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

Marriage Challenge: Third Time’s a Charm

Today’s challenge is simply meant to add some fun, variety and entertainment to your sex life.

Marriage Challenge: Every third time you make love change one variable. After all, the third time’s a charm right?

The variable could be

  • location
  • position (at least to start with)
  • style of initiation
  • fragrance worn
  • vocalization (make some noise, different words, etc)
  • ambiance
  • what you wear
  • use your imagination!

Don’t let a drift in your sex life lead you away from one another. Keep it fresh and new, allowing your imagination and creativity to be used to the fullest extent.

Sex in a Box: Introduction

“Hey Dad, I’m reading a book I think you would enjoy. Why don’t you peruse it to see if you would want to read it.”

My dad, the always and forever English teacher replied, “Megan, did you know that peruse actually means ‘to read intently’? So no, I’m not interested in perusing it right now but I’m more than willing to glance over it.” (Spoken in good fun and with a smile.)

I laughed and gave my Dad a quizzical look. Apparently I’ve been using the word peruse incorrectly my whole life. In my desire to sound somewhat educated, to prove I could use big girl vocabulary, I pulled out a word that I thought I understood. Turns out I didn’t really understand it at all. I think the same can be said about sex. Clear pictures, experiences and expectations accompany the word sex in our minds.  Each of us have thoughts when we hear the word sex and those thoughts form and develop our understanding of sex. The only problem with that is that so often we don’t understand the greater context and story into which sex was placed. We place the word sex in a box and tie it up neatly, believing we fully understand what it means.

“Freedom may be found behind closed doors” has always been our tag line here at Do Not Disturb Blog.  It truly is our desire to provide practical and spiritual truths about marriage and the sexual relationship for married couples.  We believe it is possible to experience freedom in sexual intimacy by understanding that sex is a gift from God to married couples. In order to experience this freedom though, each individual has to dismantle preconceived opinions concerning how they think about sex. A person has to be willing to take sex out of the box and understand it in a larger context. For the sake of this series we will examine and consider what we believe God says is the proper context for sex and how our “boxes” must be broken down to experience true sexual freedom.

The first several posts (1per week) will examine the most common sexual “boxes”. Then we will offer some suggestions on how to break down those boxes and begin a journey towards sexual freedom. We hope that you will join us on this journey and that you will feel free to comment and participate in conversation.

*This series will cover much of the subject matter we raised a few weeks ago in our post: Compartmentalization: Spirituality vs. Sexuality. We have since revamped how to approach the subject. Thanks for your understanding.

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

Connectivity and Sex

Sex is about connection. It’s about fun and games. It’s meant to bring a married couple together to share in something that is exclusive.  An exclusive moment of knowing and being known at the deepest level.  This is what sex is all about.  However, knowing all these incredible reasons doesn’t seem to eliminate how challenging it can be to make sex a priority.  See if you can relate to any of these common reasons people choose not to have sex.

  • too tired
  • too busy
  • no energy
  • too much work to do
  • don’t feel sexy
  • relational conflict (with spouse or others)
  • lack of connection/conversation throughout the day
  • it doesn’t feel good
  • our relationship needs help!
  • demands of the day (work, kids, family, house, bills etc) are overwhelming

A long list that probably doesn’t include half the reasons and excuses that shove sex to the bottom of the “to do” list.  We are unable to address all of those issues in one post but today we are going to share 4 ways to feel connected to your spouse throughout the day.  Trying these ‘touch-points of connection’ may just revive your desire to connect physically and intimately.

1. Begin your day with a smile, a kiss and a kind word.  It seems simple, maybe too simple, but what have you got to lose?  Starting the day with affection and touch can be a good way to boost the intimacy in your relationship.  A kiss, kind word and tender moment at the beginning of the day can help set the tone for the rest of the day.  Your marriage is supposed to be set apart from the rest of your relationships, so do something that truly sets it apart.  If your spouse is used to a rushed  and hectic morning encounter, determine what changes you need to make in order to give your spouse your best.

