Recently I asked in an email what a woman thinks a healthy sexual relationship looks like in a Christian marriage–and then I got thinking about how important that question really is.
I would challenge you to really think about it. What is healthy–for you, for your husband, and for your marriage? How does your current sexual relationship compare to what a healthy sexual relationship can and should look like?
After our sexual relationship had begun to transform, I noticed that our kids (all older teens by then) had begun to show fewer signs of stress and seemed more secure about a lot of things in our family life despite my husband’s unemployment at the time. I figured, “Hey, the kids benefit from their parents having a more solid marriage. How about that? When the parents have more sex, the kids benefit.”
I’ve wondered, though, what legacy we gave them since they saw some really tough years between us. I am so thankful that we made changes while they all still lived at home so they could see first-hand that people can change. I pray that my sons have learned something of how to treat a woman and that my daughter has learned she is precious and deserves to be treated as such by a man.
What we show our children of a healthy sexual relationship (the surface parts that are appropriate for them to see, such as kisses, looks, whispers, and any indication that their parents have a shared private life that excludes them) gives them the tools to combat society’s overwhelming messages about what a sexual relationship is.
Everybody knows (and by “everybody,” I mean various media and conversations that happen when kids overhear) that once you’re married, the sex goes downhill so you need to get a lot in before you marry. This is the message our kids are hearing. Does your marriage counteract that message, or does your marriage provide evidence that the message is valid?
I listened to my twins the other day as they talked about people they knew from school whose high school relationships had resulted in pregnancy. Some of these same kids are ones I’d heard about when they were in middle school, making out and giving oral sex. Does your marriage show that there is an even better path?
If we want our kids to get a message other than the one society sends, we need to speak our message more loudly–and our actions speak more loudly than our words. Significantly, what our kids see gives them tools to combat not only society’s general stereotype about married sex but also the pervasive effects of porn.
Our legacy can protect or damage. A couple distressing articles have come to my attention recently. In “Generation Porn,” we learn about how sexual response and relationship expectations are damaged by young viewing of porn. If that isn’t scary enough, “Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex” shows us how young kids are when they are first exposed to porn.
Both of these articles make it very clear that porn and other media shape boys’ and girls’ expectations of what normal sex is like, what a relationship is, and how a woman’s body should look.
I hear from so many women who have body image issues; what are we all doing to help our daughters and our future daughters-in-law be in marriages where “normal” isn’t based on an air-brushed caricature with lots of takes?
You’ve probably heard of Miley Cyrus’s performance at the recent VMA show. Most of us will probably agree that the performance was inappropriate and embarrassing. Amidst all the verbal smack-downs I was seeing in media coverage and in my Facebook feed, I realized that her performance made me think of a little girl, doing a caricature of porn.
I began to wonder about the messages of sexuality, relationship, and self-respect that she has absorbed from society. My kids are all close in age to her. While I would like to think they haven’t been exposed to many of those same messages, I know they have. (And if you think your kids haven’t, read the articles I linked to a couple paragraphs up.)
What is it going to take for you to decide to make changes in your sexual relationship with your husband? Your kids (and the kids of your relatives, friends, neighbors, and congregation) are being exposed to society’s messages about married sex being boring and that porn sex is what intimacy looks like.
Is your marriage one that overpowers this message? What kind of legacy will your marriage leave?