So far in this Making Sexual Changes series, I’ve talked about understanding how we got to the beginning of this journey of change and the process of beginning the journey. Today I’d like to wrap it up by talking about what you can actually do in those first steps.
You’ve prayed, you’ve found your courage, and you’re ready to take your first sexual step—but what should it be?
What to Do?
You may know right off the bat what you need to work on, and your approach may be to just deal with the first thing that presents itself.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the prospect of making these changes, though, it can help to have some help guiding the process.
1. Make a list of some specific things you want to change.
You may find it best to make the list long enough that you have several things to choose from but not so long that it overwhelms you. Include small steps, big steps, and maybe one huge leap. Consider the things your husband has complained about, things you enjoyed early in your marriage, and things you’ve imagined would be nice to be able to do. My list included the following: agree to sex without rolling my eyes, touch between his legs, stop covering my breasts when he was around, and participate during sex instead of lying there.
2. Pick one thing and decide to do it. Whatever you choose, it is the doing that is important, not what order you have for things. Consider the following as you think about what to do for that first step.
- Some women choose something difficult for their first step. I decided that the first real thing I would work on was to try to participate during sex. I chose this for two reasons. One was that it was the thing Big Guy had complained about the most. I figured that working on this would have a bigger impact on my marriage right up front than just about anything else would. The other reason was that it was harder for me than the other things on my short list. I figured that if I could do this, everything else would seem easy in comparison.
- Other women do better by starting with something easy. This is a great idea if you are a testing-the-waters kind of gal. Choose something small enough that it won’t feel overwhelming. Accomplishing that one small thing can give you the confidence to tackle the next thing on your list. By the time you get to the harder stuff, you’ll have a nice momentum built up that can boost your efforts.
- Be mindful of how your husband might experience your efforts. For many of us, not all our effort is visible to our husbands because it is internal. We take deep breaths, we recite encouraging verses and God’s truth about sex in our heads, and we do the mental gymnastics necessary to get us to do the very things we’ve fought for so long. It is a kindness to make at least one of those early steps something that your husband can actually see. He may be frustrated by what he sees as slow progress or no progress. You can set his mind at ease by doing something he can see or experience directly.
3. Break it down. If it is a big step, consider breaking it into several smaller steps. For instance, if one of the changes you want to make is to be able to have sex with the lights on, you could break it into small steps like have sex with one candle lit, have sex with three candles lit, have sex with Christmas tree lights or a bathroom light on, and so on.
Ready, Set, Go!
After you’ve decided what that first step will be, give yourself a day to prepare.
Pray for the courage, grace, wisdom, and peace you need. Mentally practice if necessary, imagining yourself doing what you’ve decided on. If you have some alone time, you can practice saying the words out loud so you hear how they sound. If your first step is to wear a sexy nightgown, try it on. Pray some more.
When the time arrives . . . do whatever it is you’ve decided on.
Many of us find that anticipating the effort is much more exhausting than the effort itself. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily easy or that it will go great—but you may find it easier than you expect. The great thing is that the next time you try it will be even easier.
Things may go great and leave you wondering why you hadn’t been doing it for years.
If you’re anything like me, though, things may not seem to go so great.
My first sexual step was to be more engaged and participatory during sex. Before my decision to change, my habit was to lie there, make the moves that would get the fastest results, and close my eyes and mentally go over my to-do list until it was over.
I’d like to share what happened the first time I tried to be fully engaged after I decided to work on sex.
I lay there, made the moves that would get the fastest results, and I closed my eyes—and instead of going over my to-do list, I told myself over and over, This is my husband. This is good. Sex is good for our marriage. Big Guy loves me. I am going to figure this out. Please help me God.
Everything was exactly the same except for one thing—my thoughts. I actively thought about the journey on which I was embarking.
It didn’t look any different from the outside, but I was successful. For the first time, I was intentional about sex with my husband. I didn’t accomplish my goal, but I had made a genuine effort and I did something differently. I had taken my first step.
It took several more times before I could fully engage in sex with my husband. It was weeks before I was able to do so automatically, and several more weeks before I felt really comfortable with this new version of me.
What if you find yourself hyperventilating and chickening out halfway into your first step? Pat yourself on the back for trying. Even without visible success, you took a step. Sometimes that is a huge act of courage.
Give yourself another day or two to prepare. Think about that moment when you gave up. Imagine yourself responding differently the next time. Practice. Pray for peace when that moment comes again. Then give it another go. If it takes you five times before you can get through it without giving up, it’s okay.
What Really Matters
What matters is that you persevere. Don’t let panic throw you off your game. Instead, use it to better understand the challenge you are facing and prepare to address it.
If you find yourself stuck in the same spot for a long time, it’s okay to ask for help. Talk with a pastor, a counselor, or a wise wife with a strong marriage.
Remember what the bible says:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Improving your marriage is a right and holy thing. 1 Corinthians 7 tells us not to deprive each other in our marriages. God smiles upon your efforts toward this goal.
Your first step may be a huge leap of faith, or it may be a small step that is barely perceptible. It may go great the first time, or it may take multiple attempts and weeks of continuing effort.
No matter what your first step is or how it goes, remember that God is with you.No matter what your first step is or how it goes, remember that God is with you. Click To Tweet
Do you need some more encouragement as you begin this journey? Write out these verses and post them where you will see them every day.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6
My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. Job 23:11
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
“And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.” Judges 18:6
May God bless your journey to renovate your marriage.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Part 1 of the series: Making Sexual Changes: What Is Your Story?
- Part 2 of the series: Making Sexual Changes: Swimming into the Waters of Change