Livin’ to Love
About the Guest
Robyn McKelvey knows from speaking to women that many wives aren't enjoying the physical intimacy God designed for couples to enjoy. Robyn discloses some reasons a woman might not be fully invested in the sexual relationship with her husband, and reminds women of the privilege it is to be their husband's sole lover and companion.
Ray McKelvyRay says that his greatest accomplishment in this life was getting his beautiful wife Robyn to marry him and then to have ten beautiful children. Ray and Robyn have been married since 1988 and enjoy parenting their four sons, five daughters and wonderful niece Sadie. Ray and Robyn both travel and speak for FamilyLife’s Weekend To Remember® Marriage Conferences.
Robyn McKelvyRobyn McKelvy has devoted her life to the care and building up of others. In her home, through the church her husband pastors and through years of speaking at 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 discloses some of the reasons a woman might not be fully invested in sex with her husband, and reminds women of the privilege it is to be their husband’s sole lover and companion.
Livin’ to Love
Bob: As a wife, have you ever thought, about your husband, that all he really cares about is sex? Robyn McKelvy says a wife who becomes a student of her husband will realize he wants more.
Robyn: He wants a responder—he wants a woman who will respond to his affection. He doesn’t want somebody, who’s just sitting over there—who doesn’t take any time to be creative, who doesn’t take any time to prepare, who doesn’t give him those little, “I’m meetin’ you tonight!”; you know? It’s time for us to come out of being the prude—to not talk about it is being a prude. It’s time for us to talk about it with our husbands a lot!
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, January 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey. I'm Bob Lepine. Alright; we’re going to have a candid, real-life conversation today about husband and wife marital intimacy—ready? Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. I want to read to you something that our guest today said—this is just a little tweet—she says, “A marriage that thrives requires above-average intimacy.” If you want your marriage to thrive, your marital intimacy—we’re talking about the husband and wife sexual relationship—needs to be above average. Do you agree with that?
Dennis: Yes; I think so. I think what she’s getting at is a couple that is growing together in Christ—a couple that are doing life together / that are communicating well, verbally and emotionally—will also communicate well sexually. That doesn’t mean you won’t have adjustments. That doesn’t mean you won’t go through seasons, because there are health issues that occur that can really take away the opportunity for sexual intimacy in a marriage relationship.
Bob: And not every time that you come together, as husband and wife, is it going to be glorious; right?
Dennis: That’s right. It’s not always going to be a grand slam homerun. Sometimes there are singles.
Dennis: And, occasionally, you strike out.
Dennis: And we have a guest on the broadcast who knows a little about that, because she has ten children. She and her husband Ray speak at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. She shares the real stuff with our audiences, all around the country. Robyn McKelvy joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Robyn, welcome back.
Robyn: Thanks for having me.
Bob: We’ll mention here that you and your husband Ray are going to be at Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this spring in Hilton Head, South Carolina; and in Jacksonville, Florida; and in San Francisco, California. Ray is going to be in Reston, Virginia, as well. Folks who live near those areas should plan to come and spend the weekend with you guys.
Bob: In fact, if you don’t live in those areas, you should still plan to spend the weekend with us at one of these upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. There is nothing I can think of that is a better investment for your marriage than a couple of days where the two of you can just relax—be together; focus on your marriage; listen to what the Bible has to say about a strong, healthy, thriving marriage relationship.
I love—one person, who came to the getaway recently, who said: “You have now given us the golden, God-centered toolbox for our marriage. It was exactly what we didn’t know we needed.” I thought that was a great quote, because a lot of couples don’t know what they need until they come and find out that marriage can be better than they even imagined when they understand God’s design for marriage / understand how the gospel fits together with marriage.
Right now, we have a special offer going—if you pay the regular rate for yourself, your spouse comes free.
This offer is good through next weekend. Take advantage of it by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY right now. Get more information about when a getaway is coming to a city near you and register over the phone. Or do the work online—go to FamilyLifeToday.com. All the information you need about the getaway is there, and you can register online if you’d like. Again, the special offer is—you pay for yourself at the regular rate and your spouse comes free. It’s good through next weekend, and we hope you’ll join us at one of these upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways.
Robyn, you are an advocate for above-average intimacy in marriage.
Robyn: Yes, and let me just say this—I want you to transfer that and talk about—if you’re going to have a relationship with anybody that thrives, even with our Heavenly Father, it requires above-average intimacy. It requires letting your guard down. It requires, really, being naked and unashamed.
