Category Archives: Marriage – General

4 Responses to Hurricanes and Marriage Struggles

I’m sitting here on the Wednesday before yet another massive storm pummels the coast, writing my post a little early, and thinking about these storms. Having been through Hurricane Harvey and then discussing with a friend her preparations for Hurricane Irma, I considered how our options to a coming storm and to marriage struggles are the same.

Disregard.

You know that person after a hurricane, whom news reporters always seem to find, that says something like, “I knew there was a storm coming, but I had no idea it was going to be this big. So when it shattered my house…” All the signs and warnings were there, but the person chose to ignore that something bad was happening, preferring instead to live in denial.

Too many deal with marriage struggles the same way. Sure, they’ve heard that their spouse is unhappy, but they didn’t realize it was that bad until she left with the kids or until he filed for divorce. Despite the signs and warnings being there, the spouse chose to ignore the conflict or silence in their marriage, the emotional pain their mate felt and expressed, the absence of companionship and intimacy.

And, sadly, in many cases, the home eventually shatters. If your spouse is telling you they’re unhappy in the marriage, listen and take steps to avoid irreparable damage.

Ride It Out.

This is what the vast majority of Texans decided to do with Hurricane Harvey, staying put in their homes while the storm raged over and around us. While the photos of devastation in Houston and now Beaumont are truly heart-wrenching, we experienced relatively few casualties and most of our homes and buildings survived. We have a lot of rebuilding to do, but riding it out allowed residents to be here immediately to begin reconstruction once the rains subsided.

Some challenges in marriage are worth riding out. You might be experiencing conflict tied to external events, like a health issue or financial pressures, that won’t last forever. We tend to think however things have been going for the last year or two are how they will continue to be, but it’s just not true.

One important research study showed that couples who reported being unhappy in the marriage reported being happy in their marriage just five years later …. with no intervention. What happened? They rode out the storms, and things got better. Riding it out doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing. You still need to take care of your home, prevent further damage, and create a safe and reassuring place as best you can.

Seek rescue.

Hurricane Harvey dumped about 50 inches of rainfall in my area just outside of Houston. A few of my friends, whose homes had never flooded before, had to be rescued. They had every intention of riding out the storm, having prepared well based on hurricanes in the past, but this time was different. It was worse. It was life-threatening. The only answer was to seek rescue, from organized rescue teams or that average Texan guy who brought his bass boat to help out. Once rescued, further relief efforts began, providing shelter, food, and healing to those who had to leave what they’d known behind.

Some marriage problems are life-threatening; not that they could kill you, but they could kill your marriage. And too often in those storms, we wait too long to seek outside help, the blessed rescue our marriage needs. The time to get outside help isn’t when you’re underwater or having to ax through your roof and wave a white towel to a passing rescue crew, but when you look around and realize you’re flooding and the water isn’t going away.

In today’s world, there are so many resources to address problems that plague marriage, from overcoming porn to recovering from an affair to ongoing conflict to loss of sex drive. Books, blogs, online courses, workshops, counseling, and much more are available as rescue you can seek when you need it.

Evacuate.

I wasn’t here for the last major hurricane that hit Houston, which was Ike in 2008. My family packed up and went to San Antonio to stay with family. I ventured back after the storm to find a hole in our roof where rain had fallen straight into our dining room, and I was glad we hadn’t been there for the actual 104-mile winds that had struck our home. Sometimes, when the hurricane is particularly bad, it’s best to just leave.

There is so much good about being in this ministry, but one tough thing is receiving a comment or email from someone who describes their marriage and their spouse in such a way that I really, truly believe they need to get out. Ah, the weight of that moment! Do I tell them to leave? No, but I do suggest they do some reality checks and soul-searching. Because while this is a last-resort answer, sometimes it’s best to just leave.

Some spouses are sadly in an abusive marriage (physically and/or emotionally) or living with a serial adulterer, and there’s no indication that their mate will change or even wants to change. When your spouse is a 104-mile winds storm every day, how long can you do that? God knows that you are more important than your marriage, and He has provided that there are times you simply need to evacuate.

I don’t know where you are in your marriage, but most struggling marriages are in the stages of Ride It Out or Seek Rescue. Mind you, with both of these, you should be preparing for the storm, investing time and effort, working together to minimize damage, and pursuing emotional safety and health. That’s why my ministry is here, as well as many others.

