New Year, New Hope for Marriage and Beyond

What do you call the 1977 movie about Luke Skywalker? My husband and I, a Baby Boomer and a Gen Xer, call it Star Wars, while our Gen Z sons call it A New Hope. Somehow, between the film’s release and the vast expansion of the Star Wars franchise, it got renamed.

Honestly, 2020 for me, and for many others, felt like Star Wars, with planetary-level destruction, personal heartache, and challenges to our physical and/or emotional survival. But maybe we should reframe it and rename it. Maybe we should think more about how difficult times can be defined by A New Hope. Sure, you don’t know how it will all work out, but even a Death Star is surmountable with fresh skills, fresh allies, and fresh hope.

(Can you tell we watched The Mandalorian over the holidays?)

What are your challenges?

There’s a scene in the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back (we can all agree about that title!), in which Han Solo decides to enter an asteroid field to escape an enemy attack. It begins with Han saying, “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one” and ends with the C-3PO droid giving him the statistical probability of surviving an asteroid field and Han answering, “Never tell me the odds!” Spoiler alert: They survive. (Sorry, but if you didn’t know that, where have you been for the last 40 years?)

Han Solo doesn’t know how they’ll go from under threat to surviving and thriving, but he does know the challenges he faces: a ship on the fritz, enemy fire, and no easy path. In the short term, entering the asteroid field makes things seem more dire, but it’s the best way through. And he believes enough in himself, his ship, and his crew to give it his very best shot.

What are your challenges? Personally and relationally?

  • Did your sexual intimacy simply get off track in 2020?
  • Are there physiological reasons why sex isn’t what it could and should be?
  • Have you struggled with personal issues, grief, or baggage?
  • Is your marriage experiencing conflict, tension, or distance?

You may not know how you’ll get to surviving and thriving, but the first step is taking stock of what your challenges are. Then you can find the right path and know that, even if that path is a difficult journey, it’s worth your best shot.

Where is your hope?

When Luke Skywalker first meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, he brings the droid R2-D2 with a message from Princess Leia Organa. Leia outlines a request and finishes with “You’re my only hope.”

Whether you’re just hoping next year is an even better year of sex for you and your spouse, or you’re hoping to resurrect a seemingly dead sex life in your marriage, or somewhere in between, where is your hope?

Go search for “hope” in your Bible, and you’ll see that the correct answer is not a something but a someone. Princess Leia also placed her hope in someone, but our someone is far greater than a legendary Jedi like Kenobi—He is Christ the Lord. That’s the theology, but what’s the practical takeaway?

Well, I see a lot of couples looking for hope with a new product, a fix-it system, a one-and-done marriage course, or a begging-God-for-it conversion of their spouse on the issue of sexuality. Believe me, I wish I could give y’all the 10 Surefire Steps to the Sex Life You and Your Marriage Deserve! Actually, that’s a good subtitle for a book. Unfortunately, I’d need to remove the word surefire, because there are no guarantees.

Look, I’m a huge fan of marriage education, insight, encouragement, and products that do all of that. They have helped me in my marriage and many others. But when someone tells me something I wrote or said made the difference in their marriage, I’m a bit baffled. It wasn’t what I wrote or said—it’s what the couple did with the information they encountered.

And all of that important change and renewed love comes back to the foundation of God Himself, where all hope resides. So start by asking yourself: Which do I want more—sex according to my desires or God working through me to love my spouse?

Answering that correctly—putting your hope where it should lie and living that out—will go a long way toward getting that sex life you both deserve.

How can I help?

“You must unlearn what you have learned,” Master Yoda says in The Empire Strikes Back. To embrace God’s design for sex in marriage, we all have bad ideas and habits and selfishness we have to unlearn and replace with new and better practices.

My goal is to share everything I possibly can to help the sexual intimacy in your marriage thrive in a way that strengthens you individually and together. To be your Christian Sex Yoda. (Okay, that sounds a little creepy, but you know what I’m trying to say! ~smile~)

Let me pull out some key features of that goal:

Sharing what I know

My avenues for sharing hope and help are through writing, podcasting, and speaking. I will be focused on providing both free and paid resources within those areas.

Doing what’s possible

Like everyone else, I have limited time, knowledge, and resources. I’m owning that upfront and planning to do only what I can, while believing wholeheartedly that I’m only one small part of God’s plan that involves many other wonderful marriage ministers.

One upshot of that is, as much as I’d like to blog daily or podcast weekly, it’s not happening. I’m aiming for twice a week here with summer and winter breaks and will maintain biweekly podcasts with Sex Chat and Knowing Her Sexually. Within those boundaries, I can follow Yoda’s other advice: “Do or Do Not. There is no try.”

Concentrating on sexual intimacy

I recently asked a question on my Facebook page about how broad my ministry should go, and the answers I received felt like God’s Spirit speaking through the wise counsel of friends. While I personally have opinions on broader cultural and theological issues, my calling is to keep my eyes and ministry firmly fixed on godly sex in marriage.

Helping both individuals and couples

Do I minister to wives? Or husbands? Or couples? I’ve wavered on this in the last 10 years, but the answer is: yes. Some of my resources are aimed at wives (e.g., Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast, Higher Drive Wife community, and Intimacy Revealed book), while others are aimed at husbands (Knowing Her Sexually Community and podcast), and even others for couples (blog, Pillow Talk book, Sex Seminar).

But also, as much as I’m a believer in the blessing that marriage and sex in marriage can be, I agree 100% with Gary Thomas’s post in which he said: “If the cost of saving a marriage is destroying a woman, the cost is too high. God loves people more than he loves institutions.” And that’s also true if that marriage destroys a man. Thomas was talking about clear abuse, and his post is well worth reading. My reason for restating his words is that I want it clear that I first and foremost value the people God made.

I believe so much in marriage because I think it’s a blessing to people to be have a life partner, to experience love and joy with another, to be challenged and grow as “iron sharpens iron,” and to form the foundation of family for the sake of children and community. The intimate act of sex between husband and wife supports all of that as well.

If none of that describes your marriage, your issue is not sex. Not even close. Go find the help and hope you need.

One good option for faith-based counseling (affiliate link)

Most of what I write assumes both spouses at least want a good marriage, and from that place, you can spark or spice up your sexual intimacy. Even if you don’t exactly know how just yet. But we’re here together—with new and renewed hope. Let’s make our marriages better than ever in the coming year and beyond.

6 thoughts on “New Year, New Hope for Marriage and Beyond”

  1. In these days of COVID,
    I’ve learned a thing or three.
    Life’s no love-poem by Ovid,
    and life sure ain’t all ’bout me,
    The old familiar run of days
    was where I didn’t have to see
    all the many different ways
    my wife’s so unlike me,
    but lately I have had to listen,
    and even harder, hear
    that my life-and-marriage-mission
    must now be sharp and clear
    to see my wife as she is now,
    and in this, uphold my vow.

  2. ….Do…or do not….great advice, and I believe to be scripturaly correct…what I mean is…if while I’m in my slow time of the year, ME ,man/hubby doing ALL the housework, makes it easier for my AWSOME wife to fully engage with me…then (MEN)…JUST DO IT…there is NO try…and YES it helps😃😃😃

  3. “Which do I want more—sex according to my desires or God working through me to love my spouse?” Neither. I just want out.

  4. Thanks J. That is a great statement of what God has called you to. Thank you for being so faithful. Your blogs really help me and in my marriage. This blog is a great explanation of Christian marriage is supposed to be. Finally, thanks for saying it is not the information that improves marriages, but the putting it into practice that is what changes marriages.

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