Monday, November 9, 2015

"Red Cupping" and the Christian

The recent stink about Starbucks cups is silly.  A cup is a cup is a cup.  Unless someone out their is literally (not implying or suggesting) attacking Christ's claim to the Throne - we might need to chill out a little. And even then - a loving reply is certainly not only preferred, but required.

I think most people who call themselves Christians get this - THAT there is nothing in the world that can unmake Jesus's birth significant.

No cup. No slogan. No greeting. No amount of money. No attitude. No following.

Christmas is Important because of Christ. If there were no one on earth who agreed - it would  NOT change the fact that God came to earth in the from of a baby, lived in holiness and wisdom, was crucified, raised from the dead - and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus isn't worried that He will be less popular or accepted. He is over all things. The beginning and the end. The earth is His footstool.  Nothing is outside of his control.  Nothing is beyond His reach.  He is not rattled by red cups, or snowmen, or gifts or Santa.

Don't waste your time, Christian, condemning the world. It is already condemned. Each man has been condemned because of his inability to live up to God's standards.  Condemned because of the condition of his heart - not his cup. This includes you, dear one. 

In the moments that you have "red cupped" your holiday time by thinking particularly gifts must be bought even if it means putting your family into deeper debt.  

Red Cupping - when you respond in anger and impatience with our spouse because he has "ruined" a Christmas dinner with guests.

Red Cupping - when you yell at a child for their enthusiasm when it inconveniences your plans for the weekend.

Red Cupping - when you think ill or unkind thoughts toward your neighbor or family.

Red Cupping - when you doubt God's love or faithfulness.

Let's be honest! We all have some serious Red Cupping going on - yet Christ is still on the Throne! He is over all things. He will not disappoint. We are condemned.  Not Him. 


Christian - Spend your time pointing to Christ and His love. Reminding the world that in Christ there is NO condemnation. Show your neighbor that your confidence in Christ is not so easily shaken as by a popular holiday beverage. Christ brings rest to those who put their hope in Him.  

Rest today in this risen Lord.  He ain't a tiny baby anymore.  He is exalted over all. Rules over all.  And we can put our confidence in Him.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Melody Underneath

