Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How do you handle issues in your marriage relationship?

What happens in your marriage bed when you and your spouse have a serious emotional issue (ie, or sexual, thinking through this in reverse), one which has days or possibly weeks of lasting effects? Does your sexual intimacy come to an abrupt halt or are you and your spouse able to work through the emotional hitch simultaneous as you continue to enjoy passionate sex?

GR and I had such an issue come up this past week; we were both at fault. We rarely have emotional issues these days so when it does happen, it is usually big. Although it takes work and dedication, we both agree that when things are not at their absolute best outside the bedroom, it is in no way reason to allow our marriage bed to suffer.

Here is the tricky part-- Many of us agree that emotional and sexual intimacy are closely related so if they are, how do you separate them so that a fall-out in one area does not cause a fall-out in the other? I think most guys have the advantage in these situations because they, more easily than women, naturally compartmentalize each area of their life. Can women learn this skill? Absolutely if they are willing to work at it.

When this issue came up last week one of the first things I thought was, “Oh, great… our marriage bed has been going strong and now this. What will happen with us in the bedroom?” And then I was reminded of something. Those of any Christian Faith can benefit from doing this analysis when problems arise in the marriage relationship. In Christian Orthodoxy we rely on what we call “7 grievous sins” and “7 virtues”, which we analyze extensively when we need to confess any kind of sin. It helps us to quickly and efficiently identify our problem/sin areas where otherwise we may ignore or overlook them and then it helps us to focus on the virtues. We list them as follows:

Grievous Sins

1. PRIDE: the lack of humility befitting a creature of God.
2. GREED: too great a desire for money or worldly goods.
3. LUST: impure and unworthy desire for something evil.
4. ANGER: unworthy irritation and lack of self control.
5. GLUTTONY: the habit of eating or drinking too much.
6. ENVY: jealousy of some other person's happiness.
7. SLOTH: laziness that keeps us from doing our duty to God and man.

Virtues

1. HUMILITY
2. LIBERALITY
3. CHASTITY
4. MILDNESS
5. TEMPERANCE
6. HAPPINESS
7. DILIGENCE

In our situation I could see that if I was not careful I would end up ushering into my life the sins of pride, anger and sloth and that these sins would clearly interfere in the mending of the issue at hand. Once I identified which sins I was battling against it made it easy to work towards overcoming them by focusing on the virtues. So my task at hand- to truly confess my pride, anger and sloth and to pray for humility, temperance and diligence. Voila! How I wish I had learned this years ago but better late than never. With each of us truly confessing and praying through this, we were able to successfully go to bed that same night and enjoy passionate sex. One problem did not have to create another.

So I will ask again--- What happens in your marriage bed when you and your spouse face serious emotional issues? Does sexual intimacy go down the toilet or are you and your spouse able to work through the emotional hitch simultaneous as you continue to enjoy passionate sex?

May we all become smarter and more obedient to God in the handling of issues in our marriages and in our lives!

3 comments:

job29man said...

When I am selfish in our marriage it definitely has a chilling effect on the relationship. It cools her attraction to me. But it never results in refusal. I have a hard time carrying over my foolish behavior to the next day without first apologizing and asking forgiveness before bedtime.

Then we can have good sex that same night. But in the absence of one or both of us apologizing we usually don't initiate sex.

If I feel any friction between us at all I call a meeting and we talk it through. Then all is good.

job29man said...

Gemma,

I've come back to your article now several times to re-study it.

IMO this is some of the clearest, best thinking on resolving MB issues that I've ever read. You go straight to the heart of the matter. Marriage problems are spiritual at their root. Marriage problems are caused by sins of selfishness, and the remedy is to actively and intentionally practice virtue.

Thank you for taking so much time and heartfelt effort to put this all down in writing for us! You are a generous Christian sister to us all.

Ancient Mariner said...

"What happens in your marriage bed when you and your spouse face serious emotional issues?"

Amazingly, we don’t have serious emotional issues anymore. It wasn’t always that way, and yes, sex went down the tubes when we quarreled. Ever since our near divorce then sexual reawakening, we realize how much we mean to each other and need each other. We are now so close that quarreling would be like fighting with myself. My wife feels the same way. Whenever we begin to have a disagreement, one of us pulls back, and the other also relents. Then we go and make love, to make sure we put the rancor behind us.

She can tell how I am feeling without my saying a word; I am the same with her. We can even tell our moods over the phone. When she looks at me now, it is as if she is scanning me with a device which has a higher bandwidth than mortal eyes; she is burrowing into my soul and reading my innermost thoughts and feelings. It is almost frightening, the intensity of it. I now understand what the bible says (paraphrasing badly) about a man abandoning his father and his mother and cleaving to his wife, and the two becoming one flesh. I’m not sure it would have happened if we hadn’t made the conscious decision to make love frequently, and to never turn each other down. By giving our bodies unselfishly, we have opened up hitherto unimaginable worlds of trust and intimacy. And you are responsible, Gemma. I agree completely with Job.

Thanks :-)