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Today's post comes from Kevin Bullard of MarriageWorks! Kevin and his wife Cetelia have a deep compassion for marriages and I'm humbled to have Kevin posting today. This is a post you won't want to miss.
Since starting Marriage Works!, I have spoken with many husbands who are beyond frustration due to the lack of sexual intercourse taking place in their marriage. Two stories in particular jump out at me, and I'll base this post on their experiences.
According to this husband, he and his wife sinned by having sex before marriage. In exasperation, he told me that they had more sex before marriage than they've had since being married.
Although he had expressed how he felt multiple times in multiple ways to his wife, it seemed that his complaint and need for sex both fell on deaf ears. She was like the King James description of the city of Jericho: "Straitly shut up ... and none came in." (Joshua 6:1)
This husband was in an interesting situation because the lack of sex in his marriage appeared to be related to his wife being pregnant. In the past they had suffered a stillborn and a miscarriage, and this husband said his wife refused to have sex due to not wanting to harm the baby.
Although doctors had ruled out the chances of harm being done to the baby through intercourse, one can understand her concerns given their history. At the same time, the husband told me that he was increasingly tempted to view pornography, and began seeing other women as more attractive. The husband explained these two things to his wife, and she acknowledged them, but still did not have sex with him.
Let me begin by saying that despite the temptations and lack of sex, both of these men had and will always have the responsibility to maintain their purity and fidelity. This is a covenant with God and their wife.
That said, both husbands also have a very real need that cannot be dismissed by encouraging them to "man up."
Both of these men felt something that is often felt by a spouse who is the victim of adultery: rejection. They felt like they weren't important enough to their wife for their needs to be met by her. Because these husbands felt like their needs didn't matter, they felt like they didn't matter, and that is a low place that hurts whether you're male or female.
While some husbands deal with this rejection by stepping outside their marriage, others, like these men, deal with the rejection by giving it to God while trying not to grow bitter against the one woman who is their God-ordained sex partner.
As I said at the outset, I don't know all the details of their individual stories, but I do know this much: this is not how God intended for marriage to be for husbands and wives.
It was not His plan for bitterness to take root due to spouses being denied their conjugal rights (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).
It was not His plan for spouses to feel rejected and abandoned due to being denied sex from the one person they covenanted to have sex with.
If you, like the wives in this post, are denying your husband sex for any reason, I encourage you to challenge the reason against God's word.
If there are physical issues causing you to deny sex, explain these to your husband, and seek out the necessary help. If there are emotional or forgiveness reasons causing you to deny sex, again, I encourage you to explain these to your husband, and seek out the necessary help.
In short, if you're denying sex to your husband for any reason, seek the necessary help. It’s essential that you understand that your husband likely feels rejected, and Satan will do his best to exploit that rejection and turn it into sin.
Take ownership for any objections you have towards being sexually intimate with your husband, and pray that he will take ownership for any issues that may be causing you to feel the way you do.
Finally, together, seek a way forward so that you both feel loved, honored, and cherished enough to bring healing and growth to your sexual relationship.
Through Marriage Works! Kevin & Cetelia Bullard create experiences and resources that help you build a healthy, functional marriage. You’ll be encouraged and challenged as you interact with them through Twitter, Facebook, and their blog. And now, you can take your marriage to a new level through Marriage Works! 2Go, the world’s first mobile marriage coaching service that sends you daily marriage strategies, EBooks, and teaching videos via SMS or Email for less than a cup of your favorite beverage at Starbucks. If you’re ready to make your marriage work, you’re definitely ready for Marriage Works! 2Go!
Posted in marriage problems, sex, sexual intimacy, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual struggles, Uncategorized Tagged with: guest post, kevin bullard, MarriageWorks!, sex in marriage, sexual denial, sexual intimacy struggles, sexual refusal
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.