Sex, Marriage, and the 10-90

Image result for do not withhold from your spouse bible verse

I have a tough time rolling with the punches, the ups and downs of life.  When there are downs, my world seems dark and hopeless, and I temporarily forget to think about all of the positives and good things.

My marriage has been through some interesting and tortuous paths. It’s been one of the most challenging occupations of my life.  And I feel like we still are so far from getting this right.  Sometimes I despair that we will never get it right.  Which, sort of is what life is… do we every truly “get it right?”  Don’t we just keep trying?

We have fun… but not really.

We respect each other… but not always.

We talk… but not well.

We have similar values… but extremely different wants.

We say we love each other… but we’re not living that, or showing that.

We’re grateful for all of our blessings… but still feel incomplete.

We don’t say mean things to each other… but we do by action or inaction.

We’ve heard a sermon series on relationships and marriage.  Lots of reminders, lots of facts on marrieds (citing heavily from a 2016 TIME article I’ve mentioned before).  Statistically people who have remained married more than a few decades report that their marriage is the best thing in their life.  There are all sorts of career, emotional, mental and health benefits to being married, with most actually accruing to the males. The pastor was pointing out the “one-flesh” intention of marriage, God’s intentions and Image result for do not deprive your spouse bible versedesign for marriage, and the inadvisability to have multiple sex partners.

The concept of becoming “one flesh” or “united” in marriage is the crucial glue for a relationship between a man and a woman. It was suggested that when creating Adam, God acknowledged a “design deficiency” in that HIS creation was not complete, it was not enough; man needed woman. Further, statistically happy couples are those who have sex weekly.  Those who have it monthly or even less, are unhappy.  Which goes back to another saying that has hit home for me:

Sex is ten percent of a good relationship, and ninety percent of a bad one.

Another blogger has written very eloquently on this topic. I’m not sure if the above is his original saying, but this is what he does say, very well:

“Without showing and expressing love in a way their partner can understand, the space between couples grows too great for intimacy to bridge. That makes it increasingly difficult to rekindle the sexual spark that helps keep a healthy relationship going during difficult times. Even though every other thing couples do together is more important and more necessary to shared survival than sex, none of those things are as intimate. That intimacy and the understanding that comes with it is why sex is ten percent of a good relationship, and ninety percent of a bad one.”

This is exactly where we are.  And for some reason my attempts to explain this to him don’t seem to get through.

There are times where I realize that being married is better than the alternative, at least in my case (and we both probably believe this).  I had many lonely years in my 20s.  It was depressing to think perhaps I’d never have a special someone in my life to share things with and grow old together.  I dreamed of love, passion, romance and “completing each other.”  I waited until 34 to finally meet someone who seemed like a good partner, and who was willing to choose me.   He is a GOOD guy.  And of course when we first meet our partners, we are starry-eyed, hopeful, maybe even a bit delusional.  A certain amount of tarnish is to be expected.

Recently we found ourselves heading into our retirement years, empty nest years, “us” years, with renewed commitment and hopes for a better future together.  The REALLY bad times supposedly were water under the bridge, we made new commitments to try harder to make our marriage better.  We worked on being the spouse we needed to be for the other, stepping up and learning to speak the other’s love language.  It seemed to be better, for a while.  We were pretty happy and hopeful for the future.

Image result for do not withhold from your spouse bible verseIn the past several months I feel like an invisible landslide has hit us, and I am scrabbling not to lose my footing as this happy path erodes.  We are steadily moving back to “roommate mode” or as the blogger aptly says, “business partnership.”  Affection is almost gone again.  Intimacy and passion are not even a thought (first on his part, and increasingly on my part).  He’s clearly unhappy.  I’m unhappy.  Efforts to communicate haven’t helped.  In such an environment, the next things to go are respect, patience, and kindness.  The blogger confirms this:

“However, if a couple does not have a healthy sex life, intimacy lurks beneath the surface of their entire relationship. Like an act of infidelity it demands an apology while begging forgiveness. Arguments spiral out of control as unmet needs ignite otherwise meaningless disagreements.”

