Honestly, I didn’t get to writing a post on Hot, Holy & Humorous post this week. BUT I did write one for our new site for husbands, KHS Ministry. Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife and I recently launched this site and even recorded a podcast episode that will be coming soon.
Here’s an excerpt of the KHS Ministry post:
Two women writing about sex to men. By this point in our ministries, we already know what some husbands will think: Women are always blaming men. Women don’t appreciate how men are built. Women don’t even like men all that much.
However, these two wives — J and Chris — actually think men are pretty awesome!
Moreover, lots of wives find men to be rather wonderful, especially their own particular guy. Though what women appreciate about men may be slightly different from what you might think.
So from a female frame of mind, let me share what we wives think is so great about men.
Cliché, right? But there is truth to it — strength is attractive to women. Yet it may not be the kind of strength you’re thinking of, the hard-muscled, manly-man stuff. Strength isn’t appealing unless it’s paired with tenderness.
Want to read more? Click below!
Also be sure not to miss this limited time offer from our Sex Chat for Christian Wives Podcast!
I have about 20 draft posts right now, some with a bunch of words, some only a few, but none ready to publish. You might think I should go work on one of those and post about that. But something else has been weighing heavily on me this week. Integrity.
When I looked up the meaning of integrity, I most liked what Etymology Online says about the word’s origin:
“innocence, blamelessness; chastity, purity,” from Old French integrité or directly from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) “soundness, wholeness, completeness,” figuratively “purity, correctness, blamelessness,” from integer “whole.”
Integrity is about consistency and completeness of character. It’s a core principle I tried to teach my sons, explaining it to them as “doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”
Integrity Takes a Hit
The first half of 2019 was quite lovely and culminated with the marriage of my impressive son to a beautiful daughter-in-law, an event that was nearly perfect in every way. But then, as life does, there were quite a few disappointments in the second half of 2019 — instances in which people acted in ways that I didn’t expect.
From public politics to personal connections, I’ve witnessed rifts that make my chest ache. The details don’t matter, but suffice it to say that I could list a number of times when I’ve wondered about people’s integrity.
Why were people turning their back on principles they’d previously espoused as important? Did they ever believe what they’d proclaimed? Had they changed their minds? Lost their way?
Had I failed too? Did I need to guard better against losing my integrity?
Integrity in Marriage
How are we doing with integrity in our marriage? Are we consistent in doing what is right? What is loving? What we say we believe is important?
When no one is looking — or when at least your spouse isn’t looking — how do you treat your marriage and your sexuality?
Consider whether you could say any of the following:
A long time ago, Spock and I had a bad marriage. During that time, I believed myself to be a good person, committed to fixing my marriage. But the way I behaved around him and out in the world were two different things.
On one hand, I touted my Christian faithfulness while treating my husband quite poorly at times. On the other hand, I spoke ill of my husband to others while not sharing my own contributions to our problems.
Once I got real and decided to put into practice what I claimed to believe, that’s when my marriage began to improve.
It wasn’t easy changing my habits. It’s still not easy when I decide to ditch a bad habit and pick up a new one. Like right at this moment, I’m hungry because I had a salad for lunch instead of my usual sandwich, chips, and salsa — though my last cholesterol test tells me a salad is the right thing to do.
But a touch of a hunger is nothing compared to other personal pain we could invite by following through with integrity. We might encounter:
Guilt or shame
Loss of respect from someone we care about
Reduced sexual intimacy
Some of those sacrifices may be temporary, and some may be long-term. We cannot always anticipate how our changes will impact others’ choices. And others have their own choices to make about integrity.
But we can control our own pursuit of integrity. Is it worth it?
God Calls Us to Integrity
“The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8).
“But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever” (Psalm 41:12).
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3).
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).
Those are just a few of the verses that have the word integrity in them. There are more, and other scriptures highlight the principle of walking in integrity.
What does that look like? Well, what do you say you believe about marriage? About how one should treat others? Are you living up to that?
None of us will get this perfect. If we could, we wouldn’t need a savior! But we do need a savior, and we have one in Jesus Christ. What God calls us to is the ongoing pursuit of integrity — the commitment to do the right thing, even when no one’s looking, or when everyone’s looking and wanting something different, and when it’s just plain hard.
