Marriage Strong, Energy Poor

We started off the year being transparent about the struggles 2013 brought into our lives. Despite the turmoil the past year brought, we determined to make 2014 The Year of Friendship. We did this for a specific reason, we knew 2014 was likely to bring about a fair share of struggles of its own.  We were right.

February has brought grief and pain into our lives in the form of loss. I (Megan) lost my mother (age 63) on February 7th. An incredible legacy but a heavy loss for my heart. This past week we also lost Justin’s grandmother. A woman with whom we we were very close and visited regularly.  The pain and grief of these losses has left us raw and tired. The most common question asked of us right now is, “How are you doing?” and let me tell ya, that’s a doozie of a question. Truth is, we are comforted and well supported. We are also sad, grieving and exhausted. However, when it comes to our marriage I describe that we are marriage rich despite being energy poor.

Maybe you can relate, your marriage is strong even though you are physically and emotionally spent. Maybe for you that is wishful thinking, you can’t imagine having a strong marriage during your most difficult season. Today I want to share three things that are keeping our marriage strong during this trying and difficult time.

1. Words

Words of encouragement, comfort, support and reassurance are necessary during times of deep hurt. The words can come in form of cards, notes or be spoken but, whatever the form, using words to build up your spouse is essential to a strong marriage.

2. Actions

Sometimes even words can’t soothe the heartache of the ones we love most. During those times it’s important to show our support of them through actions that speak where words are inadequate. A listening ear, a long hug, a comforting meal, a trip to the store – all of these actions and so many more can strengthen your marriage.

In addition, lowering the “normal” expectations of what your spouse may be able to accomplish with their time is an action of love. Around our house, laundry is getting done but may not always make it to the state of being put away properly. Meals are being eaten together, but may be of the variety of store bought goods and sides as opposed to my normal more healthy and frugal meals. The burden to keep up with all of life while processing difficult circumstances is oppressive but as a spouse, we can speak with loving actions when we let go of expectations and allow our spouse to feel supported regardless of the disruption to “normal”. A new normal will settle in but patience and support until that time makes a marriage thrive during the interim.

3. Space

Not to be disregarded, even in a one flesh marriage, it is important to allow our spouse space to process. Just as a garden does not bloom within hours of the seeds being planted, a spouse cannot process and heal without some space and time. Healthy amounts of togetherness and separateness during difficult seasons is important. Be observant, patient and sensitive to what your spouse needs most. If your spouse needs you to be there, then be there. If they need some alone time to cry, sleep, write, grant them that space.  The garden will grow, not from force, but from the space to receive the nutrients essential to support it’s growth.

Of course our faith in God and our Savior Jesus Christ is giving us the greatest amount of strength and comfort during this time, but on a practical level, words, actions and space are the ways our marriage is being nurtured.  These elements can strengthen marriages in all situations and can be applied in many close relationships.

Difficult times will come in every marriage and these are just a few thoughts on how to sustain health and strength. Feel free to share how you strengthen your marriage when difficulties (especially those outside of the marriage relationship) arise.


Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #4 Understand the Seasons

Phillip: “What are you doing?”

Janet: “What do you mean, ‘what am I doing?’  I’m sitting next to you on the couch as we watch TV.”

Phillip: “But you’re also putting your arm around me.”

Janet: *smiling* “Oh yeah. I thought I’d do that, too.”

Phillip: “I can’t even remember when the last time you’ve done that was.  What’s the occasion?”

Janet: “No special occasion.  I just wanted to be close to you.  That’s all.”

Phillip: “Well, I don’t want to offend you or anything.  But I think I’d rather have more room to stretch out.”

Janet: “Well, I don’t want to offend you or anything, but I thought maybe I’d turn off the TV and try to turn you on, instead.”

Phillip: “Sorry to say…but that’s just not going to happen.”

Janet: *playfully* “What?  You don’t think I can fulfill that goal?”

Phillip: “It’s not that.  I’m saying…I guess I don’t want you to try.”

Janet: “Why not?”

Phillip: “I’m not sure why.  Now, can we just get back to the movie?”

Janet: *turns TV off* “No, we can’t.  We obviously need to talk about this.”

Phillip: “About what?”

Janet: “About the fact that we haven’t had sex more than 1 time in the past 3 months.  In fact, we’ve rarely had sex at all the past year.  It’s gone way down, since…”

Phillip: “Since what?”

Janet: “Since you were ill.  That’s it.  We had a long break when you had all those health problems, and we never recovered.”

Phillip: “Recovered?”

Janet: “Yeah. Recovered.  You did…at least physically.  But we didn’t.”


