Category Archives: Praying for Marriage Bed

Praying for Grace in Your Marriage

Praying for Grace in Your Marriage with woman's hands holding heart

I talk a lot on my blog about how to address sexual issues with your spouse, how to speak about your longing for physical intimacy, how to pursue a stronger bond in the marriage bed. It’s often about making sure your interactions with your spouse are calm, unselfish, well-considered, loving, and respectful.

If only I took all of my own advice. Rather — like you — I have those moments in marriage when the stress of the day and the frustration of the moment and the pain of my heart all come together and I blurt out something completely unhelpful. Even though I know that “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), I opt for the harsh word.

Or maybe I keep the words in my mouth, but they come out in an eye roll or a snort or turning away. I’ve also been known to mutter to myself, the tone of which could hardly be mistaken for anything but complaints.

This is not my pattern, but it is a failing of mine from time to time. And probably for you too. Likely you say something in a way you didn’t mean to say it, or you just lose your composure in a bad moment and declare something like, “For heaven’s sake, I need sex and you owe it to me!”

Or maybe it’s your spouse who does that.

In marriage, sometimes we blow it.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” As my father used to say, “Even perfect people use pencils with erasers.” Because we all make mistakes. We all fail. We all sin.

And so, we all need grace.

Grace can be defined as “the unmerited favor of God toward man” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology). But we have in our Christian vernacular begun to talk more and more about giving one another grace, that unmerited favor. Certainly, as we seek to be more like Christ, we would want to approach people as Christ does — with an attitude of grace.

How do we adopt an attitude of grace? We pray for it.

Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Our time of need may be grace we need from the Father, or grace we need to give to our spouse. But when we approach God’s throne, we come there in prayer.

We ask God to help us show favor toward our spouse, even when they blow it. Just as we’d like our spouse to show favor toward us when we blow it.

So instead of immediately reacting to what your spouse says, or does, or how your interpret the words and actions, you take a step back. Feeling a sense of peace as you let God’s grace fill you, you can then ask questions about what your mate really meant. Or simply consider the possibility that their day went badly and they’re super-stressed. You can stop taking everything personally, like how he left things out that you would have put away. You begin to see better interpretations. You remember that your beloved chose you, loves you, and is still here with you — and that counts for something.

Looking at this in terms of your marriage bed, even a sexual rejection is often not personal. It’s not about you. It’s about the bad day he had, the exhaustion and stress he’s feeling, the testosterone that isn’t working quite like it used to, or maybe even the insecurity of feeling he can’t satisfy you completely. It could be about sexual baggage your spouse still carrying. Or that wayward glance at a pretty woman in the restaurant, while a poor choice, might have been a momentary lapse back to his pre-devoted-to-you days and he might be internally kicking himself for that one. Even in that heated argument when he finally erupts and says what you think he really believes deep down — that all he really wants from you is sex, sex, sex — it might not be what you think. It might just be his foot-in-mouth, we-all-sin moment.

How about we give each other some grace?

How about we pray for grace for our spouse?

How about we give each other some grace? How about we pray for grace for our spouse? Click To Tweet

One way to start is simply to ask God to help you see your beloved with the same unmerited favor God gives His children: Lord, help me to see my husband the way you see him. Help me to show grace in this situation and in our marriage. Give me your eyes, your heart, your love for my beloved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When your spouse blows it, try something like that. Pray for grace. You might be surprised how that will help you see things in a different light.

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For Christian Wives logoA NOTE ABOUT OUR PODCAST

Please pray for our listeners to have grace for us as we work out difficult technical/audio issues. We have received many complaints, and I simply cannot tell you how frustrating/disheartening this has been after months of preparation and a huge learning curve. But we are determined to fix the problems and appreciate the suggestions we’ve received. (If you have others, please email us at forchristianwives [at] gmail [dot] com rather than commenting here.) In the meantime, please pray that those who give our podcast a listen will extend grace to us, listen to our content, and stay tuned for future episodes. We appreciate your prayers.

Praying for Resources for Your Marriage Bed

I’m so honored to be one of the resources my readers turn to for help regarding the sexual intimacy in their marriage. I consider it a compliment, but also an awesome responsibility. What I always hope with my posts is that I say something that helps a wife or a couple to improve or nurture their intimacy, not just sexual — but intimacy throughout their marriage, often expressed physically in the marriage bed.

But I remember when my marriage seemed as likely to survive as the possibility of Big Foot knocking on my door to confirm his existence. I was on the constant hunt for resources that would help me sort out what was happening, why things had gotten so bad, how we could find our way back, and what I could do to save our marriage.

