Sorry I haven’t blogged over the past week, but last Friday morning I was awakened to the shocking news of my dear friend Ruth’s sudden death, and life spun a little out of control over the days that followed. She was 47, and leaves behind her husband, Kevin, and six beautiful children ranging in ages from 11 to 21. Ruth developed a blood clot in her lungs 5 days after gall bladder surgery. Her family is here with us now, and Kevin gave his blessing for me to blog today about my “sexually confident friend.”
I met Ruth in 1993 when I was a 25 year-old youth pastor and mother of a one-year old. I was in awe of how highly her husband spoke of her, and how she took such loving care of her houseful of children, not to mention how hospitable she was to the teenagers at their church who often dropped in unannounced. She taught me how to overcome much of my pre-company perfectionism and just go with the flow. She taught me how to lift weights properly and make beautiful quilts. But probably the most valuable thing she taught me was how to be a sexually confident wife.
Hopefully, every woman has someone in her life that she can talk openly with about sexual issues. Ruth was that person for me. It’s odd to think that long before I started talking to the whole world about sex, I talked to Ruth, and now she’s gone.
When I was dressing to impress other men, Ruth spoke the truth in love. When I longed to hit the eject button on my marriage and go looking for the perfect lover, Ruth inspired me to create the perfect love — with the man I already had. She’d tell me how she and Kevin could be fussing and fighting all day, but completely put the argument aside when they went to bed. “We can fight tomorrow, but we’re having sex tonight!” was her attitude. Sex wasn’t something she withheld as punishment for bad behavior, or granted as a reward for good behavior. It was her way of connecting intimately with her husband, and she wasn’t going to let petty things cause either of them to miss out on that connection.
In fact, Ruth and Kevin were the first to invite me to speak to their church’s teenagers about abstinence until marriage in 1995. She was also one of the only friends to which I nervously entrusted my first manuscript for critique in 2000. And as they say, the rest is history. With each weekend conference I’ve led and each book released, she’s been one of my biggest cheerleaders.
In honor of my sexually confident friend, I’d like to challenge you to step outside your comfort zone in three ways:
* First, put aside whatever issue is bothering you about your husband today, and connect sexually with him tonight. It would make Ruth proud to know that her memory inspired such intimacy.
* Next, if you don’t have such a trusted confidante who can be a positive influence in your life and marriage, find one. Find a female mentor who will show you by example how to love well, as Ruth showed me.
* Finally, find a younger woman, and model for her what it looks like to be a sexually confident wife. We’re all on this journey called “life” together, and we all need someone to lead us, as well as someone else to lead.
Thank you, Ruth, for loving us all so well and teaching me how to be a Sexually Confident Wife!
Forever grateful for our sweet friendship,
Wow I sincerely grieve with u. My daughter’s middle name is Ruth & my marriage vows come from that book. I was a Ruth to many of my friends growing up, although I sometimes fell short in upholding God’s standards, I am glad my father & grandmother instilled the value of being sexually confident. However, I learned about sexual purity from you & Family Life Today. Just one observation though, it takes a Godly man to make a woman at of a girl.I believe when a man loves his wife as Christ loves the church, that becomes the foundation for a sexually confident woman. I remember reading about your husband in your first book. It is his words & his brokenness that changed my life. While he knew u were seeking other men, he was your Hosea pursuing your love to the end. No matter how much sex a woman gives a man, if he is not pursuing Godliness, even sex with in marriage can become a drug numbing pain that only God can heal in him. It is a strange dynamic but it can occur in couples that have reverse gender roles.
That is a really beautiful story and memory, Shannon. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. How amazing that Ruth’s ministry flowed to and through you and now to millions all over the world! I hope to learn to be like Ruth and inspire someone like she inspired you and you through your writings have inspired me!
this is so beautiful. I am sitting in my empty apartment and this hit completely took me off guard. I wasnt expecting to cry, but I did. I have been married for 3 years now, and two out of the three, we have been apart. A year into our marriage, my husband joined the military. After a very long deployment, we have been reunited again here in Germany. After being apart for so long, you can just imagine all that we have had to face. From affairs to just not knowing each other anymore.. But we are fighters and we have really been leaning on God to help us through this. It has been so hard..so very hard. After reading this, I just felt compelled to share this with you. I am slightly embarrassed, considering we have never met, much less knowing each other. My vulnerability feels a little sudden, but necessary. I dont have anyone to really talk to about this, [Im not saying that you are it, I do have people, I just hold back maybe a bit too much] Like I said, reading this took me off guard and I just broke into tears. A new wave a healing just came over me… I just keep reading the 4th paragraph over and over again, allowing God’s truth and healing sink in deeper and deeper.
So here I am..sharing and being vulnerable. In honor and with the deepest respect of your friend Ruth, I say thank you for sharing. This has truly been a God ordained moment.
What a beautiful friendship. I have a question for you…
How do you go about beginning a mentoring relationship like this (either as the mentor or the mentee?) I’m right in the middle (39 soon), but I’ve been married more than half my life (22 years in February). I still have so much to learn, but I have a lot to share too.
But where do you start? I mean, a lot of Christian women would kind of freak out if I just walked up and asked, “So, how is your sex life?” (And I would probably be a bit worried if someone approached me like that!)
I have never had someone to talk with about sex except my husband. I have been married for 13 years, and it would have been nice the first couple of years to have someone to talk to. We might could have avoided a lot of heartache. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂
I’m so sorry that you lost Ruth. But I’m so blessed of the legacy she has left and the torch that you carry. I’m so glad that you are doing what you are doing. I heard you yesterday on KGFT and I loved what you had to say. I’ve been telling my friends about you and your book and a lot of them are so excited to read your book and check out your website. You are a breath of fresh air and I’m so glad that you are exposing lies to reveal the truth especially about sex. I am learning to be sexually confident and there is so much freedom in that and my husband appreciates it as well. Thank you so much and many blessings to you and all you do in the Lord.
I began to cry as I read about your friend, Ruth. I am truly sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad, this year, to a rare form of brain tumor…and I still miss him. I pray that God really blesses you and her family, as well, with His loving Presence in the weeks and months to come. It is never easy to lose someone we love.
I just heard you speak online on a short excerpt from the Today Show and I was impressed that you were speaking about a subject that everyone thinks about-but not many talk about-at least not with anyone except maybe their husband! And teens only talk to each other-unless they are REALLY comfortable with talking to their parents. Just mentioning that Rick and I waited, caused my girls to say-TOO MUCH INFORMATION, MOM! I think teens are more apt to listen, if someone, like yourself, Shannon, speaks to them. I really hope that the message to wait until marriage inspires and empowers our teens to make good decisions about their sexuality. Virginity is a gift that is meant to be opened on our wedding day. I have been married more than once-but my present, sweet husband and I did wait and our teen children knew that…whether they follow our example is up to them- I truly believe that we can talk all we want-but actions speak louder than words. Thank-you for sharing this much needed message in a generation where there are just too many choices and not enough good direction!
I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for your example and thank God for Ruth!
sorry for the loss of your dear friend. i love the book. i do consider myself a sexually confident wife. 20+yrs with one man is an accomplishment. never been with another. i mentor women as i can in this area of their lives. i’v found that it is so helpful to TALK about sex with other women. many do not talk and they stay in the dark on issues and choose not to enjoy sex. i feel sex is a God given gift and i wish all women could enjoy just one good time, then they might realize what they are missing. of course i mean within their marriage and not outside of that either. having a couple of close girlfriends that you can share everything with from great experiences to shameful struggles is a great accountability factor too. and we all need that to grow in our walk with Christ. don’t we?