During the first five years of our marriage, Megan and I enjoyed life to the full.  We had no children and we spent vast amounts of time with one another.  We learned a lot about one another during that season in life, but as in every area of life, this season didn’t last.

Since that time we’ve become parents to two beautiful little girls.  Careers have changed.  Work hours have, too.  Times of sickness have invaded our lives.  Depression.  Hard struggles in our extended family.  Other struggles in our immediate one.  Yet through it all we’ve come to understand that various seasons in life will happen, and we’ve taken opportunity to not allow them to hinder our marriage in any way.

Our guess is we’re not alone.  You’ve also experienced difficult seasons of illness, depression, career changes and so on, too.  If you don’t take the time to think through and understand these seasons, some of them may hinder your marriage and sex life in profound ways.  But if you DO take the opportunity to think through and understand these seasons, you’ll learn a great deal about sexual freedom.  In fact, here are few things to consider when different seasons come your way:

You are free to please your spouse:

When your spouse is struggling with a pretty significant illness, it’s still quite likely you are able to sexually arouse and please him/her.  Whether it’s recent surgery, a broken limb or back problems, it’s still quite possible for you to experience full-blown intercourse.  Simply work together to find a position that is relaxing for them yet gives you full control of your time together.  Openly talk through what’s working and what isn’t, and do you best to connect as often as possible.  If full intercourse isn’t a possibility, then strongly consider taking opportunities to orally stimulate him/her to climax.

In seasons such as this, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that one of your primary roles in marriage is to serve your spouse.  Men have a responsibility to serve their wife by loving, caring and providing for them.  And men have a responsibility to serve their wife sexually as well.  Women share an equal responsibility.  As the Scriptures say:

2 Corinthians 7:3-4 (NLT)

3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

You are free to do it morning, noon, or night:

It seems odd that we even need to say this, but we feel we must.  If something like a career change or work hours is hindering your sex life, remember that sex doesn’t need to only occur after dark in a locked bedroom.  You can wake up a little early and enjoy a quick romp in the shower.  Once a week you can take a long lunch break and connect at home.  Husband, you can rent a hotel for a day and meet her there after meeting a business client there for lunch.  Wives, you can walk into his study/den and lock the door behind you and give him a lap dance he’ll never forget.  Just remember that pure sexual freedom frees you from engaging sexually in the same place at the same time in the same way every single time you connect.

You are free to get help:

Far too many marriages today are struggling, and far too many of those are too proud to ask for help.  Men, for the most part, are embarrassed to admit to a pastor or counselor that their marriage isn’t going so well.  (Yes, we acknowledge some women experience embarrassment and pride, too.)  This embarrassment often leads to a very unsatisfying marriage.  So our advice to you, is to get help.  It never hurts to have a trustworthy pastor or counselor talk through your marriage and sex life with you.  In fact, couples who have a rough patch yet agree to work on it together often have a longer, more fulfilling marriage than couples who (in pride) agree to stay together but not seek help.


In short, seasons will come and seasons will go.  And in order to maintain sexual fulfillment throughout the entirety of your marriage, you need to remember that you have a responsibility to sexually please your spouse and that responsibility can be fulfilled in a variety of ways.  And if you struggle to fulfill that responsibility – if you struggle to get on the same page in any area of your marriage – seeking help doesn’t make you a failure in any way.  In fact, seeking help makes you a hero, showing that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to fight for the sanctity of marriage.


This is Part 4 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities


Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below, or discuss them with your spouse.

  1. What is the most difficult ‘season’ you have gone through in your marriage?  Did it have a negative sexual impact?
  2. What is another “you are free to __________” point you think couples should remember when experiencing different seasons?
  3. Discuss with your spouse: If there’s just one thing I could do this week to serve you in a sexual way, what would it be?

Marriage Challenge: Weird but True

Our kids are fascinated with the National Geographic Kids book series Weird but True!  The books site interesting facts like:

“Slugs have 3,000 teeth and 4 noses.”

“Hot dogs can last more than 20 years in landfills.”

“A Canadian woman rode a motorized toilet up to 46 miles an hour!”

We know, fascinating facts here people!

So what does this have to do with marriage? Well, when you were dating and first got married, you enjoyed learning about your spouse. You found their likes, dislikes, habits and idiosyncrasies fascinating.  Over the years though, the facts you once found to be “weird but true” have become “weird and annoying”. Instead of accepting your spouse and their differences you want to change them. A simple laugh and occasional eye roll have become full blown gripes, disrespect and a source of misery in your marriage.

