Money and sex are the top two struggles for married people.
Our culture shares our affinity for them, dangling them daily in our faces, like a luscious carrot in front of a hungry rabbit. The fact that we buy into the myth that more money and more sex will bring us happiness is perhaps even more concerning.
The media, advertising, internet accessibility, ignorance, denial, even the Church — we need not look far to find someone to blame. Whether we are just gullible or we lack self-control, it's not difficult to fall into trouble in either one of these areas.
I could be wrong, but there seems to be a lot more shame circling issues with sex then with financial strain. We are confronted with sexual images and content every day and yet it's a subject we rarely talk honestly about with each other. And honesty is not brag sessions in the men's locker room. I cannot believe some of the stories that come out of those testosterone-filled chats and the way women are frequently disrespected and objectified.
Maybe if we were honest, we would find that most of us struggle with finding balance in the bedroom.
I'm not an expert, but I believe this ebb and flow is quite normal for most couples. But there are many other factors that effect intimacy in marriage.
I have written about my own issues emanating from childhood sexual abuse. And finding out several years into my marriage of my husband's struggle with pornography and adultery, which led to a diagnosis of sexual addiction.
These discoveries have revealed legitimate reasons for sexual dysfunction in our marriage. Trying to navigate this path together is often difficult, sometimes treacherous, and usually a bit lonely.
I don't have answers. I will never claim to have it all figured out. But I can invite you in and let you know that you aren't alone, if you're struggling here.
I can encourage you to investigate your role in the dysfunction and seek healing for whatever you find there.
We can pray — that both you and your spouse can talk openly about what is going on. That there will be understanding and compassion to deal with the disappointments, the unmet expectations, or the hurt feelings that might be sitting under the surface. That necessary truths will be revealed and hearts will be open because nobody likes to look at themselves in the mirror and take responsibility for the sins seen there.
I know what it's like when sex sits front and center of your marriage. I know the nights fraught with guilt when you haven't "given in" because what he wants from you is merely body and lacks the soul. And the moody mornings and pissy attitude that accompanies a night like that.
I have been there.
But thankfully anymore, only beauty and oneness and love come with the desire. And it feels safe and welcome. And because of this I can write hope — that growth and change are possible. That hearts can mend and marriages survive.
But you're not there yet. Stay, will you? Let's talk honestly and figure it out together.
1. This Is My Solemn Vow