Sanctuary

What becomes possible when you work on sex?

When wives begin the journey to change their approach to sex, they often see a tall mountain, seemingly unscalable.

The journey itself looks intimidating. How do you start? What does it actually mean to “work on sex”? How do you go about changing from “the way things have been” into . . . what, exactly? Is there a chance that any of this will ever make a difference?

I’d like to give you a small glimpse into what might be waiting for you when you travel this journey.

For many years, our marriage bed was a difficult place for both of us.

It saw very little love-making and plenty of wall-building. Big Guy learned that it was risky to reach out to me. He became accustomed to feeling rejected. What kind of man is so undesirable that his own wife doesn’t want to have sex with him?

I felt like little more than a sex object, and I felt like a total failure as a woman. What kind of woman is so unlovable that her own husband doesn’t want to hold her and listen to her?

Our bed was the source of so much tension and loneliness in our marriage, for both of us. It was where we each felt that tension and loneliness most keenly.

Going to bed was never simple or easy. He would try to time his bed time around what I was doing for the evening and whether I’d given clear keep-away signals or had been nice to him. He anticipated his bedtime plans according to my mood and whether he thought he had a chance. If he didn’t, it was easier to go to bed at a different time than me.

I planned my bed time according to whether he’d been hinting about sex. If he’d been dropping hints, I made sure to go to bed super early or stay up extra late. If we’d had sex the night before, I figured I was safe.

We had so many arguments in our marriage bed—about sex, about each other’s failings, about parenting, about everything. We rarely communicated in a way that either of us felt heard.

The only time we showed our hearts to each other in bed was when we were desperate—and all we showed was heart pain.

Our bed wasn’t a place of comfort or emotional safety for either one of us.

I couldn’t imagine that our marriage bed could possibly be anything different.

Having realized how much I’d hurt my husband in the years of denying him genuine sexual intimacy, I didn’t figure I deserved much from him. But once God showed me the truth of what I had done, I knew I needed to begin to the steep journey up that unscalable mountain.

When I began to work on sex, all I saw in front of me was the mountain. I couldn’t begin to imagine what I would see at the top (if I ever got there). I had no clue that there might be something on the other side of that mountain worth reaching for.

I saw the journey in front of me with no sense of what our marriage bed could become.

It didn’t occur to me that someday our bed could become a place of comfort and connection.

I didn’t expect that my husband would ever value me for more than sex. I certainly didn’t expect that he might actually express that to me.

I desperately wanted my husband to show me the tender part of his heart—but I didn’t think that was likely.

But . . . here we are.

My husband has faced a great deal of stress over the past several months. He is weary. He is sad. He goes out into the world to shoulder heavy burdens.

I offer comfort, although I usually can’t tell that it makes much difference.

But now I know.

Last night, Big Guy told me something simple, soul-deep, and heart-baring:

Our bed is the best place in his life.

Being there with me is where he feels most safe.

Our marriage bed once was the source of so much tension and loneliness.

Now it is his sanctuary.

My friends, I think I am on the other side of the mountain.

It is beautiful here.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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12 Comments on “Sanctuary”

  1. I really liked this touching post.

    I know that you don’t have a history of abuse in your marriage but I was wondering what did the arguments look like during that time period in your marriage? We’re they really heated where you both yelled and screamed at each other and blamed each other for everything? Where do you draw the line between run of the mill agruments and when a line is crossed and it becomes abusive?

    1. I don’t know enough about abuse to be able to describe where the line is. I’d like to be able to say that it is abuse if the person being abused says it is–but I know that is not the case. Many abused spouses don’t recognize that they are experiencing abuse.

      I would say that if either person is anxious or nervous about being in the other’s presence, that isn’t a good sign. If either person is afraid, that is probably a sign of abuse.

      Our fights were arguments. They were heated, with yelling, screaming, and accusations. I occasionally threw things and slammed doors.

  2. I’m celebrating with you, Chris. So happy for you both to have found this intimacy together. And how interesting that for someone who has made as much progress as you have, not to realise how Big Guy was feeling about it. Bless you bless you bless you and thank you for all that you’re sharing. There’s hope for us all for the walls to come crashing down.

    1. I knew he felt positively about our marriage bed, but I didn’t know he felt quite this positively. What struck me the most was the fact that he was able to express it to me. It showed me that he feels safe with me and that he is letting me see into his heart more. There is hope for us all in Christ.

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