This is a tough question.
Did you get married just to have babies?
Before you cower in guilt or lash out in frustration at me, hear my heart. That’s where I write from — a heart drenched in abundant compassion and awareness of what can become sexually skewed in a marriage.
If you haven’t already bailed on me at this point in the post, I imagine there’s a bit of churning in your mind and gut as the question swells to your conscience as you ask yourself…
“Did I get married just to have babies?”
If you did, my guess is that you didn’t exactly frame it that way as you journeyed toward the altar. After all, you loved the guy, right? You loved him then and you likely love him now.
But… and here’s where the picture gets muddy… you maybe start to look back and wonder if indeed marriage was a means to an end.
For some women, this “means to an end” message was fueled as they grew up, particularly from other women.
Maybe that message came verbally. Maybe it came draped in innuendo and the “wisdom” of older women who had “been there, done that.” Sex was a means to an end.
And voila! In so many marriages, sex does indeed lead to babies.
Maybe you have a whole passel of rug rats clamoring for you at every waking hour. Or maybe you just have one. No matter how many you have, they are indeed blessings. (Time and money suckers too, but I digress).
“Did you get married just to have babies?”
Honestly, I wouldn’t linger too long on that question, because I think the more valid question is, “Now that you have those babies, what are you going to do about sex in your marriage?”
Because here is the disconnect in many marriages… a wife who got married to have babies… and a husband who got married to have sex.
Not that he doesn’t love those kids or didn’t want them as much as you did, but for him, sex was never a means to an end. Sex was sex!
His train of thought probably went something like this…
“Sure, we’ll have some kids! But mostly we’ll have lots of sex. Sex before we have kids. Sex when we’re trying to make the kids. Sex after the kids. Sex. Sex. And more sex.”
Now before you husbands think I’m painting you as one-track insensitive lugs, that’s not my intention at all. Personally, I find it totally endearing and God-honoring that you want to have sex — especially a lot of sex — with the woman you married.
I hear from enough of you husbands to know that for you, it’s not just about the sex. You want to connect on every level with the woman you adore.
If you are a wife grappling with this possibility that you got married just to have babies, humble your heart into the second question I posed earlier:
“Now that you have those babies, what are you going to do about sex in your marriage?”
In many marriages, once babies arrive, sex seems to take a long (permanent?) hiatus, much to the detriment of you as a wife, your husband, your marriage, and — truth be told — your kids.
Non-existent or incredibly infrequent sexual intimacy will be the undoing of your marriage.
Yes. If your lack of interest in sex is because you got what you want in the form of babies and now you see no need for sex, that could indeed be the undoing of your marriage.
“The undoing of my marriage, Julie? Really?” you might be saying. “That’s ridiculous. We’re still married. Nothing’s going to happen to our marriage.”
You could be right. But read the sentence again, and you’ll see the play on words.
“…nothing’s going to happen to our marriage.”
Did you catch it?
If you got married just to have babies, and now sex has fallen by the wayside, there is a real possibility that nothing will happen to your marriage. Nothing extraordinarily deep and soul drenching and mutually satisfying and bonding. None of that.
If you find yourself in this scenario, it’s not too late, you know. It’s not too late to grasp that while sex gave you babies, it has the potential to give you so much more.
If sex is a means to an end, why not see that end as a tender, physical, emotional and spiritual connection with the person you married?
Even if you were the woman who got married just to have babies, why not now be the wife who sees sex as so much more? You’re worth that. You really are. And so is he.
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.
19 thoughts on “Did You Get Married Just to Have Babies?”
This would explain all our problems if I come to find out it’s true. Who knows though, my wife is a locked and sealed vault. Won’t tell me anything.
I had never really thought of it this way! Might explain a lot. Thank God my wife finally got it about seven months ago, but before that it was the hardest, lonliest, most depressing years of my life and that was with two kids that love and adore me, a successful business and living my dream in every other phase of my life. Sometimes gals must think, “oh he’s only missing out on a little fun”. No, actually he’s dying inside, & hurting beyond belief.