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Since I’m writing this post ahead of time, let me say that I’m praying for all those in the path of Hurricane Irma. I encourage my readers to do the same. Any time there’s a massive storm, there will be a time of recovery and rebuilding.

Why You Feel Worse Than He Does about the Premarital Sex

Blog post title + woman curled up with head to knees

Did you have sex before marriage? Either with your husband or someone else? Or maybe several someone elses?

Welcome to the majority. Statistics show that 97% of Americans have sex before marriage. In highly religious groups, that number goes down to 80%, which is quite a difference. However, that’s still 4 out of 5 devoted Christians who didn’t wait until the ring was on the finger, the I Dos were spoken, the deal was sealed.

Waiting for sex until marriage is God’s design and desire, but the reality is that many of us didn’t achieve that goal. And if messing up was the end of our hope, not a single person could make it to Heaven. Rather, there is forgiveness, redemption, and clean slates through the saving work of Jesus on the cross.

But a reader recently emailed me saying that he hadn’t gotten the sense that my premarital promiscuous past came with any real consequences for me or my marriage: “I came to the conclusion that your premarital ‘adventures’ had not affected you at all.”

Wow. If I have left that impression, let me correct it right now. I have not talked about all the specific consequences of my past, poor choices — my sin — because some are quite personal and painful. But having sex before marriage remains my greatest regret.

I do not carry the guilt of my sin, because through the blood of Jesus, I have been washed, sanctified, and justified through Christ and the Spirit (1 Corinthians 9:11). Still, if I could anything in my life over again, that would be it.

Many wives feel similarly about their past promiscuity. They hate the choices they made, they ache over the consequences, they wish they could go back and do it differently.

Some of that emotional baggage follows them into marriage, like dragging an invisible suitcase filled with heavy heartache. But when these wives try to talk to their husbands about the issue, their feelings are sometimes batted away with “That was so long ago” or “I don’t care about those guys; you’re with me now” or “Why are you dwelling on the past?” The husband doesn’t really understand why the issue still impacts her view of her sexuality and her openness in the marriage bed.

But it does.

For many wives.

So why do you feel worse than he does about premarital sex? Why is easier for him to move on from his past? Why doesn’t he understand what you’re going through?

Apparently, there’s a gender gap in sexual regret.

Apparently, there's a gender gap in sexual regret. Click To Tweet

Looking specifically at teen sex, one study cited that 72% of girls who engaged in sexual intercourse wished they’d waited. That’s nearly three-fourths of young ladies who regret the sexual choice they made. But what is the percentage for teen boys? 55%. While still a majority of guys, that’s a substantial drop.

What about adults? The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Texas at Austin together interviewed 853 Norwegians and 466 Americans. They wanted to know if religiosity influenced sexual regret after casual sex, with Norwegians representing far less attachment to religion than Americans professed. They didn’t find much difference on the religiosity scales (although I could argue with what they defined as “religiosity”), but they discovered an interesting outcome that women experienced far more sexual regret than men.

Then there’s the National Marriage Project, which surveyed a thousand single Americans and then studied them for five years. Among the 418 who got married during that time, 23% who only had sex with their spouse prior to marriage reported higher quality marriages than those who had additional sexual partners in their past. Even more revealing was that the more sexual partners a woman had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be. But the researchers didn’t find the same thing about men.

So are our husbands all too happy to collect sexual partners before marriage with no regrets at all? No, I don’t think that’s true.

Plenty of husbands also say they wish they’d waited for their wives. But they don’t always carry residual regret the same way.

I suspect that’s more about how men target their focus and compartmentalize events. Many husbands don’t feel their prior mistakes or sins have a bearing on how they feel about their wives. Simply put, they’re often better at putting the past behind them with a that was then, this is now attitude.

That’s a great thing when you consider that husbands are not comparing their wives to other women from their past. They’ve flipped that page and moved on.

Now I’m not at all trying to diminish the weight of sin. Because that is what our poor choices were. But I am saying that there’s a gender gap in sexual regret likely based on gender differences in our brains.

But that doesn’t solve this disconnect — that she continues to carry baggage from her promiscuous past and he doesn’t fully understand. What can a wife (and husband) do?

Admit your sin.

The first step in clearing your state is being honest about your failings. That may sound like I’m encouraging you to dwell in the past, but nothing could be further from the truth. Admitting our sin is simply a first step. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That’s a big if there at the beginning, one we’d be well-advised to heed.

Embrace His forgiveness.

