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A Question for the Husbands

Here is a comment on yesterday’s post after RG, a single Christian man, shared a bit about how men must “die to self” in the process of dating and marrying a wife. His insights are very powerful and I believe will help wives to begin to understand a bit more about what Christian husbands and men experience as they seek to love and lead their wives in godly ways.

Here is a fantastic question from one of the wives for the men:

I would be interested in learning more about what men go through when they are in that process of dying to self, and what it means for them.

April, you mentioned in another post how we cannot expect our husbands to understand how excruciating the process is of giving up leadership and control over our lives, and humbling ourselves. It is very easy, for us to see and feel our own “death”, in submission, in becoming a mother and putting husband and family above our own wishes and desires, every moment of every day. Although I can make guesses, I find I am a lot more blind to how this “death” occurs in the other half, and what men go through in becoming husbands and fathers. That is sad. I wonder if we understood more, if we, as wives, could be a lot more compassionate when our men are going through these challenges, or more easily have patience to wait and welcome them during some of the times we feel less of their love. Could it also help us fight the temptation to doubt or feel resentful of our husbands when things seem less than fair in our eyes? Might there be some men who would be willing to open our eyes up to this a little more?

Gentlemen,

We do not understand your perspective, the way you think, your world, your priorities, your struggles, your feelings, your needs, your emotions and the challenges you face as men in today’s culture, in the church and in marriage.

One of my goals with this blog is to help close the gap between wives and husbands and to help wives understand their husbands’ masculine world because when we as women can understand your struggles, temptations, concerns, wisdom and perspective and how very differently you think from us – we are able to have much greater compassion, respect and empathy and we are better able to cooperate with your godly leadership.

I would love to invite the husbands to share their answers to these important questions my reader asked. I hope to share some of the answers in a post so that the women can have a chance to better understand our brothers in Christ and our own husbands.

37 thoughts on “A Question for the Husbands

  1. I was recently having this conversation with my husband. In my mind and from what I see, women sacrifice so much, while men sacrifice little to nothing. I would love to hear the answers.

  2. Oh April…..Where to begin?! I don’t know if my fingers can type that much! lol Elise and I were the typical head-butting couple. Fights, arguments, and threats of divorce…. When I turned to God and His word, life totally turned around and we saw His glory at work. We couldn’t be happier and when our family/friends ask how we did it, you wouldn’t believe the response we got. :/ Instead of seeing God’s plan shining through us, they saw her “giving up” and me becoming a “dictator.” Even our own PASTOR looked at us like a dog hearing sirens! As a man, husband, and leader, this took me by complete surprise. I have tried to witness to a few other couples who are also going through hardships in their marriages and they seem to think I’m a slave owner. The men can see how happy we are, but the women see that Elise is my property. Of course that’s not the case, but they see it this way. All I can do is what God has called me to do. Lead my family, support my wife, and pray constantly for His will to be done. When a Husband dies to self he takes on a lot more responsibility than he had before. But it’s worth every bit of it to have a GREAT marriage and better family life. 🙂

    1. April, you are too kind 🙂 I could never be harsh or abusive to Elise! And it’s not that she was trying to control me, rather she was just trying to control herself. She was pretty much ignoring me! lol We’ve both had our problems and both been wrong in our daily lives, but with God’s words and guidance (and praying TOGETHER) we have seen the light as it were and set our feet on a wonderful path. If men and women both took their place in God’s design, this world would see a whole new trend. Less divorce, domestic violence, kids out of control, overweight society, “political correctness” (I loathe that phrase), and just generally happier people. Thank you SO much for the link to her post!! You are an inspiration to her and the rest of us 🙂

      Keep up the good work, and God bless you and Greg!

      1. Bryan,
        You are most welcome. I appreciate your perspective and willingness to share so much! Please pray for God to give Greg and me His wisdom and protection and power to do what He desires us to do for His glory. 🙂

    2. Amen brother! Just yesterday I was actually thinking about how people misunderstand these godly concepts, for example: A husband “has” a wife and a wife “has” a husband. A man says “my” wife and a wife says “my” husband. Now I emphasize “has” and “my” because in love and in a right spirit it is ownership and possession in the positive sense (in a free and yet bound to one another way) and the giving up of the negative understanding of ownership and possession which is of course ungodly. The underlying problem is in ones understanding or lack thereof of ownership and submission in love. God is “my” God and God can say of me “This is one of “mine”. So each have each other in love. Now the real challenge is to identify the struggle one has with ownership in the sense that we are but dust and what falsehoods and ill will we may “possess” in ones “own” lol self. This is why it is crucial to follow what the scriptures clearly lay out and be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit as we will only be victim to our own understanding of things if we “dictate” for ourselves contrary to God’s Word and Will. Interestingly it seems that those who think that it is like being a dictator for a man to be the head of his wife as the scriptures say are now “dictating” against God’s will on that matter, hmmm interesting indeed. What matters is what God’s Word says and us surrendering to His will and humbling ourselves to God and to one another, loving God and one another and loving not our “own” lives unto the death.