The marriage challenge today is this: acceptance.  Accept your spouse as a unique individual. Are they flawed? You bet! And so are you. This is not to say that open communication and confrontation have no place in dealing with marital strife but it is to say that many things in life are not really “big things”.  Instead of looking at the things your spouse does as “weird and annoying” choose to let those things become reason to laugh at your differences, accept their flaws and push towards a greater level of love.  On the plus side, if you send less time griping complaining and fighting about the little annoyances, maybe you”ll have time to build a motorized toilet that can go even faster!

Making Peace with Your Body

During a time of year when people are making weight loss and fitness goals, I (Megan) thought it might be important to discuss how to make peace with your body.

My story includes a fair share of issues with weight management and fitness failures, but over time I have really made peace with my body. Not because I have “arrived” at some perfect state but because I am choosing to live well in the midst of imperfection.  Having had an eating disorder through most of my childhood and it rearing it’s ugly head again just a few short years ago, this is an area where I must be extremely diligent in what I allow myself to think on. So please understand, I won’t use the words ‘simple’ or ‘easy’ in this post.  Making peace with your body, as many of you already know, is not a simple process.  There is no magic wand to wave that makes us fall in love with the way we look.  However, I do know from personal experience that it is possible to feel comfortable in your own skin. Here are some suggestions to help you on the journey:

1.  Recognize the lies media and pop culture are selling.  When you know someone is lying to you what do you do?  You don’t trust them!  You are cautious of their opinions or disregard them all together.  This is an important first step to making peace with your body; call the images you see everyday in magazines, TV commercials what they are, lies.  Airbrushed beauty is not real and if we continue to hold ourselves to that standard, we will never measure up. If you really want to make peace with your body, take some time to figure out what lies you are believing and then silence them.

2.  Stop negative self talk. I already mentioned this wasn’t going to be easy didn’t I?! Once you recognize the lies you are believing the next step is to silence another altogether negative voice, your own. The “Fat, Dumb & Ugly” soundtrack isn’t doing you any good. In fact, it has never done you, your friends or anyone any good. Ever.  So ditch it. Strive to put an end to negative self talk and adopt the more healthy habit of reflective evaluation. Rather than condemning or judging your own perceived failures, you should seek to understand what is at the base of your emotional reactions to the way you look or feel about yourself. If you discover your feelings stem from shaming words spoken to you as a child, seek help or counsel on how to overcome that. If you find depression, perfectionism, people pleasing or a number of other motivations at the root, open up and become vulnerable with a person or group you can trust.  Finding the peace and healing you desire in this area will require work. It may be slow and it may be painful at times but it is worth it to live at peace.

3.  Lean into the people in your life who find you beautiful.  For me the greatest advocate I go to for affirmation of my beauty is my husband.  I know he finds me attractive and I don’t doubt my beauty in his eyes.  I know that for some of you though, your husband is not your advocate.  In fact he may be part of the problem as to why you don’t recognize your own beauty.  In these instances I encourage you to believe the voices of those people in your life who will draw out and call on your beauty as they see it.  If you don’t have anyone who does this in your life, pray that God would bring an encourager into your life.  We all need them and it is helpful for the people we are living life with to be a positive voice in our own journey.

4.  Learn what God says about you.  On this journey called life we are all trying to figure out who we are and why we are here.  These questions cannot be answered without the help of the very One who created us.  If you want to make peace with your body, with relationships or with God; you must know who God is and what He has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ.  Your identity must rest completely in that knowledge.  Then and only then will you be able to experience peace. He loves you for who you are right now. Don’t miss out on experiencing that love.

2014: The Year of Friendship

We wanted to start off the new year by being a little transparent.  2013 was a rough year for our family.  Probably the most challenging year we’ve ever experienced.  We’ve seen a family member we love very much suffer from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  She’s gone from having laugh-filled conversations to needing a feeding tube and an inability to speak or move within a year’s time.  And her diagnosis was just the start to our 2013.  We’ve had other family members we love very much commit adultery against their spouse.  In one of those situations divorce immediately followed.  In another, something much different. Polygamy.  And no, we’re not making this up.  It all happened, and to be completely honest, it’s not getting any better.  Family members we dearly love have essentially cut-off communication with us and many others.

While none of these situations have occurred under our own roof, the impact it’s had in our lives is tremendous.  We’ve re-learned a valuable life lesson: The decisions we make don’t only impact our own lives, but the lives of everyone around us.  In fact, if there’s one thing we hope you take from this post it’s this:
Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 11.12.38 AMYou may want to write it down on an index card and put it on your bathroom mirror so you can memorize it.  The decisions you make will not only impact your own life, but the lives of others around you.

Where exactly are we going with this?  Well, if there’s just one New Year’s Resolution you can make this year, if there’s just one thing about your marriage you can look to change or improve, make it your friendship.  Make the decision today to become a better friend to your spouse.

