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Ladies, I’ve been reading this book No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex & Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Juli Slattery and let me tell you, it’s AMAZING! I’ve had so many “ah-ha!” moments it’s not even funny (and I’m only halfway through at this point, too). Dr. Slattery is a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a psychologist. She is so easy to relate to and has a great sense of humor that I would recommend it to ANYONE! There is one specific chapter I just finished that I absolutely have to share my thoughts on.
Think of it as a cheat sheet to your husband’s heart! 🙂
You’re probably guilty one time or another (or hundreds!) of telling your husband “Not tonight, hun,” or “I’m so tired, can I take a raincheck for when I’m not so exhausted?” You tell your husband that you’d be more willing if he would just bathe the kids, or do the dishes, or clean up the toys all over the living room, or take out the trash. You tell him those things would be simple ways to keep you from being so exhausted before you go to bed and that you would have more energy at night if those things weren’t all on you. Seriously, seeing my husband doing the dishes speaks volumes to me and is such a turn-on! (Take notes, gentlemen.) Trust me, I can completely relate!
Do you know how your husband will naturally want to connect with you and, dare I say, help more around the house? By sex. That is ONE BIG WAY your husband can feel closer to you because it meets 4 different needs of his, not just physical. You basically give him a list of things to do before you can commit to sex but sex is the main way for him to feel connected enough to you to desire to do those things for you. Ironic, huh? In her book, Dr Slattery says:
If you really want [your husband’s] attention, work with the way God designed him. A great sex life won’t solve the problems in your marriage; however, it will fortify your husband’s desire and commitment to work towards intimacy. Your sexual relationship may be the ‘on-ramp’ to communication, conflict resolution, and building the emotional intimacy you are longing for.
This excerpt from her book caused one of many “ah-ha!” moments for me. It makes so much sense!
You know your husband has a physical need for sex. Believe it or not, God actually designed him that way. But did you know God designed sex as a way to meet your husband’s emotional, spiritual, and relational needs as well? Dr. Slattery lists and elaborates those needs in her book No More Headaches.
Sex meets your husband’s physical needs.
Well, duh! But the analogy Dr. Slattery uses in this section is what gave me true understanding to this need my husband has. Have you ever breastfed a child? I’ve nursed 4 children (including twins) so I completely related to this. A man’s physical need to release sperm is similar to a breastfeeding woman’s need to express milk when she gets too full. Do you remember that ridiculously uncomfortable (and sometimes even painful) feeling of engorgement? Unfortunately that’s what men go through as well. (This made me feel bad for my husband because he has this his entire life-engorged breasts only lasts as long as you nurse your child). I can’t imagine how annoying that probably gets!
Sex meets your husband’s spiritual needs.
Dr. Slattery explains that men battle daily with sexual temptation because it’s ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. We as women can pretty much just walk right by that lady on the billboard who’s practically naked without any thought put into it. But because of how God designed men, it’s not as easy for men to just walk right by. God obviously didn’t mean for your husband to have to deal with that struggle, though! It’s the fallen world we live in that takes advantage of the appeal of sex and throws those kinds of images everywhere because they know they work. They know the intense temptations that come along with those advertisements and they take advantage of men’s weaknesses. Satan will twist any good thing God made for us into something that can be terrible and used to hurt others, especially sex. Men likely face guilt every day and worry about their salvation because of this. In her book, Dr. Slattery says: “… your husband depends on you to be his partner in his battle against sexual temptation. Although you aren’t responsible for his actions, you are a key component in his victory. You’re the only woman in the world whom your husband can look at sexually without compromising his integrity!” Wow, I never thought of it that way.
Sex meets your husband’s relational needs.
Oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone”, is what is present in men immediately after orgasm. This is the same hormone released during labor and delivery and breastfeeding in women, also known as the “bonding hormone.” (God thinks of everything, huh?) The presence of oxytocin makes your husband literally feel closer to you. In her book, Dr. Slattery says, “He is biologically wired to bond with you after sex.” This is why sex has a such huge impact on the emotional connection a husband has to his wife. He will not feel connected to you and won’t be as attentive to your needs if he doesn’t feel that “bonding hormone” regularly. It’s not that he does this on purpose, it’s that he is simply built this way. Intimacy in marriage is acheived through many ways, but sex may be the biggest way! God intended this!
Sex meets your husband’s emotional needs.
Another thing I learned from this book was that men are extremely sensitive to sexual rejection. When you say “Not tonight,” unfortunately, they take it as “I’m not interested in you.” I had no idea this was true. Many wives probably don’t since when we initiate, we’re usually never rejected by our husbands. We do not feel that insecurity that follows rejection. Men feel like they can conquer the world – their confidence skyrockets – when their sex life in their marriage is great. Likewise, when your husband is rejected, it affects almost every aspect of his life, including his confidence in being a man. Your husband desires to please you! He longs for you to enjoy being with him in that way just as much as he enjoys being with you. Just laying there and going through the motions is just as bad as saying “no” over and over. Your husband wants to know you are interested in him and attracted to him. Dr. Slattery blew my mind yet again when she point out: “You cannot compartmentalize your husband’s sexuality. You cannot love him as a husband but reject him sexually. From his perspective, his sexuality is central part of who he is as both a man and a husband.”
Your husband’s sex drive is God’s gift to you! It’s not meant to be a chore on the list. When your husband walks up behind you and kisses you on the neck, he desires to be with you. He desires to connect with you! Sex is a beautiful event God created for a husband and a wife to connect to each other in the most intimate way. It truly helps bring you closer to your husband. When you accept and embrace your husband’s sexuality, you’re accepting who he is, as he is. You allow the door to initmacy to swing open and become closer to him than ever before. You’re inviting his sexuality into your marriage, not condemning it.
I don’t know about you, but learning just these few simple things about men made me respect my husband’s sexuality so much more and think of his sex drive in a godly way rather than an annoyance. Sex seems so taboo to talk about among Christians but we need to embrace these facts because God created it for us!
I challenge you to do your own “intimacy challenge” with your husband and see how it connects you to him emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. As some of you already know, my husband is currently deployed, so I can only take notes for the time being! (haha :)) I’d love to hear feedback on the results of embracing your husband’s sexuality as the gift that God intended it on being for you!
**If you think this stuff is good, you seriously need to read the rest of the book! This is only skimming the surface of the book. Dr. Slattery has truly opened my eyes towards my husband and I understand him so much better after reading this book (again, only halfway through at this point!). It helped me learn how to truly tend to his spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical needs as his wife instead of guessing so much!