Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Marriage Series:
What's the fuss about?


This is the third post in this week's marriage series.
Last year I blogged about a sermon series at Relevant Church here in Tampa where they did the 30 day Sex Challenge for married couples. There was a huge media blitz about this and people everywhere were just shocked at the thought of 30 days straight of married sex, let alone among Christians! Even CBS news interviewed the pastors of Relevant about this bizarre suggestion that married people should have sex 30 days in a row.

Before hearing about Relevant's series, I had seen a TV show about Charla Muller, a wife who gave her husband Brad the gift of sex every single day for a year to celebrate his 40th birthday. This was a completely radical thought to many people and in fact Mrs. Muller had friends who didn't want their husbands to hear about her gift, because they were scared to death their husband would suggest that they do the same thing!

I read stories like this and I wonder, "what's the fuss?" Has marital sex really gotten that bad of a reputation?

I don't believe there is anything abnormal or shocking about frequent or even every day sex for married couples. I realize that is rare for most people, however, I think that's a shame. It shows how overloaded our lives are with other things, and how little time or energy we prioritize for this purpose. What is it that happens a few months to years after the wedding that we lose our passion?

 Intimacy gets relegated to the bottom of the list, or not even on it for some couples. People say, "life happens...you have kids...they are demanding...you work a lot of hours, and yada yada yada." The truth is that lovemaking is a very important part of married life and even when other things in life are happening, couples should work together to ensure that you have adequate time to keep connecting -- spiritually, emotionally physically.

I read a statistic this week that was taken from a recent survey that most married couples with healthy marriages have sex two or three times a week. However the same husbands surveyed in those marriages report that they masturbate another 2-3 times a week in addition to this. What this means is, your typical man needs sex more than two or three times a week. And men aren't alone...there are women out there (believe it or not - GASP! ) who have normal or even high sex drives. When I discussed this with my husband this week he said to me, "what's so surprising? We've known that all along, right?" Well, I did know this in my heart of hearts, but to have it confirmed by statistics and a survey was key for me.

Married women need to realize that they are their husband's only legitimate sex partner. Who else is supposed to meet this need? (And vice versa, they are our only legit partner and are commanded by God to meet our needs.) When women tell me they don't feel like doing this for their husbands, my response to that is, "well, who else do you suggest should do that for them?" (Usually silence befalls the conversation at that point...)

Many women say, "I'm too tired". When ladies in the church confide this to me and ask for advice, I always counsel them to let their husband know they would like to have sex more if they weren't so tired. Usually when they tell them that the husband will help them do whatever it takes to make it happen. Even when your kids are small, you have to keep your priorities straight and set aside time. After she heard the story of Charla Muller, one of my friends decided to take the challenge and give her husband sex everyday for a year last year and it went so well they are committed to keep going this year! It has really improved their already good marriage, and actually taken it from "good" to "great".

Years ago someone shared a statistic with me that Larry and I often share in our marriage conferences. Did you know a man is most likely to have an affair during the six weeks after his wife has a baby? Any clue why that might be? Well, it's the time doctors tell women not to have intercourse during the six weeks after a child is born. That is certainly reasonable as women need time to physically heal. But, there are many ways aside from intercourse, that a husband's needs can be met during this time but many women do not do that. They simply think, "Yippee! Six weeks off from sex!"

Many men get depressed during this time and feel they are on the back burner. Some say, "if he really loves her, he'll wait patiently during the six weeks." Of course I believe a man should do the right thing no matter what. But I would also say, if she really loves him, she'll take the time to think about her husband as well. Before they were parents, they were lovers. How did the baby get there in the first place?  There is a high cost that is paid when we do not keep the nurture and care of our mate at the highest priority throughout all seasons of our life. Much frustration and heartache could be avoided if marriage partners took just a little bit of time daily to meet one another's needs.

Whenever a Christian leader boldly speaks up on the Bible's admonition for couples to frequently have sex (and yes, the Bible DOES say this in I Corinthians 7) somebody inevitably rises up and says, "Hey, marriage isn't all about sex! Why is the focus on sex? Some people are happy without so much sex...and I don't even think a pastor should bring this up in the first place...." And all I have to say to that is, hurting people react this way. In the majority of those cases the person who says that has experienced some type of trauma in their lives that has hindered them sexually and they need to be free. It's not the pastor's problem, it's their problem. Or, they are simply in denial of what God's Word says on the subject and very convicted about it, thus the reason they get so touchy when the subject is mentioned. Please understand, I am not writing this today to hurt anyone's feelings, in fact that is the last thing I would ever want to do! However, I believe that someone needs to step up to the plate and boldly talk about this, not to hurt people, but to help them.

