Does Sex Restore Your Soul

It has been a strange couple of weeks filled with highs, lows and acclimating to a new reality. The Coronavirus has changed the way we live and directly impacted thousands of lives. If you are going through really hard things, I pray that God will meet you in the midst and that you will experience a comfort that only comes from Him.  Though my life has not been directly impacted, life in general has felt like a bit of a roller coaster.

Highs

Just three short weeks ago I was coming off of an amazing weekend of sharing about Awaken Love. I had been invited to teach a break out session at a large women’s conference called Set Apart. The conference theme Rest for your Soul inspired the title of my session, “Does Sex Restore Your Soul”.

Women packed my sessions, from wise gray-haired grandmothers to young singles. They came looking for God’s truth and real conversations about sex. After sharing my story, we tackled 6 of the most common lies that make sex feel like a duty – rather than something that restores our soul.

Lies like…

  • Sex is for Men
  • It is all about the destination
  • Sex will magically fall into place
  • We need to protect ourselves from our husband
  • Sex is just physical
  • God may have created sex, but He doesn’t really bless it or want to be involved

These common lies seep into our thinking without us even noticing. They warp what we believe about sex and fool us into missing out on a powerful gift that can transform our marriage from surviving to thriving. When we recognize the lies and understand God’s truth then we can begin to step into a new way of living. You can listen to a recording of the talk below.

In between the session women stopped by my table to grab a copy of my book Awaken Love and to encourage me. Many thanked me for a much needed message in the church. If we are going to get marriage right, then we must start talking about sex.

A New World

Three short weeks later, the world has changed. The coronavirus has shut down all but the essential activities. Many are working from home without church, sports, or dinners out. Our worlds have become smaller as our home and our immediate family fill our nights and days.

We all handle life differently. When the quarantine kicked into gear, I immediately looked for some projects to pour my energy into. When I keep my hands busy, my mind rests easier. Already I am halfway through building a nightstand out of walnut. Next on the docket, building a bigger closet in my bedroom. A classic introvert, as long as my girls are good and my husband is by my side, I can handle anything.

Comfort

During this time, sex has been a comfort, an escape from hard realities and just good entertainment. We have no kids at home, a quiet house, and 24 hours a day together. Though your situation may be different, don’t discount the power of sex to restore your soul.

When you feel exhausted from home schooling, instead of vegging out in front of the tv, climb into bed with your husband and get naked.  After unbearably long days of care-taking, work, or reading the latest news, stop and find comfort in your husband’s arms. When you feel like you might go stir crazy, try something daring that will knock the socks off your spouse. Don’t put sex to the side, make it a priority and see how it can transform you.

As we reel from the sudden change of our reality, don’t miss the opportunity to restore your soul in the simple pleasure of sex with your spouse. God intended sex to be life giving refreshment that can restore your soul.

Zoom Class

If you have always wanted to take an Awaken Love class For Wives with me, I am offering a class using Zoom as a meeting platform. Participants will watch the videos in advance and we will spend our time sharing and discussing what we learned. We meet Monday nights from 7:30 – 9 pm central time starting April 6th. If you are interested, email ruth.awakenlove@gmail.com for more details.

Clitoral, G-Spot and Deep Spot – 3 Pathways to Pleasure

The in and out thrusting of intercourse used to do nothing for more me, besides sometimes make me sore. I felt confused, broken and somehow duped. But as I started to understand more about my body and how it worked, I felt encouraged. Instead of relegating intercourse for my husband’s pleasure, we could transform intercourse to make it more enjoyable for both of us. Understanding the 3 main pathways to orgasm – clitoral, G-Spot and Deep-Spot –  was an important step in cuing into my own pleasure during intercourse.

Understanding your pathways will help you recognize positions, body alignment or movement to provide more pleasure during intercourse. When you recognize how the different orgasms feel as they approach you can lean into your pleasure and chase after it. So if you feel discouraged at just trying harder at the same thing, get ready to open up your idea of what intercourse looks like. Understand your pathways to orgasm and discover something for you.

