Choosing to bend

There it is again. The argument. It used to be the same one, but these days it can be almost anything.
We both grow grumpy. And grumpy turns into silent. Silent looks like backs turned in bed – sleep a long ways off.

My feelings are hurt. We don’t see life the same way. And hurt feelings make me stiff. I began to recount the many grievances I hold. I remember that thing he did a few days ago. I had forgotten it, but now I remember. I count up how many days its been since we’ve had sex. I start to say those dangerous “always” and “never” words. My heart grows colder. My soul whispers “No, not me. I will not be the one to give.”
Growing soft is so difficult to do. My pride, my hurt, my self-righteous anger get in the way. The distance between us in that bed, a distance my hand could so easily reach across, grows miles wide.

How to bend in such a moment? How to be the one to curl my body, soft, around his and whisper the words of reconciliation?
We are in that season, the one where leaves are falling off and we see so starkly that beneath the green we really are very different. What brought us together, anyway? How could we not know how much there was to divide? It seems that every day brings a new topic we do not see eye-to-eye on. As spring blooms around us, as days grow warm and long, our hearts grow stiff and cold.
I look at the children we have made together – their sweet smiles and curl-locked hair exploring the world with wonder and delight. Will this be the last hold that draws us together? In years to come, as they chase their dreams, will I find myself living with a stranger?

The rigors of life – the bills, the long work hours, the never-ending laundry and dishes that pile high. This is the stuff our life is made of now. Our children are young – they require so much work. Diligent work. Repetitive work. Who has the time to find a common ground? We have been married long enough to have changed. But are our changes bringing us closer? Or further apart?

So here we are.
Different opinions.
Different interests.
Different sex drives.

So much different. What is the same?

And my back is still stiff. And I rehearse all of these things in my head – all of these questions loom large, like a mountain, ominous and frightening.And yet…
The mountain is mostly of my own making. I see the bare branches and forget that it is just a season. I have forgotten that we both crave sunshine, need air, bud green.

You’ve seen it, haven’t you? The flower that has been beaten down by the rain? And yet, when the sun comes out, it finds its life and strength again. And that flower lifts up it’s face and grows tall again. I want to be like that.
I want the ability to bend and sway – I want the softness that is true strength.

Help me.
I whisper into the darkness.

And I choose to bend. I choose to curl my body around his. To take his hand. To say “I am sorry”, or “I was being petty”, or “I am with you”.
What do you choose to do today?

A

 

A Coffee Chat : Sexual connections

Good morning, sisters! I have said this before, but I truly mean it. I write because I would rather talk. If I could do anything, amazing friends, I would pull you through my computer into my (messy) living room to share a cup of coffee. I would probably try to bake something with pumpkin (again). And fail (again). We would eat it anyway. We would talk for a long time about our God-given husbands and how to serve and love them better. We would share our heart’s stories. We would cry together, and laugh.
Since that is not possible, I try to host these “coffee chats” where we can all come and talk. I pray it is as life-giving to you as it is to me, and hope you will choose to engage. 

A reader asked a question a few days ago that got me thinking. Here is what she asked:

A question for you ladies, when you initiate, are you ready to go straight to intercourse after a short amount of time (5-10 minutes) or do you need longer amounts of foreplay as if your husband was initiating? I am slightly higher drive but husband feels like I should take the reins more regarding my pleasure when I desire intimacy sooner. I desire the physical and emotional connection of being intimate but am not necessarily already aroused when I want to initiate. It’s been a struggle explaining this to hubs and figuring out a solution that keeps us both happy. Any suggestions of helping him understand that my desire isn’t solely for intercourse but for the full connection of sex with my spouse?

The last part of that question just jumped out at me – so lets talk about it!

First, as a higher-drive wife do you still need “warming up”? (Trusting you amazing women to not get too graphic here – I love you, but I don’t really want to picture you in bed with your  man ;))
Second, is there something in sex that helps you to feel connected? Orgasm? Foreplay? Looking into each others eyes?
Finally, does your husband understand your need for connection in sex? Have you communicated to him the need for the full connection? If so, how? If not, any ideas on how you would word it?

