I remember sitting in the auditorium with my jaw in my hand and my eyes bulging. I had been asked to speak on a panel with several other single women, during a conference on sexual intimacy. But between the time they asked me to participate, and the actual event, I agreed to marry my husband. As a newly engaged woman, they invited me to sit in on the sessions for married women. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Both main speakers were offering advice and practical tips on how to create time for sex and ways to keep it creative.
Their words shocked me. My husband-to-be and I were doing everything within our power to keep from having sex. Was this going to change? It didn’t seem possible. I was confident I would never face such a problem.
When Sex Feels Like a Chore
Well, then I had children. Exhausted, overwhelmed, and ashamed of the changes in my body, I would crawl into bed after the final feeding of the day and pretend to be asleep. I might offer a quick kiss to my husband before rolling over, but that was it. When the children kept coming, sexual intimacy became even more challenging. Initiating sexual intimacy with my husband felt like one more thing on the to-do list.
At times I wondered if I would ever enjoy sexual intimacy again. Without intending to, I had become like the women at the intimacy conference years ago. Delighting in sexual intimacy felt impossible.
As I prayed about my struggle, the Lord revealed the root of my problem. It wasn’t my exhaustion. My beliefs about sexual intimacy were skewed. Something needed to change.
Perhaps you also struggle to delight in sexual intimacy with your husband. Motherhood is exhausting. We’re tempted to think comfort and sleep are more important than intimacy in our marriage. But if we want to redeem sexual intimacy in the busy years of motherhood, we need more than rest, a break from our kids, or a top ten list of ways to please our husbands. As we reorient ourselves to God’s design for sex in marriage, God can renew our thoughts toward sexual intimacy. With God’s help we can ignite the fire we had in the beginning and delight in this God-given gift.
Remember Sex in Marriage is a Good Gift
Many of us enter marriage believing sex will be the pinnacle experience of our union and we’ll never want to leave the bedroom. We’re right to feel eager for it! God designed sex in marriage as a good gift and a necessary part of his plan to fill the earth (Genesis 1:27).
But God also designed sexual intimacy for enjoyment. Proverbs 5:19 instructs husbands: “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” Paul tells husbands and wives not to deprive one another of sex. He implies that both husband and wife have physical cravings for sex, which they should gratify in their marriage. In the book of Song of Solomon, we discover it’s not just the bridegroom expressing delight and passion for his bride. The bride is equally eager to delight in the shared pleasures of sexual intimacy.
Eagerness isn’t always a weary mama’s first response to sexual intimacy. Believe me, I know. Yet, as we turn our eyes away from ourselves—our circumstances, our lack of desire, our fatigue—we can find deep satisfaction in laying aside our own desires to honor and love our husbands through sexual intimacy.
When we pray about sexual intimacy, we can ask the Lord to help us remember that sexual intimacy is one of the ways God intends for our marriages to flourish. We can even ask the Lord to help us initiate sexual intimacy. It’s okay for a Christian wife to seduce her husband. Sexual intimacy is one of God’s good gifts to our marriage. God wants us to steward it well.
Remember Sex in Marriage Glorifies God
As good as sex is, it doesn’t take a professional counselor to tell us how difficult it can be to enjoy this good gift. We feel tired, busy, and paranoid. We worry someone will knock on the door, the baby will cry, or our kids will become curious about what’s happening behind closed doors. The struggles we face cause us to believe God will never make sex better.
If marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church, then when we embrace his design for marriage, God receives glory. Because sexual intimacy is part of God’s design, engaging in sex with our husbands glorifies God. God is glorified when we rely upon his strength to love our husbands in spite of our exhaustion. It glorifies God when we choose to honor our husbands, and in doing so reflect Christ’s humility.
The intimate relationship between a husband and wife points to God’s steadfast love for his people and his unwavering commitment to delight in us forever. Our response to our husbands mirrors the response God desires from us: committed and complete affection for him alone. We have the unique privilege of making much of Jesus, even in the marriage bed.
Sexual intimacy isn’t the pinnacle experience of our lives. Union with Christ is our greatest treasure, both now and for eternity. We experience a taste of the perfect union we’ll experience with God when we engage in sexual intimacy with our husbands.
So, weary Mamas, let’s trust God to reorient our beliefs about sexual intimacy. He can enable us to see sexual intimacy not as a chore, but as a good gift to enjoy. With God’s help, we can ignite the fire we felt toward our husbands in the beginning. Let’s allow sexual intimacy to light up our marriages once again.
This is Day 12 of a series: A Diligent Wife