Not Tonight, Dear, I Have a Headache
About the Guest
Not tonight, dear." Maybe you've said that often or heard it repeatedly. Robyn McKelvey, a wife to Ray for over 25 years and a mother of ten, talks honestly to women about enjoying and thriving in a sexual relationship with their husbands.
Weekend To Remember around the country as well as countless women’s events. Robyn has written SOS: Sick of Sex and a devotional book, Say it loud! — Becoming Your Husband’s Personal Cheerleader. Robyn and Ray married in 1988. Robyn...more
Robyn McKelvey, a wife to Ray for over 25 years and a mother of nine, talks honestly to women about enjoying and thriving in a sexual relationship with their husbands.
Not Tonight, Dear, I Have a Headache
Bob: A lot of Christian couples are struggling in their marriage relationship because of a history of sexual sin prior to marriage. Robyn McKelvy says it’s time to begin a conversation about the subject so that there can be some breakthroughs in your marriage.
Robyn: The problem is—a lot of Christians aren’t talking about biblical sexual intimacy, even in their own homes. We need to find opportunities to make sure that we’re talking about it in our homes—talking about it with our best friends. It’s time for us to have a voice, because we have the truth about sexual intimacy.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, January 12th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today to a wife who wants to get the conversation going around biblical, God-glorifying marital intimacy. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
Dennis: Bob, I have a question for you.
Dennis: What does Pepto-Bismol® have to do with sex?
Bob: See—I’m thinking the same thing! That is Pepto-Bismol on the front cover of this book; isn’t it?
Dennis: It is. This is one of the best covers for a book I have ever seen! [Laughter]
Bob: It’s a beautiful red and white cover; and then, right in the middle of it,—
Dennis: Well, no. There—there are petals. No—you’ve got to paint it, Bob—those are rose petals around—kind of framing the book. [Laughter] A white cover—and then it says, “S-O-S”—and then there is a tablespoon—
Dennis: —with what my mother used to give me.
Bob: The pink medicine.
Dennis: And the name of the book?
Bob: S.O.S.: Sick of Sex.
Dennis: And we have the guest, who put Pepto-Bismol on her cover, right—right with us. Robyn McKelvy joins us on FamilyLife Today. [Laughter]
Bob: Now, let me just say—
—the author of the book is a mother of ten. [Laughter] Can we just acknowledge that right off the bat?
Robyn: Can we just acknowledge that I do love sex, and I’m not sick of it? [Laughter]
Dennis: First of all, Bob and I want to thank you for coming into the studio and for doing a broadcast on this book.
Dennis: Now, it’s one thing to write a book and talk about this like you did. It’s another thing to come in here and sit across our—kind of our kitchen table in here—have a conversation with two guys.
Dennis: I just want to thank you for being a courageous—a courageous woman. [Laughter]
Robyn: Okay; well, let’s get to it.
Bob: Okay; but before we dive in, we should let our listeners know—you and your husband Ray speak at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. Ray pastors a church just outside Nashville, Tennessee. This spring, you guys are going to be speaking at the getaways in San Francisco; in Jacksonville, Florida; Hilton Head, South Carolina. I know Ray is going to be speaking at one of the getaways in Reston, Virginia, just outside Washington DC.
You guys have been speaking at these events for years.
I know you would agree with me—there’s really no better weekend for a couple—than to get away, just the two of you—spend time focusing on your marriage, focusing on one another, building into that relationship. I’m mentioning all that, here at the beginning of this program, because we want to encourage listeners to take advantage of a special offer we’re making this week and next week—where you can attend an upcoming getaway—and if you pay the regular rate for yourself, your spouse comes free. This is the best offer we make all year.
Now is the time for you to take advantage of this offer and come join us at a getaway near where you live—or decide to go to Hilton Head for the weekend, or Jacksonville, or San Francisco and be with the McKelvy’s—or come to Branson, where I’m going to be speaking in April.
We’ve got getaways in great locations all around the country. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com—and there’s a map available there and all the details—you can register online. If you have any questions, want to call?—our toll-free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY. Take advantage of this special offer—pay the regular rate for yourself and your spouse comes free. It’s good this week and next week at a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
Now, Robyn, our listeners need to know that the book you’ve written—you’re a mother of ten children.