“Now that you have those babies, what are you going to do about sex in your marriage?”
She has no interest in this site or any other that would challenge her view that sex will only occur when she is in the “mood” and that if she gets in the “mood” once every 24 to 36 months that’s my problem not hers. So the answer to the question is: “Wait for my husband to die or to get so old he loses his libido.”
Today’s woman has been taught that men who desire sex are adolescent and immature, and that they need to grow up. Men have animal instincts that need to be tamed. We are a problem that needs to be fixed. Yes, I know we need to have loving and respectful communication about our differences. We have been down that road hundreds of times over the past 14 years. However she is the woman, she has the power, and she decides if and when it happens. It’s her body. Nothing can change that balance of power, and for a God fearing Christian man it is my lot in life to suffer that imbalance which God created. She has kids now and they are 100% for her so that leaves 0% plus or minus 0% for me, the husband. Welcome to marriage!
I wish I had known that saying “I do” really meant “I do promise to abandon my sexual needs, take this vow of celibacy, but still stay true to you, build a house and home, provide for you, raise our kids in a Christian manner, and do my utmost to make you happy.”
I am amazed how incredibly selfish women are in this area. Listen, I am not some kind of sex crazed maniac. I could live with once every two or three weeks, but now we are averaging once every other month. But do you think that infrequency would give me any grounds to say “hey, you know it’s been about two months do you think we could…?” No. She is not in the mood. She is tired. She has other things on her mind.
Yet, what does she do instead? She watches TV. She reads a magazine. She surfs the Internet.
You would think that once every two months would be OK for her, but even then I still have to beg and grovel until she pities me enough, or until I’ve become such a pain that she will give in and shut me up for awhile.
Why did God give men a sex drive? It must have been to punish us and put us on the cross for the rest of our lives, knowing we cannot have our needs met and and are also not permitted to relieve ourselves through porn or worse things such as an extramarital affair. Yes, brother in Christ, you are now in a cage and you can observe your beautiful wife circle around you every day as the forbidden fruit that she is. If you think you are hungry now, wait six months, a year, ten years and you will truly know what real deprivation feels like.
Guess what ladies and gentlemen. I love my wife so much I would give my life for her. I adore her. She is beautiful and a loving mother to my kids. I respect her and not only want her to be happy, I do my best to help her, to build her up, and to love her as a husband should (but not in a sexual way because she doesn’t want that). When we do have sex she enjoys it immensely. She has no medical issues or emotional hangups that would make sex a problem. She just would rather we never had sex ever again, and that I would fix my urge which is just my selfish desire anyway.
To me, marriage is a rotten deal and a bad bargain. The marriage bed is a lie. If only I had known then what I know now, I would not be writing this…
I couldn’t do it…I think anything less than once a week is downright unbiblical. Me, any less than 3 and I’m lonley…2 is life support levels. Is she a believer? If so, it’s time to call in help. I also would die for my wife, gladly…but if we are talking once every two 2-3 months she obviously does not feel the same. Seriously, at point do we come to that conclusion? It’s time to bring in help or leave…as hard as that is. It took that for my wife to wake up. I agree with everything you say in your situation. I’ll say I prayer for you today.
To: love my wife
I’m encouraged to hear that things turned around for you once you were able to get through to your wife. I’m wondering if you would be willing to share what worked and what didn’t. I’m not giving up yet. Please email me at DanielDomi316@AOL.com. I believe our situations are similar. It would mean a lot to me. God bless you.
Thanks Julie for this important essay so relevant to too many marriages.
Frequent, joyous lovemaking is not the only important ingredient for a good, happy and successful (and lasting) marriage, but it is an important one.
