My husband and I were at a wedding reception once, sitting with a friend of mine and her husband.
With a mischievous laugh, my friend looked at my husband and jokingly said her husband wanted his picture with him. “You’re his hero! He thinks you get sex all the time!”
We laughed. Sure, her exclamation was in jest, but honestly, it reflects a more somber tone that weaves through many comments and emails I receive from readers of my blog.
Many people think that because my husband and I enjoy sex often — and that it is quite good — that our marriage is somehow a walk in the park, free of many of the struggles that they face in their own marriages.
Sex for us, they think, must be a panacea for any strains on our marriage.
A huge part of what makes sex great in my marriage is that we work hard at the rest of our marriage.
All the time.
And it’s work. Hard work.
We stumble. We get short with each other. We’ve said things we regret. We’ve misunderstood each other’s hearts.
But we also have learned to get back up. To forgive quickly. To talk. To extend grace. To remember our commitment. To pray for each other. To laugh and savor all the extraordinary joys that show up in ordinary ways.
I think if you met me or my husband or were to glimpse into our life on any given day you would be surprised to see how our marriage looks like a lot of marriages.
Messy. Chaotic. Boring at times.
Wrought with tiredness and stress. Our dirty dishes pile up. Our dog destroys things she shouldn’t. Our calendar is often a bully.
So when we make love — when we crawl into that sacred space literally and figuratively — we show up having already poured ourselves out in the other crevices of our relationship.
Truth be told, each phenomenal orgasm is tender reminder of what it took for us to get there.
What I want you to know about great sex and your marriage is that you both have to be willing to give and re-give yourselves, often when you really want to do the exact opposite.
You have to resolve to tackle the hard issues, one baby step at a time.
You have to be able to train your eyes to spot speckles of goodness and love and warmth amidst so much noise.
That’s not easy.
But that’s where the great sex is found.
And if you were to stop by my house on any given day, that’s exactly what I would tell you.
(After, of course, I tried to keep the dog from jumping on you. And then asked you to look past the laundry baskets, overflowing bookshelves, messy desk and worn-out kitchen floor that should have been replaced in 1991).
Julie Sibert writes and speaks about sexual intimacy in marriage. You can follow her blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and their two boys. When she's not writing, she's probably drinking ridiculously overpriced coffee.