Bob: Four boys / six girls. So, [laughs] what prompted you to write a book called Sick of Sex?
Robyn: Let me just say this—doing a small Weekend to Remember conference at our church. We had a church plant, back in Kansas City—and doing this small Weekend to Remember conference, which I had your permission to do.
Robyn: I was talking to the ladies and talking about the differences that we have. I said to the ladies, “Come on, ladies, we want sex too.” Afterwards, two ladies came to me, at two different times; and they said, “Robyn, I don’t want sex.” These ladies were younger ladies than I was—kind of newly-married. I couldn’t understand how they didn’t want to have a phenomenal, intimate relationship on a regular basis with their husband.
So that’s what started this book—that I thought would take a year to write—and it took me five years to write! [Laughter] I thought I could get it out here because there are so many things that come at us that make us “sick of sex.”
Bob: So you’ve talked to lots of women—
Robyn: Oh! More than you would want to know!
Bob: —who are taking the Pepto-Bismol because—for whatever reason. Let’s talk about some of these reasons.
Dennis: Well, before you do that Bob—just what percent would you say?—just guess. I know this is not scientific—but if you were estimating—what percent of married women are S.O.S.?
Robyn: Can I just say this? From talking to married women—and let’s just even talk about the fatigue—I would say probably 80 percent of married women are sick of sex, with a huge S.O.S.-cry flashing.
Bob: You’re saying that the reason for that—maybe the biggest reason—is because women are just exhausted.
Robyn: Exhausted, overwhelmed, tired: “I’m doing too much,” “I have to work too,” “I need my rest,”—just issues—“I’m tired of the relationship I have with him,” Just fatigue; yes.
Bob: Dennis used to say that—that for a lot of women, intimacy in marriage would come right behind sorting the hangers in the closet on their—
Dennis: —and sewing for pleasure.
Bob: —on their priority list of things to do.
Robyn: We laugh at that, but it’s the truth. I don’t think enough of us older women are talking to younger women—
or even talking to women, period—to find out where we’re lying when it comes to our intimacy.
Bob: I have to tell you—there have been times when Mary Ann has said to me, “I thought you were tired.” And I have said to her, “That has nothing to do—”
Robyn: Yes. [Laughter]
Bob: “—with this!”
Robyn: Yes, that’s like saying —
Bob: I would say, “I was tired, but so…?”
Robyn: —“But Sweetie pie, come on!” Yes. [Laughter]
Bob: But, for a wife, if she’s tired, tired beats whatever other—
Dennis: It trumps.
Bob: —interest is coming along.
Robyn: It trumps—it trumps intimacy. And let me just say this—I know that it trumps intimacy, because the enemy of intimacy wants it to trump intimacy with their Heavenly Father. That’s the bottom line of this.
Bob: Okay; tie those two together, because I don’t think a lot of men or women are tying together intimacy with our Heavenly Father and intimacy in marriage.
Robyn: Well, let me just say this—sexual intimacy is a picture of the intimacy / how close knit God wants to have intimacy with us.
It’s a picture of His relationship—this inter-tangling intimacy that He wants with His bride, the church. There is no way that we can look at the intimacy that we have with one another—not you, Bob—but my husband, you know—
Robyn: — and not see that it has everything to do with us reflecting Christ—
Robyn: —and with our openness to the intimacy that we have with Christ.
Dennis: Okay; let’s go back to a question Bob asked earlier. What keeps women in this state of S.O.S.? What contributes to this besides fatigue? Because there are other things, from a cultural standpoint, that are coming at them today.
Robyn: Oh, there are so many. Let me tell you—there are 20 chapters. Do you know every chapter in this book starts with “S.O.S.” because there’s a reason?!
Number one—the world tells us we have to look a certain way to even be sensual—so we’re ashamed of our shapes.
Okay; the culture tells us to be ashamed of our shape.
The culture tells us you don’t have to stamp out that stuff that was your old system: “You hang onto that stuff!” So, as a result, we have all of this stuff that hits us. It attacks us every time. Okay; I see both of you guys—go right ahead. [Laughter]
Bob: Well, you tell a story in regard to this about a woman you know—you call her Olivia—
Bob: —and some of her stuff.