I was recently asked if there was an aha moment for me in my marriage — that moment when I let go of my past baggage (as awful as it was) and embraced a different future for my marriage. For me, it was finally, fully understanding this passage:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Ah, the beauty of that past tense. The sexually immoral is what I was, but I also was washed, sanctified, and justified in Christ Jesus. Believe it, cling to it, embrace His forgiveness.

Identify your baggage.

Be honest about what messages and concerns you’ve brought into your marriage based on your past. Much of what we think about ourselves, our husbands, and our sexuality can be tainted by our prior sexual experiences. What errors in thinking and behavior have you adopted based on your previous sexual choices and how you were treated by those other men?

To replace your erroneous thinking with God’s truth about sexual intimacy in marriage, you need to know where you’ve bought into lies. Here’s a common lie: That you don’t deserve full pleasure and intimacy in the marriage bed because you screwed up before. Not true. You are in a married wife now, pursuing God’s plan for sexual intimacy, and He longs to bless you and your husband.

Share your struggle.

Your husband doesn’t have to fully understand, and he may have a different way of looking at past promiscuity. But explain your own thoughts and feelings as best you can. You might also want to use a line I once used with my husband when he told me, for the millionth time, not to worry about something: “I literally have no idea what that looks like.” I went on to explain that while he can shove something in a mental box and tuck it away, I cannot. It’s just not how the female brain typically works. If your husband can begin to understand, you can enlist his help to push through your sexual regret and enjoy the full blessings of a healthy marriage bed on the other side.

Husbands: Support her journey.

All of my other tips are for the wives, but this one is for you men reading. Research has shown that women struggle more with this, so please recognize it’s not some flaw in your wife that she can’t quickly and easily let go of the past. If you want to really help your wife, don’t belittle her feelings, dismiss her struggle, or shut down conversation. Rather, reassure and comfort her, help her embrace a new perspective, and make sexual intimacy a beautiful experience for her too. Just be her Barnabas; that is, her encourager as she journeys toward a healthy and holy view of sex in your marriage.

Do sex God’s way.

For a while after I embraced God’s design of sex, I still struggled. I ruminated about my sinful past, carried personal labels like slut in my mind, and felt a fair dose of heartache from time to time. But over time, my husband and I logged so many positive, one-flesh sexual experiences that those outweighed everything that came before. The scales tipped, and “sex” in my mind became equated with this holier and deeper version of sexual intimacy. In some ways, “just do it” is good advice. And by it, I don’t mean sex itself, but sex God’s way.

Have you struggled with your premarital promiscuous past? How have you embraced God’s way instead?

Same image as before...sized for Pinterest

WaitingTillMarriage.com – 4 Cool Statistics About Abstinence in the USAStatistic Brain – Abstinence StatisticsPubMed.gov – Trends in premarital sex in the United States, 1954-2003; Verily – Sex Regret Isn’t about Religious Guilt as Much as Biological Instincts, New Research Shows; Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Teen Attitudes Toward Sex; The National Marriage Project – Before I Do; Verily – Regret Is Not the Same as Slut-Shaming

How Did You and Your Spouse Meet? Here’s My Story.

In the United States, June is considered the month of weddings! Because more weddings take place during this month than any other. My wedding was not in June, but I was thinking about the whole courtship, engagement, nuptials business and thought maybe it was time to tell y’all how I met my husband.

Because I love a good story, and this is a great story. Plus it’s got God running all through it.

Blog post title + picture of J and her husband in the park

After graduating from Abilene Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in history, and no teaching certificate, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I had abandoned my original plan to attend law school, although I wanted to go graduate school in something. However, I wasn’t ready for that step, so I returned home to get a job and make some money.

I got a job at a law firm as a legal assistant (with prior experience as a legal secretary) and began researching what I wanted to do next. With no strings attached, I concluded that I could move anywhere and do anything, and this youthful moment was the time to do that.

J. Parker sitting at office cubicle in law firm where she worked after college

At the office where I worked after college

Having lived in Texas all my life, I hadn’t really been around mountains, and I was supremely curious about that landscape. I concluded I wanted to move somewhere that had mountains (even wrote a song back then titled “I Need Mountains”). Seattle, Washington topped the list. I had friends who’d moved there, and they encouraged me to join them.

