Okay, okay….I know you might be thinking, “Really, Charise, you are really going to go there?”. Well, yes….I am. This is not easy for me but I aim to be real and yet still keep this totally appropriate. So, prayerfully, here we go…..
God created sex. Sex is meant to be satisfying and fulfilling. When we take God out of the picture it isn’t as satisfying, rich and wonderful as it was meant to be. Sex is spiritual. Sex is powerful. God created sex to be pleasurable. YOU are a sexual being and that is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Sex is a gift from God. You are allowed to enjoy it and you still can as you endure health issues.
There are so many aspects of life that lead to a wonderful sex life and I won’t go into all of them but I will share some things that have been incredibly helpful in my life.
The first one is prayer! Prayer, prayer and more prayer! Yes, friends, we can pray about sex and God cares. He wants you to be fulfilled by your spouse and your spouse to be satisfied by you. God has given you enough within your marriage to produce satisfaction. Pray about the struggles. Pray about your body working properly. Pray about every intimate detail of your sexual desires or lack thereof. Pray! Pray for your spouse and pray for yourself!
The second thing is guard your mind! You don’t need romance novels, sexual and romantic movies, pornography or anything of the sort to help with your sexual intimacy. If you read the research, it shows that people who participate in the aforementioned items are less satisfied with their sex lives. That’s because the real thing is the only thing that is truly fulfilling. Guard your mind from thoughts about other people in a romantic, emotional or physical way. Think positive thoughts about your spouse. Think the best of him or her. If you choose to think ten positive things about your spouse today and communicate some of those things to your spouse throughout the day, I guarantee you will be much more inclined to desire sexual intimacy with him. If, however, you think of the negative aspects or assume the negative in his behavior, you will most likely push away from your spouse and will further drive a wedge between you two.
The third thing is communication! You MUST communicate with your spouse about life and struggles, joys and dreams. You must make time (I’ll go into that next) to talk with your spouse about emotions and feelings. If I am feeling incredibly fatigued or emotionally fragile I am quick to let my spouse know so that he can be sensitive to that. I might need more help around the house or with the kids or I might need some time to myself. I MUST communicate that to my spouse! I cannot be angry with my spouse if I have not communicated with him about these areas. You must communicate about your sexual struggles as well. If you are sensitive or if areas on your body (due to illness or other reasons) are more sensitive, talk to your spouse so he is aware. This is a must. If you are struggling with communicating, please pray through this with a trusted friend and I highly encourage you to seek a counselor if the issues seem to be deep rooted. We are relational beings created to communicate. God created us to have deep, intimate fellowship and the greatest person we should have that with is our spouse.
Fourth, make time to connect. Friends, you have to schedule your life well. Don’t fill your schedule full to where your most important relationship(s) are neglected. During the summer months I experience greater fatigue. I have to plan well. I make sure I get rest so that I am more mentally and physically present for my husband. I try to take some time to feel more fresh and alive so that he feels loved. My husband and I don’t have cable T.V. but we do watch Netflix or a movie together once or twice a week. There are nights we play games together (via the Wii U or card games, etc). There are nights we just sit and talk over a cup of coffee and chocolate or a smoothie. These are all ways that we connect. Then we have nights, like tonight that he does his thing and I do mine. We also make it a habit to go to bed together. This way we can connect while getting ready for bed and laying in bed. We also take time to pray together. These habits keep us stay connected. When we form good habits, we can quickly tell when we are getting disconnected and we need to reconnect.
The fifth recommendation is very important as well but often overlooked. Choose your foods wisely and keep your body moving. Believe me, it is easy to run through the drive thru when you aren’t feeling well and it is easy to lounge when your body hurts but you are actually causing pain to increase and your cells to decrease in positive growth. You are only getting yourself more sick and lowering your sex drive. Eat foods rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Choose to get out for a walk or swim in a pool to get your body moving. My choice of exercise is Pilates and/or a stationary exercise bike. My legs may be hurting so bad but getting on the exercise bike increases my overall strength and helps me to push through the pain.
And now time for sexual intimacy. When you have done the other few tips, it is much easier to WANT to do this step. It is so vital for your marriage my friends. I am speaking from painful experiences after child birth and then with M.S. being numb from the ribs down and well….so much more that I would rather not share here. I have endured much pain and discomfort but always communicated and always pressed through. 100% Primrose oil is a God send. It is far better than any fake lubricant. Spontaneity is vital and so is spicing things up with lingerie, different techniques or changing atmospheres. If one position makes you uncomfortable, find another one that works. You will grow together and really, this experience draws you closer. The spouse who is healthy will need to exhibit God patience and gentleness but health issues does not mean that your sex life has to end, nor does it mean that you can’t enjoy sexual intimacy.
You must make time to be intimate. With little ones and crazy schedules, some people find that bedtime is not an ideal time for them to be intimate and they get creative with the times they choose sexual intimacy. For others, it is at bedtime. Either way, make time! Communicate to your spouse that tonight is the night and then make every effort to be ready for it. When you experience pain or fatigue, sometimes that doesn’t always work either but make time to be available to your spouse and pray through hell and fire that you are able to be present and enjoy it yourself too! God does bless the process and He blesses the willingness.
If you are struggling in some of these areas, here are some resources to read:
“Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage” This was a great resource when we first got married and is still on our book shelf as a great resource.
“The Gift of Sex” This is a referral from a highly trusted source. I hear it is “the best” resource for sex and sexuality. It is on my “need to read” list.
The book Song of Solomon in the bible speaks of great intimacy. Take time to read and see how pure and desirable sex within marriage really is.
I also highly recommend counseling if there are deep issues of mistrust, abuse, pain during intercourse,etc. There is help out there and YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I encourage you to check out Focus on the Family’s website. There are great articles that can help and you can find a counselor through their website as well. The American Association of Christian Counselors is another great resource.
Please know that I am praying for you in your journey towards healthy sexuality in health and in sickness!