A pile of pea gravel sits at the bottom of our steps, and every day the pile grows little by little. The gravel comes from our oldest daughters shoes. Each day she takes them off and slowly empties out the gravel onto the floor.
The sounds of these pebbles can be heard reverberating through our home.
Though we regularly ask her why she doesn’t take her shoes off after recess and empty them back onto the playground she responds that they don’t bother her. Don’t bother her!?! She has rocks in her shoes for crying out loud, how can that not bother her? Apparently the rocks just seem to find the cracks and cervices in her shoes where they don’t cause immediate pain and therefore she ignores the problem. She doesn’t take the extra step required to end the pain and discomfort.
For some couples, the subject of sex is just like this. Every time the subject of sex comes up in conversation it causes some discomfort for at least one person in the marriage relationship.
Words are spoken but not heard.
Feelings take precedent over rational solutions.
Loving suggestions become ultimatums.
All of these things are like rocks. A simple conversation about having sex turns into a fight. When this occurs, many couples talk about and participate in sexual intimacy less often. Not only that, but sex seems to find its way into places in the marriage where it causes less direct pain and can be largely ignored. The male or female will find a way to fulfill their sexual desires while maintaining the “more important” marital aspects of commitment, faithfulness, and priorities. Not so fast, sex matters.
It may not be the only thing that matters, but it matters.
So, how does one begin to remove the “rocks” in your sexual relationship? How can you discuss sex without a huge fight?
1. Set up a neutral time to talk about sex.
Not talking about the problem is NOT a solution. If you or your spouse have differences of opinion in this area, you have to talk it through. It you’re not able to work out an amicable solution yourselves, then feel free to seek the wisdom of a counselor. But it must be talked about.
Wives: If your husband isn’t being sexually fulfilled, he will find a negative way to satisfy those cravings.
Husbands: If your wife isn’t being sexually fulfilled, she will flirt with others to reassure herself that she is sexually attractive.
Neither of these solutions are good for the marriage. Find a time to talk about it, and talk about it. Our advice: get child care and hash it out for 2-3 hours. When it’s all said and done, you may have a great time having “make-up sex”. And when that’s done, you may wonder why you ever fought about sex to begin with!
2. Begin working on your marriage outside the bedroom.
Sometimes sex isn’t happening because your friendship and emotional intimacy is not strong. This is just as likely for men as it is for women. So take opportunities to spend as much time with each other as possible.
Wives: He wants to know just how much you appreciate all he does for the family. He wants to hear that you still find him attractive. He wants to hear more about what he’s doing right than what he’s doing wrong. He wants to hear more, “thank you for _________ today” more than he wants to hear, “I need you to ___________ today.” He wants to know that you care more about him than the stuff he does.
Husbands: She needs to hear that she’s attractive. She hears this not only in words, but in time spent with her. When you spend time with her, she is constantly reminded that you chose HER over every other woman on earth. She wants to hear this, both verbally and non-verbally. The more time you spend with her, the more she knows you find HER as the post important part of your life.
The simplest solution to communicating these things is to spend more time together. If your lives are nearly as crazy as ours, here are a couple of suggestions. 1) Stop watching television, and talk about something instead. Yes, we know guys generally hate this. But maybe the conversation can be about sports. Maybe you can each listen to a podcast on a subject HE is interested in and talk about what you liked / didn’t like / understood/didn’t understand about it. Take a Saturday to do something together that you both would be interested in doing. It’s not brain surgery, but it does take some thinking and some work. But this work will benefit the marriage, and most certainly your sex lives will benefit as well.
3. Understand that your spouses needs may be different than yours.
Wives: He really may need to have sex every other day, or sometimes 4-5 times a week. And receiving this from you may be the one thing that causes him to forget about the rest of life’s worries.
Husbands: She may have emotional needs to be satisfied sexually more than you. You may think, “I told you I loved you…and I still do!” but she still needs to be SHOWN that you love her. She wants to know that you desire her, not your work. She wants to know you desire her, not the ballgame. She wants to know you desire her, not the video game.
Inevitably, this is what leads to many arguments over sex…one person has a larger sex drive than their spouse. Each spouse must come to the understanding that their spouses drive is different. Take time to understand these differences and then commit to working it out.
As the small pile of rocks at our doorstep grows larger and larger, we cannot help but think of the number of days our daughter has walked with some form of discomfort. Likewise, we cannot help to think of how many marriages are regressing due to different opinions on sex. Take opportunities to remove the rocks. Live with the knowledge that sex is an important part of marriage. Removing the rock will make things not only more comfortable for your spouse, but for you as well.