Go make a big pot of coffee and let’s talk – cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this one 🙂

Annabel

Lets talk about sex

Many of you may have heard of the “10 days of sex” challenge that One Flesh Marriage has challenged couples to participate in. They have some wonderful resources about what to do if you are a higher-drive husband whose wife is hesitant to participate, and I think there is some good resources in there for “HD wife” marriages, too. If you are in a refused or sexually-starved marriage, perhaps you could approach these 10 days as days of fasting and prayer over your marriage bed. I would love to believe with you as well that in the next days you might have a breakthrough conversation about sex. Today, I  would like to welcome back my friend Evie Tate. She is going to share a little about how to talk about sex. I am honored to have a “spicy sister” who is willing to let us into her unique experiences and marriage. Welcome, Evie!

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While I don’t agree with the entire philosophy of the Salt ‘N’ Pepa song by the same name as this blog post, a few lines I think are helpful when brought under a Christian understanding of sex:

Let’s talk about sex, baby,
Let’s talk about you and me,
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be,
Let’s talk about sex.

When seen through the lens of a Christian worldview, we can adopt the truth found in those few lines above. In fact, it is vital to adopt the truth found in those lines. It is vital to talk about sex within our own marriages.

However, as I was reading the comments following my post “Heart Attitude,” I began to notice a common theme. It seems that for many couples there is a breakdown when it comes to communicating with one another, especially about sex. Of course, I don’t know each of the marriages represented through reader comments. It is hard to tell if the struggle over talking about sex is in the “talking” arena or in the “about sex” arena. So, I want to share some thoughts in regards to both.

“Talking”

Ladies, can I be honest? We really aren’t that great of listeners, are we? As women, we usually love to gab, often thinking of what we’re going to say next before the person we’re talking with has even had a chance to finish what he’s saying. Am I right? Especially in our marriages, we often fly right past anything our husband shares, simply to share what is on our own hearts.

For many husbands, this communication breakdown may very well be the reason it is almost impossible for a couple to talk about sex. Could it be possible that you don’t actually understand what your husband is sharing about sex? Could it be possible that in communicating about what you want, you’ve actually missed what he was trying to share about where he is? May I also say that it is often (though not always) harder for men to communicate their feelings about things than it is for women. So, could it be that your husband has felt it difficult to really express what is going on with him in a way that you’ll actually understand?

I’d like to challenge you higher-drive wives to sit down with your husband and ask him what he’d like for your sex life to be like. Ask him to be specific. And then I want you to really listen. Take notes if you have to in order to keep yourself from jumping in and cutting him off. Then, please respect what he shares with you. Respect where he is. I don’t know what he’ll share with you, but please treat it with care. If you don’t understand what he’s saying, gently and kindly express that, asking him to share more or asking him what he means. Make an effort to put to action what he shares with you.

I realize that you may have listened with all your heart to your husband or you may have made every effort to honor his design. I understand that some of you have husbands who simply refuse to talk about sex. My hope is that this next section will be helpful for you.

“About Sex”

If the “about sex” part is what is tripping you and your husband up in talking, I’d first encourage you to consider why it is so hard for you, personally, to talk about sex. Ask God to heal places that are broken in you in regards to sexuality. Ask God to heal wrong perceptions of sex and restore you to His perspective of sex.

If it is not difficult for you to talk about sex, but it is difficult for your husband to talk with you about sex, I’d like for you to ask him why it is difficult for him to talk about sex with you. And again, as I said in the above paragraph, really listen. Listen to what he shares with you. If he is comfortable with it, pray that those things will be healed in him and that God will open your marriage to a place of wholeness in regards to sexuality.

If what you uncover in yourself or what your husband shares is more than what either of you can walk through together, may I suggest seeing an *insightful* Christian counselor alone or together? It may be that the wrong perspectives or broken patterns of sexuality are so great in either or both of you, that you’ll need someone else to help you walk through healing in regards to sex. Know that God has a redeemed and whole view of sex that He wants to work out in your marriage.

In Conclusion

My hope is that you will not settle for massive walls in your communication with one another in your marriage. Please do not let the enemy create a wedge between you and your husband over sexuality. Learn to talk about sex with your husband. Pray for Jesus’ power to bring healing and oneness to your marriage. And ask for help if one or both of you cannot walk through healing on your own.

Thanks for sharing these important thoughts, Evie.
What about you, spicy wives? Is your struggle “talking” or “about sex”? Have you had a breakthrough in communicating about sex that you would be willing to share?

Praying for you today, amazing women.

Annabel

P.S. Evie has also written about her heart attitude, the phenomenon (female ejaculation) and living in truth.