Outside of improving your relationship with God, this is the one decision you can make that will have the greatest impact in your life.  It will impact yourself, your spouse, your children, and everybody else you come in contact with on a regular basis.

Some of you may be reading this and you’re thinking, “That’s a great idea, but HOW can I become a better friend for my spouse?”  Well, there’s no easy answer to that question.  You know him/her better than we do.  All we can do is offer a few suggestions.

1. Find something in common you enjoy doing together.

Megan and I are about as different as two people can be.  Many of the interests and hobbies I have are completely uninteresting to her.  Likewise, many of the interests and hobbies she has are completely uninteresting to me.  So over the years we’ve worked really hard on finding some things we enjoy doing together.  One is that we work on this blog…together.  Another is that every year we read at least one book on the subject of marriage, and we discuss it…together.  We’ve also found some specific games that we can both enjoy…together.  Through this process we’ve both put aside some of our personal interests for the sake of our own friendship.  This decision helped us get through the challenges we experienced in 2013…together.

If you’re anything like us and you don’t feel that you have much in common with your spouse, take some opportunities this year to work on that.  You’ll both have to give up some things in the process, but the end result will greatly benefit your marriage.

2. Grow in your love and knowledge of God.

There are a whole bunch of One Year Bible Reading plans online.  Most people fizzle out somewhere around Leviticus.  Others keep going and learn a whole lot about themselves and the plan God has for their life.  Dare I say it, but these are the ones that usually have stronger marriages, too.

If you’re never read the entire Bible, start with the New Testament, then go to the Old.  Or if you’d like, find a reading plan that includes something from the Old Testament / New Testament / Psalms / Proverbs each day.  Or find some other Bible and/or Marriage study to work on with your spouse, together.  Taking daily, or at least weekly opportunities to talk about what you’re learning will help your marriage grow to a whole new level.

3. Enjoy sex together regularly.

Need we say more?  OK, we will.  Sex can be done for a number of wrong reasons in a marriage.  It can be used as a control mechanism to selfishly get what you want in another area of your relationship.  It can be used for your own personal fulfillment and not the fulfillment of your spouse.  It can be used in a number of ways that can bring more harm to your relationship than benefit.  But it can also be used to reconnect.  To reaffirm your love for one another.  To remind your spouse that your main desire in life is for their satisfaction, pleasure and joy.  To remind you both that you’re in this life together.  That you’re one flesh.

If you’re not connecting on a sexual basis regularly (and by regularly we mean at least 1-2 times a week), make that a goal for 2014.  Here’s a good read for the month of January to help you start the new year off right.


There’s just one more thing we wish to note on this subject of friendship: every marriage we’ve seen fail has failed because the friendship failed.  Think about all the couples you know who have had their marriage fail.  Were they good friends?  Or did somebody make a decision to become better friends with somebody of the opposite sex instead of becoming a better friend to their spouse?

Make the decision to improve your friendship this year.  Your friendship is THE decision that will most greatly impact your marriage and the lives of everybody around you.  So what are you waiting for?  Don’t just be there, be their friend.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~Elbert Hubbard

Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage: #1 Believe

Lucas began his day as he always does.  He woke up.  Showered.  Got dressed.  And then he grabbed a cup of coffee for the road.  But this day started off a bit worse than average.  First, Lucas was pulled over on his way to the office.  Apparently he forgot to mail in that registration form.  Then after arriving at work 20 minutes late, his boss quickly reminds him that the company’s regional director was in town for a visit and he was late for a meeting…a meeting which was never officially scheduled.  Lucas quickly shuffled some papers together and quietly sneaked into the conference room.  During the meeting, he spilled coffee all over his new shirt.  It was a disaster.

By the time lunch came around, Lucas was looking forward to eating in peace.  He turned his computer monitor off.  He turned his phone off.  And he grabbed the lunch his wife handed him on the way out the door.  He dumped the contents out onto his desk and discovered a small envelope.  He opened it up and discovered this note from his wife:

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 6.41.36 PMShe had even arranged for child care in the early evening and had included a sketch of the interior of the house with a short map and a first ‘clue’ as to where he could find a ‘treasure’ when he arrived home from work.

Suddenly, nothing else about his day mattered.  Sure, everything had been a train-wreck up until then.  Sure, he had been the laughing stock of everybody else in his department.  Sure, the regional director wasn’t looking to offer him a promotion anytime soon.  But he knew that he and his wife had something special.  Something real.  Something free.  And a simple reminder of this love he shared with his wife ignited a confidence in Lucas in a way nothing else could.


