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Withholding Sex

Photo by Nik Lanús on Unsplash

First, let’s define “withholding sex” so that we are on the same page.

Withholding sex would mean – I purposely won’t have sex with my husband when I am actually able to. 

(This applies to both spouses, but I only write for women, so I will be addressing only wives in this post.)

In that moment, he would like to have sex, and I am able to, but I decide that:

  • I just don’t feel like it.
  • It would take too much effort.
  • I want to hurt/punish him by turning him down.
  • I don’t care about his legitimate sexual needs.
  • I don’t care that I vowed to be his “to have and to hold.”
  • I don’t care that he feels bonded emotionally to me through sex and that it would bless him, just like I want him to talk with me and connect verbally with me.

The main issue here would be my motives. My motives, as a follower of Christ, are to be holy, kind, honorable, respectful, loving, and good. My motives are not to be selfish, uncaring, apathetic, hurtful, or malicious.

Scripture teaches a few principles that I believe apply to how we are to relate to our spouses (and all people) and how we are not to relate to them:

  • Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Cor. 13:4-5
  • The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23
  • Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:4
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21

(Check out the NOTES at the end of this post for a few clarifications.)

Let’s take a look at a passage in scripture about this issue:

“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Cor. 7:1-5

Each spouse is to voluntarily and willingly yield to the other. It is a decision made by each individual. It is not forced on anyone.

Some people misunderstand this concept of each spouse “having authority” over the other person’s body to mean that God is saying a husband can rape his wife or take sex with her by force. Or that a wife can violently force her husband to have sex with her against his will. That may be the world’s definition of “authority.” But it is not God’s. Let’s note that the passage never commands a me (or anyone else) to:

  • Take what I want.
  • Use violence to get my way.
  • Physically abuse my spouse, it is my right.
  • Be selfish if my spouse is sick, upset, or hurting.
  • All that matters is what I want, not what my spouse wants.
  • My spouse owes me sex, so I don’t have to have any concern for if this is a good time for him.
  • Be as thoughtless as possible.
  • My sex drive is the only thing in the world that is important.
  • My spouse’s needs for other things don’t matter.

The commands are given to each spouse to be giving, generous, and available to the other spouse when possible.

Sometimes spouses try to beat each other over the head with this passage, demanding sex from each other. That breaks my heart!

In God’s economy, “authority” is not about taking things by force. It is not about being a selfish dictator, tyrant. It is not about exalting self and selfishness. It is about humility, selflessness, and having a servant’s heart.

But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. Matt. 20:25-27

The one flesh relationship in marriage is supposed to be a beautiful picture of the one Spirit relationship we have with Jesus. Jesus doesn’t spiritually force Himself on us. Ever. He respects our free will to choose to abide in Him or not.

The goal is: selflessness. Unity. Oneness.

Sex is supposed to be a picture of the one Spirit relationship Jesus has with His people. It is supposed to be beautiful and a mutual blessing.

Each spouse should seek to be loving, kind, respectful, understanding, giving, generous, thoughtful, and sensitive to the other. It is about being selfless and loving with the agape love of Christ. It is about seeking to edify the other. Not about taking what I want for myself.

Scriptural principles prohibit believers in Christ from using violence or force to demand their way:

  • The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Ps. 11:5
  • Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isa. 58:4
  • Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom. 13:10
  • Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Pet. 3:7
  • Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19
  • Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:4
  • Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Cor. 10:24
  • We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Rom. 15:1-3
  • But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. … 2 Tim. 3:1-8

SATAN’S STRATEGY:

Satan’s strategy before marriage is to try to tempt us into having sex outside of God’s plan.

After marriage, his strategy is to tempt us into not having sex with our husbands. Or – to desire it with someone else. Again, he encourages us to go outside of the loving, good, life-giving boundaries God has set up in His design for sex.

Let’s not be ignorant of the enemy’s strategies to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages, our husbands, our ourselves, my precious sisters. In this area, or in any other.

PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

We invite Your healing Spirit into the marriages, families, and homes of all who read this post. We invite Your healing for spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy. We invite You to raise marriages up from struggle and pain to victory and wholeness. Lord, rebuke Satan and all of his plans to steal, kill, and destroy in our marriages. He has no authority in our lives anymore. We are dead to this world and we are under the authority of Jesus! Satan wants to divide us in our marriages. He wants us to hold onto hurt and bitterness. He wants to leave families and marriages in shambles. Let us refuse to cooperate with him and his plans. Let us submit all to You – Your Lordship, Your wisdom, Your glory, and Your will. We invite Your love and power to sweep through our midst and to bring new supernatural Life into our husbands, into our marriages, into every area of intimacy, and into ourselves. Let our marriages display the power, beauty, and glory of the Gospel. Not for our selfish purposes – but for Your Kingdom!

Amen!

COMMENTS:

I am not planning to have comments on this post. Thanks for understanding. No one answers to me. Or to any other commenters. I don’t want to create more confusion for anyone. Or become engaged in inappropriate conversations in mixed company.

We answer to the Lord and to our spouses on this issue.

If you have concerns about this issue, please check out what the Bible has to say. Pray. Take your issues to Him. Invite His healing into your marriage. God’s wisdom is really the only thing that matters.  (Please always compare anything I say to the Word of God.)

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Also, check out the resources below. 🙂

RESOURCES:

Let’s Talk about Sex – this post has links to all of my other posts about sex including resources for wives whose husbands want a lot more sex than they do and wives whose husbands want less sex than they do. It also has resources for wives who have pain during sex.

If your husband is purposely refusing to have sex with you, please check out Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.

A Precious Example – and in this post, a couple who has been married for decades shares what this concept should look like in practice in a Christian marriage in a beautiful way.

If one of you is struggling with porn or a sex addiction, please check out this resource www.xxxchurch.com. There are resources for men and women who want to find victory over porn addiction in Christ. There are also resources for spouses of those who are addicted to porn.

Forgivenwife.com is a resource for wives who have gotten into the habit of withholding sex and want to heal and change in Christ.

Unlock Your Libido is an ebook for wives who struggle with low libido and want to see God heal their marriage by His power.

If you want more connection emotionally/spiritually with your husband – I have a lot of resources on that here. My desire is to see marriages whole, vibrant, and healthy with strong intimacy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Leave me a comment on another post and I will help you find the posts that may be a blessing. Some examples might be:

If you have very serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, experienced, trustworthy one-on-one counseling.

If you need a referral to a Christian counselor, please check out the free service available at Focus on the Family.

ABUSE – if you are being abused by your husband (or wife) please contact a trusted, experienced counselor, your local domestic violence resources, or the police. Or get in touch with thehotline.org.

IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST – please read this post.

NOTES:

  1. I don’t believe it is “withholding sex” if a spouse is actually not able to have sex at that moment.  So if a spouse is very sick, in a lot of pain, is physically unable to have sex for some reason, is away from home on business, etc… the other spouse would want to seek to offer grace and understanding. Of course, if there is some kind of sexual dysfunction, disease, or emotional pain, a spouse would not want to ignore it and let it go on untreated. He/she would want to try to find healing for the situation so that one can try to be available to one’s spouse if possible. (If healing is not possible or may take some time, please check out this post.)
  2. Another situation where it may be unwise to have sex is if the spouse is involved in an unrepentant affair. I have seen God restore marriages after adultery, many times. But it is my understanding that the wayward spouse would need to repent and produce much fruit of repentance before a sexual reunion could take place. And the faithful spouse is not biblically required to take back the wayward spouse. But – they may decide to do so as an act of grace if the wayward spouse sincerely repents and trust is restored and they feel led to do so.
  3. If there is major tension or a wife is really hurting emotionally/spiritually – it is certainly fine for her to respectfully ask for what she needs to feel safe and secure so she can relax and feel right about having sex with her husband.
    • There are times when talking through something first is a necessary step to begin healing.
    • There are times when having sex first and talking later can be a wonderful pathway to begin healing.
  4. Husbands tend to connect emotionally (and sometimes even spiritually) with their wives through having sex. Sometimes husbands don’t have the same need for verbally connecting emotionally that wives do. We have different needs and ways of feeling connected. I’d love to see both spouses selflessly seeking to meet the other’s needs and being understanding and compassionate.
  5. Withholding sex before marriage is not a sin. It is obedience to God’s Word.