2. Communicate with your spouse throughout the day.  There are a number of ways that you can let your spouse know that you are thinking about them throughout the day.  It could be a simple lunchbox note or handwritten note in their car.  Maybe an email or text during the day.  And though our tech savvy culture may snicker at the archaic devise called a phone, it just might be the point of connection your marriage needs.  Take into consideration what communication works best for you and your spouse then follow through and begin regularly communicating. (check out these 5 text your should send your spouse from Messy Marriage)

3. Think about your spouse throughout the day.  While it is wonderful to actually communicate with your spouse, thinking about them is also very beneficial.  Set up reminders (or what we call “triggers”) throughout your day that entice you to remember your spouse.  Simple and mundane tasks take on new meaning if you are purposefully turning your mind and heart towards your spouse.  Don’t underestimate the importance of mentally and emotionally connecting to your spouse throughout the day.

4. Pray for your spouse. There is an incredibly powerful connection that is possible when we pray for our spouse.  Whether we are praying about specific concerns our spouse has shared with us or praying for more general well being, God can change the course of our marriage when we are willing to bring our prayers to Him.  There are many great resources available to help you learn to pray for your spouse and we would encourage you to use them.  Consistency however is the key.  Consistently pray for all different aspect of your marriage and watch God work.

“This post doesn’t have anything to do with sex” you may be saying right now. That may appear true as we didn’t address many of the excuses in our list.  It’s our belief though, that these ‘touch-points of connection’ can help revive your marriage.  A great sex life comes from the overflow of a strong marriage.  So if you want a great sex life begin by working on having a stronger marriage.

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Join the conversation:

How have you found that connectivity during the day helps you desire connectivity in the bedroom?

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

13 Realities of Married Sex: #13 Sex is an Adventure

If I (Megan) could choose a musician to compose a soundtrack for my life there is no doubt who I  would choose,  John Williams.  Composer of some of the most iconic film scores of the last 4 decades.  I have always appreciated the way he captures the suspense of the moment, the excitement of victory and the thrill of the adventure.  I wonder what the score of my life would sound like? What melodies would accompany my driving  kids to & from school? What refrain would be associated with my washing the dishes or doing the laundry?  What theme would be associated with my marriage? My sex life? While I don’t have a sound track to accompany the story of my life, I believe I am living in the midst of a great adventure.

Each of our lives is telling a story. Our stories contain moments of excitement, victory, defeat, romance, hurt, and so much more.  All of these moments are part of the adventure of life on planet earth.  For those of us who are married, sex is just another aspect of our adventure.  We have been writing about the 13 realities of married sex for a while now, but here’s the thing, we don’t know your story.  We don’t know your situation.  When we write about sex we do so from what we believe to be a biblical standpoint.  A view which encourages sexual freedom within the marriage relationship.  We write from our own personal experience and from knowledge gained from talking with and counseling others.  However, we understand that we don’t know it all.

Perhaps the reality of married sex for you is vastly different than what we have written about. Perhaps we haven’t even begun to address how great or how awful your situation really is.  That’s why we are wrapping up this series with this thought: sex is an adventure.

And here’s the thing – you get to choose how to live that adventure!  Just remember that every good adventure includes ups and downs.  Good and bad.  We have seen many couples resign themselves to a ho-hum sex life because they just don’t believe it’s worth a great deal of effort.  Or maybe it’s that the past or current reality of their sex life is considered too painful to address.  Our message to those couples: Don’t give up!  Sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed in marriage.  Sex is meant to strengthen and build up marriage.  Sex is meant to be an adventure.

So, take the opportunity to consider where your sex life currently is and move towards better understanding.  It may be that you need to rewrite your story.  It may be that you need to deal with your sexual pastHave the conversation with yourself. Or maybe you just need to grow in your understanding of what sex really is.

Having a strong marriage and great sex life is not automatic.  It requires effort, time and lots of work.  It requires an adventurous spirit and a desire to move forward.  While we can’t identify every road you will travel in your sex life, be assured the adventure is worth it.  Your theme song is yet to be finalized, and in the end, it is you who will compose the music that can played to the adventure of your sex life.