  3. I have recently been reading a book that is quite fantastic: No More Excuses: Be the Man God Made You to Be by Tony Evans. There is a specific Chapter in this book titled: No more Second-Class Marriage.
    These are my notes from this chapter: all paraphrased (unless in quote marks).

    Our Creators “definition of manhood: ability to put divine truth into action at home and on the job”. This stood out of me on page 152.

    Women…. if strength, good looks, and liquid assets make you think a man’s performance is more improved than a man whose life is a depiction of manhood (as described above) or because he’s less good looking, less strong, with less liquid assets; according to Scripture’s illustrations, you’ve got another thing coming! BUT, that’s NOT to say a man who is good looking, strong and has great liquid assets isn’t living at his peak performance in God’s eyes, as those men too, have every right to the blessings of every other man. The key is that you will be able to recognize a “real” man, if you yourself are being a “real” woman!

    Pg. 155 was so inspiring, I had to stop & pray: Lord, help me to accept that if others do not allow me to help them fulfill your intention for their lives, or value my accountability, that I am completely focused on finding contentment and peace in whatever other opportunities your point me to. Thank you for helping me realize this is a healthy boundary that is essential to my peace and success in life. Amen.

    on Pg. 153 this stood out: Manhood is not the ability to make it alone.” … Genuine manhood is the ability to see your need for a specific helper and to commit yourself to her alone.

    Pg. 154: God’s perfect plan for wholeness in marriage: the man gets companionship, the woman gets a relationship she did not have previously. It’s amazing to me that women are designed to truly cherish driving someone’s loneliness (emotion) away, while men are focused on obtaining (performance) wholeness! Wow, what a truly awesome Creator we serve!

    Marriage: leave, cleave, become one. That about sums it up! Leaving and cleaving beats blaming and excusing… very true.

    Pg. 156 women – this author says: “The right direction is when your wife takes precedence over [his] career, friends, and [his] own interests, & anyone or anything else on earth.” this is A STANDARD! If we women show our men that ‘that’s ok’, or it’s not necessary…then we will eventually resent him for allowing other things to take precedence over us, even if we give him ‘permission’! Therefore, reward him and make sure to tell him how grateful you are when he’s doing the right thing, especially if he’s only doing it sometimes! If you reward him with your appreciation when he, sometimes, does what he was intended to do…then a pattern will develop and you guys will get on the right track. Women, including myself, need to ACCEPT that we ARE the weaker vessels instead of trying to be ‘strong’ all the time. we need to let our men take care of us & love us, just as much as we need to respect our men!

    Pg. 161 Stood out: Without the enabling (& requesting?) of the Holy Spirit you are merely trying, by human effort, to produce a supernatural response. But our Provider can & will give us the power to accomplish whatever He commands through the Holy Spirit’s work.

    Pg. 163 (Men are to be, to their wives, as Christ is to the church) When our Savior was messed over, even to the extreme, he didn’t retaliate or make threats. Note-worthy.
    Women (myself included): Don’t ignore a man who is being amazingly sacrificial, selfless and gracious. Appreciate this and don’t run from it, even if you aren’t accustomed to such treatment. On the other hand, don’t ignore when a man ISN’T being amazingly sacrificial, selfless and gracious. By doing so you enable them to treat you like they never intended to treat you!

    Ultimate Goal for both husband & wife… that each helps the other become what they were intended to be, not what we want them to be.

  4. Good Question and Tough one to Answer:

    For me the biggest thing is to learn to put my wants and needs secondary to my wife’s needs. When I make decisions, I talk to her, ask for he thoughts, tell her mine, talk back and forth between them. When we decide what to do, if there is a difference of opinion, I need to make sure that I take her wants and needs into account more than my own. I try to do what is best for the family, not just what is best for me.