 

Ten Reasons to Consider Fasting

 

Fasting is not a topic we discuss much in some church circles – especially not the ones where I have grown up. We’d rather have a big fellowship supper! But fasting is something I believe we may each want to very prayerfully consider. It is a spiritual discipline that benefits believers and the church, particularly in times of distress and great need. It is a way to show that our hunger for the Lord is our greatest hunger of all.

There are specific times when fasting may be especially important:

  1. When we are repenting from significant sin and grieving over our sin before the Lord. (Joel 2:12)
  2. When we are facing serious temptation to sin and we want to appeal to the Lord for victory and His power. (Matt. 4:1-11)
  3. When we are praying for repentance for our families, our churches, or our country and grieving over these sins, feeling the pain the Lord feels over them. (Daniel 9) Surely this is one of the greatest needs our church and nation has today.
  4. When church leaders are prayerfully deciding on appointing new men to lead in the church, particularly pastors or missionaries. (Acts 14:23)
  5. When we have a very serious prayer request and we want to seek the Lord in a deeper way. (Ezra 8:21-23)
  6. In times of great grief, perhaps during times of national mourning. (2 Sam. 1:12)
  7. When we are praying for significant healing – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, or physically – for ourselves or others. (Psalm 35:13)
  8. When there is a great crisis for the church or the nation and we need God’s intervention – there is threat of war, famine, plague, great persecution, etc… (Jonah 3:5-10Nehemiah 9:1Esther 4:3)
  9. When we are praying for a massive movement of God’s Spirit to bring many into the Kingdom – a new Great Awakening. (Check out this article on revivals and fasting by John Piper)
  10. As a regular voluntary habit or occasional practice to draw nearer to the Lord and to grow in spiritual maturity ourselves. (Luke 2:37)

Verses about fasting:

  • ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:3-7
  • I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. Daniel 10:3
  • “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; Joel 2:12
  • “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18

 

There are a number of kinds of fasting:  *

  • Standard Fast – Avoid all food for a certain period of time and only drink water.
  • Absolute Fast – Avoid all food and liquids for a certain period of time.
    • Esther and the Jews fasted for 3 days when the Jews were threatened with genocide. (Esther 4:3)
  • Partial Fast – Avoid certain foods but other foods are okay to eat.
  • Intermittent Fast – A fast that is for certain parts of the day.
  • Electronics Fast – Avoid distractions like screens, phones, the internet, and social media, to really concentrate on the Lord and on prayer for a certain period of time.
  • Sexual Fast – husbands and wives may choose to do this only by mutual consent, and only for a limited time, so that they may pray. (1 Cor. 7:5)

Who Initiates Fasting?

  • A Christian may decide to fast in secret for himself/herself.
  • Believers may come together to decide to fast together for a specific reason and time.
  • Church leaders may call the local church or the church in a nation or worldwide to fast and pray.
  • Both spouses must agree to a sexual fast and it must have a specific and limited time period.
  • Political leaders may call a city, state, or nation to fast and pray. (2 Chron. 20:3)

 

NOTE* – If you are pregnant, nursing, diabetic, hypoglycemic, or have significant medical conditions, please check with your doctor or medical professional before prayerfully deciding what type of fast you might want to do.

SHARE:

If you’d like to share resources on fasting or about how fasting has been a blessing in your life, you are welcome to share!

RESOURCES:

www.gotquestions.org has a number of posts about what fasting is and the importance of it.

Types of Fasting – by www.gotquestions.org

John Piper’s articles on fasting

Fasting for Beginners – by David Mathis at www.desiringgod.org

 

"Unlock Your Libido" Book Review

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(TRIGGER ALERT – If you are a higher drive wife with a husband with lower libido, please don’t read this review if you know that reading about something like this might be upsetting to you.)

I have never done a book review on such a topic but I have seen how much pain there is in so many marriages where a wife has a lack of desire for physical intimacy. (Of course, there is much pain when a husband has a lack of desire, as well. But that is a different post!) Lack of sexual intimacy in marriage leads to deeply hurting spouses and increased tension, stress, and strife in marriage. Our enemy loves to promote anything that will create tension and division. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy in our marriages and families. But God wants to strengthen our marriages and to empower us to become the godly women He calls us to be for His glory.

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Bonny Logsdon Burns

I had the privilege of “meeting” Bonny Logsdon Burns through the Christian Marriage Bloggers’ Association. There are lots of amazing Christian marriage blogs to be discovered there! (Note – please always compare what any writer says against the Bible – including my own writing, please!)

What I like about “Unlock Your Libido” is the way Bonny points women to finding fulfillment in Christ first and how she directs women to Scripture to deal with the spiritual and emotional issues that may be impacting a woman’s desire for her husband physically. She also talks about neuroscience, biology, neurochemistry, and practical suggestions that surround many of the issues of low libido wives.  That is an approach I can get exited about! Give ALL the resources possible – but focus especially on Christ and the truth of His Word and the power of God’s Spirit.

Bonny shares her story on her blog www.oysterbed7.com where her entire ministry is devoted to “low libido wives.” I’m glad that I can share this resource for those who may need it. I realize not everyone will be in this boat. But I believe that any wife who is in need of spiritual and sexual healing may find a good place to start in Bonny’s book, “Unlock Your Libido.”  I also think that wives with “normal libido” who have a higher drive husband may also benefit. For a wife whose husband is lower drive, she may not want to purposely try to increase her libido – that may just be frustrating. (I have tips for wives to focus on lowering their drive here for these situations.) It is possible that husbands might be able to read this book to “reverse engineer” some beneficial approaches if their wives are struggling with low libido.

THE BOOK

Bonny’s book is a 52 week course. Each week has a devotional section where Bonny discusses a particular topic. Themes vary from Bible passages, to addressing sin, to scientific studies, and topics related to the issue of low libido.  There is then a Scripture passage to focus on for then next week. And then a “positive thought” to help wives practice thinking positive, Philippians 4:8 kinds of things:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

She gives wives space to write down their thoughts each day of the week about the issue that was discussed and the positive thought and Scripture for that week which I believe is a powerful way to reinforce new thinking and to change our inner dialogue. I want to share some of the topics to give you a tantalizing taste of what you are in for with this ebook:

  • Renewal
  • God is Not Anti-Beauty
  • Sexpectations
  • Benefits of Sexual Intimacy
  • Spiritual Libido
  • Adversity
  • Redefining Sexy
  • You Are Sexually Adequate!
  • The Hero in Your Husband
  • Idol-Free
  • Why Satan Targets Marriage
  • God’s Purpose for Your Low Libido
  • When the Headaches Strike

The book does not address any of the mechanics or details of sex. It is really mostly about how wives struggle and overcome their struggles with low desire.

The devotional is easy to read and usually about a page. Just once a week. Bonny’s writing style is friendly, personal, gentle, engaging, humorous, encouraging, and truthful. She addresses the hard topics with compassion, grace, understanding, and plenty of suggestions to help in various situations. I think wives will get the most out of this book if they stick to reading one devotional each week and then memorize the Scripture passage for each week and write down a brief positive thought each day about that week’s topic. Bonny is careful to address women in their entirety – body, soul, and mind. Love that!

Bonny helps women examine their walk with Christ, their motives, and search for any sin that may be blocking God’s Spirit’s power in their lives. She teaches wives step by step to transform their thinking from negative, self-sabotaging thinking to positive, empowered, Bible-centered thinking. Our thoughts are SO important! And our thoughts and emotions as women are extremely tied into our ability to have a healthy libido and desire for our husband. She encourages wives to view themselves as teammates with their husbands. I also appreciate how she encourages wives to become godly wives and to respect and honor their husbands.

The only thing I was not super excited about – was chapter 51 on “Centering Prayer.” I have some concerns that it could be a bit too closely linked to Eastern meditation practices. That would be something each wife could prayerfully consider for herself or discuss with her husband and research on her own. If you are interested in learning to pray more powerfully, I would recommend Kay Author’s study, “Lord, Teach Me to Pray,” or E. M. Bounds book, “The Necessity of Prayer.”

CONCLUSION

I am so thankful for Bonny’s openness and transparency and for her willingness to share so many pearls of wisdom God has given to her on her own journey. I was going to try to pick one or two chapters that were my favorites, but there were so many that were a blessing – I decided it was impossible to narrow it down. What  a blessing to so many sisters in Christ and to many marriages that God is using her to share this important message of hope with wives in the Body of Christ!

