The Meanings That We Put to Sex

Humans are meaning makers. Unlike animals that simply go through life eating, reproducing and doing what they must to survive, people constantly interpret life. We map our world to measure our worth and the validity of our actions. Am I enough? Does he want me? Did I fail again? Will this get me what I want? Everything has a meaning, and how we interpret the meanings have an enormous impact on our self and our openness, especially in the high stakes game of love and sex.

Meanings Outside of Marriage

Outside the confines of marriage, sex can feel freer because of the meanings we can offer ourselves. If we only seek pleasure, and not relationship, then who cares what this person next to me thinks. Excitement, unbridled expression, adrenaline, and the taboo can easily fuel passion without worrying about the intruding thoughts of whether you measure up. If our fiancé pushes the boundaries, it is because we are so irresistible, not because he can’t handle his sexuality. We assign meanings to sex outside of marriage, and at least initially, they feel less consequential.

Meanings Within Marriage

Within marriage, the intensity of meanings amplify. We have chosen this person to be the one, forever. What if they reject the very thing that I most want? Are we really sure of their love and desire now that they are stuck with us? What if I am not man enough to please her? Does he really care about me, or does he just want me to satisfy his sexual “needs”? These are powerful meanings and impact sex in profound ways.

Meanings during sex are conveyed not just through words, but through actions, our attitudes and the subtle clues that we gather. And the meanings, whether accurate or not, impact both our desire and our bodies responses. Though animals rarely struggle with sexual function, we often do because we assign meanings to sex. What our minds and our heart interpret can derail our bodies natural response of arousal. The ability to assign meaning can  allow us to feel loved and connected during sex, or it, can  make us feel completely rejected or used. Meanings can be positive or negative, impacting both men and women but playing out in different ways.

Women

For women the meaning of sex can completely short circuit desire, or responsiveness.

When sex is about caring for the husband’s needs, wives don’t exactly look forward to sex. Desire thrives on choice and be chosen, not on duty and feeling stuck. Though she may dutifully serve him the rest of their marriage, they will never experience the freedom and desire that comes with choice.

When a wife struggles with orgasm, she can start interpreting her husband’s attentive attempts to help her respond, as confirmation of her brokenness. Rather than receive his love, she manages her feelings of inadequacy by giving up, avoiding sex, or blaming her husband.

If a husband constantly coaxes his wife to be more expressive, then her meaning becomes, I will never be enough. Rather than feeling excited about learning new things, she avoids sex as a way to avoid feeling like a failure.

Men

Negative meanings of sex impact men in similar ways but also in more subtle ways.

If a husband knows that his wife is just serving him, then he may hurry things along and tune her out, so that he won’t feel rejected.

When a wife does not experience pleasure during sex, a husband can interpret meanings that go right to the core of his sufficiency as a man.

One of the tricky things about meanings is that much of it goes unspoken, unquestioned, and unchecked.

We might think our husband doesn’t care about our lack of orgasm during sex because he doesn’t bring it up. The reality might be that he feels so bad about our lack of enjoyment, that not only does he never acknowledge or talk about it, but he hurries through sex just to get it over with. What we view as insensitive might actually be him caring immensely.

Assigning the meanings of sex often has more to do with ourselves then our partner. So let’s take a look at how we move beyond some of the negative meanings that impact sex..

Questioning the Meaning of Sex

  1. Start paying attention to what meanings you assign to sex- both positive and negative. Don’t judge them, just observe them. What is sex telling you about your husband, yourself and what you believe about sex?
  2. Check the facts. Is the meaning that you assign during sex accurate? Is it in line with who your spouse is? How does the meaning fit with what God says about sex? Are you still believing lies about sex, or yourself, or your husband? Have you asked your spouse about the way that you are interpreting their actions?
  3. Is the meaning that you assign to sex helpful? The meanings you interpret might be telling you that things need to change for your well-being or self-respect. Or the meaning might be a way of beating yourself up, or trying to control what you do not have control over.
  4. If the meaning is inaccurate or not helpful, think about ways that you can reframe the meaning. Claim your choices and who you want to be. Instead of thinking, “How can my husband want to do this to me?”, think “My husband is choosing to love me.” Claim the sex you want and start operating by faith in a way that is in line with what you want.
  5. Check your heart in the ways that you might be conveying meanings to your spouse. Even if we say nothing, our spouse  can pick up on our resentment, anxiety, blame, or disappointment. Ask God to reveal what is in your heart. Take responsibility for your own actions and what you bring to the marriage bed. Great sex happens when 2 healthy people come to the table.

