It’s Thursday, and I should be writing a Q&A with J post, answering a reader question. I should be, but today I really don’t wanna.
It’s not that I don’t care about y’all — I definitely do. It’s not that I’ve lost my will to write on the subject of sex in marriage — I definitely have not. It’s not that I’m unable to put up a post — I definitely can (obviously).
But yesterday, the day I’d planned to actually write the post, was a particularly grueling day. Without too many details, a family member of mine unexpectedly ended up in the hospital and I spend my day there juggling medical issues, family dynamics, and a ball of worry. Things had greatly improved by the time I left last night, and I felt certain I’d wake up today ready to delve into a reader’s question.
However, my body and brain are tired, and I don’t know how helpful and insightful I can be today. I’d rather skip a week than toss something out that cheats the question and my readers.
Which brings me back around to my subject of sex in marriage — because yeah, I can still draw parallels to sex with all kinds of things in my environment. I’m not among those who believe that wives should be at the beck-and-call of their husband’s sexual urges. I completely understand the well-meaning behind those who advise women to always be available for sexual intimacy with their husbands. But you know, some days you just don’t wanna. And I get that too.
Certainly, there are times when you cannot engage, due to illness, family obligations, etc. But there can be times when you’re simply not up for it, because you’ve been strung out to exhaustion by other things in your life. And I think that’s fine — if it’s not a pattern.
Ongoing refusal and gate-keeping are not merely unwise, but can rise to the level of sin. After all, we are commanded not to deprive one another and to become one flesh with our husbands. If making love in your marriage is the exception rather than the routine, then you need to take a good, hard look at what’s amiss in your lives. Are you too busy? Struggling with relationship issues? Ignoring physiological obstacles? Just being selfish? Whatever it is, you need to address it.
But in a healthy marriage, you’ve established that sexual intimacy is a given. Your husband knows you find him desirable, sees you prioritize physical intimacy, and understands that if you say not now, you have a good reason. You’ve also experienced for yourself the delight of sexual pleasure, the importance of this physical connection, and the satisfaction that comes from the one-flesh experience. So if you really don’t feel like it this one time, you also figure you have a good reason.
Maybe you can’t pinpoint exactly why, but you know it’s not disinterest or an unwillingness to engage sexually with your husband. You can explain that gently and lovingly to your husband. AND you should probably suggest a make-up session — a rain check on the not now.
You see, not now isn’t the same as no. Not now says this moment isn’t ideal, but you’ve got it high on your priority list for as soon as possible. But no leaves your husband hanging and wondering if and when your libido might come back around.
The hubbies I hear from who are upset about the lack of sexual intimacy in their marriage are almost always those who get rejected regularly and feel up-in-the-air about when the next encounter might happen. Or whether his wife will ever understand why he desires this kind of intimacy so much. The men who get a not now from time to time can deal with that. Especially when they know that they won’t have to wait long before she’s jumping back into his arms, preferably naked.*
I just wanted to let you know, wives, that I believe it’s okay to pass on sex now and again. You’re not there to be his booty call; rather, you are equal partners in creating and maintaining regular and satisfying sexual intimacy in your marriage. Make that your priority, your pattern, and your passion.
And you have my rain check on answering a reader question next week.
*Of course, a substantial percent of marriages have higher-drive wives who experience the opposite of this description. If you’re in that category, remember that you’re completely normal and I want your husband to understand these principles about prioritizing sex in your marriage. You have my compassion and my prayers.