Whenever I receive pushback from someone about the need to nurture sexual intimacy in marriage, one of the most common responses I hear is, “Sex isn’t everything in marriage.”
“I could not agree more,” I usually say. “BUT it is indeed something, right? I mean, sex is something… something that can’t completely be taken off the table or treated so haphazardly, right?”
Insert defensive gibberish here, because that’s usually what I get in return from the person. They are on their heels in full defensive mode, going to great lengths to shore up their “sex isn’t everything in marriage” argument.
To which I usually take a broken record approach. “Yeah. I agree with you. It’s not everything. But it’s something, right? It is one of the few things that sets marriage apart in God’s eyes, right?”
More defensives stares. More gibberish. More indignant frustration.
The look on their face says it all. “How could she have the audacity to challenge me on this?” Usually they change the subject.
If you have laid claim to the “sex isn’t everything in marriage” stance, let’s at least start by celebrating our agreement on that fact. I am married, after all. I know full well sex isn’t everything.
Marriage also is crammed with pa-lenty of haggling over finances, laundry, lost homework, ignored homework, car repairs, family commitments, “what’s for dinner,” muddy dogs, frozen water pipes, work demands and tedious monotny.
AND let’s not forget to give props to all the joys and firsts and laughter and triumphs and tender everyday moments as well.
I get it. I really do.
Sex isn’t everything in marriage.
Where this becomes a dangerous slippery slope, though, is when “sex isn’t everything in marriage” drifts into “sex is nothing in our marriage.”
Nothing to pursue. Nothing to make time for. Nothing sacred. Nothing to mutually value and enjoy.
What God designed as a non-negotiable becomes heavily negotiated. The occasional “not tonight” becomes the regular “Not tomorrow night either. Or the night after that.”
What is your normal? Is it nurtured sexual intimacy or is that the exception? Sit with that question a moment. I offer it as a kind nudge, although I recognize you may hear it as an all-out assault on your status quo.
“You don’t know my marriage, Julie.”
True that, sister. I don’t. BUT I do know that whenever I have heard “sex isn’t everything in marriage,” it has come from the lips of someone eager to justify not only their lack of interest in sex, but also their unwillingness to admit there may be sexual struggles.
And here’s the kicker. Rarely do I hear both people in a marriage saying it.
“Sex isn’t everything in marriage” is easier to say than humbly admitting your spouse doesn’t feel the same way. If your husband has made it clear that sex is something missing, then the curb appeal of “sex isn’t everything” declines dramatically.
And just to be fair, I know that it is not always the wife who is not nurturing sex. I hear from women who feel painfully neglected sexually by their husbands. Feeling sexually lonely in a marriage is an equal-opportunity heartache.
I just happen to hear more from husbands. I think they think that because I am a wife who loves sex, I must have some secret to getting their wives to share that sentiment.
Sadly, I have no secret, but I do know that any kind of healthy improvement begins by recognizing something needs to change and taking incremental action in that direction. If you’re going to start an exercise routine, you have to at least lace up your shoes, right?
So if you are in a marriage where sexual indifference has been a thread running through your days and weeks and months, then it’s probably not realistic to think you’re going to start having sex every night.
What is realistic is to get real about the struggle.
Below are 5 questions worth asking and answering:
Why do you think sex is not that important?
When did sex start to fall by the wayside OR was it ever something mutually valued in your marriage?
In what ways has the lack of sexual intimacy caused pain or disconnect in your marriage? (Your spouse may want to chime in on this if you are not certain of the answer).
What baby steps can you take toward restoring sexual intimacy?
What specific benefits could nurtured sexual intimacy have on you individually and on your relationship?
I know. I make it seem so simple, right? It’s not.
BUT it is worth it to ask those questions and to start to heal what is broken. Sex isn’t everything in marriage. But it is something.
A. Very. Important. Something.
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Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.