Final Thoughts

The meanings that we both interpret and convey during sex can powerfully influence how we feel, how our bodies respond and the experience of oneness from sex. We must take ownership for accurately interpreting meanings, by confronting lies, dealing with baggage and leaning into what God wants for us. Don’t just ignore the negative meanings that impact you. Take a closer look at them, check the facts, and ask questions. Address your own actions and attitudes that might be conveying negative meanings to your spouse. Don’t just have sex. Together create meaningful sex – that is life giving and something that you look forward to.

Facing Core Beliefs Moved Me Forward

It is kind of funny to admit, but when I started counseling, I thought to myself, “I am going to dive in for 6, maybe 8 weeks, and then I will be good to go.” Not only would I be a better me, but I would show my husband just how mature I am. Internally I still hoped my husband would admit his own issues and seek counseling with me. Then the “real” problems could get fixed.

Even though I knew that I needed to work on myself, I still couldn’t let go of thinking that if he changed our problems would disappear.

6 months later, I am so glad that I went to counseling on my own. I have learned so many things about myself that have helped me understand how I operate in my marriage. Couples counseling would have distracted me from the work that I needed to do. And I would have been so tempted to shift the conversation back to Jim. Working on myself has felt empowering. Regardless of what Jim does, I make my own choices about my life, how I live and how I treat others – including him.

Hard Work

The first few months of counseling was gut wrenching hard work. Remembering negative experiences from my childhood stirred up all kinds of emotions as I relived both the details and the way that I coped.

I vividly remembered my first-grade teacher calling role the first day of class. Afterwards she asked, “Did I miss anybody?”

I timidly raised my hand.

“Yes, what is your name? “, she asked.

With as much confidence as I could master, I said, “Uth Inka.”

“What?”, she said.

“Uth Inka”, I repeated.

“What?”

“U t h   I n k a”, I slowly stated, fighting back tears.

My name was Ruth Lenker and I had entered elementary school completely clueless to the fact that I couldn’t say my L’s or R’s.

I felt so small. So invisible.  And so alone. I don’t remember sharing this story with my mom or dad, or anyone else. All I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and disappear.

And that is what I did for years and years. I worked so hard to accomplish things as a way to feel better about myself, to feel worthy and seen, all the while hoping no one would see or hear me.

As I tearfully shared story after story with my counselor, I still felt embarrassed and disgust for my life. And it all came to a head one day…

Core Beliefs

I had been sharing with my counselor about being mistaken as a boy when I was young and she could tell how profoundly the experience had impacted me. And she asked, “so if you were mistaken as a boy, then what would that mean?”…And I just couldn’t go there… I just had to put on the brakes because I didn’t even have the capacity to answer the question.

So my counselor gave the homework assignment to follow my chain of thinking. To start from the fact that I was mistaken as a boy and ask myself, if that is true then what? And if that is true, then what? And to keep following the trail into the core belief that I held about myself.

If they think that I am a boy, then I am a mistake..

If I am a mistake then I don’t belong…

And, If I don’t belong then there is something wrong with me…

If there is something wrong with me then I need to hide…

If I need to hide then make sure you are not seen or heard….

And I gradually named the core belief that

I am not worthy to be seen or heard.

I hate being noticed. I’d much rather slide under someone else, into the background and be a fly on a wall. Introducing myself, sharing my passions, or the amazing things God has done in my life can at times make me feel almost ill. I clam up, I just do… – I suppose because I’ve never believed that I am worthy to be seen or heard.

Admitting my core belief was really hard. I mean, I’m a smart, capable woman that has many reasons to feel proud. And yet, deep down, I didn’t believe that I was worthy to be seen or heard.

As a follower of Jesus, I know that I should just embrace God’s truth about myself. Things like, I am His beloved. Or, I am His masterpiece and He created me anew in Christ Jesus to do the great things that He planned for me. I do believe those things. But it will take time, effort and patience for me to rewrite my core beliefs that I have carried since childhood.

Pressing into Changing My Core Beliefs

Transformation started with an awareness of the core beliefs that hold me back, but that was only the beginning. Living out the truth, that I am worthy to be seen and heard, will require faith, that God can change me. Before I feel that I am worthy to be seen and heard, I will need to act like I am worthy to be seen and heard. When by faith, I take a deep breath, reach out my hand and introduce myself to a stranger with great expectation instead of dread, then I begin to feel worthy. Living in a way  that is congruent with what God says about me, will change the way that I feel about myself. How I act will cement my feelings.