Living in Truth

Good Monday ladies! My friend Evie is back again today sharing more of her journey of hope as a higher-drive wife. If you haven’t gotten the chance to know her yet, you can read more of her story here, as well as a little more of her experience with some of the nuts & bolts of sex here. Welcome back, Evie, I always love having you!

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Hi, again! God is growing me in understanding my high drive design and I just want to share with you some of how I am walking in line with who He made me to be. I shared in the post, Heart Attitude, how I had opted to shut down my drive to match my husbands, only to realize that in doing so I was also shutting down my heart. Confessing this was life giving.

Beyond confession, though, I knew that I had to live differently. To only confess would be to simply acknowledge the truth. Repentance was what I need to do and involves not only confession, but turning away from wrong living. In repentance we find true transformation, we find ourselves being made new. This stuff is all over Scripture, and often sounds very theoretical; however, when repentance and transformation are played out in everyday life, we see how practical they really are.

For me, repentance has meant being open with my husband about my desires and my sexual need. It has meant speaking up when I long for pleasure or a physical connection with him. It means living in step with the truth of my design, rather than shutting down my design and ultimately living a lie. It may not sound like I am “living a lie,” but when my husband asks, “Is there anything I can do for you?” And I say, “No, I’m happy,” but all the while I am aching for him to be intimate with me, that is living a lie.

So, I’ve stepped out there a bit more. I’ve asked for sex. I’ve asked if we could just play around a bit. It has been so good for me and for my heart.

The catch, though, is that I have to respect his response when he shares that he is happy to make me feel good, but does not feel up to getting anywhere himself. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around that he may not be where I am in regards to desire. I often feel like I am self-centered or wrong if I don’t also cause him to “get there.” But the truth is that my pushing for that goal is actually more self- centered than just letting him please me, if that’s what he truly wants. To not allow him that freedom would make him less and less willing to make me happy if he felt pressure to always “get somewhere” himself. So, while I am learning to speak up and share my desires, I also have to balance that with a respect for him to be exactly where he is…allowing him freedom to not feel what I feel.

For the most part, my speaking up, my being free in my design has gone well. I run the risk of rejection every time; however, that is worth it and has been minimal in happening at this point. And often when rejection does happen, it is simply a result of my husband feeling pressure to “get somewhere” himself. The more I free him up to simply please me and be where he is (whether or not it’s the same as where I am), the more he is willing to engage me sexually, knowing he doesn’t have to get anywhere himself.

I share this part of my story, because, like you, I am learning slowly how to embrace my high drive design. I am learning how to walk in line with truth, not living a lie. I am learning how to share that with my husband in a safe and loving way, where he also is freed to live in line with the truth of his design. This transformation in our marriage is being worked out, so I share it with you, in hopes that you, too, will continue to pursue places of transformation in your own marriage.

Thanks for sharing Evie. What about you, friends? Are you learning to embrace your higher drive?

Praying for you ladies this week. I have a lot on my heart to share – still working on that post about seducing your lower-drive husband and hoping to have it up this week. Can’t wait to hear from you on that one too! Please keep me in prayer as I work on it & try to get it done – I need His words, not mine.

Annabel

Our sexual aid for 2013

Happy New Years friends! Hope you & yours had a wonderful time celebrating the start of 2013. As Mr. Spice and I spend time each year discussing our hopes and goals, our sex life is something that we have included for the past few years. This year we decided that a visual sex aid was in order. One of the things we have noticed is that I am the one who remembers how long it has been since we had sex. While he is a wonderful lover, I am usually ready for a sexual encounter before he is, and I find myself mentally counting the days in my head. After a few days, I find myself having this internal conversation: It has been 4 days since we had sex. Doesn’t Mr. Spice realize that?! We have talked so many times about how often I desire sex. And he wants to do better. What do I do? Should I try to remind him? Should I initiate? But he is so busy – maybe he is too busy for me right now. He is always too busy. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t think I am worth pursuing…

And so on and so forth, right down into some pretty negative thinking about our marriage bed and him. So we recently brainstormed on how to help him “count the days”. He does honestly want to serve me, but he often just loses track of time. And since his drive isn’t as strong as mine, he can usually go 6-7 days before needing sex, where as I am more of a every 2-3 day kind of woman (or more, but that’s kind of my happy minimum). If there is a helpful way for him to remember when when we last had sex, then he is happy to help make sure it happens more often.