Two nights ago Lance sat on the couch with his guitar case on the floor in front of him. It was the end of the day, and faces were tired - but the indicators were not lost on our two oldest. Daddy was going to play some songs. They both moved to find instruments themselves. M (3 years) asked for the old mandolin, which is terribly out of tune and in addition is missing as string. J (5 years) dragged the drum from the corner and climbed into a chair to wrap his legs around it. They didn't wait for Lance, but started "tuning" their own instruments and ears. Lance chose a few hymns silently, then asked them if they were ready. He began to play. The chaos of sound that followed could have only been enjoyed by a mother and father who simply like their own kids. It was terrible. The harder they played the more Lance was drowned out. They tried to play louder than one another. They yelled at each other for playing so loudly. Sometimes they stopped to sing. Often the wrong words. I looked at a hymnal and sang along as best I could. Trying to remember the actual melody. It could not be made out most of the time. But there were moments, when our little creatures lined up perfectly. Though M's mandolin was out of tune, and she had no idea how to play it - she might have 5 or 6 strums that were right on beat and mirrored Lance's pattern. And Jameson is very rhythmic for a little one, and sometimes he would even begin to feel the beat to hear it and it translated to his playing. Using both hands. All along Lance's playing was consistent. Reliable. In their respites he would always break through, and be exactly where he ought to have been all along. He was the melody underneath. But the most amazing thing to me is when all those moments would line up together. The imperfect little strummer. The often syncopated drummer. The mother whose voice is very pitchy in her later stage of pregnancy. The consist melody underneath. And it's genuinely beautiful. It may only be for 4 bars, but it's beautiful - and then it's gone again. I feel like much of my life is like this right now. The chaos. Everyone trying so hard. So may things going on. Few of them being done well. And it feels like noise. Like it doesn't make any sense. Like it's not really being held together by any common chord. I can't hear the melody underneath. But you know - it is there. He is there. The Great Composer. And whether it's more like a Stomp performance (when He takes my trash, empty coffee cans, and broom sticks) and makes something strong and memorable, or if it is like Swan Lake - lovely, and seamless, and drawing me in (like a morning of solitude or full naps) it is still something. It is significant. I can't always hear the melody, but it is so clear to me, when it finally breaks through - that it has been there all along. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the mediocre demands of toddlerhood life. It is so easy to feel forgotten or betrayed when people around you may hurt you or disappoint you. It is so easy to focus on the chaos and not the melody, but often - if i can close my eyes for a moment I can hear it there underneath. It has been carrying me along all this time, and it will not stop until it has reached it's end. If I really stop to look into the eyes of my children and see them when they are hurting or feel wronged - I can hear the melody underneath. When I see them dance and laugh, and fall down with joy - I can hear the melody underneath. Even as I clear away a table and realize that all our bellies are full and we still have food leftover - i can hear the melody underneath. Or even if i collapse in the shower, and sit on the floor and cry as the water beats down on me, and I ask God "where are you, Lord? I need you now." - In the white noise of the drops splashing on the mildewed shower door - I can hear the melody underneath. And He is there. Just as He always has been. Be encouraged today sister. Whatever, and I mean WHATEVER, is going on in your life - He is there. Our Faithful Lord is there, and He has not swayed from His composition. It is being carried out exactly has He intended. You may have been hoping for a crescendo much sooner, but dear one - you are not in charge. We can rest in His plan. We can be certain we have a part in His melody. When you find that beautiful moment when your "music" lines up with His rejoice! And remember it! But do not be discouraged when it passes, and seems like it was too brief. When my children were playing with Lance, and those beautiful moments happened - Lance would remark (not missing a beat) "J that was perfect! You did a great job just then!" or "M you did that part just like Daddy!" and in the end he closed "I love playing music with you guys." You see Lance didn't expect anything different from them. They are tiny children. He is not unreasonable. He loves them. He wants them to learn. He wants them to love music. He wants them to love making music with him, because He loves making music with them. Your God is not looking on you with disappointment Christian. When your efforts seem only as noise, He is not frustrated and wishing you to another sound proof room. This is when He is welcoming you in. This is when He smiles on you and laughs with you. It is no surprise to our Lord that He indeed is the melody underneath! Just come to Him. Be happy that He has invited you into His music. Rejoice in His words of encouragement. Play, play some more. I have a feeling, as our children grow older - there will be less and less time spent in musical opposition and frustration, and more and more in tune. Christ is our melody underneath. He makes life beautiful. Open my ears Lord, so that I might hear.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Site

if you didn't know I have been re-established here:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"What moments have I forfeited and blamed "marriage" or "motherhood" for taking?"

It's absurd to say out loud, right?

I sound like I had formerly been a superstar. Leading a professional sports team to victory, or a former rocker who used to tour the world and have fans doe-ding after her. Of course, I am none of those. But I mean it all the same. It's how I feel at least. At least tonight.

I used to be great.

I always had someone wanting to spend time with me, seeking my advice, giving me gifts, and mailing me letters. That's right not "or" mailing me letters - I said 'AND'. That's how "great" I was.

You know you have thought it. Granted, you may not have written here in black and white for God and the whole world to see - Oh! but you thought it. You felt it. In those nights when you turn over in your bed, still unshowered - still hungry, and still a full to-do list waiting for you in the morning. In those mornings when you would rather be throwing up than facing the ungratefulness, the indifference, the assumptions, the frustrations, the car pools, the neighbors, the grass, the dishes. Or maybe even in those free afternoons that are too quiet and still and dreaded because they remind you that your once full datebook now is only full of doctors visits and car maintenance.

Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about.

May you still feel like you are that same "great" woman. You are full of vigor. You feel attractive. You feel fulfilled. You are happy. You look forward to your coming schedule. You relish the challenge. You revile in the solace of your free time. You are still turning away offers for coffee just to "sit and talk."

