This part of spousal love must be cultivated, just like a life of prayer.
In spite of the message our society sends, our sex lives leave a lot to be desired. “It’s natural for a couple to encounter problems in this domain, as in any other, but it would be wrong to put up with them,” says Nathalie Loevenbruck, a marriage councilor specializing in Christian couples. “Of course, there are times when partners have more difficulties in adjusting their pace and desires. But sex must be taken very seriously,” she says.
The union between two spouses embodies a communion that is so much deeper than words.Giving up on sexuality, instead of resolving the problem together, will estrange the two partners and contradict their vocation of becoming “one flesh” (Mk 10:8).The lack of affection and intimacy will need to be compensated elsewhere. Aside from adultery, infidelity can manifest itself in working late, over-investing in social activism, or even by addictions.But not everyone can instantly achieve this intimacy together. The sexual life of a couple is an investment that requires both skill and desire. Sexuality must be constantly cultivated and refined like the life of prayer.
Problems that make the heart suffer
Loevenbruck strongly insists on the importance of an honest and tactful approach to hear each other out, and identify the problems. Lack of interest may have several emotional and psychological causes — a lack of self-esteem, wrong notions of sexuality, childhood trauma, a health issue, etc. If nothing works, there are always other ways of demonstrating love and tenderness, too. We should not give up.
“Because, we as Christians have the great opportunity to know the One who accompanies us on the path to [freedom], claims Loevenbruck, in pointing to an ample body of work by the Catholic Church. There are for example, the writings by St. John-Paul II, which have contributed to removing the inhibitions of generations of worshipers, suspicious of all things “sexual.”
When everything fails, Loevenbruck asks the spouses to consider how the difficulties they encounter make them suffer.This allows them to develop and express compassion for each other. “To humbly acknowledge the problems and to love each other despite them, is to progress toward the joyful kind of love consisting of patience, sacrifice, and acceptance,” she claims. It’s a humble gesture of abandon. But it’s strengthened by the growing confidence in the other and in God, who can help achieve sexual harmony.
Olivia de Fournas