Monthly Archives: June 2015

Summer of Q&A: What Was the Most Asked Question?

I promised a Summer of Q&A with J, in which readers can ask questions about the sexual intimacy in their marriage and I will answer with a blog post. The topics that came in are really varied, showing our experiences run the gamut. While many marriages relate to struggling with sex, we struggle in different ways.

Summer of Q&A: What Was the Most Asked Question?

 

Yet one specific question came up again and again. Even across so many different situations, this question was often included somewhere in the email:

Will you please let me stay anonymous?

Let me first say that my answer to all of you is YES. Indeed, I set up my blog so that you may comment using the name “Anonymous” or an initial or a made-up nickname. I wanted to encourage people to engage here and not worry about sharing their private concerns in this public forum.

But the repeated appearance of this question about retaining anonymity makes me wonder about something bigger. How many times does a marriage have problems with the sexual intimacy that are entirely unknown to anyone around them? How many spouses struggle in silence and feel they have nowhere to turn? How many feel anonymous even before God when it comes to the pain they face?

Let me encourage those feeling anonymous in their marital intimacy challenges:

1. You are not alone. The problems posed to me are varied, but they are not new. If you’re a higher drive spouse longing for more connection, plenty of high-drive spouses know what you’re going through. If you’re a wife whose husband has rejected you for a porn addiction, other wives have been through the same. If you feel like your marriage is sexless and hopeless, others have been there and come out the other side with new hope and health in their sexual intimacy. I hear the tough stories, but I hear the victory stories too.

Whatever your issue, another Christian out there is facing a similar challenge. Moreover, you are not alone no matter what — because God is with you. He doesn’t promise us a perfect life this side of Heaven. But He promises us His presence, if we will invite Him in and seek His face.

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9b

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

“Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'” John 14:23

I could go on all day with verses like these.

2. Seek answers. Many of you are seeking answers already, just by being on my blog or other websites. Perhaps you’re reading books, listening to sermons, praying diligently — asking for wisdom for the struggle you face. I encourage you to continue.

Now I hate to be a downer about it, but I do want to be realistic — so I’ll tell you it was years between when I starting seeking wisdom and when our marriage got much better. That sounds awful, right? ‘Cause when you’re in a big mess, you think you can’t make it another day, much less years! Looking back, though, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat to get to where we are — with an intact family, renewed love and hope, and God-honoring sexual intimacy. And I know where I’d be if I’d never sought wisdom — in the pit for even more years. Who wants to live there?

You’re stronger than you think, and you can do this. And God is even stronger than that — by a long shot. So take it day by day, look for answers, and ask God to lift you up when you feel too burdened to continue. In weeks or months or years from now, you may look back and see how amazingly far you’ve come.

3. Talk to people who know you. I will offer my best advice here, but I can’t get all the details of your situation into a single post or email. It’s not the same as sitting and having a long conversation with you, or — better yet — you and your spouse.

It may freak you out to think about sharing the nitty-gritty details with someone who knows you, but they might have insight that would be helpful. Your own doctor knows your body and your health. Your pastor knows your spiritual life and has seen your marriage. A counselor can speak with you at length and find out more about what’s going on. A close friend can mourn with you, encourage you, and pray for your marriage. A mentor can keep you accountable and be an ongoing cheerleader.

I don’t know who you need in your life, but it helps to have someone who knows you and your particular situation to hold your hand for the long haul. Consider opening up to someone in your midst. Choose carefully, but you might be surprised at the welcome arms that reach out in return.

Do you feel anonymous in your struggle with sexual intimacy in your marriage? Why is so hard to talk to someone? What would help you feel safe enough to open up?

Fine Chocolate Sex: A Review of Lovemaking

I have a favorite line in Lovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravagant Intimacy in Marriage: “Like M&Ms, good sex can be enjoyable time and time again. But why settle for M&Ms when you can have fine chocolate?”

