I often get emails and comments on marriage. The women always ask “How do I get my husband to be more romantic and connected?” and the men usually ask “How do I get my wife to have more sex and respect me more?” Equally, couples look at my wife and I and marvel at our relationship and its depth and ask similar questions. I have struggled for a long time with these answers and watched many friends and couples fall apart due to infidelity or lack of romance in the relationship. I often thought that God just somehow blessed my marriage with something others didn’t have. While I know God blessed my marriage, I also know that my wife and I focus on each other rather than ourselves in our marriage and this seems to make a big difference.
While I have struggled to find the words to be able to explain this, author Fred Stoeker of Every Man’s Battle/Marriage/ Challenge explained something that struck a chord and I wanted to share this with you.
To the men’s question, I believe Fred describes this very well and I found myself nodding and agreeing. For the men who have taken this challenge, we can say that this does work. To those who have not tried this, you’ll just have to trust us.
Here are some of Fred’s paraphrased comments:
The world was coming in loud and clear when I was growing up, especially the part about my tremendous sex drive being a natural, good thing. I wanted some kind of sexual experience every day of my life. During one stretch as an adolescent, it was a rare day when that didn’t happen. I was proud of my sex drive. The way I saw it, I was a real man who wasn’t easily satisfied. So my desire for women just grew and grew. Yet sadly, there was something else developing just as rapidly right alongside my sex drive.
During much of my life, I lived in the lonely world of disconnection, and my abilities to separate and alienate myself from others became an art form. I lacked the ability to truly bond with anyone because I wasn’t willing to share who I really was with anyone. Every day I was busier and busier building a façade of who I thought I was supposed to be or, more precisely, who I thought I was supposed to look like. I took my cues from the media and the pop culture of the day. As a superficially connected person, I sought out superficial relationships with people who were just as disconnected to others as they were with me. We spent a lot of time and effort looking and trying to act important and trying to live up to this faux standard that society sold us.
I became a loveless, disconnected man who used women and sex to feel some sort of connection. As long as I was involved with someone sexually, at least I felt involved with someone at some level. But having sex never satisfied my need for real connection, and I often left the encounter feeling empty and afraid. When I did not want to put in the effort of finding a woman to satisfy my sexual desires, the internet, porn and strip clubs would easily take a woman’s place. It was emotionally safe, easy and required no effort on my part.
Then a miracle happened: Someone fell in love with me, and I fell in love with her. When that genuine love experience occurred, I felt my soul beginning to heal. For the first time in my life, I begin to focus on her needs instead of my needs. True love does that. Love brought out the best in me and freed me to share my insecurities. For the first time, I dropped my masks, my façade and let someone see me in true form. Love beat down the path to my heart, and I was willing to be vulnerable and to connect with another person, which was amazing. Life became rich and deep. My relationship was so fulfilling that there was no desire to rush into sex because a fulfilling soul doesn’t need instant gratification. True love really can wait, because there’s no rush to return to the empty pit of superficial gratification.
Eventually our love was experienced in a physical way, but I was still amazed at how easily I could control my sex drive. It became manageable rather than something that managed me. I desired her and only her and no other woman or porn would satisfy me anymore. I was no less male, just a male in control of himself. I gave rather than took and connected rather than controlled. I knew her better from the inside rather than just touching the surface of who she was. Those experiences were nothing short of divine. There is a standing joke among married men that once you put on the ring of marriage; it seems women all of a sudden find you more attractive, now that you are taken. While this may or may not be true, I think women are probably attracted to a man that is in control of his emotions and desires, rather than gawk and drool like a crazed wolf at every woman that passes by. This type of man is secure with himself, in control and has discovered that connecting with a woman on a deeper level than just the physical can be equally intoxicating and fulfilling.
This does not end with your marital vows, it is just the beginning. Every day with your wife is a new day to discover her more deeply and richly than the previous one. Once you continue to pursue, romance and discover your wife, she will become increasingly sexual attracted to you and want to instigate sex with you. For that to happen, you will have to do a very scary thing. You will have to step out of yourself and get interested in her life. You will have to put away everything you do to gratify your sexual desires and allow them to return to their normal place. This means no porn, no flirting, nothing. This may seem impossible to some. If that’s true, than you haven’t been willing to surrender your life to God’s truth and you haven’t surrendered your whole heart to your wife. That is when the connection can be made and your life can be lived to the fullest. God made us to fulfill our wives not for our wives to fulfill us.
"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife." 1 Corinthians 7:3-4.
What this tells me is that God gave us our sexuality for our partner, not for ourselves. Sex is not about you. Your sexuality exists in the relationship for her pleasure, and her sexuality exists in the relationship for yours. It’s a two way street and if either partner is not meeting their end, the sex will become less frequent and less desirable. But when we control our own desires and focus our attention and passion on our wives and our wives desires, she will naturally become more responsive. I stress that this is not some tool to be employed once a month or only on Valentine’s Day, it is a daily routine and choice that is to be worked at and developed consistently. I challenge you to try this for 90 days or better yet, grab the book The Love Dare and follow the program day by day. You will not only see a greater sex life but you and your wife will begin to connect on a level that you may have never experienced before. The level that God truly intended every marriage to be at.