According to Pastor Dave Wilson and his wife, Ann, a man's relationship with God is key to unlocking the mystery of marital intimacy.
According to Pastor Dave Wilson and his wife, Ann, a man's relationship with God is key to unlocking the mystery of marital intimacy.
Bob: When it comes to the subject of intimacy in marriage, there is a relationship between the conversations that can happen in the middle of the afternoon and what happens at the end of the day. Here’s pastor and speaker, Dave Wilson.
Dave: Ann has said to me, many times, in our 35 years, “Your words are so harsh.” I am like, “What are you talking about?!” [Laughter] I’m not kidding; right? I respond just like that—not realizing how I’m responding. She’s just like, “Exhibit A.” [Laughter] You know—“There, you did it again.” And then I’m trying to understand: “Why aren’t you interested in sex? What’s wrong with you? You don’t want it as much as me.” We’ve had this fight many times, and I’ve never connected the dots: “Well, look how you talk to her. Look how you’ve treated her.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, September 15th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Dave and Ann Wilson join us today for a little coaching session on how we can do a better job of expressing love for one another in marriage. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. I’m going to ask you—and I know there’s no scientific answer to this / you don’t have the research in front of you—but just your guess—[Laughter]—what!?
Dennis: When you start these programs off, asking me something out of the clear blue—I want you to know, as listeners—this is not a scripted broadcast. [Laughter]
Bob: [Laughing] Okay, so here’s the question: “If you were to give your guess—on a scale of 1 to 10, where most married couples today would gauge their satisfaction with how they’re doing in the area of intimacy in their marriage / their sexual relationship—and 10 is: ‘I couldn’t be happier,’ and 1 is: ‘I’m miserable. It’s not anything like what I thought it would be, and it’s a point of great sadness for me,’—
Dennis: That’s a good question.
Bob: —“So where do you think the average couple, listening to us today—what grade do you think they would give themselves?”
Dennis: Well, if it’s the couples listening to our broadcast—because I know what they’re receiving, on a regular basis, from FamilyLife Today—and if you’ve been to the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, you may be—
Bob: —you may be a few points higher than everybody else?
Dennis: —you may be north of 5—you may be a 7/8—somewhere up there.
I would say—if this was just the average person across America, not listening to a biblical viewpoint of love, marriage, and sex / in that order, by the way—my guess is a 3 or 4, Bob—I think they’re going to be south of 5. I think they will probably have settled into a rut and may be missing the most important aspect of the marriage relationship because I think marriage is more than just two bodies—it is body, soul, and spirit.
A person who knows Jesus Christ has the potential of experiencing, in marriage, sex as God designed it.
Bob: You think the number’s different, whether it’s the husband or the wife who’s responding?
Dennis: You know, you’re trying to pick a fight now—I’ll tell you. [Laughter] Is Barbara going to listen to this, Bob? [Laughter] Can I plead the Fifth Amendment, Bob? It would be interesting to know—in fact, why don’t we just take a Survey Monkey on this deal and put it on our website?
Bob: We should be able to do that. Okay, so—
Dennis: And if it’s not there, you know Bob wasn’t able to deliver.
Bob: Tragic failure! Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and look for the link to the survey on “Marital Satisfaction When It Comes to Intimacy.”
The message we’re actually going to hear today is Part Two of a message on this subject presented by some friends of ours, Dave and Ann Wilson, who speak at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways—
—and who spoke on this subject last year, onboard the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise. They talked candidly, and openly, and appropriately—
Dennis: Oh, yes, they did.
Bob: —with the audience. We got a lot of very positive feedback about their message and thought this would be good to share with our listeners. So, here’s Part Two of Dave and Ann Wilson talking about intimacy in marriage.
[Previously Recorded Message]
Dave: Many of you have been to the Weekend to Remember. How many have been to a Weekend to Remember? Yes, they’re awesome! One of the things that is in the sex talk, during the Weekend to Remember, is a chart. It’s a chart that compares the difference between men and women in the sexual area—in five areas. We’re going to walk through this very quickly, but I think it really has some real key applications for how to understand one another.
Men, in the area of attitude toward sex, tend to be more physical and compartmentalized / and women more relational and wholistic. I’m not sure I understand what that means—from a wholistic standpoint—so explain it.
