Focus on the Family Broadcast: Answering Questions About Sex in Marriage (Part 2 of 2)
Focus on the Family kept Shaunti Feldhahn and professional sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma around for another day to continue the discussion. They joined Jim Daly and John Fuller in discussing common questions that married couples ask about physical intimacy on the Focus on the Family Broadcast.
“We were originally scheduled for one day of the broadcast, but once we got into the material, Focus on the Family decided to extend for an additional day. We were really honored in our time with them.”
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Dr. Sytsma: And my invitation is for couples to just identify with each other, you know, what do you, how do you know when your spouse is in the mood? And does that work for you?
Dr. Sytsma: Is the way they initiate it working? Because often what we do, just it’s like slamming on the brakes for our partner, and it doesn’t take too much to shift to something that draws us in.
Jim: Well, and- and Michael, I wanted to ask you about that, because the- the mirror example is a good one to bounce off of. What if consistently-
Dr. Sytsma: Mm-hmm.
Jim: … you’re looking at the mirror hoping, and either there’s nothing there or it’s-
Dr. Sytsma: Right.
Jim: … one.
Dr. Sytsma: And- and that’s a conversation-
Jim: For the fifth week in a row.
Dr. Sytsma: That’s a conversation for the couple to have. And what I find most common in my office is that, um, she, uh, because we’ve identified her as the lower desire, she’s saying, “I don’t have the initiating type of desire.” And she is even misreading herself, that helping to shift it to where she can say, “Could I be receptive tonight?” And what’s happening is he’s coming in and he is trying to initiate, and she’s not immediately responding to it, he’s getting all hurt and bent out of shape, and then not acting very attractive.
Jim: (laughs) Right.
Dr. Sytsma: And- and sometimes the wives say, “You know, it takes me a few minutes to sort through this,” and then they look up and they think, yeah, I could do it, but not with you, not with how you’re acting right now.
Dr. Sytsma: And- and if he can stay calm and- and she says, “Well, maybe it’s okay,” now, how do I draw her in? How do I recognize that she’s going to be receptive, she’s willing to be receptive? And I’m gonna step up my game and I’m gonna draw her into this, and her be willing too.
Jim: I think one question we need to ask, I- I just can sense somebody screaming, saying, “Wh- where’s God in all this?”
Dr. Sytsma: Mm-hmm.
Jim: I mean, what has God designed this to be and why does it seem so dysfunctional for me? ‘Cause it should be a good thing. This is a gift. It’s a wedding present.
Dr. Sytsma: Yeah. I, you know, this is, that’s one of my favorite questions to wrestle with the integration of it and how it fits in. And, uh, I like to point to Christ standing in the book of Revelation, and He’s just identified Himself as the groom. And He says, um, that, He looks at His bride and He is always invitational with her. He’s always inviting her in. And He asks the bride to be receptive to it. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and I knock.” Not I’m pounding on the door.
Jim: (laughs) Right.
Dr. Sytsma: Not I’m trying to bust the door down. Not I’m- I’m demeaning because you’re not opening the door. I’m not threatening to go to the next door neighbor. I’m just standing here saying I’m open, and the invitation for spouses is, be open, be invitational. And then He says, “If anyone will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will have,” in His language, there is a sensual feast together. “We will enjoy that time.” And I think God puts both of those often into the same marital relationship, where one tends to be more receptive and the other more initiating.
Dr. Sytsma: And as long as they accept influence from each other, as long as they allow that yours works a little different than mine, I’m gonna become a student of you, I’m gonna be curious and figure out how, then it can work really well.