I am beginning to realize many of the things I have forfeited in marriage and motherhood, were just that - forfeited. No one pride them from my hands. Granted, somethings will not come as easily or with the same frequency - coffee and talking, for example. But the things that truly made me happy and filled me with joy, they are not too far from my grasp. And gratefully i'm seeing it now.

In college, I would be perfectly content with my journal, my Bible, my Nalgene, and a park. Some days I had hours to spend there, but some days I only had moments. I guess, in my "all or nothing" nature I told myself - well, you can't spend all day there anymore! YOu have family to take care of! Just forget it!


In hindsight, the days I only had a moment to sit under a tree between meetings and classes, where just as sacred.

Today, I'm asking myself "What moments have I forfeited and blamed "marriage" or "motherhood" for taking?" What joys do I mope about mourning the loss of, which I have given up willingly!?

I'm taking a deep breath. I'm not going to forfeit a walk for a TV show. I'm not going to forfeit really getting to know my sisters in Christ for gossip or idle "mom conversation". I'm not going to forfeit making love for self pity. I'm not going to forfeit reading for worrying. I'm not going to forfeit listening for talking! I won't do it! I won't do it anymore. I won't forfeit tears for looking strong. I won't forfeit help for pride. I won't forfeit laughs for fear of looking silly. I won't forfeit finger paint for fear of stains on the carpet. I won't forfeit dinner with friends for excuses. I won't forfeit adventures for safety. I won't forfeit life for schedules.

I won't do. I just won't do it anymore.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The very Spirit of God

I have a sob in my throat this morning as I sit in the Sunday morning service. Vaulted ceilings. Pale yellow walls. A murmur among the crowd. A sob in my throat. I remember a time when the feeling of this morning - was the feeling of everyday. I hesitate to name it now because I once would have never even thought to name it. It would have been so common (not common as in cheap or unimportant - yet rather common in that it was familiar), so common that it would have needed no name - much like a friend who calls and needs not identify himself before beginning his greeting.

But now, it's so unfamiliar. And I'm caught between joy and sadness, for I am overwhelmed because that friend has come again, and for so long now I have wondered silently if he would ever return. And now he has come. And I'm still. Almost afraid to acknowledge him. Because I have thought he had returned many times before, yet it proved to be only a shadow as he made his way to visit another. But this time, I'm certain he is here for me.

Though not fully manifested to me yet, he is so near I can feel his warmth beside me - like the company of a familiar partner he moves near to me and makes known his love. Yet not a man, but the Spirit.

The very Spirit of God.

Though I know in my mind He never left me alone, it is also true that often it felt as though He was simply watching and occasionally calling out - but had lost His passion for me and resigned His pursuit, that was once filled with zeal and charm, to a lover who simply slept in my bed yet showed me no desire or attention.

But today.

Today I feel happy in this love. Totally undeserving of it -oh! But happy! This sob within me results from being loved in such a way that can not be contained.

Am I still an ordinary woman - in that: I change dirty diapers, fold clothes, and have dishes piled in my sink? Yes. But I am also, an all together unordinary woman in that I am loved by God to the extent that He came and overcame death for me and goes on petitioning and fighting on my behalf, so that the joy I feel today might be the reality in my everyday life.

For it was not the Spirit that moved away from me - but rather I that moved away from Him - because I believed that some other lover might prove better, then in the disappointment that clouded my mind, I forgot Him.

Today. I have remembered.

Will I forget again? By God's mercy, I beg - No! May I also let the reality of this Love well up inside of me and reach out and touch those around me. May the warmth of my Savior's Love reach it's grasp, particularly toward my family - my husband, and that they might find it's sweet caress a joy and delight. And indulgent love.

That they might see in me the love I feel at God's hand.

If they are astray - may they come home.

If at home - may they always remain.

Praise be to God.

Monday, December 7, 2009

When you say "No"

Second in the series of three borrowed texts from Aileen Challies.