It's my prayer that there will come a time when people will no longer believe frequent sex for a married couple to be abnormal. What a sad commentary on marriage that it is seen as odd. Married sex should have the very best reputation since it's God's way of doing things. The current reputation of it's abnormality might have something to do with a lot of single men fearing a commitment to marriage. They hear horror stories from married men about how the sex wanes after a few years of marriage, and they are fearful. Rightfully so, I might add.

12 comments:

Sharon said...

Very good, my dear sister!

Much love,
Shari

Anonymous said...

Pastor Deanna,

I sent you an email this morning on some thoughts and a question. We need to be creative. There are many ways to make love. It's not a duty...but a gift! Enjoy!
Ruth, PA

Anonymous said...

Posting anonymously because this is the Internet:

Guys AND gals who have a LOW sex drive: get yourself checked out!!!! It could be something simple like a thyroid condition that is treatable (my husband is being tested for this and other medical issues as we "speak."). If you just plain don't want sex - and everything else in your relationship is great - there could be a medical cause that can be fixed. Guys - don't be too "macho" to get this checked out!

Ladies - if sex is painful, use lube!!! Dryness sometimes happens pre-menopause - or you could be like me and have a tilted uterus. There is nothing wrong with taking a little bit of help if you need it...

God created sex to be pleasurable and enjoyable, and he gave doctors the wisdom to fix problems [as well as counselors to help fix emotional problems that keep you from having a fantastic sex life!]. Don't settle for anything less!!!!

-Someone who is NOT settling :o).

Melissa said...

I am loving your series this week! Today's topic needs to be broadcasted! Seriously, if sex is so great before marriage (like the media and commercials and tv in general portrays) and teens and adults are seeking it outside of marriage (the ungodly thing to do) then why are married couples so against it? Many women I talk to think sex is a taboo thing to talk about, like it should be kept behind closed doors and locked up. Come on! If anything when women get together, specially with friends, she should be able to open up and share their frustrations about this area not just other topics. A lot of times if they were more sexually active with their husbands the other daily frustrations would be whole lot easier to deal with...I'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

kudos, kudos ! may I suggest an awesome website christiannymphos.org, they've got some great and godly info on there to help keep those fires burnin !

DaNella Auten said...

(pulling out soap box, dusting it off and stepping up)

I love my husband. No I mean I really love him, I love him so much that sometimes I say yes when my first reaction was no.

Come on, fess up, with kids, a job, a house to clean, and meals to cook, how many of you actually want or have the time for sex 2 or 3 times a week? With all that going on, some of us feel he’s lucky if he gets once a month.

That just won’t do, your marriage is more important than that. I have a suggestion, a yes instead of a no, and a quickie. Ok let’s get personal for a minute. The older we get, for some of us the longer it takes to get “physically” ready for sex. Ok I’m gonna say it, the V word… Vagina. There, I said it, vaginal dryness. I know I am not the only one. Sometimes I want to say yes, but there is nothing worse than that painful after burn from all the friction just because you can’t order up some vaginal wetness on the drop of a hat.

I have a solution. Best thing God ever allowed man to create… Astroglide.(http://www.astroglide.com/FreeSample.asp) We found this early on in our marriage, and love so much we have kept some readily available ever since. Astroglide allows us to be a little crazy, if we get the urge, but know we are in a time crunch, we can simply apply a little, and we have some fun…

It makes for a very happy hubby! I am happy too, because I don’t have to use up a lot of energy doing something I wasn’t in the mood for however I wind up enjoying it a lot and smiling almost as broadly as he is when we are done.

We love it so much as a general rule, when we attend weddings, if possible I’ll pull the bride aside, and before the ceremony hand her a small bottle and tell her “Keep this handy, you’ll need it later!”

I've heard it said if there is plenty of sex in a marriage, sex is no big deal, however if it is scarce, it's all you fight about...

(stepping down off my soap box)
Love ya all
DaNella

Deanna Shrodes said...

Good comments here everybody...thanks for the kudos...

Anonymous, I agree...getting checked out if you have a low drive is important. Many people don't get it checked b/c if they have a low drive, they just don't care. That's a shame. I know a lot of marriages that have been saved because one of the spouses went to the doctors and had the courage to ask to be tested and get some meds. Great point.

Melissa, totally agree...I'm with you girl, both on the women opening up the discussion and the sex to deal with frustrations...both very helpful.