Ann: Well, a lot of you have read books and heard about this. So I won’t go into so much detail in that you know that men are more compartmentalized—
—they go from one box, to the other box, to the other box. Women are more wholistic—they’re global. How do you always say it about the Christmas tree lights?
Dave: Yes, for men, it’s—you know, like she said—I can be watching Monday Night Football, and she walks by—and I’m like, “Sex!” [Laughter] You know? Just, “Boom!” Am I right? It’s like you just slide right into another compartment.
Ann: And it doesn’t matter how our relationship is doing.
Dave: Yes, who cares? But a woman—[Laughter] Am I right, guys!? I mean, really?! But a woman is so wholistic—that I say it’s like this—she’s like stringing Christmas lights. If one bulb’s out, they’re all out. [Laughter] It’s like: “Seriously?!”
Ann: It’s so hard because we’re so different. For men—if I say to Dave, “Hey, let’s have sex tonight,” Dave goes into that.
Dave: I mean, if she says those words! [Laughter]
Dave: Is it 4:00 yet? [Laughter] You know?
Ann: But, as a woman—now, and maybe, some of you are different—but this is totally me:
Now, let’s say my kids are all home—like: “Okay. The boys have practice tomorrow, and I have to get all of their stuff”—like: “Is their stuff washed? Is that ready?” It’s like a bag that I kind of put on myself / I carry it.
Dave’s traveling this week—I say: “Have we even been out? Have we talked? Have we dated? I think he’s mad at me, and I’m really mad at him.”
Then: “I really need to do the laundry—I haven’t done the laundry.” “I haven’t read my Bible—I need to read my Bible.” “I feel fat—I need to go workout. Why did I eat so much for dinner?” [Laughter] “I haven’t cleaned the house.”
So, guys, we women get in bed; and all of this is on our minds—like: “Did I lock the door? What’s for dinner? Is there milk in the refrigerator? Do we have anything to eat in the morning?” All that stuff is on our minds because we carry it with us everywhere we go.
We, as women, want to know that you love us more than just sex. [Applause] We want you to like the drama—we want you to know us and to care about the things that we carry. So, guys, if you even said to us, “Tell me the heaviest thing that you’re carrying in your life right now,”—
—for some of your wives—it would make them want to cry that you asked them that / that you care about them. That means the world to us. We’re so wholistic! Guys, we need to drop all of our stuff, and it takes us a while to go there. We’re crockpots—we’re slow.
So just —if you can, non-sexually, touch us during the day, and hold our hand, and put your arm around us—that, for us, says “love”—that is sex to us.
Dave: That is really a second category on the chart.
Dave: In the area of stimulation, men are more body-centered, visual, fragrance, actions. On the other side, women—as Ann just said—are more person-centered.
Dave: Touch there means non-sexual touch. When you’re dating, you’re doing that all of the time—you’re hugging, you’re kissing, you’re holding hands. Then you get married. Do you ever see married couples doing that? If you do, it’s like: “They’re newlyweds.”
Why does that go away? I’ll tell you why—because men don’t care to serve their wives because their wives are longing for that. I know she longs for non-sexual touch. Attitudes and words are the attitude of tenderness and gentleness, not harshness.
Ann has said to me, many times, in our 35 years, “Your words are so harsh.” I am like, “What are you talking about?!” [Laughter] I’m not kidding; right? I respond just like that—not realizing how I’m responding. She’s just like, “Exhibit A.” [Laughter] You know—“There, you did it again.” And then I’m trying to understand: “Why aren’t you interested in sex? What’s wrong with you? You don’t want it as much as me.” We’ve had this fight many times, and I’ve never connected the dots: “Well, look how you talk to her. Look how you’ve treated her.”
Ann: But then, it can also be flipped. When Dave and I were in seminary, he was so stressed / just so consumed with that. Your desire wasn’t as strong as mine. That’s totally flipped in the relationship, sometimes. I felt like: “What’s wrong with me?” like: “Why don’t you want to have sex with me? Is there something wrong? Do I not look a certain way?” So all of that’s in there too.
Dave: We’ve got to fly on to the next part—“Needs.”
Men—respect is really tied to sex / physically needed / physical affection. Women—more security / emotionally needed in intimacy. The respect thing is huge for guys. It really is connected in every area of our lives, but especially the bedroom. When a wife pursues her husband, he feels respected.
