Q&A with J: “He Goes Hard and Then Soft”

Today’s question is an urgent one, from a wife recently married:

My husband hasn’t entered me yet, not for a lack of trying. I feel so worried because it’s not as easy or as straightforward as I thought. It feels like he just can’t fit in me (is that possible?). He inserted his finger into me and wiggled it around and that worked ok. So far he also isn’t able to stay hard for very long to get in me…he goes hard and then soft, and then hard, then soft. We also haven’t found a comfortable position and maybe that’s part of the problem.

He really wants to consummate our marriage and he really wants to be inside me…I wish that I could make it happen. He’s so kind to me and we’ve been exploring each other’s bodies and he’s been stimulating me with his fingers and I’ve been helping him finish with my hands.

Is any of this normal? Does anyone else go after the wedding without sex because they can’t make it work?blog post title + row of straws ranging from straight to bentI actually emailed this newlywed wife back with some suggestions. Knowing that this frustrated couple isn’t the only one out there who has struggled to consummate, let me share those tips here:

  • He’s probably going hard then soft, hard then soft…because his concentration is wavering. I suspect he’s aroused then worried about you…aroused then worried, etc. At this point, his part doesn’t really concern me too much. I don’t think you’ll know how his erections really respond until you get the main issue worked out.
  • Are you actually in pain when he tries to enter? If so, you need to see a doctor, like a gynecologist. Have the doctor check for any structural issues and ask about vaginismus. Sheila Gregoire has several great posts on that condition. And please don’t worry about the delicacy of the topic: Doctors hear all kinds of things. Most are quite willing to answer your questions. If you do get blown off, then find another doctor.
  • You may need more time to stretch. If he can insert one finger, then have him move up from there: two fingers, three fingers. No, he’s not going to put his whole hand in there. 😉 But he can help to slowly but surely stretch your muscles enough to receive his penis. You can also do this yourself with your own fingers. I have a good friend who was advised by a doctor to stretch herself out a little on her own before her wedding night, so that she—a virgin—would find sex more comfortable, and it worked.
  • Have you tried you on top? Sometimes this helps, because you can be more in control of the pacing, angle, etc. Christian Friendly Sex Positions has quite a few ideas for wife on top. Be careful, however, of leaning so you don’t cause a sex injury (see “penile fracture”).
  • Are you on birth control? Do you have allergies? How are you lubricating? These issues deal with how your body is responding to what’s happening. You should get fully lubricated, and your inner vaginal lips should swell to 2-3 times their regular size before he enters. If your body isn’t responding to arousal this way, then you might have physiological issues that need looking into. For instance, oral contraceptives can change your hormones such that your body doesn’t have the right amount of estrogen to perform properly. And allergies can be an issue; just ask Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife.
  • How’s your mental focus? Are you enjoying what’s happening? You say he really wants to be inside you. What about you? Do you embrace your own sexuality fully—knowing that it’s a God-given gift for your marriage? Sometimes it’s hard for us Christian gals to flip that switch from virgin to lover, so if you’re struggling, honestly my best advice is that you pick up a copy of my book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage, which specifically deals with how we view our bodies and our sexuality in light of God’s Word.

That’s a very brief run-down, but hopefully something there sparks an idea.

As for how normal this is? It happens more than you’d think. Breathe easy and realize that you two just vows to spend your lifetime with each other. As much as you want it all to happen right now, you really do have some time to figure this out. Work toward a solution, but also enjoy the journey and the arousal, excitement, and intimacy you experience along the way.

♥     ♥     ♥

But here’s something y’all rarely get to see. This young wife emailed me back with more information, including this tidbit:

No, I’m not in actual pain…he hasn’t been able to enter me because as he tries to enter, he goes soft.

Hmmm. I kinda take back my first point — because this is an issue worth addressing. And it happens to more than newlyweds.

Sometimes a husband struggles to keep an erection, and some men particularly struggle with maintaining the erection for intercourse. Why might a husband struggle with being hard and then going soft, just as he’s about to enter or even after he’s inside? Let’s talk about several possibilities.