2nd Anon -- yes, I'm a reader already. Good site. Those ladies were a "spin off" blog from the marriage bed from what I understand and they do a good job of writing from a biblical view.

Danella, definitely! I agree and another thing I recommend is coconut oil. It's wonderful. I'm known for giving gifts like that too, to brides. Usually at wedding showers I'm known for giving the most interesting gifts. :-) I think at the last one I gave a maid costume. (Yes, I'm serious!) and some of the bride's family who don't attend the church were totally shocked and said, "WHAT?! Did we just hear correctly that this gift is from the PASTOR??!!" And everyone from our church fell over laughing themselves silly at their reaction.

There was another couple that got married a while back in our church and at the reception I privately gave them a basket I had put together of special things just for the bedroom...and when they came back from their honeymoon the groom called and asked the secretary to put an announcement in the bulletin thanking Larry and I for this great honeymoon gift. So our assistant comes in and said, "Ummmm....pastor what should I do about this thing that so and so wants in the bulletin?" and my husband said, "WHAT?! Absolutely not!!" The husband was totally serious and wanted to "give God glory for this great gift" in the bulletin and our staff just laughed ourselves to pieces over that one. I assured him a simple private thank you was enough, but man the guy was so excited...and just wanted to tell everybody. I'm glad he was so blessed. :-)

DaNella Auten said...

lol Deanna you are my hero...

Melissa said...

ok DaNella and Deanna...I absolutely love your comments. The maid outfit...too funny! Astroglide is great stuff, never heard of the coconut oil but definitely something to try.

Deanna Shrodes said...

Melissa, you can get the coconut oil in the supermarket section of Super Walmart. We use Nutiva brand...it comes in a jar by the way. You might think it won't be user friendly because it's in a jar and you can scoop it out like peanut butter, but be warned...as soon as you touch it it starts melting in your hand. Any little bit of warmth will turn it to complete liquid. Benefits of using coconut oil are many but just a few are, it smells awesome, it tastes great, not to mention, it's a fantastic lube. Evidently a bazillion couples out there use it as evidenced by a huge comment thread that I saw on The Marriage Bed website. That's where I heard about it, got a jar and said, "Wow, where has this been my entire marriage?" If you go on the marriage bed comment thread you will also see a bunch of couples who have posted different uses for it in the bedroom. By the way, one reason I love TMB site is because it's totally anonymous and although people who post are Christians and everything is appropriate that is shared, people can be more transparent with sharing exactly what they use a product like this for and "how to instructions" without worrying about embarrassment or sharing too much since it is anonymous. By the way, I post on there too but I guarantee out of the thousands of commenters nobody would figure out who I am since 99% of the people don't use their real names nor share identifying info. Needless to say I have learned A LOT about improving my marriage there, from other Christians seeking to do just the same.

Also, one more thing...I make my own "exfoliator" for my skin, particularly my legs, using the coconut oil and regular white sugar. It gives you the most incredibly smooth moisturized skin, ever! I heard about this from one of the gals on TMB too, and I absolutely love it. I take a scoop of coconut oil and put in a dish, take a few tablespoons of sugar in another little dish and put it on the side of the tub. I take a little bit of each together and rub on my legs. (Like I said it's an exfoliator so it's scratchy.) You don't rub too hard -- you're not trying to hurt yourself, just rub however hard you personally like to exfoliate your skin. Then wash it off. I sit in the tub for a while in hot water and just like the feeling of the oil. I wash completely off in clean oil and then CAREFULLY get out of the tub (it will be slippery.) Towel off and your skin is going to feel AMAZING. Right after I get dressed, I immediately sprinkle comet into the tub and put my gloves on and wash out the tub real quick since it's very slick.

I only do my legs with it but you could do your whole body with it if you wanted. I especially like to use it after I shave.

Enjoy!

Deanna Shrodes said...

Oops!!! Typo!! Above I had "oil" on my mind and said after exfoliating I wash off in clean oil and get out of the tub...what I meant was I was off in clean WATER! Please don't wash off in clean oil...you will slip and slide right out of your tub and away to God knows where...ha ha! You might just disappear. Whew! Glad I caught that typo. ha ha!

Melissa said...

You crack me up! I think I will head over to that site and have a look around. HMMMM I might have to get a bit creative. I am sure my husband will like that idea. Heading to Super walmart tomorrow...think I will look for that coconut fun! Oops did I say that...can't have sex and fun in a pastor's marriage...lol yea hellow I do have 4 kids under our roof...there was some kind of fun going on to create these blessings! LOL LOVE YOU GIRL!