Today’s blog is the fifth 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 Erica . . .
So why is this whole sexual struggle such a big deal? To us as women, why is a sexual connection so hard sometimes? I don’t have a definitive answer, but I do have some ideas:
- God designed us differently in the need-for-and-think-about-sex-all-the-time department. See, men aren’t “right” in the frequency, type, intensity, whatever of how sex should be happening in your marriage. And women aren’t “wrong” if we desire less or something different. Likewise, men are not “bad” because of what you want and women aren’t “good.” There are no definitive lines in this area of marriage. We are just straight up different. In some areas, it’s acceptable to agree to disagree, but this isn’t one of them. We, husbands and wives, have to accept that we are different and stay in the game together figuring this out.
I know very few women who have more sexual desire/drive than their husbands. We know God doesn’t make mistakes, so in making us such different creatures, He must have had (and still has) a plan for making this high desire/attention, low desire/attention thing work. Maybe it’s about the wrestling out of our differences, learning about one another, giving to one another out of love, and putting the other first . . . maybe in all of that, we understand and experience God and our spouse more richly.
What each woman does desire is connection. A deep connection with her man. What so many of us women miss though is how deeply important sexual connection is for you. We truly are not wired like that. We enjoy it when it happens, but the need for such a connection is not a daily thing. Hear me. We do not have sex on the brain 24/7. My husband and I have joked that if it’s getting close to bedtime and we haven’t had sex, then he thinks I have probably chosen that I am not interested in having sex that night. When the reality is that I just haven’t thought about sex at all. It’s not that I chose not to; it just hasn’t even shown up on my list of thoughts. We are so different.
- Women do not realize the man’s heart-need for sexual connection. Honestly, we don’t get it. We don’t have it the same way as you. It’s not that we don’t love you any less than you love us. In an effort to understand, we say it’s hormones or a “man’s need thing” because just like you don’t get how we don’t think about sex all the time, we women don’t understand how or why you do. More so, I don’t think most women understand this “man’s need” is truly a heart’s desire for connection and closeness.
- We do not treasure ourselves well. We feel inadequate, awkward, and insecure. You know how critical we are of ourselves as women, and all you hear are the lies that actually escape our mouths. There are many more that never make it out. We work to be good at all we do, but with this overly condemning mindset, how could we possibly compare to that beautiful woman flaunting herself half-dressed in the primetime TV commercial? So, how do we women love another well when we aren’t even loving ourselves well? It doesn’t happen and husbands are neglected and pushed aside as a result.
- Most women connect through talking, quality time together, or an act of helpfulness from you. Then we are more open to having sex. Men have sex then are more open to having sex . . . oops! I mean, men have sex then are more open to talking, time together, and so on.
- Many women cannot or choose not to turn off the demands of the to-do list long enough to engage well with you. I guess there is truth to the stereotype of a man’s ability to compartmentalize and focus quickly (like a microwave oven) as compared to the woman’s need for things to move slowly with an environment that is just right (like a CrockPot). No matter the absolute reason, choosing the list over the connection is a frustrating reality for so many couples.
- If your wife is a mom, especially to young kids or babies, being touched for the umpteenth time by yet another person in a single day can be overwhelming. So much touch can lead to a woman feeling like she is not her own person but rather just an extension of everyone else. She can lose herself in this mom role. Then along you come along, touching and getting close, and unfortunately, the timing just doesn’t work and the bomb may go off.
I am not trying to give you a list of excuses for why things may be tough in this area of your marriage. I want to give a voice to a few of the variables that may be playing into the tension you and your wife are having. Talk about it. Create safe space for her to speak truthfully. Receive humbly what she may share. Ask her why sexual connection is so hard for her sometimes. She may not exactly know why so see if any of the reasons offered here resonate with her. Chances are she has some other reasons that are bogging her down.
Prayer: Father, help us to step into this tension instead of avoiding it altogether. To resolve these conflicts in a healthy and faithful way. Allow us wives to step out of our own shoes and into those of our husbands and vice versa. None of this happens without You and You are using it all to refine us in Your image. Thank You for marriage and for the things we are learning here. Amen.
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