When you thought about getting married and when you anticipated having sex with your husband, did you ever think about how often you’d be saying “no” to him? I know of a few women who decided before they married that they would never refuse their husbands and who have, admirably, stuck to their promise. For the rest of us, though, “no” is is a word we use far more than we ever would have thought possible (or desirable). Maybe we say “no” with our words, whether kind or gracious; maybe we say “no” with our attitudes or body language; maybe we say it with our wardrobe or simply by going to bed long before he is tired. We grow adept at finding new and creative ways of refusing sex.

We are not completely comfortable with rejecting him but at the same time, he wants so much! Can’t he see that I’m too tired? Can’t he see that I’m just not in the mood? Can’t he back off just for tonight (and maybe tomorrow night…and the night after that…)?

Yesterday we touched on what sex means to your husband and its importance in married life. Today I want to focus on an area in which many women harm their husbands. I want to talk about how a wife is to respond to her husband’s advances. How does the Bible want her to view sex? Is she never to reject him? Is she called always to have sex when he is in the mood? What does God want from us in all of this?

You are probably familiar with these words from 1 Corinthians 7: “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer, but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” According to this passage, under what circumstances are you allowed to stop having sex? By mutual agreement, for a limited time and to devote yourselves to prayer. (This is why you always say “no,” right? Because you want to pray? “Not tonight, honey, I think we need to pray…”) Take out the exception clause and it reads as a straightforward command: “Do not deprive one another…so that Satan may not tempt you.”

As I understand it, this command does not necessarily speak to saying “no” to sex tonight; it refers to rejection. Let’s draw a line between these two things. The inability to have sex tonight is not the same as actually depriving him (perhaps you are feeling sick or you actually do have a bad headache or you’re just absolutely worn out in every way). You can turn him down for noble reasons and he will survive until tomorrow. But what may be sin in your heart and what may tempt him to sin is your rejection. You can say “no” without rejecting him. But do you? Today let’s talk about rejection and see what rejection does to you and what it does to your husband.

Rejection and Your Heart
Humans are selfish at heart; wives are selfish at heart. Though we know that God calls us to esteem others higher than ourselves, though we know that he calls us to love our husbands more than we love ourselves, we naturally tend toward self-love. Often we love ourselves more than our own husbands. Often rejection is not a reflection of our bodies or our lives, but of our hearts.

What happens to our hearts when we continually reject our husbands and do so out of selfishness? I believe the answer is that we grow bitter, increasingly hardened toward our husbands. I recently spoke with several friends about our reactions when we tell our husbands “no.” The overwhelming agreement was that we feel guilty and then, from that guilt comes anger. We grow angry at him for placing us in this situation in which we end up feeling guilty. The conversation in our heads goes something like this. “I should be having sex with him tonight. But I don’t want to have sex with him tonight. He should see that I’m too tired. It is his fault for asking. How dare he!” Instead of putting him first, we look first to ourselves and justify our sin by placing blame on him. If we do not deal properly with this heart sin, it grows and bitterness develops. While there are certainly valid reasons for not wanting to have sex or not being able to have sex on a particular night, like so much sin, it often comes down to attitude and selfishness. You are called to serve your husband as he is called to serve you. That calling extends beyond making sure he has clean underwear and a good meal every night (and, in fact, I’m guessing most men would forgo the clean underwear and the meal if it meant they could have regular joyful sex with you).

Angry rejection is not a sign of a heart that is joyfully engaged with their husband. Neither is mere placid participation. A heart that is engaged and willing to serve will find joy in that service if not the act itself. One flows into the other. Regular, joyful sex is for you too! It allows you to connect on the most intimate level with your husband, just as God intended. Your marriage need this connection if it is going to stay strong.