As we head into this stomach-flipping major descent on our marital roller coaster ride, things begin to seem dark and hopeless for me.  It’s all I can do to tick off the positives, of which there are many.  Yet I understand a little better my hopelessness.  Despite “all of the good things” that might convince me to remain in a marriage, it’s that little thing Image result for do not give the devil a footholdcalled sex that seems to negate all the good.

If someone were to ask me what the best thing in my life was, my immediate answer would not be “my marriage.”  It’s up there… but not the best. 

And right now, all I can do is just pray and hope for some answers, control my responses of hurt and anger, and try not to detach too much.

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11 Responses to Sex, Marriage, and the 10-90

  1. I am so thankful for your post. I know you do not know me at all and this may feel awkward – Please now consider me one of your biggest champions! I am here and will follow your writings in a much deeper way. God has moved mountains in my life these past many months and I know His timing is perfect. Your post spoke to me. My testimony is not as strong as I would like it to be right now, but I can say I spend far more time on my knees now ever before. I’m praying for you. FXC

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    • Thank you for your response. Actually, I’ve seen you on other fora and we may have exchanged thoughts before. Welcome, thank you for prayers, and look forward to insights! I know in my heart that God is going to use this, but the Devil is trying to convince NO WAY.

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  2. lori1g1b says:

    The devil sure makes us see all the bad and ugly in our relationship…The least little thing will set us off. And most of the time we wouldn’t think anything of the things our dear husbands to or say. Yet at times it’s all we can do to keep our mouths shut and not lash out.

    I know that it’s hard to go through your relationship thinking what if.. I would give you the same advice that I would hope a friend would tell me or that I would tell a real life friend. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life walking on egg shells and not getting what you want? If you don’t love each other than you owe it to each other to take a step back and re evaluate your life.

    Do you really want to spend the rest of you life in a love less, sex less marriage? It’s never to late to find love..

    I wish you all the luck in the world. I know you’ve worked hard at keeping your marriage.. But has your dear husband worked just as hard? One person can’t hold a marriage together. You need a good heart to heart with him. You both have to be honest.

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    • For some reason, Satan is in full overdrive right now in my marriage. And only trusting God is going to drive him away. It’s never the easy or logical thing to do.

      The TIME magazine article I referenced here had an interesting statistic that the most “successful” couples never considered divorce an option, it was never considered. The researcher said: ‘People really had the mind-set they wanted to stay married. They regarded their partnership as less like buying a new car and more like learning to drive. ‘Marriage is like a discipline; A discipline is not reaching one happy endpoint.’

      Most of us don’t want to hear the “discipline” side to marriage. It’s not sexy (unless it’s Fifty Shades). We all live in a world that tells us we deserve to be happy, and if we’re not we chuck it and move on? Maybe if it’s a car; but marriage is a covenant before God, and unless I’m in danger or abused, I stick with the discipline of working on it. If there was a medical or physical condition, should I just say “well, I’m not happy, I’m not getting what I want, so I should move on, to heck with husband?” I know God doesn’t want me to be miserable. But I have to remain convinced that in some way he’s going to work this for good. I just can’t see it right now and that is depressing. I guess my advice to anyone (as long as it’s not an abusive situation) is to fight for their marriage.

      Furthermore, there are no guarantees in life. “Never too late to find love?” maybe for some… but statistically at my age, it’s more unlikely than likely. Not only for the fact of the limited pool of available men, and that men my age would much rather find someone much younger; but that I may not be the right person for someone else. Then there’s merging decades of annoying habits. Trust me, I know many amazing, lovely, attractive women my age and younger, who are still very, very lonely. There are worse things in life. I’m just praying for a little bit better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. a. says:

    Trying to find the right words here. Normally I would say ‘love and hugs’ to you. And I sincerely mean it, even though we are essentially strangers. But I ache for you, even as I hope for you.
    Satan is vicious, is he not? And your refusal to give up and give in must be extremely frustrating to the enemy! Yet he is not the ultimate victor, our Lord is. I hope for you to see victory with Him, in a renewed relationship. I pray you find laughter with each other again. Yes, absolutely sex is vitally important–I hope you find that again–yet shared laughter can be intimate, too. Perhaps it is a place to start. I shouldn’t presume to give advice–I don’t know enough, except that you are hurting deeply–but I know when I am feeling at odds with my own husband, humor begins to put us to rights again. But you both will continue in my prayers. Shalom, a.

