Marital Issues: Sex, pt. 1

Posted by  | Wednesday, February 22, 2012  at 8:00 AM  
Originally posted in August 2010 with minor editorial changes

I debated titling this post simply “Sex”, but then realized many internet filters might block it…and it might appear alarming on your Google reader or Bloglines! I hope that you will not find this post offensive, but instead a helpful discussion of the priority of marital intimacy.

This quote from Nicole Chesmore at the Girl Talk blog paints a wonderful picture of the marital relationship:  “[W]hile I share fellowship and labors, joys and trials with many others, sex is something I share only with my husband. It’s our own little world, closed to all. Not even the dearest friend or family member can enter. We are on a journey, the two of us. An exclusive journey. A journey of love. We are creating memories known only to us. Secrets only we share. The further we go on this journey, the bond between us grows more powerful and intense. The "knowing" grows deeper. The love grows sweeter.” (Advice for Brides)

Sex has come up once or twice before here on POH, usually in the discussion of our marriage and priorities. And let’s face it—while intimacy in marriage is a wonderful, God-ordained thing, small children, physical ailments, school and life challenges cause conflict with our priorities! Please bear with me as I talk about two crucial issues in marital intimacy: communication and preparation.

Premarital counseling and books on the subject of marriage tell you that communication is essential to a healthy marriage, and to a healthy sex life. Of course that is true! You must talk to your spouse—you must tell him what is going on in your life, and you must inquire into the details of his life. Communication is especially crucial for your sex life. I cannot begin to tell you how awkward it can feel to talk about sex, even with your spouse, especially about, um, “details.” Yet, with God's grace, over time and through practice, the awkwardness can fade. For those who are newlywed, important topics include expectations (how often does sex occur, who initiates, etc) and reactions (what you like and don’t like). “Long-time” married couples should still talk about their expectations and reactions, knowing that things change over time.

Pregnancy affects your sex life and sex drive, and you have to work through that. When I was pregnant, my hormones ran on many highs and lows. That was both positive and negative for my desire for intimacy, and so I had to talk with my husband about it. Though my husband and I have been married for over a decade, and he knows me well, I had to tell him that I wanted to be pursued and romanced, even more early in the pregnancy, when I was tired and feeling sick. That conversation, and others like it, allowed us to grow closer to each other emotionally and physically, and helped us through what could have been a rough time.

Let me plead for compassion and gentleness in dealing with this topic. Men and women’s reactions can vary, and emotions run high. Strive to communicate exactly how you feel and what you are thinking, and pray for the Lord to give you clarity so your words are not misunderstood. Enter every conversation with humility, remembering that sex is a gift from God, for marriage and for his glory.

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