I’m Praying for My Sex Life. When Will God Answer?

With woman's hands holding a heart.This past week, I started looking into prayers of women in the Bible. Honestly, there aren’t that many. Not that women didn’t pray — of course they did — but we have a limited record of women who prayed and what they talked to God about.

The first one I came across was in Genesis 25:21-22:

Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

That last line stuck with me: “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

I bet a gazillion wives could say the same regarding issues in their marriage bed: Why is this happening? What’s going on? Could someone explain this weird / painful / discombobulated way I feel? But how many of us take that next step and actually inquire of the Lord?

When we experience difficulty, wouldn’t it be great if our minds first turned to God? If He was our to-go source when we faced challenges? That’s one reason I’ve been writing about praying more this year and including sexual intimacy on our prayer list.

But continuing to read the Genesis 25 passage, the next verse is this one:

The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.” (v. 23)

Well, there you go. Isn’t the takeaway that if you inquire of the Lord, He’ll pop right up with a ready answer, explaining exactly what’s going on? He might speak in symbolic terms, but still … you’ll get the scoop. Inquired, answered, done. And now back to our regular programming.

Actually, I felt a little jolted when I read this account. Even a bit cheated in my own life. “So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her“? Where is the part in between of her inquiring and inquiring and inquiring, and then waiting and waiting and waiting, and fretting and fretting and fretting, and crying and crying and crying, and wondering and wondering and wondering, etc.? Because THAT sounds more like my prayer life.

Not always, of course. Sometimes I sense a quick answer from my Heavenly Father. But years ago, when I was praying earnestly about my flailing and failing marriage, it felt like an eternity of when is He going to answer?

And when I began to write about praying for your marriage bed, that’s the response I received from some of you — that you’d been praying for a long time, but nothing had changed. You long for the kind of quick response Rebekah received.

Even if it took more time than indicated in this summary of her story, it couldn’t have been more than a few months since she was pregnant, we know how long that takes, and she got her answer before the babies arrived. Couldn’t God answer your prayer in nine months or less?

I’m going to be entirely unoriginal and go with the theological answer plenty before me have given: He is answering. It just doesn’t look like we expected.

I have the advantage of getting to look back on the worst of my marriage and see it with a more objective eye. What I now recognize is I wanted God to do certain things, and as long as He wasn’t doing those things, I thought He wasn’t listening or He didn’t care or He wasn’t ready to answer me. His silence in the area where I wanted Him to speak made me feel like He was entirely silent.

But He was answering. He was trying to get me to face my own issues, my own need for growth, my own flaws. Not so that I could wallow in my failures, but so that God could work on my mind, my heart, and my soul. So that He could help me become a better wife, a better person. (He’s still working on that, by the way. I was a pretty rough lump of clay.)

What if God is answering your prayer about sexual intimacy in your marriage? But it doesn’t look like you expected.

(I doubt Rebekah expected that “two nations” in the womb thing either. It’s tough enough having twins, much less two whole nations battling inside you. Sheesh.)

What if God is wanting to work on you in ways you’re not hearing? Because, let’s face it, who wants to be told in the middle of your worst moments that you have some tough work to do? It can feel like you’re lying in your sick-bed and God’s saying, “Time for some calisthenics.” Yet maybe He knows that you’ll be stronger, better, more like Christ if you listen to His guidance.

And that’s a key part as well: Listen.

I did a whole lot of talking to God when things were bad. Everything from whispered reverence to casual conversation to deep pleading to defiant yelling. Know what I didn’t do much of? Shutting up and listening. (It’s not my strong suit — another trait God’s working on.)

When I finally stopped babbling to God and started asking what I needed to work on, I felt a pull in the right direction. And it wasn’t like a “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” voice in my ear (see Jedi mind trick). More like opening myself up to Him and then certain verses niggling their way into my mind as I read my Bible, or remembering to do something I knew I should, or just having the patience or perspective to see a situation differently.

It took a while, but as I made changes, our marriage began to change. The answer to my prayers began to show itself more fully. It pieced together bit by bit like a jigsaw puzzle, where you can’t see the answer with a corner piece or a few connected pieces. It takes time and effort before you can make out the picture, but each piece is part of the answer — God’s answer to your prayer.

But first, we must start with our part: So she went and inquired of the Lord.

5 thoughts on “I’m Praying for My Sex Life. When Will God Answer?

  1. A Happy Hubby

    This is a great topic. I do think you have covered it well and I do really get the part about how problems in marriage can force us to take a look at ourselves. For most people after they have been married for quite a while their spouse will probably know them better than anyone else (parents know how you were growing up, but many are different after reaching adulthood). Really looking at yourself and your contributions to issues in your marriage can be one of the most growth promoting actions you may ever take.
    I would say that has occurred with me. The intimacy issues showed up in our marriage within a week after we were married. We had both been “really good” before marriage and didn’t expect issues. After a while I was pleading with the Lord to change my wife. I started reading and many books correctly said, “look in the mirror to find the problems in your marriage.” It took about 6 or 7 books before that REALLY sunk in and I tried. Several more books and several more years of praying for ME to become better and I feel I made some improvements in myself and how I treat and respect my wife. For that I am grateful.
    So far my comment has been in support of this post, but let me make one counter-point before coming back to still support this.
    In my story I kept praying more and more for decades. Mainly praying for “help me to change” and then eventually after a few decades it was more, “Lord – I don’t even know what to ask for, but you know my heart, please help me and my wife.” I kept reading more and more books. My wife refused to go to counseling or even bring up any issues with the doctor that might be contributing to our issues. She didn’t want to talk about it and disagreed there is any issue. After being married about 3 decades and going through a few occurrences of depression due to this – one episode quite deep (including trying to find a way to be castrated so my wife and I were not in such an imbalance of desire), I lost all hope – both in my wife and in God. Shortly after that my age caught up to me and even though the equipment generally works, I feel just about nothing when the fireworks should be exploding. I can sympathize a bit with women that have significant issues reaching orgasm.
    So out of my pity pout, I will say that I am still glad I had the opportunity to be forced to look deep into myself and improve myself. And from the dozens of books I have read, I hear that most people when they pray AND really look at themselves, ask for the feedback from their spouse, and try and improve themselves that the marriage turns around. So even though my marriage is VERY far from ideal, I still give this blog post a thumbs up and encourage readers to take the advice seriously.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Thank you for sharing all this. But yes, I feel heartbroken that your wife never came to an understanding of what sexual intimacy would have meant for you, and for yourself, in your marriage. May God bless in many other ways.

      Reply
  2. K

    Ahh, yes. This is exactly where I am right now. Finally shutting up and listening– asking God to open my eyes to my own sin when I’ve just been hung up on my husbands. And let me tell you, He has been faithful to answer that prayer. God has been showing me an abundance of sin in my life… specifically in my marriage, and at the same time showing me my husbands strong suits that I overlooked. I’m 25 and was saved over 10 years ago…. yet shamefully this is the first time it’s dawned on me to ask God to open my eyes up to my own sin. It’s also feels like the first time I’ve gotten answers to any prayers… like straight answers. I always wondered how some people could be so certain God wanted them to do XYZ. This is a great place to be.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Wonderful! I have a feeling God’s going to be working on me more in this department as well this year. Not so much with my marriage as other issues. (We’re always works in progress, aren’t we?”) Blessings!

      Reply
  3. 5 under 5

    Good post! My husband likes to remind me that whatever problem we face is not the “end” and we are not stuck there, as we are both still growing, still praying, still striving, still figuring it all out. It is so challenging to our flesh to just shut up and listen to God!

    Reply

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