Linking with: Messy Marriage, To Love Honor and Vacuum

13 Realities of Married Sex: #12 Sex is Passion Redefined

Take a minute to think about a few of your favorite stories.  You can think of movies, books…anything.  Harry Potter.   Sherlock Holmes.  Robin Hood.  Maybe a chick-flick.  Got some favorites in mind?  Good.

Now, if you could choose only one, which of these stories is your favorite?  And what words would you use to describe it?  Maybe you would choose words such as, heroic, epic, adventurous, romantic, or funny.  Maybe you would choose more informative words like, abridged, biographical, or fictional.  However you would describe the story you are thinking about, all great stories have some commonalities.  Those things that are essential for drawing you in and making you read or watch more.

Great stories include all of the following: believable characters, proper setting, well developed plot, conflict and a central theme or idea.  Guess what?  A good marriage has all of these, too.  Guess what else?  We believe that sex is an important part of the storyline of marriage.  It brings excitement and exhilaration.  It adds an element of the unexpected.  Sorry for the pun, but it’s a big part of the climax of the marriage story.  Sadly, not everyone agrees. We recently read this quote as a comment on an article:

” Marriage, as a rule, is precipitated by passionate love, irrationally arrived at because of new sex with a new person. That passion fades in all cases. If one is married, the loss of sexual newness can either be accepted by the married couple who are willing to compromise and live without that sex, or it precipitates a divorce.” (emphasis mine)

Really?  The only 2 options according to this person are to live without sex or get a divorce?  While opinions such as this are widely accepted in our culture, this is a very distorted and narrow view of sex.  Sex in marriage provides a much bigger story than that! Let’s take a clue from great stories and see if we can come to a better understanding of how sex in marriage is like a story.

1. Believable characters:  The greatest and most loved characters of all time have one thing in common.  They are flawed.  Sure, they may be loved for their integrity and honesty.  But they may express a feisty or provocative nature from time to time.  On occasion, it may even be their depravity that draws a person in.  Whatever it is, there is no doubt that they have flaws.  Don’t we all?

When it comes to sex as a story, understanding that each person in a marriage has their own flaws is actually quite freeing.  In fact, when two people openly acknowledge their flaws and work on them together, their marriage will grow stronger.

2. Setting:  Though many in our culture adamantly disagree with this point, the proper context and setting for sex is marriage.  It is only within the commitment and vows of marriage that sex has the ability to work through all of the ups and downs that the entire marriage plot will entail.

3. Well developed plot and conflict:  Picture this.  Two people.  Flawed people.  Constantly battling urges to follow after their own individual desires.  While they experience hundreds of moments of deep friendship, one moment of pain causes more hurt and sorrow than anything ever experienced before.  Through it all, they must choose to serve their spouse above themselves. More importantly, through it all, sex is the great equalizer.  No matter what’s going on, when those two people connect they’re reminded that they’re in this together.  They’re not just with one another, but for one another.  Sex is the climax that brings them back to the central theme of the story once more.

4. Central theme:  The central theme of marriage and sex is that husband and wife are truly living as one flesh.  What was once two people before God is now one.  Once again, sex is the constant reminder of this truth.

The above quote states that, regarding sex in marriage “…passion fades in all cases.”  This just isn’t so.  While sex may not always be a vigorous claws to the wall experience, there’s nothing more passionate than two people bonding for 20, 30, even 50 or more years and putting their own wants aside for the needs of one another and their family.

Think of it this way, there’s a reason Easter Weekend is often referred to as “Passion Week”.  It’s full of righteous, selfless, passion. Jesus gave up everything for the good of others.  For the good of us.

