Let’s Talk About Sex: A Ready Heart, A Ready Body
I have a life-long spiritual habit of feeling like I have to dress up for church, gloss up a bit before I get in front of a man, or straighten my house before the plumber or electrician come to do work. For all kinds of self-righteous, works-based reasons, I feel like I have to look good in order to be heard. Before my huge teenage rebellion that included sexual relationships and an assortment of drugs, I spent a few tender pre-teen years thinking I couldn’t go to God in prayer because I was sinful. I couldn’t seem to get myself acting right enough to come to him to even say Please or Thank You.
I think it’s interesting how much my own theology affects intimacy with my husband; how I go to God is often how I go to my husband. How I respond to God in His pursuit of me is often how I respond to Seth, too.
The last Sex Post on Incredible Sex in Marriage was very encouraging to me, and I related to so much of what Jane Anne had to say, but as a commenter pointed out, so many of us aren’t experiencing this Incredible Desire. So many of us actually experience emotional or physical pain, frustration, or fear. I happen to be one who falls right in the middle of both camps. Sex is amazing to me, but in order for it to be so, I have to battle in such an emotional and spiritual way, that some days, I would honestly really rather just watch television. Sometimes sex feels like work – not because it’s physical, but for me because it taps into a world in my mind and spirit that I want to bury. I don’t feel strong enough to be engaged that way.
I think that the reason our intimacy has improved with time together is the same reason my intimacy has improved with God. I don’t wait until it’s been a while since I harbored anger or had a lustful thought to go to God in prayer. I go honestly, and I say that even though my head isn’t screwed on straight, I’m saying thank You anyway. I’m still going to go to God in worship. I’ve learned that redemption gives me access to God, and when I walk in, Jesus holds my baggage. Sometimes, I leave the bags with Him, and sometimes out of ridiculous habit, I snatch the bags back. Not good, but it’s an honest evaluation.
In the same way, I have felt the need to be spiritually and emotionally strong to be with Seth, and I have often said NO because I don’t want to hurt or because I don’t feel like doing battle in my mind. Battle seems to exclude pleasure for me, and I’ve found myself feeling embittered toward Seth for desiring me, which is crazy because being desired by him has been my greatest honor. I want it no other way.
We’ve almost been married for 11 years, and it seems to have taken that long to really be able to talk openly about how we struggle, and it seems to have taken that long to be brave enough to share the things that make for Incredible Sex. I’m learning that it’s good to have a ready heart, to have willfully turned my bags over to Christ in advance, to enter into intimacy in the freedom that true purity offers, but I’m also learning that in marriage I go to my husband, and he comes to me, and we act out oneness and unity as a sign post for truth, because sometimes the facts and the truth don’t seem to line up. We act according to the truth – that we are one, a reflection of Christ and His broken bride – rather than acting in accord with the brokenness.
Though the brokenness seems to overwhelm sometimes, the truth prevails, and the intimacy binds, and often, it can be incredible – ready heart, or not.