(What I write is based on my own experiences, the experiences of women that have shared during class, and lots of reading.Although this article could be helpful for anyone, it is part of a series “How to have an orgasm during intercourse”. If you are working towards that goal, please make sure that you read my previous articles/

Clitoral Orgasms

The clitoris provides the main pathway to pleasure for most women. Clitoral orgasms result from stimulation of the clitoris, either directly or indirectly.  For many years, scientists thought the clitoris was just the pearl sized bulb at the meeting of the inner lips. But recent research discovered a structure of legs extending under the outer lips toward the pelvic bones, and with glans on each side of the vagina that engorge with blood during arousal.

For many women, clitoral orgasms feel like the strongest physically. Clearly defined, they are the orgasms that women say, “if you don’t know, then you haven’t had one.” Women sometime wonder why the orgasms they experience during manual or oral stimulation feel stronger than the orgasms they experience during intercourse. Without the movement of intercourse, we can focus clearly on our own pleasure without distraction.

Orgasms from clitoral stimulation are transmitted through the Pudenal nerve system. A clitoral orgasm feels like a pinpointed pleasure causing a collapsing of the body and resulting in a radiating out of pleasure. Commonly you can feel pulsing of the Kegel muscles, vagina or sometimes even the uterus.

Tuning In

If you have never experienced an orgasm from either just manual or oral stimulation of the clitoris, I encourage you to try it. During intercourse so much is happening that you may have a hard time zoning in to what your body experiences. Focus on what it feels like as you approach clitoral orgasm. What impact does your mind have? How does the orgasm feel? Can you understand why the intercourse portrayed in the movies does little to stimulate the clitoris? What positions, movements and pace during intercourse might create the type of stimulation that you need for clitoral orgasm?

G-Spot Orgasms 

G-Spot orgasms, named after Grafenberg, are achieved through firm stimulation of the front wall of the vagina (towards the tummy), 1 -2 inches in from the opening of the vagina. The area can feel like the roof of your mouth when touched. As you get more aroused, a quarter sized soft area can bulge into the vagina. The G-spot is not on the surface of the vagina, but a collection of tissue between the urethra and vagina.

When highly aroused, the G-spot responds to firm stimulation in a “come hither” motion. You can use the pad of a finger, penis or vibrator. Women describe G-spot orgasms as more of a full body experience and not clearly defined or located. Scientists now believe G-spot orgasms are transmitted through a different nerve system – the pelvic and hypogastric nerves. No wonder women have been saying for years that their vaginal orgasms feel different than their clitoral orgasms.

Is G-Spot for You?

Some people debate the existence of the G-spot, and no one can actually prove it. The G-spot is not an organ that you can hold up and say, “here it is”. But if you listen to women describe their experiences, they sound remarkably similar. Women describe the G-spot orgasm as a pushing out, or bearing down of pleasure. They may even push so hard that they literally push out whatever  is in their vagina.

Do all women enjoy G-spot stimulation? Maybe – maybe not…Imagine that you had an area inside of you that had never been touched or stimulated like it wanted. The first time it was touched you thought, “That was weird, I don’t know if I like that.” The next time you thought, “I don’t know, I guess it wasn’t bad.” The next time, “That feels kind of warm” and each time maybe things gets a little more enjoyable as you learn to recognize and anticipate pleasure. Eventually you may even recognize an ache coming from the G-spot as you become aroused during foreplay.

All I am saying is that if you have not experienced any pleasure from G-spot stimulation, don’t completely close that door and decide that you don’t have one. Our bodies change with age and can awaken to new experiences. Once in a while revisit the G-spot and pay attention to new sensations.

The easiest way to stimulate the G-spot is with a finger or two, but you must first be highly aroused. Try getting warmed up with stimulation of the clitoris and then transition to manual stimulation of the G-spot, or go back and forth between the two.

Some women feel the need to urinate as their G-spot becomes aroused. Just make sure to empty your bladder before sex, and then try to relax. Trust your body, trust your husband, push through and you might discover something new. Female Ejaculation sometimes accompanies G-spot stimulation.

Tuning In

Pay attention to what your body feels like as your G-spot becomes aroused. What is your mind doing? What does a G-spot orgasm feel like? Imagine what types of positions and movements during intercourse might create G-spot stimulation? What pace does it like to be stimulated? How can you make tap into this pathway during intercourse?

