I love the movie “Say Anything.” It came out when I was in college, and I remember being so struck by its story and characters. Looking back, I think what I liked most about this film was how the main character, Lloyd Dobbler, was what we often call an alpha guy — that is, he was 100% masculine — but he changed how he did things and upped his game in the sensitivity and caring department to woo and win the girl he loved.
But as he’s contemplating his own struggles to be the kind of guy who can get the girl he longs for, he has this a conversation with his angsty fabulous best friend, Corey Flood, and this exchange between Lloyd and his friend Corey has stuck with me for nearly 30 years:
D.C.: Lloyd, why do you have to be like this?
Lloyd Dobler: ‘Cause I’m a guy. I have pride.
Corey Flood: You’re not a guy.
Lloyd Dobler: I am.
Corey Flood: No. The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.
I think of that every time I hear someone say, “That’s just the way I am.”
Especially since I believe it’s the lamest excuse for not improving your marriage and sexual intimacy. Although it’s one I hear all the time.
- “I just don’t need sex, so I’m done having it.”
- “I need sex almost every day. It’s how I’m made.”
- “He wants me to talk during sex, but I’m just not like that.”
- “I’m inherently visual, so if she doesn’t show me her body, I can’t help but look elsewhere.”
- “I can’t do without sex. So if intercourse can’t happen for a season, my spouse still owes me sexual release.”
- “I can’t just flip a switch, and if I’m not in the mood, it’s not happening.”
Maybe you see yourself in one of those, maybe you don’t. But I think a lot of spouses, even ones with minor issues in the marriage bed, fall back on the excuse of “That’s just the way I am.”
Well, Corey Flood and I have some advice for you. Yes, you may be that. But if it’s not working for your life, you can make a different choice. You can choose to be something better.
You don’t have to surrender to your natural tendency. Good gravy, the Gospel is all about us not surrendering to our natural tendencies and instead pursuing a better, more fulfilling life in Christ Jesus.The Gospel is all about us not surrendering to our natural tendencies and instead pursuing a better, more fulfilling life in Christ Jesus. #marriage Click To Tweet
For Lloyd Dobbler, it was Don’t be a guy. Be a man. But for spouses with marriage bed struggles, it’s about not being the person who’s causing or contributing to your spouse feeling terrible about sex in your marriage or to your marriage itself becoming a place of conflict or despair.
Is it really so important to hold on to some aspect of yourself that you believe to be inborn if it costs you your marriage?
Honestly, all of my examples hit on real issues that would need to be dealt with if they are in your marriage. I’m not saying that you just sweep that problem under the carpet and pretend it doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is that it’s a lame excuse for keeping the status quo to say, “That’s just the way I am.”
What if you could be something else? What if you could view sex in its right perspective for your marriage? Neither the be-all-end-all, nor an optional experience in your relationship. What if sex in your marriage could be mutually pleasurable? Intimacy-building? Emotionally and spiritually satisfying?
Let’s figure out how to be that, starting simply with the first step toward growth.