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When Your Husband Rejects You

 

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I am not a therapist, psychologist, a licensed sex counselor, a pastor, a trained counselor or a psychiatrist. I am just a part time pharmacist and a wife who loves Jesus.

The survey questions I had a week or so ago revealed several things about my readers and their marriages that I would like to take some time to discuss.

First – a few results from the survey (about 550-605 women responded):

  • 75% percent of you said that sex was either very important or that you can’t live without it. 21% said you could take it or leave it, and the rest were not very interested in sex at all.
  • 79% said that your husband’s affection was either very important or extremely important. 18% said it was important but you could live without it. The rest were not very interested in affection.
  • 25 of you said that your husband did not initiate ANY physical contact in the past month (for some of you, your husband may be deployed, which could skew those results).
  • A few hundred of you have experienced your husband’s sexual rejection of you. Some of you are able to accept this graciously, but for many, there are a lot of tears and hurt feelings – understandably.
  • About 230 of you have a fairly difficult time talking with your husband about sex.
  • At least 223 of you are pretty unsatisfied sexually in your marriage.
  • 196 of you say that you desire sex more often then your husband does.
  • 109 of you have sex once a month or less (20 of you say you never have sex with your husband anymore).
  • 65 of you say that your husband doesn’t enjoy touching you affectionately very much.
  • 248 of you say your husband sometimes turns you down for sex. 66 of you say your husband often turns you down for sex. 22 of you say your husband always turns you down for sex.

So – There are some major issues going on here for some of us in the sexuality department. Today I want to discuss how we handle situations where our husbands sexually reject us, turn us down, don’t respond or can’t respond. I don’t have all the answers here. I have some ideas to suggest. But I would like for this to be a discussion. I believe that there are a number of you who  may have some really helpful ideas, solutions, approaches and suggestions that may greatly bless some of our other sisters.

MEDICAL ISSUES:

Many of you may be dealing with medical problems on your end or your husband’s end. As a pharmacist, I know that obesity, diabetes, blood pressure problems, exhaustion, depression, low testosterone and many medications can cause a low sex drive for men. A man who has had prostate surgery or who has enlarged prostate may have sexual issues, as well. There are many products that can help with low sex drive in men and with erectile dysfunction today.

  • Exercise and losing weight (if a man is overweight) can boost testosterone levels
  • Viagra, Levitra, Cialis – these are (unbelievably expensive) pills that can help with erectile dysfunction and desire issues for men. They tend to run at least $25 per pill, sometimes more. These drugs do have potential side effects and drug interactions, so your husband would need to discuss these things with his doctor.
  • Caverject – a penile injection that a man can use to help with erectile dysfunction.
  • Muse – a urethral suppository for erectile dysfunction.
  • vacuum devices – can be used to pull the blood into the penis, then a “rubber band” type of device is placed on the base of the shaft of the penis to prevent the blood from draining back out.
  • testosterone – topical or injections can be used for men who have low testosterone, this will increase their energy level and libido, but is only for men who do have low testosterone and there are many possible side effects, particularly if these products are used in too high of a dose.
  • Hitachi Magic Wand – this is an electric vibrator that is also a deep tissue massager that can help men and women who have difficulty achieving orgasm.

If you have questions about medications or medical devices, please contact your pharmacist or doctor. If you have medical issues yourself, please talk to your doctor or OB/GYN about possible solutions.

Here is a post I wrote about dealing with erectile dysfunction. Please keep in mind, this is a very painful subject for most men, sometimes no matter how a wife mentions this subject, it is going to feel emasculating to a husband. To a large degree, a husband may need to decide to go to the doctor for this on his own. In my mind, this would be something to pray about and seek God’s power and wisdom about as you consider how to approach your husband.

PORN ADDICTION:

This topic just breaks my heart. But, for men who are addicted to porn, the neuronal pathways in their brain become permanently altered and if the addiction gets severe enough, eventually men lose the ability to be aroused by their real life wife – no matter how beautiful she is. They train their brains to only respond to porn – which gives the brain hits of neurochemicals that are identical to the high a drug addict gets from heroin or cocaine, but porn can be even more addictive than those things.

  • Check out John Piper’s site www.desiringgod.org “Pornography, The New Narcotic”  and his follow up post, “Hijacking Back Your Brain from Porn.”
  • www.xxxchurch.org is a site to help people overcome and recover from porn and sex addictions, this is the site our youth minister recommends to parents at our church. I haven’t read all of the posts on the site, but the ones I have read seemed very helpful to me.