We recently completed a series titled “Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom”.  It was designed to point out specific things that can easily hinder sexual freedom in marriage.  We wrote about topics such as Ego, Personal Interests, Sexual History, Inhibitions and Busyness.  Topics which, by the way, relate to both men and women.

But what about sustaining sexual freedom in marriage?  I mean, sure we can identify and remove the things that may hinder it, but how do we keep it as an ongoing part of the marriage relationship?  This is an excellent question, and one we hope to address here over a series of five posts in this series.  And here in this first post we wish to communicate one very specific point:

In order to sustain sexual freedom in your marriage, you must first believe it’s possible.

Do you believe you can be fully open with your spouse?

     Fully vulnerable?

          Fully naked?

               Fully unashamed?

                    Fully excited?

                         Every time you connect?

That last question is the one that probably causes you to stumble.  You may be thinking, “Well, I can be those things sometimes, but every time?  I’m not sure that’s possible.”  You sure about that?

Here are a couple of things to think about:

1.  If you experience full-on freedom with your spouse just once, you’ll probably *want* to experience it every time.

Years ago a very good friend of mine and I (Justin) talked about our love of different kinds of food.  In our conversation he kind of laughed and said to me, “Every time I have a plate of food in front of me, it’s the first time in my life I get to enjoy THAT plate of food.  And I’m going to do everything in my power to enjoy it.”  It could be leftover pasta from the night before…but it was still the FIRST time he ate that plate of it.

I think a similar illustration can be used for sex.  Every single time you close your bedroom door to connect with your spouse, it’s the first time you will experience sex in the way you’re about to experience it.  Sure, you’ve enjoyed it before.  Sure, you may go to your go-to position.  Sure, the outcome will likely be the same.  But if you go into each and every moment unashamed, vulnerable, excited, and understanding the freedom you have with one another, it’s never, ever, going to get old or stale.  It’ll be so breathtakingly wonderful you’ll look forward to connecting again soon.

2.  Don’t underestimate the power of God in your sex life.

Many people don’t hesitate to pray about finances, parenting, illness, relationships, and so on.  But if sexual intimacy is of any kind of hindrance in your marriage, or if you’re not sure that you’re experiencing freedom on a regular basis, it’s OK to begin praying about it and allowing God to work in your life.  Some specific passage you can meditate on / pray through include:

Song of Songs 7:10
I belong to my love,
and his desire is for me.

Proverbs 5:15-19
15 Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
having sex with just anyone?*
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
Never share it with strangers.
18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love.

If you really want, just go pick up a Bible and read Song of Songs 4:16-5:1.  You’ll be glad you did.

Many years ago Timothy Keller taught an excellent series on the subject of marriage that became the basis for his book, “The Meaning of Marriage”.  In one of those messages he said, “If everything around you is a mess and in weakness but your marriage is strong, then nothing else matters, you move out into the world in strength.  But if everything around you is strong yet your marriage is a wreck, you move out into the world in weakness.”

It’s our sincere hope that all reading this will be continually moving out into the world in strength.  Bring God into every aspect of your marriage.  Enjoy your spouse physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Be one with them.  Understand and experience what it means to be free with them.  And move out into the world in strength.


This is Part 1 in our series on Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.

Part 1: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom In Marriage #1 – Believe

Part 2: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #2 – Silence Outside Voices

Part 3: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #3 – Bring the Awesomeness

Part 4: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #4 – Understand the Seasons

Part 5: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage #5 – Create Opportunities


Feel free to answer one/all of the following questions in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

  1. What do you (or others you know) find most challenging about the phrase “sexual freedom”?
  2. Do you find it strange to pray about your sex life?  Why or why not?
  3. What scripture passages do you often read through to pray for your spouse / your marriage?

Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom: #4 Inhibitions

Sarah: “Can you please turn the lights out?  Thanks.”

Jonathan: “But we almost always have the lights out.  Can I at least light some candles or something?”

Sarah: “I’d prefer we not.  Alright…let’s do this!”

Jonathan: “Let’s do what, exactly? Romp again in the dark?  Don’t get me wrong, you totally turn me on.  But I’d love to not just feel you during sex…I’d love to SEE you, too.”

Sarah: “Oh, please. You don’t need to see this body, that’s for sure.”

Jonathan: “Perhaps I don’t ‘need’ to.  But I’d sure like to.  I find you breathtakingly bathroom-scalebeautiful.”

Sarah: “Yeah, right. Breathtaking?  Get real.  There’s nothing breathtaking about this body.”

Jonathan: “Don’t I tell you how beautiful you are every day?”

Sarah: “Of course you do, but…”

Jonathan: “And don’t I enjoy putting my hands on you?”