Where do you need to have greater integrity for your life, your marriage, and your sexual intimacy? Pursue that.
Today’s post is aimed at higher drive spouses—wives and husbands—who feel frustrated by the gap in sexual interest.
If you’re the lower drive spouse, you may appreciate this post and want to share it with your higher drive mate. If you’re the higher drive spouse, but you’re not frustrated, you may still like this tip. And if you’re equally matched, my advice here will also serve you during the busy seasons of your lives.
But assuming a higher drive spouse and a willing but less interested mate, let’s get on with it.
How Often Do You Initiate?
What percentage of sex initiation attempts in your marriage come from you?
That’s the question I recently asked of my higher drive wife community, but I also answered it for myself—80%.
Yep. In my marriage, I’d guess 4 out of 5 times someone suggests a sexual encounter, that someone is me. One to 3 of those 4 times, I get a favorable answer. One to 3 of those times, I get a pass. But most of Spock’s passes come with rain checks, so I certainly don’t feel deprived.
In fact, by happenstance, I made a discovery about initiating that has made the current libido gap between my husband and me much less distressing. I flipped the switch from initiation to availability.
Initiation and Hope Deferred
Initiation simply means getting something started. That can happen in all kinds of ways—some obvious, some less so. But at some point, there’s a word, a look, an action that indicates one spouse wants to make love.
The bid for sexual attention is made, and the other spouse must decide whether to match that bid and go for it.
As the higher drive spouse, you may already start from the perspective of not initiating every single time you’d like to have sex. Or you may go ahead and give it a shot each time, figuring you definitely won’t get a yes if you don’t even ask.
Regardless, if you’re frustrated about the frequency of sex in your marriage, you likely initiate, get turned down, and then feel hurt. Because somewhere between the ask and the no is hope — hope that this time, your beloved will say yes! And as the Bible so aptly tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).
What if you could feel hope without being hurt when it doesn’t work out the way you want?
Availability and Desire Fulfilled
Hailing back to my 4 out of 5 times that I initiate sex in my marriage, 2 of those are straightforward initiation. I say what I want, he can say yes or “another time.”
But the other 2 times—half of the time, that is—I just make myself available. No strings, no expectations. Hope, yes. But without real initiation, I’m not caught up as much in the outcome. I haven’t really put out a bid.
It’s the difference, I suppose, between saying, “Hey, if you want to play a board game, I’m up for it,” and saying, “Let’s play a board game!” while you’re setting up game pieces on the kitchen table. If your potential partner says no, in which version have you invested more and will thus feel more hurt?
“I’m Available” Statements
If you go this route, you can’t be ambiguous. You have to be explicit that you are available for sex from X time to Y time. But don’t wait around. If your spouse doesn’t jump on the notion right away, go busy yourself with other stuff. You’ve made it clear, they know the deal, and they can take you up on it or not.
What does that explicit statement look like? Here are a few ideas:
“I’m headed to bed. I’d love for you to come join me so we could have some intimate time before I fall asleep.”
“If you want, I can give you a massage. If that sounds good to you, take off your clothes and lie down.”
“Just so you know, I’m feeling particularly interested in sex tonight. If you’re up for it, let me know.”
As you’re headed out for work or elsewhere: “It’s been a while, so sex today would be great. Text me if you’re interested.”
In all of these cases, you’re making it clear what you want, but you’re not setting an expectation that it will happen.
Paradoxically, some lower drive spouses are more willing to say yes to an if you wanna invitation than a let’s do it suggestion. It’s a softer startup and feels less insistent.
That’s what’s actually happened in my own marriage. Perhaps it was that my tone and facial expression were less tense, which made the prospect of sex even more appealing to my husband. I’m not sure. I just know that since flipping this switch, I’ve felt less tense, more accepted, and happier with our sex life.
Have you tried availability instead of direct initiation. If so, how has that gone? If not, could flipping this switch help?
To me, New Year = Fresh Start. Yes, I know it’s just a date on the calendar, but it feels like a new beginning is on the horizon.
You don’t need the New Year, though. Whenever you want, you can press the reset button and do things differently from how you did them before. That’s what I want to talk about today, on the last day of Resolution Week—just doing something different with the sexual intimacy in your marriage.
Why do something different?
Readers come to my blog for two main reasons: (1) to figure out how to address a problem with the sex in their marriage, or (2) to get ideas on how to maintain and nurture the sex in their marriage.