Rejection and His Heart
Women are often said to be the more complex sex—we are more difficult to understand, we have more hidden nuances. However, when it comes to sex, the male psyche is far more difficult to understand (though men would probably beg to differ). In a woman’s mind, we don’t feel like having sex simply because we don’t feel like having sex. Therefore, we say “No, not tonight.” And most of us could be happy going weeks or months like this (and especially when we’ve got little kids hanging off us for years at a time). But the rejection that the male feels in such refusals is far deeper and far more reaching then we imagine. We have not just rejected sex; we have rejected him.

Sin has deeply marred our perception of sex and, as we’ve seen, we tend to believe that it is the physical release men seek rather than the emotional and spiritual connection they experience when making love to their wives. But the truth is, your husband sees sex as a means to show his love for you and in rejecting that act, you are hampering his ability to express his love for you. In his mind you are rejecting not the act, but him and his love. This, more than any other, is an area in which your husband is vulnerable to being deeply hurt. God has given you a huge amount of power over your husband’s perception of his manhood. You can make him feel like a sexual superstar or a complete loser without ever leaving your bed. By rejecting sex, you are rejecting his manhood. It’s not that you can never say “No honey, not tonight” to your husband, but that you need to be careful in how you respond. As always, the heart is the heart of the matter.

In her book Becoming the Woman of his Dreams, Sharon Jaynes says that one thing she learned through all of her interviews and surveys is that men are surprisingly fragile when it comes to their sexuality. They may act all big and macho but they are actually very weak in this way, very vulnerable to rejection. So here is a question for you: how often are you acting from pure motives when you refuse your husband? And even if you are not being sinful in motive, are you perhaps being sinful in the way you refuse? Do you maybe even get a bit of sick joy from spurning his advances? Sex is a wonderful opportunity to give back to your husband, to accept his love, to show your love for him. Why, then, are you sometimes (often? all the time?) so quick to turn it down?

Take a look at two scenarios Jaynes offers in her book. In the first, hubby comes slinking into the bathroom as you are putting the finishing touches on your 15 minute face cleansing and moisturizing regiment. He runs his hand down your back and grins. You know exactly what he has in mind. “Not now!” you snap. “I’ve had a hard day and that is the last thing on my mind!” End of story. In the second, hubby comes slinking into the bathroom as you are putting the finishing touches on that same cleansing and moisturizing regiment. He runs his hand down your back and grins. “Now that’s a nice idea,” you reply. “I’ll tell you what, I’ve had an extremely tiring day today, but if you hold that thought until tomorrow, I’ll make it worth your while.” This story has just begun!

I love these examples. See, in both cases hubby is disappointed, but in only one is he dejected! In one scenario he is rejected, in the other he is simply asked to wait. A man who feels he is begging or asking his wife for a favor feels humiliated. He knows that begging costs him his masculinity. In one scenario the wife protects her husband’s heart; in the other scenario she abuses it. And there is a great danger in this.

Let’s go back for a second to 1 Corinthians 7 and make it a little bit more personal, seeing what can happen when you reject your husband: “Do not deprive your husband…so that Satan may not tempt him.” Have you ever thought about it this way before? Could you actually be setting up your husband to experience temptation to sin by rejecting him and refusing to have sex with him on a regular basis? Could you in some way be contributing to his sin? Coming at the end of Tim’s Sexual Detox articles, ones that focused so heavily on men and pornography, this may sound like a justification for these acts. Of course this is not my intention at all and no man ever has justification to turn to pornography or self-pleasure. However, I think it is wise to remember as with everything, when there is sin in one aspect of a relationship, it often spills over into other areas of that relationship. A wife’s rejection may actually leave her husband more vulnerable to sexual sin. While the rejection is not the cause of the subsequent sin it may be the catalyst.

Men can end up acting out through pornography or masturbation because of shame, humiliation or rejection. This is not to say that the sin of pornography is always a result of this. But is wise to remember that a denial of God’s commands in marriage can only have negative results. In a perfect world, in a perfect relationship, a woman would never say “no” to her husband and a husband would never ask when his wife is not desirous. Of course in that perfect world a woman would also never be up all night with a sick baby! In the real world, though, a woman often ends up rejecting her husband, not knowing just how deep this cuts.