So here was our idea – a wall calendar. While it definitely doesn’t fit the way we decorate, and its probably been 10 years since I purchased one, we thought that it might be helpful in keeping track of our sex life. We found one that we both liked and hung it right next to our bed. Every time we have sex this year, we will draw a small heart on the day. Since it is right next to our bed, we are both hoping it is something he will glance at often to get a visual on how recently we had sex. And it won’t take much to see if it’s been over 3 or 4 days. We are both hoping it will be a consistent, non-nagging reminder to both of us how important our marriage bed is.

So what about you? Do you have a creative way to help “count the days”? Are you making plans for the new year with your husband for your marriage bed?

Would love to hear from you,

Annabel

Forgiveness

Hello, dear and amazing friends. I hope you are doing well today – that you are finding life and joy in Christ and in your marriages. I know there are many of you who are on a journey of finding that life, and I want you to know I am praying for you right now. Praying peace over your hearts and health to the painful places in your soul. May God grant you grace, insight, and wholeness. May you find friendship, counsel, a shoulder to cry on and wisdom for the many decisions in front of you.

I have recently been pondering the subject of forgiveness, and thinking about how much we have to forgive our spouse in the journey of marriage. I think we should change our wedding vows to say something along the lines of “To have, hold and forgive from this day forward…” Because isn’t that so much more a part of marriage than you ever thought it would be?

I don’t know about you, but  I didn’t get a teaching on forgiveness in my pre-marital counseling, and I could have used it. Oh, I knew we would have petty disagreements, but that’s not what I am talking about here. I am talking about the heart-wrenching, completely devastating experiences in marriage that leave you spinning. I am talking about the wounds we cause each other with our words and actions that cut deep, and take time to heal. Forgiveness in that arena isn’t quite as easy as when my sweet little one spills their milk and quickly says “Sorry Mama!”

A few weeks ago I heard a description of forgiveness that floored me – and I wanted to share it with you, in hopes that it will paint a picture that will help you as it has me.

When your husband (or anyone) wrongs you, it creates a hurt inside of you. That offense tears into your heart, leaving a gap that must be filled in order for you to be whole. And its a gap that can’t be ignored, or we will find ourselves bitter and cynical. And the problem is we can’t just simply say “I forgive you”, and expect those words to magically fill that gap. As many of you know, they don’t.
The hard truth is that forgiveness is most often a choice, and very rarely a feeling. And we are commanded to forgive. So then, how do we do it in a way that carries truth and isn’t just rote words? As Christ-followers, when we say “I forgive you”, what we are saying (in reality) is this:

“You have created a gap in my heart with your words and actions. That gap must be filled in order for me to be whole, and I so desperately need and want to be whole. So I recognize that your sin leaves you in debt to me. You rightly owe me – you rightly must fill the gap you created. I also recognize, however, that this tear in my heart, this hole you created, can never be filled by you. You owe me a debt you cannot pay. And so when I say that I forgive you, I am telling you that I am taking that hole you created, that debt you so rightfully owe me, and I am giving it to Christ. I am choosing to release you of the responsibility for repairing my heart, and I am offering it up instead to the Healer of all wounds. My forgiving you doesn’t erase the hurt. It doesn’t magically fix the gap. My forgiving you doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge the debt, it just means I am choosing not to hold that debt against you.”

That, my dear sisters, is powerful. That makes forgiveness so much richer and truer than merely pretending like everything is okay. You must acknowledge that the hurt your husband caused you is real. And you need to realize that it may take time for the gap to be filled. But forgiveness releases someone from the rightful requirement of repayment, and gives it to the one who died to pay all debts.

Please hear me in this – forgiveness does not make everything magically okay. There may still be a process of grieving and healing to be walked out. You may need counseling; you may need time; you may need many conversations to help heal the wound. But you aren’t holding your husband hostage to a debt that he was never going to be able to pay.
The process of regaining trust, or healing a marriage, is not the same as the act of forgiveness. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We forgive because it glorifies the God who forgave us. We forgive because we are commanded to. We forgive because we are truly loved and chosen.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that the gap in your heart doesn’t exist anymore. It doesn’t even mean that you necessarily will be reconciled to that person (there are many who need to forgive someone who has already passed away). It means that you have released them from the responsibility of paying back their debt.

Dear sisters, I urge you to forgive. I urge you to shame the enemy and reject the world by choosing to walk the narrow path. And I promise you, when you choose to forgive you will find that there is a Healer who can, indeed, work all things for the good of those that love Him and who are called according to His purpose.