The Deep Spot

The Deep spot, otherwise known as the A-spot is located deep in the vagina, near the cervix. Less known then the G-Spot, the Deep spot orgasm produces the similar full body response and pushing out of pleasure. Not surprising, the deep spot travels through the same nerve system as the G-spot – the pelvic and hypogastric.

One of the trickiest things about the Deep spot is how close it is to the cervix. Most of us have experienced the bruising pain of banging into the cervix during intercourse. But when our bodies are highly aroused, our vagina balloons out, the uterus tips up rotating the cervix back and we gain better access to the Deep spot. Most women enjoy the tummy side of the cervix, while others love the area behind the cervix.

Some people consider the Deep spot their most reliable way to orgasm during intercourse. In class, a few women acknowledge the deep spot as an orgasm trigger. When couples figure it out, the Deep Spot can create an immediate response when accessed at the right time.

There are websites that claim all women have the deep spot and it is a guaranteed trigger to experience an orgasm. They suggest stimulating the deep spot with the same firm “come hither” motion on the front wall of the vagina but with your middle finger in as far as it can reach. Don’t add more pressure to yourself, but feel the freedom to explore the pathways to pleasure God gave you.

Tuning In

Similar to the G-spot, the Deep spot may be another possibility, another flavor to explore. When you are highly aroused, have your husband travel to the deep spot with the pad of his finger. During intercourse pay attention to sensations during deep penetration. What kind of movements feel good? What is your mind doing? How does it feel? How and when can you access the Deep spot.

3 Pathways to Pleasure

Understanding these 3 pathways – Clitoral, G-spot and Deep spot – can help you tweak sex so that you can experience more pleasure during intercourse. Instead of trying the same thing, what adjustments can you make to try to access the pathway of your pleasure. How can you align your bodies? What pace or motion works best? What can you discover and show your husband?

Part of my journey of enjoying sex has been educating myself about my own body and discovering my pathways to pleasure. It is easy to think that our husbands ought to just magically find all of our sweet spots, but I am not sure that is true. I had to spend time exploring new areas and waking my body up. In order to focus on new sensations, without pressure but with thankfulness, I needed to test the waters.  Not all orgasms feel the same and I believe we have more to learn. Don’t limit what you experience because you cannot even dream that it can happen. Discover your pathways to orgasm and think about how to make these part of intercourse.

Pathways to pleasure

Train Your Body to Become More Responsive During Sex

Culture teaches that great sex just happens naturally. So, when a woman’s body does not respond during intercourse, it is easy for her to feel broken or defective. If we can hold back the shame, in time we will realize that God created women with amazing bodies that can learn to respond sexually in countless ways. With practice, hard work and courage we can discover new things. We can’t just try the same things over and over. We must train our body to be more flexible in how and what we respond to so that our body learns to enjoy different types of love making – even intercourse.

Learned Response

Orgasm is a learned response to what your body finds enjoyable.  If you aren’t familiar with your own body, it may take time to wake up. In the beginning you may feel nervous or self-conscious, and sexual stimulation might not feel amazing. But the more you create positive experiences, the more you anticipate good things and the faster your body responds.  So be patient, push yourself to try new things, create positive experiences and build on what you learn.

Just like playing different songs on the piano takes practice, so does responding sexually. If you practiced chop sticks an hour every day for a year, you would get very good at chop sticks, but you would struggle to play any other song. To play piano well you must practice different scales, different songs, different tempos and different styles. Eventually accomplished piano players can become so proficient that they no longer depend on the music, but can freely create a full range of expressions.

Train Your Body

One of the most interesting secular books that I have read on having an orgasm during intercourse is “How to have an orgasm…as often as you want.” by Rachel Swift. After years of frustration over her lack of response during intercourse, she developed a program to train her body to become more flexible in its response. She teaches her body to respond to different simulations, in different positions, and different locations.  Eventually her body becomes so flexible to what it will respond to that even the stimulation during intercourse will cause her to orgasm every time.