Marriage can illustrate this truth as well.  In all actuality, a good sex life illustrates this too.  In this type of relationship, you’re continually giving up yourself for the good of another, and they’re continually doing the same for you.  You’re allowing your partner to take the lead in the marriage dance, and they’re doing the same.  The result isn’t two people dancing around one another, but entwined with one another.  No one person takes the lead, because the relationship is one person.  There’s no stronger love than that.  There’s nothing sexier than that.  And honestly, there’s nothing more passionate than that.

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum, Messy Marriage, Women Living Well

13 Realities of Married Sex: #11 Sex is Exploration

We recently listened to a song titled, “I don’t know enough about you.” Have you ever asked that question about your sex life? Ever wondered if you really had any clue what your spouse likes or dislikes? Whether or not you ‘knew’ enough about their desires in the bedroom?

We’re hopeful that you have, because every married couple ought to be on equal footing in one area: knowing how to please one another sexually. Regardless of your spouse’s sexual history, or even your own history together before marriage, every married couple should continually be learning about how to please their partner.explore

Some people believe that with enough time and/or practice they will be able to just “figure it out”. While there may be some truth to that way of thinking, sex is about exploration. Exploration of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexual intimacy. Approaching sex with an attitude of exploration has strong benefits in marriage.

In fact, the really exciting thing about sex as exploration is that it includes active participation from both partners. She may provide verbal or physical cues that guide her husband’s words, touch, and movement in a way that it brings her immense pleasure. Or, he actively participants in exploration, watching and waiting to see how she responds. He adjusts accordingly, with the sole intent of ensuring she is sexually satisfied. She, too, takes opportunities to explore him, slowly revving him up before the big bang.

While sexual exploration can (and should!) be done in a variety of ways, below are a few different ways to approach sex with this mindset.

Explore and learn by way of:

Observing – Notice your spouse. Pay attention to her facial expressions. Is she showing pleasure, or concentration? Is she changing her movements and modifying her position often? Is she tense, or is she very relaxed? You may think you know what she wants and desires, but if she’s continually adjusting her body then focus some of your mental energy to change that. Pay attention to all of the non-verbal physical cues she’s providing, and adjust accordingly. The same principles may be applied to observing your husband.

Talking -Talking about sex may be unnatural for some married couples. While sex is a regular occurrence for most couples, openly discussing it isn’t something some couples like to do.

Listen up, because this is important: It’s OK to talk about your sex life, what you like, and what you don’t like. It’s OK to do this in the bedroom, and outside the bedroom. While non-verbal cues are important, actual words about what you each like will help your spouse be able to please you better. Not only that, but your spouse will also be more sexually pleased if they know they’re bringing you greater pleasure! So go ahead and discuss it. You’re going to get naked with them again soon, so why not tell them how much you enjoyed your last time together, and what they can do to make the next one even more memorable.

Touching – Even if you have been married for many years, challenge yourself to grow in your exploration of your spouse. Take a hot shower together and then slowly explore one another’s body. What simple touches causes his body to respond? Where do caresses or kisses cause her to giggle? Don’t just focus on the face, chest and other sexual regions. Explore their WHOLE body. These opportunities will lead to longer times together, and a more vibrant, fulfilling sexual experience. Not only that, but you’ll likely learn something about your spouse you can use sometime in the future…something that may provide them with a “claws to the wall” experience.

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Discuss with your spouse:

1. Which is these is most difficult for you in the exploration process: observing, talking, or touching? Can we spend some time observing one another in that way soon?

2. I think we’re doing OK because most of our sexual encounters are 10 minutes or less (a statistical fact). What do you think about slowing it down a little and doing a bit more exploration? How many minutes do you think we should add to our next encounter?

3. Challenge: I don’t want to discuss these questions! I’m ready to take a hot shower and explore your body – let’s get to it!

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum, Messy Marriage

Romance or Sex? Why not plan for both this month!

We received this guest post from a Do Not Disturb Blog reader and can’t wait to share this creative idea with all of you.  Enjoy!

I’m like J from Hot, Holy and Humorous in that I’m not quite ready to go public with my identity in front of the millions of readers of DoNotDisturb.  That being said, I appreciate the opportunity that Justin and Megan have given me to be a guest blogger.

