Companionship, SEX, & the Honor Experimentposted on June 30th, 2010 / by Marissa Star / 102 Comments
Have you ever been with your girlfriends having a great night out and one of them starts taking pictures to remember the fun evening and after the cute smiling pictures inevitably someone suggests a picture where you all strike a sexy pose? I have. And I have friends that are really good at taking these kind of pictures, one will throw her shoulders back and puff her chest out a little, one will give the “facebook-made-famous” pouty lips and yet another will rock her alluring eyes while I stand their completely and utterly DORKIFIED. Simply because I can’t do sexy! Oh I’ve tried, only to look hideously ridiculous!!! So I’ve officially stopped trying. My lack of the ability to do sexy has had me thinking a lot about sex lately. Oh … wow … I said it. All my close friends know just how much saying the word gets me all flustered and embarrassed with blushing cheeked, heebie jeebies. But why … why do I get that way? I’m totally married and totally allowed to do it, it’s pretty obvious I’ve done it at least four times considering I have four sons. There is no question of consistency since they all pretty much average 16-20 months apart. Why the intense embarrassment and the “Oh uh-uh you didn’t” feeling? I started asking myself a lot of these questions shortly after listening to a sermon by my Pastor called Happy Husband Happy Home, (You can listen to it here: Happy Husband Happy Home), He breaks down what he has learned are the three greatest needs of a man within marriage, listing them one through three, three being the greatest need. So here they are: Companionship, SEX, and Honor.
My husband and I have always been big time BFF’s in that we are two verbally passionate about life people, passionate about our opinions (which has it’s interesting moments … I won’t lie) but equally passionate about making up. Neither one of us can go too long before we break down and pursue peace probably selfishly because at the end of our crazy day, well … we are both in need of a good friend. But after almost twelve years of marriage I’ve been learning something new, just how crazy big of a key honor is to unlock my husband’s heart to me. I could address companionship and sex first but really it wasn’t until my heart cried out to God to understand what honor was to my husband, (my uniquely crafted in his mother’s womb man- created to receive honor unique to his design), that He answered me with a challenge- a kind of honor experiment. A Holy Spirit inspired plan to kill me … Ok I’m being facetious but totally honest at the same time. The ultimate sweet spot where hidden pride would get squeezed out of me so a revelation of what honor was to my husband could come. A revelation that would free me to be a better recreational companion and free me in my heart perspective of sex. This whole journey has got me a little freer and that’s alright … who wouldn’t want to be a little more free?
I’m going to start with honor because it wasn’t until I got my brain and heart wrapped around it that my perspective of the two other area’s were changed. What is honor anyways? It’s a good word right? But what does it really mean? Well there are the obvious do’s and don’ts that come with this word when you are a wife.
Don’t Demean your husband in private or public
Don’t expose his shortcomings
Don’t question his authority in public or in front of your children
Do publically and privately praise him and esteem him
Do encourage and support him
Do lovingly reinforce his authority and family oversight with your children
Ok so when you’re a wife who’s done a “don’t” according to this black and white view of honor you pretty much know you’ve blown it and crossed over into the very bad zone. Apology is never easy but when you mess up badly it’s easier to apologize for it than it is to apologize for rolling your eyes when things don’t go your way or for sarcastic mutterings under your breath. Ouch! Maybe that’s just me but there is a lot of life that happens that doesn’t fall into these “don’t” categories … what about the gray areas of life and our daily heart attitudes towards our husbands? I had a lot of questions for God after starting to pray for an awakening of what honor in my marriage should look like; and then being encouraged that what the Lord was stirring in me He is wanting to do in women’s hearts as a whole as my Pastor shared the importance of it to our church body. I’ll be honest, at first it all just seemed vague until, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, I set out on a honor experiment. I was on a kind of a spiritual high having heard from the Lord and so so very excited about what God wanted to do in me and my marriage.
The plan behind the experiment was: to open myself up daily to meet the other two needs while looking for ways to honor my husband as unto the Lord (who gave me the bright idea anyway.) I knew it would take mental preparation because at the end of the night this Mama of four is just downright tired but I was determined and energized by thoughts of what God might want to do to strengthen our marriage … until … my first “opportunity” to honor my husband with my words (or lack of them) knocked my butt to the floor. I got up to dust myself off only to be knocked down several more times by my very own pride. And then to top it off I knew I was going to have to get myself in the right frame of mind for intimacy that evening. Four days into it this experiment and things weren’t going well at all! Every little subtle attitude (of my own) toward my husband that I usually dismissed where in my face and piercing my heart since I had given the Lord permission to go there … he did! I thought about how I danced to the guillotine with excitement and now I was in a full on battle to the death of ME. In the past where I had taken on areas of my life with the mantra, “Die … die … die!!!,” Instead I was screaming out, “Run and take cover!”
I was beginning to realize that all the words I used to honor my husband didn’t seem as powerful if I couldn’t bridle the ones that I idly used in passing. And I’m not talking words that are a full on assault, I am talking for example about a time my husband asked me if I could fold and put away laundry that day and as I thought of my busy day, I in a bothered stressed tone said, “Sure if I can get to it!” All the while thinking: Ya, there is no way I’m going to get to it. Oh but there was the Holy Spirit, with all permission granted saying, “Oh baby, that was ugly wasn’t it?” Still stressed I answered the Lord, “Mm hum … ok yes … it was ugly.” “So you’re going to need to apologize, then fold and put the clothes away right?” “Seriously?! Ok … yes Lord.” So being sick to my stomach with my pride I had to sheepishly walk out to my husband and admit my wrong. And then the Lord graciously said to me, “Honoring your husband isn’t always doing it right but it is being quick to repent when you know your wrong and showing intent to change by making steps towards it.” I walked away with tears in my eyes as my pride kneeled to the wisdom of humility. And then on day 11 a break through came at the hands of obedience, one that ultimately affected my heart in the area of sex, the second greatest need of married men according to the list above.
