I didn’t know how many people struggle – I mean really struggle – with sex in their marriage.
It all seems ironic now, but when I started writing and speaking about sexual intimacy in marriage, I must have naively underestimated the power of the internet.
And after awhile, as the emails and comments started to pour in from every corner of the world, I started to see some common threads.
Sex has been a source of disconnect way more than a source of oneness. Sometimes for years. Decades even.
Sure, the specific circumstances may vary, but generally it often comes down to one person valuing and wanting sexual intimacy. And the other spouse avoiding it at all costs.
I’ve long believed that healthy patterns are intentional. No one falls into an exercise routine or happens upon some vitamin rich broccoli. No one haphazardly starts digging into God’s Word on a regular basis. Or drifts into a balanced budget.
Nope. Healthy patterns are intentional.
Unhealthy patterns, though, usually sneak up on us much more casually. They are unintentional. No one stands at the altar and thinks, “Someday I’m just going to stop having sex with this person to whom I have just pledged my life… my future” or “I can easily see the moment down the road when his touch will mean nothing to me.”
Nope. Unhealthy patterns are hazy. We’re in them before we really know it. And once there, they become our normal.
Regular mutually satisfying sex drifts into occasional token sex. Babies come. Life gets complicated. Jobs get demanding. Lawns need to be mowed. Sexual distance begins to seem less awkward.
Fill in the details however you may, but I see common denominators among many married couples who are rarely having sex.
They never envisioned sex in their marriage would ever look like that.
It just happened.
Thus the crossroads, where one person in the marriage is ready for a healthier normal that includes sex with the person they love — sex as God designed it. And the other person isn’t quite sure if they are ready to give up the comfortable unhealthy pattern. (Actually, sometimes they are quite sure they don’t want to give it up).
I don’t know if any of that describes you, but if it does, I encourage you to read this post with your spouse.
Does that take courage? Without a doubt. Whether you are the one desiring nurtured intimacy or you are the one who has been refusing it, it takes courage to address such deep woundedness in your relationship.
No, there are no guarantees.
But staying stuck at a crossroads seems equally or more painful as well. Better to at least try to shed light on the matter. Better to give hope, love and sexual renewal a fighting chance.
Could you do something to move your marriage in a healthier direction?
When I started blogging, I had no idea how often I would be asking that question. But now I ask it all the time.
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.