I often receive messages from wives who are frustrated with the physical intimacy in their marriage. They love their husbands and want to make sex a priority, but they have a hard time getting “in the mood.” Between work, kids, household duties, extracurricular activities, homework, church, and everything else, it can be difficult to shut down the ever-increasing mental clutter in our minds. Sadly, sex often becomes just another item on the “to-do list.” But when we see sex from this perspective, we start resenting it and miss out on the incredible gift that God designed it to be for a husband and wife. So, how can we break this negative cycle?
Just as we must clean out, manage, and organize the physical clutter in our homes and offices, we must similarly approach our mental clutter. First of all, we must get rid of the negative thoughts that are preventing us from fully embracing sex with our husbands. According to the Bible, we can do this by taking our thoughts captive.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says,
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This is extremely important when it comes to our mental clutter. When we feel exhausted, and overwhelmed by the notion that we need to have sex with our husband in addition to everything else on our to-do list, we can end up arguing with one another. But, this only frustrates our relationship. So, we must take a step back and recognize the thought processes that are causing us to shut down when it comes to sex. What tasks and subsequent negative thoughts tend to be at the forefront of our mind? What is stressing us out so much that we feel worn out at the idea of making love? It might help to journal about these questions to help pinpoint the issues. Sometimes putting pen to paper helps us sort out and even organize our thoughts more effectively. Once we pinpoint the problems, we can recognize the negative thoughts as they come and choose to approach sex more positively.
Regardless of our specific hang-ups, we must realize that sex is a gift from the Lord, and it is a privilege for a husband and wife to be the only legitimate means to meet this God-given need. Therefore, when thoughts like, “I don’t have time for sex tonight,” or “I’m too tired for sex tonight,” or “Really? Didn’t we just do it yesterday?” come to the forefront of our minds, we must stop these thoughts in their tracks and replace them with the truth. We must remember the truth that sex is a healthy desire and gift from the Lord meant explicitly for marriage. It’s also true that regularly having sex brings a married couple closer together and relieves stress. And, having sex with your husband and investing in your marriage is way more important than folding laundry or packing school lunches right at that moment.
When we replace our negative thoughts with positive truths, we will feel the weight of our to-do list getting much lighter, and our minds and hearts will have a greater capacity for romance and intimacy. In addition to clearing out our negative thoughts, we can also manage our mental clutter by doing our best to complete as many items as we can on our to-do list during the day, so we don’t feel so loaded down at night. This is a practical way to help ourselves to lighten the load and clear the clutter in our mind.
Sometimes the pressure that we feel isn’t from a to-do list at all. This kind of mental clutter goes much deeper. Things like fear, worry, and insecurity can take up so much of the mental energy that we have very little left to give our husband—especially when it comes to sex and romance. And, the longer we go without making love with our spouse, the more pressure and even awkwardness we begin to feel. So, the problem only gets worse. Instead of allowing these thoughts to hold us down, we need to be honest with our husbands about how we are feeling and be willing to seek out help. When we reject our husband’s advances or snap at him for wanting to make love, we can make him feel like we don’t desire him, love him, or respect him. However, when we open up and have a conversation with him about our fears, insecurities, and worries, we prepare the path of intimacy. And, we give him an opportunity to join us in prayer and offer us some perspective, support, and encouragement.
If the worrisome thoughts become something we experience every day and are causing us great anxiety and resentment when it comes to sex, it might be time to seek the help of a professional counselor. A Christian counselor helps people to recognize the anxious thoughts that are holding them back and aids them in understanding how to replace these anxious thoughts with God’s healing Truth. You can find a list of Christian counselors near you by contacting your local church.
The most important thing we must remember when it comes to anxious thoughts is that we can’t expect them just to go away. The more we pray and ask God to replace these thoughts with His Truth, and the more we open up about our feelings with our husband and counselor, the more freedom we will have from this anxious mental clutter.
If you feel plagued by mental clutter and it’s infringing on your intimacy with your husband, please know that you are not alone. You can clean out, manage, and organize your mental clutter by taking the steps mentioned in this article. Over time, you will have the peace of mind and balance that you so desire, and you and your husband will cultivate a thriving intimate life and marriage.
For additional tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, please check out the many resources, articles, videos, and events available at XOMarriage.com