A couple of days ago, I sent out this tweet:
Now you might expect that Mrs. Hot, Holy & Humorous is always ready for a midnight romp or an early morning roll-in-the-hay . . . but sadly, no. I am squarely in the “do not deprive each other” camp regarding marital sexuality. (See Sheila Gregoire’s great article on what that really means.) However, I am not among those who believe that every single attempt at lovemaking will result in actual lovemaking.
Because life interferes.
For instance, in my above example, someone might make the case that I denied my husband sex by refusing his 1:00 a.m. advances. But, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that my moniker “J” actually stands for Jekyll. If you wake me in the middle of a deep sleep, you get Mrs. Hyde. While I know I am ultimately responsible for what Mrs. Hyde says and does, it’s a little hard to get a grip on that when Mrs. Jekyll doesn’t even know what Mrs. Hyde is doing!
Honestly, I was barely aware of what had happened the next day and said something to my husband like, “Did you come on to me last night around one o’clock?” I half-wondered if I’d dreamed the whole thing.
I’m a believer that in the long course of your married life, you will be met with various interruptions to your plans to have sex. It might be . . .
- inability to arouse yourself from a really deep sleep
- your child awakening from a bad dream just as you and your honey were about to live out a good dream (Seriously? Couldn’t the Bogeyman wait 15 minutes?)
- getting called into work or an emergency
- your period arriving a day early (for which “Aunt Flo” should be made to leave two days early)
- a myriad of other reasons
So if we are indeed supposed to fulfill our marital duty and not supposed to deprive each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), then what should we do when sex just isn’t fitting into that moment you anticipated it would?
Rain Check Sex.
This is important, so listen up. If you cannot engage in sex at that moment, it is important to reschedule and then follow through. (See Should You Refuse? Part 2.)
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” I think this is true of marital intimacy.
When your spouse makes sexual advances, they are hoping to engage in physical intimacy with you. Having that hope dashed doesn’t just frustrate their physical release; no, it saddens their heart. Most men in particular would have a hard time putting that feeling into words, so they may end up claiming “blue balls” or pent-up sexual frustration. However, when you interview husbands and get to the core of it, their hearts are sick at the thought that their wives don’t want them. And that’s also very true of wives whose husbands turn them down — perhaps even more so because women constantly hear that it’s the other way around.
But the second half of the verse is so important: “A desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” That sickened feeling in your heart doesn’t have to happen . . . if you know that your desire will be fulfilled.
If you make a habit of giving rain check sex, your spouse can hold on — knowing that sexuality is a priority in your marriage and, even if this moment didn’t happen, sex is on the calendar very soon. Their desire will be fulfilled.
Looking at my tweet again, you’ll see what I mean:
I immediately offered to my husband “Tonight?” My no — even if delivered by grumpy ol’ Mrs. Hyde — was never really a “no.” It was a “not now.” Given the regularity and reciprocity we have in our sexual relationship, my husband knew with certainty that he would get a rain check.
Did I deliver on that promise? You bet I did! No way was I going to defer that hope until his heart felt sick. Not to mention that when awake, I’m rather excited to be physically intimate with him. I can’t say that a tree grew in our bedroom afterward, but our desires were definitely fulfilled.
If your lovemaking gets interrupted, welcome to Life. It happens. But don’t just leave it there. Reschedule. Give your spouse a rain check. Then make sure you follow through!