Sex as a Priority: Will You Make the Hard Choices?

baseball 2It’s baseball season big time in the city of Omaha.

By that, I mean the Men’s College World Series is going on, a huge event for our city every year.

It’s baseball season big time in our household too, with first born playing high school ball for the first time and second born playing little league.

Needless to say, our life has become an eclectic mix of sweat, cleats, lemonade, dirt and relentless baseball schedules.

It’s heaven and hell all mixed into one, if you ask the mom in the household.

She’s easy to spot.

You’ll find her somewhere between half asleep and half strung out on caffeine, as she makes her best attempts to corral a calendar. And cleats. And chaos.   

She loves it.  And slightly loathes it. All. At. The. Same. Time.

So is sex completely written off in all this?

No.  But she won’t lie.  She had to make hard choices to find it, nurture it and allow it to be a safe haven.

I know everyone’s circumstances are different.  I don’t want to speculate too much on your particular lot in life and where sexual intimacy falls on your priority scale, because I’m not you.

I encourage you with this though:  Often times making sex a priority comes down to a willingness to make hard choices.

Those who know me well know that I’m often overly optimistic on what I think I can really accomplish on any given day.  I love this about myself. And find it to be a horrible blind spot as well.

Quick example that has nothing to do with sex or baseball:  The second born mentioned he wanted to try carrot cake.  Instead of simply buying him a slice of carrot cake from a local bakery (which is what a sane person would do), I decided to make a carrot cake from scratch. Do you have any idea how long it takes to make a carrot cake — a GOOD carrot cake — from scratch?  Enough said.  There is no long-lasting help for this kind of freakish behavior in me).

Anyway, where was I?   Oh yes, talking about making sex a priority.

In my IDEAL world, I would have all my ducks in a row.  I would spend a lot more time with my friends than I do.  I would have a clean house and a well-organized fridge. I would serve more.

I would write every day.

I would read every day.

And I would always have quality time with my husband and boys.

I don’t live in an ideal world, so I have to make hard choices so that my real life is my best life.

What does that mean?  Well, you can probably guess, but it means I don’t spend as much time as I would like reading, writing, praying, cleaning or hanging out with my friends.

Those are not easy choices.  Seriously, they are not.

BUT… and here’s the huge payoff… by making those choices, I get nuggets of precious time with my husband and my boys.  And while it’s still not as much as I would like, what I do get is a richness that cannot be measured.  I love those men.  I love who they are to me.

And they are worth the hard choices.

I know that many married people with crazy full lives push sex way down on the priority list (or even completely off the list, from what I gather from an array of emails and comments I receive).

But the costs are just too high if that’s the path you choose.

Really. Astronomically too high.

The irony to it all is that when a married couple keeps sex fairly high on the priority scale, it equips them to better navigate their life.  Their crazy full life.

Making love with my husband helps me keep my sanity amidst the chaos.  Yes, it’s a loose definition of sanity, but let’s not judge, people.  I’m a lot more sane than I would be without sex.  None of you have known me sex deprived, so you’re just going to have to take my word on this.  I’m more sane.

Anyway, are you willing to make the hard choices in order to nurture sexual intimacy in your marriage?

Are you willing to put down your book or turn off your reality TV show or get off Facebook or leave the laundry till tomorrow or take a rain check on the coffee date with your friend or decline the offer to serve on the church committee — all so you can make love more often to your spouse?

You don’t have to answer it for me.  But for the health of your marriage, you might want to give it at least more than a passing glance.

Copyright 2013. Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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21 thoughts on “Sex as a Priority: Will You Make the Hard Choices?

  1. anon says:

    well done Julie you have an amazing ability to write it as it is with great clarity in simple form for those of us who are a bit slow on the up take lol thank you for the effort, sacrifice and time you put into doing this ..
    thank you great work .

  2. James says:

    “Are you willing to put down your book or turn off your reality TV show or get off Facebook or leave the laundry till tomorrow or take a rain check on the coffee date with your friend or decline the offer to serve on the church committee — all so you can make love more often to your spouse?”

    LOVE this.

    Reconnecting with your spouse is SO important to a marriage, that couples who don’t make time for it really do put their marriage at risk.

    “Reconnecting” includes sex, but it’s can mean many things besides sex. The key is to make time for each other to show each other that you still love each other. When you feel loved by your spouse, it’s far easier to navigate your crazy life.

  3. Bianca says:

    Great article, thank you! But why is it assumed that women are the ones holding back or making excuses? This is about the fifth Christian article about sex that I’ve recently read (not just your blog) which assumes the woman has the lower sex drive. Being in a marriage where the opposite scenario is going on, I’m wondering why it’s so rarely addressed? You make great points on how to make sex a priority but don’t forget that it’s not always us women that are holding back 🙂

  4. Larry B says:

    Great essay, Julie. So very relevant to so many marriages these days. Agree with James’ comment above.

