We are creatures of habit.
There is a lot — I mean a lot — of truth in that observation.
Sometimes the way we do life or even navigate minuscule daily tasks becomes so woven into our fabric. It’s not until something challenges the circumstances or routine that we get tripped up.
Here’s a basic, somewhat inconsequential, example:
If you keep the cereal in a certain cupboard — and then you rearrange your kitchen — I’m willing to bet you will several times continue to reach for the cereal where you previously stored it before your mind and body build a new “memory” of the changed location.
I could give countless examples.
- The route you take to work. (Ever hear the saying, “I could probably drive there in my sleep” ?)
- The way it feels natural to write with your dominant hand — and completely awkward to write with the other one.
- The way you keep tripping on the new carpet that was just laid on the bare floors you’ve had for years.
You get the point.
The “go to” tendencies of how we do life are so engrained that we really are almost unaware of them. It can seem unfathomable to do life any other way.
What does this have to do with sex?
A lot actually, especially if your sexual intimacy sucks.
Habits can develop in the way you do (or do not do) sex — and the results can be devastating for your marriage. Here’s a few examples:
- You rarely or never have sex.
- You and your spouse have poor or no communication about sex.
- Sex is an incredibly tense topic in your marriage.
- You allow the past to dictate what sexual intimacy looks like now.
- One or both of you is sabotaging healthy sexual intimacy with such things as pornography, manipulation, abuse, inattention, etc.
- Your sexual intimacy is predictable, and not in the “we feel so happily comfortable together” sort of way, but rather in the “I know this routine so well I don’t even have to pay attention” sort of way.
Given the time to sit around and really peel back the layers on this (while enjoying a pitcher of margaritas?), I’m sure we could come up with other circumstances that reveal deep-seated icky habits.
Not surprisingly, those of us who blog about sex and marriage speak out of our own stories.
We have seen and lived the pain of disconnect, misunderstanding, misinformation and devastation when it comes to sex — and then, for whatever reason, we chose to walk a healthier path.
Lori Byerly just did a fabulous MUST READ post called Tip Me Over (seriously… you gotta check it out).
My pal J also has a testimony that is so well written and raw and real and worthy of your time, as do Brad and Kate Aldrich over at One Flesh Marriage.
There are countless other stories, but I’m being kind of lazy right now and don’t want to go find all the links. Trust me, though. They are out there.
We as marriage bloggers want to speak hope into broken places, because we are well-acquainted with broken places.
I recognize that if you are the one in the marriage who wants things to improve — and your spouse is anything but a team player in this effort — then this post may aggravate you more than encourage you.
If this describes you, hear my heart that God is indeed well pleased in your commitment to your marriage sexually, and your spouse will have to give an account to the Lord for their carelessness.
If, though, this post feels more like your wake-up call, then by all means, wake up.
Don’t delay in being an advocate for your marriage sexually.
Have a vulnerable conversation with your spouse.
Ask for forgiveness if need be.
Seek God’s Word.
Seek God’s heart.
Talk to a safe Christian counselor or friend.
Do what you need to do — and don’t wait to do it.
Some habits are made for breaking. Sometimes we need something to trip us up, so we can discover what it means to stand on solid ground.
Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage blog.