Sarah: “Yes, I just…”

Jonathan: “You just what? You just don’t believe me?  You don’t believe I find you to be beautiful?”

Sarah: “Well, when you put it that way…I guess…I just.. I don’t even know what to say.  Can we just please leave the lights out?”

Jonathan: “You still find yourself unattractive.  So much so that you won’t even let me in on what you’re thinking.  To be honest, now I don’t even know what to say.”

Sarah: “OK.  Well…can we go ahead and get started?”

Jonathan: *Sarcastically* “Sure.  We can get started.”  *Jonathan turns the lights out and walks out of the room*


Thus far in this series we’ve discussed three different hindrances to sexual freedom.  These include ego, differing personal interests, and sexual history.  It’s our hope that you’ve taken some serious opportunities to not only read these posts, but think through whether any of them are currently preventing your marriage from experiencing sexual freedom.  (For those of you who haven’t yet read through these, we’ve provided links at the end of this post for each part in this series.)  Today we want to bring up another issue that can destroy sexual freedom in marriage – personal inhibitions.

Inhibitions are an interesting beast in a marriage relationship.  They wreak havoc not only on the sexual aspect of marriage, but also on the marriage friendship itself.  Holding on to physical or emotional inhibitions is one way of saying, “I like you, but I’m not sure I fully trust you enough to put my whole self out there just yet.” It’s saying, “Yes I know we made a vow.  But this part of my life is off limits to you.”

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  But think of it this way.  Let’s say that your spouse is availing their everything to you on a regular basis.  They put it all out there all the time.  Mind, body, and soul.  They love and trust you not only physically, but also bring out every life struggle they have.  They share their fears.  They share their joys.  They share what God is teaching them and what areas He’s working on in their lives.  They share everything.  And there’s only one person in the world they’re sharing this with – you.

And over time they begin to notice you’re not quite sharing everything.  There are some areas of your life that are still off-limits.  Sure, maybe you don’t have any physical inhibitions like Sarah in the story above.  But there are other areas you’re not quite ready to put out there.  Even after 5, 10, even 20+ years of marriage, your spouse still isn’t your best friend.  They’re not the person you share your most intimate thoughts and struggles with.  They’re not your shoulder to cry on.  Maybe they’re not even the first person you think about calling when something awful happens.  You have inhibitions, and full-blown sexual freedom isn’t something your experiencing on a regular basis.

We write this post simply to give you (both men and women) the opportunity to think through whether you are currently experiencing any inhibitions in your relationship with your spouse.  And as we’ve done in each post throughout this series, we’re going to provide a series of statement below in which you can answer with a simple one-word answer.  Simply fill in the blank with either the word GOOD, BETTER, or BEST.

  1. I do a _______ job of trusting my spouse when they compliment my physical appearance.
  2. I do a _______ job of sharing the details of my day with my spouse.
  3. I do a _______ job of loving my spouse as a FRIEND and as a LOVER.
  4. I do a _______ job of sharing my fears and life struggles with my spouse.
  5. I do a _______ job of not being physically embarrassed when naked with my spouse.
  6. I do a _______ job of discussing with my spouse what God is teaching me.
  7. I do a _______ job of sharing all of my emotions with my spouse.
  8. I do a _______ job of being completely uninhibited with my spouse.

To conclude, we want to note that if you are experiencing any inhibitions in your marriage, you will need to take gradual steps to open up physically and emotionally with your spouse.  One of the best ways to do this is to confess your inhibitions to your spouse and then discuss together how you can work on them.  Simply allowing them to be part of the discussion will reap dividends on your friendship, and before you know it you’ll be opening the door to a new world of sexual freedom in your marriage.


What inhibitions have you worked through in your relationship with your spouse?  Feel free to let us know in the comments.


This is Part 4 in our series on Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom in Marriage.  Additional posts in the series can be found at the links below.  And stay tuned for our next series: Five Ways to Sustain Sexual Freedom in Marriage.

Part 1: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #1 – Ego

Part 2: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #2 – Personal Interests

Part 3: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #3 – Sexual Past

Part 4: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #4 – Inhibitions

Part 5: Five Hindrances of Sexual Freedom #5 – Busyness


Sexual Motivations

Have you ever felt unmotivated? Maybe you’ve procrastinated on a project or chore? Perhaps you’ve begun a new diet or workout routine but lacked proper motivation to see it through?

Motivation, or lack there of, will likely impact every area of our lives at some point or another – including our sex lives! Even couples who have what they would consider a very healthy sex life will occasionally encounter seasons where motivation to sexually engage is lacking.  Today we want to share just a few ideas that may serve to inspire sexual motivations.