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    • Thanks. The laughter is gone. I can’t even find that… Ironic you write this, because humor is his thing. He tried to show me something tonight and I found none of it funny. I know that is hard on him. Thanks for prayers. This is testing by fire right now.

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  4. cynthia says:

    Thank you for sharing openly about your sexless marriage. I know that pain. My heart leapt a little to discover there is someone else with these same wounds. I am sorry this is your life too. Because really, at least for me, being sexless was all consuming and overshadowed everything else. For 25 years.

    My husband and I have been in recovery from his sex addiction (go figure) for 2 1/2 years. We have become best friends instead of roommates. There is a lot of laughter in our house. But trying to restore a sexual relationship has been extremely frustrating, discouraging and difficult. And yet we keep trying, believing God has restored and healed both of us and our marriage so He won’t stop and leave us dangling here.

    Keep hoping. God hasn’t finished writing your story yet.

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    • Thanks for your input and experiences. You have clearly been through some very hurtful times in your marriage and I am encouraged any time I hear of someone fighting hard to remain together and improve things. Sex is a tricky beast. Hubby is a very cerebral type; I’m more driven by the “hormones” so we are the opposite of many typical couples, but it’s also the “men want respect women want love thing.” If he doesn’t feel totally respected and built up, he can’t perform. If I don’t feel pursued and chased, I have difficulty. He senses (or directly hears) my disappointment. It’s quite complicated. But you are right, God hasn’t finished writing our story yet. Just praying.

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      • cynthia says:

        I have told my husband so many times that I need to be pursued, feel desired. I intentionally try to build him up, but he seems to find it too much effort to pursue me in the bedroom. To feel desired is a deep need of mine particularly since I wasn’t for all of our marriage. I feel too often that we are having sex once a week simply because we are supposed to be according to the sex agreement our counsellor helped us make. Recently I asked him about that and he admitted it was true. So it is hard to get my head in the sex game when I am still questioning his desire for me. And yet things have become very good outside of the bedroom. We actually talk, laugh, enjoy spending time together now. So I hold onto that and keep praying for complete healing and wholeness. But wondering if or when it will ever come.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Obviously not knowing the full extent of your story, I do pick up on the “talk, laugh, enjoy” statement. That’s a lot, more than what many have. And I truly believe that regular “connection time” in the bedroom helps to keep that going, because even if it lacks in unbridled passion, it is shared vulnerability and the oneness. But I totally get the wanting it all, the “complete healing and wholeness.” I don’t know enough about sexual addictions to comment, but I’m sure it’s a big process to come back from something like that to a “normal” relationship. I am sure at times you feel cheated, and short changed that you don’t get the bedroom experience you want. I totally, completely understand; ours is mostly inability to perform (ED), but I can’t help feeling he doesn’t desire “me.” We want the “complete picture,” as we see it. You, like us, have chosen to stay together, through better and worst… sickness (addictions) and health (an agreement to take actions to heal). You’ve honored a covenant. All we really can do is continue to pray, and to be love (to men that looks like respect). Both of these can be hard to do when you’re not feeling fulfilled. All I know is that I need to keep my focus on God as #1, and try to make my marriage God-honoring. As much as I want the perfect (in my eyes) and unconditional love of my husband, I can’t hang my happiness on that because he’s not God. God gave us imperfect human relationships on earth, and we will be consistently disappointed if we expect perfect. Keep praying, I think this is the only way!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Brenda Woods says:

    Amen I too feel that I’m not desired when my hubby doesn’t want me or pursue me… I love him more than he’ll ever know..

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