Men, when they feel like men, make better men! They lead better, they work better and yes, they serve their wives better. Feeling like a man includes having a joyful, willing wife. If we are to be truly good wives to our husbands, we need to serve them in all areas, building them up as men. Sex is an important part of that—passionate, joyful, willing sex. Our hearts and attitudes need to be pure. We need to have regular sex with our husbands and always we need to be careful that we are not tearing them down with our rejection.

A pattern of rejection is dangerous to a marriage. It gives the wife a great deal of power over her husband’s heart—a power that she may wield wrongly. Rejection by the wife leads to feelings of inadequacy, bitterness and temptation in the husband. This may then lead him to be less loving, to lead him to struggle in his role as a husband. This in turn leads the wife to reject him more as she desires him less as she sees him as not loving her as she wants. Remember by rejecting sex, she is rejecting him, rejecting his heart. Meanwhile the wife may grow bitter as her rejection causes her to wrestle with guilt and to push the blame for this guilt upon her husband and his desires. The ugly cycle of sin continues.

It is God’s design for marriage that sex displays total love love and acceptance. Therefore a wife ought to be eager to accept her husband’s advances and a husband ought to be eager to accept the body and soul of his wife as they are united as one. It is Satan’s design for marriage that sex, instead of being all about acceptance, should be all about rejection. Whose team are you playing on?

This series will conclude tomorrow on what is hopefully a practical note. Tim and I are glad to get feedback and to have opportunity to learn from you and to hear from you (anonymously if you prefer). You can contact us using the contact form. I will be receiving and reading any of the emails from women.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What He Really Wants

I thought that a few articles would be worth sharing.

This one in particular will be of interest to you.

It's located here:

I have taken the liberty of posting the article for your convenience. Solid. So grateful for resources like this.

by Aileen Challies

Tim and I were in his office. He was leaning against one of his bookcases and I was sprawled out on his chair reading one of the many emails he received in response to the Sexual Detox articles. We were discussing how his articles had all been directed toward young men and how different the articles would look if they had been directed toward women—how there were several underlying themes that were coming out in the emails he was receiving. I suggested that he needed to write a couple of articles directed at women. Tim looked uncomfortable with that thought (probably for good reason), so we began throwing around ideas about who could write these articles as a guest author and what we would want that person to say. Suddenly he looked at me and suggested, “You could write it…” I’m sure a blank look crossed my face, and I went a little white.

For seven years I have successfully avoiding writing anything that could be posted on Tim’s site. However the issues that I will be discussing over the next three days are ones that I really feel need to be talked about among women. These are issues that I have long been talking about with friends and been working out in my own life. It is a little daunting to place myself out before the audience that knows Tim so well, but he has assured me he will edit this before posting it. Here goes nothing…

Just as Tim targeted his Detox series at young men, outlining my target group for this article seems wise. This article is for the married women or the soon-to-be-married among you. I hope it will be a blessing to you and your marriages.

A couple of years ago I read a book by Sharon Jaynes called Becoming the Woman of His Dreams. In her research Jaynes surveyed and interviewed hundreds of men in her search to understand the qualities men desire in a wife. You won’t be surprised to hear that sexual fulfillment was at the top of the list (like we didn’t see that one coming, right?). This leads her to call sex the superglue that holds a marriage together. Here are a couple of examples of what men said about their sex lives. “What is the one thing I wish my wife understood better about me and what I long for? The need for her to be more sexual. I wish she’d be more creative and enthusiastic about it. I wish sex would be more fun and more of a priority in our marriage.” “The woman of my dreams would want sex as much as I do. I don’t think women really have a concept of how ‘wired’ for sex men are. It can’t make sense to them, not exactly sure why myself. It seems petty, but it’s real.” Her research showed what I think we already know or at least suspected: for your husband, sexual fulfillment is not a want but a need that arises from the very core of who he is.