I have faith that God will change me and I press on because God has given me glimpses of a life that is different. Rather than hide, I want to confidently introduce myself and freely share my passions. God has given me things to say, and my playing small does not benefit anyone – especially God.

What About You

So are you living into the fullness of life that God wants for you? What terrifies you, makes your shrink back, or prompts you to feel like you need to prove yourself? Can you name the core beliefs that lurk in the shadows? And what are you going to do about it? Because faith means reaching for that which is not yet true and believing that God can change us.

Sex is God’s Domain

Last week I taught my first in-person Awaken Love class in more than 2 years and all I can say is, “God is moving!” We met on my back porch, where I started teaching classes exactly 10 years ago. Twelve women from all walks of life – young and not so young, newly married, divorced and remarried, and celebrating 34 years. All with the purpose of understanding more about God’s Design for sex in their marriage and eager to reclaim Sex as God’s Domain.

Who We Are

As I welcomed the women to class, I took time to remind them of the realities that we live in today. Among us were women that dreaded sex, others that loved it. Some of our husbands struggle with porn and others don’t want much sex. Some of us have struggled with porn, or masturbation, or experienced abuse in our past. A few of us are still learning to experience the pleasure sex can offer. But regardless of where each of us is on our journey, we can be honest, provide support and  learn together. We are all welcome.

When I teach class and realize the hard realities of women’s lives, I can feel overwhelmed and question whether a little 6-week class called Awaken Love can help. And I have to remind myself, and them, that regardless of our struggles, understanding more of what God wants for us in our marriage and our sex life, will help us have the courage to take a step in the right direction. God’s word about sex is truth, regardless of our challenges.

Diving In

As I looked at class that first night, I just sensed that the room was filled with powerful women, ready to dive in. So, when I asked them to introduce themselves and maybe tell us why they were there, it came as no surprise when one by one, they immediately dove in.

I struggle with

    • purity messages that left sex feeling shameful
    • figuring out how to feel intimate during sex
    • lack of desire
    • conflicted feelings that cripple my freedom
    • navigating my husband’s lack of interest

 

We all have challenges surrounding our sexuality and many of us carry them for a lifetime. But at class last week, these women courageously opened up, already starting to share pieces of their past experiences that still impact their present. Rather than helplessly sitting in their muck, they are choosing to move toward health, wholeness and freedom.

Sisterhood

One of the things that I constantly witness in class is the power of speaking things out loud – face to face, in God’s presence. The shameful truth that constantly haunts and make us question our worth and desirability – when spoken out loud in a room of loving Christian women – is, zapped of its power. In a moment, a breath of lightness falls on the women. What they bring into the light is received with grace and understanding from other women. Things shift and you can feel it happen.

Final Thoughts

At class, these 12 women walked in as strangers and left sisters, claiming by faith that things can be different. They have the courage to press into God, even in the area of sexuality, and fight for freedom. God will break the chains, reveal His truth, and transform their lives. And we will pound a stake in the ground, once again claiming, sex is God’s domain. He alone has the answers and we trust in Him.

p.s. – Thank you to all of you that have been praying for me and my husband. Like many of you, I am digging myself out of the impacts of living through a pandemic and a hard health diagnosis. I have been learning valuable truths and tools that will help me be a better person. My days feel brighter and lighter, and I have to say, it felt SO good to be teaching in person again. Blessings, Ruth

Awaken Love Sex Classes in Kenya

Last Saturday morning at 6:00 AM I woke to teach Awaken Love.

Whoah!! That’s a little early to talk about sex, isn’t it??!!

Not if the women live in Kenya, where the time was 3 pm in the afternoon.

Lily started leading the Awaken Love class in Kenya 5 weeks ago and she had asked if I would zoom in for one of their sessions .  In the class were 8 women – some friends of Lilies, others new acquaintances – all on a mission to learn about sex and create more intimate marriages.

Lily found me last June when she read a review of my book  Awaken Love on Gary Thomas’ website. She runs an online book club in Kenya to encourage women to read books to strengthen themselves and their relationships. She is a true pioneer that is unafraid to dream big and ask with great expectation that God will move!

