This is a guest post from Julie Sibert, a passionate speaker and writer on intimacy in marriage at Intimacy in Marriage. Thanks to Julie for providing these lessons, which help turn a past failure into a way to help others.
Julie says: I learned a lot more than five things from my failed marriage, but the items below have to do with discussions about sex in marriage, so I’ll stick to that topic. Here goes:
5. Hormones do matter. Libido (a Latin word meaning desire), aka “sex drive,” is governed greatly by hormones. I was on the birth control pill for a good portion of my first marriage, and had NO IDEA that it was negatively impacting my sex drive hormonally. (In layman’s terms, the pill essentially tells your body to not ovulate. The message “I want to have sex” often does not get through because if you’re not ovulating, your body instead is saying, “What’s the point?”) Now, I’m not telling you to ditch the pill; but I am encouraging you to talk with your doctor. This goes for any medications and prescriptions you and/or your husband are taking. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, “How could this medication impact my sex drive?” Additionally, if either you or your husband experiences low sex drive, consider testing for low testosterone. Both men and women have testosterone (men just have it at a much higher rate). Low testosterone obviously can impact your desire to have sex.
4. Offering my body was not optional. God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 clearly and lovingly shows that the marital commitment includes the pledge that husbands and wives will not withhold their bodies from each other. In my first marriage, I think I conveniently overlooked this, much to the detriment of our relationship. Some women ask me, “Is it ever okay to say ‘no’ to sex?” Well, sure it is, because marriage should be a place of mutual respect and kindness. But I believe “no” should be the rare exception, communicated with compassion and a tone that conveys, “not right now…but later.”
3. “Someday” never really comes. I wasn’t oblivious to our lack of sexual intimacy; I was just consistently telling myself, “We will figure this out someday.” Well, the elusive someday never really materializes on its own. Had I intentionally walked in the direction of “someday,” we likely would have overcome many of our sexual struggles.
2. Communication is what makes sex great. Honestly, my first husband and I had horrible communication about our sexual intimacy. It wan’t his fault alone and it wasn’t mine…it was a shared problem that we never really shared. It’s humbling to admit that now…to look back and see that had we made the effort to talk…really talk… not only about our struggles sexually but also about our needs and wants… sex likely wouldn’t have been such a neglected aspect in our relationship.
And the number 1 thing I learned from my failed marriage…
1. Isolating never solves anything. I knew sex was a big issue for us, but I didn’t seek out resources that could have helped me individually and us together as a couple. And let me tell you…there are a lot of Christian resources out there. If you feel alone in any of your sexual intimacy struggles or questions, staying isolated in that painful and confusing place is not going to solve anything. Consider some of the resources I have listed here. You could also ask your trusted Christian friends if they know of resources.
After my first marriage fell apart, I vowed that if the Lord were to ever bless me with marriage again, I was not going to take sexual intimacy for granted. I’m happy to report that I have never regretted that decision. Neither has my current husband. Be blessed!