I prayed to find the right resources.

And I think it’s a good idea for you to pray the same.

Praying for Resources for Your Marriage Bed with woman's hands holding a heart

Pray for confidantes. At times, you need a friend who can help you sort through your challenges, your feelings, your next steps. You may not even know if what you’re going through is normal or problematic, if you’re overreacting or right on track. Pray that you’ll be led to speak in confidence to another wife who can listen, provide wisdom, pray for your situation, and advocate for your marriage.

Pray for mentors. Sometimes what we need is a more experienced wife to guide us with good information and wise counsel. Titus 2:3-4 says: “Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children” (NLT). Pray that you can find a helpful mentor, and for boldness to reach out to that wife in your midst who can help you in your journey.

Pray for counselors. I’ve had mixed results with counseling myself — which is why I advise getting quality Christian counseling, and stepping away from counselors who aren’t helping. Like any other profession, you can find excellent counselors, good ones, and those not worth continuing to visit. That doesn’t mean counseling itself isn’t effective; rather, pray to find the counselor who helps you or the two of you effectively deal with the issues surrounding your marriage bed. And then pray for them to give you sage advice.

Pray for speakers and authors. I didn’t read blogs back when my marriage was on the chopping block, because they didn’t exist. But I read many marriage books, participated in classes and events, and listened to a lot of HomeWord with Jim Burns. I truly believe God led me to Jim Burns’s program, in which he interviewed marriage and family speakers and authors. Some episodes weren’t all that helpful, others indeed benefited me — but the biggest impact was that, through hearing about marriage resources and the testimonies of those who’d come back from the brink, I believed that my own marriage could be resurrected and could thrive. So I hung in there. And some of the specific messages I received from this show, the classes, the books … were exactly what I needed to hear.

Pray for our podcast. Yeah, this one’s dominating my attention right now. Because for months, we’ve been preparing to launch Sex Chat for Christian Wives, a podcast for your marriage bed hosted by myself, Bonny Burns of OysterBed7, Gaye Christmus of Calm.Healthy.Sexy., and Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife. And now the launch date is here: Well, next Tuesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day. We’re praying that our podcast reaches Christian wives who need to hear our message, whether their marriages are doing well but could use nurturing or their marriages are drowning in despair. We hope you’ll pray for us too.

Have you prayed to find the right resources for your marriage bed? And what, if any, other resources should we pray for?

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.

A Prayer for Your Sexual Intimacy

When I started this series on Praying More for your marriage and your sexual intimacy, I admitted that I didn’t know exactly what it would look like. How would have a whole year of blog posts about praying? But God kept nudging me that this was the direction to take, so I stepped out in faith. Okay, okay, I shuffled out in faith, but I’m lengthening my strides week by week.

Today I have this strong sense that I just need to write a prayer. One that you and I can both say for our marriages and our marriage beds. I hope you’ll join me.

A Prayer for Your Sexual Intimacy with PRAY in the background

Dear Heavenly Father,

I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I got married. Yes, of course, I prepared in some ways, and even tried to figure out some things ahead of time about what sex would look like in our marriage. But, as You know, Lord, it’s different going through the experience and dealing with my unique husband. Also, I couldn’t have foreseen the seasons we’d go through — times when sex was good, and times when sex was a struggle.

I want to bring my concerns, my hurt, my longings all before You and lay them at Your feet. I cast all my anxieties on You because I know You care for me (1 Peter 5:7). Guide me to the path I should take and teach me Your way (Psalm 25:9).

Now let’s start with this body You gave me. It’s an amazing creation, able to accomplish so much automatically and at my will. I thank you for all the workings of my body that allow me to go through my days and do what I need to do. But when it comes to sex, it’s not always been an easy road. At times, getting aroused with my husband can be difficult, and at other times, my body is ready to go when there isn’t a chance in the world that we can have sex. How fair is that?! Orgasms can be like my best friend, eager to hang out with me, or my nemesis, avoiding me at every turn. I don’t adore every inch of my appearance, my body does weird things in certain angles (like why is my stomach hanging down like that? — blech), and flexibility feels like a thing of the past.

I need to see myself how You see me, how You designed my body, and how You blessed me to be with my husband. I also need more understanding of my body and how to help it cooperate with the sexual intimacy I need and want to have in my marriage. Help me to identify real issues that need addressing through medical assistance or counseling or exercise, and to have the purposefulness and persistence to follow through. Place before me the right resources to deal with those concerns.