I don’t necessarily agree with her training program, but her experience backs up the principle that women’s bodies can learn new things. If God designed sex as a way to get to know each other, maybe we have a lot to discover together. Some of the concepts might help us experience more during sex.  So, let’s look at this whole concept of training our bodies.

Practice Often

Just like playing the piano, you must practice and practice often. If you are only having sex once a week, then you basically start over every week – nervous, anxious and wondering how you will respond. When you have sex often (my definition of sex is broad – not just intercourse), your mind can relax and your body begin to recognize places that it has been before and enjoyed. The more your body anticipates positive experiences, the quicker it responds. If you want to make progress towards becoming more responsive, then you need to have sex often.

Expand our Flexibility

In order to expand our flexibility, we need to train our bodies to enjoy new sensations. Rather than sticking with what worked previously, change it up. If you enjoy manual stimulation a certain way, then change it up. Try a different motion or pace. Try indirect touch instead of direct touch. Have him touch you through your clothes or with the palm of his hand instead of his fingers.  Use a soft object or his penis to touch your vulva. Be patient because it takes time for your body to learn new things. Stay relaxed, pay attention to what starts to become enjoyable and keep practicing until you get there. Thank God for every new sensation that you experience and enjoy the journey as God opens up new pathways to orgasm.

Different Positions

So much of intercourse is related to the positions that we use. To move towards having an orgasm during intercourse, practice manual or oral stimulation in different positions. Can you orgasm kneeling as if you were straddling your husband? Can you orgasm on your side, when you are spooning? Are you able to orgasm standing up? Train your body to respond to manual stimulation in these positions to increase the chances of responding during intercourse. Could we even learn to like different positions by creating positive experiences?

Quick Response

Could I train my body to respond quickly when I wanted to? Sometimes I think I hold off orgasm simply because I want to enjoy sex longer.What if I knew that I only had a couple of minutes before we would be interrupted? Could my body kick into gear? Could I train my body to jump into hyper-drive because we had limited time? Imagine the fun scenarios we could dream up when time was of the essence? Maybe we have more control over our orgasms than we think.

Final Thoughts

Some of us have resigned ourselves to a sex life of limited possibilities. Your body has the capacity to learn new things – even when it comes to your sexuality. If you want sex to improve then think about how you can train your body to become more flexible in its response. Imagine positive experiences to create anticipation for pleasure. Practice new things until they become easy.  Train your body to respond with different stimulation, in different positions or with limited time. God’s created sex to get to know each other. When you stretch yourself and learn new things, you get to know each other in new ways. Enjoy learning new things together and you might discover that the journey is just as enjoyable as the destination.

Rewritten from original post Flexibility Training for Orgasms  on 3/8/2015

Conversations to Improve Intercourse

I don’t think great sex just happens. Real life is not like the movies where he confidently takes you in his arms, desire inflames your body, and intercourse simultaneously takes both of you to the moon and back. Great sex happens because you muster enough courage to talk about your needs and desires, and can hear and honor your spouse’s needs and desires. If you want to make intercourse more pleasurable, then it will require you to have some hard conversations. You must talk about where you are at, what you would like to try, let him know how he can help, and prepare with back-up plans.

Getting Honest

Our husband cannot always tell if we finish during intercourse, especially if we let our bodies become aroused enough to possibly orgasm. If you want intercourse to improve, then you have to be honest with him about everything – even whether you finished.

Your husband might already know you don’t orgasm during intercourse, but the two of you have never really spoken about it. Or maybe your husband thinks you finish every time because sometimes you do, and he can’t really tell the difference when you don’t. Or maybe you’ve gotten into the habit of faking it in order to give him permission to finish. Either way, if you want to improve intercourse, you need to share the truth.

Hard conversations about sex probably shouldn’t take place in the bedroom, or right after sex. Find a neutral location when both of you are rested to approach the topic.

The conversation might go something like this…

“When we have intercourse, I love feeling close to you, and I love feeling you inside of me. Even though I thoroughly enjoy it, I don’t always finish. I wish it was simpler for me, but sometimes my body is just tricky. It is nothing that you do, for most women sex just isn’t that easy. I am still learning how my body works and what feels good. I want to be honest with you, because I want to work toward making intercourse amazing for both of us. I need to know that you care, that you can handle knowing the truth and that you will work with me to make things even better.”

