Marriage and Sex Get Messy Pretty Fast, Right?

A farm near us has a rent-a-chick program each spring so that families can experience taking care of chicks for two weeks.

You then take them back to the safety of people who know how to and actually want to take care of them into adulthood.

It is an amazing program, in my opinion.

We rented two adorable chicks at only 3 days old and we have enjoyed taking care of them and watching them grow.

“Baby” anything is cute, right?  If I could rent baby alligators for two weeks, I kid you not I would do it. In a heartbeat.  Baby sloths? Yes. Baby badgers? Yes. Baby otters? Yes.  Even baby octopi? Yes.

Even with how precious and fun these little chicks are, we learned pretty quickly that chicks get messy fast. Chick care requires daily maintenance. Patience. Perseverance. Kindness. Gentle touch. A willingness to deal with the messiness.

It all has made me think about how messy marriage can get. Of course, I didn’t need a rent-a-chick program to teach me that.

Marriage is teaching me how messy marriage is. And some marriages are messier than others, for a whole slew of reasons that we couldn’t unpack in one blog post, even if we wanted to.

A by-product of messy marriage, of course, is messy sex. (And I’m not talking about the literal physical messiness of sex that the movies never show you! That’s a different topic for a different day.)

I’m talking about the reality that a lot plays into the healthiness or unhealthiness of a couple’s sexual intimacy.  Passion, desire, inhibitions, cumbersome emotional baggage, physical capabilities (or lack thereof), extenuiating circumstances, daily pressures of life, willingness to communicate, body self awareness, and more — all of it.

All of it to some degree is fueling the sexual connection or disconnection in a marriage. Is that the case with your marriage? I know it is with mine.

A Facebook message I received recently reinforced to me the deep need for anyone who gets married to recognize that it is indeed a place for grown ups.  Marriage is a grown-up place — at least it should be — where we strive to not use sex as a weapon; where we let go of any immature manipulation we maybe spent our younger years mastering.

This particular Facebook message was from a husband who has struggled with deep depression over the sexual rejection from his wife.  She is not interested in having sex at all and seems even less interested in addressing how her withholding is hurting her husband and the marriage. Despite his pleas. Despite his suggestion for marriage counseling. Despite his prayers.

Yes, I know. I am hearing only his side of the situation, but for sake of argument here, I’m going to lean toward believing his genuine heart. His cry is not unlike what other husbands and wives share with me about the lack of sexual intimacy in their marriages.

Often, I think the underlying problem is people not willing to persevere in solving sexual struggles when it is a given that solving is going to be hard.  Possibly harder than anything they’ve ever had to navigate.

And messy.

So messy, it’s no wonder many people cave before they even start. Or at least one person in the marriage caves before starting, which only compounds the problems. Oh, the irony.  Ignoring or downplaying sexual struggles doesn’t make them go away, but rather makes them worse.

We often become most aware of marriage being a grown-up place when we refuse to loosen our grip on our childish and selfish tendencies, right?  The more we may know we need to mature and grow is often when we most resist doing exactly that.

If you are reading this right now and you know sex in your marriage is drowning in a sea of messiness, what will it take for you to square your shoulders and resolve to acknowledge those problems?

And work with your spouse on solving those problems?

What will it take?

I think it will take all the same things it takes to care for baby chicks.

Daily maintenance. Patience. Perseverance. Kindness. Gentle touch. A willingness to deal with the messiness.

Rental chicks go back in two weeks. Your marriage has been and likely will continue to be considerably longer than that. That is my hope for you, and I can only imagine it was your hope when you said your vows.

What do you and your spouse need to do to make sure your relationship and your sexual intimacy are healthy?

Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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9 thoughts on “Marriage and Sex Get Messy Pretty Fast, Right?

  1. Pingback: #Marriage- Marriage and Sex Get Messy Pretty Fast, Right? – World Information Centre

  2. Nick says:

    All great closing questions and thoughts.