Every now and then, I come up with a good idea that I think is worth sharing. This was my one good idea from 2011.  Actually the idea was formed in 2010, but I had to wait until 2011 to launch the idea.   I surprised my wife with a series of index cards with one letter on  each card.  She had to put them in order and they eventually spelled the words Sexuary and Romanceuary.  This was on the first day of February.  What I did was rename “Feb” -ruary  as “Sex”-uary and “Romance”-uary.  Clever huh?

So here is what we did.  We set aside two nights every week of the month for sex and / or romance.  I being the one more interested in sex and less good at romance was in charge of Romance-uary night.  Not coincidentally, a good evening of romance led to sex 4 of  4 weeks.   Each Saturday night I would plan a fun, creative and romantic date for us to go on.  I even arranged the baby sitting which is always a good first step for creating romance with my wife.  Among the things we did were a sports tri-athalon at the local YMCA , a poker night with two other couples, and live Bluegrass music show.

My wife was in charge of sex-uary night each Tuesday.   We made a point of putting the kids to bed early so we could have a longer time together.  My wife is not usually the adventuresome one or the initiator so it was a great change of pace and great fun for her to think in those terms.  A few of the things she did was buy a book on erotic massage, wear new purchased silky lingerie and had us try a few new positions.

The following year we did something similar during the month of February which involved an extra focus on the sexual and romantic part of our marriage.  We go on dates and have sex every other month of the year as well, but what this did for us was give a fun and healthy focus to an otherwise dreary month.  Whether you change February to Sex-uary or Romance-uary, it’s a great month to focus more on your marriage because Valentine’s Day falls in the middle. Also, its cold outside and you might as well enjoy indoor sports with your sweetheart.

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Now isn’t that a great idea! Feel free to leave some comment love for our guest blogger.

How would you go about planning a Sexuary or Romanceuary date night? Share your ideas so we can all benefit from the creativity of others.

Linking with: WLW

13 Realities of Married Sex: #9 Sex is Ecstasy

Years ago, Megan decided to surprise me by purchasing a ticket for us to ride a special bungee-swing-like ride in a major theme park.  The only problem is that I’m afraid of heights.  Though this event took place years ago, I remember it very clearly.  The slow ascent to the final destination (which was hundreds of feet off the ground!) was not a pleasant experience.  But once you’re there, there’s only one way to getKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA down.  The employee called out over a loudspeaker, “Are you ready?”  And then continued, “3-2-1 PULL!”.  Megan pulled the pin.  Over the next 1.37365 seconds, we were in a complete free-fall, and I’m pretty sure I was screaming like a little girl.  Then we felt the rope catch, and we swung back and forth until we descended to safety.  During this event, all 5 senses were fully engaged.  And in the end, I did laugh a bit about the experience.  But it wasn’t as enjoyable as Megan hoped.  It didn’t provide the moment of ecstasy she was going for.

Sex, on the other hand should be a thrilling, tantalizing and exciting experience. And while no marriage experiences those attributes every time they connect physically, it should not be a distant memory or completely foreign idea.  So what happens when sex is not ecstasy? When boredom, monotony and familiarity cloud that which you wish was more exciting and fun?

1. Build up the mind.

Great sex begins in the mind. If you have a ho-hum attitude towards sex, your bedroom activities won’t fail to reflect that attitude.  Fully understanding that where your mind goes, your body will follow is an important first step.  Use the power of your mind, your thoughts and your will to release your sexual confidence.  Make an effort to spend time thinking erotic thoughts about your spouse and anticipating how good sex could be. If you find yourself blaming your spouse for being a lousy lover, why don’t you try taking time to teach them to be a great lover.  Nobody knows everything about someone else’s body so take time to teach them about yours.  It is possible, but it all starts in the mind.  (If you are a wife with a low libido, check out Pearl’s OysterBed and join in her challenge to Unlock Your Libido.)

