Recently, there was a big fire in a treasured old building in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.
I wrote a blog post about it here (I used the fire as an illustration for vital lessons for marriages struggling sexually).
Today I again want to use the fire as an illustration.
As is the case with most fires, the investigation after the recent Omaha fire primarily was about figuring out how and where it first started.
Fire investigators try, often successfully, to trace everything back to a source. A starting point. A trigger.
By working backward, they can figure out how to move forward – either to make sure whatever went wrong doesn’t happen again OR to solve mysteries that are hidden way back at the source.
“Uh, what exactly does this have to do with sex?!” you’re probably wondering.
Quite a bit, actually.
The longer I speak and write about sex and hear countless stories about marriages struggling sexually, the more intrigued I am about how and where the struggles began.
I used to want to jump quicker into talking solution, but not so much now.
Now I want to know the back story.
When did these sexual problems start? Why do you think they started? I dig through the rubble for the source, the starting point, the trigger.
Sure, in the headline, I ask, “When did you stop nurturing sex in your marriage?” But I just as easily could have asked…
“When did you start refusing sex?”
“Why did sex become boring?”
“When did you start disagreeing about sexual frequency?”
“Why is sex always a battle ground now?”
Anyway. You get the picture, right?
It’s really hard to find solutions to sexual struggles if we don’t at least have some framework to look closer at the problem in the beginning.
Truth be told, a lot of people just don’t want to do that.
Because it is exhausting and tedious work – to lift and sift through the boulders and shards of relational turmoil.
Sometimes, what’s going on couldn’t even be classified as turmoil. It often goes by it’s more common name – “life.”
“Life got crazy busy. We had soccer practice. And that job promotion. And the furnace went out. And then our teenagers had to study for the ACT. And don’t even get me started about the problems we had with the car.”
I meet and hear from so many people whose sexual intimacy is anything but intimate (and certainly not frequent), and they drifted to that reality long ago.
That sexual drift – away from intimacy – likely was trigged by something.
Maybe that something was intense on the relationship Richter scale, like a porn addiction or adultery.
Or maybe that something was less dramatic, like a rogue calendar or added responsibilities at work or slowly mounting financial struggles.
Something, though, began sabotaging the sexual relationship.
If that describes your marriage, I pose the question again:
When did you stop nurturing sex in your marriage? Think for a moment. Can you find the how and where?
When you find the how and where — the source, the starting point, the trigger — it is easier to find a solution. (Notice I said easier, not easy, because solving sexual struggles takes hard work and heart work).
But your marriage is worth it. It is so worth it. And nurtured sexual intimacy is worth it. When we learn why destructive fires start, we are better equipped to keep them from doing more damage in the future.
For more reading, consider the insight found in the post Is Your Marriage Beyond Sexual Repair?