Health Issue

In order to maintain an erection, you need strong, healthy blood flow that can reach and remain in his penis. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, interfere with proper blood flow. A husband might be able to get hard, but can’t hold onto it. So erectile dysfunction may not merely impair the marriage bed, but could be a symptom of real health problems.

Get thee to a doctor! Yep, you should start with a call to his physician to check his total health and make sure there are no health issues interfering with his ability to maintain an erection. Be insistent about making sure everything is a-okay. And if it’s not, address the issue with treatment, management, or whatever else needs to happen.

Drugs, legal and illegal

Some prescription drugs can affect the intensity of an erection. If he’s on medications, talk to the doctor and/or pharmacist about side effects to see if that’s one of them. Sometimes you can change to a different drug that won’t have the negative side effect for you.

Alcohol is another substance that affects ability to perform. Drinking too much really can make a penis go flaccid. If he’s drinking alcohol before sex, eliminate it for a while and see if that makes a difference.

Illegal drugs can have terrible consequences for many parts of your life, including the marriage bed. Plenty of users cannot perform. Now, most of the spouses I write to here are not dealing with this … but some of you are. If you’re the one using, you’ve got to stop. If your spouse doesn’t know, it’s time to fess up, get help, and be accountable. If you suspect your spouse is using, it’s time to confront (lovingly) and set some boundaries.

Masturbation

Our minds are powerful things, and they embrace patterns. When a man establishes a pattern of becoming sexually aroused and satisfied through self-touch, he can have difficulty becoming aroused and satisfied in other ways. Sometimes masturbation has been a tool men use prenuptials to deal with their high libido until they can have sex in marriage. But then they’re shocked to find that what helped them keep their sex drive in check before marriage has made it hard to enjoy what they waited so long for.

Some married men do this as well. They masturbate too often and thus deprive their wife of the sexual intimacy marriage should have. Sex becomes a self-focused activity, with a feedback loop that masturbation easier than interacting with another person. Obviously, the answer is to stop jerking the gherkin! No masturbation. None, zero, nada. Your mind and body need time to reset so that you can adopt a new pattern of being fully engaged with your beloved.

Porn

More men report experiencing erectile dysfunction these days. One of the reasons is the prevalence of porn. Where you used to have to seek porn out, now you have to keep it out … or it comes and finds you. Consequently, we have a much higher percentage of men who have seen and engaged with pornography. Again, since our minds are creatures of habit, porn can become the way he gets and stays aroused. So even if the guy can get hard, he can’t keep it unless it’s accompanied by sexual imagery.

What’s tough for the wife is finding out if this is the issue. You want to know so you can deal with the problem, but you also don’t want to (1) accuse him of doing something he isn’t doing or (2) discover that your beloved man has been looking at naked women behind your back (the selfish pig). Now I know you men who have struggled with porn just cringed at that last parenthetical, but this really is how it feels for most wives.

At the end of the day, though, you have to ask questions, show support, and realize that your husband isn’t the enemy — porn is. And if you’re the husband watching porn, confess your sin, ask for forgiveness, comfort and reassure her, and then get to work fighting the enemy. Shove off sin and embrace the real and beautiful sex God wants you to have instead. After a while, your erections should come back.

Guilt

We talk plenty about the issue of Christian women who worked so hard to maintain their purity before marriage that they struggle becoming sexual in marriage. The same can happen to men. A husband can really, really want to have sex, but when it’s showtime, deep-seated guilt comes roaring in and it goes limp. He may not even been consciously aware that’s what’s happening.

So the answer is to dig deep into what you think about sex. Do you believe 100%, with every bone and fiber of your body, that sex is a God-given blessing for your marriage? Are you tensing up when met with the opportunity to have sex? Do you feel a part of you holding back, worried that maybe this isn’t beautiful or spiritual after all? Again, my book, Intimacy Revealed, while written for wives, has a lot to say about a healthy theology of sex. You need to replace your personal guilt with God’s truth. And your body will follow.

Performance anxiety

Pure and simple, performance anxiety is often the issue for men experiencing erectile dysfunction. Especially a man who enters marriage as a virgin. This is his first go-round, and oh my goodness, the pressure! Hey, grooms get nervous about the honeymoon too. Or nervous well after the honeymoon is over.

