Why I Put Sex on My To-Do List: Encouragement for Christian Wives

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When I was a teenager, I committed to not have sex until I got married.  Even though I didn’t really know much about sex yet, in the months before I married my husband, I mentally dwelt upon how good it would be and how good I would be at it.  In my little niave mind, it was going to be a perfect, romantic escapde every time, complete with me in lingerie and flowing hair, make-up intact, etc…

Ha!

Fast forward 10 years and three small children later.  It’s 10pm. I’m rocking some thick fleece pants with owls on them, my mouth guard (TMJ issue), and a green facial mask.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I transitioned from that excited new bride mentality to the owl-pants-don’t-touch-me-I-want-to-go-to-sleep mindset. Probably a lot of it was having kids – many of them in a short amount of time.  With motherhood comes both new intensive responsibilities and a new identity.  In other words, it’s easy to see ourselves less as wives and more as mothers.

Whatever caused the shift, I knew I didn’t like it, and I knew it wasn’t going to be great for our marriage long-term.

Through candid conversations with authentic friends, I realized that I could identify with many of my married Christian female friends; sex does not feel as much of a priority or need for us as it does for our husbands.  I would pick sleep or working out, or even some mundane downtime activity over sex much of the time.

Well, maybe “ready and willing ALL the time” is not realistic.

It’s not that I don’t like sex.  I do.  My husband and I have a wonderful connection.  It’s just that I have a lot on my plate,  like most other women, and it’s hard to feel “up for it” or “in the mood” a lot of the time. In my sub-consciousness, I want to get everything done before participating in something as superfluous as sexual activity. I was driven by this subconscious idea of what a good wife, mother and home keeper looks like, but it wasn’t even biblical.  Healthy dinners, clean house, trim body, happy kids = success? Not really.  Our marriage relationships trump all those things, though the externals are easy substitutes to make me feel like I have it all together.

So I found myself standing at an intersection of an ideal self that I had not lived up to and the reality of my sinful, earthly self that finds it much easier to prioritize my own wants and desires than my spouse’s.  There were two easy emotional responses from there: despair (“I’m just not a perfect wife, I can’t do everything…“) or pride and self-sufficiency (“It’s my prerogative to figure out when I am up for sex” OR “I’m just going to try and suffer through everything but I am not going to be happy about it“).  Instead, God in His goodness led me to a different response and the realization that I can’t do it all.  I will never be the wife I need to be in my own strength.  And He gave me the wisdom to have a chat with my husband— “I’m interested in knowing your priorities for me as your wife?  If you could pick qualities/tasks that would make you feel cared for, what would your top 3-5 be?” It turns out, the gist of it was that he would prefer to forgo the home-cooked meal and perfectly kept house (if it also meant getting a tired, stressed out wife) and make himself spaghetti every night in order to have a happy, more lighthearted spouse.

To prioritize my husband’s responses, I would have to change my attitude.

It’s not really just about the sex. It’s about my  attitude….that my husband takes the earthly priority in my life after my relationship with the Lord.  In fact, my relationship with him is ministry to me in my relationship with God.  Our marriage is the best opportunity to both give and receive love most closely to how God loves.  And He uses our relationship to teach both of us things about Himself and to draw us closer to Him through our loving acts towards each other.  Therefore, I will forsake the tasks that make me feel like I am doing my job in order to really do my job, which is to help him, nurture him, care for him and serve him.  He doesn’t have to suffer through celibacy for longer than short lengths of time in our marriage just because I don’t always feel like “doing it.” He does not have to get in line behind laundry and every last kid’s need and my mental to-do list priorities.  Mental to-do list…wait! I had a brainstorm.  I get stuff on my mental to do list done – that thing is sacred.  That is what I should do with sex!  

Since I am such a list girl and a planner, I know I will serve him better if I put our sex life on my mental to-do list, at the top.

As un-sexy as that sounds, I needed to make a mental shift and make sex a prioritized to-do list item.  Just because I don’t feel like doing it at times doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to get done.  (Just like laundry, bathing the kids, etc). Since I know that consistent sex is necessary for a healthy marriage, I mentally prepare to be ready to flirt/initiate and see where things go, on a time frame that works for us.  That often means on those nights I make a point of stopping the chores I want to get done earlier or not holing up in my craft room or putting the kids to bed early.  It’s fine if sex doesn’t always end up happening, I just want my husband to know that I am PRIORITIZING our intimacy.  I am available for him.

Sex Benefits Married Couples in Many Ways

As a young bride, I could not have known the depths of how the sexual relationship affects and reflects the rest of the marriage.  Here is a partial list of the ways it benefits us.

1. Mutual pleasure, joy and delight in one another.  Sex isn’t about simply making babies. I LOVE that God created sex for our enjoyment. It shows just how amazing of a Creator He is and how He values our enjoyment of Him and His gifts to us.

2. We are created for it and it fulfills part of God’s plan for humans.  Our bodies reflect God’s purpose and unique design for marriage. As a woman, I receive my husband in our physical union. (This topic is definitely its own future post).

