Let’s get personal for a second
When I married my husband 21 years ago, I was told certain things about how things should be in our bedroom by well-intentioned pastors, couples, and resources like “His Needs, Her Needs” and “Created to be his Helpmate”. I soaked up all the information I could to be a good and Godly wife. In the end, NONE of it worked for our marriage. in fact, when I applied these “helpful” suggestions, it only drove my husband away and created more stress and depression in me. What had I done wrong?
Around our ten-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I were on the outs and I was alone more than not. I thought I was the problem and a terrible wife. “You could have given him a better wife, God,” I said many times with tears in my eyes. I felt like a failure.
Then I found this blogger on Pinterest. The title made me laugh “To Love, Honor, and Vacuum”, but her articles struck a chord in my wonder heart. She had written a book, “A Good Girls Guide to Great Sex” and I ordered it because it said it was about more than just the bedroom, but about marriage. Boy were my eyes opened and I felt in my heart that God had sent this woman into my life at the right time.
I saw that things didn’t have to be the way they were and that my marriage wasn’t a lost cause. Hope was restored.
I was not alone
It wasn’t long before I saw that my experience was not the only one. Other Christian women around me were just as dissatisfied in their marriages as I had been. Why was that? We were doing the things we were told to do. It didn’t make sense. I had found hope, but I wanted my friends to have the same joy in their marriages as I did. So, I encouraged them as best as I could, and when our church did a marriage class with the book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggrichs, I encouraged them to take part and I would take part as well.
Week one – something felt wrong in my spirit. I couldn’t put a finger on it. So I let it go.
Week two – something still felt wrong but I refused to quit.
Week three – my husband said something. “This isn’t right for us. I’m not going back.” And we didn’t. I still didn’t understand what I was feeling that was so wrong, but God soon pointed it out.
According to this book, and several others, wives were meant to “serve” their husbands without question. There was no consideration for my needs or desires, it was only about making him happy and keeping him true to our marriage bed. But what about his responsibility to show self-control and to love his wife?
Um, isn’t this an equal partnership?
Then I saw the light
We have been indoctrinated by the thinking that what happens in the bedroom of married couples is for his satisfaction, his desires, and his demands. Well, when my favorite marriage author did a study of 20,000+ women, most of them Christian women, I wasn’t surprised by her findings. We all were saying the same thing, “What about us? Don’t we matter? Aren’t we worthy?” And so here we are, making a statement to the males of the church body. Not in rebellion like a certain secular movement, but it is still a cry from women in the church.
“We want love AND respect. We want to be seen. We want to be more valuable to our husbands than to service their animal desires. And we want to know that he will be just as helpful in the partnership of marriage–in the bedroom and in the kitchen. We are tired of being the one to blame for his lack of control. No more putting all the weight of male sin on female shoulders. We are not the reason you can’t keep your stuff together.”
On that note, we still love our husbands. We want to have joyful unions and work together through this life with them because let’s face it when the kids leave it is just the two of us. The teachings of the last thirty years have to be eradicated from our marriages and GOD’S word needs to be put in the right place. He designed marriage to be a beautiful dance of giving and receiving between husband and wife. A partnership like that between Christ and the church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing, Or having cleansed her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body. Other mss add and of His flesh and of His bones
For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
Now, this book is written in a way that both husbands and wives can read it together and discuss the topics while they work on improving marriage the way God designed it. Women should not read this and then beat their husbands over the head with the information. I say that because I would have done that at one time. The authors have put together discussion questions for you and your spouse to go over as well as some practical application 😉.
See the research here.
Please feel free to share your story in the comments. There is healing in the conversation.
About the book
What if it’s not your fault that sex is bad in your marriage?
Based on a groundbreaking in-depth survey of 22,000 Christian women, The Great Sex Rescue unlocks the secrets to what makes some marriages red hot while others fizzle out. Generations of women have grown up with messages about sex that make them feel dirty, used, or invisible, while men have been sold such a cheapened version of sex, they don’t know what they’re missing. The Great Sex Rescuehopes to turn all of that around, developing a truly biblical view of sex where mutuality, intimacy, and passion reign.
The Great Sex Rescue pulls back the curtain on what is happening in Christian bedrooms and exposes the problematic teachings that wreck sex for so many couples–and the good teachings that leave others breathless. In the #metoo and #churchtoo era, not only is this book a long-overdue corrective to church culture, it is poised to free thousands of couples from repressive and dissatisfying sex lives so that they can experience the kind of intimacy and wholeness God intended.
About the Authors
Sheila is the face behind ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com, the largest single-blogger marriage blog on the internet, with approximately one million page views a month. Her social media reach is over 100,000 and she has an email list of 45,000. She’s also an award-winning author of nine books and a sought-after speaker, but most of all she’s a wife and a mom with a passion for strengthening marriages and families.
Before beginning her writing and blogging career, Sheila earned masters degrees in Sociology and Public Administration from Queens University.
And she knits. Even in line at the grocery store.
Rebecca graduated summa cum laude in 2017 from the University of Ottawa with an Honors Bachelors of Arts with a Specialization in Psychology for which she received significant scholarships. Her thesis, investigating pregnancy knowledge in women with IDD, has been published in a peer reviewed journal.
While in her final year of school she received a publishing contract from Thomas Nelson for her first book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, which told the stories of 25 young adults and integrated modern psychological research in order to find out what made it more or less likely that teenagers would rebel.
Beginning in 7th grade, Rebecca participated in Bible quizzing and, through the program, memorized approximately 1/2 of the New Testament.
Rebecca is the proud mom to a chubby baby boy and she and Connor are planning to become geeky homeschooling parents, just like her mom and dad were.
Joanna claims, “I’m probably the only person you’ll ever meet who has been stuck in both an escalator and an elevator… and I can prove that to you statistically.” She has been a follower of Christ since childhood (long before even the escalator incident) and enjoys nerding out about theology and Christian ethics.
Joanna is a trained microbiologist, epidemiologist, and statistician with experience in both SPSS and STATA. She received one of fifteen merit based full scholarships to Ohio State University, where she was named a Presidential Scholar and graduated summa cum laude with an honors B.Sc. in microbiology. Over the course of her career, she has received more than $200,000 in grants and scholarships. While completing her undergraduate degree, she spent about a year volunteering in Kenya at a rural teaching hospital. She spent her undergraduate years on campus working in a Mycobacterium tuberculosis research lab where she had BSL-3 clearance for her research on PPARgamma and its role in TB disease progression.
Joanna is a talented teacher and has taught eight undergraduate and graduate level courses in biology, biochemistry, public health, and biostatistics, receiving rave reviews from her students. Before joining Sheila and Rebecca on To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, Joanna enjoyed writing for Christianity Today’s science publication “The Behemoth.”
Joanna gave birth to her first daughter 72 hours after defending her Master’s in Public Health thesis investigating the drinking water crisis on First Nations lands in Saskatchewan. Her work was the first to compare First Nations reserve communities to nearby non-reserve communities of similar size and she demonstrated disparities in drinking water outcomes between these community types.
Her second daughter was born in the midst of editing The Great Sex Rescue. Joanna, her husband Josiah, and her two girls moved to the Canadian arctic in 2020 for Josiah’s new job working as a government lawyer.
Joanna spends most of her time reading to her little girls and having toddler dance parties.