Sometimes I think marriage and sexuality bloggers give the impression that we have figured it all out, that we are knocking the roof off the rafters every time we make love, that we spend our evenings groping our spouses and writhing in ecstasy.
Not so, my fair friends.
I have a lot figured out--especially when compared to misperceptions I once had--but to my knowledge, no one ever has life completely figured out this side of heaven. We are still flawed humans with daily challenges and emotional obstacles to oneness in our marriages. Sometimes I feel like my husband and I aren't exactly one flesh--more like 1 1/4, with a little selfishness still hanging out around the edges. Yet I do believe that we come very close to that total connection when we are sexually intimate.
So what do we struggle with? I bet someone out there can relate.
Time. We recently had a discussion that went a little like this:
Spock (aka hubby): Save a little of that for me tonight.
J: I have book club tonight, and our kid has that activity. Remember? How about tomorrow morning?
Spock: Got an early meeting.
J: Tomorrow night our family is going to the game, and then the next morning I'm doing that 5k and having lunch with friends after.
Spock: So Saturday afternoon?
We were scheduling to have sex more than 48 hours in advance! But sometimes, that's exactly what we do. We make it a priority to put our sex life on the calendar. It's a little frustrating when you want to jump your spouse now, but life interferes such that you can't do it until next Tuesday. However, next Tuesday is better than never, and you get something special to look forward to. Also, when a friend or event threatens to disrupt your sex schedule, you can say with a big grin, "Sorry, my hubby and I have plans."
Different drives. We're not a straightforward couple on this one. I'd say our drives were well-matched early in marriage, then he was the higher drive spouse, and now I'm the higher drive spouse. Whenever there is an imbalance, there is a bit of challenge working that out. For instance, one spouse can feel rejected a little, and the other can feel badgered a little. "Yes, I know that my hubby desires me," you say, "but why doesn't he desire me more?" or simply "Again already?"
There are two positive ways to handle this from what I've seen: (1) The lower drive spouse throws their hat in the ring and chooses to gear up after the lovemaking starts. Maybe they weren't interested, but they might be once the foreplay gets really fun. or (2) Each spouse gives a little. The higher drive spouse has a little less sex than they dream about, and the lower drive spouse has a little more.
In case you're wondering, we're probably a hybrid of those two options. But what isn't an option is the lower drive spouse saying, "Get off me, you sex-crazed lunatic!" That isn't in the Marriage Manual. Seriously. Look.
Awkwardness. Let's just say that in a recent lovemaking session, someone in my marriage farted. Yeah, it's really hard to recover from that. I don't think that's ever been in a love scene in a romantic comedy.
No matter how well you know your spouse, you do still want to look and feel sexy in the moment. And having sex makes you so vulnerable. Things can happen in your bedroom, especially after making love thousands of times, that you don't expect, that might be funny if they were in a comedy movie, but that make you feel uber-awkward in the moment. Slamming your head on the foot board, a part of your body falling off the bed, farting (I pray that it never happens to you), etc. are not once--I tell you, not once!--described in the poetry of Song of Songs. Because if you did try to make it poetry, it would sound something like this:
My lover and I were in the throes of passion
When all of the sudden, someone started gassin'
His face turned red, my face turned ashen
We couldn't help it, we both started laughin'.
Body Image. I recently talked about how frustrated I am with my aging body. I ain't 20 anymore. I can no more bounce a coin off my tummy than I could run a marathon, twice. In fact, I think there's a penny still lost in the folds of my belly from last month.
Not really, of course. I'm not in terrible shape, but I do have misgivings about my beauty. Sometimes it isn't so much the expectations thrust at us by media or the dieting crazes that surround us, but rather my own desire to be everything I can be for my husband. I want to look hot! For him. I want him to gaze at my nakedness and be unable to see that any part of me is, well, ick.
I have to remind myself that he is quite happy with what's there, even recently scoring big points by telling me there was simply "more to love." As he was stroking my belly like I was five months pregnant at the time, I was reasonably convinced. (I don't think anything in there kicked him.) The vast majority of husbands desire their wives even with our imperfections. By the way, those hubbies who don't even when their wives are trying, please stand in the line to the right and you will soon be helped by the You Need Slapping Department.
Of course, we should take care of our bodies! It's not fair to our hubbies to come into marriage looking like a super- or plus-size model and fifteen years later frumping around in sweats and seventy extra pounds. We should want to look good for our husbands, and we should want to take care of the bodies God gave us.
However, what I hear all too often is women who are trying and feel like they are failing because they don't look 20 anymore or they don't look like the woman on the magazine. I know that feeling. It still scratches at my window sometimes. But I draw the curtains, strip down, and let my husband show me how much he likes my body.
So how is your sex life still not perfect? What have you learned along the way that has improved your marital intimacy? What challenges do you regularly deal with and how do you deal?
The last of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association (CMBA) Half-Marathon Blogging Challenge links. Here's what I found in the last few days that may interest HHH readers:
The Generous Husband: 13 Ways to Have More Sex. Paul Byerly writes for the guys, but this list is great! Husbands wanting to find the manual for getting their wives engaged in sex might want to start here.
Intimacy in Marriage: To Cuddle or Not to Cuddle after Sex? What Do You Prefer? Julie Sibert points out that spouses often don't approach post-sex time the same way. What to do?
Journey to Surrender: Intimacy Challenge - Day 11. Scott talks about the importance of confidence in marital intimacy and gives specific tips for acting with confidence in your relationship.
Mission: Wife: Sexual Satisfaction Survey: The Results Are In! Part 2. Valerie returns with the second half of responses for what husbands wish their wives knew about sex.
One Flesh Marriage: Help, My Husband Doesn't Want Sex! and My Wife Hates Sex. Kate and Brad Aldrich address the question of what to do when your spouse doesn't want sex. The interesting thing is that this is the #1 question they get from readers. There is so much pain out there in sexless marriages.
Sex Within Marriage: CMBA 1/2 Marathon Finished. Jay Dee wraps up the series with how the blogging challenge went and a list of links to his blog posts. Interestingly enough, he got 525 hits through this blog. Hope you found something there that blessed you or made you think.
To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Bloggers Are People Too. This is not about sexuality in marriage per se, but Sheila's post about what it's like to be a marriage blogger was so awesome that I wanted to share it.