Please join me in praying for Bonny’s ministry and her marriage  – that God might protect her and her husband from temptation and from harm, that He might continue to empower them and use them for His glory, and that His Spirit and truth might flow through Bonny to build up the Body of Christ for the glory of God and of the Gospel.

Strong, godly marriages lead to strong families, strong churches, strong communities, and a healthy, holy new generation to come. Sexual intimacy is a critical part of marriage that the enemy wants to destroy. He knows if he can destroy intimacy in marriage, the marriage may fall apart. I don’t want that to happen to any of us! May God richly bless the intimacy in each of our marriages on every level and may His Spirit shine brightly in and through us to reach this world for Christ!

RELATED:

www.forgivenwife.com  – A “sister blog” to Bonny’s that is a ministry especially for those wives who realize they have been withholding themselves from their husbands and being “sexual gatekeepers” and who want to change to become the wives God desires them to be and to bless their husbands with sexual intimacy.

I Feel Like I’m Just a Piece of Meat to My Husband Sometimes – I answer a wife’s question in this post. Be sure not to miss her response later in the comments about how much God healed her later!

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage  – for wives whose husbands tend to reject them sexually

Taking Initiative Sexually in Marriage – for wives who have been hesitant to do so, but whose husbands would really appreciate if they would initiate more

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage – for wives who are higher drive than their husbands

Submitting Sexual Desire to the Lord

Peacefulwife Posts about Going Deeper in Prayer

How to Tell If a Sexual Activity Is Wrong in Marriage

When Your Husband Is Not Physically Attracted to You

 

WARNING, LADIES: This post is a big-time trigger alert for some of you. If the thought of issue causes too much distress, and you are not emotionally/spiritually ready to read about it – please, please just skip it for now and focus on your identity in Christ and spiritual healing for yourself. 

I am going to share one wife’s story and how she believes God has led her to handle this painful issue. This may be a blessing to you if you are in a similar situation AND if you are emotionally and spiritually strong enough in Christ to face this thing head on. God may show you a different way to approach this issue and that is totally fine. 🙂 My prayer is that each wife will be sensitive to how God may desire her to handle her own marriage issues for His glory by His Spirit’s power. But the main point is that there is hope in Christ and that He can give us the power to face the fiery trials in our lives.

Sometimes women just have a lot of insecurities about themselves, their body image, and their husbands – and can’t receive the truth that their husbands truly ARE attracted to them. That is a difficult, painful, and frustrating situation for husbands and wives in that situation that is addressed in more detail by a husband here.

Other times husbands just feel so disrespected and controlled, that they lose their attraction to their wives because of this. This happens quite often, from what I can tell. Eventually, when a wife begins to learn to respect and honor her husband, the attraction often comes back in time.

Sometimes husbands face their own issues of medical problems with impotence, side effects from medications, stress, depression, shame (for some things that may be sinful and some that may not be sinful), porn addiction, or  other things that impact their libido that don’t have much to do with their wives. Or maybe they just have a naturally low libido. There are men who only desire sex once a week or even every 2 weeks or so – and it isn’t because they don’t desire their wives, they just have a low appetite.

But some husbands truly are no longer attracted to their wives physically and there aren’t any other issues going on. What an incredibly painful situation that is for both husband and wife. No wife ever wants to feel that her husband has no desire for her body. I am sure that most husbands feel awful about this, as well – and, if they are remotely good-willed, which many husbands are.

  • I think this may be one of the top fears many wives have in marriage. What can we do if we find ourselves in this situation? What would please God? What would bless our marriages? How do we maintain our own spiritual strength?

I’m thankful that a friend of mine is willing to share the wisdom God has given to her as she has had to navigate this issue in recent years in her own marriage. Perhaps it may provide some encouragement for other wives, as well.

FROM A DEAR 50-SOMETHING SISTER IN CHRIST

There is nothing like knowing that your husband is not physically attracted to you.

Maybe it’s because you don’t fit into the “dream girl” vision he has in his mind or maybe it’s because you have let yourself go. In other words, there are some things that are in your control and others that are not. Right or wrong, this is where he is at and if you want to be a blessing to him, there are things you can do to help the situation.

I felt like I had failed my husband as a wife because I was not able to provide the “eye candy” so many men crave.

I spent some time mourning when I realized I would never receive that look from him that says, “you’re beautiful.” I also experienced feelings of defeat when I realized I cannot compare with pretty women he encounters personally on a daily basis and via the media. Included with that was an apprehension to “woo” him, as I didn’t feel I had the ability to do so successfully.

My natural inclination is to want to withdraw from my husband because it seemingly appears to be a safe way to handle the issue. I constantly strive to fight against this attitude because it is not in the best interest of our relationship and would only serve to doom the marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:5 says I am not to deprive myself from my husband so I choose to focus on being open to providing opportunities to be with him as often as the need arises.

The Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

  • What you can control – weight, clothing, hygiene, your attitude, your spiritual growth, your obedience to God
  • What you cannot control – certain physical features, his perception, his sin, his obedience to God

Regarding the things you can control:

  • Are you overweight? Create new eating habits. Work out.
  • Do you tend to lounge around the house in your pajamas with unbrushed hair and teeth, no deodorant and unshaved legs? Get dressed every day. Use general hygiene. Shave those legs.
  • Hey, even consider putting on a little makeup to accentuate your features.

For those things you cannot control:

  •  You need to accept that and not own his attitude. This is between him and the Lord and is no reflection on you as a person.
  • A bad attitude toward him will only increase the distance that is already there.
  • This doesn’t give you license to pull away from him.

It is natural to feel ill will toward him and to withdraw from him. I know you feel hurt, but you need to fight any urges to build animosity with him or to pull away from him. You need to continue to pursue a close relationship with him. This is what you are called to do as a wife. It is part of being his “helpmeet”.

It is important for you to continue to engage with him.

  • Flirt (if he is receptive)
  •  Smile
  •  Offer kisses
  •  Seek to be around him
  • Respect the good in him and the fact that he is your husband
  • Honor him

Keep in mind that all this has to occur without any level of expectation, though, on your part. The goal is to bless him, not coerce him into acting lovingly towards you.

I suppose I am in a healthy spot, spiritually, so dealing with this hasn’t been as hard as it may be if I wasn’t in a good place spiritually – probably because I do find my security, acceptance, and fulfillment in Christ. We all have things we deal with in life and this is where I’m at. But the main point is that I have been able to look at things through the eyes of Christ – which has given me the wisdom and power I need to attempt to handle my husband’s current feelings with grace.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think it can be a good thing to try to look attractive for your husband – within reason, of course. The best reason for us to seek to be healthy and to take good care of our bodies, in my view, is so that we are being good stewards of the bodies God has given to us. (It is possible to make our appearance, being thin, beauty, etc… into idols – so we do have to be careful not to make external beauty the most important thing.)

We can cut out sugar, junk food, fried things, and unhealthy foods – exchanging those things for water, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean meats so that we are taking the best care of our bodies. We can focus on exercising 30 minutes/day or so. If you don’t have time to exercise – your husband may be willing for you to cut back your work hours or he may be willing to watch the children so that you can have some time to do this. He may even enjoy working out with you. Might be fun! If you have medical issues that are impacting your weight or your ability to lose weight, please speak to your doctor.

If food is an idol for you, and you turn to it for comfort – that is something to deal with before God. Christ is our greatest source of comfort, fulfillment, purpose, and identity – not food, not marriage, our husband, or anything or anyone else.

Something I did was grow my hair back out because Greg loves it long. I had cut it so short earlier in our marriage in total disregard for his preferences. But as I began to walk this road to become a godly wife, I realized that I needed to be be willing to consider my husband’s feelings, too, about how he liked my hair, how I dressed, etc… and not just my own preferences.

We can own our own attitude and be open, safe, calm, peaceful, respectful, warm, and even fun. 🙂 We can  get rid of any sin in our own lives and develop that feminine beauty that God cherishes so much – that gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear. We can study godly femininity and seek to become the women God calls us to be.

