“How would you feel if your husband only talked to you once a week?”
In today’s podcast I’m dealing with three kind of controversial issues:
- Can we be content with sex if we’re the higher drive spouse?
- Are sex and emotional intimacy truly equivalents?
- Should we be treating all divorce like it’s a scandal?
I had a lot to say in this one, and so I recorded it alone (also because Rebecca’s on vacation!). And this week’s not on YouTube; it’s just audio! But we talked about some pretty important stuff.
Before we begin, let me reiterate something. Often issues exist on a spectrum. When we say “Z isn’t true”, people assume we’re arguing “A”. But really, we’re usually arguing “M”. Let’s allow some nuance! (And I hope I did this in the podcast!)
Okay, now listen in to the podcast!
Want to find things in the podcast quickly? Here’s the timeline!
We talked about three things today:
Can high drive spouses learn to be content if they’re getting regularly frequent sex?
If you’re making love once a week or more, then can we focus on contentment rather than criticism?
Criticism will cause your spouse’s libido to plummet.
Can we think about contentment in our relationships, rather than yearning to have every sexual urge satisfied? We allow contentment in other parts of our lives, but for some reason, when it comes to sex, people often think we can’t be satisfied unless we’re totally fulfilled.
I think that’s a misunderstanding of what sex is supposed to be about.
I talked about this more on Tuesday’s post about higher drive spouses and contentment, but I wanted to reiterate it here, too!
Is talking and emotional connection really the same as sex?
Many of the best-selling Christian books and resources we looked at for our upcoming book The Great Sex Rescue said to women, “You can’t expect him to talk to you if you don’t have sex with him. For men, sex is just like intimacy is for you. How would you feel if he didn’t talk with you for a week?”
And in the comments here, one man said that for many men, talking was just as hard as sex was for women.
So I addressed it in this podcast, with these points:
- Just because something is a need does not mean it’s an equal or equivalent need. People do not die from lack of sex; they have died from lack of emotional connection.
- You can be in healthy sexually, emotionally, and relationally and still not want sex for several reasons (headaches; exhaustion; stress; grief; a lot on your mind). But you cannot be healthy relationally or emotionally if you don’t want to talk or emotionally connect. Sex requires much more effort than talking does. They are not equivalent.
- Jesus was emotionally vulnerable with others and emotionally intimate with others. If some people have difficulty with emotional intimacy or emotional vulnerability, that is not an excuse to avoid it. That is a sign of emotional unhealth.
Just as I tell women we need to see sex in a positive way and change the way we see sex (and take my FREE sex pep talk course if you need help with that!), so we need to tell those who have trouble opening up emotionally that they need to address this, because it isn’t healthy.
We have this idea that being comfortable with emotion is feminine and not being intimate is masculine. But Jesus is our example for BOTH genders, and Jesus was comfortable with emotion and with intimacy. We cannot use sex as an intimacy substitute.
Yes, sex is important in marriage, but it does not replace intimacy, nor is it the equivalent of emotional intimacy, and we need to talk about this differently. (and please listen to the podcast for more!)
Can we please stop treating all divorce like it’s a scandal?
This week Jen Hatmaker announced she was divorcing, and many on the internet treated this like it was a scandal and like she had something to be ashamed of, even though it looks like the divorce blindsided her.
When we treat all divorces like they are scandals, then we make all those who are divorced feel shame.
it does not always take two to tango; sometimes divorce is due to one person’s problems. Heaping shame must stop.
(And by the way, I only mentioned Jen by name because she talked about it on her own social media platform, and because it’s been so widely talked about. But the issue here goes far beyond her. The church needs to handle divorce better).
Divorce is not a scandal. Divorce is not shameful. Divorce in many, many cases is not even sinful!
Divorce is often the result of something that was scandalous, and shameful, and even sinful.
But that does not mean that the scandal, or shame, or sin is equally shared, or even shared at all.
It does not always take two to tango.
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Things I mentioned in this podcast
- My FREE 5 email sex pep talk course
- The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex
- 31 Days to Great Sex
- Marc Alan Schelske’s The Wisdom of Your Heart
- Why you’re not to blame if your spouse has an affair
- 10 Reasons why Christians shouldn’t rush forgiveness after an affair (and a look at how God handled covenants in the Old Testament)
And you may also be interested in this post about why God allows us to divorce for abuse–and how awful it is that prominent Christian teachers have kept abused spouses in terrible, dangerous marriages for so long because of bad teaching.
What do you think? Anything stand out to you today? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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