Concluding Thoughts on Sexual Surrender

Sexual surrender isn’t easy, but the fruit that will result in your marriage makes it well-worth the effort!

Mutual Surrender

In my last two posts on sexual surrender, 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 and reciprocal. 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 the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

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 you 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. Where have selfishness and the desire to control your spouse become an issue?

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 (meaning “arranged under”) his headship in the ordered partnership God designed into marriage from the beginning?

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, emotionally charged and extremely vulnerable 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!

 

A Wife’s Sexual Surrender

Your willing and enthusiastic approach to sex says, “I love you” to your husband like nothing else can.

Enthusiasm

Today I am addressing wives on the topic of sexual surrender. I addressed husbands in my last post, and I’ll be addressing you as a couple in my next one.

If you arrived here with an interest in the “50 Shades of Grey” phenomenon, you may want to take a look at my post, Rethinking the 50 Shades of Grey Phenomenon.

For you as a wife, sexual surrender will likely take a different course than it does for your husband, but there are many corollaries. Your sexual surrender starts by understanding that your husband’s need and desire for sex is God-inspired and God-given, even though it tends to look very different from your own. He does not have the same prerequisite of emotional connection you do. In fact, his prerequisite tends to flow in the opposite direction of yours: he wants sex first, then emotional connection.

[With this post I’m addressing the 75-80% majority case in which you, as wife, have a lower sex drive than your husband. Though many of the steps of surrender below will apply, it may also be helpful higher-drive wives to also read the post for husbands].

Toward Sexual Surrender

Your sexual surrender implies that you should work to understand and cooperate with your husband’s sexual nature rather than struggling against it.

  • Don’t accuse him of being a sex-fiend just because he has a high desire for sex, or because he likes to touch and look at you in a sexually explicit manner. This is how he is made to be! Instead of rejecting him, appreciate the fact that he desires you!
  • Develop or enhance your sexual nature in order to satisfy your husband’s desire for sexual intimacy. It’s not acceptable to simply say “I’m not that sexual.” Find your own way of sexual expression, but find it just the same. He needs to know you desire him sexually.
  • Scripturally, the “rights” to your body belong to your husband. Likewise, you have the rights to his body. (1 Cor 7:3-4). For me these verses speak more to mutual sexual fulfillment than to simply to the act of sex. Viewing these verses through the lens of surrender implies that you should not only strive to make your body available to your husband for sex, but also do so in a way that goes beyond giving him “duty sex.” Learn to delight in delighting your husband in this way.
  • Sexual surrender implies respecting your husband’s sexuality, even though it is different than your own. Because the two of you are “one flesh,” enjoy the journey of learning how you two, though very different in sexual nature, can enjoy your sexual oneness. Honor and value your husband for who God made him to be, strong sexuality and all.
  • Submitting to your husband sexually has nothing to do with the dominant/submissive or master/slave lifestyle, which is a demeaning counterfeit of God’s biblical design for marriage. Sexual submission means giving yourself completely to your husband, responding to his love as Jesus desires us to respond to Him, wholeheartedly and without reservation, in an atmosphere of trust and security.
  • Part of your sexual surrender includes loving your husband “as if.” While I believe he should lead the way in sexual surrender, I also believe that sometimes you need to be able to give yourself sexually even when you don’t feel the emotional connection you desire. When you are willing to give yourself to your husband “as if” you two were already emotionally fulfilled, it can lead to that becoming a reality.

Turn it Around

How would you feel if your husband said he didn’t feel like hearing about your day, holding hands or going on a date (pick your own method of emotional connection) until you had sex? You’d likely be deeply offended and more likely think he had a screw loose. But is it really that different when you make your husband jump through certain hoops before you agree to sexual intimacy? If you think about the difference in men’s and women’s wiring, it’s not really that much of a stretch to turn it around like that.

Your willing and enthusiastic approach to sex says, “I love you” to your husband like nothing else can. And as a side benefit, it is generally true that for women the more you have sex, the more you will want it.

For you sex is a way of affirming your emotional intimacy. For your husband, sex is a pathway to it.

 

A Husband’s Sexual Surrender

Nurture your wife’s sexuality in a loving and patient way that cooperates with rather than punishes her for the way she is wired.