 

BEAUTIFUL FOR ME:

RELATED:

For wives in very difficult, painful marriages, checkout Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”

She Has the Stronger Sex Drive – Shaunti Feldman’s site, a 3 part series

When You Are Feeling Deprived in Your Marriage

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

I May Never Have Worldly Beauty

Roots of Insecurity, Sinful Jealousy, a Desire to Control, and Low Self-Esteem

Our Security Is in Christ Alone!

Finding Victory Over Feelings of Insecurity

My Identity in Christ

Godly Femininity

The story of Leah in the Old Testament – Jacob was not attracted to her, and yet, God noticed her situation and richly blessed her.

“I Want a Baby, but My Husband Doesn’t Want One Right Now. What Do I Do?”

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Here is a question from a dear wife and sister in Christ:

Hi April, I would love to hear your thoughts about this disagreement I am having with my husband. We have one 18 month old, and I desire to have another baby sometime in the next year. My husband doesn’t want a baby anytime soon. What is your advice about this? Oh, and I guess I should let you know his reasons for not wanting another baby for quite some time. He wants us to get out of debt first, and he says we need to do a better job of parenting the one child we do have and our marriage needs to improve. Those are his reasons.

I think that this is one of the most common conflicts I have seen here on the blog. Babies are on our minds as women in a way that they are not with men, possibly. I think men can want children very much, too. But, they are not reminded of the issue as much as we are, in some ways – or, maybe it doesn’t always feel as pressing to them? Maybe the men can speak to that in the comments. We are designed by God to carry, nurture, nurse, and care for babies, after all. We tend to have an intense biological drive to desire children (not all of us, of course, but many of us).

This particular husband in the question above has some valid concerns, in my view.

I believe that the desire to be a mother is a good, God-given desire. Motherhood is a gift and a blessing. So is fatherhood and family. So is marriage. All of these things are good things.

This is such a painful and sensitive topic for so very many women. My heart goes out to each of you who are struggling with this conflict, or with infertility issues, and for the single women who long to be married and to have children more than anything in the world. I think this time of year can be especially hard with Christmas coming up. For some of you, it may be wise to not look at Facebook much and to avoid some of your bigger triggers. And, if this issue is a big trigger for you – you may want to wait to read this post when you have time to be alone and to seek God and pray privately  – not right before you dash out the door to work!

I am praying for each of you who is deeply hurting over the desire for a baby – married or single!

MY STORY

Honestly, I see now that I made having a baby too important both times we had our children. I wanted a baby so much! I didn’t really put as much weight on any objections or concerns Greg may have had as I did on my own desires to have a baby. (How horrible that sounds to my ears now!!!) I wanted a baby and I wanted one ASAP. I just “knew” it was God’s will and that Greg needed to accept that and cooperate with everything I wanted to do. I expected and demanded that he submit to me, when it came down to it – although I didn’t see what I was doing at the time. I so regret my approach back then! I put so much pressure on my husband. 🙁

How I wish I had laid my dream for a baby at the feet of God, and allowed God to work on my husband’s heart to create this desire in him. How I wish I had been patient and that I had been willing to obey God’s Word for me as a wife whether or not Greg was excited about having a baby. If I had given him more time, I believe he would have been much more on board and the experience would have been so much more of a delight, blessing, joy, and gift for both of us. Greg does love our children dearly and is a fantastic father. But, I did not approach him about having a baby in the most constructive way. My approach created tension and division.

After our second baby, the doctor said it was not safe for me to have another baby. I understand the desire for more children. I know the sacrifice of laying down this dream and receiving God’s will for me, whatever that might be, even if it means no more children. I also understand the pain and ache of wanting a baby and not being able to have one because of circumstances we faced earlier in our marriage. We did not have our first child until we had been married 7 years. We faced the constant questions every week about when we were going to have children. I cried a lot of tears for many years over this issue. I remember the pain of people’s comments and the tension this issue caused in our marriage very vividly.

If I really, really want a baby, that is a good desire. Babies are gifts from God. God loves babies and He is sovereign over every person who is created.

But, I need to be careful not to let my desire for a baby become more important to me than my desire for Christ, my contentment in Him, my obedience to God’s Word, my husband, or my marriage covenant.

Here are the most common idols I see among married women and single women in the church today –  (An idol is something we put above God in our hearts that we want more than anything else. Sometimes they are very good things, the issue is where we put them in our priorities):

If you are confused about how wanting a baby could be an idol, I invite you to search my home page for the words “idol,” and “idolatry.” I also invite you to check out the post “Submission (to God) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely.”

Some great tests for whether something  has become an idol in my heart:

  • Do I believe I MUST have this thing or I cannot be satisfied in life?
  • Do I respond with major FEAR at the thought of not having the thing I want so much?
  • Am I willing to spend lots of time, money, and resources and sacrifice important relationships in my life to have this thing?
  • Am I willing to be content in Christ alone even if God decides not to give me what I want?

“HOW DO I HANDLE MY DESIRE FOR A BABY IN A WAY THAT HONORS MY HUSBAND AND GOD?”

Here are my suggestions (other wives are welcome to share things that have blessed them as they tackled this issue):

  • Write down your desire for a baby in your prayer journal. Ask God for His will. Tell Him how much you long to have a baby and how much you desire to be a mother. But then wrestle until you can get to the place where you can say sincerely to Him, “Yet not my will, but Yours be done.” That is submission to the Lordship of God.
  • Share your desire to have a baby with your husband in a friendly, positive, brief way – probably once.
  • Let God work in your husband’s heart and please do not pressure or push your husband about this! It may take time for him to get used to the idea. That has to be ok. If you try to force him into having a child, he may end up resenting you and possibly even the child. I want your husband to be on board with this idea and for him to be a willing participant. Please, please do not make a comment to him every time you see a baby or see someone announce a pregnancy. Don’t try to push babies on him. It’s ok to share sometimes that you feel sad because you would love to be a mother (or have another baby) one day. But the more you try to make your husband want a baby, the more you will repel him and the more he will feel disrespected and like you are trying to control him. Let me mention, if you talk about this once a month, that will feel like a LOT to most husbands. This may be something to bring up only occasionally, according to God’s Spirit’s flea prompting, especially if it is a very sensitive topic for your husband.
  • Listen to his concerns. Make sure that he knows that you value and care about his feelings, priorities, desires and concerns and that his thoughts are at least as important to you as your own feelings on this issue.
  • Rehearse Scripture and God’s commands for you as a wife. Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3. Read James 1 and James 4 any time you start to feel discouraged. Focus on Philippians 4:4-8 and Philippians 4:13.
  • Hold your dream loosely and allow God to work in His sovereignty to accomplish this dream.
  • Be willing to wait and be willing to be content even without children. Jesus is sufficient. We can absolutely be content in Him alone even if we don’t have all of the things we want in this world.
  • Seek God’s will far above your own will. He knows what is best.
  • Remember that your covenant relationship of marriage is the most important and sacred of human relationships. Scripture does not allow for divorce because a husband doesn’t want a baby or because of infertility. It may be wise not to talk with a lot of people about your desire for a baby, because there are plenty of women who will counsel you to “just divorce your husband if he doesn’t want a baby.” That is not at all Scriptural. That would be sin on our part to divorce for that reason. There are very few biblically acceptable reasons for divorce. There are also a lot of women who, even if they don’t encourage you to divorce, will attempt to insert themselves into your marriage to tell you what to do or to tell you what you need to make your husband do if you share this issue. Not helpful. That just adds more stress and pressure to your husband, your marriage, and to you, in my view.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time marinating on your dream until your husband gives you the green light. I think that only makes us want a baby even more. If I am feeding my mind with articles from Baby and parenting magazines, looking at baby clothes and baby furniture a few times a week online, picking out names, focusing on the women around me who have babies, etc… I can make myself (and my husband) absolutely miserable. I may need to get off of Facebook and not go to baby sites online and avoid the baby department at the store. I do much better when I focus on Christ and on becoming the woman He desires me to be and on being in the center of His will today than if I become consumed with a particular desire that is not about Jesus.
  • Do not allow any bitterness or resentment to build in your heart – that is TOXIC and can easily destroy  your marriage and ruin your fellowship with God.
  • Focus on today, not the future. It is entirely possible to become so absorbed with “When will we have children?” “Will I ever get to be a mother?” “When will my husband change his mind?” that we can completely miss out on the gifts we have today in the present. How can I cherish my husband today if I am worrying about 2 years from now? Jesus commands us not to worry about tomorrow, because each day has enough troubles of its own (Matthew 6:34).
  • Focus on delighting in the will of God, whatever that might be. I would love for us not to attempt to put God in a box. “It HAS to be this one way, God, or I will not be ok.” I would love for us to say, “Here is what I long for, but I trust You to know what is best for us and I can’t wait to see what You have in store for us!”
  • Focus on the fact that God’s wisdom and timing are infinitely greater than ours.
  • Read about the women of the Old and New Testament who were barren. God used that long time of infertility to refine their faith and to make the gift of a baby even more precious when He brought it about in His time for His purposes.
  • Don’t allow whether you have children or not to define you as a woman or believer. Your primary identity is in Christ, not in whether you are married or not or whether you have children or not.
  • Be prepared for insensitive comments from well-meaning family and friends. These can easily be triggers that can make you want to lash out in resentment at your husband. That is destructive. Be prepared to respond with something like, “Babies are such a gift. We will certainly let you know if/when we have any news. Thanks.” You may even have to set up boundaries and say something like, “That is a topic I would rather not talk about, please. How about you pray for us for God’s will about children.” And then change the subject.
  • When a friend announces her pregnancy, or you see moms with babies at the store – you may feel sad. You may need to journal your thoughts. If you have a godly wife mentor or godly wife friend, you may be able to talk with her about it and she may be willing to sympathize and then point you back to Christ and to obedience to His Word.
  • Don’t let the idea of a baby become more important to you than Jesus, obeying God’s Word, your marriage covenant, or your husband. If God desires you to have a baby, He is sovereign. He can bring a baby about at just the perfect time if it is His will.
  • I believe that the whole birth control thing makes this decision so much more complicated than it would have normally been in most generations in the past – this is my perspective at this point in my life. I have some posts on that linked below. If you believe God wants you to come off of birth control, maybe you can share this series below with your husband, if God prompts you to. Or, you can simply pray for God to change your husband’s heart if it is His will for you to come off of birth control. If you have moral objections to birth control, maybe you can calmly share those concerns with your husband (probably just once, or rather rarely, when God prompts you to share) and give him some time to think about your concerns and see what he says.

