In one of my favorite movies ever, When Harry Met Sally, this scene defined well the concept of being low or high maintenance:
Yet here’s the thing: I don’t think we’re all low or all high maintenance. It’s possible to be low maintenance in some areas and high in others.
For instance, in my marriage I am low-maintenance in the romance department. My husband doesn’t have to woo me a whole bunch and I’m proactive in letting him know what kind of romance I need.
Meanwhile, I’m more high-maintenance in the listening department. Because I talk a lot, and he has to be willing to hear me out while I ramble. (Poor guy.) I’m even a ranter at times, requiring him to dig through my blah-blah-blah to get to the point. (Again, poor guy.)
I could name his low-maintenance and high-maintenance areas, but since Spock won’t necessarily admit the latter one and I want my day with him to go well, I’ll refrain from posting that publicly on my blog.
But I’m sure you and your spouse could do the same exercise: naming your high-maintenance and low-maintenance areas for each other. How about if you tried that same thing about how you are in the marital bedroom?
Because I’m just going to say it: Some of you are high-maintenance in the marriage bed. Really. High. Maintenance.Some of you are high-maintenance in the marriage bed. Click To Tweet
And like Sally up there, you may not realize it. You may think you’re low maintenance but you’re high maintenance. You might even make the case: “Well, I just want it the way I want it.”
Except that, when it comes to sex, your spouse shouldn’t be like your personal waiter having to fill your complicated menu order.
Let’s take an honest look at how we approach sex in our marriage. How many hoops does your mate have to jump through to get your participation in the marriage bed? Here are some common high-maintenance requests:
- You can’t make love until all of the day’s chores are done, the kids are fully asleep, and you’ve got your to-do list made for tomorrow.
- The lights must be out, or the room at least in extremely low light, because heaven forbid your husband see you naked.
- You don’t want to take extra time to get your spouse all the way to climax, because that takes too long.
- You have a short window in which sex must happen, because the rest of the time you’re exhausted and not “in the mood.”
- You want your spouse to perform a specific sexual act, and you’re resentful if you don’t get it.
- You can’t have sex if there’s any chance whatsoever that your child might hear a peep of what you’re doing.
I bet others could add to my list of examples.
But what I’m talking about is getting so persnickety about how sex must unfold that it’s hard to know when would actually be a good time for you to relax and make love.
Now, if it isn’t good for you, I’m not saying to just do it anyway. God’s plan is for you to enjoy the sexual intimacy in your marriage as well. That’s one reason I wrote Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, to help you become more confident and excited in the bedroom, and I included a chapter on achieving orgasm — because your pleasure matters.
But the status of quo of “meet my demands or no sex” isn’t tenable for very long. It creates resentment for your spouse and keeps you from pursuing this blessing God longs for you to have.
Whatever the obstacle is — whatever unreasonable demand you’re making — take steps to address it. If you struggle with body image so that turning on the lights is a horrifying thought, check out my Feel Beautiful series or our Sex Chat for Christian Wives episode on Body Image. If you’re rarely, if ever, “in the mood,” check out Sheila Gregoire’s low libido course.
The answer isn’t to simply stay in high maintenance mode, but rather to work on sex in your marriage becoming more maintainable.
And if you’re married to a high-maintenance lover, it’s tempting to start catering to every little request just so you can “get some” already. But the better question is “how can I make this experience one s/he’ll want to repeat?”
Whether you’re the more demanding spouse or married to one, put some effort into transforming high-maintenance into high satisfaction. For both of you.