intimacy-sex

A friend with a steamy married life (but not without conflict), recently remarked that our late 30s through our 50s should be the sexual peak of our lives.

“What? Aren’t the early 20s the best time for that?” Yet, as I hadn’t been married in my early 20s, I couldn’t say.

She went on to explain. “By this point, you should be comfortable in your marriage, comfortable with yourself, comfortable with your body.”

“Oh, but I’m not comfortable with my body. And I sometimes feel as though I have these walls built around me that even my husband cannot get past.”

“That’s because you won’t let him.”

Oooh.

But she was right. I want to share with you six things we discussed.

1. Sex is one of God’s greatest gifts to a marriage. Sex creates oneness. It is the glue that binds people together. Even the chemical properties of sex, the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin, for example, are healing and contribute to well-being. You are supposed to enjoy it, allowed to enjoy it, encouraged to enjoy it. God did not create sex in marriage to be dirty or shameful. Humans have made it that way sometimes, but that was not God’s intent.

2. Great sexpectations. Did you have expectations about what married life would be; what your sex life would be? Sometimes things turn out different than you thought/hoped, and that can lead to seeds of bitterness. In my case, I wondered what was wrong with me. The important thing is to root out those past hurts, to look at your situation and see why things are different. And move past it. (Read Great Sex-pectations).

3. Moving through past hurts. If you are perfect, please stand up. Yeah, I just crawled under my bed. So, we have to give our spouses permission in our hearts to fail. Tough? Yes, especially when their actions directly hurt us. But you must forgive. Yes, there are some marriages that have deep issues of emotional abuse and more, and those often require professional counseling and miracles of God upon hearts.

But what about the smaller stuff? Your husband doesn’t notice you wearing a pretty night gown you thought he would love. He left his socks on the floor again. He didn’t put his plate in the sink or used the wrong tone of voice. Or maybe he used money as a weapon early on in your marriage and you are still angry about it. These kinds of issues are weeds and can grow roots of bitterness. You can’t hold on to that stuff.

Perspective? If Jesus was willing to die for us and forgive all our sins before we were even born, before we knew Him, before we were willing to admit we aren’t perfect, then we should cut our husbands some slack, yes?

4. Tear down walls and let go of control. Sex is an area many women use control, often unconsciously. Still mad at him for yelling at the dog? Maybe you still are willing to make love to him, but … not enthusiastically. Not going to open up my soul that much because he doesn’t deserve it. Or maybe I just get into bed and pretend I’m tired because that will deter him. Why shouldn’t I? He didn’t help with ____, so I am tired!

We can spend hours coming up with legitimate reasons not to offer love openly to our husbands.  Some of them even sound reasonable.  But is that truly loving someone? Alas, no. Love isn’t selfish. Ugh! Tough to hear for me too! Even harder to do. But as my friend said, you are the one missing out.

5. Be honest in a loving manner. There are issues that need to be discussed. Some of them are emotional, some are a simple manner of hygiene. We all have issues and must learn to do things that please our spouses. The key is to say it in love and be open to—gulp—hearing things about yourself too.

6. Great sex isn’t based on how you look. Surprised? I know better, but I still fall into this trap. But it’s the truth. My above mentioned friend struggles with her weight, yet she is one of the most confident people I know. Great sex with your husband comes from inner confidence and a willingness to love openly without walls, a closeness built by honesty, forgiveness and depending on each other.

For more, read Robyn McKelvy’s book SOS Sick of Sex. .

Also, check out Love Without Shame by Dave Wyrtzen

What issues do you think keep wives from loving their husbands freely and openly? Media messages? Stress? Fear? _______?