    Some couples really do tend to overlook that regular, ongoing lovemaking can help keep you close and connected to your spouse while you deal with all the crazy demands on your time and energy. As well. you feel valued by him or her.

    I think that one of the worst things to do is to allow the love making to become a low priority. Remember, you are spouses, not just friends or roommates. When there is discord with your spouse, set aside the anger and the frustration and yes, forgive your spouse!! And, make passionate, playful love to your husband or your wife – frequently. You will strengthen your marriage and make it more joyous.

  5. Catherine says:

    Love your honesty on this subject! It needs to be addressed and talked about. I just posted a blog on sex being a priority in marriage! So important! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Pingback: if you want better emotional intimacy in your marriage – make the effort | larrysmusings

  7. Jed says:

    Well written. It is so hard to remember to do what is important (sex, prayer, church, etc.) when so much urgent stuff (baseball, life, etc.) is going on in our life. We need to learn to spend more time on the important because in the long run that is what will really enrich our lives.

  8. Robyn Gibson says:

    “… strung out on caffeine …” sounds like this mom & wife! Not to make it less intimate than it should be, but making the hard choice does pay dividends – it recalibrates my mind and body, clears my head so I can think better thereby actually accomplishing more … (than I ever could by doubling up my espressos)

  9. Robert says:

    Dear Julie, thank you for the good article. Yes, making sex a priority is a difficult choice we all should do more often. I would add that even a step before sex is just as important. I am talking about all those small, daily “touches”, “hints” , innuendos, small talk, small 2 seconds physical (sexual and non) contacts that are wonderful to build the expectation and start the passion that will be unleashed in the bedroom. Then again, for some of us, even just that would be something to look forward to, and yet it proves to be elusive. I wrote to you before, and for this same reason, and even with all the good effort, things have not changed. My wife seems to be content with being intimate once every 4,6 or even 8 weeks intervals, and she is more than happy and satisfied with it. My feeling is that even in those few times I manage to have intimate moments with her, it is more me begging and her finally giving up, and “going through the motions”..I feel at the end of my rope, and with no apparent solution. everything else in the relationship seems fine, with the exception of this.
    ” never chase love, affection, or attention. If it isn’t given freely by another person, it isn’t worth having ” .

  10. Steve says:

    “The irony to it all is that when a married couple keeps sex fairly high on the priority scale, it equips them to better navigate their life. ”

    I keep hearing this conventional wisdom–but I really have no evidence, other than the anecdotal testimonies of some happy Christian sex-bloggers, of why this is true, or whether it is true at all. Scripture, epidemiology, anything????

    Convince me…or more importantly, convince my WIFE. Because if I even propose the idea that it might help us to make physical intimacy a greater priority, I get the Scoff of Indifference.

    Thanks for listening.

  11. JulieSibert says:

    @Steve… thanks for your comment. I do not have any stats or research, so yes, I am just going off of anecdotal testimonies and personal experience.

    From a scriptural standpoint, an argument could be made that when God says the “two shall become one,” it was a literal and figurative description that shows the marriage relationship is unlike any other human relationship… that the element of sexual, spiritual and emotional oneness is about two people growing in all of those areas to genuinely be able to do life together.

    I will say that everyone I’ve heard give such testimony about sex strengthening their relationship, as well as my own experience, tends to echo the same sentiment… that when a couple mutually nurtures and values sexual intimacy in their marriage, they are less adversarial with each other. I heard a friend describe it this way…”I can always tell if we’ve gone a bit too long without sex, because we just are more edgy and short tempered with each other.”

    Anyway, I’m sorry your wife doesn’t place more priority on sexual intimacy. I sense, though, that even if you had evidence or research to back up a claim of being able to better navigate life together, I’m not sure if she would hear it.

    Possibly write her a letter and express to her that it’s not just about the sex, but it’s about the pain and distance you feel and the sense of rejection… and that your deep hope and desire is that the two of you can together work on having a more intimate marriage in all aspects, sexual, emotional, spiritual, etc.

  12. Catherine says:

    I love your honesty and take on this matter! I agree that sex is extremely important and needs to be a priority in marriage! Yes, we all have different lives and agendas, but sometimes we need to be choosing the better over the good! That is definitely hard today, especially with great friends, family, books and activities!
    Thank you for your honesty and desire to bring the importance of this up for others to hear! 🙂

  13. Andre says:

    I just came across this website and find it very encouraging. I hope my wife will too.
    I just wanted to comment on a biblical principle that isn’t just a “proof text” on sex. It’s about frequency of intimacy, whether sexual or not, in a marriage.