Ann was sort of joking—but you’ve heard that women need to warm up, like a crockpot / men, often, are like a microwave—that’s bad!—we used to fight about that because like, “Why are you so different?!” And we realized, over years, God made us that way on purpose because, when we give ourselves away, selflessly, to the other—”It’s more important that they are satisfied than that I am,”—that your wife is/ that your husband is than you are—then you’re making love.
Ann: Well, here’s—and I’ll never forget when Dave and I heard Howard and Jeanne Hendricks, who was the Dallas Theological Seminary prof. He talked one time—he and his wife Jeanne were in their 80s. Somebody asked him at this small conference, “How’s sex in your 80s?”
We were like: “Oh, my gosh! Who is asking that?” And Howard—just like Howard—says, “Oh! It’s amazing.” He said, “Let me tell you—until you’ve been married 15 years or more, you don’t even know what sex is.”
Dave: “You don’t even know what you’re doing!” he says.
Ann: Yes; “…because it’s all about the physical; but, later on, when you realize that sex is a union of the soul, and that is what God has created it to be…” I looked at Dave and I thought: “Oh, my gosh! We are still so clueless.” And the older I get, the more I understand that sex is about a unity, a passion, an intimacy of the soul because it changes through the years. There is still a beauty to the oneness of bringing a man and a wife together in the beauty of the union of the soul in one form or another of loving each other.
Dave: And that is really God’s design for sex. [Applause] It is; isn’t it? It isn’t—the reason you’re clapping is you connect with the truth of that. The world will never tell you that—
—it isn’t physical / it is, obviously, it is part of it—it isn’t just emotional / it’s part of it—the soul encompasses everything.
Dave: That’s why it’s worth talking about. Some of you couples have never talked about it. One of the most beautiful things you could do tonight is to sit on the end of the bed and talk. Seriously! Communicate.
Ann: “How could we be better?”—right?
Dave: Right. I mean, it is like: “We need to talk about this area. How are we doing well in this area? Where do we need to grow in this area?” For so many couples, it is so hard to talk about because it is soul-ish in nature.
Dave: And, then, the last thing we’ll tell you is this—and, again, I think it’s something nobody is telling you—it’s the third one and the last one—I would say it this way, “If you want better sex, walk with God.”
Ann told me, years ago—because I remember asking her, as a young husband: “What is the sexiest thing I do? What is it that I do that makes you want me?” I’ll never forget her answer.
Ann: I said: “When you pray, and you walk with God, and you lead our family, spiritually. There’s nothing that turns me on more than that.” [Applause]
Dave: Yes—it’s leading her / it is lead our family / it is prayer. I mean, I know, when I get on my knees / I lead her—I know, for her—that is the most romantic thing I can do, as a husband.
Some of you have seen this video clip I’m going to show you right now [from] The Art of Marriage®. It’s a moment in our marriage, at our ten-year anniversary, when we were in real trouble. I didn’t know it. That night, twenty-five years ago, changed our marriage and the future of our marriage. Believe it or not, as we close after that, we’ll show you how it applies also, not just to your marriage, but to your sexual relationship as well.
[Audio of video clip]
Ann: Marrying Dave Wilson was the most exciting thing I could even imagine. I just had these pictures in my head of what Dave was going to be like: “He’s the hottest / most godly—he’s going to lead me, spiritually!” It was the most anticipated thing of my life to marry him.
Dave: I was married ten years; and then we started embarking on the dream of our lives, which was starting this church.
Ann: We just had this vision of wanting God to do something great in terms of reaching people.
Dave: I couldn’t believe that God would use us to reach thousands for Christ, and it was an absolute dream come true.
Ann: The dream started to become a reality, but it was becoming a very difficult reality.
Dave: I basically had two or three jobs going, all at the same time—trying to be a dad, trying to be a husband, and trying to live my dream of helping to start this church.
Ann: He was gone more, and more, and more.
Dave: At the same time, I was the Detroit Lions chaplain. So, I was leading Bible studies / I was on the road with the team.
Ann: I would say things like: “Honey, you’ve got to be here. The boys are growing up. I need you / the boys need you. I’m longing to spend time with you.” He was like, “Oh, I know!”
Dave: I thought I was doing great, as a husband/as a dad: “I preach this stuff. I know what the Bible says about marriage. I’m not perfect, but I’m living it pretty good. We’ve got a pretty good marriage. I would put my marriage up against anybody’s.”