But while I worked for money to finance my move, something was happening in Seattle: The job market was declining, and the cost of living was rising. Moreover, I lived in the Piney Woods of Texas where it rains a fair amount, and for every day that it rained where I lived, it rained at least one more in Seattle. I didn’t know how long I’d have to live in my parents’ house and work at the law firm to finance this trip, as well as whether I’d actually like the climate there.

I began to research other possibilities. My priorities: mountains, low to moderate cost of living, good job market. I literally got out a map and identified cities, then gathered information about each. My eventual decision: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Had I ever been to Albuquerque, New Mexico? No, I had not. But I set my sights there and a few months later, I packed everything I owned into my Toyota Corolla and moved to Albuquerque with only a hotel reservation.

1987 Toyota Corolla, four-door, sitting on side of street

Not my actual car, but it looked a lot like this, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

My father later said that I made it happen because I didn’t know how crazy it was. (He said it nicer, but that was basically it.) I also discovered later that he quelled my mother’s fears by saying that if it didn’t work out, I’d just drive back home.

Now West Texas is known for being somewhat barren, but it is beaten in that category by Eastern New Mexico. I remember driving for hours as I entered the state and thinking, What have I done? At one point, I needed to use the restroom, and there was no place to go. Not even a tree in sight to hide behind. Looking back, I guess it’s true that God sometimes takes you through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land.

After arriving at my hotel — and discovering that Albuquerque is actually quite beautiful — I did four important things: toured the city (including a trip to the mountaintop on the Sandia Peak Tramway), applied for jobs, started attending church, and hunted for an apartment.

View of Albuquerque from Sandia Peak, with tramway in left of photo

View of Albuquerque from Sandia Peak, photo by Nightscream via Wikimedia Commons

I narrowed my apartment choice down to two places. Objectively speaking, I should have chosen the slightly nicer complex, although I would have to furnish it myself. But when I toured the other complex, I had this strangely positive feeling about it. I chalked it up to this apartment being already furnished and the hospitality of the manager, but looking back, I think something else was going on.

Within three weeks, I had secured a secretarial job at a law firm, moved into the apartment, and began regularly attending a large, local church where the singles group was inviting and active. Mind you, I’m an introvert, so this was all really hard for me … but I was determined to make friends and thrive in my new, chosen home.

With that in mind, I headed to a church singles devotional at a member’s house. I remember the trepidation I had stepping across the threshold, or rather forcing myself to step across that threshold. I would have much rather been at home eating drive-through food and reading a book. But I’d come this far, and I needed to settle in and get to know other Christians.

A few minutes into the evening, a guy walked in, wearing a light-colored shirt, shorts, and a knee brace. He was tall, dark-headed, with glasses, and obviously athletic given his build. I didn’t linger on him, though. I was simply trying to keep my head above water in a group of people I didn’t know. (If you’re a true introvert, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re an extrovert, just trust me — we like people, but it takes time to acclimate.)

After the devotional, we all ended up in the kitchen, and looking at this guy more closely, it struck me that he was familiar. That’s when he said something to me like, “You look familiar. Do we know each other?” We ran through all the possible connections we could have — church affiliations, college attendance, mutual friends, etc. Nothing, not a thing. But where else could I have met this guy? I’d moved to a city three weeks prior in which I knew nobody.

Finally, he asked, “Where do you live?” You might think this is a question a young lady shouldn’t answer to a relatively strange man. But I don’t recall feeling any fear or hesitation; something about this man put me at ease. (Not that that’s always a good indicator; I’m just recalling my story.) I shared the name of my apartment complex. He answered, “That’s where I live. Which building are you in?” I shared my building number. He answered, “That’s the building I’m in. What apartment?” I shared my apartment number, which was C. He answered, “I’m in apartment D. I’m your next-door neighbor.”

And that’s when it hit me. I’d seen this guy before — on a Sunday morning wearing slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie with his Bible in one hand and taking out his trash with the other. I remembered that moment, because I’d thought how nice it was to see a single man heading out to church as I was.

Our church was big enough that I didn’t recall seeing him there, but we had spotted each other around the complex. And thus began a friendship.

Since I didn’t have a television at the time (it wouldn’t fit in the car), he invited me over to watch shows with him. I cooked him dinner, and he surprisingly still stuck around. He showed up at my doorstep one day with a sack from Wal-Mart and pulled out ice-cube trays he’d bought me, because I’d mentioned that the furnished refrigerator didn’t come with enough trays (my very first gift from him). I played my guitar (which I did fit in the car) and sang him a couple of songs I’d written. We talked about our family backgrounds, church history, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, which we were watching together.