    The scripture in many places tells us that the marriage between a man and a woman represents or shows the relationship between Christ and the Church (God’s people).
    A good question for couples to discuss then, is “How often should God’s people be intimate with Christ, our Husband?” Then we should take the answer to that question and implement it into our marital lives to truly represent the relationship between Christ and His Bride.

    Now for my question: I need help, I think.
    What is up with my sex drive? I am 42 and have been married for 20 years to the best woman on the planet. My sex drive the last couple years is stronger than when I was 18. My desire is for sex and intimacy with my wife but it seems like after 2 days without sex I start going crazy. Crazy means looking at other women, thinking my wife hates sex, thinking she is or has cheated on me, discussing my concerns with my wife always leading to me “just wanting sex”, not being able to sleep, etc. etc..
    The only thing I’ve found to reduce this “drive” is to not eat for a while, but then I have no energy to work. I take no medications and eat mostly organic type food, so am I just too healthy? I think part of it is spiritual desire because even when she gives herself to me when I know she really is just doing it for me, I end up sort of unsatisfied compared to the couple of times a month when she really is into it and we both love it. But good sex a couple times a month isn’t going to cut it, my mind and body are going crazy. I can’t hardly sleep next to her knowing she doesn’t want me to join with her for mutual affection and pleasure regularly.

    Am I just being selfish? Am I alone in this? Is it normal for a 42 year old to be this way? Will it subside soon? Will she get this way when she hits 40?
    Any advise or comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  14. JulieSibert says:

    @Andre… I don’t think you are being selfish. I do, however, think you and your wife need to strive to find a frequency of sexual intimacy that is acceptable to both of you.

    Also, have you expressed to your wife what sex means to you… that it is not just a physical thing, but a deeply emotional and spiritual experience as well. This might help her better understand and appreciate what sex is to the marriage.

    If the sexual intimacy level still is not what you would prefer, yet is still happening (in other words, you’re not in a sexless marriage), then you may have to find other ways to cope. That may be doing more physical work (exercise, etc.). It may mean finding a hobby where you can focus some time and attention. It may mean visiting a professional counselor. I don’t believe “not eating” is a good resort, because obviously this creates an unhealthy pattern all the way around.

  15. WH says:

    Julie: as usual, your perspective should be preached in pre-marital counseling. How many marriages could be enriched or at least saved if everyone took your advice? And the KILLER comment you made about NOT taking on a church committee (or Brownies, or PTA) to reserve time for your intimacy is especially important. I know several women who accept every request for their time, and then wonder where their husbands went. You have GOT to do premarital training materials…

  16. WH says:

    @Steve: your wife can ignore your intimacy needs because you let her. Julie’s suggestions are great, but if they don’t work soon, I suspect you’re at a crisis point in your marriage. If this continues for, say, 5 more years, you’ll be fighting pornography or the temptations of an affair. Make resolution of this issue a priority THIS YEAR. Your wife simply cannot take intimacy off the marital table and expect you to continue to go to work, pay the bills, fix the roof and drive her to her Mother’s. Tell her things are changing, and for the better.

  17. WH says:

    @Andre: there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just a healthy male who needs and desires a God-approved sexual release. Just so you know you’re not weird…my orgasm record is three times in one day. Many have a record better than that, I just wanted you to know. Tell your wife to read Julie’s articles on what sex-starved husbands tell her/go through, it will be enlightening. Tell her this may be opening you up to temptation (clearly it is) and that she needs to attend to you. Julie has a great term – maintenance sex – that applies here.

  18. Shawna says:

    “Are you willing to put down your book or turn off your reality TV show or get off Facebook or leave the laundry till tomorrow…”

    Ugh, why is that so HARD?! My husband told me today how much he hates the computer, and the television. I’m pretty sure I have a technology addiction (yes, I realize the irony that I’m researching help on sexual intimacy on the internet, but there is nowhere else)

    But I am willing! I can do this…

  19. Questions says:

    My wife needs to read this but I doubt she will. My interest in having sex is higher than hers. During the debates we have on the subject, she exacerbates the amounts of times we are intimate, it is more around 2-3 times a month. As a male, if I dare attempt bring it up, it becomes a women rights issue and my attack on her rights. She really feels we do it enough and we doing the do more than the average. If I bring up my concern, her solution is decrease the amount of sex. I guess it is to “help” me appricate what I have. How do I address my concerns to her without it blowing? Maybe it has to blow up before we can actually address the issue.

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