    Other examples are more every day examples:
    – We don’t always watch what TV shows I want to watch, we trade off and some things I miss because she does not like it all. (Although DVR helps that a lot.)
    – Same thing with restaurants, we don’t always eat at my favorite, some of my favs are off the menu because she had a hard time eating there.
    – I dress differently sometimes for her.
    – The hardest for me is communication – I can talk through most issues that we need to discuss in 15 minutes and feel like I have what I need to know. However, DW is not satisfied until she has talked about every nuance of every angle and it normally takes between 1 & 2 hours to do that. I try hard to talk all of those issues with her, but it honestly wears me down and often makes me want to just say, “Do whatever you want.” Yet, that is not what she wants me to do.

  5. Hi, I didn’t read all the comments above but after reading a few I thought I would add what I have been learning in the last while. So there is no misunderstanding, I thought my marriage was ok, everyone thinks its perfect but it is actually at the point where if I do not do the immense amount of work I have learned I need to do, not just to grow up, but to learn respect and how to truly value the people around me I will lose them all. It was a shattering realisation which I am taking so seriously.
    That being said, I have been married twenty seven years with three amazing and happy children, two are very happily married. I started surfing ten years ago, only a few years into it I learned what it is to be ridiculously passionate about something and now knowing what real passion is I understand how ignored and unappreciated my wife has been (and pretty much all wives). I’m a believer, I love God but again I want that all consuming passion and it now that passion comes quite easily for my wife and for God all because of surfing – yew!! I can believe in myself and change but the proof is in the pudding…
    All the chivalry, opening doors, its all technical stuff kind of like just because you have a surfboard doesn’t make you a surfer – get excited about that girl you walked down the aisle with and made all those lofty promises to – she beileves in you and will die for you – let her have the best possible reason in the world to die for! My girl is going to have the best husband I can be, I’ll get help where I need to, change where I need to, I didn’t realise how selfish, controlling and boring I had become and I am so stoked to be able to bring new life into my marriage even after twenty seven years…

    1. pnoble375,

      It is so wonderful that you found your passion! Thank you very much for sharing your story. I hope wives will hear what you have to say and not begrudge their husbands the time they need to spend doing the things they are most passionate about – because they will come back from those things with more life and energy for the rest of their lives.

      Great comment!

  6. Not sure this is what you’re looking for, but the way our culture is around certain milestones that come along early in marriage leads to this dying, both in good and bad ways.

    Who’s in charge of the wedding? The bride. There’s all sorts of “funny” advice for grooms that their job in the wedding is pretty much just to show up and not do anything stupid, and agree to whatever the bride wants to do.

    Pregnancy? Woe to the husband to refuses a request of his pregnant wife, no matter how unreasonable.

    Child birth and early parenthood are also mainly about Mom and supporting her and now the baby’s needs. Husbands should also forget about sex for some time.

    And if there are any issues with the above — infertility, a rough pregnancy, a miscarriage, post-partum depression, then it’s all about taking care of the wife, and the husband is basically considered only as to how good a job he is doing supporting his wife.

    As I said, some of this is proper. And, obviously, things are this way because these are extraordinarily difficult times for wives.

    But some of this has swung a bit too far, in my opinion, in telling husbands that they don’t matter, both for their own needs and desires and their opinions about how decisions should be made.

    1. johnmcg,

      I actually have a post about what a bad dynamic the bride being in charge of the wedding can be on my site for single women!

      Thank you very much for sharing! I want to see us care about our husbands’ needs and desires in all of these situations and their wisdom, too!

  7. Becoming a Titus 2 Wife,

    So sad! It is no wonder that our marriages are such a mess. Women didn’t have godly examples of being a wife, and men didn’t have godly examples of being a husband – or, if we did have decent examples, we were so infected by the culture that we took on the culture’s ideas anyway.

    How I pray that THIS generation will rise up – by a massive movement of God’s Spirit – to become a godly generation that we might set a godly example for those who come behind us. I don’t want them to inherit the mess that exists right now.

    Thanks!