(There’s a third group, a very small one, who read to find out what “the other side” is saying and pipe up from time to time to debate. But let’s not worry about them.)
For those in either of the two main groups, you’ve been doing X, but doing Y could make things better. If you have sexual struggles, you can receive:
encouragement to pursue better sexual intimacy
insight about how your spouse might be thinking or feeling about the situation
summaries of medical, scientific, and common-sense approaches to resolving physiological obstacles
biblical perspectives on God’s design for sex in marriage
suggestions for meeting your spouse’s emotional and sexual needs, or getting your own met
how-to tips for making sex better for you and for your beloved
If you have healthy physical intimacy in your marriage, you can receive:
how-to tips for specific sexual activities
inspiration to have more frequent and/or more intimate sex
regular reminders to keep doing what makes your spouse feel loved
biblical insight about how your marital intimacy reflects God’s goodness
updates on sex research that can improve your pleasure or connection
ways to expand your sexual repertoire
But let’s face it: Hot, Holy & Humorous is about persuading you to do something even a little different from what you did before. If every reader remains in absolute stasis, what’s the point of me writing another word?
Yet, I do write. I do hear from readers. I do know this site, along with other marriage ministries, has a positive impact.
Is different automatically better?
In case you didn’t get the reference in this post’s title, “And now for something completely different” was a catchphrase from the British show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It was inserted in between comedy sketches, some of which were really great and some of which were what were they thinking?
Likewise, just doing something different in or regarding your marriage bed could be a what were you thinking? moment. But it could also be really great.
How do you know your idea is different-great?
1. It aligns with God’s design for sex in marriage.
Whatever you do in the marriage bed should be God-approved, mutually acceptable, and spouse-honoring. It should align with God’s will.
2. It benefits both of you.
It should be something that not only serves your ends, but also meets your spouse’s longings. Marriage isn’t about you or me, but rather us. You don’t want one spouse thinking the new thing is great while the other responds, “What on earth were you thinking?”
If I had a dollar for every time I or one of my podcast partners said the phrase “baby steps,” we’d be retreating on a Caribbean beach somewhere right now. Working, of course—wink, wink—but with our toes in the sand and the water lapping at our ankles.
Truth is, when one spouse wants to do something different, the other spouse can get worried. What do you mean “different”? Am I not enough? Are you going to want that weird thing again? I refuse to dress up as a gorilla no matter how turned on it might make you! ~snicker~
Now some of you should leap into something different. You’ve been in a pit for far too long, and you need to jump into a marriage class or counseling. Or perhaps you two are mutually on board with trying something sexual that’s a little “out there”—not outside God’s design, but pretty creative.
For most spouses, however, baby steps are the way to go.
Just do something a little extra or different next time, then expand a little from there, then to the next thing and the next thing… Until your baby steps have gotten you down the path a ways and you’re both happy with where you are.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
So what are some “different but great” ideas? Let me help!
Below are more than 20 suggestions. Each item is not for every couple. Find something that would benefit your particular marriage or brainstorm your own ideas.
Just choose something, or several somethings, different to do this year and see how it can improve your sexual intimacy. If it doesn’t work, you can always chuck it and try something else.
Note: Remember that when it’s something God specifically calls us to do, it may take a while to see the positive results. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).
It’s resolution week on Hot, Holy & Humorous! Meaning I’ve been covering goals we should make in 2020—for ourselves, our marriages, and our sex lives. Today, let’s talk about a common pitfall we want to avoid going forward.
A Personal Story
My husband has been rearranging in the kitchen lately. For years, I’ve been the one mostly deciding where and how things belong in our drawers and cabinets. If someone in the family didn’t follow my plan, no worries—I was the one home far more than they were, so I’d just fix the error while they were gone and move on.
Cue a change in my husband’s employment, and now he’s home a lot and moving things around. Of course I’ve handled this all beautifully…
Okay, FINE. I’ve huffed, eye-rolled, and lodged several complaints about the equilibrium of my kitchen being upended!
Spock has his reasons for wanting the changes, and now he was finally around enough to make those changes happen. Meanwhile, I have my reasons for wanting things to stay the same, and I’d already established a system! At some point, it seemed to come down to a silent battle over how a particular set of glasses would be placed in the cabinet. He’d put a glass away and change their positioning to his way (“the wrong way”), and later I’d see them and change them all back to my way (“the right way”).
