Whenever a friend of mine gets married, I have this (now lengthy) email that I send them with some info that might be useful as they prepare for their wedding night and other things they might not have thought of as they approach their new marriage bed.
This email started out as an accident really – I was the first of my friends to get married and naturally, as the others got married and had questions, they asked me, (or I just sent it to them without being asked) and so I’d write them an email so they could process it in their own time. And then I’d learn something or find a new resource and I’d add it, and send it to another friend, and so on.
Recently, my sister’s two best friends got married. I sent it to each of them as well, since they don’t have sisters of their own.
I was shocked when one of them shared that on her first trip to the doctor, a trip that is suggested we all take before we get married, her doctor told her that sex would hurt, and it would traumatize her. Gee, thanks doc. Not really what anyone is hoping to hear when they are about to get married and embark on an intimate relationship that was created by God to be a gift.
I was thinking about this as I read Unveiled Wife, about how in our culture, young women are handed birth control and condoms and told to have sex before they’re married because once they’re married, it’s going to be a chore, something they don’t want to do and will fake headaches to get out of.
This is just so backwards to what God had in mind.
And it’s not like we can measure what non-believers are doing based on the Bible, when they don’t know it or don’t believe it.
But Christian women believe this too – married sex is a chore. Married sex is boring. Married sex is for my husband not for me.
Any time I’m in a room of women, and the subject of love languages comes up, every woman in the room rolls her eyes, snorts a little and says “Well OBVIOUSLY his love language is touch since he’s the one who wants to have sex all the time.” When in reality there are a lot of facets to physical touch being someone’s love language – hugging, kissing, cuddling, sitting together on the couch, and more.
Sex is about so much more than that. It’s a binding of souls – the two becoming one in an intimacy like none other – and not just physically, but emotionally as well. And since God designed it, blessed it even, it has spiritual ramifications beyond what we can understand.
Jennifer Smith, and her husband Aaron, have an amazing story of redemption in their marriage. They were not fully able to participate in and enjoy intimacy for four years of their marriage. During that time, they faced many trials, so much growing and stretching for both of them. In her booked, Unveiled Wife, she talks about it was sometimes easier to not engage in any kind of physical intimacy or touching in their marriage since she already knew how it would end up.
And regardless of what we’re going through, of what God has us growing through, isn’t it sometimes easiest to just shut off this part of ourselves? With a culture screaming that married sex is boring and churches playing defense instead of offense on biblical sexuality, sex becomes an easy thing to shut off and to no longer worry or think about.
Jennifer has a great quote on this truth about intimacy :
The more we neglected our sexual intimacy, the worse our attitudes grew toward each other. It was as if we were building walls in our hearts, keeping each other at a distance, rather than building a bridge between us.
Do you find this to be true? I know I do. I know when things are spinning and crazy and we don’t make intimacy a priority, it becomes easier and easier to put walls up instead of tearing them down into the vulnerable, soul one-ness of physical intimacy.
A couple years ago, I was at a bridal shower for a friend from college. We had to put marriage advice on a piece of paper for the bride. I have no idea what I wrote. I do know what a friend of ours wrote. She said “In good times, have sex. In bad times, have sex. Have sex, have sex, have sex, have sex.”
As we went around the room guessing who had shared what advice, I thought “Man! That is good advice! And so simple”
[It turns out by the way that I had given that advice to the girl who wrote it down for the bride and she said it had really encouraged her in her marriage. Too bad I forgot to write it down for the bride during the game…]
Sex was created and designed to do many beautiful things – some of which are mysterious, and some of which are not so much. On the more mysterious side, a soul one-ness is built that strengthens the soul-bond between husband and wife. When physical intimacy is lacking, the bond gets battered and bruised by the building of walls and hardening of hearts.
Jennifer has a beautiful, painful, and redemptive story she is sharing in her book. Unveiled Wife really speaks to what she is doing – lifting the veil on her own struggles and pain and inviting others in to see how God can redeem everything when we seek His truth for our lives. It’s not a blueprint for a broken marriage; it’s an invitation to see the brokenness in each of us and to give it all to God, the most amazing upcycler.
P.S. This is April’s book for Read, Pray, Love book club!
If you are interested in reading Jennifer’s book, you may want to check out a cool deal available only on her website. If you buy two copies of Unveiled Wife, she’ll also send you her other two books for free. Wives After God and 31 Prayers for My Husband are great additions to the Unveiled Wife book. You can click here to access this special deal, which only lasts through March 3.
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I received this book as a member of the book launch team. All opinions are my own.