3. Relationship healing. It keeps things light between us.  It’s hard to have a sexual encounter when you’re angry or bitter towards one another.  It kind of puts things in perspective.  How could I speak unkind words to someone with whom I am willing to do this sacred act?

4. Combat Satan’s plan to distort sexuality in our culture.  With an increase in sexual addictions, especially porn, the enemy is using the great lie that you can have your sexual needs met without the relational aspect of a real person and without commitment or respect.  You can have the sensations without any of the work of true love.  I want be a solider in the fight against the sexual temptations of our day and age. Friends, we shouldn’t blame ourselves if our husbands struggle with porn, but at the same time we should do all we can to help him stay pure, and that means we need to be having sex with him.

5. It’s a way to serve one another.  Good sex is fostered by unselfishness.

6. It meets our needs for connectivity.  ALL of us, in our heart of hearts, want to be accepted and loved. Our longing for completeness is our longing for relationship with the Lord, but our spouses can really minister to our human need for love and connection.

7. It keeps us accountable to purity.  Everything around us is giving us the opposite message of God’s plan for marital love.  You can have sex with whomever you want, whenever you want and not experience any repercussions because you are in charge of your sexuality!  No.  That “freedom” to have sex with whomever is really slavery to an overly-inflated sex idol that leads to despair and all kinds of bad potential outcomes, while restricting sex to your spouse allows real freedom to explore the depths of this amazing gift from God.

8. He physically craves it, probably more than you do. As I noticed my husband get less close to me the longer we let sex go, I realized something. He NEEDS it. Like physically. Testosterone, the hormone that affects sex drive, is building up in his system, and sexual release actually brings emotional and stress release.

9. I want to be his delight, his adored one.  It meets my womanly need to be delighted in.  A gentle, loving partner that shows admiration for his wife’s sexuality draws her close and makes her feel beautiful.

10. I want to “leave no room for the competition”.  Sometimes when I am taking my husband for granted, I think about how many other women could be seeing his amazing side, and I would never want them to beat me out in admiration/affection/attention. He’s mine and I want to show him why he is lucky to be so.  Any woman could come clean his house, do his laundry, or pay the bills. When he thinks of a good time, I want him to think of me.

That’s the short list.

The moral of the post is this:  There are a lot of things that we know are good for our marriages, but often they don’t feel like things we want to do.  And we can’t in our own strength, even when we have good intentions.  Sex is one of those things that we know is important but can easily slip down the list of to-dos.  However, in Corinthians 2:19, God’s promise is this, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  God will give you the healing, the creativity, the practical ideas and wisdom you need in this area of your marriage.  His Spirit rests on you and will give you the grace and strength you need to value your sex life and prioritizing your spouses’ needs. 

Blessings,

Heidi

 

 

Comments

  1. sweet, heidi. your the first I’ve heard about putting “sex” on “my to-do” list.:) why not. someone just today was feeling a little disappointment in putting “time with Jesus” on her to-do. my to-do list is my most important priorities so i do note needed quiet time often, but you got me thinking about another fun topic to initiate and add to my list.:) thanks, sweet lady.

    • I think the to-do list is the mental epicenter of prioritization, so whatever needs priority, needs to go on there for me! 🙂 Jesus time is on there, too.

  2. Great thoughts, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. This is aGood one that not many of us think about. Totally had to rethink this topic when our son came along (11 years ago). I’m amazed athow sex changes my husband’s mood and connection to our family, not just me.

    • Thanks Laura- good point that it does indeed affect the whole family. Maybe it has something to do with when things are in the right order (e.g. husband-wife relationship), there isn’t resentment towards the kids’ needs. XOXO

  4. Alex Cockell says:

    Speaking as a single man who suffered low-level sexual abuse from female peers – and then gained weight etc – I’ve had to fight long and hard to reclaim this part of me… I pray one day I could have a few of those locust years back – and maybe marry..

    But yes – may I add the point that is it a coincidence that many of Peter Cetera’s lyrics both with Chicago and afterwards are obviously in a post-coital setting?

    It would appear from Song of Songs, and Paul’s admonitions – Christian couples should be “laid like tile”…
    And it’s what I long for… staying chaste – but it IS a struggle..

    • I pray that the Lord can heal your pain in this area and bring you a wife! Sex is certainly distorted in our society…it is truly only life giving in a healthy marriage relationship. Blessings, and thanks for reading from afar!

  5. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband of 44yrs. This article is so well said. thank you for posting this. It is so sweet how you put everything. Keeping our husband interested in us is a top priority. God created us to be as one. Wasn’t it Paul that said we should not burn in lust, he said he would rather us be married to avoid this thought temptation. Excellent article!!!!

    • Thank you so much for your feedback, it’s so encouraging. It’s a subject I think is so important for married couples! Your husband must be so blessed to have a wife like you.

  6. Steven K says:

    You wrote: He doesn’t have to suffer through celibacy for longer than short lengths of time in our marriage just because I don’t always feel like “doing it.”

    Big question is: what is your definition of “short lengths of time” ?
    It still sounds like you are holding onto some control, being a gatekeeper, and not fully submitting to your husband. Maybe the husband doesn’t always feel like going to work or doing a myriad of other obligations.

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