    1. April/Titus2Wife – small background:
      I had NO father figure in my life, I didn’t find my real dad until I was 36, my mom has had 5 husbands. Of my mom, dad, 3 uncles, brother, etc, I am the ONLY one still on my 1st marriage and I hold the record at 20 years. I seem to be the only one who “gets it” and none of them can understand how the heck we’re so close. Elise and I could literally spend 24/7 together and love it! Even after 20 years 🙂
      My mom lied to me until I was 19 when after years of begging, she finally spit out a name. She then told me to get lost and have a good life. My dad didn’t know I even existed. I’m doing what I can to teach my sons how to treat women and how to have a long and happy marriage. Without the Godly examples in my life, God STILL shined through 🙂 He can and will work miracles…..

      1. Bryan,

        Wow! I can’t imagine how difficult things were for you growing up. That sure wasn’t a godly example. 🙁

        I am so thrilled about what God is doing in your life!!!!!

  8. Here is something this topic makes me stop and really think about.

    I think that we as wives tend to treat God the way we treat our husbands. When we treat our husbands with a lack of respect, we generally treat God the same way. When we try to control our husbands, it’s a pretty good bet that we are also trying to control God. When we expect our husbands to submit to us – we also expect God to submit to us. When I have SELF as god in my life, I expect God and my husband and everyone else to bow down to me and do what I want.

    I was thinking about how we easily overlook things about Jesus.

    Do we really understand just how painful the cross was to Him on every level? It’s so easy to think, “Oh, well, He’s GOD, so it was no big deal.” WAIT! STOP! IT WAS A BIG DEAL! Just because He is God does not mean He has no feelings and no emotions. Just because He is God does not mean that carrying the weight of billions of people’s sin on His perfect, sinless shoulders was easy.

    Jesus has feelings, too.
    The sacrifices He made for us are precious, holy and sacred – they are the path to eternal life for us. How dare we treat Him like what He did was no big deal or like it didn’t hurt Him.

    How dare we not be concerned about what He says and what He commands us to do?

    The more I learn about my husband’s needs, his masculinity, his wisdom and perspective, the more I learn about God. And there are some important parallels here for us.

    It could be that we might think, “What I have to sacrifice for Jesus is SO MUCH! He really didn’t do that much for me!”

    NO!!!!!!

    How I pray that we will understand Jesus, His death, His sacrificial love, His dying to Self and His godly leadership and that we might truly and humbly and gratefully appreciate the lengths He has gone to on our behalf – that we did NOT deserve at all.

    1. Wow April, yes! I see that. For a long time, beginning just after my husband and I got married, I was surprised how far away I felt from God. I did not realize the reason until recently. I was fighting this one thing that I could not seem to understand or accept – the whole concept of biblical submission in marriage. It raised the hair on my arms. There were other issues too, but in not fighting his plan any longer and allowing it to take root, I am only now beginning to see his work in our lives and feel close to him again. Thank you for that insight.

  9. After reading the article, and many of the posts. I would like to put in my two cents. The beginning premise from women on this topic is men have it easier. Therefore women have it harder. I appreciate the heart of the women on this blog for their desire to learn. I caution though that the woman having to understand the man, as what brings her the peace to submit. We do not understand God’s plan, and are required to submit to God. “faith”, and I suspect God keeps us out of all the details for good reason. Now on the topic of men dying to themselves. Most of us really do not die to ourselves with our wives and children. We usually seek peace. and happiness for our own desires. We give into the desires of our wives, and children to keep them happy. This happens for many reasons. Keeping the wife happy by giving her things, and not saying “no” to her desires is so we can have physical / sexual intimacy with her, as that is how we feel loved. (self-serving) Keeping the children happy with things, gives men a less stressful home when they are home. I can speak to this because I was that man for over 15 years in my marriage. Of course built within us is the desire to protect and provide, and a good man will do those things for his family. It is when he is never able to do enough to make them happy, that he becomes distant, and quiet or actually stops trying altogether. Our real death occurs when we are willing to let our wives, and children be unhappy, and disappointed in us when we hold them accountable to live as God requires, no matter what our consequences. The scripture that highlights this most is: Matthew 10:37 “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” You see I thought I was dying to myself all those years. Actually I was serving myself, now as I die to my will, and hold myself, and family accountable to Gods will I am loosing my wife (Divorce) and family because I have changed and have truly decided to die to self. People do not like to be accountable. In Sadness. I hope my explanation has shed some light on this topic and not created confusion.

  10. I have a few thoughts to share.

    The main way that a man dies to self is through taking responsibility for his wife and children. I remember going through premarital counseling and how overwhelmed I felt after we did our projected budget. I felt a God given sense of responsibility to provide for my wife. This sense of responsibility drives and motivates men to not only go to work everyday but to excel on the job in order to provide for our families.