So, in order to have a good relationship—or a great relationship for that matter—we need to have above-average intimacy. It’s something you have to fight for.
Bob: And in the marital relationship, sexual intimacy is just one aspect.
Robyn: One aspect of that intimacy—one aspect of it. But let me just say this—we have an enemy who wants to just douse any light that you have for Christ.
Dennis: He wants to put out the spark.
Robyn: He wants to just kill the spark in such a way that it never lights again. So what does he do?—he goes for the jugular. And the jugular in a marital relationship begins with the most intimate relationship that you can have—I believe that most intimate relationship is your sexual relationship.
Dennis: This from the person who wrote the book that is entitled S.O.S.—subtitled, Sick of Sex.
Dennis: You say that up to 80 percent of all married women would admit to being sick of sex.
Robyn: And let me just say this—this is 80 percent of the women that I’ve talked to, and I talk to women! I talk to them a lot—I love talking. With loving to talk, I don’t want to just talk surface. It’s easy to find out: “How are you doing?”—“Fine.” No! I want to know how you’re doing in your relationship with your husband; okay? And then I say, “Are you guys having sex?”
Bob: You just say that!?
Robyn: I do. I don’t have an issue with that, because I’m here to say: “It’s time for us to get past surface relationships.”
Dennis: But what’s happening in the culture is that the culture is using sex to entertain us on our TVs, on our phones, on our iPads®—I mean, in all kinds of distorted and perverted ways.
Robyn: It’s everywhere!
Dennis: Pornography—it is everywhere. And it’s poisoning our kids—
Dennis: —and their attitudes toward sex.
Dennis: Robyn, you’ve written this book to reprogram women’s minds by taking them into a devotional experience.
Robyn: That’s right.
Dennis: There are how many chapters in this book?
Robyn: Twenty chapters.
Dennis: You took my copy here.
Robyn: Oh, sorry! I forgot mine.
Dennis: Yes; but each of these chapters is written as a devotional to begin to get a—
Robyn: Yes; well, kind of.
Dennis: —to begin to give them a biblical view of the sexual dimension of the marriage bed.
Robyn: And let me just say this—in order to look at the biblical view, you have to be able to stamp out the world’s view that’s been fed to you. That’s why, behind every chapter, there’s a thing that I call a jourvotional—it’s a journal and devotional. I didn’t coin this phrase—another friend of mine used it in one of her books. I just said, “Can I have it?” and she said, “Yes.”
We have this jourvotional—which is a journal—which allows you to write down your specific interlude with sexual intimacy prior to marriage: how you first heard about it / how you felt when you first heard about it.
Because how you felt—if it was given to you in a loving manner, where you could look at it and desire it for the future—great! That means that it was probably given to you in a biblical view. But if you were given it where you were ashamed of it, or it was yucky or dirty, then you were given to it in a sinful light. There’s something about the way we’re introduced to something that makes us feel like it is how it’s going to be.
Dennis: You’re a pastor’s daughter. When did it occur?—was it when you were a single woman or a married woman when you finally were transformed in your attitude toward sex and no longer conformed to the world?
Robyn: It was when I was single because, at 21 years old, I realized my need for Christ. I came to Him and said, “If I see it in your Word, I’m going to do it.” I didn’t want anybody to tell me anything; because all that I had been told, I felt like, wasn’t true. I started delving into God’s Word, regularly, with a Webster’s Dictionary and a piece of paper. If I didn’t understand a word, I would look it up and go through every definition until I found what it meant.
Robyn: I mean, you have to be passionate about something; and I wanted the truth because I could not live without God.
Bob: So was it God’s Word that began to adjust your thinking about sexuality?
Robyn: Absolutely; absolutely!—on everything / on everything!—on life, on sexuality, on men!
Robyn: On everything—God’s Word transformed me.
Bob: So did you begin marriage with a robust view of godly sexuality?
Robyn: No; I began marriage absolutely, totally afraid of it. I’ll give you even this—my wedding night didn’t culminate with sex, because I was so afraid. This godly man God had given me said to me: “Don’t worry about it. We have the rest of our lives.” And you can tell by ten kids and fifteen pregnancies that we have come a long way, baby; and that we’ve gotten it all right. [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, I’m looking here at the chapter titles of your book. I’m going, “You really have come a long way; because this one chapter is entitled”—let me just make sure I’ve got this right—“Chapter Seven: “Save Our Sensuality.”
