By Nikki Daniel
That far too familiar feeling comes over her heart again. She’s exhausted beyond words and has given of herself from before the sun woke until the brisk cold of night settled in. Her precious children, her cozy home, the warm-in-your-tummy homemade meals, and her hard-working husband have all depended on her today. And yesterday. And the day before. Her belly is full with new life, her body is worn, yet her heart is bursting with thanksgiving.
She feels honored and blessed to be chosen to care for these beautiful lives. The Lord had chosen this before the foundation of the world. He has specifically and personally placed her in this family and she bursts with joy.
Until that far too familiar feeling comes over her heart again. The man she married ten years ago is gently approaching her for sexual intimacy…again. She used to love his romantic advances, but as the busyness and sheer exhaustion of life have settled in, a newfound bad attitude now pervades her thoughts on sex.
This couple used to connect intimately multiple times per week, even daily. That dwindled to twice per week, then once. Now the exhausted wife avoids sex as much as possible and the couple is distant emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.
Many wives find themselves in this situation. My husband, a pastor, and I frequently hear of this situation in counseling sessions. While I believe that sexual intimacy in marriage is very important, even I find myself having a less-than-desirable attitude towards sex at times.
For the wife struggling with joy
I first want to clarify that if a wife has experienced abuse of any kind, this article is not for her. For the wife who deals with an uninterested husband (due to pornography addiction or other reasons), this article is not for her. Some wives have husbands who demand sex several times per day. This is usually unhealthy and these wives should not feel the burden of meeting those expectations. There are many wonderful resources available for these situations. This is not one of them.
For the wife who is simply struggling with joyfully connecting with her husband sexually, you are not alone. According to a Newsweek article, 5 to 20 percent of couples have sex 10 times a year or less, which experts define as a sexless marriage. This equates to having sex a little less than once per month. A sexless marriage is a dangerous place to be for both the husband and the wife.
For the husband or the wife, fighting lust towards others could be much more difficult. The wife will likely feel distant from her husband. Together, the couple will become more like business partners or roommates than like Christ and the church.
Importance of the wedding night
For many people, physical words come to mind when thinking about sex. But is sex mainly physical? Of course the physical aspect is the easiest to identify, but sex is much more than just that.
I once read from Tim Keller that sex is an opportunity to revisit the spiritual marriage bond that took place on the wedding day of a husband and a wife. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh,” Genesis 2:24. This statement is repeated again in the books of Matthew, Mark, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians. Sex is intended to establish a marriage covenant. So, the importance of the wedding night flows through the remainder of the marriage. When the couple comes together sexually, they are proclaiming, “Yes! We are committed to each other now and as long we both live! We have each other and we hold each other for better or for worse, whether we’re rich or poor, or sick or healthy. We love each other!”
Running back to the commitment that was made on a couple’s wedding day is one of the best-kept secrets of a healthy, Biblical marriage.
Making sex a priority again
TIME MATTERS: Have an intentional conversation with your spouse about the best time of day for you to connect sexually. Once the children are in bed, many moms are ready to relax. They don’t want to be touched any more and they simply don’t want to give of themselves anymore. Being a mom to little ones is a beautiful but demanding thing. So when is a better time? Maybe it’s as simple as having an hour to yourself at night before sex. Maybe morning is best. Talk together as a couple about what’s realistic for you.
CHANGE IN ATTITUDE: Perhaps you haven’t taken the issue of sex seriously. Don’t dismiss it as “just a guy thing.” Read books, blogs, and articles that will encourage you. Read Song of Solomon (and notice that the woman has a lot of positive thoughts about sex!). Pray for a sexual desire towards to your husband. Remember that sex is so much more than just physical!
SERVE ONE ANOTHER IN OTHER WAYS: Take the time to date each other again. Make time for weekly date nights where you get can to know each other again. Surprise each other. Hug and kiss when you meet after work (especially in front of the children!). Take wisdom from Martin Luther: “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”
The busy and overwhelmed wife can find joy in a regular sexual relationship with her husband. Yes, there will be times when she is exhausted and wants to be left alone. However, the overall marriage relationship can and should encompass healthy, joyful sexual intimacy.
Nikki Daniel is a pastor’s wife from Augusta, Georgia. Her husband has been the pastor at Berea Baptist Church (www.bbcaugusta.org) for over ten years. She has two fun-loving boys, Noah Spurgeon (4) and Isaiah Newton (3). She enjoys working from home as a freelance writer and graphic designer. Nikki graduated with a BA in Advertising from the University of Houston and a MATS degree from Southern Seminary.
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