When there were walls between my husband and me, I wasn’t able to give him the love he needed.
I wasn’t able to receive love either.
Maintaining the wall that sent the “no sex for you” message meant that I avoided accepting things that I needed.
Sore neck in need of a massage? There was no way was I going to let Big Guy touch my neck. Next thing you know, he’d be reaching around to touch my breasts. I’d rather have a sore neck than invite his sexual attention.
Need help carrying laundry? First I’d have to make sure my underwear was buried out of sight lest the sight of it trigger thoughts about my sexual parts.
Before making any requests or unburdening myself, I always counted the sexual cost. If it was likely to trigger sex, I suffered instead of expressing my need.
I never allowed my husband to take care of me because the risk of sex was too high.
One day after I wrote a post about growing in marriage during times of stress, things got a whole lot more difficult.
My husband’s car died, and I spent the following week feeling stressed in a way I haven’t felt in years.
I was on the road three to four hours every day to get us all where we need to go–driving during big city rush hour (I dislike driving even in good circumstances), in discomfort due to arthritis that makes the car uncomfortable, anxious because we were spending so much money on gas, and overwhelmed because I couldn’t see how we could afford another car.
My stress level was so high that I cried during every single drive. I was completely depleted, with nothing left to give. And at the end of the day Friday, we had to drive another 45 minutes to look at a car we had been told might be available.
My husband and I finally got home, and I barely managed to drag myself into the house.
He then said beautiful words: “Go run yourself a bath. I’m going to start dinner and then I’m going to come wash you.”
A few years ago, he likely wouldn’t have said those words because he would have expected me to respond with a negative comment about sex. If he had said them, I would have rejected the offer and made sure he realized just how exhausted and stressed and sexually unavailable I was.
But Friday night, I allowed him to minister to my exhausted body and wearied soul.
Because the walls are down, I was able to receive his offering of love. I let him help me into the tub and sat while he held me and washed me. With the walls down and the difficult sexual tension gone from our marriage, I wasn’t having to count the potential sexual cost.
I allowed my husband to wash away the weariness of my week. I received his love because the absence of walls made it easy.
Was there sexual activity involved? Well, yeah, because I welcomed it. If I hadn’t, though, our marriage is in a sexually healthy enough place that I know I could have asked for nothing beyond the bath and the request would have been honored.
And in the way God is good to us in unexpected ways, even in the midst of stress, I watched our marriage grow last week.
We spent more time together because we were in the car with each other. We listened to a podcast about marriage and had a good conversation about our marriage. We had some spicy conversations with each other. Our car worries put us together in prayer more.
In allowing my husband to minister to me when I was so depleted, I was given the gift of knowing that my husband could see into my heart and care for me in a very real way.
When I had my walls, I managed to keep the sex out most of the time. I kept out a lot of other good things, too.
Without walls, I now could fully receive the love that my husband so abundantly offered.
Love without walls is so much better.
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography atFreeDigitalPhotos.net