Dennis: In fact, you say in the book, “Sensuality is a divine right.”
Robyn: A divine right; yes.
Robyn: Well, let me just say this—
Dennis: You have come a long way.
Robyn: I have! And let me say that my mom and grandmother told me some stuff about sex that stuck with me. One of my mom’s phrases was, “I’m your daddy’s sleeping pill.” It seemed like sex was pleasurable for him, but not for her.
Let me just say that sensuality and sexual intimacy doesn’t just whet your husband’s appetite for sex—it whets yours. If you go into that bedroom and you are excited about being sexually active with him—if you add some touches and some flairs and you can laugh and play—what does it do for you?—this is something that becomes fun and exciting. I do believe that that’s how God created it to be.
Bob: But you know that you’re talking to a lot of women, who go, “I have zero interest in what you just described.”
Robyn: Yes; because they’ve been so wounded by incorrect information. It’s time for us to let that stuff go. The only way to find a better—or the right or the truth of what’s being said in this book—is to let go of what you’ve been holding onto for so long.
Dennis: They’ve also been wounded—
Dennis: —by sin, because they’ve been damaged—
Bob: They’ve been sinned against; yes.
Dennis: —by men.
Robyn: Let me just say this—not only have they been damaged prior to marriage or even—but a lot of people are being damaged by men that they are married to—
Bob: —in marriage; yes.
Robyn: —in marriage. You have these women, who are like, “Oh, that can never happen.” But I am here to say, “If you get onboard with the Lord, it will happen; and it doesn’t take God long.”
Bob: But a woman is going to say: “I’m trying to think differently about sex and about intimacy in our marriage, but I just don’t feel any different. I mean, I’ve read and I’ve tried to psych myself up. I’ve thought, ‘Okay, I’ll try to do something to make tonight really special…’ but the feelings just aren’t coming along.”
Robyn: Yes; but do you always need to respond only to what feels? Sometimes, we just have to do what’s right because it’s right to do.
Bob: Are you saying to fake it?
Robyn: I’m not saying fake it. I’m just saying that we do what’s right. We get up every day and we take a shower because it’s right—because we don’t want to smell bad. You do it because it’s right, whether you feel like taking that shower or not. So we do these things.
You prepare for intimacy. Most of our biggest issue with that is that we don’t do anything to prepare for intimacy. I’m not talking about adding candles to your bedroom. Preparation for intimacy starts with your mind.
Dennis: Now every man is going to smile when I say this, but this is what you say in your book. You really call women out of being a prude.
It’s time for us to quit being so prudish. It’s time! What do you want to say, Bob? [Laughter]
Dennis: I’ve never seen Bob speechless, here on FamilyLife Today!
Bob: There are a lot of things I want to say [Laughter], but I’ll just withhold from many of them right now.
Dennis: We’re laughing about this; but, truthfully, there are men, who are nodding their heads at this point, going: “Yes! Yes; I want a partner!”
Robyn: When it comes to intimacy for a man, he wants a responder—he wants a woman who will respond to his affection. He doesn’t want somebody, who’s just sitting over there—who doesn’t take any time to be creative, who doesn’t take any time to prepare, who doesn’t give him those little, “I’m meetin’ you tonight!”; you know?
It’s time for us to come out of being the prude—to not talk about it is being a prude. It’s time for us to talk about it with our husbands a lot!
Bob: Robyn, I have to believe there have been times in your marriage with Ray when he has had interest and you just were not there—when you have said to him, “Baby, no.”
Robyn: It’s in the book—it’s in the book. [Laughter] Let me just say this—it is in the book, because I was having lunch with some girlfriends—they laughed, because they knew how much I love sex. They laughed and said, “Robyn probably never turns Ray down.” I was like: “Maybe, you’re absolutely right; but there is a way to turn him down; because when Ray and I have a battle, or we have a fight, or we have a disagreement—
Dennis: Okay; hold on. Stop!
Robyn: Oh, yes; we do.
Dennis: Stop right there.
Dennis: I’m looking over your shoulder to Ray, who is listening to this broadcast. Ray, I want you to come into the studio. [Laughter] I want you to tell us what she does when she turns you down. What do you think, Bob?
Robyn: That’s cool!
Bob: Is that alright?