Taking Charge

In order to figure out what feels really good during intercourse we need to have the freedom to control the movement, the tempo and the progression. Probably the easiest way, is for you to climb on top and straddle him. In this position, you can adjust the angle, linger in certain areas, and align different body parts. You can also control the tempo of stimulation and the pace that things progress.  Don’t be afraid to take charge.

The idea that we are supposed to just lay back while our husband gives us an orgasm is a lie. Our husband moves likes he wants to in order to orgasm during intercourse. We have permission to do the same.

The conversation might sound something like this….

In order to figure out what feels really good to me, I need to try some new things. I’d like to try being on top and have you just lay still while I move and experiment. I need the freedom to do this from time to time so that I can reinforce and revisit things that feel good.”

His Support

Your husband can make a world of difference by being your rock and your cheerleader. When things don’t go as hoped, his loving assurances can keep you from giving up. If you feel discouraged, he can remind you of how much you’ve learned and grown. When you become frustrated and need a break, he can take you to other places. Tell him how he can help you. He wants to be your hero.

The conversation might sound something like this…

“If I give up, I need you to take care of me. I need you to let me know that you care. I need you to remind me of the progress that I am making and the new things that we are learning together. “

Remove the Pressure

In order to take the pressure off both of you, you need a plan B; a way for you to finish if you don’t orgasm during intercourse. Just because he has an orgasm, does not mean that sex must be over.

There are a couple of reasons a plan B is so important. First, you do not want to set up a pattern of disappointment by leaving your body hanging time after time. Soon your body will begin to expect disappointment and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Second, you want to enjoy what is going on instead of worrying. If your husband is lying there thinking, “Am I going to last long enough?”, and you are thinking, “Am I going to make it?”, then are you really connecting? Give yourself the freedom to be present and enjoy the new sensations you experience together without worrying about disappointment.

So what does a plan B look like….

Come up with a way for you to finish after he has an orgasm, even if he’s getting sleepy. It might mean finishing yourself with your hands while he holds you or plays with your breasts. It might mean pulling out a vibrator and having him hold it for you. He might want to use his hands or mouth on you.  The key is not shutting yourself down because you didn’t finish during intercourse. It is not too much work, time, or trouble. You are absolutely worth it, so enjoy it.

The conversation outside of the bedroom might sound something like…

“I want to work towards having an orgasm during intercourse, but I know that won’t always happen. It’s hard when I am left hanging, and I find myself worrying during sex instead of enjoying it. Can we come up with a way for me to finish, even after you’re done, so we both can enjoy sex. Maybe you could finish me with your hands, or your mouth, or a vibrator.”

Then you need to come up with simple phrases that you can use after intercourse to let him know you are not done.

For example…

“Can we keep going?”

“Want to get the bullet?”

“Hold my breasts while I finish.”

Or if it’s too hard for you to ask in the moment, then challenge him to ask. Maybe every time you have sex, he expectantly asks,

Want to keep going?”

Having a Plan B will revolutionize your sex life. Instead of worrying, you will have the freedom to play, experiment, connect with each other and enjoy the journey. When you don’t worry about the finish line, you discover amazing new things.

Getting Started

The hard conversations we had about sex were the catalyst for huge changes in our marriage bed.  We spent years having sex without really being able to talk about anything. Our first step of getting comfortable talking about sex, was a reading a sex book out loud to each other. Pick up a copy of Awaken Love to read together and spend time discussing what you are learning. It even has discussion questions after each chapter that will help you dig deeper. Once you can talk about sex, you can move towards some of the harder conversations to improve intercourse.

Whether or not you have an orgasm during intercourse, make it an intimate, pleasurable time of connection for both of you. When you can have honest conversations about sex without getting prickly, there is no limit to what you can discover.

Next time – Flexibility Training

Rewritten from original post of “Talk about Sex?” from 3/8/2015

conversations about intercourse

Orgasm During Intercourse? The Big Question

The most common sex questions is, “How do I have an orgasm during intercourse?” Most women struggle to consistently respond during intercourse. In fact some of us might never have an orgasm  during intercourse. Regardless of whether you orgasm, I believe that we have much to learn in order to make intercourse more connecting and pleasurable. And when you go on a journey of discovery, you never know what you might find.