2. Build up the body.

If sex begins in the brain, then getting to know your own body is the next step to better sex.  Learning how your body responds to touch, taste, sight, smell and sound is a great starting point to understanding what turns you on. Marriage is the only place where sexual experimentation is encouraged and appropriate…so get to it!

3. Build up the heart.

Sex without connection can never be as good as sex with connection.  If sex is not producing much ecstasy then look to the relational aspects of your marriage and sexual relationship.  Is sex being withheld because of anger or unforgiveness? Is there bitterness or resentment building up as a result of self-centered living? Are there underlying problems in how you value sex?

Another approach may just be to work on your friendship. Sex or friendship, friendship or sex, which comes first? Truth is, neither one is as good without the other. Working on your friendship may well be a key to unlocking more passionate sex.

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Discuss with your spouse:

1. Is there anything I can do this week to help you think sexual thoughts about me throughout the day?

2. Challenge: Do something special with all 5 senses the next time you connect.  Don’t tell your spouse what you’re going to do (surely you can think of something sexually arousing to surprise him/her in 5 ways) but let him/her choose the order of the senses.  Then mix-and-match those 5 things the next time you connect.  Chances are, you’ll discover a new, fun, way to pleasure your spouse!

13 Realities of Married Sex: #8 Sex is Different

Recently, I took the opportunity to scroll through the Amazon Prime Video service to see if there happened to be any movies that would entertain Megan and I for an evening.  As I scrolled through the listings, one movie in particular caught my attention.  The movie was “North Face”.  I knew nothing about the movie, nothing at all.  It was easy to see from the MEDION DIGITAL CAMERApicture that it would be about mountain climbing, but what caught my attention was the number of very high reviews.  It seemed like nearly everyone who saw it gave it a full 5 stars.  I quickly saw that it was in German and we would have to watch it with subtitles.  But I didn’t care.  “If a movie has these kinds of high reviews,” I thought to myself, “then it’s got to be a great one to watch!” Needless to say, my expectations were high, and I was really looking forward to relaxing while watching a great movie.

***Warning: For those of you who have never seen “North Face”, the below text will contain spoilers!!!  Skip down a bit if you don’t wish to know what happens.***

So Megan and I started watching the movie – English subtitles and all – and soon became pretty engrossed in the film.  We were mesmerized not only by the climbers desire to do it, but also by the gear they used way back in the 1930’s.  Why would anybody desire to do such a thing?  Anyway, (here come the spoilers) about 75-90 minutes into the film one of the non-lead characters died.  We kind of saw it coming, but were still saddened to see him go.  Not long after, 2 more died, including one of the 2 main characters.  It was then that Megan looked over and said, “If this last guy dies, then this is going to be a really bad ending for a movie.”

Well, a rescue team was dispatched to save the final climber.  It was here that Megan and I were on the edge of our seats, waiting for some moment of triumph in what had become a ‘downer’ of a movie.  He was cold and his arm was frostbit, but they were going to make it.  They had to.  A dear friend of his stayed out on a ledge all night long to keep him awake so he wouldn’t die.  And in the morning, the rescue team arrived.  He began repelling himself to safety…but the rope was too short!  Oh, no!  Surely they were going to get to him in time, right?  Nope.  Before a second effort could be made, he froze to death.  The End.

To say we were disappointed as we turned off the TV and headed to bed would be an understatement.  Movies just aren’t supposed to end this way!  Movies are entertaining.  Fun.  Joyful.  While “North Face” was gripping, it didn’t seem to rise to our expectations.

***End of Spoilers***

Movies aren’t the only thing in life that disappoints us if it’s different than we expect.  Late last year Megan and I wrote a series called “Unmet Expectations”, and we immediately realized that many couples go into marriage having very specific expectations as to what marriage will be like.  Expectations about time together.  Expectations about money.  Even expectations about sex.  And when these expectations aren’t met, it’s easy to be disappointed with the result.

Take sex, for example.  You have certain expectations as to what your sex life will be like.  You probably have expectations as to what your next sexual encounter with your spouse will be like.  But what happens if those expectations aren’t met?  What happens if the result is different than what you planned out in your mind?

