Just so everyone is on the same page: the term “Awakening” is used in many Christian Marriage communities to describe a point where a spouse who has been refusing (limiting sex in the relationship), or one who just has an extremely low (or no) libido, suddenly turns around and realizes sex is important, or that they have a sex drive after all.
There is typically one single conversation, a moment, or something defining that suddenly changes the relationship, whether it be a conversation between spouses, a conversation with a friend, a book, a blog article, a sermon, a verse, a prayer, God’s voice, whatever. In every case I have seen, heard, or read about (including my own), there is one pivotal instant where everything changes.
I’m not sure which was the pivotal point in my life. It was either the moment my wife asked “do you think I’m a refuser?” Or the day she told me she would never say “No” again. They were pretty close together, and I can’t say which was the defining point in my wife’s mind, in fact, it might have been before there where she got the idea into her head that she might be a refuser. But nailing down the specific instance is not the issue here.
Now, sometimes the “awakened” spouse takes this point and turns their sexual life around on a dime. A refuser will all of a sudden initiate sex everyday. A spouse with no libido will now crave sex multiple times a day. A partner who used to only allow missionary position and absolutely no other sexual activity will begin to introduce new positions and activities into every session. These seem to be typically in the case where there is a repressed sexuality and the burden that repressed them is suddenly lifted. For example, when a wife finds out that God intended sex to be wonderful and good, not a sin like she had been taught her whole life. Or a husband who was constantly afraid of being labeled a pervert by his wife, because that’s what his mother called him when she caught him masturbating as a child, and now realizes it’s normal to like sex. But, these seem to be the rarer cases.
Unfortunately, some few of these cases believe that if you don’t change your life in an instant, then you haven’t had a “real” awakening.
More often than not, this process of awakening takes day, weeks, years, or even decades to fully mature into a completely changed life, in fact, I’m not sure the process is ever really finished. In that regard, it’s very much like the Christian life. While it only takes an instant to make a decision for God, it will take us the rest of our life to learn how to live out that changed life.
Now, some get a bit frustrated with this. They know their spouse has had an awakening, they know that the other understands what life should be like, but it is very hard for some to break old habits. For example: My wife is having a very hard time giving up her gatekeeper habits. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great sex life:
- We have sex frequently (2-3 times per week)
- We participate in different activities and positions during sex (not always the same thing every time)
- We talk about sex openly with each other. The good, and the bad.
So, what’s wrong you ask? She has trouble giving up control of whether or not we’re going to have sex. Often she will come to bed and say “We’re not having sex tonight, right?”, which is a question, without being a question. And she doesn’t really even realize she’s doing it. I mean, she’s aware of what she’s saying, but she’s not consciously aware that she is trying to control the situation. It’s habitual. She’s been gatekeepering (is that a word?) for so long that its going to take time to change it. Now, I know that if I responded with “Yes, we are” then we probably would have sex. But that’s not what I want. I don’t want to be the gatekeeper any more than I want her to be. I want it to be a mutual discussion, and that’s what we’re currently working towards. It has taken her about 5 years from her awakening point to get to where we are now, and it’s been a fairly steady progression, with some understandable backslides due to 2 pregnancies and births in that time as well. And I fully expect it to take another 5 years or more before we work out of her habit all these little automatic responses. It doesn’t mean she isn’t trying. It doesn’t mean she hasn’t had an awakening. It means, she’s working on it, and that’s all I can ask. I am so thankful that I now have a wife who understands the importance of sex in a marriage. I would never complain that it isn’t “enough”.
My next post will be about the other spouse. We have our own process to deal with.
Have you had an awakening and are working through the ramifications? Are you a spouse to someone who has had an awakening? How has the journey been so far?