Faith Filled Family Magazine January 2017 - Page 28

to lead to . Sometimes we teach this to youth and they are left with much confusion and unanswered questions , perhaps even shame for failing to know how to live out this Christian teaching . Chastity is more than simply telling someone “ just say no because ” and is an invitation to invite the answering of YES to something bigger , something much more profound .
A sure way of having one ’ s spouse feel valued and not used stems from a willingness to understand how the other experiences intimacy and what is important to them . This means not being judgmental or being ashamed of one ’ s genuine feelings . There must be an effort to cultivate intimacy and not just seek sexual fulfillment selfishly . Striving to understand the needs of the other versus the wants of our own desires helps us to be better partners and can also foster a healthier sexual life within the relationship .
Contraception is also another reality that has at times contributed to the lack of intimacy and the feeling of being used . Though a highly controversial topic , it is in my opinion something worth looking into . My husband and I do not believe in utilizing contraception in our marriage , and have chosen to practice Natural Family Planning ( https :// www . billings . life / en /). NFP is often challenging , but it has helped us immensely in terms of conversing about our needs and has taught us how to express intimacy in numerous ways . It has refined our understanding of sexuality and helps us remain rooted in God ’ s will and providence .
It is important that communication is strong so that these issues surrounding sexuality can be dealt with and addressed without shame . I am often at fault in my own marriage for assuming that my husband should always know what I want , need , and expect without having to share it . There is perhaps this selfish desire to just have him magically know everything . This is a dangerous thought pattern that only sets me up to be disappointed and my husband to be unfairly judged and treated .
In my early experience of married life I have found it helpful to talk openly about certain feelings and needs that I may have . Regardless of whether or not they are “ important ” to him or seemingly of value , the fact that they matter to me and he values me makes him more open to making sacrifices . I have also grown to learn what he needs and how he experiences and understands intimacy . This foundation has encouraged both of our needs to be fulfilled and our sexual life to be fruitful .
The intimate needs of spouses can be mutually satisfied by the ongoing desire and effort to be vulnerable before one another and by not being afraid to share one ’ s needs . Sex is not everything in marriage , but learning to express this gift sincerely and with a reverential respect for the other is .