Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash
Note – this particular post is written in response to some wives who had similar issues with good-willed husbands who were genuinely just trying to be playful and flirty with their wives and who were not abusive, violent, or mentally unstable. If your husband is abusing you, please don’t read this article but reach out for trusted, experienced help.
The usual scenario goes like this:
- A husband playfully grabs his wife with a grin.**
- She instantly gets angry and upset. Maybe she says something (in an irritated tone of voice) like:
- “Get away from me!”
- “You are so immature!!”
- “What is wrong with you?”
- “Why would you do that in front of the kids?”
- “Don’t touch me!”
- “What are you, some kind of pig or something?”
- “You haven’t even talked to me yet today. What do you think you’re doing!?”
- “Can’t you see I am trying to make supper!?!”
- Or maybe she just slaps his hands away and scowls at him.
- He is confused and surprised by her negative reaction and the insults.
- She feels offended, unloved, annoyed, and irritated.
- He feels angry, unloved, lonely, and rejected.
Both spouses end up feeling misunderstood and resentful, thinking the other spouse was inconsiderate and unloving.
It is easy to get offended with something like this and let it ruin the whole evening.
Instead of getting offended…
- Tickle him.
- Pull him toward you and give him a huge hug.
- Smile and grab his hands and try to hold them behind his back and say something playful back to him.
- Stop what you are doing and give him all of your attention.
- Smile and say, “I knew I should have ordered that suit of armor from Amazon when it was on sale last month.”
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
What Can a Wife Do If She Hates This Approach?
We want our husbands to change their approach, so this may require our being willing to change our approach first.
- Recognize that, unless you are facing some rather extreme issues**, he likely truly has good will toward you and probably didn’t intend to upset or hurt you.
- He probably does care about your happiness quite a bit.
- Appreciate his good desire to love, connect, and be playful with you.
- Realize that he is wired differently from you. Some things about his approach to you are not necessarily wrong, it’s just different from what you may prefer.
- Remember that he doesn’t have a Hollywood female script writer or a crystal ball to tell him what you would like. He’s just a regular guy who is doing his best to be romantic with you in his own way in real life. He may be trying to connect with you and be fun.
- Focus on the good things about him and all the sweet, kind, thoughtful things he does for you.
- Keep in mind that reacting in a really negative way could crush his soul and make him feel rejected sexually and rejected as a man. Men do have feelings, too!
- Consider being thankful to have a husband who loves you and wants to connect sexually and who wants to flirt in some way.
(For more on these topics, check out Shaunti Feldhahn’s book full of amazingly helpful information about men, “For Women Only.”)
Changing the Dynamics
What can you do in the moment to encourage him to stop him from the friendly grabbing sessions? A few suggestions to prayerfully consider (but ultimately, seek to do what you believe would honor the Lord most in your situation):
- Smile at him, and then sweetly put his hands where you would rather they go. And say in a friendly voice, “That’s more my speed. I like this approach.”
- Smile and say in a flirty, fun way, “Oh, no! It doesn’t work like that, Honey. You don’t just go up to your amazing wife and grab her like that. Let me show you how this is properly done…” And let him be the “wife” and then you model for him how you would like for him to approach you.
- Smile and say, “I know I am super irresistible! But a beautiful woman like me is delicate and tender. Maybe instead of grabbing me, I’d love it if you…”
- Smile and say, “Groping is not really my thing, but I do love that you desire me. Would you like to know what is my thing that you could do?…”
- Smile and say, “If you really want to help me get ready to enjoy being with you later, I’d love for you to try this…”
- Smile and say, “You know what? I’d love it if you come up behind me at the sink and put your arms around my waist and lean all up against my back. That would feel amazing. I think I may start to melt if you did that. Could be dangerous.” 😉
- Share in a whisper, “I don’t really care for being grabbed like that. But you know what you could do that would really be a huge turn on for me, Baby?” And then tell him – in a friendly, positive way – what would help get you in the mood.
- Say, “Grabbing me makes me tense up because it hurts. If you really want to sweep me off my feet when you come home and get me to melt for you, here are some sure-fire ways to do it…”
- Approach in a warm way with a sense of humor – but don’t insult him.
- Or take some time to have a sweet, fun talk about each of your preferences for flirting and being playful with each other where you both seek to understand each other.
- Smile. Your smile is one of his favorite things in the entire world. It is one of your greatest gifts to him!
- Be respectful – it honors God, your husband, and yourself when you treat your husband well. (Eph. 5:22-33, 1 Cor. 7:3-5)
- Be friendly with your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.
- Avoid insulting him, shaming him, or disrespecting him.
- Be positive about what you do want and your good feelings for him. Focus more on inspiring him to do what you would like than talking about what you don’t like.
- Let him know that you are NOT rejecting him or sexual connection with him, that you love and accept him and his desire for you.
- Be sure to share a few things you truly would enjoy that he could do.
- Don’t expect him to read your mind or get subtle hints.
- Share what you would like briefly, directly, and vulnerably.
- Ask for what you want respectfully.
- Be a safe place for him emotionally.
