Today’s blog is the second in a series of posts written by former Radical Mentee Benj Miller, and his wife of 15 years Erica. Benj is a brand consultant in Atlanta, where he and Erica live with their four awesome kids.
We’re sharing Benj and Erica’s posts on Christian married sex because it’s one of the things that most often trips up young couples. Men and women have different levels of sex drive, and God uses these differences to grow our character and our faith. Our Happy Wife Pledge post brought more comments than any other, so we know sex and marriage are big deals for those in our tribe. Without further ado, here’s Benj . . .
It has been almost a week since my wife and I had anything resembling a sexual moment. I’ve hinted a few times, but they fly by or get shrugged off as the least important thing on the never-ending list of to-dos.
There is a ticking sound in the back of my skull. The timer on the bomb is set to detonate. I’m not sure what will happen when it times out. I’m not sure when it will actually time out. Ten minutes? A few days? It creeps in like the desperation of claustrophobia. I have to fix this before something goes horribly wrong.
I can distract myself but am frequently reminded of the impending doom. This void can be all-consuming. This is one of the few areas of my being that only my wife can breathe life into. My thoughts aren’t rational, but they are real. It feels like life or death . . . but way more important.
Besides the unproductive nature of the mental cycles being burned, if these emotions go unresolved for too long, we as Christian husbands face three very dangerous temptations.
Temptation 1: Building Emotional Walls
When we are empty sexually, we cannot be open emotionally. Because this is (stereotypically) the opposite for our wives, it creates a nasty negative cycle where husband and wife continue to starve each other while waiting on the other to reverse the cycle.
Without really knowing what we are doing, we erect emotional walls that protect us from the pain of these situations. I subconsciously decide I am not going to open up, converse, give, love, and so on because truly I can’t take any more pain. With the walls up, it is impossible to feel connected or loved.
In one of our sexual droughts, the ticking in my brain was blaring at me about the pain of the neglect. I remember standing at the top of our stairs crying out to God to give me the strength to go downstairs and be near my wife. The woman I love. Who I want to show love. Who had done no wrong. But it took more willpower than I had at the moment to not show my bitterness. God came through big that night . . . but it’s a battle that can easily get the best of us.
Temptation 2: Turning to Distractions
The second thing that happens is we turn to distractions. Some distractions aren’t bad by nature, but they only numb the pain. It may be work, television, a book, a game, a hobby. In true confession, I subconsciously run to my phone as an escape. It doesn’t matter if it’s work, social apps, or games. We search for anything that draws us away from the emotion of physical desperation. While these diversions aren’t inherently bad, it is important to take note of what is happening, mostly because these behaviors will only build bigger emotional walls and take us deeper into this darkness.
Temptation 3: The False Solution
Even more dangerous is when the distractions go to dark places. The other places we feel can actually fill those needs. We start letting our internet browsing go a little deeper down the rabbit hole. We start letting our casual conversations with other women go a little too far. We start getting bitter and seeing “greener grass” everywhere we look. These temptations lead to bad decisions and, in the end, scars, hurt, shame, and guilt.
All of these temptations work against us. They become roadblocks to creating a healthy environment of participation.
In Part III, I’ll cover the four options you have and how you can react to the temptations and situations we’ve discussed so far.
Prayer: God, every day we are faced with decision after decision. Temptation after temptation. It can often seem as though life never gets any easier, but our resolve and strength are found in you alone. Help us as men to not succumb to the snares set before us in our marriages. Help us carve out a setting of protection and health for ourselves, our families, and our marriages. Let us keep our eyes straight and focused, leaning on you, the author and perfecter of our faith. Amen.
Breathe New Life Into Your Discipleship
Small group mentoring can help you engage your people, build your core group of leaders, and transform your church. Our free resources equip you with all the tools you need to launch a sustainable mentoring program.