My Story

When I got married and had questions about sex, I bought a secular book, “For Yourself” by Lonnie Barbach. Like most secular books, it clearly communicated that the chance of having an orgasm during intercourse was pretty slim. Most women orgasm from stimulation of the clitoris, and intercourse simply does not provide the stimulation that we need.  The book recommended focusing on what worked for a woman, and letting go of any expectation during intercourse.

So that’s what we did. We basically subscribed to the “she comes first” mantra. My husband would pleasure me and then afterwards finish inside of me.  Intercourse became something for my husband and not something I looked forward to. We assumed that me finishing during intercourse would never happen so we stopped even trying.

Years later after reading a ton of books on sex,  I recognized a huge divide between what secular books and Christian books teach. Most Christian books seem to make orgasm during intercourse the ultimate goal.  Manual techniques are just a step in the progression to learn to respond during.  Some books recommended the perfectly timed transition from foreplay to intercourse. Others suggested a strategic tilt of her hips as the magic formula. One Christian book proclaimed if a woman doesn’t orgasm during intercourse she has not surrendered to her husband. It is no surprise that women who don’t orgasm during intercourse can wonder what’s wrong with them.

As Christians, we need to be very careful not to create a hierarchy of sex. God created different ways to enjoy each other and one is not better than another. Don’t feel like you are not having “real sex” because you have not experienced orgasm during intercourse. Oral sex or manual stimulation is sex. It is not just foreplay.

But can we find a middle ground between giving up on intercourse and making orgasm during intercourse the ultimate goal.? Where we can grow and learn, without expectations or pressure that make us feel broken. A middle ground where we can embrace intercourse as a way that to intimately connect and experience pleasure – regardless of whether the wife has an orgasm.

So this series is not going to be about how to have an orgasm during intercourse. It is going to be about making intercourse a mutually fulfilling, way to connect – regardless of whether you have an orgasm.

So I want to start by helping you understand the reality of women.

(more…)

orgasm during intercourse

Tell Others the Truth About Sex and Change Lives

Recently I sat in with a group of women taking the Awaken Love video class. Their church had offered Awaken Love as a small group community and 25 women quickly registered. With four classes complete, these women had already done the hard work of talking through lies and baggage, and embracing God’s design for sex. Hungry to learn more, they enthusiastically voiced agreement as I shared insight from my own journey. I loved our time together, but what impacted me most, was their commitment to tell others the truth about sex.

Opportunities to Tell Others

A couple of weeks ago, two of the women had met for ice cream and couldn’t stop talking about class. As they excitedly processed all they were learning, a woman nearby quietly listened. Finally, she interrupted to ask about their conversation. Only recently, she had discovered her husband’s porn struggle and she wasn’t sure if they could rebuild their marriage.

These two women quickly embraced the opportunity to minister to their new friend. They shared all they had learned about God’s design for sex and how it had impacted their own marriages. But they also shared how God provided healing and transformation for them personally. Before they parted ways, they gently asked if they could pray for their new friend. I can only imagine how powerfully they ministered to this hurting woman in that moment. Talking about sex opened up the opportunity to hear about Jesus.

The world is filled with hurting marriages and people are desperately looking for answers. When we embrace God’s design for sex, it not only provides a pathway to tell others the truth about sex, but about the love of Jesus. We cannot create an intimate marriage without God’s transformation in our lives. Conversations about sex should naturally flow into conversations about Jesus.

Crossing Generation

Another woman shared that the Holy Spirit was prompting her to lead a video class with her mom and her mom’s friends. Taking Awaken Love had provided the opportunity to open up conversations with her mother about what she was learning in class. Aware of the generational gap in open conversations and information about sex, this young woman wanted her mom’s generation to experience all the freedom that she had discovered.

Many of the women in class shared their concerns about talking to their kids about sex. Though they hadn’t grown up with parents comfortable talking about sex, they were determined to change things for their kids. Class had helped these women get comfortable with the topic and for the first time they felt empowered. They knew that having normal conversations about sex with their kids could become a reality. The women were filled with enthusiasm and hope for changing future generations.