It’s also helpful to remember that as husband and wife, we are one flesh. Our bodies do belong to each other (1 Cor. 7:3-5). So we want to try to be as inviting and welcoming as we can. But we can also ask to be treated with respect.
The following verse applies to all believers, and it can certainly be a blessing in marriage, too.
Outdo one another in showing honor. Rom. 12:10
When he approaches you in a way you really like – and he doesn’t grope you – REWARD him!
Thank him. Tell him – and even better – show him how much you love that approach by being responsive to the approach you like.
If It Continues, If He truly Is Hurting You, or You Feel You Need to Be More Direct
If he still continues to grab you and you feel you can’t overlook it, it doesn’t feel friendly and playful to you:
- Be a bit more firm, but still respectful, and say something like, “I love you. I love for you to touch me. But I truly do not like to be pinched and groped. Especially in front of other people. It feels disrespectful to me.”
- Say, “I don’t like this. Please stop.”
- Gently say, “I would greatly appreciate it if you would respect my desire on this issue. I do not like being grabbed like that.”
- You may consider gently taking his face in your hands and looking into his eyes with a serious expression and whispering something like, “I feel disrespected when you approach me like this. It doesn’t feel good to me. I want you to enjoy touching me. And I also want to enjoy it, too.'”
- Say simply, “I really don’t like the grabbing thing, Honey.”
- Invite him to read Intended for Pleasure with you.
The goal is for both husband and wife to feel loved, respected, desired, and appreciated.
We, as wives, have tons of powerful influence to direct things so that we can reach a win/win for everyone, especially as we invite the Lord into the situation to give us wisdom!
A prayer you may want to pray with me…
In marriage, things sure can get complicated sometimes. We all need grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love for each other and from each other. Help me see this issue with new eyes. Help me appreciate my husband’s very different perspective on life and help me see that maybe his intentions aren’t as evil as I had previously assumed. Help me understand that a lot of times, he is just different from me, not necessarily “wrong.” He is not my enemy. We are teammates.
Help me to let go of a spirit of offense or bitterness. I don’t want any resentment, malice, or contempt in my heart for my husband. That stuff is toxic to me spiritually and it is toxic to our marriage. I repent of it. Empower me to pour Your love, Life, and healing into our marriage. Even with this little issue.
Help us both understand how we can build each other up and create more unity and oneness that will honor You. Help me learn to approach my husband in ways that honor You, even when he is doing something I don’t like. I am not justified in sinning against him just because I don’t like his approach.
Thank You that You are working in both of us and that You will finish the good work You have started. Thank You that You have so much wisdom for us in Your Word and that You give us the ability to pray about issues. Thank You that You have the ability to change our hearts and to grow our marriage. I praise and thank You that You are going to help us both move forward with understanding, patience, and grace for one another. I don’t want to let the enemy divide and destroy us over this little thing. Be greatly glorified in our marriage and in my life.
If you have something encouraging to share on this topic, we’d love to hear about it!
For this post, comments will be ladies only, please.
Let’s Talk about Sex – This post has every link to every post I have written about sex. Including topics like – boundaries with sex in marriage, dealing with jealousy, desiring greater emotional connection, sexual dysfunction, one spouse having a higher libido than the other, ED, attraction, body image issues, and much more.
How and When Should We Look Over an Offense? – by www.gotquestions.org
What Is Attractive/Unattractive to Our Husbands?
Isn’t It Demeaning to Me If I Respect My Husband?
What Really Speaks Respect to My Husband
How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage through Your Thought Life
Why Do I Have to Change First?
How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ
** Note, if your husband has a severe porn addiction, please seek help at www.xxxchurch.com or another Christian resource for porn addictions. If your husband is involved in unrepentant infidelity, please seek experienced, godly one-on-one counsel with someone you trust locally. If your husband is abusive and you – or your children – are not safe please try to get somewhere safe and get all the help you need from your church, from the police, from experienced counselors, etc… If your husband is mentally unwell, is a sex addict or has severe addictions, please reach out for help, as well.
Also, if you realize that you hate for your husband to touch you at all, or that you hate sex in general, check to see if you have any wounds in your own heart and life related to sex that may need to be healed – from any sexual abuse in the past, or from hurtful messages that sex is “dirty” even in marriage. If you do, you may need some help from a trusted, experienced, godly counselor.
I love this post!!! I really like playfulness, if it does get to be too much for me, I can usually fight back in a playful way, letting him know it’s gone too far. And he will back off.
Aw! That is really sweet. Thank you for sharing how you handle this in a friendly way.
I’ve been struggling with this lately. Thankful for this article to help me understand instead of silently getting irritated with my husband..
I’m so glad this was helpful. ❤️
My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the title of your post! I have been frustrated by my hubby ‘s”affections.” Thankfully, this occurs only in our home; so often that our five teen/young adult children have given my husband the title-Papa Grope. Once again, the Lord has used your insights to speak to me. Thank you, April, for following the Lord’s leading.
Oh, wow! If this happens all the time in front of your children, I can understand your desire to change things up a bit. May the Lord richly bless you, your marriage, and your walk with Christ, my precious sister. I’m so glad this topic was helpful.
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