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One of my pastors recently shared a message about why we as the body of Christ cannot take lightly the serious struggles some people face.
With regard to the deep pain some people are in, he made this statement:
“This isn’t something we can just throw platitudes at.”
That statement really resonated with me.
Because “throwing platitudes” — rather than actually doing the hard work of bringing about healthy change — is exactly what happens within so many marriages where sex is a struggle.
My pastor was not preaching about sexual struggles specifically or even marriage struggles specifically, but his statement still is abundant with truth with regard to those issues.
Are you giving your spouse false hope with regard to sex in your marriage?
Are you “throwing platitudes” at something, rather than backing up your words with action?
I’ve hung out in this arena of sexual intimacy in marriage long enough to start to notice some detrimental patterns when a marriage is struggling sexually.
And one of those patterns is the spouse who is neglecting sexual intimacy resorts to “promising” things will get better — but then makes no steps in that direction.
That’s false hope.
And it is deeply wounding to the spouse receiving it.
It exacerbates an already fragile situation where the neglected spouse may be questioning how much their spouse actually loves them.
I’m not trying to be harsh.
I’m trying to shed light.
If sex is a struggle in your marriage — and it’s within your power to do something about that struggle — what will it take for you to actually do that something?
I know that some sexual struggles are rooted in issues that you likely cannot dig out from under by yourself. Past sexual abuse. Past promiscuity. Sexual betrayal in the form of infidelity or pornography use. Skewed theology and wrong messages about sex.
Certainly the seriousness of some struggles means you may need to get help from people trained and equipped to actually help — professional counselors, doctors, specific ministries and so forth.
I also know that some sexual struggles are rooted in nothing more than selfishness, laziness and stubbornness.
Regardless of the severity or root cause of the situation, false hope will not solve sexual intimacy struggles. No more than pretending a struggle doesn’t actually exist. “False hope” and “pretending there is no problem” are shaky foundations on which to maintain a marriage.
Be courageous. Do what you can to bring about healthy change. Let go of this idea that “throwing platitudes” at a struggle is the same thing as solving it.
Sex and marriage are intricately intwined for a reason. The presence of healthy sexual intimacy that a couple nurtures and protects will strengthen their marriage.
The absence of sex more often than not creates a breeding ground for distrust, division and discouragement.
If my words frustrate you, please know that my heart is to encourage God-ordained change that will redeem broken places in your marriage and help you see false hope for the weapon it is.
Sexual intimacy in marriage is such a sacred and consequential matter that when someone tells me sex in their marriage is in jeopardy, I can’t “just throw platitudes” at such struggles.
Where in your marriage can you start replacing “false hope” with “real hope” — fueled by God’s love, truth and guidance?
Copyright 2014, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.