How do I deal with sexual disappointment in marriage?
I have recently been doing a book study with a group of women about “Pulling Back the Shades” by Dr. Juli Slattery & Dannah Gresh. (Good book, by the way). Our purpose for meeting and really the purpose of the book is to dive deeper into understanding intimacy and the longings of our hearts as women. Erotica, pornography, and our over sexualize culture have greatly shifted us away from God’s true design for sexuality and intimacy. Dr. Juli Slattery’s whole ministry is really about understanding that being sexual and being spiritual aren’t two different and unrelated experiences in life. (Check it out www.authenticintimacy.com for more info!)
Someone brought up this question in our previous group – How do I deal with the sexual disappointments in marriage? How do I acknowledge and experience the longings I have as a woman, knowing they will never be fulfilled on this earth? It feels so disappointing, she said, to hope for something that I don’t think my husband is capable of.
It’s important at this point to look at hope. Because what we hope for is ultimately what we are putting our faith in. My hope is then attached with expectations that aren’t guaranteed to be met. Expectations that can leave us feeling so dissatisfied that it seems as if we can’t move forward until that need is met in the way we want. Un-satisfaction, therefore, keeps our eyes on what we do not have, rather than what we do have.
There’s an important distinction I’d like to point out – and that’s the difference between hope and desire. Our desires are for things we want, long for even, but aren’t guaranteed. Hope is meant to be placed in the eternal, what is actually guaranteed. You can desire for relational satisfaction in marriage, a fulfilling sex life, a partner who understands and meets your needs. But you aren’t guaranteed those things in this life. Even good things – Things God wants for you aren’t guaranteed. So my hope, in this situation, is if those needs go unmet for the rest of my life then I can put my hope in a God who will use those circumstances to create me more in his likeness. I can trust that He is and will meet all of my needs. I have the faith that God is bigger than my desires and has an endless supply of love that is 100% and fully satisfying.
I can desire the cancer diagnosis to go away but I can hope that if it doesn’t I’ll meet my Savior. I desire for my baby to be born healthy but I can hope that if it isn’t then my God is still in control and still has a perfect plan for my little one’s life. You may desire to find your spouse, get pregnant, find a new job, heal from a physical ailment, or maybe gain financial success but what hope do we really have if all these things became true?
The beautiful thing is we serve a God that is good and kind. He enjoys who you are and it brings him delight to bless you. But when I start wanting his provision more than I want him, I’ve got messed up priorities. We need to stop spending our life running from any little thing that makes us uncomfortable and start running to our Savior.