Living Your True Self
I recently attended a workshop about discovering and embracing your true self. It was an eye opening, and amazingly confirming and transforming experience. It was incredible to feel the difference when you truly accept and come home to who you are and live your truth more fully.
We all have things about ourselves that we might resist or try to downplay. We may even hide who we really are. Sometimes we are not even aware of it. Many good parts of our true selves get belittled or rejected at some point in our lives. Even well meaning family and friends, or the culture in which we live, has a way of making us feel ashamed of ourselves.
I was intrigued to see some resonance between my Dressing Your Truth experience and some of the findings regarding low sexual desire that I recently discovered while researching the subject for a graduate course assignment. Women who struggle with sexual desire have been found to have an asexual self-view. This is akin to not fully accepting important parts of who you are.
Some women simply do not see or accept themselves as having a sexual component to their identity. Unfortunately, this is not terribly surprising.
Sexuality in general and female sexuality more specifically tends to be ignored, discouraged, and even rejected. At the other end of the spectrum is a sexual free-for-all that is prominently promoted in popular culture. It’s hard to find that rightful place somewhere in between where there is reverence for the sacredness of sexuality with some affirmation of its positive and wholesome purposes.
Embracing Your Sexuality
At what point does a woman receive the messages that her sexuality is a good and godly thing to be respected and embraced for it’s full expression within marriage? Young women seem to be especially good at effectively internalizing the many messages that are particularly intended for young men that they bridle or control those strong feelings. In the process, many young women (and some men, too) shut their sexuality out completely, paving the way for frustration and heartache in marriage.
While it is wise counsel for both young men and women to learn to master their sexual feelings, somewhere along the line there is a lack of positive and affirming messages about the goodness of one’s sexuality and it’s enjoyment within marriage.
Short-term Vision Harms Marriage
The short-term perspective that is generally taken when giving sexual counsel to the youth, does much to harm the God-given gift of sexuality once it’s full expression is divinely granted within marriage. It’s one thing to help young people safely save their gift of sexuality for marriage, but it’s quite another to understand what it will take to fully enjoy this gift within marriage.
I’ve been saddened to see the pain of rejection that many husbands are feeling in their marriages. While many factors contribute to the lack of intimate expression and enjoyment in marriage, I have found that many women have simply not yet embraced their sexuality, putting husbands in a particularly helpless and hopeless predicament.
In an ongoing conversation on my Strengthening Marriage Blog, one husband shared his situation as similar to many others who are without hope of a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship with their wives. He writes:
“I too have decided that I need to give up on the dream’ of a relationship that I find fully fulfilling, turn it over to the Lord in prayer, and just try to be the best husband that I can. It has taken me years to get to this point. I do feel calmer most of the time than in the years before where I was often on the edge of being able to function. It is better now than when I would try REALLY hard to do everything possible and then emotionally crash when my hope was shattered. I do still try hard to be a good husband, but I don’t expect anything from it anymore. I do it because I am deeply in love with my dear wife, in spite of everything. One other thought that buoys me up is knowing that Satan is trying his best to use our sexual disconnect to drive a wedge into my marriage. I need to keep doing everything I can to keep that from happening, but it’s not easy.”
We must do better at instilling the wisdom of saving sex for marriage, while also helping young people understand it’s goodness, and prepare them to enjoy its godly purposes within marriage. It can truly be a grand source of strength for a husband and wife.
Sex is something God created as a wonderful gift for a husband and wife to enjoy in marriage. God designed each of us as sexual beings. We must embrace that fact. It’s not only our marital relationship, but also our personal wholeness that is at stake.
The Foundation of Sexual Fulfillment in Marriage
Especially for women, sexual expression is a product of healthy and positive thoughts and feelings about sex itself. A healthy sexual relationship in marriage requires healthy acceptance and full embracing of one’s sexuality as something good and wholesome. These provide the vital foundation for fulfilling sexual intimacy and passion in marriage.
When a woman has not yet fully embraced herself as a sexual being, designed that way by God, it will undermine all other efforts to create a strong and healthy relationship in marriage.
