Today I am going to take a different approach to the term “safe sex.” Due to the responses I received from a prior post on unmet expectations, I want to address safety in the marriage bed.
Here is one comment I received: “I cried myself to sleep for years throughout a 14-year marriage….” It goes on to describe the pain and loss this woman felt due to being sexually abused in her marriage. Yet she didn’t even know she was abused. Her spirit knew something was not right, but when she reached out for help, the resources she found were based on a distorted view on how a wife should respond to her husband. She was encouraged to allow the abuse to continue. I find this heartbreaking.
The reason I want to tackle this topic is simple: abuse is wrong and there are many hurting people who need real help. Marriage is about two people, and the marriage bed is a place for mutual, positive experiences.
Do you feel these things in your marriage bedroom?
- Able/willing to communicate
- Your needs and desires are important and valid
- Sex is about both spouses, not just one or the other
- Growing intimacy
- You know each other in a way unique to the two of you (in a good way)
- Sex is about the two of you and no one else, (remembered, imagined, or pictured on a screen)
I give this list with caution. There are many happily married people who do not feel all of these things all of the time. There is a definite ebb and flow in the seasons of monogamous marital sex. As you look at this list, can you say you’ve felt each of these things at one point in your marriage? Maybe you currently feel most, and are working on one or two.
But if this list feels foreign, it’s a good indication that you may need help. Trust your gut in deciding.
Reading a book on the issue is a great starting point. Talking to someone can be very helpful, but be careful to choose someone who is trustworthy and has a healthy idea of what marriage is for both of you.
There are no quick fixes or one answer that is right for everyone; each couple and individual is unique, and so is the situation.
Couples’ or individual counselling may be helpful in order to investigate some of the underlying issues you or your spouse may have.
Here at FamilyLife, we have we have mentors who can help. Mentors are trained volunteers with real-world experience. They can provide a second opinion, a listening ear, or recommend other resources. These are big issues you’re dealing with and mentors are the best resource we have to help work through them.
Whether you find a friend, choose a counsellor, or talk to one of our mentors, there is help available. You’re not alone in this.