Help Others by Sharing the Truth

When women start an Awaken Love class, I always explain the greater message, “This class is not just for you, it is for every person that you interact with.”

  • What good does it do to create an amazing sex life with your husband, if years later your kids struggle with the same issues?
  • How can you not want to share God’s truth about sex, when so many marriages around you are breaking apart?
  • Do you realize how many hurting women think that God cannot heal sexual baggage?

Real transformation in the church happens when we move beyond ourselves and tell others God’s truth about sex.

Final Thoughts

It was an amazing night connecting with the women in the Awaken Love class. The memory that continues to bring tears to my eyes was when the leader asked, “How many of you have had conversations about sex with other women, outside of class?” Every single hand in the room raised.

How are you changing the world as you learn God’s truth about sex?

Look for the One Your Heart Loves

Song of Songs 3:1-5

3 All night long on my bed

    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
    So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.

I held him and would not let him go

   till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room of the one who conceived

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you

by the gazelles and by the does of the field:

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires

Who is the man that your heart loves? Who is  the man that you fell head over heals in love with? Who is the man that God created your husband to be?

News Flash!!!

Our spouse is not perfect.

When we fall in love we see them through rose colored glasses. We notice and dribble over all the small ways that they love us, and if they show us any junk, we are happy to let it slide away, virtually unnoticed.

Then reality hits, and we see their grumpiness when work affects them. We grumble about their lack of planning and foresight. We silently lament their lack of leadership as we change every small decision that they make because we have a better idea. And when defensiveness hits, we immediately make it about us, rather than realizing that they bring their own insecurities into marriage.

It is time for us to “Look for the one our heart loves.” We need to put on glasses that are not rose colored glasses, but holy glasses. Glasses that will help us to see our spouse as Jesus sees them. Glasses that see his hurts and insecurities and extends compassion and grace. Glasses that will show us the man or woman that God created them to be. That can inspire and affirm them to be that person.  We need to be wives that when our spouse messes up, can say, “I know you are a better man, I’ve seen it. I know life is hard, but I forgive you and I am cheering for you.” We need to be husbands that can be compassionate when we feel insecure or afraid.

Put It Into Practice

  1. Spend some time thinking about your spouse past baggage, how they grew up, and the pressures and disappointments as a kid. Think about the pressure and responsibility they carry and extend compassion to your them this week.
  2. Spend some time thinking about the man that God created your husband to be. Picture the best in him, and realize that God wants even more for him. This week speak God’s truth over your husband in who he is in Christ.
  3. Encourage your wife in the steps of growth she is taking. Speak God’s truth over her and who she is in Christ.
  4. Affirm your husband in spiritual growth, Godly character growth or leadership growth. Look for small ways that your husband has stretched or even tried to stretch. Step back and let him lead in even small ways, with no attitude, no judging and no resentment.

Come Away, My Beloved

Song of Songs 8:13-14

He

13 You who dwell in the gardens
    with friends in attendance,
    let me hear your voice!

She

14 Come away, my beloved,
    and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
    on the spice-laden mountain

The end of a series. 

The young Bride has grown from insecurities of worrying about her skin color, to dancing in front of her man. She has grown from urging her groom to take her away with him to inviting him to come away.

God wants us to grow – personally and in our marriage. I think part of the reason God made men and women so different is to stretch us. Marriage is this giant people growing machine that forces us to change in order to love our spouse better. And when we do, we get to experience a whole different world that we might have missed otherwise. It is not easy, in fact it may be one of the hardest things that you do. It takes facing your own humanity and realizing that you cannot do it on your own. Doing marriage will drive  you to your knees and it will drive you right into the arms of God.

I love that Song of Songs ends with her asking him to Come Away. Marriage is not supposed to feel stagnant or boring. It is supposed to be this connection that transports us to another world…

A world where the junk and the stresses disappear.

Where pettiness, selfishness and insecurities fade.

A world where we giggle and sparkle and soak in our spouses delight.

Where we dance with each other naked and unashamed in an open field under the moon light.

