"Marriage is not a place to 'stand up for your rights.' Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out."
"When I grow up, I won't be able to talk to you anymore, Mom. I'll be silent."
"What do you mean, Trey?"
"Well," he huffed, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly, "When I get big, I'll be silent, like Dad."
Tom's head whipped up. "Trey, I'm working on being a better communicator. You don't want to be like me on this one. Keep talking."
It's true, one of the major ways our marriage sucked B.S. (before separation) was that Tom rarely responded to my attempts at conversation. There were other mitigating factors (like unexpressed anger, judgement and bitterness), but as he said when we talked about this topic, men and women are just SO different when it comes to what they need from relationships.
We want to share how God helped our marriage NOT SUCK by changing how we think about communication and sex. Even though I (Rosalyn) am writing this, Tom and I talked through this beforehand and he weighed in, so you're getting stereo on this one.
Wives, live this with me: One-word answers, an eyebrow raised in response (as if that counts as a valid form of communication), the tooth-pulling-feel of a conversation, the disgruntled 'you are disturbing me' sighs....
Bet you feel cold all over, don't you? You know how that feels, right? You've lived that reality.
Now, think about your sex life with your husband. What do your responses to his overtures, your attitude about sex, look like?
Yup. I'm going there.
When we were separated, one thing that God repeatedly brought to my (Rosalyn's) mind, was the damaging effects of my sexual availability, or lack thereof, on my marriage. How, I had contributed to the sucky-ness of my marriage by removing the willing, excited-to-be-here, let's-get-busy, emotional connection called sex.
He showed me, clearly, the direct correlation between my bad attitude about sex and Tom's lack of communication. The Holy Spirit hit me right between the eyes with the truth that sex is to communication as communication is to a solid marriage. God designed ME to crave emotional connection with my husband. He designed me to get that from verbal discourse.
God designed my husband to crave emotional connection with me. He designed my husband to get that connection from our sexual relationship. See where I'm headed with this?
It's why 1 Corinthians 7:4 clearly states - 'A wife does not have authority over her own body, rather, she yields it to her husband.'
Let me put it to you this way: If I told you that your willingness to care for your husband in a sexual way could directly correlate to the increase and quality of conversation and emotional connected-ness... Would you step up your game?
And before you husbands think you're off the hook, here's yours... ' IN THE SAME WAY, a husband does not have authority over his own body, but yields it to his wife.' (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Just as you don't want your wife lying there like a cold fish, saying "Just get it over with so I can go back to my romance novel," it's your responsibility to enter into a communicative relationship that meets HER emotional needs.
Tom routinely shares with me that for him, this the MOST difficult, unnatural part of our relationship. The whole 'conversation' thing. He grew up watching a man go to work, provide for his family, come home, eat dinner, and then either go to another job or sit down and zone out for the night. To him, that was what marriage looked like. The husband's job was done.
Then God told Tom to talk. To initiate conversation. To show care and love and devotion by communicating. By giving up his 'right' to silence. (...does not have authority over his own body...)
Husbands, if you want your marriage to NOT suck, God calls you to enter into an emotional relationship with your wife that recognizes that her needs are not your needs. That her need for your words, your interest, your positive affirmation of her life in words, your INVESTMENT in your lives together is valid.
Did you hear that word? VALID.
Husbands, you destroy your wife with your silence. You have the power to cause her to doubt her worth, her value, her intellect, her ability, her strength, her power (all God-given by the way). When you choose to stay silent, you have the power to make your marriage suck.
Bottom line? Husbands - Interact. Care. Invest (with words AND actions). Wives - Enjoy your physical relationship with your husband. Appreciate and seek out his physical needs. Invest (with your body AND your words).
God has a reason for commanding us to relinquish our rights to ourselves in marriage - in my and Tom's experience, it's to push us to stay near to Him. To recognize that it's not something we can do well, with any kind of consistency, without Him. And to give us a clear picture of just how far we have to go before we truly understand Jesus' love for us. He gave up ALL rights to himself, even unto death - death on the cross. THAT is love. That is an all-in love.
Have a sucky marriage? God has a fix for that...
Can we pray for you? Email us, we'll send you a response. Does your marriage suck? YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Look, if your marriage is in the pits right now, sex and conversation probably aren't high on your list. We get that. Be where you're at. Pray and ask God to show you what your need to work on, and to give you a willing heart - when it's time.
If you're in danger - physical, emotional or mental - consider that you are a child of God, special and cherished, and please find some space where you can heal and receive strength and peace without the distraction that impending doom has on you or your children.
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)