After leading her book club through Awaken Love, Lily became convinced that she needed to lead a 6 week Awaken Love class that would allow for a deeper dive. I was happy to set up access for Lily to study the video classes and encouraged her to adapt the curriculum as needed. Friends of mine delivered copies of Awaken Love to Nairobi on their way to their mission trip and the pieces slowly came together as Lily and her team continued to pray and trust God in the details.

Along the way I received email messages from Lily …

Oct

I have been struggling with setting up the class. Suddenly I feel so inadequate for the task. I feel too small for what is ahead of me. Pray with us even as we set the date to be mid November. May God give me courage and strength to accomplish what he so desires in his people. Have a blessed day.

Nov

We have pushed the date to January.

I saw the location which we shall use for the classes last week and it is quite a serene place, tucked away somewhere private and accessible. I am assured, the plans are still underway. Pray. Pray for our first participants. We have started recruitment. Sending posters out and trusting God that we will get the numbers. (Not many – even 10 will do.)

Jan

If I had wings to fly, I would have flied to where you are now, just to give you a warm hug to express my joy and gratitude for what your words are doing to women and their marriages.

God gave me strength to start the classes. We had an introductory class and women shared what made them enroll.

We are 8 ladies, 3 will join us virtually while the rest will be meeting physically.

These are the reasons why they chose the class

  1. Feeling of stagnation in their marriages 
  2. Lack of connection in their marriages
  3. The idea that sex should be done for the man
  4. Keeping to self and denying the husband intimacy (i bet this is a direct translation from swahili)
  5. Being forbidden while young then joins the Marriage union with high expectations then feels its a let down, one withdraws, and sex grows cold.

Lily is right. The reasons that marriages struggle with sex are universal.

So at 6 AM  Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed, tiptoed into my office and waited for the flickering screen of zoom to let me into the call in Kenya. Though excited, as a middle class white American, I couldn’t help but wonder how the Awaken Love class would translate to women in Kenya.

Just Like Us

But as the women shared their stories, I soon realized they struggled with many of the same things that we do. Some feel like sex is a duty, others wish their husband wanted more sex. Many struggled to see their genitals as beautiful, or something to appreciate and understand. Some questioned whether oral sex is a loving way to connect, or a sin. They all understand the challenges that come from lack of privacy. Some needed help understanding the intricacies of different erogenous zones and how to engage them to create pleasure. They all had very busy lives filled with work, homemaking, and raising kids – yet they chose to devote 6 weeks to understanding sex and improving their marriages. Ladies, we are in this together. If we have the courage, we can claim the freedom that God wants for us.

Regardless of where we live, our social economic background or how old we are, God has a design for sex, that will challenge us, grow us, and can create deep connection . We are all impacted by things that make sex challenging. Awaken Love classes are a powerful resource to begin moving towards the intimacy God wants for us. If you are ready to make a difference for struggling marriages, email me and we can pray and talk about the possibilities. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Our God is powerful.

Future Plans for Awaken Love in Nairobi

Lily is already planning to offer another Awaken Love class in Kenya in March, and that is just the beginning. If you know of a woman in Nairobi that might benefit from Awaken Love, please email bookclublily@gmail.com to find out more information about upcoming classes. Pray for my friend Lily and the women in Nairobi as they claim God’s design for sex.

Awaken Love Class Opportunities

With Ruth

For Wives Starting April 6, Wednesdays at 12 central time meeting over Zoom for 6 weeks

For Wives Starting April 4, Monday Nights at 7 pm meeting in Plymouth, MN for 6 weeks

Email Ruth.awakenlove@gmail.com for more information or to sign up!

With Stacey

For Wives over Zoom Starting March 7th, Mondays at 6:30 – 9 pm central time

Email slwelman@gmail.com for more information or to sign up!

With Lily

For Wives  in Kenya

Email bookclublily@gmail.com for more information or to sign up!

Struggles Create Opportunities for Growth

First, I need to apologize for not following up on my last post sooner. I wrote this a while ago, forgot to post it, and have struggled to face it again. Please forgive me.

My Herpes diagnosis last May created additional struggles in our marriage, but they weren’t really new issues.
My diagnosis just amplified the dynamics that our relationship had always operated under. The added stress of going through the crises brought to light my insecurities, bitterness and anger that raged deep inside and that have been simmering for years. Dealing with herpes is a total bummer, but our struggles have created an opportunity for growth. Rather than just finding a new normal, I am choosing to go after deep healing that will have a much greater impact then my diagnosis.

Realities of Herpes

During a Herpes outbreak, virus levels soar and the chance of spreading the virus increases. Any contact with saliva can pass along the virus. So, in May when I had my outbreak, Jim and I immediately made what some might call drastic changes.

