Last week, I talked about the many emails in my inbox with specific stories of hardship surrounding the marriage bed. While I desperately wish I could clone myself and answer every single question fully, I simply cannot.
I’m one tiny part of the Body of Christ, and what I say isn’t the only wisdom out there by any means. I do what I can, but I trust that couples in rough situations can find godly answers from various sources.
Still, I want to share six candid responses that come to mind when reading stories from people who write me and essentially say, “Our marriage bed is a mess.”
Previously, I covered three possibilities that could apply to your circumstances. Very quickly, they are:
1. You’re married to a selfish jerk; that is, a spouse who dismisses your beliefs, belittles your feelings, and/or thinks your body belongs solely to them to be used as a sexual tool.
2. You are the selfish jerk, meaning you’re the one complaining about how you’re not getting everything you want in the marriage bed and arguing with your mate about how you’ve been mistreated.
3. You have a poor theology of sex, meaning you have been taught and/or adopted erroneous beliefs about sexual intimacy that have had a negative impact on your marriage.
For each of these issues, I provide some answers in the prior post.
Now for the next three responses that often occur to me as I read various scenarios. See if one of these applies to your situation:
4. You’re making mountains out of molehills. Just in case you’re not familiar with that idiom, it means that you’re taking what should be a minor issue and making it a major issue in your marriage. Such emails come from people who:
- Get overly frustrated with their spouse for not doing a specific sexual activity. For instance, I understand the man who’d like his wife to swallow when she performs fellatio. What I don’t understand is acting like your sex life totally stinks because she won’t!
- Take deep offense at mild slights. One example here would be the woman who cuts her husband off from sex because he glanced at a pretty girl in the restaurant, figuring somehow that means he’d rather be with her.
- Hold grudges from past problems. These spouses have amazing memories and can bring up a whole Samsonite store of past baggage when it suits them. Any current issue is seen in light of their tally of offenses from the past, whether or not it applies.
One of the major shifts that helped my marriage so very much was starting to ask myself how much something really mattered. Was the slight personal? Or was my husband behaving in a way that was core to his personality or world view? Was it something I absolutely had to have? Or could I let it go? Was I accurately assessing what was happening? Or making assumptions that weren’t necessarily true?
I still have to do this from time to time, because it’s oh-so-easy to think that something that bothers you is colossally important. But it isn’t always that important. Sometimes you can just talk it out or let it go or … keep your mouth shut, pray for God to work on your heart, and be the one to change.
5. You’re making molehills out of mountains.
This is the spouse who watches “a little porn” and doesn’t think their mate should be upset. Or they had an extramarital affair and complain that she isn’t getting over it quickly enough, because after all, it’s “in the past.” It’s the spouse who doesn’t really like sex and thinks it isn’t that big a deal that it’s been a month or two.
While the previous problem was like people who get a paper cut and think they’re dying, this category is for those who are like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, missing arms and bleeding profusely while proclaiming, “It’s just a flesh wound.”
Good gravy, what’s it going to take for you to understand your spouse is in emotional pain? And that you need to do something about it. Starting with taking your vows to love and cherish your mate seriously. That includes valuing their feelings and trying to work through issues together.
Even if something doesn’t seem big to you, find out why it matters to your spouse. Ask what they’re going through and show genuine compassion and respect. Also find out what really matters to God, because you might well have some false beliefs about what intimacy in marriage should look like. Soak yourself instead in the truth, the way God designed sex in marriage to be. It comes down to this: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).It comes down to this: 'Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.' Click To Tweet
6. You need to ask a different expert.
Having studied a lot about sexuality, and specifically sex from a biblical perspective, I consider myself something of an expert in this field. But I’m not a medical doctor or a licensed counselor or a church pastor or a parenting guru. I know my limits.
If you’re dealing with physical or body chemistry issues that impact your marriage bed, the first and best place to start is your doctor’s office. You may need to push for some answers, or even change doctors, but almost every physical challenge that affects your bedroom has an answer or treatment that will help. Ladies, if you’re looking for someone to consult, check out my post on finding a good gynecologist.
If you’re need resources on teaching young children or even teens about sex, I have written several posts for parents (like this one, this one, and this one). But I’m really not up on books, curriculum, or speakers in that field. My target audience is marrieds, particularly wives, and I mostly keep that focus.
There are other issues as well that I get asked about where I just don’t know and believe other experts are better qualified to answer. If you have a question about sex, consider who might be the best source. Maybe it is me, and I’m obviously happy to answer many questions I receive on this blog. But you might need to talk to your pastor, a doctor, or someone else to get the guidance you need. If you aren’t sure where to go, ask wise friends, whom I hope you have.
Once again, I wish I could get to more emails and answer each specifically. But hopefully these six answers address some of the challenges out there in marriage beds. I encourage you to ask some questions and try to figure out what the source of your problems is. And from that place, you can figure out what step to take next.