Wednesday, January 13, 2010

from the archives: purity - loving your husband sexually

Are you in love with your husband? Not, Do you love him? I know you do. He has been around a long time, and you're used to him. He is the father of your children. But are you in love with him? How long has it been since your heart really squeezed when you looked at him? ... Why is it you have forgotten the things that attracted you to him at first? ...

Your husband needs to be told that you love him, that he is attractive to you. By the grace of God, I want you to start changing your thought pattern. Tomorrow morning, get your eyes off the toaster or the baby bottles long enough to LOOK at him. Don't you see the way his coat fits his shoulders? Look at his hands. Do you remember when just to look at his strong hands made your heart lift? Well, LOOk at him and remember. Then loose your tongue and tell him you love him.

Will you ask the Lord to give you a sentimental, romantic, physical, in-love kind of love for your husband? He will do this. (Shirley Rice, quoted in Ed Wheat, Love Life for Every Married Couple, quoted in Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal pp.41-42)

I honestly can't remember an evening I've laughed more. We were at a conference, and I was part of a small group of women gathered around a table, having the kind of coversation which only a group of women can have. People who walked past looked at us oddly, wondering what all the laughter was about, but we didn't enlighten them.

The centre of hilarity was a woman who told us (and I have no idea how the topic came up!) that she and her husband have sex every night. EVERY NIGHT! We could hardly believe what we were hearing. Most of us thought that married couples have sex, I don't know, maybe once or twice a week. What was going on here?

Amidst the astonished laughter, there were lots of questions: "Why? How did that happen? Tell us more! Your husband must be very happy!"

She explained, "That's what I thought you were supposed to do. I thought that all married couples have sex every night. So that's what we've always done."

That was the night it dawned on me - and the other women at the table - that what the world tells us - that unless both partners really want it, passionately, right now, sex is an imposition or something close to rape - is nonsense.

That was the night I stopped believing the world's lie that sex isn't loving unless both partners are in the mood. The lie that if you have sex because your husband wants to, when you don't, you're suppressing your feelings, and he is oppressing you, using you to satisfy mere bodily needs. The lie that making love from a sense of duty is unloving.

That was the night I realised that sex is one of the main ways a woman loves her husband. That instead of feeling reluctant and resentful when one of you is in the mood and the other isn't, this is an opportunity for unselfish, loving, joyful, enthusiastic self-giving. That sex is one of the ways a woman cares for her husband, protects his purity, builds his confidence, increases his happiness, and encourages intimacy in their relationship.

That was also the night that I realised the importance of Carolyn Mahaney's A's (not that I'd heard of them yet!) - being Available, Anticipatory, Attentive, Attractive, Aggressive (i.e. eager), Adventurous and (I added this one) Affectionate. Dressing the way your husband likes, sitting close to him on the couch when you watch TV in the evening, drinking a little wine if it helps you relax, planning for the evening, organising dates and nights away: these are all ways you can love your husband physically.

There was one other thing I learnt that night: that women can encourage one another to love their husbands physically. Not by sharing private stories, or gossiping about intimate details, but by keeping each other accountable. If you're good friends with a Christian woman, or mentoring a younger woman, take the time to ask if she is loving her husband sexually. Pray for one another, encourage one another, and be accountable to one another. This is one of the ways you protect and honour your friends' marriages.

One last thing: there were a lot of happy husbands, and a lot of blessed marriages, after that conference!

Carolyn Mahaney's A's are from chapter 5 in Feminine Appeal and from her talk Being Pure. There's a great discussion of this chapter and these issues in Nicole's EQUIP book club post, and 55(!) really excellent posts on the subject - including times when the wife wants it and the husband doesn't, or vice-versa - by Jess at Making Home.

images are from stock.xchng


Mrs said...

Found you through Jess at Making Home . . . well said! I am often so discouraged at the "husband bashing" I hear among my Christian friends. Thank you for reminding me that we can ENCOURAGE each other to love our husbands sexually!

However, I struggle with coming across as self-righteous whenever others begin to make snide comments about their husbands. I will be praying for a way to come across as joyful instead!

Maggie said...

I can't even come close to expressing how much I love this post! Thank you so much! Very well said. I am sharing it with many friends today. :)

Jean said...

I'm glad you found it helpful! :)

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much for your words. Wow, I didn't realise it was so simple to love our man. I tend to be so tired that lovemaking has almost become a distant memory, with children often grabbing our focus. I have always thought that 'mood' was the indicator ... gosh if I wait for that any longer who knows what state our marraige would be in. Yes, I want to love my husband, and by golly gosh I'm going to do just that! Thankyou spring rain.

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