Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Moving towards sexual fulfillment - Part 2

[Click here for Part 1]

So, you know what your spouse needs to be sexually fulfilled, and you know what you need, and you've communicated that to your spouse.  You've fostered empathy for your spouse so you understand that their needs are real and valid.  What next?

Submission is not a popular word in our culture, especially with respect to relationships between husbands and wives.  It brings to mind images of an oppressed housewife from decades past, quietly enduring their husband treating them like doormats or worse.  That isn't what I'm talking about.

Submission in marriage should be mutual (as most everything in marriage should be).  Paul taught the saints at Corinth that husbands and wives both should "render due benevolence" to each other (1Cor 7:3).

Benevolence is a desire to do good, charitableness.  In other words, both husband and wife should serve each other.  While we tend to readily understand this in terms of our actions outside the bedroom, Paul goes on to link it directly with each spouse having claim on the very body of their spouse in a sexual context.

Sexual benevolence looks outward with love toward meeting our spouse's needs, not inward to our own selfish satisfaction.  It demands more than just a good intentions or lip service, it requires us to act, even to expand our horizons.  It goes beyond doing the bare minimum and instead glories in going the extra mile.

It is not submitting to the will of your spouse but submitting to your divine role and calling of husband or wife. In doing that you are submitting to God's will and honoring honor temple covenants.

Pride and fear are obstacles to all righteous submission, and submission in marriage requires so much emotional vulnerability that it may take time to learn to let the walls down, but it will be worth it.

One of the purposes of the sexual relationship in marriage is to create unity and oneness between the husband and wife.  It makes no sense then to pursue sexual fulfillment in a manner that harms that unity.   Every couple will have differences between between their needs that have the potential to become points of contention in the relationship

If trying to reach sexual fulfillment is creating friction in the relationship, something is out of balance.  By nature we resist change and it is easy to say "Why should I be the one to change, you should change instead."  Before saying that, ask yourself what change would bring the marriage closer to mutual fulfillment and which seeks for self fulfillment?  Which one requires somebody to grow and expand their horizons and which one requires somebody to live with an unmet need? What change reflects empathy and submission for the spouse and which reflect defensiveness and self-centered control?  Which change is being requested out of a desire for greater joy, and which our of pride or fear?

Hopefully those questions will lead to you having a common direction with your spouse.  After that it mostly a matter of finding creative ways you can both happily move in that direction.

Pressure is caused by resistance to a force, and stress is caused by forces acting in differing directions.  No spouse should ever feel pushed into doing something they do not want to do.  Voluntarily pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, overcoming your own internal resistance to better meet your spouses needs, is an act of love and charity that leads to growth.  Pushing your spouse is unrighteous dominion and selfishness that will harm the relationship.

Don't you wish your spouse was so in tune with you that they always gave you the attention and affection you wanted from them as if they could read your mind?  Do you realize they wish the same thing from you?

We can't read minds, but we can pay attention to our spouse for signs of unmet needs.  We can ask them from time to time how we can better meet their needs, and we can pay attention to our own efforts and do our best to proactively provide for their needs.

To maintain sexual fulfillment long term there must be ongoing introspection and communication so that each spouse is up to date on the other.  Needs change over time.  Men who were ready to go at the drop of a hat in their 20's may find that they need foreplay as much (or more) than their wife when they hit middle age.   Other biological changes and health issues may likewise alter a spouse's needs.

We also change emotionally and may experiences times where our intimacy needs also change.  This can manifest itself in any of our needs, increasing or decreasing their importance.  Or we may develop new needs, and something that was once a need may not be important any longer.

Sexual fulfillment is not a one time achievement, it is a constant quest.  There may be dragons to slay, traps to avoid, and wildernesses to cross, but there are treasures beyond compare as well.

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