Husbands can ruminate through a series of questions in the middle of making love: Is this good for her? Is my penis big enough? Is it too big? What if she doesn’t climax? Am I doing this right? Why isn’t she wetter? Is she ready for me to enter? Does she really want to be here, or is she just here out of duty? And on and on. What’s worse is that once he’s had erection difficulties, the big question that could be flashing in his head is: Am I going to be able to keep an erection this time? Again, pressure!

Look, erectile dysfunction happens to almost every man at some point in his life. If it hasn’t happened yet, just wait until you’re older and have a frustrating moment of your brain being totally engaged while your penis lazily hangs there in total opposition to your plans. Give yourself a break. The truth is that sex in marriage is a marvelous thing in that not everything relies on getting it right this one time; you’ve got a lifetime of lovemaking. You really can take your time, figure out how to arouse and pleasure one another, and rest assured that your penis can get the job done. If not this time, then next time.

Since this post is now rivaling Santa’s list on length, I’ll cut off there. Even though I could say more. Stop laughing, hubby. (He thinks I could always say more. 😉 )

Now to my readers, what words of encouragement or wisdom do you have for this couple or others who have experienced difficulty with maintaining an erection?

Do You Thank God for Your Spouse?

On Saturdays when I’ve been talking about praying more, many of my posts have focused on praying about problems you’re experiencing in your marriage and specifically your marriage bed.

But this week, I’ve been thinking about gratitude and how important it is in our prayers and our lives. Pastor James MacDonald, of Walk in the Word Ministries, words it this way: “Gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for living.”

Blog post title + THANK YOU written on the sand at a beach

Complainers and grumps feel like they’re at the bottom of life, whether or not that’s true. Whereas thankful people fly above their circumstances. Instead of wallowing in the dirt, they look up toward Heaven with gratefulness for what they have.

And the truth is, nearly everybody has something about their spouse for which they’re thankful. What’s your thing?

I hope it’s a lot of things. But sometimes we need to start small. This past week, I asked a simple question on Facebook and got over a hundred responses:

Facebook image with the following question: "One thing that my spouse does for me that I hate to do is _________."

Spouses responded with everything from taking care of insects in the house to scrubbing toilets to putting gas in the car to painting her toenails (well done, hubby). But one lovely comment from a reader stuck with me:

“What I love about this question is the fact that it makes the ladies think about the precious gifts they are being given. I hope each of you takes a moment to share with him today. 

Good idea! We should share those things with our husbands and wives.

Perhaps we should also share our thankfulness for our spouse with the One who created our mate, put him in our lives, and blesses us now in our marriage.

When’s the last time you went to God in prayer and said, “Thank you, Lord, for my husband and how he __________ for me”? You can fill in the blank with whatever your husband (or wife) does for you. Even something from your bedroom time, if you wish.

As Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” We have free will, but the creation itself is from God. So this blessing in your life is because your Father God created your spouse, and you came together as one flesh before Him.

Take some time today, think of what your spouse does for you in your marriage, and then thank God for that benefit. Build that into your prayer repertoire so that gratitude becomes a part of who you are, both in your marriage and in your life. Learn to approach God with thankfulness in your heart for what you have.

Lift your whole marriage’s altitude with more gratitude.

Q&A with J: “My Marriage Bed Is a Mess” Part 2

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.”

Blog post title with unhappy couple in bed

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.”

Monty Python & the Holy Grail: King Arthur fighting armless Black Knight

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.

In all things, cover your marriage bed in prayer. And know that others are praying for you.

A Letter to the Low Drive Husband

I’m not sure how many low-drive husbands read my blog, but I know quite a few high-drive wives read it. Sometimes they comment or email me about the issues in their marriage, and I personally lament how few resources there are for couples in this scenario.

Today it’s on my heart to write not to the high-drive wife (though I have done that and will continue to do so), but to the low-drive husband because that’s also a tough position to be in.

Blog post title + woman's hands writing a letter

Dear Low-Drive Husband,

You live in a frustrating world. All around you, the message is that men want sex constantly, that their appetite for sex — particularly with the woman they love — is nearly unquenchable. It’s a message you grew up with, so much that it seems like masculinity itself is linked with a high sex drive.