It does not require that we physically transport ourselves – though sometimes that is good and necessary. It simply requires that we commune together with God in the simplest of pleasures – reveling in each others bodies, minds, spirits and souls.

So, Come Away

PRINT AWAKEN MY SOUL 13

Can You Let Him Browse

She

My beloved has gone down to his garden,
    to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
    and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
    he browses among the lilies.

Do you trust your husband enough to let him go down to the garden, to the beds of spices – and then let him just BROWSE among the lilies? 

Isn’t it a nice thought that our husband could be so relaxed and engaged to “browse.” Browse implies looking intentionally with refreshing enjoyment.

“May I help you?”

“No, just browsing.”

Just admiring, considering, looking, enjoying….

Nothing is off limits when you browse. You can look at things all too wonderful or expensive or impractical for you. You can imagine what you might do with this or that. Instead of worrying about the moment, you can gather new ideas to store away for later. It engages the eyes, the mind, and the other senses – “Does the smell delight me?”, “Do I like how it feels?” There are no preconceived expectations or to do lists. It is just “browsing.”

The question is, do we trust our husband enough to let him just BROWSE? Which take us to another question…

Do you love yourself and your body  enough to believe that your husband would want to BROWSE in the garden?

I think our husbands can tell us over and over again that they love browsing in our garden, and we can still find ourselves wandering,  “Does he really like this?” “What about the smell and the taste?” ” Are you sure it is not gross?” “Hasn’t it been too long?”

Ultimately we have to love our own body before we can really believe that our husband would love our body. I wrote an article called Do you love yourself and I think this a huge deal. We have to realize how amazing our bodies are and that our genitals are not just a bunch of random flaps of skin that trap germs and smell. Our bodies change and engorge as an expression of our arousal and excitement. Whether you realize it or not, your husband is thrilled by how your body responds. So if you don’t love yourself, you need to ask yourself why and replace those lies with truth. Do not negate who God is by negating His perfect creation – you!

Put Into Action

  1. Ask your husband about your garden. Does he ever notice changes? Do your lips change? Does the color change? Can he tell when you are getting aroused?
  2. Pray Psalm 139:14 over your genitals. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
  3. Tell your husband that you want to give your body to him and that you want him to have the freedom to browse in your garden without you worrying and then pray about it together.
  4. Buy a piece of artwork for your bedroom that will remind you to let your husband browse.

PRINT AWAKEN MY SOUL 12

Drink Your Fill – Don’t Hold Back

Song of Songs  5:1

Eat, friends, and drink;
    drink your fill of love.

Drink your fill

It is their wedding night. He has wooed her with his words until she can’t stand it anymore and cries out for him to consummate their wedding. They have become one and  then there is this refrain

Eat, friends and drink:

     drink your fill of love.

Many scholars believe this is God himself, rejoicing and encouraging them to drink up – to the point of intoxication. Don’t hold back, have more. Don’t hold back, fill your self.

How many of us hold back because we are scared? Do we hold back because we are afraid of how powerful sex is? How many of us hold back because we are afraid to totally lose control? What if my spouse really sees me, would they still love me? How many of us hold back because we are not quite sure that God would really want us to enjoy sex? To enjoy sex this much?

But God says, “drink your fill”.

I cannot think of anywhere else in the bible that God tells you to “drink your fill”.

In this amazing thing called marriage, we experience a tiny taste of the intimacy that God desires with us. Our sex life with our husband is this playground that he gives us to play in while God is watching and saying to us, “This is only a taste of what I have for you. The freedom you experience in nakedness, the joy of seeing into each other, the unconditional love – it is nothing compared to what I have for you. Keep playing. See what you can discover because there is always more. Find refuge in each other, refresh each other, revel in each other. It is only a taste of what I have for you.”

Put It Into Action

  1. During sex make a conscious effort to experience the presence of the Lord and revel in what He has for you.
  2. Spend some time thinking and praying about whether you hold yourself back from enjoying all that God has for you in your marriage bed. Ask God to reveal  why and take some steps towards healing. Pray, talk to a Godly friend or your husband,  or make an appointment with a counselor.

PRINT AWAKEN YOUR SOUL 11