In my discussions with other married women I’ve seen clearly that sex, for many couples, is the one thing they fight about most (It’s not just us!). At least from the wife’s perspective, it usually comes down to a pretty simple fact: she simply doesn’t understand why sex is so important to her husband. Because she doesn’t understand, she continues to see it from her perspective and dismisses sex as unimportant, an annoyance, a chore, perhaps an occasional indulgence. She gives herself to him every now and again, hoping it will get hubby off her case for a couple of days, but she does so out of obligation or duty, not delight. Can you identify with this? I think most women can, at least at times.

But if Jaynes is right and sex truly is the superglue that holds a marriage together, we, as wives, need to get it right, don’t we? We need to make sure that we are not eroding our marriages from within because we can’t or won’t understand sex.

What Does He Really Want?
Is your husband’s sex drive something that is purely physical, his body telling him that he just needs a release and that your body is the way to get it? Or is his sex drive in some way connected to you, a need that can only be filled by the spiritual and physical intimacy of making love to you? The message always seems mixed in the female mind. Does my husband want me or does he just want my body? We hear of men who, even though they’re married, look at porn and masturbate and we think, “That solves it! It’s all about the release.” And somehow we really do believe it is that simple. From what I’ve learned as I’ve talked to other women, from what I’ve learned as I’ve responded to emails Tim has received, I can see that a lot of women struggle with this. Just what does my husband really want?

Today’s wife has good reason to believe that sex is no deeper than the physical and that her husband wants and needs her only to meet his urgent needs. All around us society screams this message—that sex within marriage, sex designed as mutual pleasure from husband to wife and wife to husband—is the relic of another age. Instead it tells us that sex is actually nothing too special. It is just the release of pent-up hormones, an enjoyable act that can be shared with just about anyone with little ill effect. Many wives bring to marriage these messages from society, from movies and books, from parents, from previous relationships. The worst part is that your own husband may confirm the bad messages by taking what he can get, settling for your body in those times that you refuse to give him all of you. He rolls over and goes to sleep unfulfilled, convinced that he cannot arouse you or please you. Meanwhile, you roll over feeling used, confirmed in your suspicion that he is a pervert who is just after your body. The vicious circle commences and grows with both husband and wife contributing to it.

It turns out that women need sexual detox, too. You may have never looked at pornography and you may not have a long and extensive sexual history. But still, you have absorbed messages that are causing you to withdraw your heart from your husband. You believe lies and allow these lies to shape your marriage. Thankfully truth trumps error like spades trumps diamonds (it doesn’t, doesn’t it?). So let’s bring some truth to the error.

First off, a good sex life takes work; most people are surprised to learn that it takes skill and practice. Sex is something that seems like it should come very naturally, but often it does not. It can take a long time for the act to be mutually pleasurable for both parties. You first have to learn about one another and you have to learn about yourself. If a woman comes into marriage a virgin, she may have many misconceptions about the wedding night. She goes into that evening expecting fireworks and may come out wondering what on earth is wrong with her. This can continue for weeks, months, years even. During this time, women can begin to believe that all the husband wants is her body. He is being fulfilled and may seem satisfied with the way things are going. Bitterness and discontent grow and sex becomes a battle. Eventually most couples hit their stride, but it is possible that damage has already been done.

All of You
The fact is that your husband wants both the physical release and the relational intimacy he finds in your arms. He wants you, body, soul and spirit and he wants to give you his body, soul and spirit. He needs you to be willing to both give and receive. The physical desire he feels is a kind of trigger to remind your husband to seek this connection with you. It is a reminder and motivator to him that he needs to pursue you. You must not allow yourself to separate the physical urge from all the rest. God designed your husband to need this physical release. He provided you, the wife, as the one who can and should provide the means for that release. And he provided the act of making love so that it becomes about far more than just the physical act.

