I’d be completely lying if I said that I’m not a bit intimidated as I sit down to write this post, but it seems that in an entire month focused on marriage, one post ought to encourage us as wives to have a loving heart towards the key area of physical intimacy in marriage.
Physical intimacy in marriage can be a weighty topic, and it’s one on which I’m not equipped to give expert advice (as if I’m an expert on anything). However, there are so many negative and disrespectful attitudes in our culture towards men and their wiring for intimacy that these ideas can creep into our marriages and really do harm.
I think it is so important for us, as wives, to be on guard and watchful when it comes to our own attitudes toward our husbands in this sensitive area.
What exactly do I mean?
- How many times do we see a billboard or commercial that encourages the notion of men being nothing more than a caveman driven by animalistic desires and instincts when an ill-clad female appears?
- How often is a man’s physical and mental wiring the butt of a joke when it comes to intimate topics?
- How many jokes would disappear from TV and movie scripts if this crucial and personal aspect of manhood was off-limits?
I am concerned that these kinds of cultural realities can influence us, as wives, to not treat our husbands’ genuine need for physical intimacy with the love, respect, and discretion that it deserves.
Perhaps we start to look down on their desires or make jokes about them with our girlfriends. Maybe we start to find excuses to not be with our husbands because we just don’t think it’s that important or really want to make the effort. We might start to forget that our husbands are much more than just men demanding some sort of sexual fulfillment: they have feelings, dreams, and goals that they often want to share with us.
Like I said previously, I know this is a weighty topic and can bring up all sorts of complicated feelings depending on our pasts, the current state of our marriage, and more. If you are having serious problems in the this area of your marriage, it is so worth the effort (and yes, occasional awkwardness) to talk sincerely with your husband and work on a better understanding. You might need outside help from a pastor or recommended resource. Don’t let things just continue as they are. God wants more for us!
So how can we value our husbands’ need for physical intimacy? Here are some starting points:
- Remember your needs and how you want them respected, and do the same for your husband. Quality time, undivided attention, and genuine conversations are often top emotional needs for wives. Now imagine that your husband teased behind your back to his buddies about your need to sit down and talk at the end of the day. What if you were trying to show him something that you were excited about and he groaned “Now?” Perhaps you’d feel a little rejected. Or perhaps you’d feel incredibly hurt and rejected.
- Keep your intimate relationship with your husband between you two. The word intimate generally conjures up notions of secrets, close connections, and selectivity. Let those ideas carry over into how you treat your intimate relationship with your husband. Certainly, there may be times when you need to go to someone for help or advice, but use a great deal of discretion when doing so. How would you want your husband to speak of this part of your relationship with one of his closest advisors if he were going to someone for help? Follow suit.
- When you do speak about intimate side of marriage, be respectful. I personally don’t believe it is appropriate for us to joke about physical intimacy or our husbands’ need for it. God wired our husbands differently that He did us, and His handiwork doesn’t need to be the butt of any joke. Our husbands deserve better, too.
- Look for the value in his need for intimacy. Do a little research and learn how your marriage is benefited as a whole when your husband’s needs are met. Physical intimacy doesn’t have to be a source of conflict in a marriage. It can be a place of refuge for the both of you!
- Be cautious of the cultural influences that you allow into your mind. Truth be told, our family avoids most mainstream media influences in our house. We don’t watch television and most (if not all) of our DVDs are documentaries or other educational films. But I still have to be on-guard! Magazine and internet ads can feed into a negative view of men and their sexuality. If you choose to take part in more types of media, you will likely have to be even more mindful. If you see it, recognize it, trash it if you can, and correct the worldly thinking with something from Scripture.
Well, what do you think? Is this challenging for you? Have you lived, learned, and lived to tell about it? As always, I want to hear from you!
Linked up: Happy Wives Club (Marriage Mondays)