I stared at my computer screen and read the email from a gentleman asking if I could write lyrics to a song that he then was going to have recorded by amateurs and played at his daughter’s wedding.
“Are you crazy?!” is what I wanted to say.
But that seemed slightly rude. And he did want to pay me, so I thought I would let him down gently.
I diplomatically pounded out the sentence, “You know I’m not a songwriter, right?”
“I know! But you are so talented. I just know you can do this!” he enthusiastically pleaded. (He was naively confident in my skills. Obviously.)
He assured me that it wouldn’t be that hard, because it wouldn’t be like starting from scratch. He wanted me to use the music to an existing song, and simply change the words to be more personalized for his daughter and future son-in-law.
Despite his deep endearment and tender heart motive, I pretty much wanted nothing to do with writing (uh… re-writing) this song. But he pleaded. He’s a nice guy, who happens to pay well, so I gave in and set to work to tackle this monumental undertaking.
I’m guessing by now, you are wondering, “What does this have to do with hope and my sex-starved marriage?” (Okay, you were probably wondering that eight paragraphs ago, but I’m getting there).
Initially, I thought writing that song — creating this treasured experience for this man and his family — was impossible. It seemed beyond me. It seemed painfully unfamiliar and foreign and awkward to even try.
They have allowed their intimacy (sexual and otherwise) to get stuck in neutral for a painfully long time — or have haphazardly built sex upon a shaky foundation of skewed theology, brash manipulation and wearisome monotony.
Is there hope for things to look different, though?
As someone who writes and speaks about sex, I have discovered along the way that there is hope for many of the marriages where on the surface it seems like there is none.
A husband and a wife can indeed find their way back to — or create for the first time — healthier patterns in their intimacy. This is especially true if the the two people in the marriage are willing to at least take baby steps in that direction — scary and awkward as that may seem.
What helped me write that song is what may help you infuse your sex-starved marriage with hope. Here are three suggestions:
Maybe you have believed for a long time that authentic and profound sexual intimacy is just not possible for your marriage. “Perhaps for other people,” you think to yourself. “But not for us.”
That sort of thinking has got to take a hike. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
The Lord’s Word is clear that sex is His gift for married couples, meant not only to create children, but also to bring a husband and wife pleasure, strengthen their marriage, and allow them to experience mysteriously profound one-flesh connection. That is truth and it is worth embracing.
When I wrote that song, I had to first make sure that the words I was going to write would coordinate with the music. Remember, I was working within the structure of the existing song.
So what did I do?
I took the original words and figured out how many syllables were in each line of the song. I then could map out my own words that matched the syllable count.
If you want to build healthier sexual intimacy into your marriage, you’d be wise to see it as a journey, rather than a one-time decision. Every marriage is unique, but here are a few “steps” that you may want to explore in your situation…
Are there past issues you need to address and/or heal from?
How can you make more space in your schedule for connecting as a couple with your clothes on? Great sex is often a natural byproduct of a great emotional friendship with your spouse. (This technique might help).
How can you have more foreplay and communication about what you each like? (If sex is pleasurable for both of you, it’s more likely you will want to have it).
How can you take ownership and ask for forgiveness for ways you’ve been careless with sex?
How can you find ways to better communicate as a couple?
I can’t write the steps for you, but if the two of you seek them out, you will move toward more nurtured sexual intimacy. You have to be willing to walk in that direction, though.
Honestly, it took me awhile to get that song right. I had to look at it, try different things and revisit it often before I felt like I was on the right track (no pun intended).
The same is true of sex in your marriage. Don’t be quick to give up or get defensive, but instead, walk in humility, grace and conviction that your marriage is worth having tender sexual connection. Adjust often and build upon what works.
Just as I discovered when I wrote that song, you as a couple can replace confusion and disbelief with something quite remarkable.
After reading this, do you believe there is hope for your sex-starved marriage?
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.