I stopped helping with food prep or even setting the table. Hand washing happened often, with towels designated for my use alone. Jim and I stopped sharing food, drinks or even tooth paste. Helping in the kitchen consisted of me clearing dirty dishes.

As far as physical intimacy, the choices felt even harder. I wanted Jim to decide what he felt comfortable with. After all, I was the one with herpes and he was not. My husband catching herpes would only complicate things. Kissing stopped, all forms of sex stopped and even hand holding stopped. Even though these choices made me feel very alone, I also understood them. During my initial outbreak and my mouth wracked with pain, sex wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind.

Loneliness Set In

Several weeks later as my body began to heal, the loneliness began to grow. I had given Jim all power of choice in order to help him feel safe and yet I could hardly stand it. I felt untouchable, unlovable and in many ways abandoned. Night after night, I would lay in my husband arms, he would gently kiss the top of my head good night and then I would quietly cry myself to sleep.

How long were we going to remain like this? Was he ever going to bring up a conversation about sex? Couldn’t we at least creatively connect through things like mutual masturbation? I could feel my blood begin to boil and disdain grow at his silence.

Now to be fair, my husband and I were traveling at the time and had just hosted his mom’s memorial service. Jim had a lot going on, and my herpes diagnosis had come out of the blue and shocked both of us. Jim longs for nothing more than to make me happy, and yet he couldn’t cure my herpes. I can imagine how painful it felt for him to hear me grieve. He must have felt overwhelmed.

But with each day my feelings of abandonment and anger about the lack of communication and connection continued to grow. When I tried to help Jim understand how desperate I felt for some kind of conversation that would instill hope, he listened but nothing changed.

A week later I lost it.  With adrenaline pulsing through my veins, I looked my husband squarely in the eyes and calmly told him something I never imagined I would say, “I hate you!” And then with the expletives flying. I let him have it.

Our Dynamics

My husband and I have this unhealthy dynamic in our marriage. We get along great for a while. Then I start thinking that he should lead more or talk more so I kind of hang back hoping that he will step up. Eventually I get impatient and upset and bring up my complaints. He apologizes and says he’ll try harder and then we go back to the beginning.

What played out because of my herpes diagnosis wasn’t any different than our usual dynamic, it was just amplified about 1000 times.  And as I repeatedly entered into this desperate, crazy, angry attempt at waking my husband up to care for me, all I could think was, “This is not who I am! And this is not who I want to be!”

What I Want

My husband may never change, but I do not want to be an angry, bitter wife that can never see the good things about her husband. I want to honor my husband and respect the journey that he is on. Rather than letting things build, I want to communicate my needs clearly in a loving way. But I also want to be ok, when Jim doesn’t meet those needs. I want to have compassion for Jim and inspire him to greater strength to be the man that God created him to be. I love my husband and I want to live that out.

Now I don’t need to tell you all the messy details of what happened as we worked through my diagnosis of herpes, our lack of intimacy, my husband’s passivity, and my anger, but I will tell you that we are in a much better place. In fact, it would be easy to just write off my episodes of rage and chalk them up to the stress of the situation.

But I don’t want to just forget what we went through or how I acted. Because even though this crisis has passed, I know that we will face hard times again. I believe that how I acted during my herpes diagnosis was a window into the brokenness inside of me. I have things to work on and my struggles are an opportunity for growth.

Opportunity for Growth

Last Fall I started seeing a counselor and I have realized just how hard I am on myself. In the past I might have said, “I had to see a counselor”, because I am so pathetic. Today because of the work I am doing, I say, “I get to see a counselor”. You see, it does not serve me or anyone else to beat myself up. I had a choice, and I chose to seize this opportunity for growth. Seeing a counselor comes from a place of strength, courage and health, not from weakness, fear or brokenness.

In order to love others well, I must learn to love myself well. When I learn to take an honest look at myself and extend compassion, then I can see others honestly and extend compassion to them. I want to love my husband, my kids, my friends, my family, and the people that I minister to with a deeper more profound love.

My struggles created an opportunity for growth. I get to see a counselor to help me become a more loving person. And it is super hard work, but in the long run, I know that it will be worth it. I am seizing the opportunity.


Announcements – I am super excited to teach Awaken Love in April with limited spots available.