    There is a line in the Music Man where Harold Hill says that Marian the Librarian wants him to exchange his independence for her security. When a man enters into marriage, that is part of the exchange. Men need the responsibility of marriage to channel the sexual energy they have in their early 20’s in a constructive way. When they put off marriage, that energy becomes destructive. Also, the reality is that most successful men are married and have responsibility for a family.

    I know many men who sacrifice daily to provide for their families by going to work everyday in a job they do not like. I watched my brother work 3 jobs so his wife could stay at home with his 2 daughters. I watched my dad spend many days away from home because of his job in order to provide for our family. He recently told me how much he hated being away and how difficult it was on him physically and emotionally. I watched my father-in-law, who is a farmer, take odd jobs in the off season driving trucks and working at a factory in order to make ends meet. I watched my brother – in-law work a factory job at the same time he was trying to get his business going so that his wife could home school their children.

    Most of these sacrifices, I believe, are taken for granted or are expected and not appreciated.

    Death to self is a daily laying down of our selfish desires and choosing to fulfill the role the Lord has called us to. A big part of the problem is that feminism and our American culture has told women to take on the husbands provider role and has told men to take on more of the wife’s nurturing role. This has led to great confusion and needless marital strife.

    1. I have always admired how men continue to work, even when it is obvious that they are probably beyond tired. And they get up the next morning and do it all over again.

      I agree with you very much about the effects of feminism on society. A sad thing I have observed is that by women taking on a provider role, it has slowly eroded the monetary sufficiency that men used to have when society existed mostly of single income families. Employers can now justify paying their workers less, because families are now expected to have two wage earners. It is good that women can support themselves in cases of real need. On the other hand, so many children and families are losing out because they couldn’t survive without the wife taking paid employment. Many have lost their freedom to be at home and to raise their own families.

      Thanks for explaining.

      1. I totally agree. My dad has said for years that the cost of a house has been typically about 2 1/2 to 3 times household income. As women have entered the workplace, it has depressed wages, due to the extra supply of workers, and has increased the cost of living as families generally have greater income than before.

  11. I am going to disagree with the premise that “they couldn’t survive without the wife taking paid employment” I was constantly told throughout my marriage that in order for a family to make it financially both husband and wife had to work. I have never bought into that, not because I was talented or smart enough to make enough money for my wife to stay home, but I believed the role of the mother is to raise, and nurture the family. And this can not be done after working 40+ hours outside the home each week. I also understood that if God called me to his plan for my family that he would provide. Sure enough he has provided, and now I am told by people that I am the exception, not everyone can do it. People are correct, not everyone can do it, but God can do it for anyone who is willing to put their trust in Him… We as believers need to stop buying into, and following the worlds philosophies.

    1. I agree with you. Many times a family needs both husband and wife to work due to the standard of living they desire rather than true need. For instance, I grew up with a stay at home mom. We lived in a 1400 square foot house, had 2 cars but 1 was a clunker, took very few vacations and rarely ate out. Today, most people have larger homes, 2+ newer cars, take expensive vacations, have the latest expensive electronics and eat out several times a week. Add to this the need to save for college and invest for retirement and you can see why we need 2 income families. Part of trusting the Lord is having the strength to make lifestyle adjustments in order to make the best investment in our marriages and children.