And while you’ve got the equipment and it works, you’re just not that needy for sexual encounters with your wife. Sure, you like them. But on any given day, you’re not busting out of your pants zipper at the thought of sex, or even the thought of your sexy wife — as gorgeous as she is. And plenty of nights you long for sleep as much or more than you do sex.

Confessing this to other guys, however, might get your Man Card revoked. So you haven’t gone around asking how it’s going with others or seeking resources for your “issue.”

Even admitting it to your wife is difficult. Especially if your wife is high drive and wants sex more than you expected her to, or than you feel like. In fact, something about how much more she wants sex makes you feel like you don’t measure up.

As someone who has studied and written on married sexuality for almost seven years and hears from higher drives wives almost every week, let me see if I can explain a few things.

You’re all man.

Totally man. Completely, thoroughly M-A-N. A more passive sex drive doesn’t make you any less male. If you’ve got the package and you know how to use it, rest assured you’re good to go. God knows what He made, and he made you XY — man. In fact, this is a big factor in why your wife wants you so much. Because she’s very into you being different from her and how you fit together as male-female so perfectly.

Please don’t listen to the messages that equate masculinity with unbridled sex drive. They aren’t from God. Rather, principles of biblical manhood within marriage are controlling sinful appetites, providing for one’s family, and servant leadership.

Pay attention to these words from King David: “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said. ‘So be strong, act like a man,…’” His next words were not, “And show off your sexual prowess, thus getting lots of high-fives in the men’s locker room.” Rather, David finished his instructions this way: “and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.”

Also, consider what the Apostle Paul said: ” As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience” (Titus 2:1-2,  NLT). These are pictures of biblical manhood.

You’re not alone.

You’re not the only one out there whose sex drive isn’t in high gear 24/7. You’re in the company of 15-30% of other husbands. Let me break that down for you. In terms of the U.S. population, that’s about 22 to 45 million men. If we’re talking world population, it’s 0.57 to 1.13 billion men. So while some may make you feel like a stranger in a strange land, you’re not.

While it seems risky, if not dangerous, to admit to another guy that you have a lagging sex drive, there are resources for you. Some have written about low-drive husbands, and you can also take many married sex articles, books, resources and just reverse things in your mind (if they say the wife is lower drive, but you are in your marriage, then pay more attention to the advice on that side).

That doesn’t always work, which is why I have a chapter in Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design about higher-drive wives and the men who love them. And I’m also working on a whole book about higher-drive wives, mainly aimed at women but there will still be information for you.

You need to take action.

Dude, your wife is hurting. I hear from higher-drive wives all the time who question their desirability, their marriage relationship, and even their husband’s love, because they feel like the weird one whose husband doesn’t want them sexually. Even more importantly, God intended for you and your wife to have regular sexual intimacy in marriage.

You have a biblical obligation to engage in the marriage bed: “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs” (1 Corinthians 3:5). Now that doesn’t mean that you should schlep to the bedroom with duty, duty, duty playing through your head. The second part of that verse, and so many other places in the Bible, show us sexual intimacy in marriage is for both spouses and should be pleasurable and connection-building.

Rather, this is a call to action. If you’re not currently fulfilling your wife’s sexual needs, you need to work on why and what to do about it. How can you create a situation in which you both desire sexual intimacy? I don’t know what your issues are, but I’ll throw out a few possibilities:

  • Your body chemistry is off
  • You had/have a porn habit
  • You have sexual baggage
  • You were taught that sex = sin
  • You’re not attracted to your wife (see note below)
  • You have self-doubts
  • You’re super-stressed
  • You’re just a passive guy

This is a really long letter now, playing right into the stereotype of the talkative female (which I totally am). So I’m going to hold off on explaining each of those issues and some fixes until next week. But it’s my prayer that you will find something here to take steps in the right direction. You might need to see a doctor, seek help to deal with your porn problem, study more about what the Bible says about sex, etc.

And if your wife shared this blog post with you, maybe it’s time to take a walk together hand-in-hand or sit across the kitchen table and have an honest conversation about sex in your marriage.