Nurture her Nature

Today is a Men Only Monday post.  I am addressing husbands on the topic of sexual surrender. I’ll be addressing wives in my next post.

[Note: this post is written for the 75-80% majority case in which you, as husband, have the higher sex drive. Many of the steps toward sexual surrender below can still provide helpful insight, but you may also want to read my post for wives.]

For you as a husband, sexual surrender starts with the understanding that for your wife, sexual oneness flows best out of emotional oneness. I’m not suggesting you hide or deny your sexual desires or your sexual nature – these are God-inspired and God-given. What I am suggesting is that you must acknowledge that you are joined to a woman who doesn’t work the same as you do when it comes to sex. Your sexual surrender means understanding and cooperating with rather than working against your wife’s sexual nature.

Toward Sexual Surrender

  • Don’t accuse her of being sexually cold just because she isn’t constantly after your body the way you are after hers. That’s generally an unrealistic expectation.
  • Develop or enhance your romantic nature in order to satisfy your wife’s desire for emotional intimacy. It’s not acceptable to simply say “I’m not the romantic type.” Find your own way of romantic expression and emotional connection, but find it just the same. She needs this from you.
  • Scripturally, the “rights” to your wife’s body belong to you Likewise, she has the rights to yours. (1 Cor 7:3-4). For me these verses speak more to mutual sexual fulfillment than to simply to the act of sex. Viewing these verses through the lens of surrender implies that you must focus more on fulfilling her desires than on demanding that yours be met.
  • Sexual surrender implies cherishing and nurturing your wife’s sexuality as your own. “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” (Eph 5:28-29) Make sure you are feeding and caring for your wife’s sexual nature, not crushing and reshaping it for your own self-satisfaction.
  • Part of your sexual surrender includes loving your wife “as if.” What I mean is that even though your nature is to require sexual satisfaction in order to feel and act emotionally connected to your wife, I challenge you to give yourself emotionally and romantically to your wife “as if” you are already completely satisfied sexually. In other words, you go first in surrendering.

Surrender in the sexual arena can be among the more difficult aspects of your Journey to Surrender. Sex is not only an emotionally charged topic that comes with all kinds of historical baggage, but dealing with it requires vulnerability and trust. Regardless, I encourage you to face your sexual surrender head on, with confidence, love and grace, no matter where you are in your sexual relationship. There is always room for more sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Your Goal: Christ-like Love

As husband, you have the chance to demonstrate Christ-like loving leadership of your marriage through your sexual surrender. Rather than pushing your wife for the sexual satisfaction you desire, pull her into deeper sexual intimacy by meeting her need for emotional connection and romantic encounters. Nurture her sexuality in a loving and patient way that cooperates with rather than punishes her for her nature.

If you want to deepen sexual intimacy in your marriage, you must lead the way.

 

Sexual Surrender in Marriage

Sex in marriage is meant to be more about your surrender than about your satisfaction.

Sexual Surrender

I’ve wanted to write on today’s topic for several weeks now, but my crazy travel schedule is keeping me from writing much at all these days. Fortunately, or unfortunately, a rainy Saturday in Germany has me stuck in a hotel room with a little time to write.

I’ll preface this post by admitting that I am speaking to the majority case – to the typical situation where a husband has the higher sex drive and wants and needs sex in order to feel emotionally connected to his wife, and where correspondingly, a wife needs emotional connection in order to make way for sexual intimacy. I understand that this is not the case in 100% of marriages.

I don’t pretend to know what was in God’s mind when he wired men and women to work so differently when it comes to sex, but I have a theory. My theory goes something like this:

Marriage is meant to be more about your surrender than about your satisfaction

Bottom line: it’s not just about you and your needs! It’s about two being one and discovering the joy of mutual surrender.

The Journey into Enjoying Your Oneness

It’s clear from what the Bible says about marriage that a husband and wife become one when they wed. It works the same way as when we become one with Christ when we choose to become believers in Jesus. This is part of the “great mystery” that Paul talks about in Ephesians.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32

Learning to enjoy the fruit of our oneness is a process, a journey, just as we discover more about what it means to be one with Christ through our spiritual walk. Marriage is a journey into deeper intimacy – a lifelong journey that includes the spiritual, emotional and sexual dimension of our lives.