  12. Proverbs 31. The wife described there made it easy to be led because she was doing her part. She is described as a homemaker, a shrewd business woman and a caring spouse and frugal mother. I don’t believe there is any scriptural declaration that women should only be housewives and nothing else. But there is plenty of evidence that they should ply their hands at that task with vigilence. I say this mostly to bring out the idea that has been alluded to – part of a wife’s responsibility is to be leadable (if that’s not a word, I just made it one). Many, many men are simply afraid of their wives. Their wive’s hold a power over them that he has no recourse against – not if he wants to stay within the marriage. Of course I speak of sex. It is the Christian wife’s trap that she so often springs upon the Christian husband. Once he’s trapped, all he can do is choose to stay or choose to chew his leg off. How dare he try to ask her to submit her body to him? Feminism is af Satan’s design. “All sex is rape” has been around for a long time in those circles of thought.
    On the contrary, a God submitting husband would never approach anything that resembled rape with his wife. He has given his body to her just as she has to him.
    This society preaches at us that either sex equals love or sex is deserved or it is something you take to prove your manhood. None of that is of God’s plan.
    “…as Christ loved the church…” is how scripture gives us husbands to love our wives. The genius of God is exposed in the understanding of this passage. To illustrate, I’ll use an analogy my father-in-law used when we were expecting our first son. I didn’t fully understand this until we had our son: “The love God desires is like volunteer sugar (kiss) from your kid. You’re sitting there on the couch, doing whatever, and your child walks across the room, completely unprompted, and gives you a kiss on the cheek saying ‘I love you dad.’ There is no better feeling on this earth. That is what God wants from us. It would mean far less if we were to prompt our children – ‘hey come over here and hug your ol’ man!’ or have to chase them down to get a squirming hug out of them (how many of us have done that?) Which is better to receive?”
    The church should respond to Christ voluntarily because of the sheer emotional impact of the understanding of what Christ did for her – because He loved her and gave Himself for her – she comes to Him and wants to be His and wants to serve Him. This is what husbands are called to do. To live in such a way, serve them in such a way that their wives come to them, voluntarily, and say “I am yours, I love you, I will gladly serve you as I have recognized your love and sacrifice for me and I am grateful. It is a pleasure for me to be your wife and I will make it a pleasure for you to be my husband.”
    There is no greater feeling, no greater satisfaction, than when a husband has touched his wife’s soul with his sacrificial love and she has responded positively and reciprocates in kind.
    It is only the hard jobs that are rewarding. Being a God following husband/father is the hardest job there is out there today. It perhaps is the closest thing to an actual Christian martyr in today’s America. The next hardest job would be the God following wife. I say next hardest because part of the husbands job is to make it easier for the wife. Sometimes that means making it easier for her to say “no.” Oftentimes it means making it easier for her to say “yes.” The second is truly the harder of the two.
    I believe God made man and woman the way he did for a purpose. Being emotionally driven and on a hormonal roller coaster makes for inconsistent leadership abilities. Being a single-minded, logically based thinker makes for poor nurturing abilities. The nurturer needs leadership and security. The leader needs emotional support and a team to lead. It is only when we recognize our strengths and weaknesses and are willing to work within the system God designed, do we achieve success.
    After 21 years, my wife and I are not where we aspire to be, but we are not where we were before either. We are now hand in hand, trying to serve each other. I think that’s what’s it about. It’s just one man’s opinion….

  13. Thank you to all the husbands who commented here. 🙂 Your stories and comments are very insightful and enlightening. 🙂 God is doing wonders in your marriages! It’s so obvious! Praise God! 🙂

    Sincerely,

    Nikka

  14. Just a Disciple,
    Your thoughts and insights are interesting and so appreciated. Thank you for sharing. I would like to comment on your assertion that sex is a trap that women spring upon men once the marriage vows are said. I am assuming you mean that sex dwindles after marriage and hence that is the trap?

    I am a Christian peaceful wife. My husband and I have been married for 31 years with my understanding of God’s plan for marriage coming about 5 years ago. My parents were divorced when I was five and my mother raised us kids all on her own with no help or support from my father. Needless to say I did not have a Godly male influence in my formative years. I entered my marriage with no real understanding of how to be a real wife. I didn’t understand that a man’s need for sex with his wife is how he experiences love from her. I was so busy doing everything – working full time, raising the kids, cooking, cleaning, shopping for essentials, etc. – with little “help” from my husband that I viewed his desire for sex as just something else I had to do, another task that had to be completed. He golfed and relaxed on the sofa while I toiled then the moment I sat down, he was wanting sex. As April has posted, I felt “like a piece of meat to my husband.”

    Another thing men do not understand about women is that she needs a reason to want to have sex with her husband. We are not visually or technically driven. We do not see a man’s body and want to have sex. We do not always respond with desire when we are directly physically stimulated like a man does. The fastest way to sex with your wife is often through helping her with her tasks without having to be asked, to compliment her, and to spend time with her without asking for sex. If a wife is withholding sex from her husband, there is a usually a reason. Maybe she feels overwhelmed and unappreciated? Maybe her body is responding negatively to hormonal changes? Often it’s just that she doesn’t understand how much sex means to her man’s heart.

    You spoke of both serving each other’s needs and that is the key. I don’t think it is the feminist mindset that is the block to great sex in marriage. I think it is lack of understanding of both parties.