Given that I’m the kind of person who will dip her greedy hand into a bowl of M&Ms several times over if you just leave it out there, this spoke to my heart. Because at the same time, if you put a single Godiva chocolate on the table beside that M&M bowl, I’d ignore the M&Ms and spend as many minutes as possible nibbling and savoring the delicious fine chocolate instead. Sure, I like M&Ms, but I love fancy chocolate.

And if you want fine chocolate sex in your marriage, read this book.

My rating: ★★★★★

Lovemaking, by Linda and Dan Wilson, celebrates the spiritual and playful side of sex in marriage. Yeah, I admit, that’s my wheelhouse. They are speaking my native tongue! But I think that’s because it’s God’s native tongue as well when it comes to physical intimacy.

We have great freedom in the marriage bed, but also an obligation to satisfy our spouse and honor the gift of sexual intimacy God gave married couples. Dan and Linda take readers through what God has to say on the subject of making love, from flirting and playfulness to physical anatomy to exploring, satisfying, and truly loving your spouse.

This is best read as a book for couples. When I finished my perusal, I immediately thought, “I wish I’d read this with my hubby.” But that doesn’t mean you won’t get plenty out of it to read it on your own.

Now I’ve read so much on sexual intimacy in marriage, I don’t have many Aha! moments anymore. Yet there were some insights in Lovemaking I hadn’t considered!

Plus, it never hurts to be reminded again of what you already know and encouraged to do it.

As you can tell, I liked this book! So I asked Dan and Linda a couple of questions below about Lovemaking and their ministry.

What makes your book, Lovemaking, different or unique?

We celebrate all the new books on holy sex! We are not competing with other authors, but rather we are celebrating what God is doing in this season—He is redeeming sex!

Lovemaking is different as we include Dan’s medical expertise, bringing a clear understanding of anatomy, practical suggestions for maximizing pleasure, and hints for adapting to physical changes due to aging or health issues to the table. This, combined with Linda’s love for storytelling and our passion for holiness in marriage, all work together to make Lovemaking fun, unique, and enlightening.

It did strike me (J) as having a unique tone and something different to offer.

Who is the intended audience?

Of course we want every married couple to read this book! Young couples will learn the value of becoming highly skilled and wholly holy in their lovemaking. Older couples will gain a renewed passion for adding spark and excitement to their play. In fact, just this past week we spoke to a group of Indian pastors about sex. One, a man in his 60s, wrote that after our talk he and his wife were once again enjoying each other like newlyweds. Yippee! Everyone will benefit from Dr. Dan’s enticing prescriptions.

Yep, Dr. Dan’s “enticing prescriptions” are practical tips for any couple to try.

What struck you as humorous or intriguing as you wrote this book together?

Ha! Writing a sex book together has been very stimulating! We like to celebrate sexual standing stones—the memorable, OH MY GOODNESS, stand out from the crowd types of sexual encounters. Let’s just say that writing and thinking about sex much of this last year has enabled us to add several more sexual standing stones to our memory playlist. 🙂

That gets an Amen! from me. I sometimes joke about how my husband and I do “research” for this blog — because that’s just the kind of unselfish, wanting-to-serve people we are. LOL.

Thanks, Linda and Dan, for more details about your book! I truly encourage my readers to check it out. Here’s the quick blurb about the book, followed by a fabulous offer from the Wilsons and Broadstreet Publishing.

Lovemaking: Enjoy Extravagant Intimacy in Your Marriage by Dan and Linda Wilson. Sex is meant to be beautiful, holy, and fun, and every married person can be skilled in the art of lovemaking. Lovemaking will help to: Increase your degree of sexual satisfaction, Understand the purpose and pleasure of godly sexuality, Learn how to give and receive love through sexual expression, Renew passion for your mate, Be equipped to be the world’s greatest lover for your spouse. Great sex is godly. God is the ultimate Lover, and He created us to love. He placed creativity in us to make sex exciting, never dull or routine. You can fully realize the tremendous potential for joy, fulfillment, and purpose in your marriage.

