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Recently, a reader commented on my post 5 Things You Must Know if You Are Denying Your Husband Sex.
I thought his words were insightful:
"I am doubtful that any of the women you are speaking to are willing to own up to what they are doing. There are always 'reasons' to choose not to be close to their husbands. No husband is perfect, we all make mistakes, and those become bulletproof justifications for freezing us out.
And if we are on our best behavior, there are still extraneous things that happen (bad day, upset with her mother, kids were misbehaving, headache, exhausted) that we as husbands cannot overcome. Even if we are patient, those reasons to postpone can easily last longer than we can go without making a mistake.
Unfortunately, women simply have a limitless list of reasons to excuse their choices. Some are legitimate and some are manufactured. But all of them deflect the need to fix the situation."
He generalizes a bit, but I have to admit, I think many of his observations are spot on.
I wonder how many husbands feel like they are damned if they do and damned if they don't -- meaning that no matter the "hoops" they jump through, new and different hoops are constantly being added that make access to sex an elusive mirage they can never reach.
Certainly there are times when sexual intimacy is not feasible or reasonable, so I will never be in the camp that you can never say "no" to sex.
For example, I have known husbands who don't understand the need to abstain from sexual intercourse for a set amount of time after their wife has had a baby (typically 6 weeks).
Sadly, I also know of husbands who want their wives to do something that clearly is contrary to God's design for sex (like watch pornography together, bring additional people into the lovemaking, subject themselves to humiliation or abusive behavior, etc.)
Obviously, a wife's allegiance is first to her Lord's commands, not to her husband's sinful requests, so if he is requesting stuff like this, I completely understand her "no."
And sometimes, an occasional "no" is not because of such serious matters, but clearly a reality of occasional exhaustion, busyness or illness. Hey, I've been too tired at times to have sex -- and I really was just that -- too tired.
All that being said, there are MANY excuses given that have no grounding whatsoever and are just careless attempts to avoid intimacy.
My hope is that as Christian wives, we would grow in our accountability to Christ and each other in this area.
That we would test our words and heart with the Holy Spirit so that we can discern if we are dishing up lame excuses or if indeed we are offering legitimate reasons for "no sex tonight."
And if we decline the opportunity to have sex, may our reason not be anchored in an immovable "no," but rather lovingly wrapped in a genuine promise of "not now, but soon."
Ironically, if a husband and wife are nurturing sex in their marriage, then an occasional "no" from either of them is more likely to be received with grace and understanding. The "no" becomes a non-issue, because the marriage is rooted in "no" being the rare exception, not the rule.
If any of the below reasons are ones you've given to avoid sex with your husband, my heartfelt plea is this:
Candidly lay such reason before the Lord and ask for His wisdom on whether there is a healthier way to be navigating sexual intimacy in your marriage.
1. I'm too tired.
2. I'm too stressed out.
3. I'm punishing him for something he did to me.
4. I'm not experiencing orgasm.
5. He doesn't help enough around the house and/or with the kids.
6. He has poor hygiene and I'm totally turned off.
7. I have too much to do. I don't have time for sex.
8. The house is a mess.
9. I'm afraid the kids will hear us.
10. He wants me to do something against my morals or God's commands.
11. I'm distracted by work, responsibilities, etc.
12. I have health issues that I just don't want to deal with.
13. I have health issues that really do make sexual closeness difficult or impossible.
14. I don't want to mess up my hair (or my nails...or my brand new flannel pajamas.)
15. I just changed the sheets.
16. I haven't shaved my legs.
17. I have issues, but I don't really want to deal with them.
18. I'm frustrated with something in our relationship.
19. I'm having my period.
20. I'm mad at him.
21. Sex is boring.
22. I'm worried about getting pregnant.
23. I think sex is dirty (or wrong...or disgusting...)
24. I'm depressed.
25. I'm worried I won't please him sexually.
Obviously this list isn't exhaustive, as I'm sure that collectively we could come up with a lot more reasons behind "no sex."
(If you want to actually chime in on this and see more reasons, Paul and Lori Byerly of The Marriage Bed are doing a quick Facebook survey I encourage you to check out. The survey is completely anonymous).
Regardless of whether there are legitimate grounds for denial of sex, the need for communication on sexual intimacy is universal. For the health of your marriage, you and your husband must be able to talk vulnerably and honestly about what is going on (or not going on) in your marriage bed.
When a couple is committed to nurturing their sexual intimacy, including dealing with the difficult issues, a lot of excuses will fall by the wayside. Together they will start to see that there is sacred value in spending time in each other's arms.
And even if circumstances limit or rule out actual intercourse (some health conditions or diseases, disabilities, etc.), a couple can still nurture a tender and private physical closeness that to them is sexual in nature.
Your excuses for "no sex" ?
Look at them closely and decide if you owe yourself, your husband and your marriage a better approach.
Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.