The Sticker Book
Micca Monda Campbell

"Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer."I Corinthians 7:5a (NIV)

It took creative measures when it came to potty training our daughter. No sweet treat was good enough to get her ready for her big girl pants. It was going to take something she really loved to lure her into this next phase of life.

Suddenly, it came to me. My daughter loves stickers. This gave me a great idea. I hung a large poster board on the bathroom wall. With colorful markers, I divided the poster into weekly sections. In a basket on the floor, I placed an assortment of sparkly stickers. Peyton's eyes widened with excitement when I showed her my newly decorated bathroom. "Each time you go to the potty, I will give you a sticker to place on the poster board," I explained. "When you get a certain amount of stickers, I'll take you to the store where you can pick out a prize."

I've never seen a diaper come off so quickly before in my life. The stickers were working!

My husband also noticed how well the training was going. One day, he came in from work and tossed a sticker book on the kitchen counter where I was preparing dinner. "What's that?" I questioned.

"I noticed how the stickers were working for Peyton and I thought maybe they'd work for you too," he answered. I narrowed my eyes at him and thought what is he up to?

"Every time you and I have a romantic night, I'll give you a sticker to put in your sticker book. When you fill it up, I'll take you anywhere in the world you want to go." He continued with a huge grin on his face.

It's not that I didn't want to have romantic evenings with my husband, but most of the time tiredness trumped romance. You know what I mean? As women, we wear a lot of hats that require much responsibility. We are constantly pouring ourselves out for others. At the end of the day, all I want is a soothing bath and a warm bed. I suppose my husband could interpret that the wrong way. He probably feels like he only gets my leftovers. This is not God's plan and why He gave married couples this passage:

The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (I Corinthians 7:4-6).

God must have known both women and men would struggle in this area. Whoever is holding out in this, the Bible is clear. The cause of withholding should be mutual, short lived, and discussed openly and privately between husband and wife. The reason for this is so that no one falls into temptation. Communication also helps your spouse hold on to their confidence when they know the reason behind the struggle. After I shared with my husband the cause for my tiredness, he started pitching in around the house. Nothing is sexier than a man running the vacuum!

Working together can bring about great results. On the other hand, buying your spouse a sticker book might also move things in the right direction. I'll be honest. I've not yet filled my sticker book, but I'm working on it. The best reward is really not about visiting some exotic place. The best reward is sticking it out with my husband as we learn to communicate, work together and trust each other through the struggles of everyday life.

Dear Lord, my spouse is a gift to me from You. Give me the courage to talk honestly and openly with him/her. Use communication to deepen and strengthen our relationship in all areas. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell

Visit Micca’s blog

The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

Confessions of an Adulterous Woman: Lies that got me there, Truths that brought me back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

Check out Help! I Think I Misplaced My Sex Drive! for more free encouragement from one girlfriend to another

Application Steps:
Sometimes taking to your spouse is all you need. Other times seeking medical care is the answer. A hormone imbalance can stifle your drive. Being overweight, anxious or depressed can also cause a loss of desire. Start by being open with your mate. Use the "Reflections" question below to get you started. You'll be glad you did.

Why might you be holding out? Is it because you don't feel sexy, loved, or appreciated? Are you stressed, addicted to porn, or struggling with lust for someone other than your spouse? Are there other reasons?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 5:21, "Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of God." (NIV)

© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful devotional! My ministry area is in a church as the Executive Secretary to the Senior Pastor - and several other pastors. Over the 12+ years I've worked with him, I've seen many troubled marriages that our Pastor has attempted to "fix". Most have been healed but there were a few that were just too "broken". Of all the broken ones, there was adultry involved. There's nothing sadder than to see a young couple in the grips of Satan and his lies. Oh that we would all take God's words to heart.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for not assuming it always the woman holding out on the man... in my marriage it is the other way around... I've learned to just live without it, but I know that is not the way God intended it to be.

