Hand in hand, heart to heart, lips to lips. Last week I shared with you from Shaunti Feldhahn’s ForWomen Only, that, when polled, men stated that what they really wanted from their other half was RESPECT (see men 101), but next in line, according to her research, you guessed it, was intimate physical union with their wife, better known as sex. :) (And I cannot emphasize this enough according to certain sources. And I want to state up front, I am speaking about this in the context of marriage.)
I am no marriage expert, but after thirty years of married life, I do know that what happens in the bedroom is a pretty good baromometer for the rest of your marriage. If you are not happy and healthy in this area, your relationship could need a little tune-up.
Want to know why?
As discussed previously, men and women are made equally, but wired differently. And while most women can connect deeply on an emotional level with their husbands simply by having a heart to heart conversation, most men stated that they have very deep seated feelings of inadequacy that isolate and burden them. When a man makes love with his wife it assures him that she finds him desirable and resolves a certain loneliness. It gives him emotional strength and an overall sense of well-being, so much so, that he can face the world with confidence. And while no woman can fully satisfy her husband’s need for significance, just as no husband can fully satisfy a woman’s need for belonging, (only God can do that), as an expression of committed love there is something beautiful and even sacred about it. Sex, in fact, is one image of how much Christ loved the Church.
“‘For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31,32
Most men said that nothing else can make them feel loved like connecting to their wives in this way. In fact, they said that they do not feel completely loved without it. And while you may think it is only about the physical, man after man spoke about their loneliness and how intimate sex with their spouse touched them at their deepest level. Nothing else communicates to a man that they are the most important thing in the world to you.
But --on the other hand, nothing else feels as badly to your husband as being rejected by you.
Why? Rejection by you makes him feel inadequate (and thus disrespected) because he feels you do not want him. You may not mean to convey this but when you say, “Not tonight dear, I am just too tired!” (and you may genuinely be very tired!) What he hears is this,”You can’t really compete with this pillow!” And, “I don’t really care about what matters so deeply to you. I don’t just not want to have sex tonight. I really don’t want YOU!”
Sadly, if this pattern is on-going, it can lead to depression and other disorders. Just as a woman would become depressed if her husband walked through the door and had made the decision to stop speaking to her --went completely silent except on a rare occasion-- so a man feels if his wife becomes too tired or disinterested in sex. Making love is how a husband communicates emotionally with his wife.
Once you realize that your husband is actually saying, “This is essential to my feelings of being loved and desired by you, and is critical to counteract my stress, my fears, and my loneliness,” suddenly that puts being intimate with your husband in a different category. You’re not just meeting his physical needs.
You may say, “I am meeting everyone’s needs all day long, including his!” Think about it like this. You were given to one another by God, to be each other’s suitable helpers and there are some needs that only you are suppose to meet for him and he for you. What a gift that is! Thank God that you were made to be each other’s soul mate and friend. And thank God for the gift of pure, intimate and beautiful married love.
Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine, better than the fragrance of your perfumes. Draw me after you! Let us run! The king has brought me to his bed chambers. Let us exult and rejoice in you; let us celebrate your love: it is beyond wine!
Song of Songs 1:2, 4
Prayer for Women:
Oh my goodness! I am tired! I am sooo tired! And to be honest, if he treated me differently I might think about this more often, but sometimes it’s a great deal to ask. Give me a heart that beats for my husband, that thinks of him throughout the day and is happy when he comes home. Give me ears to hear what he is really saying and eyes to see what he really needs. I ask you, Lord, to light the flame of love again in our marriage. And if I need to rearrange my day so that my husband does not just get my “left overs”, I pray, Lord, that you will give me the wherewithal to say no to some things, so I can say yes to him. Thank You God that You love to answer this prayer, because You are the author of marriage and creator of all things good. Give us the grace to be all You intended for us to be when you created me to be his suitable helper, and he mine.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer for Men:
Thank You for my beautiful wife that You gave to me. You made us for one another. I pray you will give me the grace to love her as she needs to be loved, to woo her and romance her and serve her, for it was You that commanded that I should love her in the same sacrificial way that You loved the Church and gave up Your life for her. May I be willing as well to lay down my life, my plans, my pleasure seeking that does not include her to do as she may need for me to do. Help us both to become the suitable helpers You intended for us to be for one another for the greater glory of You and for the joy and good of our marriage.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Disclaimer: These concepts are true for most men and most women. All relationships are different, and should be built on mutual respect and love. If your marriage is not grounded this way, perhaps let it begin with you and see what happens. And if you need help, please get some. I highly recommend talking to a Christian marriage counselor or priest. And pray! pray! pray! for your spouse, yourself and your relationship.
READ THESE BOOKS!
For gals: Much of this blog was from Shaunti Feldhahn’s For Women Only. Buy it here.
For guys: Fathered by God by John Eldredge. Buy it here.
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