Our marriage is great! … Except for one thing

By Jay Dee, Contributing Writer

Often people will come to my blog and comment that their marriage great except sex, or their husband is great, except he’s selfish in bed, or their wife is an amazing wife and mother…except she won’t be naked in front of them.  And usually, it ends up being the case that this “one thing” is not their only issue.  That’s one of the reasons I like writing about sex within marriage, because it’s a great proxy for the rest of the marriage.  It’s like a barometer for how the marriage is going.  Because, generally, people can’t have a great sex life without having a good, stable, healthy marriage.  By contrast, if they aren’t having sex, almost universally, there is something significantly wrong in the marriage (and it’s not about the sex).

Marriage is great except for one thing

Sex also works as an implement of change in many cases.  I’ve heard from many couples, and seen it in my marriage as well, that a 7 days of sex challenge suddenly promotes other changes in their marriage.  All of a sudden, the entire thing takes on a new life.  Many wives are shocked to find out that once they start having more frequent sex, their husbands turn into the husbands they were holding out for all along.  It doesn’t always happen, but it does with surprising regularity.

Your marriage is one big connected thing

Now, most people know of the stereotype that women’s brains have everything connected, and men like to compartmentalize, and typically I think this follows through, but for some reason, marriage gets compartmentalized often by both genders in the same way.  Ask someone how their marriage is, if they are honest, they’ll usually say something like “It’s really good…except this one thing.”  Is it really good?  Probably not.  I’m willing to bet that “one thing” is polluting the rest of the marriage.  Let’s quickly take a look at a few that I’ve seen, but by no means is this an exhaustive list.

Finances

This is first on my list, because this was a huge issue in our marriage.  It took us nearly a decade to figure out how to manage money.  We’re not out of the hole yet, but at least we’re filling it in instead of still digging down.  You know what?  I had no idea what kind of impact this had on our marriage as a whole until we started attacking it and forcing improvements.  Living paycheck to paycheck is exhausting, and worrying, and stressful and it reaches far into other areas of your life.  Your health can be affected, your sex life can be effected.  You can begin to blame each other for the problems, or you get jealous whenever your spouse spends a dollar.  If you are having finance problems, please, get help.  The best book I’ve read on this subject, is Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence.  It’s been around for a long time, and most of the books, tools and programs designed to help with finances seem to be based on it’s simple system.  It’s worth the small investment.

Spirituality

I know a few marriages where one spouse is a non-Christian, or they still claim to be, but you don’t see it reflected in their life, and they don’t want to talk about any of the “God stuff”.  This is an incredible strain on a marriage, when you cannot share, what should be the focus and ultimate goal in your life with the person you want to share that life with.  I couldn’t imagine.  This can cause daily damage to the relationship.  This is why every time my sisters brought a guy home, the first question I asked was “what does he believe?”  Theological differences have started fights, battles and wars between nations, peoples and civilizations.  Is there any doubt what it will do to a marriage?  If you have this issue, talk to your pastor about it.  Learn how to model Christ effectively.  Don’t nag, don’t bully.  Pray and model Jesus.

Children & Extended Family

Sometimes children can be difficult, and a source of strife in a marriage.  All too often we see spouses choosing sides in it, or causing further division in how they want to deal with the children.  Your spouse is your first responsibility.  One day the children will be grown and gone.  Figure out your priorities.  Make the marriage a stronghold, then tackle the issue of the children together, as one unified body.  Same goes for extended family.  Don’t let them drive a wedge between you.  Don’t choose sides, but rather choose each other.

Work & Ministry

We are called to work, particularly men.  It is one of the first commandments in the Bible, we were designed to be productive, each in our own way.  But that productivity can sometimes turn destructive.  If work is detracting from your marriage, if it is damaging it by taking you away from them too often or for too long, maybe see if there is another way to support your family while still keeping your family.  We have too many marriages that end in divorce, or in spouses just not knowing each enough to love anymore because one spouse, or both are more focused on work than on their marriage.  Same holds true for ministry as well, don’t think that just because you are working for God, you can ignore your responsibilities.

So the next time someone asks about your marriage, or your thinking about how your marriage is, if you catch yourself thinking “It’s good … except for this one thing”, then stop and evaluate.  Is it really this one thing?  I’m willing to bet it’s a symptom of a larger issue that is affecting other aspects of your marriage.  Trace the root issue, address it, and watch as the entirety of your marriage improves.

Your Turn

Do you have “one issue” in your marriage that is affecting the rest of your marriage?  Are you avoiding dealing with it because “it’s only the one thing”.  Have you faced the “one thing” in your marriage?  Did the rest of your marriage improve?  Is there another “one thing” you could be tackling?

Comments

  1. What do you do when your husband claims that Jesus is Lord and yet in every way and in every area of his life he acts like the devil is? We have issues in so many areas and the biggest being as though we were unevenly yoked! :-( I can’t address any of our problems with him, every time i do he tells me i dont have a problem, or we have a marriage( but we don’t). I feel like i am living with a foe instead if my bestfriend! Help!

  2. Hey Jay,

    We want to thank you for sharing the 7 Days of Sex Challenge. What you shared here is spot on and it’s amazing what can happen between a husband and a wife in 7 days. We’ve completed the 7 day 4 times and have also completed a 60 Days of Sex Challenge.

    Both have brought us closer together emotionally, spiritually, financially, & sexually. We recommend that couples who are missing the sexual piece take on the challenge as you honor each other for the week.

    Blessings.

  3. I agree, that 7 Days of Sex Challenge is marriage changing. Not sure we’re up for the 60 day one yet, but maybe some day.

  4. And if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she should not leave or divorce him.
    For the unbelieving husband is set apart (separated, withdrawn from heathen contamination, and affiliated with the Christian people) by union with his consecrated (set-apart) wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart and separated through union with her consecrated husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean (unblessed heathen, [a]outside the Christian covenant), but as it is they are prepared for God [pure and clean].
    But if the unbelieving partner [actually] leaves, let him do so; in such [cases the remaining] brother or sister is not morally bound. But God has called us to peace.
    For, wife, how can you be sure of converting and saving your husband? Husband, how can you be sure of converting and saving your wife?
    Only, let each one [seek to conduct himself and regulate his affairs so as to] lead the life which the Lord has allotted and imparted to him and to which God has invited and summoned him. This is my order in all the churches.
    1 Corinthians 7:13-17

    Paul’s advice seems to be that in circumstances like this, and indeed in all circumstances, the best we can do is to continue to follow God in the hopes that our spouse will see God’s light reflected in our life and want to draw close to Him as well.

    I also have a couple posts on my blog that may be of help:
    How do I get my spouse to do [blank]?
    How to resolve conflict more effectively

    If you want to discuss further, you can comment here, or if you like, you can email me and my wife and I will do our best to help you map out a plan for how to move forward in your marriage.

  5. Wow! Your post “our marriage is great….except for” is an answer to many prayers! Sex is an issue in our marriage. It’s a very difficult subject to get help on, especially from a Christian worldview. I’m going to share your information and recommendations with my husband. Thank you for your help in this area!

  6. Hi Cyndi,

    That’s fantastic! I would urge you to come check out my blog at http://www.sexwithinmarriage.com, it may help with some of the specifics. And if you want, feel free to email my wife and I, and we’ll do our best to help you figure out what your next steps are. We have a passion for helping marriages, because we’ve seen ours transition from terrible to amazing, on every front, but especially regarding sex.

Trackbacks

  1. […] sound like it would help you and your marriage. I encourage you to look at your marriage and see what needs improving besides your sex life. There has got to be something else that you can work on. Men, how are you doing with being […]