Every now and then, I get comments on my site that cut to my core.
A recent one was,“…wish you could speak to my wife before I leave” — written by a man who vulnerably admitted that his wife’s constant sexual refusal has done him in, to the point that leaving seems like the better option.
“I vowed monogamy when I got married, and she gave me celibacy.”
Now, I am not so naive to think comments on a website offer a complete picture of a marriage. Marriage is a complex creature, interwoven with unique idiosyncrasies and interactions. To say no two marriages are alike would be a monumental understatement.
But don’t such raw comments offer at least a glimpse of the reality happening behind closed doors?
And does that glimpse reveal something about the depth of sexual pain within some unions?
After all, these comments are anonymous… there is no repercussion to someone when they bare their soul in this manner. Such comments may be the most unguarded words that person has spoken about their discouragement.
Do I think resolving sexual intimacy struggles, particularly on-going problems, is easy?
No. Definitely no.
This is especially true when we consider the roots of many of those sexual struggles…
- Past sexual abuse
- Tapes of skewed theology, teachings and messages repeatedly playing in one’s head
- Pornography use and addiction
- Inability or unwillingness to talk about sex, let alone the personal problems within one’s marriage
- Lack of understanding of our bodies
- Fear of or misunderstandings about sexual pleasure
- Other on-going marital problems
- Relentless stress within daily life
In some marriages, the above dynamics aren’t just speed bumps, they are fortified road blocks. Simply going over or around them is not an option.
They must be picked apart brick-by-brick — not just so we can diminish their power, but also so we can be wise enough to not build them back up again.
Discernment, discernment, discernment.
Take a breath and more than a passing glance at what is happening in your marriage sexually. Would your husband say to me anonymously, “I vowed monogamy and she gave me celibacy”?
Or would you be one to say to me anonymously, “I’ve tried to address the brokenness in our sexual intimacy, and my husband has refused to listen”?
My heartfelt encouragement to husbands and wives reading this is that you both grab hold of the responsibility and privilege to tend to your sexual intimacy.
Books, marriage bloggers, seminars, counselors and most importantly, God’s Word and Spirit, all offer tools and wisdom on how to do that…on how to establish enriching sexual patterns and diminish unhealthy ones.
But ultimately, it all comes down to what you are humbly willing to do. Preferably, you both move in that direction together, but even if only one of you takes baby steps toward healthier sexual intimacy, there often times can still be surprising outcomes.
Your marriage is worth it, if for no other reason than the fact that your marriage is precious in God’s sight.
For many of you reading this right now, this post is either your wake-up call — or a bitter reminder of longstanding sexual struggles in your marriage.
My heart is not to minimize those painful realizations or the heartbreak behind them. I am well-acquanited with sexual heartbreak on a very personal level. A past failed marriage will do that to a person.
No, I stand not in judgment or in random ramblings about your deepest sorrows. I offer instead my perspective on what I hear.
What I hear regularly is that many marriages are not all they could be sexually. And the fallout from that is causing anguish, despair, anger and resentment.
If you know sex is more of a battleground than playground in your marriage, have you gone to the greatest of godly lengths to change that?
If not, please comment and share with me why so that I can better understand how to speak hope into broken places.
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.