For Wives Starting April 6, Wednesdays at 12 central time meeting over Zoom for 6 weeks

For Wives Starting April 4, Monday Nights at 7 pm meeting in Plymouth, MN for 6 weeks

Email Ruth.awakenlove@gmail.com for more information or to sign up!

Equipping Pastors to Talk About SEX

During my years of teaching men and women about sex, I’ve often thought, I would love the opportunity to speak to pastors about what I’ve learned in classes. Most pastors want to help marriages, but many of them may not understand the impact of their silence, awkwardness, or messages. Many of the resources that they’ve looked to for direction in the area of sexuality are skewed towards men and ignorant about the needs of women. So, when the opportunity to record classes that address the topic of sexuality in order to equip pastors came up this summer, I jumped at it.

Mini Courses

I’ve been preparing for a couple of months now and have outlined 3 Mini Courses. Each course has 9 separate topics and I will create a 12-15 minute video for each topic – a total of 27 topics.  Filming takes place this week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday I will teach 2 course live to a group.  Though I am super excited, I know that I have a lot on my plate.

My 3 Courses are

  • Understanding God’s Design for Sex
  • Opening Up the Conversation of Sex in the Church
  • 9 Messages the Church Needs to Hear About Sex.

Here’s a small preview of one of the courses…

9 Messages the Church Needs to Hear About Sex – both corporately and individually.

  1. Our Sexuality Should Always Lead Back to God
  2. God Created Sex for Wives as Much as Husbands
  3. God Wants to Provide Healing – Even in the Area of Sexuality
  4. Simple Answers About Sexuality Don’t Always Exist – Equip and Challenge God’s Involvement
  5. We all Need to Acknowledge Our Own Challenges Addressing Sex
  6. God Never Intended Sex to Become a Duty
  7. Creating an Amazing Sex Life that Lasts a Lifetime Does Not Just Happen – It Takes Hard Work
  8. Porn is a Huge Problem That Must Be Faced Head On – We Battle Porn with Intimacy
  9. We Need to Stop Pointing Fingers at Others – Is Your Marriage Something that Others Want to Emulate?

Eventually I hope to spend time breaking down some of the topics in blogs. But the Mini Course videos will also be available to equip pastors and lay people at Christian Leaders Institute  for Free.

Equipping and teaching pastors is both a huge privilege and a giant responsibility. I am praying that God would give me energy and passion and that the stories I share will communicate God’s truth .

Will you please pray for me as I encourage pastors to step into speaking truth about sex. Will you pray for soft hearts to hear the message and courage to take up the torch?

Wives

Join me for 6 weeks of transformation by signing up for an Awaken Love Class. Check out my schedule for zoom and in person classes.

Married Sex Conference

Don’t forget to sign up for the online Married Sex Conference. They have an AMAZING line up of Christian speakers that you can listen to for an entire year, and you will receive a free  hard copy of Gary Thomas’s and Debra Fileta’s new book Married Sex.

Use code: MARRIEDSEX10 at checkout, to get 10% off the regular admission price

Sign up Now

Here I Am Again

It always feels awkward to start writing after being absent for so long.

I could blame it all on Covid, but honestly, I was about at the breaking point anyway. I needed to just breath a bit – to have the freedom to struggle in my own marriage and sex life without feeling like I needed to write about it, or glean some deep understanding to share. Truthfully, I am just like you. A broken person that sometimes struggles with sex and marriage: that becomes self-righteous, critical, demanding, and darn right nasty.

This Spring I really scared myself. I got so angry at my husband that I suddenly didn’t know who I was. With tears streaming down my face I remember thinking afterward, “that is not who I am, and not who I want to be!” How in the world did I get here?

You don’t need to know the details. What you need to know is that I am reaching out for help. Because what boiled out of me in those moments of anger was not just about my husband. I have wounds deep in my soul that need healing and I will not miss this opportunity. So I am diving into some really hard work and I have no doubt that God is going to meet me in the middle of my mess.

Awaken Love Ministry

As far as Awaken Love, I have been wrestling with what God wants. Marriage ministry can feel overwhelming. Sometimes I feel completely inadequate, other times I feel so sure of God’s calling in my life. Keeping my heart soft to hear peoples hard stories while not carrying their burden requires constant surrender to God. Though I know that Awaken Love is important ministry, I cannot and will not continue without God’s blessing and protection.

A couple of months ago, I wasn’t sure I would ever write about sex again, and now here I am. Though I won’t make any promises about how often I will blog, or what I will write about, it does feel good to put my thoughts… my feelings…. my life… to pen.

