Alright, here’s the truth about marriage … it is a long haul. I am ten years and three kids in, and I was not entirely sure of what I was getting myself into. How many of my friends would say they truly desire their spouse? After all the years, has it turned into more of a lukewarm friendship, or is it a case of living entirely separate lives? I have friends at every point on the spectrum … some just married, some married for more than 40 years. It is rare to find a couple that truly desires one another, year after year.
I think I’ve discovered something in these last ten years. Is it the be-all-end-all solution to a perfect marriage? Hell, no! That’s what wine and girlfriends are for! But, these are the things that helped me live fully and revive my desire. It contains several parts, and none of them are truly scientific, so try this at your own risk.
First of all, keep your sense of humor. Without this, a marriage will go south before you can do anything about it! Each of us walking the planet is a ridiculously complicated creation of a God who encompasses love, beauty, mystery, and wisdom. God’s energy is creative energy. Keeping our wits about us–and praying daily for grace and levity–is one of the keys to the long-haul journey.
Second, after having each kid, remember that your body just did something that is both completely natural, and totally insane. If possible, find a practitioner you trust to tell every disgusting detail too … my pick is an amazing acupuncturist with a DAOM (Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) degree. After having twins, I would drag myself into her office and she would ask me a million questions. I would stick out my tongue (at her prompting). I would let her take my pulses. I would rattle off my list of complaints: exhaustion, little desire for sex, thirst, irritability, heat flashes, and the list went on. She lovingly told me about my Qi deficiencies and said she’d like me to take glandular supplements (literally pig hormones, to replace my struggling post-baby hormones). She also said I had adrenal fatigue and needed a supplement for that. I kid you not, after 3 months of popping all those pills, every single one of my symptoms faded. What I got in return was desire, sweet desire–the thing that puts life into your life!
I went on to have another baby (just one, this time), but experienced the same symptoms afterward. She adjusted things slightly, but put me on all the supplements again. And it worked! I desired to work out again, I desired to learn new things, I desired sex again! Maybe most importantly, I realized that finding joy in my life was not just about praying God could miraculously fix what ailed me. It was about pursuing people I trusted to walk on the journey with me. My acupuncturist asks me all kinds of questions about physical, emotional, and spiritual things. She takes every symptom I have into consideration before concluding a diagnosis. She asks me to do more sleeping, or drink more water, or to slow down, or find more enjoyment. It is the pursuit of wholeness.
When my youngest daughter was about a year old, I was still struggling with the desire for my husband. After the long days of working and parenting three kids, we were both exhausted. But, we decided to take a trip without the kids –we decided on Vegas! Since we both agreed on the first essential step toward sanity–keeping our senses of humor–we decided some rule-breaking and questionable decision-making could be just the thing we needed to reset our relationship. We never quite made it to the kinky sex-shop, but we did watch 50 Shades of Grey. Exploring, having fun, and letting loose together (along with a few drinks at any time of day) and we were back in business. Three days without the kids and a little inhibition, and desire was back on the menu!
Another little-known deterrent of desire is the lack of challenges for things we feel called to or passionate about. Many moms feel guilty about feeling like staying home with their children is not enough. It’s not! There is a person in the midst of all those groceries and loads of laundry who desires to be known wholly. One of my friends has a therapist (her trusted person), who told her, “you are severely under-challenged right now!” Putting herself last was not allowing God’s creative energy to flow through her – she desired more, and she can finally put words to that desire. When I went back to work, I found my passion again. I desired to be with people (adult people), to do creative work, and to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle again. I desired to wear professional clothing, to do strategic planning, and come up with bold and innovative ideas. Even though returning to work caused a little chaos in our home-life (who was supposed to get the kids today?), it revived my desire for myself and for my partnership with my husband.
So, that’s my solution:
- Keep the sense of humor!
- Find the professionals in your life who help you get to the bottom of stuff, and prescribe the changes that you need for balance (physical, spiritual, emotional, or hormonal).
- Take an annual trip with your partner that entices you to seek pleasure in one another– it’s a long-haul, remember!
- Don’t be afraid of the challenges! God creates and we get to participate in that creation, but it always involves new challenges. All of our muscles grow when we endeavor to take them on!
Desire -the thing that puts life into your life! What about you? What revives your desire?
As a UMC Pastor, Annie's heart is to see people find love and freedom in Christ. Currently she serves as the Pastor of Discipleship at St Andrew United Methodist Church. She and her husband, Eric, have three incredible (& busy) children: Noah (6), Mia (6), & Emerson (2). Annie is a dreamer, visionary, and connector of people. She loves traveling, exploring new eateries, Barre classes, and nights out with girlfriends.