1. Sex has health benefits.

The health benefits for sex are numerous.  Some of these benefits include: better sleep, stress relief, pain relief, boosts immunity, and improved self image.  Stressed at work?  Sex can help.  Need more exercise?  Sex can help.  Don’t like what you see in the mirror?  Sex can help!  And don’t forget, having a headache is more of a reason TO jump in the sack than refrain from it.  These benefits are very real and they are just the tip of the iceberg as to how sex can better benefit your health.

2. Sex has emotional and relational benefits.

Closeness and connection are two incredibly powerful motivating factors for sex. Sexual release has a built in mechanism (oxytocin) that bonds and draws you to one another. Want to rekindle and connect? Sex can be both the starting and ending point of  a healthy emotional cycle.

The relational connection of sex can work two ways;  1. It forces you to deal with whatever might be hindering your relationship. By this we mean, when there are sexual problems in marriage, they are often related to relationship concerns.  Symptoms may include a perceived lack of respect for one another, a belief that work/school/kids is more important to your spouse than you are, and so on.  So, if your sex life isn’t quite what you want it to be, pinpoint the reason(s) why, agree to improve your relationship in these areas, and then regularly cement your agreement in the bedroom.  This final part is an important aspect of emotional and relational benefits of sex because, 2. It increases your overall desire to be with your spouse.  And the greater your desire to be with him/her, the greater your desire to re-connect, and the greater your relational and emotional benefits will continue.  Your improving relationship will be a motivation for great sex, and your great sex life will be a motivation for a stronger relationship.  It’s truly a win-win!

3. Sex helps the mundane become interesting.

Most days start and end the same with a bunch of sameness in the middle. Sex can break up the monotony of routines. Why not have sex before breakfast or dinner?  Maybe somewhere other than the bedroom?  How about a middle of the night romp or a fully clothed make out session? Perhaps you can include some music.  Or candles.  Ladies, when’s the last time you included a 10 minute (or even 5) strip-tease?  Men, when is the last time you offered your wife a long-lasting massage?  If motivation is lacking because your sex life has fallen into a rut, change it up.

4. Sex is fun and pleasurable.

If you don’t believe your sex life is all that great, we would strongly encourage you to keep working on it. Keep open communication with your spouse, try numerous positions, and even lotions if need be.  DON’T think that your spouse should ‘just know’ what to do and what feels good.  Sometimes you have to tell him/her and you have to be very specific.  Sex isn’t always automatic.  Diligently working on making sex great are the keys that lead to making sex fun and pleasurable.  The more you communicate exactly what feels good and what doesn’t, the better lover your spouse will become.

In the end, that fun and pleasure can provide enough motivation to keep coming back for more.  While your favorite TV show or page turning novel may seem a more tempting option than sex on occasion, the fun and pleasure received from sex won’t disappoint.

5. Sex is giving and receiving.

Sex isn’t only about the pleasure you’ll receive, it’s about the pleasure you’re able to provide for your spouse as well.  Achieving orgasm is one thing, but doing everything you can to please your spouse is another.  Sure, any man can orgasm.  But a real man will provide for her needs first, touching, caressing, kissing, grabbing, licking, thrusting and using words in a way that will bring HER to sexual ecstasy.  A man who brings his wife to climax (sometimes multiple times in one encounter) will feel better after the experience than a man who orgasms without seeing his wife experience that same pleasure.  Likewise, a woman who has just climaxed is doing her husband a disservice if she just lays there.  Maybe he wants certain touches, caresses, grabs, licks, thrusts, and sounds too!  Make it as passionate as possible for him!

If you’re really up for a challenge, try pleasing one another in such a way that you experience orgasm simultaneously.  This will force you to work with another, finding just the right motion to be mutually satisfied.  You’ll both be reveling in the beauty of one another simultaneously.  That is truly giving and receiving all at the same time.

6. Pray for some “want to”.

We know, we know…the idea to pray about your sex life totally weirds some people out.  But if God mentions marriage as the one relationship that most closely resembles his relationship with us, and sex is the most intimate aspect of marriage, then we would do well to pray for our sex lives!  You see, God cares about every area of your life.  That includes your health, your marriage, and your sex life. And since God created all of the above,  He is not ashamed or embarrassed by anything we mention to Him in prayer.  So, if you want a better sex life or need some motivation to pursue sexual intimacy, pray.  Just be prepared for Him to answer.