Ann: He would walk out the door; and I would be like, “Wait! You’re leaving again tonight?!” He would say, “Yes, don’t you remember that I had this meeting, and then, I have to go here and I have to speak to these people?” I’d be like: “Whatever! Great! You know what? I’ll put the boys to bed by myself again. That’s great, hon. See you!”
Dave: I would have said to you: “On a scale of 1-10, my marriage is probably a 10. If not a 10, it’s a 9.8; and I guarantee you, my wife would agree.”
Ann: And I would have probably said, “We’re a 1/ maybe, like a 0.5.” I think he was totally clueless to that—which then—that made me even more angry because I am thinking, “How do you not know how badly we’re doing?!”
Dave: On May 24, 1990, it was our ten-year anniversary—I sort of surprised Ann with a ten-year anniversary date. We dressed up and went to a really nice restaurant. I sort of set it up with the waiter, while we were having dinner / when I would queue him—sort of give him a look—he was supposed to bring a rose over.
So, I queued him early in the dinner—he brought over a rose and laid it on the table. We talked about year one.
Ann: He was like a little boy that night—like waiting for the next thing to happen.
Dave: Then I looked over later, and he brought another rose. So, anyway, every rose was a year; and we would talk about that year.
Ann: He was so sweet—he even planned what he was going to say when each rose arrived.
Dave: It was on the way home—I thought it would be pretty cool to park in the parking lot, where we were about to start our church. Ann hadn’t even seen this. So, I thought it would be pretty cool to park there and, maybe, pray about what God could possibly do. And, to be totally honest with you, I thought we should just park.
Ann: I know Dave Wilson—I knew that there was like this ulterior motive—where, “Yes, we’re going to park here!” You know, he’s all about the parking part—so I kind of knew that was coming.
Dave: So, I leaned over to kiss Ann. As I leaned over to kiss her in the passenger seat, she sort of pulls away.
Ann: “Ugggghh!” I was just like, “Honey, I can’t even!” In my head, I was thinking, “I cannot even go there.”
Dave: So I pulled back, and look at her, and said, “Is something wrong?” She looks at me—and I’ll never forget this—she goes, “Well, yes, there is something wrong.” I am like, “What’s wrong?” And she says, “Well, to be honest with you, I’ve lost my feelings for you.”
[End video clip]
Dave: When Ann said that in that car, I really—as I said—I had no idea. I really did think we were fine. Yet, I asked her what that meant. You said what?
Ann: I basically said, “I have been so angry, and you haven’t heard me.” And even when I thought I was going to bring this up, I thought he would get angry again because he would say, “I am home!”
Dave: Yes, I usually fought loud.
Ann: Yes. So, I told him that: “I was angry, and then my anger turned to bitterness, and then my bitterness turned to numbness, and now I don’t even care.
“I’m not even mad at you anymore because I’m not going to divorce you, but I feel like I don’t have anything for you.” You were pretty shocked.
Dave: Yes. Here’s all you need to know about that night—the thing that changed our marriage is when Ann was sharing with me what she felt—I had a pretty unique encounter with God. I sensed God was speaking to me, through Ann; and the word I heard from God was only one word: “Repent.” I knew, when I heard that word, what it meant—it wasn’t “Repent of being a bad husband,” or “…being gone too much.” It was: “Repent of your relationship with Me,”—God / vertical. See, I had been so busy that my walk with God was sort of on the fly—I wasn’t sitting with Him / I wasn’t studying His Word. I got into His Word—why? So I would have something to preach. I hadn’t been intimate with God in months.
When Ann was sharing that with me, God made it very clear to me—He was like:
“If you want to fix this,”—the horizontal—“this has to be right,”—the vertical. “The vertical comes first before this. And this will never get fixed unless this is right!” I said: “Before we can continue this, and we do need to talk, I need to pray. I need to pray on my knees,” just because I wanted my posture to be submission because I was ready to repent.
I didn’t invite her to pray with me. To this day, I don’t know how I did this in a Honda Accord; [Laughter] but I got on my knees like this, and put my elbows on the driver’s seat, the steering wheel is in my back. I cried out to God and said: “I am repenting right here/right now. I am going to become the man that You’ve called me to be. This is all that matters!”
