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Friday, September 2, 2011
My short series this week on sexual surrender started here.Thus far I've written separately to husbands and to wives.
Today’s post will make more sense if you read those first, so go back and read them if you haven't yet.
Today I’m concluding this little series with some thoughts for both of you.
I’d like to start with an amendment to my premise that opened this series:
Marriage is meant to be more about your surrender than about your satisfaction.With this important addition:
Mutual sexual surrender is the best path to sexual satisfaction!
A paradigm of surrender in your sexual relationship means that each of you places a higher value on the satisfaction of the other than on satisfaction of self.
Sexual Surrender: What It Is, What It Isn’t
God brings favor and blessing to your marriage bed when you choose to relinquish your rights and choose instead to serve your partner. Choose to focus on what you can give instead of what you receive or expect. In light of the fact that your spouse has the biblical right to your body and to the sexual fulfillment that implies, be deliberate in giving yourself to him or her in a way that brings joyful satisfaction. Remember that the bedroom is the one place where you alone can satisfy your spouse’s needs and desires.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that surrender implies weakness, compromise or giving in. I’m not asking you to give up your sexual self, but to use it to serve and satisfy your spouse instead of solely for selfish gratification.
By sexual surrender, I do not imply that you should end up with what Dr. David Schnarch calls sexual leftovers. By that he means the doldrums that result when your sex life consists solely of what is left after each of you selfishly takes things off the table of your sexual relationship. Sexual surrender is neither about giving up on your own sexual desires nor giving in to the coercion of your spouse’s desires.
The joy of sexual surrender is found when you learn to delight both in giving and receiving pleasure in abundance.
Mutuality is Critical
It is very important to realize that for sexual surrender to work in a marriage, it must be mutual. If there is a lack of mutuality then it will not be sustainable, and it could be unhealthy or worse, dangerous. But when I say it must be mutual, I’m not implying that you should keep score. I’m not suggesting you should attempt to measure your spouse’s degree of surrender or rate their success. What I mean is that you each should have the intent to sexually surrender to the other and the desire to serve the other’s sexual nature and needs toward the goal of increased sexual intimacy.
On a related note, genuine surrender gives without expecting something in return. In bed that can be really difficult to accomplish. But sexual surrender is not a tit-for-tat, give a little, get a little kind of game. Your mindset must not be to give only as much as you get and nothing more. As a wife, don’t climb into bed measuring the degree to which you got your emotional needs fulfilled and then decided whether you’ll have sex with your husband. As a husband, don’t decide to withhold from your wife the things that you know satisfy her need for emotional connection when you don’t feel your are getting enough sex.
It’s not easy, but it requires that you lay down your expectation of a 50-50 compromise relationship and instead go for 100-100, where each of you is fully giving his or her self in order to satisfy the other completely.
A Sexual Barometer
It’s commonly said that sex is like a barometer for your marriage as a whole. Sexual issues often point to broader issues in your marriage. In the same way, a lack of surrender in the bedroom often means there are surrender issues in other areas of your marriage.
Husbands, are you leading your wife with love? Are you cherishing her and making her feel adored in the non-sexual aspects of your relationship on a consistent basis? Are you laying down your life for her, serving her sacrificially?
Wives, are you respecting your husband? Do you work with and through him instead of around and against him? Do you follow his lead and keep yourself submitted to (“arranged under”) his headship.
Truthfully, without a prevailing atmosphere of surrender in your marriage in general, sexual surrender is going to be very hard to achieve. Take a surrender inventory of yourself and your marriage. Ask yourself the hard questions. If you are consistent at trying to live a surrendered marriage, sexual surrender can follow much more naturally.
It’s Simple But Not Easy
Sex is a hugely complex issue. Every couple’s history and issues are different, and the barriers to sexual surrender will be different as well. I don’t mean to imply by what I’ve said here that it is easy. It’s not. But it is good. Very good.
I believe that a paradigm of surrender is what God intends for your sexual relationship, just as it is for the non-sexual parts of your marriage. And as with the rest of your marriage, sexual surrender will ebb and flow. Sometimes it will be easy, sometimes it will feel impossible.
Things like stress, exhaustion, busyness and sickness will all challenge your degree of sexual surrender, causing you to turn inward and become more self-centered. But don’t give up and decide surrender doesn’t work just because it’s hard sometimes or because you don’t always have the intense and passionate sex life you think you should. Have grace toward your spouse when he or she struggles to surrender; have grace to forgive yourself and move on when surrender has been difficult for you.
What do you think of my suggestion that sexual surrender is God's plan for sexual intimacy? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!
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