I often felt this way about my husband until recently. The first few years of our marriage, he rarely wanted sex with me. I felt like I tried everything but he just wasn’t interested. When we decided to have a second child, I was actually excited because it meant we’d be having sex more often to make the baby. Little did I know at the time that he was keeping track of my cycle and only having sex with me when I ovulated (so, once a month). Thankfully alot of therapy and a temporary separation seems to have helped him understand the hurt he has put me through. I’m no longer treated like a baby machine, simply there to birth and raise his children. I finally am starting to feel like a wife, wanted and desired. I’m still the higher drive spouse but he’s making an effort to meet my needs.
Daniel – I feel just about like you do – you’re not alone. But I’ve read several posts from others on this blog and others like it and you’re one of the first if not the only who also has something in common with me – you love your wife, respect and admire her in so many ways with the sexual area being the sole exception. Many readers of blogs like this don’t think that’s possible – but it is – as both of us can testify.
Yes, like you, I can’t shake the feeling that “the marriage bed is a lie.” I grew up as a Christian – still am a Christian – and waited 32 years until my wedding night to lose my virginity – under the belief that marital sex would be this big fantastic wonderful reward that would make those 32 years of waiting worth it. Well – now the thought goes through my head often that “the promise of marital sex is the biggest whopper of a lie I ever fell for” – and even “marital sex is the biggest lie in all of Christianity.” Then I have to catch myself, because I can’t bring myself to believe that God would lie. And of course He doesn’t. But we live in a fallen world and there are no guarantees that anything that requires the participation of anyone other than Jesus is going to pan out as God would intend it.
Yes, our wives are sinning when they don’t live up to their Biblical duty to be sex partners in which we can “rejoice” as we did when they were the “wives of our youth.” (Look it up in Psalms 5, ladies, before you start howling – because it’s very much there). THEY ARE SINNING!!!! But as Jesus said of His persecutors, we must “forgive them, for (in some cases) they know not what they do” – and even if they do, well, we are all sinners ourselves, and “if we do not forgive one another’s debts, neither will our Father forgive ours.” No matter how they sin against us, we too sin against them – sometimes in even bigger ways. Mutual forgiveness is just as much a part of the marital vows as is sexual fulfillment.
Yes, we got ripped off as far as sex. There’s no denying that. But on the other hand, are either of us really that bad off? We both have wives whom we love dearly, to the point of being willing to give up our lives for them. One of Satan’s biggest tactics is to get us to focus on what we don’t have, so that we can lose appreciation for what we do. Would you want to have a woman who provided unlimited fulfillment of your high school sexual fantasies every night, but who was lacking in all of the other traits you so admire about her? Me neither. So we should count our blessings.
Now one difference is that I HAVE ‘given up’ on sex. I decided about 3 years ago and after 15 years of marriage that the frustration of trying to woo, plead, cajole, “do all the things blogs like this tell husbands to do” to increase the chances that their wives would be more likely to have sex with them more often…..wasn’t paying off. It wasn’t getting any results. So in short, I gave up on all that. I love my mother. I love my relatives. I get along fine with my best friends. But I don’t have sex with any of them. Well, now, over the course of the last three years I’ve finally made peace with the fact that my wife is going to fall in the same category. She may be the closest of my relatives, the closest of my friends, but she’s no longer a sexual partner and is unlikely to ever be one. So my best and only sexual partner is once again my right hand. It served me well for those first 32 years, and it will serve me well for the rest of my life. If my wife ever has a sexual epiphany and realizes how much more intimate and rewarding our relationship could be if our sex life were what God wanted it to be, great – I’ll welcome it with open arms. But until then, I myself am all I have in that area, and I’ve learned to make the best of it. And, to boot, I don’t waste any more time and energy in worthless pursuit. No hours spent writing romantic cards. No dollars spent on over-the-top romantic dinners. No long weekends in romantic hotels. Not if there’s not going to be any reward for it. Maybe someday my wife might actually start missing some of that. Maybe not. But I’m no longer expending the energy or the effort for nothing.