SHARE:

If having a baby has been an idol for you, I’d love to hear your story.

If you have pressured your husband to have children, and regret doing so, I would love for  you to share your story in the comments.

If God has given you the strength to handle this issue gracefully in a way that honors Him and your husband, I would love for you to share your story, too.

I would also appreciate some of the gentlemen sharing their masculine thoughts on this issue that may help us understand our husbands better in this area.

RELATED:

A Wife Examines the Hidden Motives Behind Her Desire for Children

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

My Secret Idol

The Idol of Happiness

The Birth Control Issue – Part 1

“My Husband Refuses to Have Children with Me!?!”

Bitterness

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman

Godly Femininity

You can also search my home page for “control,” “idol” and/or “idolatry.”

 

When Your Husband Battles Pornography

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Pornography use is at epidemic levels among men and women. The problem is staggering. This is not an issue for a few “dirty old men.” This is an issue for many men today, even in the church, sadly – and, it is increasingly a problem among women, as well.

You can check out some interesting statistics here at www.covenanteyes.com about people’s online pornography watching habits to see how widespread this is. If you are a parent, you need to read this piece, and, please read the more complete statistical information that is linked at the bottom of that post, as well, to see what teenagers are facing today.

THE ADDICTION:

Pornography is addictive, exactly like an illicit drug. Many young men (and girls, now, too) are exposed in their elementary school or middle school years. Once the addiction is born – it is always a battle. Porn use alters nerve pathways in the brain permanently that are involved in arousal, ideas about sex, and women. Porn use triggers dopamine release in the brain exactly the way that crack cocaine does. That is a big problem. It makes the user feel good, or better (at least temporarily) emotionally and mentally. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved with pleasure and reward signals in the brain. Oxytocin is a hormone that creates bonding for men during sex with their wives (or during masturbation with pornography). This is the same hormone that is involved when a mother nurses a baby that allows her to bond to her baby. So, porn use delivers a powerful dose of neurotransmitters and hormones that reward a man and cause him to feel more bonded to the porn habit. It is an counterfeit to God’s good design for human connection and intimacy. Some argue that pornography may be one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Of course, with God, all things are possible!!!!

The best way to avoid addiction is to completely avoid exposure.

Currently, the average first age of exposure to porn for boys is about 9-10 years old, according to our student minister at church earlier this year. Yes, you read that right. 🙁 How heartbreaking!!!!!!! How I pray God will give us wisdom to shield our precious children from this destructive, addictive, filth. Porn is destroying countless people, marriages, and families today.

THE REAL ENEMY

Our husbands, our children, our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with addictions of any kind need our prayers. They are not the enemy.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

If we are not careful, we will turn on those we love most as if we are so much better than they are, if we don’t struggle with this particular temptation, treating them with scorn. It is easy for someone who has other temptations to look down on someone with a porn addiction and think, “I would NEVER do THAT! He is such a horrible person!”

Of course, we may forget much too quickly that we were also wretched sinners before Jesus rescued us. And we may forget that pride and self-righteousness are ugly sins, too. Jesus spent more time rebuking the Pharisees for their pride and self-righteousness than He did rebuking prostitutes and thieves. God hates ALL sin. But He loves each of us dearly. I pray that we will hate all sin the way God does – even our own sin. I pray that we will love others, including our husbands, with His love. I pray that we might approach our husbands humbly, gently, respectfully, and be on their team against the true enemy, realizing that the ground is level at the foot of the cross and that we are not “better than” our husbands, we have no good in us apart from Jesus, either.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2

TRIGGERS 

  • Some men come into marriage addicted to porn from a young age. This has nothing to do with their wives, their desire for their wives, their happiness in the marriage, or anything about their families. It is a deep-seated addiction, just like a drug addiction. Many men say that their porn use has nothing to do with their love for their wives and are surprised that their wives take their porn use “so personally.” It is interesting to me to hear how men view porn use at times and how they can see it as being completely compartmentalized from their marriages and their wives. I have also heard from women who struggle with visual temptation and porn describe that their addiction is not related to their desire for or love for their husbands, as well.  There is a wide range of the level of addiction people have to pornography. Some are occasional users – that is pretty easy to quit. But others use it every day or multiple times per day – which makes for a much more difficult situation.
  • Men who struggle with an addiction to pornography tend to turn to porn in times of great stress, depression, boredom, spiritual weakness, times of exhaustion or loneliness – as a “comfort.” This is similar to the way that some people turn to food for comfort, perfectionism/control, romance-addiction, erotica, romantic books/movies, pleasure-seeking, an insatiable longing for an emotional connection with someone (even someone outside the marriage if someone is feeling very lonely), flirting with other people, an obsession about having a baby, popularity, power, wealth, materialism, false-religions, shopping “therapy”, social media addictions, insecurity, neediness, or any number of destructive addictions for short-lived “comfort.” Of course, only Jesus can truly meet the deepest needs of our hearts. We will never find contentment in anything but Him alone.
  • I have seen husbands who feel disrespected by their wives turn to porn. I have heard from MANY men who say, “When my wife disrespects me, I have ZERO sexual desire for her.  I don’t even want to be around her.”  But they still have a sex drive. What are they going to do with that? They are responsible and accountable to God for their own sin. But many times, there is a cyclical dynamic in a marriage where one spouse’s sin feeds the other and then both add destruction to the marriage.
  • If we are refusing our husbands sexually (unless they are involved in adultery, we are apart and unable to be together, we have a major medical problem, or some legitimate reason we cannot be available to them) – we may be contributing to increasing the temptation for our men. (I Corinthians 7:1-5, God desires husbands and wives to be sexually available to each other and not to defraud one another by withholding sex.) Not only does a man not have anywhere legitimate to turn with his sexual appetite when his wife rejects him, but he also feels further away from her, unloved, disrespected, and often, like “less of a man” in every area of his life.  Some men feel like they have “no choice” but to turn to porn if they desire sex with their wives, but their wives refuse them or don’t enjoy sex with them. (Of course, God can empower any of us to overcome temptation, thankfully. But if a husband is not Spirit-filled, he may feel very weak when facing temptation when he feels rejected by his wife, just like wives may feel very weak against temptations to hold on to anger and unforgiveness or resentment when they feel lonely and unloved in ther marriages and are not Spirit-filled.)
  • If we are pressuring and demanding that our husbands give us sex often, and they reject us, we may be pressuring them so much that they may feel disrespected and may decide to turn elsewhere rather than feel forced into sex. No one enjoys sex when it is demanded of him/her.  (Keep in mind, some husbands just have a naturally lower drive than other men. That is not wrong. Sometimes we think that every husband wants sex every day or something is wrong with them. There is a wide range of normal. We will be miserable and make our husbands miserable, too, if we expect them to want sex every day but they simply have a lower drive.)