What happens if he isn’t sexually fulfilled because he can’t stop thinking about the fling she had in college with another guy?

What happens if she doubts she pleases her husband sexually because she discovered some risque photos on his laptop?

What happens if it’s obvious he’s thinking about a deadline he has at work?

What happens if it’s obvious she’s thinking about the kids?

Even a best-case scenario: What if he’s hoping for a hard romp in the sack, while she’s hoping for a mild, long, slow, sensuous time together.

All of these “what if’s” can be answered with one of two options: disappointment, or appreciation.  Focusing too much time thinking about the “what if’s” will lead to disappointment.  Instead, taking the opportunity to think about “why” you’re taking the opportunity to connect will lead to appreciation.  Not only appreciation for sex itself, but appreciation for your spouse.  For example:

1) Remember that you chose each other

We write about old flings from high-school and college pretty often, and that’s because we’ve talked with many couples who wrestle deeply with their sexual past.  They have a difficult time forgiving themselves or their spouse for something that happened years ago.  While we can’t cover this subject too much in this post, always remember that you chose each other.  Despite your past or hers, you chose to be with one another until death do you part.  You chose to unite and connect with his/her body the rest of your life.  If you need to, write this down and read it to yourself every day this week.

“I chose to live my life with my spouse, not my past.”

Good.  Now, begin to put that thought in motion, both inside and outside the bedroom.  Get under the sheets to be with your spouse, not your past.  Enjoy sex just as an opportunity to be with your spouse, not your past.  Use sex as an opportunity to avail yourself and to appreciate your spouse for doing the same.  Use it as a way to see into your spouse and know them.  Use it as a way to remember that you chose one another and that you want to live with, be with, and connect with one another.  You may never completely forget your past (or theirs), but you can forgive it.  And by doing so, you can appreciate not only your spouse, but your time together behind closed doors.

2) Remember that ‘different’ sex is better than no sex

You may be living in a situation right now where you’re choosing to not have sex because it’s ‘different’ than you expected it to be.  Well, life is always going to be different than you expect it to be, too.  But let me tell you a secret, having sex that’s ‘different’ than you expected it to be is a whole lot better than having no sex at all.  Every single time you connect, you’re reminding your spouse that you choose him/her.  Every time you connect, they’re reminded that they chose you, too. Your time together may be a little different than you expected it to be, but different isn’t always a bad thing.

3) Remember that ‘different’ isn’t a bad thing

I’m pretty sure that every person who experiences sex for the first time thinks to themself, “Well that was different than what I expected it to be.”  Our culture gives us one indication of what a good romp looks like but reality paints a different picture.  Similarly, one set of parents may educate their child in one way, and another completely different.  So there will be times when you and your spouse have different expectations and desires.

But remember, sex being ‘different’ than what you expect isn’t always a bad thing.  For example, “North Face” was much different than I expected.  But the more I’ve thought about the movie, the more I’ve come to appreciate it.  I appreciate it because it’s not the typical American-made movie.  I appreciate it because it showed some qualities of human nature that we don’t always see in movies.  I appreciate it because it was nothing like what I expected.  In short, I appreciate it because it was different.

You can do this with your sex life as well.

You can appreciate that your spouse is willing to be completely availed for you.

You can appreciate that your spouse chose you, not your past.

You can appreciate that ‘slow and easy’ builds your orgasm even longer.

You can appreciate that sex is more enjoyable than any deadline.

You can appreciate that ‘different’ sex is better than no sex.

In the end, you can appreciate that sex simply brings you together.

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Discuss with your spouse:

1. What would you say to a friend who is discouraged because their sex life is ‘different’ than they expected it to be?

2. Do you have any sexual desires that I’m not aware of?  How can I work toward pleasing you in this way?

3. On average, how often have we had sex over the past few months?  What can we do (or give up) to make more time for sex over the next month?

Linking with: To Love Honor and Vacuum