What God gives me and breathes into me, I share with you. And so even though it feels a little terrifying, here I am again.

Now for Some Exciting Awaken Love News!

I am so excited to be part of the AMAZING line up of Christian Speakers, Authors, and Pastors  for the ONLINE conference Married Sex.

Check out some of the topics you’ll hear covered at the conference:

  • How to Prioritize Sex in Busy Seasons — Levi and Jennie Lusko
  • How to WOW Your Spouse: Sexual techniques, tips, and tricks — Ruth Buezis
  • Awesome Sex For a Lifetime! — Dr. Kim Kimberling
  • Dealing with a High Drive vs. Low Drive Spouse — Dr. Corey Allan
  • How Porn Impacts Marriage — Dave & Ashley Willis
  • A Great Sex Life in the Stage of Raising Young Kids! — Cait & Cole Zick
  • How Your Past Bagagge Impacts Your Sex Life, and How to Break Free- Lisa & John Bevere
  • Why God Says Sex is Good – Christine Caine
  • The Five Senses of Sex – Gary Thomas
  • Your Sex Problem Might Be a Relationship Problem IF… – Debra Fileta
  • AND SO MUCH MORE
Full of comprehensive, practical, and helpful resources we want to help you create the sex life you want. Access the material for an entire year on your own schedule, and walk away with a solid understanding and renewed appreciation for married sex – God’s way!

Zoom Awaken Love Classes Offered Soon!

Zoom Classes with Ruth Coming in January

If you have always wished you could take an Awaken Love class, now is your chance. This January, I am hosting classes over zoom so that anyone in the world can join.  Classes will be kept to a maximum size of 12 participants so don’t wait to sign up.

Learn God’s truth, strengthen your marriage and transform the culture of sex in the church starting from the ground up.

 

Awaken Love for Wives

Tuesday Lunch Time meeting Jan 5, 12, 19, 26, Feb 2, 9 from 12:30 – 2:00 pm US central time.

Or

Wednesday Night meeting Jan 6, 13, 20, 27, Feb 3, 10 from 7:00 0 8:30 pm US central time.

Cost of 6 classes is $20, plus buy your own copy of Awaken Love on Amazon. Email Ruth at ruth.awakenlove@gmail.com to sign up and get the special registration link,

To learn more about classes go to Awaken Love for Wives.

 

Men’s Edition

Wednesday nights meeting Feb 17, 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24 from 7:00-8:30 US central time

Cost of class is $20. Email Ruth at ruth.awakenlove@gmail.com to sign up.

To learn more about classes go to Men’s Edition

Zoom – Taking Awaken Love Classes Online

Recently I offered my first Awaken Love class for wives on Zoom. To be honest, I wasn’t super excited about it, because I love teaching in person. I had a hard time imagining how we could create the same safe environment to share, encourage and pray for one another over a computer screen. But I was pleasantly surprised. Using Zoom for class created a terrific way to connect personally while maintaining a certain degree of anonymity. Class was fun, rewarding, and trans formative for the women. More importantly, using zoom will make Awaken Love available to more women around the world.

Already I am planning to start another 6 week Awaken Love Zoom class on Wednesday May 27th. So if you are interested check out the details and send me an email to sign up. I am looking forward to meeting wives from all over the world that want to create an amazing sex life with their husband.

If you want to know more about how a Zoom class works, then read on…

Zoom Class

The first night of Zoom class, introductions quickly disclosed a fun diversity to our Minnesota core of women – Alabama, Texas, Carolina and even Australia joined in. In our group of 11, marriages ranged from a few months to over 30 years.  Some women wanted a fresh start, others were in the middle of rebuilding, some struggled to hang on, and others were finally ready to work on their sex life after ignoring it for years.

How it Worked

To maximize class time, we focused on discussion to help create community. I asked the women to watch the Awaken Love videos before each class to get the bulk of the teaching. During class we talked our way through Song of Songs, each shared our answers to the mixer questions, and checked in on our progress.

Teaching focused on the main content and deeper insights. I tried to leave time and space for questions beyond the scope of the curriculum. Every one participated and the women quickly became more comfortable sharing about their own situations while searching for answers. For these women, talking with other Christian women with a degree of anonymity over Zoom helped bring freedom.

