Could two words substantially improve a flailing sex life? That claim sounds as bold as promising you a 10-pound weight loss by Saturday or an all-inclusive vacation for under a hundred bucks. Understandably, you’re skeptical. Yet if you’re unhappy with the sexual intimacy in your marriage, I truly believe these could change the course of sex in your marriage.
And what are the two magical words? I’m sorry.
When marriages face problems and challenges in their physical intimacy, there is often a storehouse of hurt in one or both spouses. Even if the issues are external or involve sexual baggage brought into the marriage, when our spouse reacts poorly to what’s going on, we can feel rejected, attacked, abandoned, or misused. Our hurt feelings are harbored in our hearts and weigh us down.
Logically, we might know we should act differently to resolve our issues. Our spouse may know that as well. But we’re both steeped in personal pain that extends beyond whatever’s going on today. For instance, he asks for sex, and she’s reminded of all the times he ignored her emotions and pursued his own pleasure. She rejects his advance, and he feels the burden of all the previous refusals. He wants her to wear revealing lingerie, and she feels the pang of his previous porn use. And on and on.
It could be something large or small, but we feel these slights. And oftentimes, we don’t recognize the hurt we’ve caused our spouse with our words and actions. Maybe it was something we did or said that came across in a way we didn’t even intend.
But the hurt is there, it’s real, and it’s affecting sexual intimacy. Or really, just intimacy in your marriage.
What needs to happen? So many marriages need to start with those two words: I’m sorry.
- I’m sorry I used porn/erotica.
- I’m sorry I overlooked your sexual needs.
- I’m sorry I demanded acts you weren’t comfortable with.
- I’m sorry I assumed you didn’t love me emotionally when you pursued me physically.
- I’m sorry I stopped touching you to avoid sex.
- I’m sorry I pressured you and didn’t wait for our wedding night.
- I’m sorry I didn’t listen.
- I’m sorry I yelled.
How many of you in your marriages are longing to hear those two simple words from your spouse? I’m sorry.
Of course, that wouldn’t solve everything, but a genuine apology could change the course of your sexual intimacy — demonstrate that your spouse loves and respects you, renew hope for something better, begin to heal wounds long festering in your heart.
What if your spouse needs to hear those words from you?
Let’s face it: Plenty of us are thinking, “This is exactly what my spouse needs to do—apologize to me!” After all, if he’s 90 percent of the problem...
But I encourage you to consider this deeply: Even assuming he is 90 percent of the problem, you likely didn’t handle something well. You have your own issues that have hampered progress. Perhaps you even enabled his behavior in some way, not pursuing what was good but what was easy.
Almost everyone has some blame they should own up to. And it may be more than you’ve admitted to yourself, or to him.
Step away from the marital bedroom, sit down for a heart-to-heart conversation, and apologize for whatever you’ve done that has muddied the waters of your physical intimacy. It may be the two words your spouse craves, and it could set a new course for sexual intimacy in your marriage.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
J. Parker is the author of Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design and blogs at Hot, Holy & Humorous, using a biblical perspective and a blunt sense of humor to foster godly sexuality. She has been married for 23 years and holds a master's degree in counseling, yet it's her personal story of redemption that fuels her passion for passion.
Publication date: September 1, 2016
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