Marriage Relationships

Yes, I know. This is not a topic you expect to see in a blog that started because of grief. But here it is. And if you read the whole article you’ll see why.

Sex. I said it. I’ll say it again a few more times in this article. 

“Sex” is not a dirty word.

It is a gift from God to married couples. From the beginning He created male and female and said they are to be one flesh. He created them with sexual organs that produce and experience pleasure. Sex is a good gift from God given not only as a means of procreation but also a way for husbands and wives to give pleasure and comfort to one another.

He created make and female. The man and woman were naked and not ashamed. (See Genesis 2:24-25). Jesus quoted part of this in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:6-9.

God speaks clearly about sexual relations in this passage:

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7:2-5 | ESV

As physical beings, our sexual relationship is an important part of marriage. And we can choose to improve our sexual relationship when it needs improvement.

Over the years I have had young wives confide in me they were unhappy with their sex life. 

Sometimes the issue is physical. Sometimes it is simply that she is exhausted and she needs rest. She needs to communicate this to her husband. Either way, together they can usually find a solution if they are willing.

Other times there is a mental or spiritual issue on her part that needs to be addressed. I’m glad to help her learn truth when I can. Often I can help with prayer and a listening ear plus biblical truth.

Because neither of us is a counselor, more than once Ron and I have helped a young couple find a doctor or counselor who can help them.

A tool Ron and I have used to help ourselves and others is the book Intended for Pleasure by Dr. Ed Wheat.

I’m reading it again this week. Not because we are in need, but because yet another young woman confided in me again last week about sexual difficulties in her marriage. I wanted to reread the book before recommending it.

We have given this book to many couples as a wedding gift over the years. Usually wrapped in plain brown wrapping. 😉

Intended for Pleasure was first published in 1977. It was updated in 2010. Its old. But so is sex. Human anatomy hasn’t changed since God created it. Nor has His design for marriage.

Dr. Wheat addresses sex in marriage from the perspective of a Christian family counselor and a medical doctor. He writes from a biblical perspective. Parts of the book are academic and bit dry reading. He doesn’t use slang or talk like a hipster. But it can be very helpful to couples needing improvement in the bedroom. The book covers God’s plan for marriage, not just the sex part. If other areas of the marriage are in crisis, it is likely the couple will not have a satisfying sex life.

You don’t need to read it from cover to cover. Look in the Table of Contents or Index and find the chapter that addresses your issues. Read it. Together with your spouse if they are willing. If not, read it yourself and pray. Then try his suggestions.

A few of the topics covered include:

  • Intimacy while pregnant or after childbirth
  • Impotency
  • Sex after 50, 60, 70
  • The honeymoon
  • Helping  your wife achieve orgasm
  • Many more

Yes, I’ve read reviews that say this book is sexist and old-fashioned. Maybe. But there is a lot of good information in this book. Read it. Think about what it says. If you don’t agree with parts then don’t apply those parts to your parts.

Ladies, I firmly believe God intended us to enjoy an intimate sexual relationship with our husbands. If you are not experiencing this, please do something about it! And I don’t mean get a new husband!

We’ve had times when we needed relationship help during our thirty-three plus years together. Often I needed to work on my side of the relationship.

Sometimes the issue was simply my attitude. I had to change my way of thinking. And what I was reading or watching. Be careful what kinds of books or movies you consume. Are they causing you to be dissatisfied with your marriage or your mate? Do the books you read present an unrealistic image of sex or marriage? Do you find yourself fantasizing  about the characters in the book or movie? Then stop reading or watching!!!

Other times I’ve had health issues that needed to be addressed. Especially after childbirth and menopause. I found a great doctor who listened and was willing to help me by prescribing supplements and hormones. When my hormones are out of balance… Hormone health can make a huge difference in intimacy.

I’ve had to learn to do Kegels. After giving birth seven times, I needed to remember to do exercises to help my body stay healthy.

I want to be available and attractive to my husband. I’ve worked on improving my body by eating right and exercising. I’ll never be a super model, but my husband didn’t marry a super model; he married me. And he loves me, stretch marks, extra weight, and all.

Neither of us is young anymore, but we love each other. Now more than ever. The trials we’ve gone through together have strengthened our marriage. And we accept each other’s flaws. I encourage you to accept yourself and your spouse as you are now, without unrealistic expectations.

I’ve had to work at having a satisfying sexual relationship with my husband. Most couples do. And trust me, our life together is much better for having made the effort.

I’ve had to learn to accept my very imperfect body and to be physically and visually available to my husband, even during difficult times like grief.

There it is: Grief

Men and women who have lost loved ones process grief differently. They just do. Ask any married couple who has lost a child. They will tell you they each handle their grief their own way.

If the way you handle grief is not sin and it does not harm you or others, do what helps you heal. If you are married, do what helps you both heal.

The  intimacy of intercourse may be an emotional as well as a physical comfort during grief, often for one spouse more than the other. One spouse may prefer to simply be held while falling asleep after the difficult days while the other would finds sexual contact comforting and helpful.

Ron and I encourage you to be available to your spouse even as you both grieve. And we encourage you to be considerate of your spouse’s need if it is to simply be heard or held at times, without feeling pressured to perform. There is intimacy to be found in holding each other or sitting side by side listening to good music. And there is pleasure to be had, even during grief, in sexual intimacy.

While grieving, we need comfort. Sometimes that comfort comes in physical forms: a warm bath, a nice meal, a walk through the woods, or sexual intimacy. As Ron says, “Physical intimacy can be very comforting. It is a means by which husband and wife can comfort one another. We should accept this provision as a good gift from God even as we recognize that grief is a continual process.”

Please don’t allow grief to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Don’t neglect this important part of your marriage as you grieve. Don’t allow the sadness and pain of loss to steal from you the joy you can have through physical intimacy in your marriage.

If you need help processing your grief, you may want to join a support group or see a grief counselor. If you need help with the sexual part of your relationship, seek help, whether through a good biblical counselor or a book like Intended for Pleasure. 

Your marriage is worth the effort.

While I welcome comments, I will delete anything crude. Please be respectful in your comments.

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