In one of my earliest posts here, I wrote this:
I began to read about the great joy that comes with a good sex life. I was seeing models of what could be, and I began to want some of that. Instead of trying to make changes because what I’d been doing wasn’t working, I began to make changes because I wanted some of the joy that people were describing.
This is the reason for my blog’s tag line: Learning to Dance with Desire.
It’s a dance that began in childhood.
Do you remember playing as a child?
I played with Fisher Price toys, Barbies, dolls, roller skates (the old-fashioned kind that strap onto your shoes), and my bike. My friends and I pretended to be rock stars and fans, using our back step as a stage. We caught lightening bugs after dark. We played board games inside on rainy days. We built snow forts in the winter and splashed in wading pools in the summer.
When it came to playing, my favorite thing to do was to be on my swing set. Other things were fun, but it was on my swing set that I experienced the most freedom.
I could swing high, pumping and kicking my legs so hard that on the backswing my eyes lifted higher than the bar across the top. Going forward, I could launch myself off the swing. Sometimes I ended up with sore legs or skinned knees, but in between the launching and the landing, I thought I could fly. It was worth the scrapes and bruises.
I was quite at home on top of the swing set, too. I would sit for a while at the end, wrapping my foot around a side support while I contemplated my imaginary adventures. I would throw my leg over the top, wrap arms around my ankle, and then twirl around and around. At times I even balanced myself just right while standing on top, catching myself before I fell to the ground.
On top of my swing set, it was easy to experience far more than I could actually see. I was on a pirate ship, or flying in Wonder Woman’s invisible airplane, or watching the Olympics, or riding a horse, or watching an ocean wave while pretending I was a dolphin.
The swing set was solid and safe. I’d watched my dad anchor it to the ground, and no matter how hard I swung, kicked, or launched, I knew it was stable.
Sometimes my mom had to make me go outside. My preference often would have been to read for hours, but when I needed exercise and fresh air I would be sent outside to play. I always ended up having such a great time that at the end of the day I didn’t want to go back inside.
My imagination carried me on my adventures from the comfort and security of my swing set. I could make believe many things: if I desired it, I could imagine it. Being grounded in the physical reality of my swing set gave me the freedom to push at the edges of my childhood body and imagination.
Within the limits of my own back yard and my swing set, I experienced adventure and unbridled joy at being alive and being me.
I wanted to experience that adventure and joy, time and time again.
It was a desire to experience all that my life (or at least my back yard) had to offer, as often as I could.
Being alive felt exhilarating.
As I grew up, I lost this part of who I was. I figured it was just part of growing up. After all, in 1 Corinthians 13:11, we are told, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
I grew up, taking on responsibilities that were more like playing house with my dolls than like trying to soar from the swing my own back yard. My sense of adventure had been replaced by housework, parenting, going to work, paying bills, and coordinating the church nursery.
The habits of talking, thinking, and reasoning like an adult overwhelmed my God-given sense of wonder, joy, and fun.
This showed up most strongly in my marriage bed.
In writing here about the value of sex, I’ve encouraged you to feel compassion for your husband, who may feel emotionally disconnected from you because of sexual disconnection. I’ve shared with you some of the ways I have benefitted from tending to the sex in our marriage. I’ve written about how sex connects us with our husbands in deep and mysterious ways.
God has given us sex to accomplish good things in our marriages—to bind us into one flesh, to strengthen our connection with each other, and to allow us to participate in His creation through procreation.
These things are important.
Sex is a responsibility and a vital area of marital ministry and stewardship.
But . . .
If that is all we see, we miss out on so much of the adventure and joy God has given to us.
I never sat out in my yard, looking at the swing set, thinking to myself, Well, I suppose I should get on there and swing for a while. I really don’t want to. I guess I better just get it over with. Ten minutes should be enough time to get the job done. When my friends came over, even if I was mad at them for something, I didn’t refuse to let any of us play on the swing set. (In fact, that was where we usually worked things out.)
Yet that is exactly how I treated sex for many years in my marriage. I dreaded it. I did it because I had to. It was something to get done as quickly as possible. If I was mad at my husband, sex was definitely not going to happen.
God convicted me that my stubborn resistance to sex was contrary to His desire for me. Just like my mom used to sometimes kick me out of the house for my own good, God helped me see that working on sex was the right thing to do if I wanted to follow Him.
My earliest efforts on sex were out of obedience and compassion, not for any sense of fun or adventure.
However, the intentional effort to strengthen my marriage through sex because I knew it mattered was the very thing that helped anchor our marriage and help me see that it was a safe and stable place.
Feeling comfortable and secure in Big Guy’s arms made me feel grounded and safe. It gave me the freedom to push at the edges of my womanly body and imagination and experience a whole new level of adventure.
I found, again, the fun of exploring all that my body could do.
Within the limits of my own marriage bed and the sexual boundaries set forth in the bible, I learned again how to experience adventure and joy. It is where I know the most freedom in my marriage.
I want to experience that adventure and joy, time and time again.
It is desire.
Learning to dance with desire has made me sexually alive—and it is exhilarating.
Do you feel sexually alive? Do you have a sense of adventure, wonder, and joy in your marriage bed? Do you enjoy the dance of desire?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net