Many husbands do not feel safe sharing their struggles, weaknesses, and temptations with their wives because many of us do not have any grace for our husbands on these issues, unfortunately.

We often expect them to be just like we are and not to have temptations or needs that we don’t have. We want our husbands to have much grace for us even though they can’t personally relate to our hormonally-based temptations during PMS, pregnancy, menopause, etc. And we want them to be understanding and supportive of us if we have our own addictions or temptations, even if they don’t have the same ones. Since we often can’t relate to struggling with visual temptation, we may tend to be condemning and to assume our husbands are “worse sinners” than we are because they have different sin struggles and temptations than we do. How we must be so careful here not to slip into the sin of self-righteousness or pride! We are not better than our husbands. We all desperately need the blood, forgiveness, mercy, victory, power, and grace of Christ Jesus.

I am not saying that anyone is justified in using porn. Sin is never excusable in God’s sight.

We have no free pass to sin – men or women. God commands us to be holy as He is holy! (I Corinthians 3:10-15, I Peter 1:16) If we are in Christ, we are now dead to sin and alive to God through Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin, but we can choose to be slaves to righteousness because of all that Jesus has done for us! Thankfully, there is every reason for hope in Christ. No sin is beyond the power of the blood of Jesus! He is able to give us victory over any and every sin, stronghold, and addiction!!!

HOW DO WIVES’ REACTIONS AFFECT THEIR HUSBANDS AND MARRIAGES?

Unfortunately, a wife’s reaction when she discovers her husband has been using pornography can make often make things worse.  Wives are understandably often very upset, and most respond by not wanting to be sexually intimate with their husbands, condemning their husbands, and completely emotionally/sexually withdrawing in pain – often for a long, long time.  He is sinning against her and against God. I definitely understand a wife needing to wait for a time – and wanting to see real repentance, accountability, and transparency from her husband before feeling safe enough to trust herself to him sexually again.  The pain is very personal for wives – it feels like a personal violation, exactly like adultery from our perspectives. Husbands often don’t see it that way at all. That may be surprising to us.
If we react in horror and we shame our men, refuse them sexually for prolonged periods of time, label them as perverts or “worse sinners” than ourselves, and heap contempt upon them – we are unwittingly pushing our men back towards the very temptation we hate so much.  Many wives try to control their husbands’ every thought and access to the computer/phone/tablet.  Many of them interrogate their husbands constantly trying to keep them from lusting in their hearts.  But we as wives cannot control our husbands’ sin or their thought life.  If we act like an angry mom, the only thing we can really do is repel our husbands.
Reality check – We can’t even control our own sinful thoughts apart from God’s power! So, we can ask for what we need respectfully, kindly, and calmly. We can ask for accountability and transparency respectfully. But if we lash out in anger, self-righteousness, resentment, unforgiveness, and hatred – we are guaranteed to make things worse instead of moving toward healing for both of us. If we respond in sin to our husbands’ sin, it only leads to greater destruction and more pain. In fact, as Dr. Tim Keller says in Grace Filled Marriage, bitterness and unforgiveness destroy more marriages than porn or adultery do. Our sin is destructive, too! All sin is destructive and hurts people and grieves God.

“We are most tempted to sin when we have been sinned against.” Gary Thomas – Sacred Marriage

I know this is hard for many of us to relate to if we have never struggled with a porn addiction. Maybe we can think about sinful thoughts or temptations that we tend to turn to when we are feeling super hormonal, emotionally spent, spiritually weak, sick, lonely, depressed, discouraged, or very tired. Our temptations may be different. Maybe we are tempted toward self-loathing, eating for comfort (idolatry of food), compulsive exercising, compulsive cleaning, chocolate, shopping/spending lots of money, anorexia/bulimia, control, bitterness, hatred, fear, or believing lies and rejecting the truth of God’s Word about Himself, our husbands, and ourselves.
When we are weak, don’t we long for our husbands to be spiritually strong for us, to extend grace and understanding to us, to wrap us in their arms and point us back to the truth of God’s Word – even if they, themselves, don’t struggle with the temptations we do? When our husbands are weak and tempted – don’t they need the same kind of support from us?
A COUNTER-INTUITIVE RESPONSE
I would love for our husbands to feel safe, welcome, valued, cherished, honored, respected, accepted, and able to turn to US with their sexual needs, desires, and struggles. It is my prayer that we might be willing to approach this sin as a team WITH our husbands – with both of us working together to defeat this addiction/temptation.We are teammates with our husbands and God to bless our men and to encourage them in their walk with Christ in the way God calls us to in His Word.
  • What if we rallied around our husbands and apologized for our own sin (if we have anything to apologize for) and became accepting wives who joyfully engage in sex with our husbands and don’t withhold sex to punish them?
  • What if we were careful NOT to tell everyone in our families and among our coworkers and friends about our husbands’ sin, in order to prevent gossip and show loyalty and respect to our husbands? (If we were caught in a sin, wouldn’t we appreciate our husbands not announcing our sin on Facebook or to our friends and family?) If we need to talk to someone for help, what if we find help anonymously online or from one trusted, godly wife mentor we know will not share with anyone else?
  • Or, if our husbands feel pressured too much for sex, what if we backed off a bit without condemning them and try to bless them in the ways that are most helpful for them?
  • What if our men saw the light and faith in our eyes for them, and the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of Christ in our hearts?
  • What if they found acceptance and understanding in our arms and our expressions?  Not acceptance of sin, but acceptance of them.
  • What if they found that, by the power of God’s Spirit in us, we will help to gently restore them from their sin instead of judging and condemning them as more evil than we are
  • What if we approached our husbands with humility, understanding the massive sin debt we owe to God ourselves?
  • What if we became a safe place for our husbands to share their struggles and fears?
  • What if we offered life-giving words instead of crushing our men when they stumble?
Our husbands’ sin is NOT our fault. It may not even have anything to do with us – except that it hurts us deeply, of course. We are only responsible for our own obedience to God, being filled with His Spirit, and our own sin. Thankfully, in Christ, we might actually be able to be a huge part of the solution if our husbands do battle pornography addictions. I pray that we might respond in the power of God to our men, even when they sin – so that our marriages might grow stronger and God might be greatly glorified!
If a husband has a severe addiction, you and he may need experienced, godly, biblical help, accountability and guidance to work through this addiction.
We are going to be talking more about the power of Christ to help us overcome this sin, and any sin, in the next post. Jesus Christ can set us free from addictions, bondage, and sin. We can be cleansed by His blood and free to walk in holiness and obedience to Him as His Spirit changes our desires, our nature and regenerates our souls!!!  Woohoo!! What good news we have to share!
SHARE:
This is a safe place if you need to talk about what is going on and need some prayer, love, direction, encouragement and resources. 🙂
If you know of helpful resources, please share them with us!
If God has giving you and/or your spouse victory over porn – we would love to hear your story, anonymity is fine!
RELATED RESOURCES:
www.brentriggs.com has a book available to help men and their wives find victory over porn addiction in his e-book section
www.xxxchurch.org has a wealth of Christian resources for couples where one is struggling with porn addiction, lust or sexual addictions
www.covenanteyes.com has resources and accountability software available to help those who struggle with porn addictions online.
Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Kimmel has an entire chapter about how wives can extend grace to husbands who have fallen into porn use and how to see God heal their marriages.
For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn has a chapter that explains how visual men are and the struggles they face.
Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn is specifically for men to help them overcome the battle with visual temptation and lust, but may be helpful for wives to read and to better understand the spiritual battle that men face.

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

 

Missing Each Other’s Signals

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Sometimes, a wife may feel rejected by her husband sexually, when in reality, her husband just didn’t pick up on her signals and had no idea she even felt rejected, or that she was trying to initiate intimacy.  This can also happen in reverse, as well.