Robyn: I’m cool.
Dennis: He’s coming into the studio.
Robyn: We are an open book. [Laughter]
Bob: We should welcome your husband, Ray McKelvy, who has joined us, here in the studio. Pastor Ray, welcome to FamilyLife Today. [Laughter]
Dennis: And you said you didn’t want to be in this conversation.
Ray: I did not want to be a part of this conversation!
Dennis: Alright; let’s go back to the question.
Ray: Okay; what was the question?
Dennis: How does she turn you down?
Ray: Well, you know, you have to realize my wife is very subtle, which is a surprise, I’m sure, coming across here. Bob is like, “Yeah!”
Bob: I’m going—
Dennis: Subtle would not be one of the—
Bob: I haven’t seen a lot of subtlety in the last—[Laughter]
Robyn: I’m multi-faceted, guys!
Bob: Yes, you are; alright.
Ray: I would say this—I can’t remember her just directly turning me down.
Ray: I have known her to turn away and pretend to be asleep. [Laughter]
Robyn: I wasn’t supposed to snap and shake my head on that one—boom-shock-a-laka—that’s what you do!
Ray: I think that’s more it. She would be turned away; and I would know, “She’s not asleep, but she’s pretending to be asleep.”
Bob: She’s giving you a little non-verbal—
Ray: “Cold shoulder” is what we call it; yes.
Robyn: That’s what it’s called!
Ray: Yes; that’s what it’s called. [Laughter]
Bob: Is she doing that? Is she saying, “I’m mad at you,” or is she saying, “This is just not a good time”?
Robyn: That’s right.
Ray: I mean, it’s happened where we’ve had a conflict; and I know, by her body language, that it’s just not going to happen.
Bob: Because we just need to acknowledge that there are times when, emotionally, we’re not together.
Bob: And it doesn’t—
Dennis: —out of sync.
Ray: Yes, that’s true.
Bob: But there are also times when just, physically, it is like: “I could not muster up the energy for this if I took a 5-Hour ENERGY®. It’s not going to do any good.” [Laughter]
Robyn: And let me just say that that’s everybody.
Robyn: But let me tell you this—I also say this in the book—that you need to fight for intimacy. What I would do with Ray is say, “Let me get a couple of hours of sleep, and I’ll meet you at 4:00.” And I keep my promises.
Ray: Now, that’s true.
Dennis: “Invite him home from work early.”
Robyn: No; no. I am talking about 4:00 in the morning.
Ray: That’s 4:00 in the morning.
Dennis: Set the alarm?
Robyn: Whatever you have to do. But you ask God, and He wakes you up!
He wakes you up for intimacy! [Laughter]
Dennis: You tell the story in the book—I want Ray to comment on this—because you had one of your ten children / I forget which one—and the baby was still in your bedroom with you at about week six. You felt like, “It is time—
Ray: —“for the baby to go.”
Dennis: —“It is time for the baby to go.” [Laughter] So you started making arrangements to take the baby out, and Robyn—
Ray: She didn’t want that to happen—she was like, “Well, she’s just six weeks old!”
I am like, “No; it’s time for us to transition from having a baby-centered room back to our regular, intimate room that both of us would have.” So, yes; I began to transition.
Robyn: No; he began to move the baby’s stuff. [Laughter] It was like: “Move the bassinet out of here.” “There’s no bassinet. Where’s the baby going to sleep?”
Dennis: And you hadn’t agreed to it?
Robyn: Oh, no! It wasn’t a conversation—he just started moving stuff.
Dennis: So that was really your love language; wasn’t it?
Robyn: What?—Ray just bossin’ me?! [Laughter]
Because that’s what he did—he took charge of protecting our intimacy. Whether I liked it or not, it was something I had to agree with if I wanted to really honor him.
Dennis: So, ultimately, you did honor him; right?
Robyn: And, after ten kids, I can still honor him. Amen; hallelujah! [Laughter]
Bob: Okay! [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, you know, we’ve laughed a lot about this. For a lot of couples, this isn’t a laughing matter.
Ray: Yes; that’s so true.
Dennis: This is something that has gone on way too long in their marriage, and they’ve allowed for mediocrity or for the absence.
Bob: Well, it’s one of the reasons why I love the fact that we take an extended period of time, at the Weekend to Remember, and get to this subject; because so many couples, who are there, have never heard a biblical view of marital intimacy. So many of them are struggling in this area; but who are they going to go to and say, “Hey, guess what we’re struggling with?”—the pastor?
