don't really want to hear why you like the cheese curls and chocolate better than the chicken and cauliflower.

We generally, though, know what's healthy and what isn't.  You'd be hard pressed to find someone who would say "the cheese curls are DEFINITELY healthier than the cauliflower."

And you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would say that sexual disconnect in a marriage is healthier than authentic sexual intimacy in a marriage.

Nearly all of the people who read my blog land here because nurtured sexual intimacy is far from their reality.  Their norm is sexual disconnect, discouragement and, for some, desperation.

If you are reading this, either you are the one in the marriage who wants to work on healthier sexual intimacy.  Or you are the one satisfied with the status quo.

Which one are you?

Regardless of which one you are, I'm wondering if you are willing to do a courageously intentional thing.

Could this blog post open the door to some dialogue with your spouse about sexual intimacy?

Psychology lesson aside, it all circles back to the truth that you gotta do something if you want something to look differently.

I don't know your circumstances, but my hope is that you have not lost hope for healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage.

I can't give you guarantees that if you move in the direction of healthy sexual intimacy that your spouse will want to move in that direction with you.

But it's worth a shot to at least try.

Because I doubt more of the same -- an unhealthy sexual normal -- is the marriage you both envisioned way back in the day.

Right?

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 struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

Pursuit of Passion
January 6th, 2016 by Julie Sibert

Pursuit of Passion

Yes, you guessed it!

My co-author and I heard the pleas from many of you to offer our book Pursuit of Passion in a print version, so that's what we just did!

You can buy it on Create Space or Amazon.

Is 2016 your year to improve sexual intimacy in your marriage?

Then grab a resource that will help you do that.

Yes, Julie! I Do Want the Printed Book!

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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

sexual-intimacy-and-marriage
December 28th, 2015 by Julie Sibert

 

sexual-intimacy-and-marriageSometimes people wonder why I'm so passionate about this topic of sexual intimacy in marriage.

They think my confidence in speaking openly and authentically about sex has always been there.

With ease I transition between talking about orgasm and talking about the errands I need to run... talking about sexual positions and talking about my rogue calendar.

Here's the deal though.

The vulnerable no holds barred deal.

I write and speak about sex because years ago -- what feels like a lifetime ago -- I didn't know what I didn't know.

I was a young woman in a new marriage.  Any sex I had before that marriage was in the wrong context. For the wrong reasons. With the wrong men.

And here I was, a new wife, trying (or more often, not trying) to have sex in the right context.

And I didn't know what I didn't know.

I didn't know that authentic sexual intimacy was vital to the strength of our marriage -- any marriage, really.  I didn't know that it had to be nurtured.

I didn't know that my then husband and I had to figure out a way to talk about it, instead of rest in the assumptions that our sexual struggles would "work themselves out."

That's what I vividly remember telling myself.

"Someday we'll figure this out.  Someday this won't be so difficult."

Compounding the issue was that I was on hormonal birth control (the pill). And I had no clue it was sabotaging my sex drive, leveling out the natural peaks of desire that God designed into the physiology of a woman's cycle.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

That marriage ended nearly 8 years later for a variety of reasons. But I couldn't escape the truth that my indifferences about our sexual challenges didn't exactly have to claw their way to the top of the reason list.

Our lack of nurtured sexual intimacy easily could have been the not-so-subtle theme of our marriage and our divorce.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

It wasn't until after I was drowning in the pain of that divorce that I started to discover what I didn't know.   I took an honest look at those sexual struggles, held them up against God's heart and design of sex, and had my come to Jesus moment.

I humbled myself.

Dug into God's Word.

Asked God for forgiveness for my lack of sexual availability.  Even eventually, years later, asked for my ex-husband's forgiveness for the way I had been so careless with sex in our marriage.

I knew that if and when I ever re-married, I would be more intentional about this area of sex.  I would not wait for "someday" to address challenges. I would not be lackadaisical about what being a lover meant not only to a marriage, but what it meant to me.  And what it meant to any man I would be fortunate enough to call my husband.

When I did remarry, I gratefully discovered that I genuinely could learn and grow from what I didn't know all those years before.

All of that probably would have been enough redemption, right?  To learn from my past mistakes and use them to transform my current relationship.

Well, God (being Who he is and all) had additional vision for how I was to use my experience of "not knowing what I didn't know."

In vulnerable and heart-wrenching conversations with other women who were facing their own sexual struggles in their marriages, I discovered that more light -- Godly light -- needed to fall upon this whole topic of sex and marriage.

So when it appears I speak with such ease and confidence about sexual intimacy in marriage, please know that I fought hard for that confidence.

I fought through my self doubt.  I fought through the skeptic looks I would get when I said, "I started a blog. About sex. In marriage."

And with each opportunity to speak or opportunity to write, I heard more gut-level pain from women -- and honestly, more often from men -- about the sexual apathy and devastation going on behind closed doors in countless Christian marriages.

I knew full well what I didn't know so many years ago.  And I wanted to do my part to see something made better -- to obey the calling on my heart -- to shed more light into dark places.

I speak about sexual intimacy in marriage with less trepidation now.  Less inhibition about what people will think.

I listen respectfully to the naysayers that such a topic is "private" and "off limits" and "not the type of thing Christians should be discussing."   But I don't let any of that slow me down.

I know anyone's discomfort with the topic is often born out of their own sexual devastation, pain and unresolved struggles.

And. That. Breaks. My. Heart.

So if you wonder why I'm so passionate about sexual intimacy in marriage, it's because I want to see broken hearts healed.

And sexually broken marriages redeemed.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

But I do now.

Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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