"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mailbag Monday: Should A Husband Stop Asking?

Okay, I've decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I'm still having a hard time believing that people would actually write to me for marriage advice.  I am hardly a marriage expert or counselor, but merely a husband and father who does his best every day to live by God's word, loving my wife the way Christ loved the church.

Anyway, I've received quite a few emails from readers who either agree or disagree with my opinions (imagine that!), and some with very thought provoking questions, the kind which would be helpful if they were answered (or at least brought out into the light). 

With that in mind, I've decided to answer a question each Monday, at least until my patience wears thin, or my "expertise" dries up, or it proves to be a dismal failure. (Note "expertise" is in quotes because I am nowhere close to being an expert by any stretch of the imagination.)  I will do my best with what research I have available to me, to answer the question.  Please understand that I am a sinner and a deeply flawed husband, so.... here goes nothing!

This week's question:

When do you give up on intimacy?  My wife and I used to be excited to be together, but more and more we are just leading a boring sex life.  I keep asking her to try new things to spice it up but she won't even think about it.  I don't like to feel like an idiot for always asking. It's embarrassing to keep getting shot down.  I'm fed up and I feel like I can't take her saying no even one more time .  When is it time to say enough and just give up?

(Name Withheld), Stryker, Ohio

Dear Friend,

Many men who are turned down constantly by their wives when they suggest ways to improve the physical intimacy in their marriages, will stop asking and stop initiating intimacy with their wives.  It's normal (not necessarily good,  but normal).  The pain of rejection and the embarrassment of feeling like they are begging for a naughty "treat" is something they no longer wish to experience, so they either give up or seek intimacy elsewhere, like pornography, masturbation, or another person who "understands" them.  Please do not be one of these men. 
 The first place I would point you is Ephesians 5:25-30, which says:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church-for we are members of his body. 


These verses provide a perfect description our task.  As husbands we are supposed to love our wives - to sacrifice ourselves for them.  There is no "if."  They may be nice or nasty, they may submit or dominate.  Whoever they are, that's who they are.  We cannot change them.  The change must come from their own personal decision to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ.  We must love them.  Period.

A WORD ABOUT SACRIFICE:
To sacrifice means to give up something, usually something important, something the loss of which causes us distress.  We are to make that kind of sacrifice, even if it costs our very lives, for our brides.  We must always think of them before ourselves.  

TRANSLATION:
This probably isn't what you want to hear, but you're gonna have to man up and put up with frustration.  If your wife wants "vanilla intimacy" in the bedroom, then she gets vanilla, even if you want strawberry twist.  If she wants to do it exactly the same way every time, then that's what you have to do  Let's face it, studies have shown that wives are the ones in charge when it comes to all things bedroom.  They are the ones who say yea or nay to sex, not husbands.  Wives decide if and when anything physical will happen in the bedroom. They also decide the specifics of what will and will not be done between the sheets.  

Basically, if she says "no," then it's no, regardless of what you say.  Sorry to tell you, but that's how it works.  Sometimes we have to lower our expectations in the area of physical intimacy.  If we don't expect much, then we'll be more appreciative of whatever our wives "give," so to speak.



That said, is it easy to push your desires aside?  No, it isn't  In most cases, men are hardwired to desire sex more than women, and to desire more types of sex than women (in most, but not in all cases).  If this is you, then you have some work to do.
  1. Pray for your wife.  Pray that she will open up more to you and allow more intimacy in your marriage.  
  2. Pray for God to remove this desire from your heart.  If your wife won't change, you're going to have to deal with this head-on.  The more you foster your desire, the more it will grow, and the more disappointed you will be.
  3. Pray with your wife.  Physical (sexual) intimacy is not the only type of intimacy.  Start developing more spiritual intimacy in your marriage.   
  4. Find a friend who will help you stay strong.  You will need someone in whom to confide, someone who will provide encouragement and accountability.
  5. Study - seek God's word on the subject.  You can also seek out other christian marriage resources and study them.  If you are able to read together that is great.  If not, don't let it stop you.  
Let me direct you to another passage:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

Always seek the Lord. Grow your relationship with God.  The greater your intimacy with your Lord and Savior, the more satisfying your marriage will be.  I don't know why your wife will not grow with you in physical intimacy.  I do know that God understands your desires and He will help you through it if you seek Him.




I hope this helps a little. Keep trusting in Him.



From the inside out,

TB

2 comments:

  1. So, that little woman I exchanged vows with, is really not my "best friend". She controls not just what goes on in the bedroom but "IF" anything goes on. I've been rejected so many times over the last 29 years. When you have enough sleepless nights because you begged when you went to bed then had to go to work feeling like a zombie all the next day but faithfully bring that paycheck home every week, year after year. It takes awhile to finally you learn that it's best just not to ask at all, read a book, or watch TV and go to sleep.....BUT when Sunday rolls around, go back to church, sit there and smile at each other like life is all peachy. YET...you still compliment her, bring her gifts, fix things that need fixing, build what needs building and break your back and ruin your health doing manual labor for years. Why are there more widows than widowers? I think it's because of the disrespect, and the bottled up anger, strife, bitterness and stress. That's all for now, I have to finish my work for the day.

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  2. Wow, what you commented is just sad. It's also ringing very true. I'm only 8 years into marriage, but I can tell you that sex twice a month (and only when I initiate it) is really old. I really feel like cheating while I'm still young and can get with some spunky girls that have a libido.

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