And aren’t you glad for this, that God made it about so much more than just forcing you to give him some instinctual physical release? We are far more than animals here. In the act of making love you and your husband are knit together, body-to-body, soul-to-soul. The Bible calls it “becoming one”—a perfect word picture. This is why sex as a mere physical act, one divorced from the heart and mind, does not deliver what it may claim to offer. It leaves you feeling used. It leaves your husband feeling incomplete, knowing that you have not truly given yourself to him. You can fulfill an obligation to bring about the release but he may still not experience the emotional and spiritual engagement that is so important to your marriage. For that to happen, you need to offer him more than your body. You need to offer him your body, your soul, your mind, your acceptance. This is what makes sex so intimate and makes you so vulnerable in it. You need to offer up all you are, all you’ve got.

This may be hard to believe, but even more than your man wants sexual fulfillment, he wants you to be sexually fulfilled. He wants emotionally to see how much you enjoy what only he can give you. If he fails to do so he feels inadequate. If he knows that you are not enjoying sex but are only trying to placate him, he will not be truly fulfilled. He does not want to be a consumer but a lover. That is an important distinction. Placid participation is not enough.

And right there, I understand that we have come to a difficult issue. How do you turn something on that seemly doesn’t want to be turned on? And what if your husband is just really bad at pressing the right buttons (and maybe really good at pressing all the wrong ones)? What if you’ve been nursing a baby all day and tucking kids into bed all evening and then he gives you the look—that look? It may be worth picking up a couple of the books Tim listed under the heading “Women” in the Recommended Resources post of his Sexual Detox series. Some of them offer very good and practical advice on these issues (see especially Carolyn Mahaney, Sharon Jaynes or Gary and Betsy Ricucci ). One thing I would add to those is this: if we as women are honest with ourselves, we’ll have to admit that so often we choose not to participate. We, unlike our male counterparts, have a great deal of mental control over our sexual nature. When we are not in the mood we are not in the mood, right? End of story. But I wonder, if we let our mental guards down, if we looked beyond ourselves and served our husbands as we know God wants us to…maybe we would find that things would work out a whole lot better.

So what does your husband want? He wants you—all of you. And his body gives him the reminder to keep pursuing you and to keep making love to you. Do not allow yourself to see his sex drive as something that is animalistic or gross or unholy. It is given to him by the God who does not make mistakes. It must be given for our good. It is a blessing to be appreciated, not a curse to be rejected.

Harry Schaumburg, in his book Undefiled, says this (this quote is so good—make sure you read it carefully!), “The drive to be sexual is more than simply a desire for pleasure or excitement. The sex drive is really a longing for closeness—in both sexes. Don’t be fooled by false messages or even personal experience: men want closeness too. Every man that I have counseled who made his wife a sexual object, therefore giving the impression that all he wanted was sexual pleasure, has admitted—often with tears—that what he really wanted was closeness. This revelation was unbelievable to the wives who heard their husbands say that. In may seem unbelievable to you too—but it’s true.”

Think about what you do to show your husband you love him. Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom and you show your love by making his lunch in the morning and making sure you meet him at the door with a kiss when he comes home. Maybe he is the type who loves physical affection so you make sure to rub his shoulders or back in the evening. You know the things you do to express your love and affection.

Now understand that sex is probably the most meaningful way in which he shows you that he loves you; and it is the most powerful way in which he wants you to show how much you love him. Sex is every man’s love language! If you want to be a wife that serves and builds up your husband, regular, joyful sex will be a part of your relationship to him. So I guess we arrive at the obvious conclusion: have sex, have it often, and serve your husband freely and joyfully in this manner. You will have a stronger marriage to show for it. And, think on this: every marriage counselor is likely to agree that if the sex life is good, the marriage is good. Rarely do you see a bad marriage with a good sex life. It’s almost like sex is…superglue.

In the next article I want to look at rejection—what it does to you, what it does to your husband, what it does to your marriage when there is an atmosphere of rejection within between you and your husband. In the meantime, as with the Detox series, we are glad to get feedback and to have opportunity to learn from you and to hear from you. You can contact us using the contact form. I will be receiving and reading any of the emails from women.