Because she wants you — all of you. And I suspect, once you work out a few things, you want her a great deal too.

Note on “not attracted to your wife”: High-drive wives will likely read that as physical appearance, but men tell me it’s almost always things like feeling disrespected or ignored that makes her less appealing to him.  You, dear woman, are beautiful, but relationship issues can tense men to the point that they don’t feel as drawn to their wives. I’ll cover that more next week, but I really didn’t want to leave the wrong impression!

Is It Okay to Yell at God about Your Marriage?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.”

That’s how Psalm 22 begins. And look at the start of Psalm 13:

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

The original Hebrew didn’t have punctuation, so sometimes I wonder if passages like these are missing some exclamation points. The psalmist David might as well be knocking on Heaven’s door and yelling, “Helloooo! Helloooo! Is anyone there?!!!”

Some of you could go back and re-read those passages in your own voice with the subject being the sexual intimacy in your marriage. You wonder if God has forsaken you, if He’s forgotten you, if He’s hiding.

But maybe you also wonder if it’s okay to yell at God about how you feel. Perhaps you logically agree that it’s all right — after all, King David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 4:13), did it — but in practice you feel guilty pouring out your anger to God.

Blog post title with woman, arms raised, yelling at the sky

Here’s why it might be a good idea to just go ahead and yell when praying about your struggles:

1. Owning your feelings. A lot of women were raised with Nice Girl Syndrome, where we don’t feel like it’s proper to express anger. Disappointment or sadness, sure. But anger? Isn’t that a bad thing?

We point to scriptures that warn against anger, like James 1:19-20: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” But a look at Scripture as a whole shows two different kinds of anger: selfish rage and intolerance of injustice. What James is talking about here is the former, anger that comes from pride (also true in Ephesians 4:31 and Colossians 3:8).

When David expresses his anger toward God, it’s about genuine hardship he’s experiencing and a desire for God to uphold his just cause. By embracing his anger, David aligns His own feelings with God’s feelings about injustice in the world.

I believe that God is also upset when marriages are failing or flailing and when sexual intimacy isn’t everything it could be in the marriage bed. It’s okay to own and express that anger to your Father who cares.

2. Connecting to the Source.

If your car breaks, you don’t ask a physician to look at it; you turn to the mechanic. Likewise, if you’ve been praying or working toward better sexual intimacy and nothing is going right, who will you turn to? Who will express your frustration to?

By going ahead and yelling at God a bit, you’re essentially recognizing that He Is the Source of answers. You can let off some steam in His presence, because He can take it and ultimately He’s the one who can truly rescue you — even if it doesn’t look like what you expect.

The remainder of Psalm 13 is this:

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.”

The psalmist knows that even if he doesn’t understand why it’s taking so long, God is the only one who can truly provide what he needs. He’s not looking in the wrong place, but going to the Source for answers.

If you’re not telling God how you feel and what you long for, maybe you’re ignoring Him. And I feel pretty sure He’d rather you yell and work through your emotional pain with His arms there to comfort you: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

3. Opening up to His answer.

You know that God wants to bless your marriage bed, but it hasn’t happened yet. Like David, that creates conflict in your mind and your soul: Do you believe that God will improve your sexual intimacy? Or do you give up? It’s not easy to tell someone who’s struggled for a long time to remain hopeful. As Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Who doesn’t to trade a sick heart for a tree of life?

But this verse and many stories from the Bible show us the importance of letting God have His way. We don’t always understand what He’s doing, but if we come before with honest hurt and open hearts, He can show us a better path to take.

Later in Psalm 22, David says: “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” Although He isn’t sure what God will do for him, David reassures himself that “[God] has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

God indeed rescued David, though not by the schedule or method David wanted or even expected. Maybe he had to actually go through this anger with God and humble himself before God’s throne to become fully open to how God wanted to work in his life. Maybe we need to do the same.

I think it’s okay to yell at God sometimes. It’s not okay to dismiss God or to hold grudges against Him. Rather, by expressing your deep frustration, you can work through your emotions and grow in trusting your Father to help and heal you.

Have you struggled with feeling angry at God? Have you ever yelled at Him in prayer?

See also: GotAnswers.org – What does the Bible say about anger?