Robyn: Can I just say this? Olivia is not just any woman—she is probably one of my top three best friends.
Robyn: Okay? This is one of my sisters in Christ that—she’s phenomenal; because she is the one person that you know you’re going to get honesty from—
Robyn: —whatever comes up. Olivia—we have been friends from the cradle—we grew up together. We have pictures of us that were black and white from the Brownie cameras, way back in the day—that’s how long we’ve been friends. We haven’t been just casual friends—we’ve been very deep friends—
—so not to know her story until I’m writing this book—and then she comes to me and she says, “My first sexual experience was rape.” She never shared that with me! This is the thing—the enemy has us wrapped up in shame, and guilt, and fear, and not wanting to talk—so we don’t talk about sexual intimacy—even with our friends. I’m here to say that the Olivia, who told me that story, is not the same Olivia today—that’s the restoration of Jesus Christ.
Bob: Let me take you back before the restoration, because I don’t think we all fully understand the impact of sexual violence or sexual abuse in the past—how that can still cloud the marital bedroom, 20 years later.
Bob: Talk about that.
Robyn: Well, let me just say that for Olivia it was; because—number one—the enemy keeps you so bound up in your shame, in your guilt, in your sin, in your incorrect information.
He has you so bound that you don’t want to even get out of it: “This is the way it is. This is the way that it’s going to be, and I can’t go back and change that.” No; you might not be able to change that, but God sure covers it!
Bob: When you talk about sexual violence against a woman—she didn’t do anything wrong there / she was violated—and yet, there’s still a sense of shame that comes with that, even if you didn’t do anything wrong; right?
Robyn: Yes; and as a result of her being violated, she got to a place where she said: “I don’t even care anymore. Let me just go ahead and give my body to anybody.”
Robyn: So she went through years, and years, and years of being promiscuous. As a result, when she got into marriage—there was even promiscuity with her husband prior to marriage—and they were believers by this point. So she got into marriage and she’s like, “If it was so wrong then, and he was the leader of the relationship, why is it right now?
“Something didn’t transfer in my mind that it was right.” She was living in her marriage with this sin of sex, which was sexual promiscuity or sexual intimacy before marriage. It wasn’t right—it’s false intimacy.
Bob: What brought about the change in her life and in her attitude toward sexuality?
Robyn: I say, “A good friend.”
Bob: You’re smiling because—
Robyn: I’m that friend. I mean, as older women, we can’t let go of these younger women. Sometimes it takes more than a day or a conversation for some of these battles to be won.
Dennis: Oh, yes!
Robyn: We have to walk through it for years, and years, and years.
Dennis: Did you find that she was angry as a result of everything that had occurred?
Robyn: Absolutely! And let me say this—her anger wasn’t just toward the world—it was toward her husband. Number one—because he was the believer; and yet, she felt violated by him because of their premarital sex.
Dennis: We make the statement at the Weekend to Remember—
—that if you allow anger to reside in your soul, it is toxic. It will short-circuit the kind of sexual response that I believe God built within a man, or a woman, for that matter.
For your friend, Olivia—undoubtedly, she was not just bound up in shame, at that point, but she couldn’t enjoy her husband because she—as you mentioned, she was angry.
Dennis: She was ticked off at him—
Dennis: —full of bitterness.
Robyn: Yes; that’s it. You get angry and you don’t deal with it; and it grows, and grows, and grows. Then your light doesn’t shine for the world to see that God desires marriage—and He desires for two people involved in marriage to have a very exclusive, but an intimate, sexual relationship often.
Bob: Can you share with us some of the breakthrough points, as you’ve walked with Olivia over the last five years—from her place of shame, and pain, and promiscuity, and sexual guilt, and sexual sin—
—to where she is, today, living honorably before the Lord in this area and enjoying her sexual relationship with her husband?
