When I was writing Cherish, I’d ask wives how they wanted to be cherished. If you poured a cup of coffee right away, it would be room temperature by the time most of them stopped talking. When I’d ask men how they like to be cherished, the most common answer was, “Do you want the PG version or the real answer?”
The reality is that many husbands won’t feel cherished if they are not sexually pursued. Sometimes, the husband needs to change a few things so the wife can safely pursue him—but sometimes, wives can address ways to build their own libidos. No man feels cherished with mere “duty sex.” He wants to see in his wife’s eyes and even sexual hunger, “He is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend.” Song of Songs 5:16
My friend Sheila Wray Gregoire writes a marvelous blog primarily directed toward women, though I have steered many a husband her way. I’m delighted that she has released an online video course that will help wives who want practical advice for boosting their libido. Sheila has been talking and writing about this for years, and her husband is a doctor. She mixes the medical with the practical in a fun and inspiring way. Talks are already underway about Sheila and I touring together, speaking about sexual intimacy in marriage—that’s the confidence I have in her, her marriage, and the content of her message.
Here’s Sheila’s story, and what she’s offering:
Are you Settling for Something that God Never Meant for You to Settle for?
Every night when I was a little girl, I would drift off to sleep dreaming of one day being married to a man who would make me feel safe. An only child of an amazing single mother, I still desperately needed to know that I was loved and that my life wouldn’t be uprooted again.
I wanted stability. I wanted, in Gary’s words, to be cherished.
I’ve been married for twenty-five years now, and I can attest with every fiber of my being that I am, indeed, very safe.
But I’ve also learned that safe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The reason that I’m happy with my husband today is not because I’m safe; the reason I’m happy with my husband is that together, we’re living an adventure.
Sometimes in our quest for safe we forget to live. We’re trying so hard to avoid anything bad that we forget to let the good in, too.
We know there’s such a thing as holy contentment–the sentiment that the Apostle Paul conveyed in Philippians 4:12:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I believe, though, that there’s also a thing called holy discontentment, even in our marriage. It doesn’t mean that we’re unhappy with our mate. It’s that we feel that we’re missing something important that God had for us. We know that He created us for more, and we’ve been settling. And we have a thirst for God’s passion to be more real in our lives, so that we stop playing it safe and start really living.
Nowhere do I see this as much in women’s experiences as in the area of sexual intimacy. Many of us are content to put sex on the back burner, every now and then consenting in order to give our husbands a break, but not truly experiencing passion ourselves. Maybe we figure we weren’t made for it. Maybe we figure it will never feel that good anyway. Maybe we figure we have too many other things on our minds and it’s too much work to make sex feel awesome.
Now, I know many of you are throwing yourselves into anything but sex because you’re the one with the higher sex drive. In 30% of marriages, it is the woman who wants sex more, not the husband, and your biggest question is why doesn’t your husband want to make love? Others have been so wounded because of your husband’s pornography use that sex has become ugly. For you, I am sincerely sorry, and I pray that you will be able to get others around you to hold him accountable and to help you both restore what has been broken.
But for those of us who have just given up, let me ask this Valentine’s season–are you settling for something that God never meant for you to settle for? Are you giving up too easily, and losing out on the life that God meant for you?
Before I got married I dreamt about sex. A LOT. I pictured us spending Saturday mornings in bed every week, just enjoying each other. But then we got married and I realized that sex was work. It didn’t always feel that great. I was often so tired. And for me to be able to enjoy it, I had to be able to concentrate (no one ever tells us women that!). If I had a headache, or was worried about something, or had too much on my to do list, then sex flew out the window.
Somewhere along the line, though, passion did, too. Our lives became work and housework and shuttling the kids to music lessons and to church clubs and to sitting down at night to watch Netflix and to knit my eighth pair of socks this year. Not that there’s anything wrong with knitting socks, mind you. But life became a routine.
The more content we get with normal, the less we yearn to be part of the big passion story that God is writing in our world. God is a passionate God. He’s creative to the extreme. He’s jealous. He gets angry, but also rejoices over us with singing. He is the furthest thing from mediocre or boring. As C.S. Lewis said, “He’s not a tame Lion, you know.”
When we settle for tame in our marriage we often tame God, too. Our sexuality and our spirituality are linked, because they get to the core of who we are. We have been created to know so intimately and to be known so intensely. God chose to use sex as the metaphor and vehicle by which we would partly understand His passion for us. The sexual imagery in the Bible is awfully blatant.
During those years in my marriage when I put sex on the backburner, then, it’s hardly surprising that I often ended up putting God there, too. When I couldn’t be carried away and a little out of control with Keith, it was hard to let God take control and to be overcome with His goodness, too.
Passion is of God. And passion is expressed in so many ways–in worship; in our heart for the world; in our love for our kids. But also, most definitely, in the bedroom. And when we let passion die in one area, it often dies in all.
Perhaps this Valentine’s Day it’s time to awaken passion. I’ve created a “Boost Your Libido” course for women like me who have been living very safe lives, and want more. Maybe God isn’t just calling you to more passion with Him, but also to more passion with your husband. That part of you can be reawakened, and when it is, it’s amazing to see what God can do with the rest of our lives, too!
Boost Your Libido is a super practical 10-module online course (with video!) that will help women understand what libido is, the roles our brains and bodies play in libido, and how to escape from a boring sexual rut in our marriages. The modules build on each other step-by-step, so you can start seeing immediate results! We don’t need to settle for safe.
Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 25 years and happily married for 20. The author of nine books, including The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, she blogs almost everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum!