Sunday, October 17, 2010

Is there no end?

Why do so many people struggle in their marriage bed? Do we go into marriage in ignorance? After the wedding are we selfish? Are we too lazy to work at the relationship? Do we think that the marriage bed will take care of itself? Do we believe in that dumb old phrase of 50/50 when it should be 100/100? The more time I spend reading at marriage forums the more convinced I am that something is terribly, terribly wrong with the way many of these couples go into marriage. Months and even years later they are still wallowing around in a pathetic relationship.

The problems are not on account of a lack of prayer or lack of bible reading or lack of church attendance. There is plenty of that going around. It seems that the bulk of the issues is because one spouse views the marriage bed as something sinful and/or one spouse does not trust the other spouse. How has fear of sin and lack of trust become more important to embrace than the fear of a miserable marriage bed? On marriage forums the marriage bed issues are almost all alike. After you read enough of them, the stories all have an eerie resemblance. It becomes so depressing to read that I often have to pull myself away from them.

Is there no end? Will there ever be a time when most Christian marriages will get off on the right footing so that their marriage beds will thrive from the get-go? Will there ever be a time when both spouses will say, “You know, we can do better than this. Let us put our heads together and work on a doable solution so that we can have a healthy and happy marriage bed.”

I have to wonder. What do you guys think? What will it take to get both spouses on the same marriage bed page? It just seems that most couples who battle with this, drag it on for so freaking long. Why do you think this is so?

15 comments:

Brian Cordell said...

A big part of it is the love/sex circle. If both spouses recognize the circle and end it, celebration! If one spouse decides to fix it, you are on the road to recovery. If both spouses continue to hold their positions on the circle, it will never end.

David said...

Gemma said: "The more time I spend reading at marriage forums the more convinced I am that something is terribly, terribly wrong with the way many of these couples go into marriage. Months and even years later they are still wallowing around in a pathetic relationship."
"Pathetic relationship" kind of opens my eyes to where we are, but I'm slowly doing something about it and have seen the smallest (but very welcome) sign that my wife may be open to something much more meaningful. It's my dream to have a totally satisfying marriage, to help others find the same and to enable young people not to get into the same traps when they marry. Thanks for flying the flag, Gemma. Watch this space. I'm believing that there is no limit to what our Father God can do.
God bless.

Ancient Mariner said...

The fault does not lie totally with the spouses.

Jesus was virginal; his mother was a virgin and remained so after childbirth, never sleeping with her husband. There is no marriage in Heaven, and throughout the Bible, chastity and virginity are held up as ideals. Marriage is the second choice, not quite as good as chastity.

Yet the Song of Songs describes God’s love for us in erotic terms: we are supposed to feel aroused when we see our wives naked; when we see the mounds of their breasts; when we smell the aroma of their vaginas; and when we part their legs to pierce them to the core.

Still, it is hard to reconcile the ideal of chastity with the notion that frequent passionate sex can improve your marriage and bring you closer to God. Even though I know it to be true, I always fail when I try because there seems to be a logical disconnect.

You almost have to ignore the anti-sexuality teachings, and some people have a harder time of it than others.

Anonymous said...

I think I can sum up the whole issue in a single word... Importance.

Consider this, where is the importance of the marriage bed discussed? I'll take a few liberties based on what I've seen and make some generalizations. No one told our parents how important the marriage bed is so it couldn't be passed to us. We never saw a marriage bed held to importance or demonstrated so we go into it just as blind as they did. I had premarital counseling from a very wise and scripturally based pastor and attended a class given by the church specifically for nearly and newly wed couples that covered numerous things we'd face. Sex was mentioned in passing, usually in a joking manor but never as important or *gasp* necessary to the health of the marriage.
I'm the High Drive spouse and my wife the Loooooooooow Drive spouse so of coarse I see the marriage bed as something I need and that needs work but I still couldn't tell you about it's importance. I've seen enough through sites and blogs to get an idea that the marriage bed should be important but I doubt I actually "know" its true value. The sad part is it probably takes someone with healthy marriage bed, like Gemma, to say compared to ours the rest of these, well, suck!
If we only knew what a healthy marriage bed could do for our lives, relationships, marriage, churches etc., and compare that to what we currently have, the problem would be well on its way to resolution. Consider this, what if a poor marriage bed carried the same weight as obesity does in the public eye? Everything we eat has a nutrition label, gyms, support groups, news, TV, radio, books, spam in your email box, the internet is littered with sites about it and heck it even receives attention from the president. Now not everyone is as concerned about it but they are aware of the issue and realize that if you are obese it is a problem.
What if a poor marriage bed was like a 400 lb person walking down the street? What if the marriage bed was given the respect, honor and position that it was intended to have?

What if we truly knew and understood its importance?

Gemma said...

Anon said: "What if a poor marriage bed was like a 400 lb person walking down the street? What if the marriage bed was given the respect, honor and position that it was intended to have?"