Praying for you today. Praying you will recieve the courage to forgive, and the wisdom you need to walk out what the journey of healing looks like for you. It may be as simple as some time with your journal. Or it may take months of counseling, pastoral care and hard descisions.
Pray for me too. Pray today that I would also walk out true forgiveness for people in my life who have hurt me. I am convicted as I write these words that there are still some who I need to release from their debt, and I need the courage to do so.

I cherish being on this journey with you.
Annabel

Heart Attitude

Amazing women, today I am humbled and honored to have Evie, another higher-drive wife sharing some of her own story with us. It is so exciting to me to get other “spicy” wives involved in the community here! I will let her introduce herself to you.

Hi, I am Evie.  Learning about this blog has been a source of renewal for me!  My husband and I have been married for about three and a half years, and we have two little boys (2 1/2 and 1 years old).  Even with those two pregnancies and new babies during our short marriage, I still have consistently been the spouse with the higher desire for sex.  This blog has served as an encouragement for me to embrace my design as a “higher drive” wife.

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My heart attitude has been so wrong lately regarding sex. You see it’s been apparent since early on in our short three year marriage that I consistently want sex more frequently than my husband. This hasn’t seemed like such a big deal until lately.

While we were on a weekend getaway a few months ago, I (again) consistently wanted more sex than my husband did. Because we are best friends who talk about everything, this stronger longing of mine came up in conversation that weekend. This was one of those super-honest-be-very-still-and-listen conversations.

As we talked, I was able to share that sometimes I felt like he was hesitant toward sex with me. He was able to share that his only hesitation is in regards to himself. He was able to share that he is more than happy to give me pleasure and satisfy my longings, but that occasionally he hesitated because simply because he felt as though he had to muster up a similar level of passion and desire that I was feeling. He shared that he does not always feel the same level of desire or need for sex that I do. I assured him that he does not have to feel what I feel. I told him it would be just fine for him to bring me pleasure without also having to “get there” himself. He told me how much he appreciated that release and also reassured me that he’d love to “make me happy” whenever I wanted sexual connection, release, or satisfaction. We both acknowledged the fact that I have a higher desire for sex than he…and that this reality is okay.

That was a very helpful conversation. We had a plan. It was good. I am grateful to have a husband who is more than happy to satisfy my higher desire.

The problem, though, was that very soon after, I quite internally began to live very differently than our conversation would suggest. Almost subconsciously, I decided to just not ask for sex or sexual satisfaction unless my husband initiated. I began to shut down the part of my heart that longed for sexual connection with my husband. This shutting down coupled with a few very stressful life circumstances led me to a season of being almost completely uninterested in sex.

Being uninterested in sex is not a good thing for me. It marks a shutting down of my heart. I did not even realize I was doing this until I started reading this blog. As I read this blog, I found my heart leaping with life again. I am a “higher drive” wife. That is part of who I am. To shut down that part of my heart, to ignore my “higher drive” reality, is to ignore the very design of who I was created to be.

As I continued reading this blog, I knew I had to take some time to recognize some very broken patterns in my heart. By shutting down my desire, waiting for my husband to long for sex with me was to deny my design. I had been living less than how I was created to live. This “living less” was no one else’s fault but my own.

I confessed this to God, asking Him to show me how to live more in line with how He designed me. I recognized that my high drive was not an accident but was divinely orchestrated. I knew I also had to share with my husband what I had been doing.

In sharing with my husband that I had been shutting down sexually, he affirmed that I was living in opposition to the way I designed. He assured me that what I had been doing was not a good thing to do…that just waiting for him to come to me was not good for either of us. He shared (again) how much he wants to please me sexually. He affirmed that he is completely okay with (and enjoys) my high drive design.

He explained that just as he was designed with a high need for emotional/relational connection, I am designed with a high need for sexual connection. He likened what I had been doing by waiting for him to come to me for sex to if he were to just wait to talk to me until I needed to talk to him. This example was so clear. My need to connect through talking is much less than his and if he waited for me to come to him for relational connection, he’d often be left feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. Likewise, by my waiting for him to come to me for sexual connection, I was often feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.

Moving forward from here, I honestly feel somewhat nervous. I so want to embrace my design as a “higher drive” wife; however, I am almost afraid of that design. I know that I was designed as “higher drive” wife, and I so appreciate being able to walk alongside you ladies on this journey to understand how to fully embrace this “higher drive” design.

So what about you, dear friends? Do you struggle to embrace your design? I would love to hear from you!