Talking about sex is a doozy for me so I’m going to have to go back a little. After leaving a very worldly lifestyle of drug addiction, my first experience of not thinking that marriage was a horrible institution was when I moved in with my Uncle and Aunt for a season. We (My two cousins and myself) were standing in the kitchen when my Uncle full on grabs my Aunt’s butt and they kiss, yes right in front of us, and she lets out a little I-totally-loved-that giggle. As much as I was trying to tell my mind, “Don’t you dare do it, don’t you dare imagine those two together in the Adam and Eve way!” my heart leapt with the encouragement that there were Christian grown ups with kids and years into marriage that were still in love. The truth is: it rocked my world with hope. But now I’m the grown up twelve years and four kids into this fabulous adventure with my husband having to make choices to keep the love alive. Everything my heart cried out for in that moment is mine to cultivate … because it doesn’t just happen.
The world and busyness are constantly trying to pull couples apart and we have to on purpose create connection. Conversational intimacy is a big connector for most women in marriage; in a good heart-to-heart conversation women will undress their souls like any love scene from a movie. Shoes thrown across the room, their dress hanging from a curtain rod and then the trailing of their intimates to the place where they have shared their hearts bare to their mate. When a woman’s soul is already naked it’s not so hard for them to get naked physically. Yet it’s usually totally opposite for a man … they can throw their clothes down and be ready to rock n’ roll and on the other side of unity they are able to bare their souls with all that’s on their hearts. I don’t understand why God made us opposite like that. Maybe so we both lay down a part of us and our process to experience the power of true intimacy. A kind of intimacy that costs a little from both parties, and well, if it costs something then we can own it. And now, I can for sure own this part of my story … day after day this sex-embarrassed woman who had to get over her personal agenda, bad attitudes and mom-of-four tiredness to honor her husband in this area was the one who walked away honored by God with some healing. As I opened myself up more to my husband with the attitude: I can change, I can have more fun and I can embrace my inner dork (all those looks I try to make that just aren’t that sexy). With every little thing I did to have more fun (and what felt like at the risk of totally not being received or rejected) I realized I was getting more free in this area. It’s a different kind of naked when you step outside of your comfort zone to change and it’s scary but freedom my friend, is so rewarding. I began to share with my husband what God was doing in my heart, which lead me to apologize with tears and vulnerability for all the years of being so embarrassed and closed in my perspective of sex. I never made a conscious decision to be that way; I just fell into a routine and never thought anything about it. So I’ve made the choice to honor my husband in this area and be a fun adventurous life partner which means I’m determined to flirt more, maybe grab his butt more, giggle like I totally love it and well, don’t be shocked if you see me.
As far as companionship goes, we could definitely be less selfish, but this isn’t as hard as the other two. Well, maybe I’ll take that back, some of you are married to hunters, and going hunting with my husband would be hard especially if I had to touch blood. He doesn’t hunt but he does enjoy boxing and UFC fighting and I ignored he even liked it for a couple years, because well … the blood. I had read before I heard the sermon above about being a recreational companion for your husband and seriously thought, “Ok Lord, I’d go to a fight, I’d do it,” pretty much knowing my husband would never spend that much money on a ticket. Later that day I get a phone call from my husband that a friend had dropped off two tickets for him to the big Pacman vs. Clottey fight at the Cowboy Stadium. I was actually shocked God worked so fast, but I determined to go and have a good time even if I had to see blood, which I didn’t, thank you Jesus! I cheered, yelled, threw my fists around and reveled in the admiring look of my husband as he enjoyed me trying to enjoy what he loves. That look is tattooed on my heart and continually encourages me to look for ways to enjoy what my husband loves and pour honor on him as I do so. What does your husband love? Ask the Holy Spirit for creative ways to enjoy that with him, it will only bless you in return.
I’m still going to be the girlfriend that can’t bring sexy to “strike a pose” pictures but I think I’ve learned that I’m pretty HOT to my husband when I keep my mouth shut and my little attitudes to myself. I’m bringing SEXY back by being playful and free in my attitude toward sex and I’m pretty darn CUTE in my husbands eyes when I take on being his recreational companion.
As you’ve been reading my story what has God sparked in your heart about honoring your husband? Does it terrify you and excite you at the same time that the God of the universe has a specific plan to open your husband’s heart to you through honor that might include a little necessary death on your part? Scared? Don’t be! For the momentary pain that comes from death brings about the resurrected fruit of life that it sweet, mature and feeds your marriage for life. I challenge you women single and married to think about honor differently. Think about sex and companionship differently through the lenses of honor, ask God for the how-to that is right for your marriage and your man! He has a plan and it’s tailor made for you!
As wives and women who desire to be married one day, Lord would you give us a revelation of honor and just how much it means to men. Change and heal our hearts of all the stuff that may stand in the way of us being able to give honor. Thank you for your prophetic wisdom and insight that allows us to meet the needs that our men are sometimes unable to articulate. Lord help the woman that feels her husband is un-honorable how to partner with you and win him over with honor, even honor he may not deserve. Thank you Lord you are the Healer of the breach and Restorer of broken walls!! We commit our marriages to you to be transformed by honor. Jesus bring glory to Yourself in our lives!
In Jesus name! Amen!