    1. To W-
      Your description of “The trap” is correct but only partially. Another way to explain it is in the context of all other human relationships: In any relationship, the one most willing to sever it is in control of it. So -when sex falls off the map of a marriage, who is on control most of the time? The wife. Not always I know, I too hear of the odd relationship where the woman is the high desire spouse. (So none of you flame me out there, I believe you exist 🙂 ) BUT, as one can see by a quick scan of the responses here, most of the time it is the wife controlling the game. This take all the power of his own sexuality away from the Christian husband. He ends up having no real say as to when, how or if he gets to have sexual release. Every once and a while, she may actually feel aroused and initiate. So what do she do? The only control he would have is to refuse – but we all know he cannot do that. At the same time, if he believes in his role in Christianity, he can’t be pushy either. If he truly believes he must treat her as the weaker vessel as scripture says, then what recourse does he have? If she doesn’t want sex, what is he supposed to do. There is no counter card to play.
      Now I know this plays our differently in every marriage as we are all individuals with our own idiosyncrasies. However, I have talked to way to many Christian men who sing the same song. We end up doing one of three dysfunctional things: 1. Pitiful little dogs sheepishly begging for any scrap and being overly grateful for the occasional sacrifice of our master. 2. Passive/aggressive whiners that end up getting obligatory or charity sex just to keep the peace with us. 3. Stray cats looking around town for whatever we can find because the fight at home has taken all our resolve away.

      There is of course a better way. It takes both sides, as April is trying so valiantly here to bring out.
      But it also takes something I’ve had to learn the hard way. Something I have read in many of these men’s responses tells me they might do well to consider this as well. Get ready…..
      SEX DOES NOT EQUAL LOVE AND IT IS NOT YOUR WIFE’S JOB TO MAKE YOU HAPPY! It is also not your job to make your wife happy. Happiness and contentment is a choice of our own making. Once I decided to be happy on my own, regardless of what my wife did or did not do, I regained control of my life. I could start to see through the fog of selfishness and idolatry. I idolized my wife. Why? Because as I read in one fellows response – I depended on her to make me happy because sex made me happy and I could only get that from her, so…when she didn’t give it or do so in the way I wanted it, it was a personal offense, she didn’t love me, etc, etc. You see, we expect idols to serve us really. We give them our worship in order to get something from them. I wanted to get sex from my wife when what I was really wanting and needing was a connection. Sex can and should arise from the connection, but the connection cannot be based on sex.
      So in one way, the wife springs the trap, but we provide the bait and set it.
      Sorry that took so long and it probably did not do justice to the question even then. I could go on….and on….

  15. I got a little confused – as many of the men’s responses I referred to here are actually over at the “piece of meat” post. The aging mind is a harsh thing sometimes….
    I was thinking this morning about something you said above – how a wife might find a good leading husband more desirable, but this would require her to be leadable. My wife is a very strong, independent woman. She does not deny her stubbornness even though she does prefer to call it earnest loyalty to her ideas…..yeah. But we have been having the leadership discussion now for a year or more because I have realized where I dropped the ball there. I never had the example of a leading father at home. My mother longed for one but he never stepped up. He just left us instead. Now I am learning on the fly. My wife came from a strong home with a very strong, almost overly so, controlling father. So out relationship is a wife that is averse to being led and a husband that doesn’t know how to lead. God and our faith and devotion to him has been the I breakable bond between us. This illustrates part of the trap syndrome – I will not go outside this marriage and will not leave it. Neither will she – it is not an option. After years of internal stove and frustration, I finally decided to grow up and be the man I was given to be. Trust me when I say it’s been almost as hard for her as it has been for me. It has not completely changed her outlook on sex or me in general yet. No grand awakening has occurred. But we are talking and giving on deeper levels than before. A large part of my learning to be content is my learning to be patient. Couple that with a new habit of celebrating every little thing my wife does positive towards me and diminishing any little negative.

    1. Just a Disciple,

      We do learn to “normalize” whatever we saw growing up and tend to feel most comfortable acting the way we saw our parents act. With many parents setting ungodly examples in recent generations, the toll on marriages has been catastrophic.

      You are discovering the same things I did as I learned. That it was all about me and God. That I need to focus on the good things in Greg and drop all my expectations. That I needed to be PATIENT. For years. And that I had made my husband and his behavior and my desires and my being in control and my feeling loved and desired into idols that I cherished more than Christ.

      Praying for God to continue to work in you both! I can’t wait to see what God has in store!

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