When there is a void of positive and affirming sex-related cognitions going into marriage, it’s a pretty steep climb to fill that void once married. It can be done. But, it would just be so much nicer for all of us to be better prepared to enjoy the exquisite gift of sexual expression in marriage.
Once a woman has fully embraced her sexuality as part of her identity, a flow of sex-related thoughts and feelings within marriage is still a necessary component of nourishing sexual desire. While it may seem like a foreign concept to some men, women generally must consciously cultivate such thoughts and feelings.
Living Your Sexual Truth in Marriage
Embracing your sexuality-one part of your true self-helps you to live your truth more fully in marriage. I believe God designed women to fully integrate their sexuality into their beingness, creating an incredible state of existence. It is a powerful position to live your whole truth!
This awakening and acceptance of one’s sexuality can have a lasting impact not only on the intimate relationship with one’s spouse, but also on one’s whole life. Living your sexual truth in marriage allows you to be more fully alive, more fully functioning as the multi-dimensional person you were divinely designed to be.
LOctober 12, 2013
I feel so bad for you. We have been married for 28 years. I was like your wife until about six months ago. I think my husband was just holding on but I know it was hard on him. To me, sex was another chore, like taking out the garbage. I was too tired and uninterested. We didn't talk about it without having a fight. I just couldn't figure out why he was so into making love. My husband prayed that our marriage would get better. One day I happened to find the book by Laura Brotherson. I read it and it changed my life and our marriage. Maybe your wife is like me, I didn't know it was a commandment to have sex. I didn't know I should like it and it was okay to like how I felt. I didn't know the small intricacies of my body. I wasn't educated, after 27 years of marriage, I had never taken the trouble to find out how our bodies worked and why even though I am the mother of four children. I didn't realize that my body was made for me to feel sexual pleasure by my husbands touch, and that it was made that way on purpose by God! Looking back, I doubt I had many orgasms. Now that I am more relaxed and have my Good Girl attitude adjusted, now that I know how long I need for fore-play and touching and what it takes to turn me on, all I can say is I love sex with my husband and can't get enough! This is a huge change for me... Really huge. My husband can hardly get used to my new desire. I am 50 and finally feel liberated sexually. So, don't give up on your wife. She needs to come to this on her own. If you can talk her into reading the book with real intent and a sincere celestial marriage eye, I think it will change her. Once my mind was changed, my desire increased. We now make love three or four times a week. I love the feeling that martial closeness brings. I feel so bad that I missed out for 27 years on this wonderful God given gift. I feel very bad for my husband's pain all those years. I am passionate to help my children feel good and happy about really opening this gift given by God in marriage. Your wife can feel so also. Just make sure that it isn't you who is telling her this stuff. That would have only made me mad. I felt trapped if I did have ex, and guilty if I didn't. I just never wanted it. The book was a great non- judgmental way for me to learn and hear what I needed to. Good Luck, my heart is with you.
ToddOctober 12, 2013
I'm at a point in my marriage that thoughts of giving up have become more frequent. I feel like I've been living in a desert sexually with just enough sexual and intimate water to keep the relationship alive. I'm so sad that my wife views sex as a very low priority when I've expressed so many times how vital it is for me to feel happy and complete as a man. Looking back on 19 years of marriage so far (I'm42 now) I feel that had I known prior to getting married how little importance would be placed on this part of our relationship...I would never have married. I'm at a point where I almost don't even want to spend an eternity with her any longer. What's the point of marriage without an intimate sexual relationship as the anchor? Right now I'm only staying in my marriage because of our kids. I'm faithful, but I'm starting to wonder if it's even worth it any longer. If things don't change I see divorce in our future once the kids are out of the house. This is not what I want, but it's up to her. I think this article hits the nail on the head. My wife seems to hold way to many negative internalizations about sex. Last time I was rejected, I asked why she never wanted me to touch her in a sexual way....it's not petting when you're married. We're not teenagers who might cross the line and become sinners. We're married.