One night, while sitting on my couch, he kissed me.

Later I asked him where and when we had our first kiss, and he said something different that was totally wrong. Because if my memory is a sieve, his is a drain. But that’s okay, because as long as we kept kissing, we’d have plenty of memories to choose from.

J. and her then-fiancé embracing in a close-up photo

J. & her then-fiancé (we’re so young!)

Five months after we met, and about three and a half months after we started really dating, he proposed. Or I should say that he asked me to marry him. There was no on-the-knee, “Will you be my beloved wife?” moment. Rather we were shopping in the mall one day, he pulled me into a jewelry store, and about a half hour later he purchased one of the engagement rings I’d tried on. As we walked out, he said, “Oh, by the way, will you marry me?” Ah, my romantic fella!

Three months after we got engaged, we got married. Oh yes, we did. EIGHT MONTHS from meet to marry! With a son in college, this now horrifies me. What we were we thinking? Just eight months?!

J as a bride, her husband as the groom, a wedding pic of just the two of them

Happy (and with no idea what we’re getting ourselves into)

But remember how I said that God was a main player in this story. What I didn’t tell you is right before heading to Albuquerque, I’d sworn off men. I was done with dating, with looking for the right guy, with even letting my heart consider a relationship. Consequently, I think God’s approach was to slam me upside the head with a fiancé and get me hitched before I could sabotage my destiny. God’s pushy that way.

If you’ve ever tried to resist Him, you know what I’m talking about.

Sometimes I do wish my husband and I had waited a little longer, gotten more premarital counseling, and spent more time with our respective families to ease that transition, but the marriage itself was a good idea. And for the rest of my life, I can say that I married the boy next door.

Now share your meet story in the comments. Hopefully, in far fewer words than I took. Just give us the highlights of how you and your spouse first met. I’d love to hear, and it’s always nice to remember what made you choose your special someone.

Bonjour from France!

Just a shout-out to all of you following and reading the Hot, Holy & Humorous blog! I miss y’all and posting here. But I’m actually on a vacation/business trip. And while I’ve tried to write posts and get them up, the internet in the French countryside is spotty at best. There are short windows of time when the connection is working, but I simply can’t get a whole post — with the research, links, pictures, etc. — done with this service.

I will say that if you can manage to travel, whether it’s all the way to a French Chateau or just up the road to a state park, studies show that it’s for good for couples to experience new activities together. You get the same brain buzz that you had when you were first falling in love. I definitely plan to bring Spock with me next time I travel to Europe (miss you, hubby!).

Why not stoke your marital romance? And if you need more ideas, I encourage you to check out The Romantic Vineyard blog.

Where I’m at now:

Picture of French countryside chateau

Chateau Les Carasses, Languedoc, France

Thinking of and praying for you!

Q&A with J: Is It Possible to Have a Great Marriage (and Sex) Long Term?

When I read this question, I immediately knew I had to cover it. Because while the wife describes her specific situation, this is an all-too-common problem.

So my husband and I have only been married about 1 1/2 years. Lately when I’ve been visiting with other married women from church/Sunday school, they complain constantly about their husbands. If I try to say something nice about my husband, it’s met with “you’re newlyweds…just wait.” Its usually followed by an eye roll and a “husband’s just don’t understand” topped off with “I wish he would do”and ” I have no libido.” I know the honeymoon wears off eventually. But I guess I need encouragement that you can still love each other, have sex, and enjoy one another ten years down the road. I don’t want to dread my future marriage, but that’s what I’ve started doing and it’s started to affect the way I treat hubby. I want to start now to invest in the future so we CAN have a good marriage later. I guess I feel like maybe it’s not possible. Thoughts?

Isn’t that so sad? Didn’t your heart just sink at the thought of this young wife standing among Christian women who could be mentors, as Titus 2:3-5 prescribes, and instead they’re bashing their husbands and dismissing this wife’s desire to stay in Christ-like love with her husband.

Title with silhouette of embracing couple and sunset in background

Let me say emphatically to you, reader, Yes! You “can still love each other, have sex, and enjoy one another ten years down the road.” And 20 years down the road. And 30, and 40, and…

Is marriage without challenges? Of course not. You’re a sinner, and he’s a sinner, and you just merged your lives — with that equation, something will go wrong at some point. But it is more than possible to have a holy, healthy, and happy marriage. And wouldn’t you think the Church would be the one place where this would be announced from the rooftops?