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum, Messy Marriage, Happy Wives Club

Waiting for “The Mood”

I (Megan) learned very early on in our marriage, if I waited to be “in the mood” we weren’t going to have very much sex.  Prior to marriage, we had based much of our relationship on things other than the physical aspect.  But early on in marriage, things were different.  Sex was good.  Really good, in fact.  But it was still just one part of our marriage, on top of everything else.  That said, I still realized that sex was good for me, for my husband and for our marriage. It wasn’t just good…it was necessary.  As I began to understand the importance of sex I began to take far more interest in understanding how to be in the mood, or at least desire a thriving and healthy sex life.

A good sex life is a healthy indicator of a great marriage.  Being that sex connects a couple on emotional, spiritual and physical levels, it’s worth learning how to understand or increase sexual desire. Sexual desire is often misunderstood and many choose not to openly discuss their desires with their spouse. Today we want to point out a few ways to engage yourself in the increase of sexual desire. Mind you, these are just a few suggestions, but just sitting and waiting to be “in the mood” rarely makes a difference.

Here are three things to practice and keep in mind if you want the mood to be more welcome in your life.

1. Relate.

Take time to relate to your spouse throughout the day and the week. Regular conversations about what’s going on in life are great but don’t leave it at simply coordinating your schedules! Take time to share what’s going on in your heart. Emotionally, what is bothering you or bringing you great joy? Take time to regularly evaluate how your marriage, finances, outside relationships, work life, parenting, etc. are working for you.  The more often you communicate about all aspects of life, the more free you are to engage. Guarded emotions and lives don’t allow complete sexual abandon, vulnerability and relational connectivity does.

2. Remember.

Build your sexual memories on your most enjoyable experiences. Remembering just how good it can be has an uncanny way of making you want that same thing again.  What happens when you have lots of ho-hum or even negative sexual experiences? Create what I like to call sexual nostalgia.  Make love in different places, positions or introduce specific cues that trigger your mind and emotions to become nostalgic. Maybe it’s a spot on the couch. It could be a certain touch or scent. Whatever it is, use your mind to your advantage. Over time, even the memories of meaningful past sexual experiences, will make a difference in your desire and readiness.

3. Relax.

Seriously. If you are worried about being in the mood the moment you start to make love – STOP IT!  Making the choice to make love is often the first step and the rest follows. So, relax and just go with it. Allow your body to catch up with the mental choice and you will start a positive sexual cycle.

Fee free to check out other things we have posted about sex drives:

Sex Drives: Do I make you horny?

Sex Drives: Libido Saboteurs

Learning to Listen

I (Megan) must confess, I’ve a lot to learn about listening. I have no problem talking, but listening has been known to cause me problems.There are times when I get distracted or try to multitask while Justin is talking rather than giving him my full attention. Sometimes I  formulate my answer while he is still talking rather than listening and then appropriately responding. There are even times when I fill in words and finish sentence for the man because I believe I already know what he is going to say! Like I said, I have a LOT to learn about listening.

In talking with others I’ve found I’m not alone in my need to grow in this area. People are quick to blame stereotypes of men or women for not knowing how to listen but I believe it’s a human problem not just a male or female problem. At the root of a seeming inability to listen is a selfishness problem.  When we recognize that others have worth and value, that what they say should be given merit, then and only then can we begin the process of learning to listen.

Here are a few tips I am learning on my way to becoming a better listener.

1. Determine what kind of listening a situation requires.

  • Does the person speaking require my input or are they just venting?
  • Is this conversation primarily one of obtaining information or is it to gain understanding?
  • Is what I am listening to for my own enjoyment or is there need for an appropriate response?

While there is a great deal of overlap in most conversations, it can help to understand what action the person communicating will find most helpful.  I believe this article has a lot of great information on how to become a better active listener.

2. Listen with empathy.

Allowing others to feel, process and think differently is part of the human experience.  We are all different and acknowledging that in listening skills rather than holding fast to unworkable expectations will do wonders for building relationships.  Listening with a desire to understand and learn in place of defending and assuming is key to continued open dialogue.

3. Recognize listening as a gift.

Priscilla Shirer writes: “Listening is one of the most significant ways He (God) blesses us. Therefore, quite predictably, it’s one of the key ways we can bless others. So choose to listen. Resist the urge to criticize, insult, laugh, or make sarcastic remarks. Battle the press of time and urgency and the hunger to get away. Just lean in, quietly, emphatically, purposefully. And Listen. It’s your gift. Your blessing. Give it to whomever you can.”

Undivided attention. The desire to know and be known. True understanding. I want that in my marriage and I bet you do to. Recognizing that those gifts are ours to give just may be encouragement enough to make some changes.  I want to be a good gift giver in my marriage and if you do to, let’s make the effort to learn to be better listeners.

Join the conversation:

How have you or are you learning to be a better listener? What else would you add to our list?

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum, Messy Marriage