Better Married Sex: Shaunti Feldhahn & Dr. Michael Sytsma on FamilyLife Today

FamilyLife Today hosts David and Ann Wilson with Dr. Sytsma and Shaunti

Day 1

Dave and Ann Wilson hosted Dr. Sytsma and Shaunti Feldhan on the popular Familylife Today program. The focus was on information from the new book, Secrets of Sex and Marriage.

Topics discussed included the normal frequency of marital sex, sexless marriages, the importance of communicating about sex, and how to improve marital sex.

This is day 1 of a two day series with FamilyLife Today. You can access day 2 here.

The show aired on the FamilyLife Today radio show on February 7, 2023. You can listen to the podcast on the FamilyLife website or most podcast hosts.

Look for the episode from 2/7/2023 titled: “Better Married Sex: Shaunti Feldhahn & Dr. Michael Sytsma.

Dr Sytsma and Shaunti Feldhahn at FamilyLife Today

Excerpts from the show:

Shaunti: Dr. Sytsma—Michael—he has been one of our, sort of friends, and advisors for me and Jeff as we’ve done the research on men and women and marriage and all these other things over the years. Whenever we would come across this topic and have to study it, half the time I’m calling Mike going, “Help” [Laughter] because I don’t understand what I’m seeing in the data. He’s been an advisor for all this time. And when we felt like we were being led into tackling this topic—which by the way, Jeff and I were like, “No.”
Ann: But you did feel led to it.
Shaunti: We did. The last research topic that we did was for our book Thriving in Love and Money because money is one of the big issues in marriage. Well, guess what one of the other big issues in marriage is. We recognized we really needed to do both, but we also recognized that on this topic we could do damage if it wasn’t really accurate. And so, we recognized that Mike was absolutely 100 percent the person to sort of co-labor on this, especially because he’s also a researcher. It could not have been more perfect; God set that up.
Michael: To have her say, “Let’s do something together,” I went into it kicking and screaming with my heels dragging.
Ann: Did you?
Michael: Yes, very much.
Shaunti: Oh, he totally did. Because for him, I mean—and I’m putting words in your mouth, but we actually—he says this in the book—for him he’s like “Well, but there’s all these exceptions. If 90 percent of people say one way, that means 10 percent don’t.” It’s like, “Yeah, it can’t be a 3000-page book.” [Laughter] “We will say that it’s 90 and 10, but we can’t like go into all of those other like specialty topics.”
Michael: Right. There is a message that God has to tell here, and how do we make sure that message gets out? Shaunti’s really been awesome in helping to craft that message and put it together.

Dave: I don’t know how many men feel that way, but I think, I know Ann has said this and I know other wives have said to their husbands, “There’s not any affection in our marriage.” And so, you feel like “I’m using her.” I don’t want to do that, so the next thing you know, you’re in a bad cycle.
Michael: You guys have just identified what makes a difference. You said, “I came to her, and I said, ‘I’m afraid; this is what’s going on.’” You guys are communicating about it. You’re talking about it. Our research showed the same thing.
Shaunti: It did.
Michael: Couples that are communicating effectively are healthier, better, more satisfied, more frequent; all of the factors that we’re looking at were tied to how well the couple talked.
Dave: I love how you said this in your book. You know, wrong assumption—we have a difficult time talking about sex, but that’s okay. Actions speak louder than words. [Laughter] Truth—actions may speak louder than words, but without the words, you may not be getting much action. [Laughter] So well said.
Ann: Okay, well give us homework for today. We’ve been talking about this; what can we do to begin the process of communication?
Michael: Well, I think you identified something that’s important to keep in mind, as is foundational. We often have been taught not to talk about it; that it is a sacred subject. It is a sacred subject and we’re uncomfortable talking about it. Most couples don’t have a good language for it. It’s so easy to misunderstand what each other is saying. The first exercise I encourage couples to do is pick up a good book; something written by somebody who has some good training. [Laughter]
Dave: Do you know anybody?
Shaunti: We might be recommending a particular book at this point, yes.
Michael: But there are actually a lot of good books out there, and I encourage couples to sit down and read it out loud to each other.
Ann: Together?
Michael: Together—and take turns with who the reader is. The goal is not to get to the end of the book. The goal is to pause regularly and go “I think this author is just crazy; nobody is like this.” And don’t be surprised when your spouse looks at you and says, “What do you mean nobody’s like that; that perfectly described me.” [Laughter]

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