Many of us come into marriage with broken sexuality. You may have been sexually abused as a child. You may have slept with some prior boyfriends. Your husband may have been sexually molested as a child or slept around before making a commitment to you. All of that stuff from the past can cause us to be somewhat broken or scarred when it comes to our sexuality.
However, God is in the business of redeeming and restoring! If you or your husband are haunted by the memories of former lovers or pornographic images, confess that to each other, and, prior to making love, pray together for Jesus to heal you. Jesus can and will heal your broken sexuality. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
If you or your husband are sexually scarred due to past sexual abuse, pray together before making love and ask Jesus to heal you sexually. Ask him to restore your innocence. Ask him to allow you to totally delight in physical intimacy with your spouse. Jesus is the great healer. Claim Isaiah 53:5 “by his wounds, we are healed“
And one additional benefit of praying together before making love is that it is one of the most intimate things you can do! Beautiful spiritual and emotional intimacy occurs when you open your heart before your spouse and pray for God to enter into broken places.
I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago! I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in marriage. But I’ve discovered it’s true! There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit. Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices. Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…” Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.
We’ve built a fire pit in our backyard at our last 2 homes. They cost less than $100. We thought a fire pit would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs. But it turned out that my husband and I enjoyed it just as much…for different reasons than the grandkids! As the sun went down, we lit the fire, and then my husband asked what the topic of the night should be. Sometimes, we talked about our dreams for ministry. Some nights, we talked about our concerns for our children and we prayed for them. Other nights, we talked about our dream vacation ideas. Try building a fire pit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!
We’ve all seen that couple at a restaurant…that couple that hardly speaks a word to each other throughout the whole meal. Don’t be that couple! You and your husband may not be used to revealing your hearts to each other, but give it a try, and don’t just talk about the kids. Here are two helpful hints in terms of making your husband comfortable in opening up his heart to you in conversation: 1) Show an actual interest in what your husband shares 2) Do not criticize, point out flaws, or roll your eyes at the things he shares! Philippians 2:4 instructs…”Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.” So, really listen to the hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and feelings of your husband.
Here are 4 questions you could use as date night conversation starters:
1) What makes you feel most fully alive…as in what do you so enjoy doing that you feel great satisfaction or delight and you easily lose track of time?
2) If you had 100 million dollars and didn’t have to work for a living, what would you love to do with your time and money?
3) What are the 2 or 3 most impactful moments of your life?
4) What was the best part of your day and what was the most discouraging part of your day?
I learned something when the covid pandemic started in spring of 2020. When the stay-at-home orders first hit, my husband and I had nothing better to do in the early hours of the morning than pull up 2 chairs in front of the fireplace and start quietly talking about God, family, priorities, hopes, fears and dreams. We held our cups of coffee and talked for 30 or 40 minutes as night gave way to dawn. Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we’d enjoy quiet moments of just being together. It was…special. It was intimate. It was bonding. It was precious.
After the main lock-down ended, we engaged in that kind of special moment from time to time, but with no real regularity. Life got busy again. We both went to work, and we picked up the rapid pace of life once again.
But one day about a year later, I realized we had lost those precious, quiet moments together. So, I decided to be more intentional. Good things don’t usually happen unless we put in a little effort! So, even though it was a little chilly on a May morning in Bellingham, WA, I told my husband I’d love to join him for a sunrise chat in our backyard as birds were beginning to chirp and the sun was beginning its slow rise for the morning. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was quiet. We had a soft and lovely conversation, sitting there bundled in jackets and enjoying the first rays of sunshine on our faces. It reminded me that Jesus told his followers to seek out a quiet place from time to time because their soul needed that rest and refreshment. Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”
I encourage you to think about carving out time for a peaceful, quiet, morning conversation with your husband. I think you will find it is bonding. I know it will refresh your marriage.
Many women get so discouraged about the lack of emotional connection with their husbands. Wives desperately desire their husbands to open up and share their deepest thoughts and feelings, but often it just doesn’t happen. Well, one of the things I’ve learned is that most men will do almost anything to avoid looking weak or being vulnerable to criticism. So, they don’t share their hearts. They don’t want to risk your scoffing or criticism. They’re like a turtle that tucks its head inside a protective shell.
But there is a way to prompt your husband to take the risk of sharing his heart with you. You need to be a safe place for him to share his heart! What do I mean by that? Well, I’ll tell you what it looks like if you’re NOT a safe place. Do you roll your eyes at his ideas? Do you explain why he’s wrong when he shares his thoughts, beliefs, or ideas? Do you criticize him or complain all the time? Those kinds of words and actions don’t exactly make him feel safe in terms of opening up his heart at the deepest level!
God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 “the wife must respect her husband.”, and if you consistently show that respect…day after day…and month after month….your husband may start feeling it’s safe to risk opening up his heart to you. Starting today, try looking for ways to encourage your husband. Listen attentively to what he talks about. Ask gentle (non-snarky) questions to dig a little deeper into his thoughts and dreams. Affirm him in any way you can. You might find that he will enjoy talking to you a whole lot more! And that turtle just might poke his head out from underneath the shell.
I have interviewed quite a few men who are marriage conference speakers and they all say the same thing…a man deeply needs his wife to be interested in a robust sex life with him. They agree that a husband feels more like a man, has a more positive attitude, and accomplishes more in life when his wife fosters an active sex life.
Conversely, when a wife neglects her husband sexually or makes it clear she’s barely tolerating sex…then Satan has a huge opening to begin tempting her husband to satisfy his desires with porn or another woman. 1 Corinthians 7:5 makes this clear when it says “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Most women don’t need frequent sex with their spouse the same way that a man does. It’s one of the many ways we’re wired differently. But if you want your husband to feel like a man, to be bonded to you, and to be so pumped up that he can go out and slay dragons, then you need to think about building a healthy, robust sex life with him. I know you have 101 other things you need to do, but can you leave some dirty dishes in the sink or wait to tidy up the house until the morning? Your husband needs you tonight!
Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures? Most of us are in “hiding”. You’re afraid that if anyone, including your husband, was to discover your flaws, they wouldn’t love you anymore. Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you. Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.
Satan is a liar. I know from experience that the opposite is true! When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming. It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me. We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage! How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband. Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past. Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care. I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man. Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!