That's exactly what I try to do when I write whether here on my blog or on marriage forums. To those spouses who object to what I say... in my mind I can compare them to a 400 lb person who is ignoring their health. The ones who object the loudest to what I say are the same ones who neglect their marriage bed. Just like some grossly obese people eventually wake up and tend to their health, my prayer is that these sexually neglectful spouses will one day soon wake up and learn the importance of nurturing their marriage bed.

so blessed said...

Ancient Mariner wrote: "Jesus was virginal; his mother was a virgin and remained so after childbirth, never sleeping with her husband."

I am curious as to the basis for your assertion that Mary remained virginal after Jesus' birth. The Gospels clearly refer to Jesus' mother and brothers coming to visit him. There are other references to them as well. Is that position founded in Scripture?

Gemma said...

"so blessed",

I almost deleted your comment but decided to go ahead and post it. Please, let's not argue over scripture interpretations here on my blog. If Ancient Mariner decides to come back and clarify what he wrote I don't want this to continue as a back and forth scripture debate. There are many scriptures which have more than one way to interpret them, truly. So let's keep this brief and keep it friendly.

Thanks...

Ancient Mariner said...

Oops!

I did not mean to start a religious discussion. Please ignore what I said about Mary. In this case, the fine points of doctrine don’t matter; what matters is the Christian ideal of chastity and virginity being held in the highest esteem, how marriage seems to be a less noble accommodation for those of us who succumb to the temptations of the flesh, and how, consequently, raunchy married sex can be seen as conflicting with this ideal.

Again, my apologies to all.

so blessed said...

My apologies for the detour, Gemma. I just had never heard that premise asserted before and was genuinely curious as to its basis in Scripture. Didn't mean to start any kind of debate or anything, just my curiosity in overdrive.

Gemma said...

No problem, guys. Just didn't want the question to turn into a sword fight over scripture interpretation. Carry on...

Ms. Mystery said...

Two things come to mind indifference and control. Indifference is the opposite of love (not hate) when a partner simply does not care for their spouse there is no love to be had. Wanting to control the other spouse causes us to hide behind hangups, insecurity, sin, dishonesty... when we are transparent and vulnerable we lose the ability to control the outcome, when we are honest and forthcoming there is nothing left to hide behind and we relinquish every attempt to manage our spouses feelings, emotions and reactions.

To be an open book and show we truly care for someone other than ourselves is often simply too much for some to be able to handle.

job29man said...

Gemma,

I am convinced that the problem is threefold.

1. That we do not start teaching children healthy attitudes about sex in an intentional way, nor early enough. This includes keeping the worldly attitudes about sex from becoming ingrained in them in the first place. This includes the heresies of feminism and chauvinism.

2. We do not teach children by our examples of loving, communications, conflict resolution, etc.

3. We go about the process of mate selection entirely wrong (as a rule). Dating is not a smart way to do this. A slow, intentional process of family-centered courtship BEFORE there is love is the wiser path.

In our marriage we have taken very deliberate steps to intentionally teach these things. I'm pretty sure our married children have excellent sex lives, and I know they have good marriages and communications. Our unmarried children have excellent attitudes and expectations about marriage and sex (at whatever level is appropriate to their age).

It CAN be done, but it takes a total rejection of the world's model.

Aunty Kath said...

hi Gemma,

Firstly thank you for your blog. I am a very happily married Christian wife with a very happily married Christian husband (fortunately to each other) for the last 32 years. Two years ago I decided we really needed to spice up our sexual relationship which led me to TMB and other websites.

I think to get on the same page takes good honest communication and a willingness to be a bit adventurous.

We are currently experimenting with ANR. Whilst I love the feelings it gives me, having been raised in a very strict Catholic family where sex was wrong, I find myself feeling guilty over the whole thing, even though we both want to. It's annoying as I know that he is my husband, I am his wife, this body belongs to him and his to me. I have to keep reminding myself that it is no one elses business what goes on in our bedroom. Leaving guilt beind is a massive thing in most marriages.

I do think that we as older married couples need to be honest about our relationships and talk openly of sex without pulling any punches.

Anonymous said...

From my experience being raised in a very restricted home there was never any sense of what healthy passion looked liked. We were exhorted to be passionate for God, but to harness and resist the passions of the flesh. However, it seems that passion was often linked with bad, sinful, unhealthy concepts. Then, later in life, when one gets married all the sudden you are supposed to be able to flip a switch and go from avoiding all things sensual/sexual to now diving in and enjoying marriage. Although, hardly ever do we hear leaders in church or ministry speak of healthy sexual relationships with their spouses. Recently a missionary was giving a report at our church and he spoke of an incident which led to his comment "Who would have thought that this could ruin my sex life." I told my wife, I think this is the first time I've ever heard a missionary speak of having a sex-life. I also think that the dreadful absense of teaching and discussion have led to what - Christian marriages that do not offer much gospel/grace testimony by the fulness of their godly passion and service of one another.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting to the place where I am less and less worried about what people think of our antics and keep it more private. We are happy about it which is the important thing. Trying to get approval maybe be another way of trying to remove guilt. The best way to do it as has been quoted is to be adventurous and give it a go. After a while all the things that don't work fall away and the important things stay maybe privately between us two.