Today’s blog is the sixth 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 . . .
This morning, I saw her shower and get dressed. So glorious! Would it be okay if I took a picture and made it my screensaver at work? Probably not. Don’t worry, I’ll hold that image tight in my mind. My mind wanders. Sometimes to past memories of special moments, places, or positions we’ve had together. Sometimes to places in the future, territories unexplored.
I have been exploring why my mind goes to these places. What I’ve found is while some of these thoughts are from negative influences from over the years, the root desire is openness. We want to be open to our wives, and we long for our wives to be open to us. Our sexual intimacy is a reflection of this openness. Remember, for us men, this physical act is a reflection of an emotional connection and desire. So if our wives are closed off physically in some area, we subconsciously translate this to an area where she is closed off emotionally. Although this may not be logical, there is often some relevance of truth. Remember a wife’s openness in the bedroom is driven by her level of emotional connectedness to her husband! As a result, it is very hard for our wives to just flip a switch and open up 100% to us sexually.
So what’s my point? What am I advocating?
The answer is simply this: openness
Openness between a husband and wife is the fullness of intimacy. To know and be fully known. That is beautiful. I don’t know what that looks like in your bedroom, but there is an extremely high probability that there is work to be done outside of the bedroom first.
The biggest thing we can do as husbands to foster this openness is stop thinking about sex for a minute.
Start focusing on your wife in a new way. Begin a search to discover your wife’s emotional equivalent of sex. What is it that opens her heart and creates that connection? You must work to go deeper. Find the specific activities that speak directly to her heart. Think about what “refusing, allowing, participating, and initiating” look like in her area of connection and intimacy.
My wife loves to take walks at the end of the day. I used to hate the idea and would let her go out on her own or with a kid-filled stroller (refusing). It took me far too long to realize that she was asking me to walk with her as a way to get rid of distractions and be able to just talk. She talks, thinks, and shares more effectively when she’s active and separated from the mess of the house. When I finally got wise to this, I would jump at the chance to join her (participating). When I sensed she needed to talk, I would encourage us to take a walk together (initiating). It’s been a game-changer.
Here are some next steps you can take to get there with your wife. Take it slow; you are on fragile ground!
- Get honest with yourself about your emotions and feelings about your sexual intimacy with your wife.
- Study your wife. Find her love language. Find the keys to her heart that open the door of intimacy. Pray with and for her! Don’t rush past this step. The longer you can hang out here the more effective you will be moving into the next few steps.
- Then take a giant risk of vulnerability and create a conversation with her about some of the thoughts we’ve talked about that resonate with your heart. If you can’t find the words, maybe ask her to read some of what I’ve written here. Feel free to make use of the parts that resonate!
If you can have a positive conversation about sexual intimacy in your home, it can open the door for you to challenge yourself as a couple. When you are ready, here’s something I’ve seen work more than once: ask your wife to say “yes” every time you makes a pass at her for one month. A few “allowings” are fine but ask her to try her best to “participate.”
The first time we tried this, we misunderstood the challenge. We thought we were supposed to have sex everyday for one month. Sounds awesome . . . nah. Was good for a few days, then even I wanted a break. Just be real with your desire for one month. Don’t force it and don’t hold back.
That’s it. I’m not going to tell you the results. I’m not going to promise anything. I simply think this is an experiment worth doing. Most wives find out that a few “yes’s” go a long way. After the first few days of excitement, the desire likely isn’t nearly as often as she fears.
Figuring out how to have an amazing, consistent, healthy sexual relationship can be super overwhelming. Especially if you are in a current state of refusal, drought, or closedness. Just take a step. One step in the direction you desire to go. Be courageous. It’s worth it. Your wife is the biggest gift outside of life and salvation. Your relationship is a gift.
I believe that the Kingdom needs to raise up some strong men, and strong men have amazing support in their own kingdom, their household.
I am praying for you.
Prayer: God, thank you for these lessons. Thank you for constantly guiding us through the tough times when it feels like nothing matters but the pains and hardships we face. Thank you for bringing us through those circumstances and for the lessons learned. Help us as men to grasp these concepts at an integral level. That we wouldn’t merely just read this, but absorb it and allow ourselves to grow from it and from you. Amen.
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