It’s like seeing my own ghost. Over the past week, in emails to me and comments on various blogs, I’ve seen the woman I used to be in the words, questions, and fears of other women.
Chris, circa early 2010
One of the by-products of my hurting marriage was that I was angry at God. I refused to go to church. I didn’t want to read my Bible. I rarely prayed–except to ask God to have my husband leave me alone about sex. My relationship with God and my relationship with my husband mirrored each other.
My husband would occasionally send me links to articles and blog posts about marriage–which meant that they were about sex. I would read them, looking for evidence that he was wrong about two things he kept insisting on:
- Sex was a problem. I wasn’t the one who was upset about my sex life; he was (although the fact that I was praying about it should’ve told me I was unhappy about something)–but he kept telling me that our sex life was a problem.
- I needed to change.
I would read the articles, and it seemed like all I was reading was sex, sex, sex. Seriously, what was with all these people? “Have more sex with your husband. It will be good for your marriage.” Of course it would, I would think. It will make my husband happy and he’ll stop complaining. But what about me? Don’t I deserve to be happy, too? Shouldn’t what’s good for the marriage also be good for me? Why do I have to be the one to suppress what I want simply so my husband can be happy? No, no, NO!
All these Christian marriage bloggers wanted to talk about was sex. Seriously, didn’t they have anything better to write about, like emotional connection, real intimacy, or controlling your sexual desires? Then again, my husband was the one who sent me the links, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Every now and then, I would look for marriage blogs on my own. If it’s a Christian blog, I thought, he’d have to agree that he was wrong. But every time I’d peruse the blogs, there it was again. Sex.
It seemed that the entire Christian blogosphere was trying to convince me that sex was a problem and that I needed to change. So I kept looking, just waiting to find one that said that sex was not an issue and that my husband was the one who needed to change.
I didn’t look every day or even every week, but it seemed that every time I visited those blogs, there was something about sex.
What is wrong with you people? I would wonder. I am not just a wife. Stop telling me that I need to let my husband into my body and be happy about it. I’m not even sure if I love my husband anymore, and you want me to let myself be his pleasure toy? You make it sound so easy, like it isn’t a huge sacrifice. All our fighting has made me too tense to even be around him,. Why do you keep telling me to have sex when sex isn’t the problem? Aargh.
Chris, circa 2013
My past haunts me. I have become the Christian marriage blogger I used to complain about. And I get the same emails and comments that I used to write in my head (I hope) just a few years ago.
So much of what I have come to know would’ve fallen on deaf ears in early 2010:
- What is best for a marriage is not always what is wanted by either spouse.
- Sex is about so much more than anybody’s orgasm. Mutually experienced sex is a uniting act. It is a physical manifestation of what happens with our lives and hearts. It unifies us in more than just body.
- After six months of my “let’s see if sex actually makes a difference” experiment, we were fighting less and smiling more. Even if I’d never experienced sexual pleasure during this time, it still would have been worth it.
- Sex isn’t the only important aspect of marriage–but it is far more important than I had been willing to believe.
I still read Christian marriage blogs, including some of the ones that used to make me so angry because they were always about sex. I’ve realized that these bloggers don’t actually write about sex very often at all–yet every time I would visit them before, it just happened to be one of the rare sex post days. Every single time. Coincidence? I think not.
Every single time I did marriage reading, I saw sex, sex, sex. But maybe these bloggers weren’t who was really trying to convince me that our sex life was a problem and that I needed to do something different.
Maybe, just maybe…it was God. He was trying to smack me with a 2×4. I was just too stubborn to pay attention.
You, circa 2013
If you keep reading marriage blogs, looking for help, wanting to rebuild your marriage, frustrated by the fact that you keep running into sex in everything you read, I can relate. If you were my friend in real life, you and I would sit down together for coffee or hot chocolate, I would take your hands and look into your eyes. And here’s what I would say, bluntly and with love:
Sweetie, you see blogs that are giving you the same message, over and over and over. Do you think it’s possible that God is trying to send you a message? You looked for help, and the answer’s right in front of you. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. It’s time to get to work. Let me know how I can help.
Are you convinced that the message you keep seeing about sex is wrong? Do you feel like you keep seeing that same wrong message about sex over and over and over in marriage resources?
If you’re getting the same message from a lot of Christian sources, well, maybe it isn’t the message that’s wrong.
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