Again, Nancy is very good at exhorting women for the ideal but she never ignores the reality and hindrances we sometimes face. Off the top of your head, what are some hindrances you can name that keep women from enrapturing their husbands in the marriage bed? Well, I didn’t have to think that hard; of course, fatigue. I love how Nancy puts it, “fatigue is a common excuse for mediocre sex.” Huh? No kidding. Ask any mother with young children what the bed is for and they’ll tell you…sleep! I recently had a very good talk with a young mom who is graciously growing in this area. She used to exhaust herself keeping the house and the kids squeaky clean. She is learning that it is okay to leave the dishes in the sink, if it means to spend some time with her husband. Her friendship with him is more important than the dishes. Being tired, as Nancy notes, is not sin! But if this is your struggle, don’t waste any more time and figure out a way to adjust your life and your schedule for you and your husband’s sake.
Another hindrance is…you guess it, “not in the mood.” I love Nancy’s metaphor here, “I have sometimes compared sex to a meal. Every night cannot be steak and lobster. Some nights it’s just macaroni and cheese, a real treat!” Heck, sometimes it is just crackers and cheese…lol! I’m sorry, I had to say it. Seriously now, I would suggest that here is where you ask your husband for help. Tell your husband what works for you, what gets you in the mood. Sometimes you might need to remind your husband that foreplay doesn’t start at 7pm, but 7AM! A good gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness always goes a long way, don’t you say?
How about your past? That sure can ruin some people’s present. Unfortunately, there are some of you who have had bad sexual experiences in your past and have suffered at the hands of a man other than your husband. This may seem insensitive, but Nancy is right in saying that you must not let your husband suffer for the sins of another. I would say that this is where the gospel becomes alive and freeing from what most likely has taken root in your heart: bitterness and un-forgiveness. The gospel reminds us of the forgiveness extended to us that we now need to extend to others, even if they don’t ask for forgiveness themselves. Enter into the throne of grace through the blood of our Lord Jesus and you shall be washed clean from the guilt and pain enabling you to extend true grace and forgiveness.
I bet you’ll never guess this next one…Prudishness. Let me go straight to its definition: A prude is a “person of extreme or exaggerated propriety concerning behavior…one who is easily shocked by sexual matters.” Sometime ago I was reading this book called Intimacy Ignited where the authors gave me a bit of history lesson on this very subject. Apparently, this extreme propriety was what characterized the Victorian era. A woman wasn’t even supposed to expose her ankles. It was scandalous and shameful to do so. Even church leaders would wrongly conclude that sex was merely a duty and not act to be enjoyed. Fast forward a couple hundred years and this woman has now evolved. Like Nancy says, this woman has a wrong sense of what propriety is and isn’t. She basically considers sex an unspiritual subject so she won’t even talk about it, she is above that. But how else is she and her husband ever to get to discover what brings each other pleasure. The solution…loosen up a little!
And last, what about the husband who can care less for his garden? He walks into it for an occasional experience but then he leaves without care. That obviously would grieve any wife. I would argue that an uninterested husband is a symptom of sin in his life. So do not ignore it. If he is a Christian man, go to him and do ask, what is the matter? As Nancy points out, pornography can be the reason for his distancing. Be vigilant and if ever confessed or found out, without reservation, extend the same forgiveness you’ve been shown by our Lord Jesus. Be cautious though and as Nancy here quotes an old Puritan, “it is better to be wronged than to do wrong.” Take courage, if this is you, and remember your godliness does not depend on that of your husband’s. Quit complaining to him and about him. Show him honor and respect and “if he ever does wake up and open his eyes, he will see a lovely tended garden waiting for him.”
Let me end with this,
“Best sex: When her joy is his and his is hers.” ~ John Piper