Growing up, I was never much of a cook. With three sisters and a mother who all cook and bake masterfully, I had no reason to learn how.
As a wife and mother, I reluctantly accepted my role as the family chef. A few years ago, I attempted to bake a homemade cake for a dinner party. I measured all of the ingredients carefully, preheated the oven, and baked my cake at the exact temperature the recipe called for.
When the timer went off, I anxiously opened the oven to see a lopsided brown lump waiting for me. Since our company was arriving shortly, I did not have time to whip up a substitute dessert. I grabbed the frosting and tried to spread it so it would cover up the deformed cake. To my chagrin, the frosting proved useless. It simply took on the lumpy and lopsided form of the cake. I covered my mistake by cleverly announcing to our friends that my young son had helped me make dessert!
Sex is truly the icing on the cake. It will always take on the form of the relationship, even for couples who try to use it to cover up other problems or to think of it as a separate issue. Many couples come to counseling complaining of problems sexually. Very often their sexual dynamics are a perfect illustration of what is happening throughout their entire relationship. This is why you can’t just work on sexual intimacy without also getting into deeper issues of trust, emotional needs and communication.
Instead of viewing sexual problems as a separate part of your relationship, consider that they may be symptoms or indications of relational aspects of your marriage that need work. For example, if one of you is always pursuing sexually and the other tends to avoid sex, is that also true for other aspects of your relationship? Does one person feel neglected while the other feels dominated?
Just like emotional intimacy in marriage, sexual intimacy works on trust and communication. If each person’s vulnerabilities are protected and their needs are met, they will become more and more intimate sexually. If they feel insecure, exploited, or unsafe, their physical intimacy will become unsatisfying, superficial, and infrequent. The good news is that every day—like today—presents an opportunity to change the momentum of a failing emotional or sexual relationship.
Working on your sex life is not just about sexual intimacy. It presents an opportunity to address unresolved conflicts, hidden feelings of shame, and unhealthy relationship patterns in your marriage. To get that work started, try going through the Passion Pursuit bible study or perhaps meeting with a counselor. Your marriage is worth the investment!
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