The most rewarding part of class has been hearing and seeing how God is working. I am always shocked at the overall transformation of the group after just a few weeks. One wife started class critical of her husband but gradually softened. She now chooses to affirm the small ways her husband is trying. Another wife with past sexual abuse is experiencing increased intimacy with her husband during sex. A woman that carried years of shame recognizes she needs to forgive herself for her lost innocence. The changes in the women are visible and though some might not notice, I see their transformation both individually and as a community of women in Christ. They talk easier, linger longer, and their hope is evident. Small step of change that happen when we intentionally take a step can spur on radical transformation.

Moving Forward

With only one week left, already the women are asking about next steps to continue the journey. Many great resources exist to help, Christian sex blogs like Hot Holy and Humorous, The Forgiven Wife, Intimacy in Marriage, Oysterbed7 or Podcasts like Java with Juli, Sexy Marriage Radio or One Extraordinary Marriage. But women also need to cultivate a supportive community, and thus the importance of facilitating an Awaken Love video class with friends.

I constantly hear testimonies of how Awaken Love has impacted women because a friend dared to facilitate a video class. Around the Twin Cities, many women have heard about Awaken Love and hosting classes. In other a areas, a few dedicated women constantly host classes because they have witnessed the transformation.

If you have never taken a class and want to know what Awaken Love is like in a group, join me for a Zoom class. You will not regret the time you invest in your marriage because we all have things to learn and areas to grow. Catch the vision and don’t miss out. Only 12 seats available!

Does Sex Restore Your Soul

It has been a strange couple of weeks filled with highs, lows and acclimating to a new reality. The Coronavirus has changed the way we live and directly impacted thousands of lives. If you are going through really hard things, I pray that God will meet you in the midst and that you will experience a comfort that only comes from Him.  Though my life has not been directly impacted, life in general has felt like a bit of a roller coaster.

Highs

Just three short weeks ago I was coming off of an amazing weekend of sharing about Awaken Love. I had been invited to teach a break out session at a large women’s conference called Set Apart. The conference theme Rest for your Soul inspired the title of my session, “Does Sex Restore Your Soul”.

Women packed my sessions, from wise gray-haired grandmothers to young singles. They came looking for God’s truth and real conversations about sex. After sharing my story, we tackled 6 of the most common lies that make sex feel like a duty – rather than something that restores our soul.

Lies like…

  • Sex is for Men
  • It is all about the destination
  • Sex will magically fall into place
  • We need to protect ourselves from our husband
  • Sex is just physical
  • God may have created sex, but He doesn’t really bless it or want to be involved

These common lies seep into our thinking without us even noticing. They warp what we believe about sex and fool us into missing out on a powerful gift that can transform our marriage from surviving to thriving. When we recognize the lies and understand God’s truth then we can begin to step into a new way of living. You can listen to a recording of the talk below.

In between the session women stopped by my table to grab a copy of my book Awaken Love and to encourage me. Many thanked me for a much needed message in the church. If we are going to get marriage right, then we must start talking about sex.

A New World

Three short weeks later, the world has changed. The coronavirus has shut down all but the essential activities. Many are working from home without church, sports, or dinners out. Our worlds have become smaller as our home and our immediate family fill our nights and days.

We all handle life differently. When the quarantine kicked into gear, I immediately looked for some projects to pour my energy into. When I keep my hands busy, my mind rests easier. Already I am halfway through building a nightstand out of walnut. Next on the docket, building a bigger closet in my bedroom. A classic introvert, as long as my girls are good and my husband is by my side, I can handle anything.

Comfort

During this time, sex has been a comfort, an escape from hard realities and just good entertainment. We have no kids at home, a quiet house, and 24 hours a day together. Though your situation may be different, don’t discount the power of sex to restore your soul.

When you feel exhausted from home schooling, instead of vegging out in front of the tv, climb into bed with your husband and get naked.  After unbearably long days of care-taking, work, or reading the latest news, stop and find comfort in your husband’s arms. When you feel like you might go stir crazy, try something daring that will knock the socks off your spouse. Don’t put sex to the side, make it a priority and see how it can transform you.

As we reel from the sudden change of our reality, don’t miss the opportunity to restore your soul in the simple pleasure of sex with your spouse. God intended sex to be life giving refreshment that can restore your soul.

Zoom Class

If you have always wanted to take an Awaken Love class For Wives with me, I am offering a class using Zoom as a meeting platform. Participants will watch the videos in advance and we will spend our time sharing and discussing what we learned. We meet Monday nights from 7:30 – 9 pm central time starting April 6th. If you are interested, email ruth.awakenlove@gmail.com for more details.