Dennis: Well, let’s admit it—most of us have never heard a biblical sermon on sex.
Dennis: We pull the curtain back [at the Weekend to Remember]. We talk about what the Scriptures do teach about the sexual relationship in the marriage bed.
Bob: We do it appropriately. We do it in a way that, I think, is honoring to what the Lord has to say about this issue, and that is not too graphic, but it is powerful.
Dennis: Robyn, just comment—because you’ve done dozens of these conferences and you’ve been to a number of them.
Robyn: Yes; right.
Dennis: How important is it that couples go to the Weekend to Remember and, if nothing else, just hear this one message at the conference?
Robyn: Well, I think it’s dire. I think it’s dire; because we don’t converse about this, not even with our dearest friends. If you can get to a place, where you can begin the conversation—which is what we do at the Weekend to Remember conferences—you are able to begin the conversation.
Then it’s important that we continue the conversation.
How do you do that? You start with resources. You’ve got to have resources that continue the conversation when a speaker’s not up in front of you. The Weekend to Remember begins it, but then you have to continue it.
Ray: Okay; I have to jump in and say this—I think what has really transformed Robyn and me / what has transformed our marriage has been the Weekend to Remember conferences—the fact that we have to teach it over and over again. When you talk about pivotal moments or—I think a lot of our transformation was over time, because of our constant exposure—
Ray: —to the truths—over and over again. I think that’s what’s changed us in the area of sex or in any of the areas of a husband and wife relating to each other. I really believe that.
Dennis: Yes; I agree.
Robyn: And one of the things—let me just even share this, because it’s in the book—Ray was sexually-abused as a child. With that abuse, came a lot of fear, and a lot of misinformation, and some issues with our intimacy.
How do you expose those lies? Well, we did some counseling, yes; but you expose them by continually getting under what’s truth.
Robyn: So that’s what we have done. That’s why it’s so necessary for us to get books and resources based on the truth, because the enemy has just taken these lies and just kind of, you know, tweaked it here and tweaked it there, differently for each of us. You have to expose your specific lie with the truth of God’s Word.
Dennis: What I want our listeners to hear—out of Robyn and Ray’s story is—no matter what’s happened to you, God is able.
Ray: That’s right.
Dennis: He is Almighty God. He is the Redeemer—He delights—
Robyn: As Morris Chapman would say, “He is more than able.”
Dennis: He is more—
Robyn: —more than able!
Dennis: He is, and His power works best in a graveyard.
Robyn: Amen; amen! Good one! That’s right.
Dennis: He raised Christ from the dead—He can defeat death. He can bring about oneness in a marriage relationship and intimacy at a whole new level.
Bob: I’m going to have to move us to the altar call; because the service is winding down here, but—
Robyn: We’re not ready. We still want to shout a little bit! [Laughter]
Bob: I understand. We’ll shout while the next program is on the station here. We appreciate you guys. And Ray—thanks for popping in here.
Bob: We have copies of Robyn McKelvy’s book, which is called SOS: Sick of Sex. It’s in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com to request a copy, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY and order over the phone. Again, the website—FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to request Robyn’s book, SOS: Sick of Sex. And don’t forget—Robyn and Ray are going to be speaking, this spring, at Weekend to Remember getaways in Jacksonville, Florida / Hilton Head, South Carolina. They’re also going to be in San Francisco, California; Ray’s going to be in Reston, Virginia.
We’ve got dozens of these getaways happening in cities, all across the country, starting next month. If you register for an upcoming Weekend to Remember getaway—and by the way, you should—because every marriage can benefit from a couple of days away, where the two of you are just focused on each other / on your relationship. You have a good time together—you learn what the Bible has to say about marriage. It really is a great getaway weekend.
If you register this week or next week, you pay the regular rate for yourself and your spouse comes free. It’s the best offer we make, all year long; and it’s available this week and next week. You can get the details, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
And with that, we’ve got to wrap things up for today. I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this Sunday.
And I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to hear from a couple whose marriage—well, in the early years, this was one of those marriages that you would have thought, “There is no way this marriage can survive.” In fact, we’ll meet a husband, who was so desperate, he thought about taking his own life in the midst of their marital trauma. But God had a different plan, and they’ll share it with us on Monday. 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’ll see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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