A HUSBAND FEELS DISRESPECTED:

This is an issue that many wives are not aware of, or may not be before they read much on my site or other books about respecting our husbands. Many husbands have shared on posts in the past that when they feel controlled or disrespected by their wives, they may eventually lose their sexual desire for their wives. Not all husbands do. There are some husbands who would be receptive to sex no matter how upset they were. But there are a large number of men who shut down sexually when they feel dishonored, belittled, humiliated, constantly criticized, verbally emasculated, verbally attacked, disrespected or treated like a little boy instead of a man.

If you are new to my site, I would highly recommend that you read the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect, respect and biblical submission. There is also a post at the top of my home page that shares 8 wives’ stories about how their sex lives changed as the wives began to truly respect and honor their husbands.

And let me mention here – I don’t think it is possible for me to overstate the importance of this:

  • PLEASE do not criticize your husband sexually or humiliate him about his performance or his sexuality!  PLEASE!!!!! Not in private, and absolutely never in public.  Even the slightest implication a wife makes that her husband does not or cannot sexually satisfy her can be crushing and even devastating to many husbands.

A HUSBAND HAS BEEN REJECTED TOO MANY TIMES:

I have also seen husbands whose wives have rejected them hundreds or thousands of times eventually just shut down and refuse any sexual contact with their wives.

  • A very helpful resource for wives may be www.forgivenwife.com.
  • I’d love to see us as wives seek to be as sexually available as possible to our husbands in accordance with I Corinthians 7:1-5.
  • A Precious Example – a wife who gave her husband the most wonderful gift

INDIVIDUAL IDIOSYNCRASIES:

There are some husbands who just have a lower drive. That is not wrong. Some men are much more visual or much more sexual. Some are not as much. There is a continuum of what is normal, not every man is the same. Some men may be totally healthy and normal and be happy with sex once a week or once every two weeks. Really!

There are also issues that come up as a man ages where testosterone levels decrease and prostate problems increase that can affect desire and performance at times. But there is medical help available!

SEVERE ISSUES:

Sometimes sexual problems are caused by a husband being involved in infidelity of some type. If that is your situation, please seek godly, experienced, biblical counseling ASAP! I am not addressing wives whose husbands are involved in adultery in this post. In fact, I wouldn’t want to have sex with my husband if he were cheating on me, until he VERY CLEARLY repented and took tests to check for STDs and was showing extreme transparency to me. It would be a long process of rebuilding that lost trust. It is not impossible for God to heal a marriage after infidelity. I have seen Him do it many, many times. But you may need extra help in this situation.

If there is physical abuse going on, or addictions to drugs/alcohol, please seek godly help! I am not able to address these situations.

If your husband was sexually abused or molested as a child – he is going to have severe spiritual/emotional/sexual scars to try to overcome. If you were sexually abused, molested or raped, you are going to have severe spiritual/emotional/sexual scars to try to overcome. You and he may both need experienced, outside help for this kind of situation, as well.

———

If you have a husband who is feeling extremely disrespected (and he is not involved in adultery), here are my suggestions. Other wives, you are welcome to chime in here as well!

****  PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pray for God to heal your sexual union for His glory. God gave sex to us in marriage to be a glue to hold us together. The enemy wants to keep us from having a healthy sexual union. God desires us to have a satisfying, vibrant, fulfilling sex life in our marriages (Song of Solomon, I Corinthians 7). Pray for the strongholds to come down, strongholds of any sin on either side of the marriage and strongholds of the enemy.

1. Stop the unintentional and intentional disrespect immediately. Learn what feels disrespectful to your husband. Avoid those things. Say nothing rather than bulldoze him or attack him or put him down. (The Frustrating Quiet Phase)  Look through the Peacefulwife Timeline at the top of my home page and read all the posts  you can find on this topic. Your Words Can Cause Catastrophic Damage.  A Wake Up Call for Wives.

2. Begin to use your words to give life. Begin to use your words to encourage, bless, praise, build up, genuinely admire, honor and respect your husband. Research what it means for a man to feel respected by his wife and what a wife can do to powerfully motivate, bless and breathe life into her husband as she learns to understand his masculine heart and needs. What Is Respect in Marriage? My Wife Would Bless Me If

3. Lay down your expectations. Don’t try to control him in the area of sex. Don’t try to initiate every single night if he is rejecting you fairly often. Giving him a bit of space (waiting for days or possibly weeks) in a situation like this can sometimes help him have a chance to feel his own desire for you more and to want to come to you.

4. If possible, talk with your husband about if he reads your cues or if he is missing them. Some husbands don’t realize that their wives are trying to initiate sex. It would be great if you and your husband could talk about this and maybe you can ask him about his cues that he wants to have sex so you won’t miss his either.

5. Approach him in the morning if possible. Men have the highest levels of testosterone generally in the morning right before or around the time they usually wake up.