Robyn: Can I just say—I can’t share everything, because we are still walking through some of it—but let me just say this—Olivia is one person—my husband and I talk about her often—she is one person who desires to honor God. So when I talk to her, or when I tell her something, or show her something in the Word, she does it—
Robyn: —because she wants to honor God. She’s at this place, where she has been transformed / she wants the transforming work of God. So when she sees it, she immediately does it. That’s one of the things we talk about—becoming an immediate obeyer. If you see the truth, you need to walk in that truth—not over time—but immediately; because it’s the truth.
Dennis: What you’re illustrating here is what all of us need. We need to live life in relationship and come out of the—of the dark around some of these things that are hidden if we’re going to be liberated from them.
Robyn: Yes; that’s right.
Dennis: There are a lot of our listeners, who are listening to us right now—they are denying that certain things occurred 10, 15, 20, or more years ago.
There’s one other threat, I believe, to women today that we don’t talk much about today; but I think it’s had a dramatic impact on wives’ attitudes toward sex. It goes back to a group of women—and you don’t hear this term very often today: “Women’s liberation.” It was a group of women, who said, “We want to be independent of men.” One of them said, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
Dennis: You know? The point was: “You don’t need one! You don’t need them.” If your attitude toward men is that you don’t need them, how can the attitude about sex, which is the most intimate of all of the components of a relationship that a husband and wife experience in the marriage relationship that occur. Just comment on that if you would.
Robyn: Just let me say that I have a section in this book where I talk about the need for men and women to get a biblical view of sexual intimacy. One of the biggest things that we live with is the lies of the enemy. The lie of the enemy would say: “You know what? Why isn’t it better to have a relationship with somebody you’re like?—somebody you correspond with?” Now, he’s not saying just to havethat relationship; but “Why can’t you have this intimate sexual relationship with somebody you’re like?” It’s a lie—it is not truth! You live out of this falsehood; because it’s easier to live with a lie, to relate to this lie, and to have the relationship that you think that you need with this thing that is false instead of fighting for truth.
Bob: What I love about what you’re saying in the book, and what you’re talking about here, is that all of this—our sexuality / every aspect of our life—needs to be governed by and calibrated by what God says is true—not what we think is true, not what we feel is true, not what our past tells us is true, not what the culture says is true.
If we want the relationship to be what God designed it to be, then we have to calibrate it according to His standards—not according to the past, or the present, or the culture—right?
Robyn: That’s right. It’s absolutely right. Not only what God—He created it to be / this is the thing—it’s His creation. This was God’s idea—it wasn’t a handshake / it was an intimate time between two different people that had two different organs coming together—so entwining.
I don’t think that we’re ready to get there, because it’s so embarrassing; because we have so much shame and we have so much fear that my stuff is going to come out. Well, let’s forget about our stuff; and let’s just start talking about God’s creation of sexual intimacy—and biblical sexual intimacy.
Dennis: You’re really talking about reprograming the way people think.
Robyn: It’s time, Dennis. It’s past time.
Dennis: It really is. The culture really has done a great job of brainwashing our young people about sex—it has no boundaries / it’s no longer reserved for marriage. You have a whole group of young people today—in their teens, twenties, and thirties—experimenting / even married people experimenting outside the marriage relationship—and they’re wondering why it doesn’t work in the marriage relationship. They’re bringing all of these bags into the marriage / unpacking them, and they don’t know what to do with them.
Robyn: A lot of these bags they’re choosing to keep in the marriage relationship—so we even have all of this stuff packed up in our marital bedrooms. We have just so much stuff!
The problem is—a lot of Christians aren’t talking about biblical sexual intimacy, even in their own homes. We need to find opportunities to make sure that we’re talking about it in our homes, talking about it with our best friends, talking about it with whoever will listen.
It’s time for us to have a voice, because we have the truth about sexual intimacy.
Bob: Talking about it in your homes. Now, you’re the mother of ten kids.
Bob: They know you wrote this book.
Robyn: They do.
Bob: Have they read the book?
Robyn: Let me just even say—not only have they read the book—a couple of years ago, when I was doing some editing on the book, one of my daughters—because, you know, with ten, we don’t go out to dinner a lot.