Maybe, it could be a wise idea to have a pleasant, respectful, polite talk together (during a non-stressful time) about signals.

  • What are your signals that you give to me that you are interested in physical intimacy?  (then listen to him very carefully – maybe take notes!)
  • Here are my signals that I try to use to tell you that I am interested in physical intimacy with you.

Were there some signals that either of you were missing?

Sometimes, a wife’s signals are too subtle.  But, there can also be the opposite problem, that if a wife comes on too strongly, for some husbands, that can be a turn off.  This will require us to each learn our own husbands and learn what they prefer. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all.  That’s ok!

I kind of like the idea of agreeing on a signal together (or several signals), and then each spouse will (hopefully) know what the other intends.

One couple I read about used a nightlight.  If one of them turned on the nightlight, it meant that he/she was interested in physical intimacy that evening.

Some ideas of signals that might be helpful to agree upon ahead of time:

  • “Let’s take a bath together tonight”
  • wearing certain clothing/lingerie
  • lighting a candle in the bedroom
  • “Let’s give each other massages tonight”
  • a certain touch
  • a specific phrase
  • flirting earlier in the day about what to do later that evening
  • for some couples, just coming out and saying, “I want to make love tonight,” works well

Some husbands do better with non-verbal signals.

Some husbands prefer to initiate intimacy.

Some husbands prefer for their wives to initiate intimacy – at least some of the time.

This is an area where signals and wires can easily get crossed – which leads to great frustration, resentment and feelings of rejection that are unnecessary and painful.  I pray that we might be able to talk with our husbands about this issue and straighten out the communication so we are on the same page with them from this point forward. 🙂

When He Starts to Miss You

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This post is for wives who were being controlling and trying to force their husbands to be with them, say certain things to them and who were trying to initiate physical intimacy and were getting rejected a good bit – and have tried to correct these things by backing away some and giving their husbands more space.  Not in an upset kind of way, but in a healthy, respectful way.  Please keep in mind – I am not the Holy Spirit.  I don’t know your husband personally.  God’s voice always needs to trump my voice! :). These are not rules, they are ideas to think about.

Some suggestions that could be helpful:

  • Continue to smile at him when you walk into the room where he is.
  • Give him compliments and tell him things you are proud of him about and things you admire about him a few times per week – a sentence or two.
  • Be warm and friendly.
  • Allow him to make his own choices and don’t force yourself on him.
  • Say what you do or do not want (usually once is enough).
  • Be affectionate sometimes  but don’t expect a specific response back.
  • Be kind.
  • Be flexible.
  • Do things you know he’ll appreciate – i.e.: make his favorite meals.
  • Talk in a pleasant, friendly tone of voice.
  • Spend plenty of time in God’s Word.
  • Be full of God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
  • Check your motives often, seek only to honor Christ and bless your husband.
  • Be content in Christ alone.
  • Tell him about your emotions briefly, the good and bad ones – “I’m so happy to be here with you!”  “I feel really thankful today.”  “I’m feeling sad about X.”  “I feel nervous about Y.”
  • Maybe don’t initiate intimacy – or at least, not nearly as often, if he has been rejecting you a lot.
  • Accept anything he gives you – his time, attention, affection – as a wonderful gift.
  • Lay down expectations and ultimatums.

This will be a time of dying to self.  For believers in Christ-  that is a daily practice God desires all of us to do all throughout every single day.  We lay down our rights, our desires, our dreams, our plans, our lives, our expectations, our goals, our wisdom, everything we have, our future – and we pick up Jesus’ desires, His goals, His dreams, His plans, His wisdom, His power, His holiness, His will and we seek His greatest glory in all things.

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So – maybe you backed off and stopped smothering and pursuing your husband so much.  Maybe you stopped texting him so much at work during the day, particularly if he didn’t respond or said he didn’t like that.  Maybe you only send a few brief texts/emails now per week telling him things you appreciate – but you don’t expect him to send a response – you just do it to bless him now. Maybe you learned to give him a bit of space to breathe.  Maybe you can allow him to watch TV without feeling jealous of the TV – but you can now allow him to relax and unwind however he likes to do that. Maybe you stopped trying to make him tell you he loves you and you stopped trying to demand his time, attention and affection like my friend talked about in “I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband.”  Maybe you stopped initiating physical intimacy- and just waited for him to begin to initiate on his own.  Or maybe you cut down to only initiating once per week or once every 2 weeks instead of every night – if he was receptive to that.

Eventually – your husband may begin to MISS you and how you were initiating intimacy. That is a GOOD thing!

It will probably take some time – maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months? (If it takes more than a few months – something more serious may be going on – it may be time to seek godly, wise help and/or medical help depending on the situation.  See The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage.)

When you are not constantly pursuing or pressuring him, it gives him the chance to begin to feel his desire for you. (I am talking about husbands who were rejecting their wives sexually because they felt too pressured and disrespected – if there are other issues going on like low testosterone levels, erectile dysfunction, pornography addiction or infidelity, those are entirely different situations that would need very different approaches, in my view.)

If your husband starts to say things like:

  • I miss you
  • I wish you would cuddle with me
  • What are you doing ALL THE WAY OVER THERE?
  • I want you to come sit with me.
  • I wish you would chase me again.
  • I can’t stop thinking about you
  • I want you to drop X activity so we can be together more (maybe hours at work, maybe some volunteer position, maybe even Wednesday night church)
  • I don’t feel like I am a priority to you
  • I wish you would kiss me more/hug me more/initiate sex again

What is a wife to do?

Here are my suggestions to prayerfully consider (there are other ways to respond, too – you are welcome to share your ideas!)…

PRAISE GOD and BE RECEPTIVE!!!!!!!! 🙂

I vote to close the gap a good bit.  Don’t continue to maintain as much space/distance if he says he misses you and wants you back.  Please don’t reject him! Come closer to him.  This will be a time of finding a new balance.

  • He realizes he doesn’t want to be far away from you.
  • He realizes he loves having you in his life.
  • He is beginning to move toward you.   THAT IS AWESOME!  This is a huge answer to prayer!

I suggest that you show him that he is welcome into your space, into your arms, into your life.

  • Smile!
  • Flirt with him.
  • Move toward him.
  • ENJOY him!
  • RELAX.
  • Savor each moment and interaction.
  • Be friendly.
  • Feel confident and free to initiate intimacy if he seems receptive (if he turns you down, be as gracious as you can).

It’s ok.  This is the fun part!!!!!

You don’t have to be “hard to get” when he is pursuing you now – he is your husband, after all!

Time to shift modes.

THE GIVING HIM MORE SPACE MODE is for times when he is rejecting you and feeling smothered.  It’s also a good idea if you have been controlling – in order to establish a new kind of healthier relationship.  It is not a permanent stage most of the time – thankfully!  There will be a bit of learning to do to figure out what the right amount of space and right amount of closeness is.

Once he begins to come closer to you – it’s GOOD to draw nearer to him, too!  Show him you desire him.

IF YOU ARE FEELING A BIT RUSTY – Ok – Here are some lines you can steal if you need to!

If he says, “I miss  you.”  How about…

  • Aww!!! (Come close to him, give him a serious hug and a sensuous kiss)  I miss you, too, Babe!
  • Hmmm…. what is it that you miss, exactly? (in a flirty voice)
  • Would should we do about that? 😉

If he says, “I want you to chase me!”  Some ideas…

  • You do?!?  (flirty voice and a flirty smile)  –  Whatever do you mean?
  • I’m right here – and I’m all yours.
  • I am enjoying you chasing ME!

If he says, “Why are you sitting ALL THE WAY OVER THERE?”

  • You miss me?   I can definitely fix that. (go sit with him)
  • I know – it IS hard being that far away from me. (smile, flirty voice with all of these responses!)
  • What if I were to sit in your lap for a little bit?  Would that be better?

“I miss you cuddling with me at night.”

  • I miss cuddling with you, too.  That is one of my very favorite things to do in the whole world.  (then cuddle with him)

“I want you to stop X activity so we can have more time together.”

  • You do!??!  I had no idea.  Well… I will drop it.  I would much rather be with you!

“I don’t feel like I am a priority to you.”

