After my last post, “We Haven’t Had Sex in Over a Year” and some questions we received, I wanted to take the time to share more about how intimacy changed for Brad and I. We have shared bits and pieces of this in other posts. Here is the raw truth of our One Flesh journey, from my perspective.
The times where Brad and I allowed God to move and change us in our marriage, happened in two different “breaks” as we like to call them. Our first year of marriage, was ok sexually, mainly because it was new and fun. Years 2-5 were our roughest years. In year 5, God really broke both Brad and I of great selfishness in our marriage. We were both stuck in what we wanted to do, how we wanted things to be, only looking at what we wanted for ourselves. We were stuck in the muck of selfishness. Brad will talk further about some of the things that affected him, but for me I just was not that interested in sex, nor did I make myself sexually available. Did Brad and I talk about the fact that he wanted sex quite frequently and I didn’t? Yes, we did, but not usually in a healthy way. We would start out with good intentions, but one of us would get frustrated and say something out of pent up hurt and frustration. Then the “productiveness” of our discussion was pretty much gone.
God broke me of my selfishness, of never making myself available to Brad through a great friend and mentor. She shared with me that I needed to be available for sex with my hubby. She encouraged me and prayed for me. So I prayed and worked hard at making myself much more available. There were still waves of struggles, but for the most part, we had sex regularly. When I became pregnant with our son we also discovered the effects that oral birth control was having on my sex drive. It was very eye opening to see how much more I desired sex when I was not on the pill. I think it gave Brad some hope and allowed me to enjoy time with my hubby.
Sadly, as I was making myself physically available to Brad, I was greatly lacking in being emotionally involved in our intimacy. Sex was just another “chore” to get off of my list many items. Please understand that I did enjoy sex, but my selfishness wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. I saw no reason to slow down and enjoy the moment. I figured, Brad must think I am great, making myself available a couple of times a week. I had no idea that I was hurting Brad and our marriage BIG TIME. While Brad’s physical release needs were being met, he was missing the emotional closeness to me because he knew that I was not really into sex. I could take it, or leave it. I did not want to stop and bask in the glory that is my husband.
You may be wondering again, if Brad and I talked about our sexual issues in years 5-10? Again yes. But, Brad never articulated to me how much he was hurting inside because of my lack of interest in sex. I think there was great fear on Brad’s part that if he shared his feelings, we could backslide in the progress we had made. Although it wasn’t great, it was better. The changes we made were important, but only part of God’s picture for marriage. Our changes were rooted in our own ability to change and not in allowing God to change us. Therefore we came up short!
I think that many wives really don’t realize how much their lack of interest in sex hurts their hubby’s. Sex is a natural part of us, and when we are denied it by our spouse, the one person God created us to be with, we are denying them a piece of themselves and a piece of our one flesh relationship.
Brad and I had fallen into the trap of having a “good” marriage and settling for it! One of the biggest stumbling blocks for having a great marriage is a good marriage. This was our challenge in years 6-10.
The next “brake”, happened about 2 years ago. We moved my uncle, who was dying of cancer to live with us. We were his only family left and he needed constant care. We were honored to love, serve and care for him during his very hard, long, painful struggle with cancer. As I was caring for him and caring for our family as well, I began praying that God would “break me, until I was wholly His”! I had read this prayer in a book and began to truly desire it for my life. To have all the things that were not of God, broken away from me so that I could be wholly God’s. I had no idea the first place he would break me would be our marriage.
While I was praying, God spoke very clearly to me, “Cling to your husband, he is who I have given you to share this burden (everything with my uncle) Cling to him!” I began to do just that, cling to Brad physically and emotionally. I found that our one flesh connection quickly grew and evolved into something sacred and beautiful. Brad and I were astonished and amazed at what God was doing in our marriage all while our lives were more chaotic and stressful than they had every been. I began to search the Bible for all things concerning marriage and being the wife God wanted me to be. I studied and prayed, and through God’s help I was able to change into the wife He wanted me to be. Brad and I began to talk more and more about what God was doing. We began to talk openly about God’s calling for husbands and wives, about the roles in marriage, about obedience to His word and about sex/intimacy. It was a time in our marriage, I will never forget. I look at the time with my uncle as blessed in so many ways. God is so amazing in His timing and His plan for us.
The changes in our marriage came in two breaks or waves. I think the first break is important to mention because being available it is a vital part of sex. But it is not the entire picture. If you are only making yourself physically available, then you are missing a very special part of the connection sex is mean to be. And for your hubby’s out there that are reading this . . . sharing with your wife that you want sex is not enough. While it may or may not get you sex, you are not sharing with her what you are truly missing. You need to express to your wife how much you are hurting because you miss the emotional, special bond that sex brings to marriage. Share with her how much you desire that connection. I did not discover how much I was hurting Brad until our second “break” and it pains me to know how deeply I hurt him. Husbands need to share and wives need to hear/understand this.
We are a great example of how things can get off track. Our lack of communication about our needs and wants where intimacy is concerned, caused many years of confusion and hurt. Take the initiative and talk to your spouse about your intimacy. Even if you think you are both on the same page, bring it up and be willing to truly hear what your spouse has to say. Do not think of what you hear as critical, but rather your spouse sharing how much they want to love you and be loved by you. It is the desire for One Flesh and an amazing marriage that motivates them. Be willing to seek all the help you need to take steps in the right direction. He took the ashes of our marriage and created something beautiful yet, beyond words! He wants to do the same thing for you!Check out the next in this series, “Life in Sexual Drought, Begging for Change
” Brad’s post to husbands