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Journey Through Passion Pursuit

Wives, You Have More Power than You Think

Everything you do either builds up or tears down intimacy in your marriage

What would you like to be different in your marriage? Do you wish your husband were more sensitive or romantic? Or that he would help out with house work more often? Every woman has something big or small that frustrates her in marriage. The million dollar question is, “What should you do with your disappointment?”

Some women forge ahead with a husband-improvement project, while others try to cope by lowering their expectations. To be honest, I’ve tried both strategies and they didn’t make any real difference in my marriage. In fact, these approaches killed our intimacy.

A woman using her power well can go a long way in creating a marriage that is safe to explore, express, and enjoy God’s gift of sexuality.

Several years ago, I discovered a secret that has helped me move toward intimacy rather than away from it. While I’m not promising a panacea for every marriage, I will say that what I’m about to share with you has made a tremendous difference for many wives, including me: You must understand your power.

One of the greatest gauges of health in a relationship is power: Who has the power? How is it being used? In thriving relationships, power is balanced equally and is used wisely to create an atmosphere of emotional safety. On the other hand, unhealthy relationships are unbalanced in power, or power is used to control or threaten. This isn’t just true in marriage, but in every human relationship and institution, including friendship, work, and government.

The first week of Authentic Intimacy’s Bible study, Passion Pursuit, is all about becoming aware of your power as a wife. Every woman is using her power to either build up or tear down intimacy. However, because most women aren’t conscious of their power, they use it in ways that interfere with intimacy rather than working toward it. Some do this by dominating or manipulating, while others tear down by being silent and passive despite inner conflict.

In my 20 years of marriage, I’ve learned to ask myself a question when my husband and I hit a rough spot: “Am I using my power to build or tear down?”

Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” I’ve never met a woman who purposely set out to tear down her marriage, but I’ve met hundreds who have done so unintentionally.

As women study Passion Pursuit, I long for them to become aware of their God-given power in marriage. While this study is about sexual intimacy in particular, any form of intimacy is impossible in an emotionally unsafe environment. A woman using her power well can go a long way in creating a marriage that is safe to explore, express, and enjoy God’s gift of sexuality.

Click here to read the next article in Juli's series, "Journey Through Passion Pursuit."

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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