Help me to feel beautiful. Give both me and my husband an acceptance and appreciation of my body’s own sexuality and help us learn how I can experience both pleasure and intimacy in the marriage bed.

My God, I also struggle with my background. I brought baggage into my marriage — teachings about sex that weren’t in line with Your Word, experiences that colored my perception of sexuality, and labels that I carried in my mind about myself and about men. Please wash away all the debris and replace it with truth.

Help me step by step to replace the negative self-talk in my mind with messages that align with Your design for sex in my marriage. Help me to demolish every argument and pretension against Your will for my marriage bed, to take captive of every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Transform my mind so that I will know Your will for me, even in the bedroom (Romans 12:2).

You are a God who heals, so I also pray that You will heal any rifts between me and my husband. It is indeed good and pleasant when Your people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1). Where my husband and I do not see eye-to-eye on sexual intimacy, I pray that we can move toward unity. Help us to listen to one another, to communicate about difficult issues, and to make the personal changes we need to make to find common ground.

And this weekend, today, even now, I pray that you’ll open up my heart and my body to taking even one step in the right direction. While I long for a Red Sea moment, when You perform some great miracle that makes my marriage and marriage bed a perfect reflection of Your design, I recognize that more of my Christian life is walking faithfully with You. With Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, showing me only the bit of road ahead that I need to see (Psalm 119:105). Help me take my next step in the right direction, and the one after that, and the one after that. Until I am striding along on the road You want me to be on, and my husband and I are moving toward greater intimacy and more honor to You, our Father.

Lord, what I haven’t said here, You already know. Where I don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for me (Romans 8:26). You are, and will always be, my Savior.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Praying for Unity in Your Marriage Bed

On Saturdays this year, I’m talking about praying for your marriage bed. One of the first questions is How can we pray for their marriage bed? What do we pray for?

Immediately, it popped into my mind that we should pray for what Jesus prayed for us: unity (see John 17:11-23.).

Praying for Unity in Your Marriage Bed with word "PRAY" behind the title

Not ironically, this is the biggest problem I hear about from couples who write me and comment on the blog. Husband and wife simply do not see eye-to-eye on some issue of sexual intimacy, or maybe even the whole kit-and-caboodle. For many couples, if they could just come to some kind of agreement, a plan to move forward in the right direction, they would experience both relief and hope.

Instead:

  • One spouse sees a problem, and the other ignores it.
  • One spouse pursues selfish pleasure in the bedroom, and the other feels neglected.
  • One spouse engages in sexual sin (e.g., porn), and the other feels powerless.
  • One spouse continually refuses sex, and the other feels devalued.
  • One spouse continually demands sex, and the other feels used.

You could probably list other scenarios, but all these are marriages at odds on what’s even going on. The opposite of unity is happening: frustration, resentment, anger, conflict, stonewalling, and shutting down altogether.

And yes, all this happens over sex.

Not because we’re selfish beings who want our fleshly pleasure, but because God specifically designed sex to be a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond between husband and wife. He said it was for unity: ” ‘And the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8). Consummation, and continuation of that practice, are integral to covenant marriage.

How can we achieve unity? How can our marital bedrooms become places of peace? How can we live into the design of one flesh?

We’re told to seek and pursue peace (1 Peter 3:11, Romans 14:19), to strive for it (Hebrews 12:14), and to let it rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). Those all require intention and action on our part.

We should also follow the example of Jesus, by praying for peace, for unity, for one mind.

And not just “my mind.” Let’s be honest: This is how we often pray for unity regarding our sexual intimacy. Please, God, let him stop asking for sex so much. Or Please, God, increase his sex drive so he’ll want sex as much as I do.

Look, I’m not opposed to your spouse making changes. Odds are, they need to. But once we start praying for unity, it’s quite possible — rather likely — that God will want to change us. He might want us to do more to seek, pursue, and strive for peace. He might start working on our hearts so that peace can rule there, instead of the mountain of frustration we’ve hoarded over the years. He might expect us to speak up, reach out, seek help. He might need to smooth over our rough edges so that we can better fit into the one-flesh design He created.

So when we pray for unity, our prayer should be: God, guide me to know what I can do to pursue true peace in my marriage and unity in our marriage bed. Give me the right attitude in my heart, righteous wisdom in my mind, and the courage to take action when needed.

Mind you, “true peace” is not absence of conflict. You don’t have conflict with lots of people in the world, because you don’t have a relationship with them. So simply avoiding conflict doesn’t make for unity or peace. You might need to friction upfront to get to unity on the other side. But the Bible emphasizes the word one. Pray for that.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).