It’s important, however, to understand that oneness is NOT sameness. Men and women are different by design. Being one is not about hiding your true self or about conforming yourself to your spouse. Oneness is not about giving up your identity. Instead, oneness is about each of you bringing the fullness of who you are to your marriage, and choosing to apply yourself (spirit, soul and body) for the benefit of your marriage and the delight of your spouse. This is what I mean by a Surrendered Marriage.

The Ultimate Intimacy

So what does surrender in marriage actually look like, and how do I take this journey to surrender? How do I surrender to my spouse without losing myself? How does surrender move our marriage toward the goal of two becoming one? If I focus on surrender to my spouse instead of my own satisfaction, won’t I end up disappointed and dissatisfied in my marriage?

All good questions.

I’ll be using the next three posts to explore what surrender means using the context of your sexual relationship. Sexual surrender is only one aspect of a Surrendered Marriage, but a very important one, because sexual intimacy is the ultimate expression of oneness and the pinnacle of intimacy in marriage.

Stay tuned as I address husbands and wives separately in the next two posts and then address you as a couple in the third post.

The rest of the posts in this series are here:

A Wife’s Sexual Surrender

A Husband’s Sexual Surrender

Concluding Thoughts on Sexual Surrender

 

The Rest of the Story

My Part of Our Love Equation

S&J Kneeling England

After our anniversary date, which consisted of a nice dinner and a show, I read my last post to my wife as a sort of anniversary card.

While she greatly appreciated my loving words, she was a bit concerned that it might leave the wrong impression. She felt it was important that I also clearly explain how my own attitudes and actions of surrender have led her to the kind of loving surrender that I described last time.

I hesitated at first, thinking it was going to sound too much like blowing my own horn. But as I thought about it, I decided she was right. So here is my shot at telling the rest of our Surrendered Marriage story.

His Love Comes First

The truth is that my wife’s willingness to love me in a manner reflective of how the church loves Jesus (with things like trust, service, honor, submission, and commitment) is because of and in response to the Christ-like love I have shown her. Of course my love is but a faint reflection of the infinite, selfless, unconditional, and perfect love of Jesus, but I have made it more than clear, for years and years, that my desire is to love her more and better than any other human could, to come as close as possible to loving her as Jesus does.

She knows my heart and that my heart is for her. In fact, I have made it clear to her that my number one goal is to serve her and to love her well. It is every husband’s responsibility and should be every husband’s goal: love your wife selflessly, daily and tangibly, in the things you say and the things you do.

This is not some optional theory. It is the basis of God’s design for marriage. Period.

It’s All Mutual

Everything I said in my previous post, about how my wife knows me and loves me and takes delight in delighting me is true in the reverse. I have spent our entire married life learning about her, about who she is, how she is wired, gifted and called. I do all I can to see that my leadership of our marriage and family causes her to thrive and to step fully into the destiny that God has on her life. I am purposeful in delighting her because her happiness and fulfillment are my highest earthly priority.

In my case, it consists of things like knowing how she likes her tea and making it for her most mornings, even though I am not a tea drinker myself. She also loves it that I collect tea bags during my business trips around the world and bring them to her. I schedule and re-schedule trips to make sure I am home for special occasions or whenever family needs dictate. She knows she can call me anywhere, anytime, and I will drop whatever I’m doing to attend to her needs. Whether she is lost and needs directions, has an issue with one of the children, or just needs reassurance about something, she knows I am there for her and that she is my priority.

I am far from the perfect husband. But I do everything I can to make sure she feels as blessed to be married to me as I do to be married to her.

100-100

Perhaps we haven’t yet arrived at the ideal state: the 100-100 marriage that I talk about here often, where we each are giving 100% to the other, holding nothing back. Still, that is our goal.

We are both able to be who we really are with each other, and that is a wonderfully freeing thing. As we strive toward being completely one in spirit, soul, and body, we know that each of us has grace for the other’s shortcomings and mistakes. We try to give and receive that grace freely. It is this understanding that allows us to be “naked without shame” with each other; that is, to be genuine with each other, to bring the fullness of ourselves to our marriage, without pretense, trepidation or shame.

As a husband, I realize that I set the cap on how many blessings we enjoy in our marriage. So I aim high! I encourage every husband to do the same.