    But what do you do when the messiness includes a spouse who after 16 years is questioning her sexuality and wants nothing to do physically with her husband? Honestly…what do you do?

  3. Nick says:

    No one wants to touch that one, eh?

    Pretty much what I’ve found everywhere. No church, no counselor…I’m a man on an island.

  4. Julie Sibert says:

    @Nick — The situation you are facing is one of the most challenging — one spouse wants healthy change the other refuses.

    In your additional comment, you said nobody wants to address this issue — meaning you have gone to a counselor and/or pastor, and they are unwilling to give you solid Christian insight? That is sad on so many levels. I can see why you feel like a man on an island.

    When you say your wife is questioning her sexuality, I gather from that sentence you are saying that she thinks she is gay?

    If that’s the case, it sounds like she has already “left” your marriage (even if she has not actually divorced you or left your house.

    If she is not willing to uphold her vow of marriage and all that goes with it, I would encourage you to pray about what to do next. If the counselors and Christians you have tried to counsel with won’t give you any insight, then seek out others — another counselor? Another church?

    Also, I encourage you to read the below post. It’s long, but offers some extensive insight before you decide to leave the marriage:

    https://intimacyinmarriage.com/2015/03/10/sexless-marriage-10-questions-to-ask-before-you-leave/

    I’m sorry for what you are going through. If your wife has already “left” the marriage and has no intention of returning, then there really isn’t much of a marriage there. I’m not telling you to leave. Only you can decide if you want to do that. But there’s definitely a lot to consider, which is why I would not enter into that decision lightly.

  5. Nick says:

    No where does scripture say that same sex attraction is a worse sin than anything else. Nor does it say that it is a valid reason for divorce. She has simply expressed the question that maybe this is something that might be real in her life and might explain her 20 year antipathy and struggle for intimacy in our marriage. She has simply chosen to bury it and has expressed that her preference would be to have no physical intimacy again. It’s been over 5 years. And I can’t imagine engaging in it if she is not a willing and enthusiastic participant. We don’t talk about it…discuss it or go anywhere near it.she is a very active participant in our home and family life and in our church. She “loves” me very much but simply cannot get herself to engage in anything along the lines of intimacy. Has she “left” the marriage? I don’t think so. But what am I really to do other than pray for the Lord to change her heart. I guess I’ll keep takingbcold showers.

  6. Julie Sibert says:

    @Nick… I wasn’t saying that same sex attraction is a worse sin than something else. The fact that your wife doesn’t want to address how this is impacting her marriage, though, is troublesome in my opinion. Sounds like she wants the benefits of marriage without some of the key responsibilities of it.

    But what is key here is that you do not think the marriage is over and from what you shared, you want to stay in the marriage. I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with this decision at all.

    What you have to recognize, though, is that if your wife never wants to be sexually active again and you want to stay in the marriage, then you are going to have to go without sex.

    Your only other option is adultery, and that is not an option that is okay with God. So, if you want to stay right with God, then you cannot go get sex someplace else (either physically have an affair or partake in pornography — both are sinful).

    The question you posed at the very beginning was what do you do? You find healthy ways to cope without sex. You’ve chosen to stay in the marriage and your wife refuses to have sex with you. So, you need to find healthy God-honoring ways to cope.

    Things like grow closer to God, study God’s Word, exercise, hobbies, etc., come to mind.

    I’m not in any way trying to minimize your frustration and pain, but ultimately we all answer to God. A solution isn’t for you to sin in response to your wife’s sexual withholding. A solution is instead find a healthy way to cope.

    Again, I’m so sad for you that your wife cares so little about working on this aspect of the marriage. Quite heartbreaking.

  7. Julie Sibert says:

    @Tyler — I think Paul is just referring to the part in my post where I said “baby anything is cute.” I don’t think there is any sexual meaning behind his comment about baby possum. 🙂

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