BroadStreet Publishing has given me 20 copies to give away to my subscribers for those willing to tell others about the book. (Soooo generous!) To enter your name in the drawing for one of these beautiful hardcover books:

  • Share the promotional image below on at least one social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) with the hashtag #lovemakingbook. (Your tweet, pin, etc. will have its own url (http://____). You can post that in the comment section, and we’ll be able to click over and confirm.)
  • The publisher will randomly choose 20 people who have tagged their social media posts #lovemakingbook and contact you for your address so they can send you the book. (Remember, your email address shows up to me, and I can share it with this publisher, but it will not show up on my blog.)
  • On June 18 (two weeks from today), I’ll post the names of winners on the archive of this post.

Thank you, Wilsons and Broadstreet!

Is Work Interfering with Your Sex Life?

Is Work Interfering with Your Sex Life?

For those married to the military, I hear a resounding Yes! And you have my admiration and encouragement.

But there are also plenty of us with spouses who work in other fields that struggle with getting face time, much less body time. Frankly, in my own home, we’d have some job-related challenges lately.

Let’s pick apart how a job — yours or your spouses, or even both — could be interfering with the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

1. Time. Do you need quality time or quantity time with your spouse? I’ve never even understood that question, since it seems like you can’t get to quality time if you have no quantity. The correct answer is both.

Practically speaking, dealing with finances, raising children, handling household issues, etc., if all you get is a few minutes together at the end of a long day, you’ll troubleshoot the urgent stuff and never get to those moments that really bond you together in intimacy. Albeit maybe one of you thinks sex is the urgent stuff, but if the other spouse doesn’t feel that way…

You have to get some time together, in the same room, relaxed and comfortable enough to get naked and get busy. But if you’re putting in long hours on a project or spending a lot of time on the road with business trips, it’s hard to get all the time you want to devote to sexual intimacy.

One idea: Get creative with your time! Too often we expect to carve out an evening of romance and intimacy, but maybe that just won’t work right now. Maybe your foreplay needs to happen over the course of the day with romantic texts and flirtations and anticipating one another, so that when you do reconnect, you don’t need quite as much time to get things going. Or look at other times of the day — maybe a “nooner” or “afternoon delight.” On a Saturday, could you let the kids watch a show or play in the other room and devote that time to your sexual intimacy with your husband?

2. Exhaustion. Working long hours or sleeping in unfamiliar places can wreak havoc with your sleeping schedule. My husband and I have both stayed up extra late or gotten up way too early to finish a project on time. And then when the bed comes into view, all you want to do is sleep.

Sex takes some energy, at least to get started. If the second you hit the pillow, you practically pass out from work fatigue, good luck having a sex life.

One idea: Take a power nap. I wasn’t a big believer in these until recently, but they really are helpful. Just a 20-minute snooze can do wonders for your energy level. Maybe you could squeeze one in while the kids are sleeping or right before you embark on the evening schedule.

3. Stress. When a spouse has a low sex drive, one of the big questions you should ask is how is his/her work stress. Whether it’s a high-pressure, office-focused job or caring for a constant toddler at home, the stress of our jobs can lock up our libido and make it hard to ease into lovemaking.

I had a friend once who hated her job so much that she threw up every Sunday evening, like clockwork, just thinking about her return to work on Monday. Needless to say, nookie was unlikely to happen with that scenario.

Stress can come from external demands, internal dislike of your job, feeling overwhelmed with deadlines, uncooperative coworkers or employees (or children, from the stay-at-home parents), or a myriad of other things. But the point is that extreme job stress can take its toll, even on our love lives.

One idea: Set some boundaries with your work. If they are sapping you in every way possible, your boss may not understand how it’s affecting your home life. You don’t have to go into a tirade or blame work for whatever ails your intimacy, but go ahead and tell your supervisor you have missed spending time with your husband/wife and really want a day or night off to invest in that relationship. Maybe you can get an extra day on the deadline and take a few hours off or use a vacation day; then make sure you devote that time to your marriage. Let your work know that you’re devoted to doing a good job, but a date night (and more, but you probably don’t want to reveal that part) with your mate would help you keep things smooth at home and refresh you so you can attend better to the job.

So what do you do about these challenges? How can you cope with a job you must work and still have the sexual intimacy your marriage deserves?