Robyn: So I’m editing the book in the middle of cooking dinner. My computer is on the end of the counter, and I’m going over to stir a pot. My 14-year-old, at this time, sat down and started reading what I was editing. She was at this place, where she is like, “Mommy, did you write this?” I said, “Yes, ma’am.” She says, “Mom, can I give a friend of mine this portion?” I said, “Whatever you need to do.”
She takes a part of that, copies it to a file, and sends it to a friend; because at 14 years old, her friend—
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Robyn: —was already involved in a sexual relationship and was getting false information.
My 14-year-old saw truth in what was written, based on God’s Word, and wanted to give her friend truth to be able to stamp out the lie she was living.
Bob: The conversations in your home with your kids in this area are appropriate—
Bob: —but candid; right?
Robyn: Let me just say this—I think that anytime you start talking too specifically about your sexual relationship with your husband, you are doing verbal pornography with your children.
Bob: Right; I agree.
Robyn: They don’t need that.
Robyn: They need to know that God created sex—that it is good / that it is honoring to Him. They need to know that mommy and daddy are sexually involved often. [Laughter] Okay? It’s important that our kids know that in order to keep your intimate relationship with the Lord at a place where it is vital and vibrant, you have to meet with Him often.
Dennis: So the question for you is: “Were you ‘sick of sex?’”
Robyn: Absolutely not! Let me tell you—if you are “sick of sex,” all you are doing is crying S.O.S. “Sick of sex” is a state that you need to come out of—and thus, the Pepto-Bismol.
Bob: —on the front cover.
Dennis: I agree with you. Frankly, this Book right here—and I’m not pointing to yours—
Robyn: Absolutely! I’ve got mine with me; absolutely.
Dennis: —I’m pointing to the Bible. This Book right here is the truth about who created sex in the first place—it was not an invention of man.
Robyn: That’s right.
Dennis: God created—He created them male and female—
Dennis: —and He created us with a mind and a heart, which are the most important sex organs that we have. We’ve got to get it right in our heads—between our ears—
Robyn: That’s right.
Dennis: —to be thinking rightly about what sex is all about. That’s what you do in this book. Frankly, this would be—this would be a great gift for a couple getting married; because if you start out right / with the right attitude—and a lot aren’t today / a lot are ending up—ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the road—they’ve lived in the midst of this and they have all kinds of Pepto-Bismol at their place.
Bob: We need to make sure folks understand: “Pepto-Bismol will have absolutely no effect on your—[Laughter]—I mean, you can take spoonfuls of this; and it’s not going to cure you.”
Dennis: You felt the need to add a disclaimer on FamilyLife Today?
Bob: I just wanted to make sure there weren’t some listeners, who are going, “I’m going to stop by the drugstore on the way home and just get some Pepto-Bismol and see if that fixes anything.” [Laughter] No; it’s the Bible that is the cure.
Dennis: The Bible is the cure—you’re exactly right, Bob.
Bob: And it’s what Robyn points to in the book, S.O.S.: Sick of Sex,which we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com to order a copy of the book. Again, it’s titled S.O.S.: Sick of Sex. Our website is FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call to order at 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
If you live near San Francisco, or Jacksonville, or Hilton Head, plan to join Robyn and her husband Ray at an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.
We’ve got about—between 85 and 90 of these events happening this spring in cities all across the country. I’m going to be in Branson, Missouri, for a getaway. Again, these are going on all over the country.
This week and next week we’re giving listeners an opportunity to register for an upcoming getaway—and if you pay the regular rate for yourself, your spouse comes free. It’s the best offer we make all year, and we’re making it for FamilyLife Today listeners. You have to take advantage of it this week or next week—deadline is next weekend. If you need to get information about when a getaway is going to be happening in a city near where you live, go online now to FamilyLifeToday.com; or call if you have any questions at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make plans to join us at an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. Again, take advantage of the offer that is going on now through next week—
—pay the regular rate for yourself and your spouse comes free. We hope to see you at one of these upcoming getaways.
We hope you’ll join us back tomorrow when Robyn McKelvy will be here again. We’ll talk about: “What do you do in a marriage when there’s been baggage or damage that you bring into the relationship that affects marital intimacy?” Robyn talks about that tomorrow. Hope you can join us 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’ll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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