Blogger Jenny said...

Thanks Micca! Though I realize this is no laughing matter, I giggled out loud imagining the grin on my husband's face if he were to conjure up such a plan. So looking forward to hearing from you at She Speaks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Micca. As I age I srugggle with the lack of desire that has nothing to do with my husband. I love him very very much. I am on hormone replacement and posssibly this has made it worse and not better. I have discussed with my doctor and she says it is a combination of other meds I'm taking that I need to live. My goal now is to get healthier with the food I eat and exercise, but try having a conversation with a man about these things. He takes it personally andthe conversation never turns out well. Please pray for us as this is constantly a problem. thank you and God Bless you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished my personal devotions and decided to check today's reading before getting busy with my day. Wow. God is so amazing. I read today's devotion and read the one in the link and I'm sitting here saying I know this is for me. This has become a major struggle in my marriage. While I know it's a common problem, I've been feeling lost and frustrated for some time. I too have lost all desire for intimacy and I have been praying, quoting all the scritptures in these two devotions to myself. I've been married for nearly 30 years and my husband has developed a stronger sex drive than ever, especially in the last two or three years. I'm trying to choose my words well here. His requests are um more than I can take at times and my sound sleep is disrupted almost everynight. I had a low drive before but lately I find myslef trying to avoid sex any way I can. Counseling is out, he only attends church on holidays, if that and therapy is a joke to him. I've expressed my need for sleep and the likelihood that I'd be more interested if "every day" happened less often. I really apologize if I'm being too blunt. I am just glad I read this devotion today. I am a women's leader at my church and I feel like this area of my life makes me hypocritical as I will quickly use these scriptures to help other women figure out where God stands on this issue. Please pray I find a meeting place with my husband concerning these issues. I truely want God's best for both of us, I appreciate unloading here. These are not issues I can easily share with my pastor, that would be pretty uncomfortable!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea for potty training and for marriages. At least, in marriages it will get you talking and in potty training definitely a great idea to try!!! Thanks.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too know this was not a laughing kinda devotion but I could just imagine my hubby doing the same thing as yours.
We were together intimatly before marriage and once we did get married guilt sat in so much that I never never wanted him. We went that way for well over six years.
So now after four children and lots of prayer God has made that one of the most important parts of our marriage. Being tired or feeling frumpy has taken a backseat to being with him. The more we talk about what God is teaching us and the more he takes on the role of spiritual leader of our home the more I desire him. God is trully amazing!
One tip I would give to ladies...if you have had a long day with the kids and the hubs gives you that look tell him that you need an hour. Go into the bathroom, take a bubble bath, shave, read your bible..PRAY!
After he has put the kids to sleep emerge from the bathroom in a better frame of mind, you both wont regret it:)

Anonymous Kaara said...

This was a great post! I think that many marriages suffer in this area silently. We are too embarrassed to talk about it...But the reality is that this is so real...Whether you have a great relationship with your husband or a struggling relationship.

I was reading the response by someone who felt that her husband was demanding too much from her because it was almost daily. I honestly can see how that can be too much for one person. Perhaps what you can do is come to a compromise with your husband. The passage suggests that our purpose is to please each other and fulfill each other's needs. It does not suggest that the woman is to please the man but the man must forget about the woman. I love the mutual agreement piece. We must always strive to have that balance...Where we both can be on the same page.

Can I suggest that you speak with your husband and ask him for a reasonable compromise...Recognizing that he would need to cut back and you would need to step up. You can even make a schedule of when you would like to have your intimate times, so you know to prepare your mind...You know not to wait until you are in the deep of sleep. I have found that by planning to be intimate has helped me to prepare my mind and place me in a better mood. It also builds a fun anticipation. Additionally, you may need to stimulate your creativity and do things to make that time equally special for you. What would he need to do to make you happier...and vice-versa?

The best part about this scripture is that sex is a two-way street.

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