Ann: And I have to tell you—that when Dave did that / when I saw him getting on his knees—Proverbs says “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” When I saw him, not getting angry, and getting on his knees, I was so convicted because, in an instant, I realized that I had made Dave my idol.
I had stopped spending as much of my time with Jesus, and talking to Him, and praying through it. I starting getting so angry that I started putting all my hope in Dave—thinking, “If he would just get his act together, I would be happy!” I kept thinking, “If we would be okay, I would be okay.” It wasn’t that at all.
I think God was saying: “When we are okay, I can get you through anything. I will catch you.” And I knew it, too, because our sex was terrible. I was so resentful when he touched me—it didn’t take a crockpot / it took for eternity. I could never, ever get used to Dave’s touch. It was a red signal going off, like: “We need help! We need counseling. Something needs to happen.”
So, for me, I got down on my knees too. Dave and I grabbed hands together, and we both repented and re-surrendered our lives to Jesus and our marriage to Jesus.
Dave: I’m telling you—it changed. I’m not saying we’re perfect and the last 25 years haven’t been without difficulty—
—but I’m telling you—that surrender moment, which we did on our wedding night, we did again at our ten-year anniversary. It’s something you should do often.
Ann: And we continually do it; yes.
Dave: Right; yes. If you want a better sex life—and that’s just one part of your marriage—you’re not going to get it by taking three points from us. The only thing that’s going to change your marriage or your sex life is bringing God into your bedroom / bringing God into your marriage. For some of you, tonight’s your night to repent—it’s not about your spouse / it’s about you. You can’t change her or him—all you can do is change you.
I’m going to pray that some of you, if you’re sensing God speaking to you—and you know He is—I just want to remind you—this [horizontal relationship] will never be fixed until this [vertical relationship] is right.
Ann: So, maybe first, you have the discussion here; and, then tonight, you have the discussion to discuss how you guys are really doing.
Bob: Well, again, we’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Dave is one of the pastors at Kensington Community Church in the Detroit area.
A lot of our listeners have met Dave and Ann if they’ve been through The Art of Marriage video series—if they’ve done it as a small group or done it as an event. Their story is featured in The Art of Marriage.
Dennis: Yes. It’s honest, and it’s where all of us live. We need a great model of what asking for forgiveness looks like and what granting it looks like as well.
Bob: Well, in fact, they mentioned that a couple can go through The Art of Marriage small group study—just the two of them—we’ve had couples who do this. They get the small group series—got a couple of workbooks in there. You can watch the videos together, and then go through the material—ask each other the questions that are in the workbook after you’ve gone through the session. It can strengthen your marriage for the two of you—to have a series of date nights. There are six sessions—so you have six date nights. You watch an Art of Marriage video, and get out the workbook, and reflect on the questions that are in it.
Again, you’ll get a chance to meet Dave and Ann Wilson when you do that because they’re in Session Two of The Art of Marriage small group series.
Find out more about The Art of Marriage when you go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER”; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Ask about The Art of Marriage small group series—1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
You know, I’m just sitting here thinking about the hundreds of thousands of people who have been through The Art of Marriage material, who have heard Dave and Ann share their story and have said, “We’ve been there,”—folks who didn’t have hope left for their marriage. They were looking for practical biblical help. A lot of those folks have found that help—not just in The Art of Marriage resource—but at our Weekend to Remember getaways / through this daily radio program—
—also, the resources we create on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. We are here to provide you, each day, with practical biblical coaching, guidance, help, and hope for your marriage and your family.
We’re grateful to those of you who join us in this mission as you help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with your donations. In fact, you can make a donation in support of this ministry, right now. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I Care.” It’s easy to make an online donation, or call 1-800-FLTODAY to make your donation over the phone. Or you can mail your donation to us at FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. The zip code is 72223. When you get in touch with us to make a donation, ask about the 2016 FamilyLife calendar. It’s all about prayer.
In fact, it actually starts with October of 2015. We’d love to send you our new calendar, as a thank-you gift, when you make a donation today. You can start using that right away.
And we hope you can be back here again tomorrow. Our friend, Dr. Dan Allender, is going to join us. He has just written a new book called God Loves Sex with his writing partner and colleague, Tremper Longman. Dan is going to join us tomorrow as we continue the conversation about intimacy in marriage. I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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