  • What?!?  Honey!  I want you to always feel like my biggest priority after God.  What can I do to make things right?
  • Do you need more of my attention?  (Listen carefully to his concerns.  Sit in his lap or right beside him.  Touch him.  Smile.  Flirt.  Maybe even take him by the hand to the bedroom if you think he may feel better after physical intimacy with you.  Some wives actually do this if their husband walks into the house and is in a bad mood after work and it’s been awhile since they have had a time of physical intimacy together.  Might not be a bad idea!)

WATCH YOUR FOCUS

Keep Christ in His proper place.  Keep your motives pure by only desiring to please Jesus and honor Him.  Trash any motives that are to change  your husband or to feel more loved.  Enjoy what your husband offers and let him know how much you enjoy his attention, time, affection, touch and his pursuing you. 🙂

RELATED:

Respect, Biblical Submission and Sexual Attraction

Wives Taking Initiative with Physical Intimacy

Handling a VERY Delicate and Sensitive Matter with Respect – a Husband’s Impotence

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There are a variety of factors that can contribute to sexual dysfunction or performance issues in men.

  • Sometimes there can be side effects from medications (blood pressure pills, anti-depressants, prostate treatments – it is not safe to stop some of these medicines quickly, please check with a Dr before stopping blood pressure rxs or anti-depressants!).  Some illegal drugs can also cause sexual dysfunction.
  • Sometimes there just are times when things don’t work properly on occasion – that is not too unusual.  If a man is really upset, afraid, anxious, angry, feeling extremely guilty, feeling very disrespected by his wife or feeling pressured – his thoughts can affect his ability to perform sexually.
  • Sometimes erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a sign of another disease like diabetes, heart problems, Parkinson’s or neurological disorders.
  • There are risk factors like obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol and stress that can negatively impact a man’s sexual abilities.
  • Prostate problems or low testosterone levels can trigger impotence issues.
  • Depression can worsen ED.
  • A pornography addiction can dramatically impact a man’s sexual performance with his flesh and blood wife.

If a man has problems getting or maintaining an erection – as a pharmacist, I would strongly urge him to see his doctor.  I know it is the last thing any man on the planet wants to see a doctor about.  So – it is SUPER CRITICAL that wives not nag or shame or lecture their husbands about this.  It is going to take extreme sensitivity on a wife’s part to handle this kind of thing respectfully.

It is important to rule out medical problems that may be causing these symptoms.  And there are ways to treat ED today – what wonderful news!  A couple’s sex life does not have to end.  Men can get real help and usually can enjoy very satisfying sexual relations again with their wives.  I have seen many couples find the right treatment and have great results.

TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE

  • medications (albeit – very expensive ones) – Cialis, Viagra, Levitra as well as penile injections and suppositories
  • life style changes (stop smoking, avoid alcohol, get exercise, get enough sleep, limit stress)
  • a Mediterranean diet may be helpful.
  • devices – vacuum erection devices
  • surgery
  • there are MANY supplements that claim to work on erectile dysfunction – but some of these actually contain dangerous ingredients and contaminants – so I do not personally recommend them as a pharmacist.  But you can talk to your own pharmacist or medical doctor about them if you would like to.

The most important thing in this article to me is –

How are we as wives going to handle this very difficult situation for our husbands?

I don’t think it is possible to overstate how sensitive this issue is for most men.

Erectile dysfunction can be extremely emotionally painful for our men.  Sexual performance problems are probably some of the MOST greatly feared issues among men.  This is the very center of their sense of physical manhood.  I want us to show the same sensitivity, compassion, empathy and understanding as we would want from our husbands if we had to face a mastectomy or hysterectomy or even possibly a miscarriage.

Yes – it is THAT big of a deal for many husbands.

Most of us will need to be prepared to deal with this issue at some point.  If we haven’t yet – we probably will in the future.

DESTRUCTIVE:

There is probably no other area where a wife has the potential to wound her husband more deeply by her disrespect or cutting words than about his sexuality or any “failures” on his part sexually.

Some wives choose to heap all sorts of complaints, insults and accusations against their husbands if they find out their husband has issues with ED.  Please understand – if you say and do these kinds of things to your man when the real problem is erectile dysfunction – you are wounding him to the very core of his masculinity and manhood.  He may never recover from your criticism, insults and teasing about this issue.  He may never feel safe to open up to you sexually or emotionally or spiritually again if you are disrespectful or insensitive to him about this.

  • What’s wrong with you?  You don’t love me anymore?
  • You must be having an affair!  THAT’s why you don’t want to/can’t make love to me.
  • If you really loved me, you’d have sex with me!
  • What kind of man are you if you can’t even keep an erection?
  • Great!  So – what –  you aren’t going to be able to have sex with me anymore?  That’s just GREAT.
  • You need to go get Viagra.  You’re going to the doctor tomorrow.  I’m not putting up with THIS!  I have needs.
  • I need to get my needs met.  If you can’t meet my needs, I’ll find a man who can.
  • You’re pathetic.  Why would I want to even try to have sex with you like this?

These kind of words will absolutely crush and destroy our men.   It is our job to do our husbands GOOD not evil, all the days of our lives as godly wives.

I’d REALLY like for us as wives not to take our husband’s impotence personally – or assume that our husbands are intentionally doing this to us.  Many times, the causes are beyond a man’s control.  

How I long for us to give grace, to be a safe place for our men to talk about what is happening.

I don’t believe it is wise to:

  • give directives – “you should” “you must” “you better”
  • threaten – “if you don’t fix this, I’m going to find a man who can meet my needs.”  THAT is NOT the love of God!  Let’s commit to honor our marriage covenants no matter what happens!
  • insult our men and degrade them or make fun of them for this issue that they may have no control over
  • demand that our husband see a doctor
  • nag him about this or any issue
  • tease and make fun of him
  • tell other people – our friends, our family, people on facebook…  That would be one of the most extreme kinds of disrespect a wife could possibly level against her husband.

PRODUCTIVE

I’d love to see a wife:

  • appreciate the severity and extreme sensitivity of this issue for a man.
  • be extremely careful about what she does and does not say, her facial expressions, her body language and her tone of voice about this subject.
  • be supportive, positive, optimistic and encouraging.
  • appreciate any efforts he makes to work on this issue.
  • extend mercy, compassion and GRACE.
  • not make a big deal out of the situation.
  • tell him she is on his team.  She loves him no matter what.
  • assure him that he is not “less of a man” in her eyes – and that these kinds of problems are actually pretty normal.
  • encourage him very gently that there is help available.
  • let him know calmly, “My biggest concern is your health, Honey.  I’d really like us to be sure that you are ok. I want you to go see your doctor, please. I’d like you to be around for a LONG time!”
  • say sincere, reassuring, affirming things about her husband’s manhood.
  • be sure her husband’s needs are being met and that he feels secure in the marriage.
  • make sure he knows she is with him and on his team no matter what.
  • focus on pleasure more than climax – if he is willing.
  • make sure he knows she is delighted and content to be his wife.
  • let him know, “I’m totally behind you.  I’ll do everything I can to support you as we learn about things we might be able to do.”
  • not try to force him to go to the doctor.  But be willing to go with him or be willing to support him going by himself if he is willing to go.
  • NOT share with others in our families or spheres of influence about our husband’s problems.
  • be willing to listen to anything he wants to share about his struggle – and be a safe place for him to verbalize his frustrations, sadness, anger or fear.

You may have some mourning or grieving to do – but this is thankfully, not usually an irreversible situation.  A husband’s impotence can be a strain on a wife and a marriage – just as much as it is on a husband.  Please check out godly resources that are available to support you in this time.

CAUTION:

Please don’t give in to porn or the attention of other men.  Stay CLOSE to God and filled up with His Spirit so that you can respond in His power and not give in to temptation but be faithful to your marriage covenant, your husband and Christ.

RESOURCES:

A link to webmd’s posts about erectile dysfunction (ED)

Webmd – A Woman’s Guide to ED

Submitting Sexual Desire to the Lord

Desiring Jesus More than Sex

SHARE:

If you who would like to share with others ways you have discovered that are beneficial to address this delicate issue, please leave a comment.  You don’t have to leave your name. All comments will be moderated before they will be posted.  I will only be posting comments that are respectful, godly and helpful for other wives who are facing this situation in their marriage or to help prepare them for how to handle a husband’s difficulties with ED in the future.

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