6. Some husbands prefer a hands on direct approach rather than a wife initiating with words. Some husbands like words. This will require you to study your husband to know what works best for him.

7.  If things are EXTREMELY tense between you, you may want to just start by sitting in the same room with him quietly and smiling at him whenever he looks at you. Maybe you could eventually move to sit quietly beside him while he watches TV or whatever he is doing and you could read a book and just enjoy being near him.

8. Then, once you are able to be in the same room together and you are smiling at him more often, maybe you could offer a shoulder rub or back massage. If you need ideas, there are videos on YouTube from massage therapists that can give you some great ideas. As things continue to be less tense and if your husband begins to relax a bit, some husbands may respond best at first to a wife’s hands or mouth (if you need more detail on this, we can talk about it in the comments, or you can check out my friend, Kayla’s, series on sex). This could be a great way to begin to bridge the gap if there hasn’t been a lot of sexual intimacy in recent months. I am aware of a number of husbands (not all, but quite a few) responding positively when a wife approaches them in this way just to bless the husband at first for a number of weeks or so. That could be a place to start.

9. Wear your hair the way he likes it whenever possible. Wear clothing he likes whenever possible. Especially if your particular husband is quite visual. Make some effort to doll yourself up for him just to bless him no matter what his response. (If you have issues with food or body image, please seek godly help! There is victory available to us as daughters of the King, we don’t have to be enslaved to addictions and fear! As we give absolute surrender to Christ, He has the power to heal us. There are many godly resources available about these issues.)

10. As much as possible, if he does turn you down, I pray for God to give you the strength to accept this graciously and calmly. I think it is possible to ask for what we desire, then respond with a bit of sadness but to maintain self-control. I know this can be extremely painful and feel very personal. Sometimes a husband may just be tired or extremely stressed or have other things going on. Sometimes it is not personal. But, if we get really emotional and upset, and especially if we lash out verbally in anger in those moments, it is easy for us to create severe emotional/spiritual injuries to our husbands surrounding their sexuality that can be almost impossible to recover from. If we can approach our husbands with empathy, understanding and patience and turn to God for the power to respond in a way that honors Him, we can bless ourselves and our marriage. But if we lash out and say things like:

  • If you were a REAL MAN, you’d want to have sex with me!!!
  • Are you gay or something?!?!?!! You must be! Every other man in the world wants to have sex with his wife but you!
  • If you don’t have sex with me, I’ll find it somewhere else!
  • What is wrong with you!?!?!  I thought men all want sex all the time!

… those kinds of words can destroy and crush a husband’s soul and make him completely shut down sexually on you. I don’t want to see that happen!

I am not personally aware of ANY husbands who respond positively to a wife’s verbal insults and attacks or to a wife who is freaking out.

When we get hysterical and super emotional and upset – that can be pretty scary to our husbands and we can unwittingly repel them when we respond with a huge burst of negative emotion. The bigger deal we make of these situations, the bigger the wall we are building that we will have to overcome the next time, from my perspective.

Some wives try things like:

  • say, “Ok. Well, would you hold me while I do X, please?”
  • approach in a different way, maybe something they know their husband really likes
  • enjoy just cuddling
  • go pray for their husbands and themselves
  • go journal their thoughts and feelings privately
  • plan to try again in the morning
  • understand when their husband is really tired
  • go clean the house
  • go work on a hobby

There is a wide range of normal sexual desire in men. Some men want sex once a day or more. Some men are fine with once a week or once every two weeks or so. There are MANY, MANY factors involved in this issue – spiritual, emotional, psychological, neurological and physiological. I can’t begin to possibly address every specific issue in one post. And, I am not a sex therapist. But – I hope that maybe we can talk about this together, brain storm  and come up with some ideas and approaches to try to use to bless our marriages and our husbands. A lot of you had really helpful ideas that you shared with me on the survey. You are welcome to share them here. It’s fine if you want to be anonymous. 🙂

 

RELATED:

Please check out my good friend, Kayla’s amazing series on sex in marriage

ForgivenWife has included a link for us to learn what happens to husbands when we reject them sexually – she said the comments on the post are important for us to look at.

We have an enemy of our souls who wants to destroy our lives, our marriages, our husbands and our families. This is SPIRITUAL WARFARE, my sisters! Where there is sin, we give the enemy a foothold in our lives – unforgiveness, bitterness, addictions (like pornography), resentment, hatred, pride… The only way to overcome the enemy is absolute surrender to Christ. THEN we will have the power to resist the devil and he must flee. God is able to give us victory!

Please check out David Platt’s 4 part series on Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare  and his series on Family, Marriage, Sex and the Gospel on Youtube

 

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