It is more than possible to have a holy, healthy, and happy marriage. Click To Tweet

After all, Christ himself, when asked about the stiff requirements of salvation, responded, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26). Shouldn’t we be saying, “With God, a beautiful, intimate marriage is absolutely possible”?

Look, my own marriage hasn’t always been happy, but we’re definitely happy now and we’ve passed that 20-year mark. And I could name many couples who are also happy, committed, and, quite frankly, having sex like bunnies. No, I don’t know all the details, but I have conversations with enough wives and hear from enough spouses through this blog to guarantee that plenty of marriages are not just surviving, but thriving. Even those who’ve been married for decades.

Statistics support this as well. In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, The Good News about Marriage, she explains how the “half of marriage end in divorce” claim is complete bunk, based entirely on projections that turned out to be wrong. About two-thirds of couples stay together, and among those, statistics show that spouses are largely happy. The University of Chicago NORC posts annual findings on Trends in Psychological Well-Being, and in the latest year reported, 2014, spouses who reported being either “very happy” or “pretty happy” comprised a whopping 96.5%.

Now research also shows that marital satisfaction dips after you have children. That isn’t true for everyone, of course. But I’d feel remiss if I didn’t warn you that bringing a child into your home — if that’s something you and your husband plan to do — can temporarily affect your happiness. It’s not that you don’t adore your children and feel happy to have them in your life; it’s just that there’s stress, exhaustion, differences in parenting styles, etc. that go along with having children. However, if you know where the treacherous waters are, you might well be able to avoid them by being intentional in supporting one another.

As for sex, Sheila Gregoire reported in her excellent book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, that wives had their best sexual intimacy long after they were newlyweds. Not to discount what you’re enjoying right now (enjoy it, sweetheart!), but a decade or two into your marriage, you’ll know each other’s bodies even more and have a history of sexual intimacy that makes you feel even more connected. Quantity of sexual interaction often decreases, but quality increases.

So with all this good news, why are women in church standing around bashing their husbands and shushing the one wife trying to be positive?

I’ve been in that circle with those women. Not your particular women, but wives like that. Here’s how they typically work: One wife says something disparaging about her husband, and another wife is quick to jump in and agree. Now the tone has been set. Women, being relational in nature, want to connect with the people in our midst, so others join in with their own complaints — wanting to show I understand, we’re connected, we’re all in this together. Soon enough, it’s become a husband bashing session, and the way to gain acceptance and approval is to share your own can you believe my husband?! story.

Let me give you some practical suggestions in those moments. Look at the circle and find the woman who isn’t joining in. She might be an ally. When sex became the topic of conversation and I was often the lone voice of sex positivity, I realized someone else in the circle wasn’t talking. If I got that woman alone, I’d often find out that she agreed with me, but she just didn’t feel comfortable speaking up. So it turned out that I wasn’t alone. Sometimes that woman was even two women or three women or more. Cultivate those friendships and see if you can set a new tone together.

Seek other women who are marriage and sex positive. They’re in your church, because they’re in every church. Oftentimes, they are indeed the quiet ones, because the negative tone has been set by more vocal members. But turn special attention toward older women who’ve been married 25, 40, 50 years. I once sat down at church next to a wife who’d just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary and simply asked, “What’s the secret to fifty years?” Because here was this woman who had golden wisdom, and I wanted it. She wasn’t negative; rather, she was honest, godly, and helpful (she answered, “forgiveness”). Look for those ladies.

Keep speaking positively about your husband. If you maintain your positive attitude and share what’s so great about marriage, eventually they might stop brushing you off and start wondering what you’re doing right. You never know who you might influence with hopefulness and holiness. As Paul so aptly said in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Your marriage may be young, but you can still set a good example.

Your marriage may be young, but you can still set a good example. Click To Tweet

Finally, you’ve noticed a difference in how you’re feeling about your marriage and treating your husband. If these conversations continue to injure your marriage, walk away. Your marriage takes priority. The apostle Paul also said, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character‘” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Wives who continue to bash their husbands and encourage others to do the same seem to me to qualify as “bad company.” Since they are believers, try to alter the tone first, but at some point, you need to do what you must for your marriage.

Also, check out my post on Finding Friends to Support Your Marital Intimacy.

Hopefully you can turn the tide. I’m certainly on your side! I’m a happily married wife, and I know you can be one as well for many, many years to come.