Yeah, because that’s not causing any tension in our marriage. #sarcasm
But a day or two ago, I was staring at that cabinet of glasses and thinking: I should just let him have his way. Wouldn’t that be the nice thing to do? Then I had an even better thought: What if there’s some way to address each of our reasonable concerns about these glasses with an entirely different approach?
Turns out, there is. I mentioned my idea to my husband, we talked about that alternative, and it will be implemented.
Before you go thinking I have no business ever writing about marriage because I nearly declared World War III over the storage of drinking glasses, the actual amount of time and emotion expended on our kitchen issue was probably mere minutes. And hey, we did resolve it!
I’m only telling this story to illustrate a pitfall we often have in marriage. A husband and wife engage in back-and-forth debate, argument, or even stalemate when the resolution doesn’t have to be you or me—it could be us.
If you value a relationship and the issue isn’t really that important, you may want to go for Lose/Win in some circumstances to genuinely affirm the other person. “What I want isn’t as important to me as my relationship with you. Let’s do it your way this time.” …
There are circumstances in which you would want to Win, and you wouldn’t be highly concerned with the relationship of that win to others. If your child’s life were in danger, for example, you might be peripherally concerned about other people and circumstances. But saving that life would be supremely important.
But in most situations, Lose/Win or Win/Lose creates more conflict or feelings of resentment or trust issues in a relationship. It’s much better to look for a Win/Win.
While Covey’s book is aimed at business leaders, he notes how much more important this principle is in marriage: “‘Who’s winning in our marriage?’ is a ridiculous question. If both people aren’t winning, both are losing.”
My father used to tell the joke that married couples promise to become one—and then spent the rest of their marriage figuring out which one to become. That joke’s funny because of how ridiculous it sounds. And yet, how often do a spouse’s actions convey that’s what they secretly believe?
In the realm of sexual intimacy, spouses can end up playing tug-of-war over frequency, repertoire, etc. The mindset becomes “if you get what you want, I don’t get what I want. But if I get what I want, you don’t get what you want.” If those are the only two options, one spouse will become the Win/Lose mate and the other will be the Lose/Win mate. But then nobody’s really winning.
If you’re always or often winning your way, or if you’re always or often giving in, you’re likely losing the intimacy of marriage. Much better for both of you to get a win.
“Let No One Separate”
This is even more apparent when we look at it all biblically. As Jesus says:
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Now, of course we are individuals. We don’t get married and fuse into one Frankensteinian creature. Moreover, God still judges us individually. Romans 2:5 says, ‘God “will repay each person according to what they have done'” (citing Psalm 62:12).
Yet throughout our lives, we are united, one flesh, joined together by God. If you try to win your way against your spouse while they lose, you’re taking both of you down. You’re too intertwined for one’s views, emotions, and actions not to affect the other.
Moving from You or Me to Us
Excluding my kitchen fail story, I mostly view issues in my marriage not in terms of what’s good for me or for him, but rather us. It’s a perspective I’ve had to cultivate. Actually, I’m still cultivating it and will be until I die, or he dies, or we die together (Win/Win).
Sometimes, I give in because Spock’s way matters more to him than my way matters to me or when I simply choose to bless him in a particular moment. Sometimes, he gives in because the roles are reversed. But most of the time, we’re looking for a third alternative that gives us both a Win/Win.
Taking turns with which sexual activities you each like most
Finding a new activity that meets the underlying desire (rather than the activity under contention)
Seeking counseling to work out what seems irresolvable
The Win/Win for your marriage depends on your specific scenario. But we should resolve to stop viewing problems as you or me and instead see them as an us thing.
Look, even if the problem really is your spouse, get on board with making it an us issue. It’s hurting both of you, so marshal your forces to work together on resolving it! Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” So already, just by being married, you should have double the power to fix a situation.
Add God into the mix, and you definitely have a winning team! “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
That us mindset might be just what you need to face the future and move forward with your spouse. It won’t resolve everything tomorrow, but you won’t be tugging in different directions. You’ll be on the same path taking the journey together.
How have you struggled with you or me instead of us? When have you been able to come up with a Win/Win for your marriage?