The husbands’ comments from this are for the most part really sad. (And one woman’s comments, from the same point of view) When one spouse is withholding sexual intimacy, it impacts every single other interaction within the marriage. The sex act is so profound, and means so much, that when one partner or the other feels cheated, again, nothing else is right.
On the other hand, when both husband and wife can seek each other out for this connection, it makes every other thing nicer, more special. From a long perspective, I just have to thank God for my spouse, and the fact that we have been able to work things out. I think it is worth whatever one can do to enhance this in marriage.
I can feel the hurt coming through on some of the letters, particularly from men whose wives may think that sex’s sole purpose was to have children, and then, that’s that. No more need for sex.
Certainly, not all women feel that way, but I agree that many “caught” that message from their upbringing. This is such a shame, because a lot of men, “wait” for their brides, thinking that the only thing keeping them from enjoying a physical relationship with their brides-to-be–is marriage. It may be that their brides actually feel no real physical desire for their fiancée before marriage, and really just see the marriage as a way to legitimize the children they will have.
To loosely paraphrase Julie,(Some) “Women get married to have babies, and (Some) men get married to have sex.” Sometimes that is the case, and I know from my perspective of being young, an inexperienced male, yes, I thought that the gateway to physical intimacy was through marriage. Everything would then resolve itself after marriage.
Did my fiancée and I discuss sex? Not really. I think her sexual awakening probably happened two years or more after we married. To her, I think, it was “something for the man”. She has learned through the years how to enjoy physical intimacy, but it has taken years.
Another comment I have to make is about sexual politics. The low drive spouse absolutely has the power in a marital relationship where sex is an issue. To me, there is a direct proportional link between how much the drives differ and the amount of power wielded. For example, if the man is high drive and the woman is very low, she has enormous power to control him by withholding or demanding he jump through hoops to enjoy sex. I am sure that there are low drive spouses who don’t use sex this way, but I know it can happen.
Wounding things from my own marriage, are examples: “Is that all you think about?” Or, “Didn’t we just make love two days ago?” Of course, I now know enough about my own response to be able to answer those questions:
Question 1: “When I am close to you, and feel good about our relationship, I relish showing my love for you through the physical act. I used to be ashamed of it. No more.”
Or to the second question: “Yes, we did just make love two days ago, and it made me feel so close to you, and I had so much desire to be with you, that I want to repeat the experience.” An analogy would be, maybe, you like chocolate cake, and it is the best thing you’ve ever eaten. You eat a piece of particularly moist, delicious chocolate cake. Does that mean you will never want to eat another piece? No, you might want a piece for breakfast. (Pardon the pun.)
As one man said, he was through jumping through those hoops. He gave up. The problem is that the woman evidently was fine with this. No physical intimacy. No marriage, except on paper.
But what if the man in this case loves his wife desperately, and is “wired” to show her that love through sex? But then, his wife doesn’t seem to desire it, so he feels rejected. He wonders about it the next time he asks. Will she say yes? Will she shoot him down? So he starts to weigh rejection on one hand with the desire for her on the other. Maybe he also has a few E.D. issues, so he has to worry about that. What if he “fails”? It’s hard enough to get her to say yes, but then if he can’t complete the act, she’s already on the fence anyway.
The next step for the man in this case is to think, “I won’t give her that power to say ‘No.'” I’ll just do without it. Then the woman, in this case, might say, “Thank God. He doesn’t want it.” So the relationship fails. Or maybe the man steps out of the marriage and has some other woman tell him he’s wonderful, which he is all to ready to believe. End of marriage.
Or the man might say “I won’t give her that power, to tell me ‘No'”, so he waits and waits, and then has a desperate desire for her.So he gives in and asks, which she realizes as an “I win.” He came to her with “his need”, so she still has the power. Then the man feels like a wimp for asking for the only way he can truly tell his lover the depth of his feeling. He may even feel a bit “whipped” for asking, because the woman will never admit she needs the connection. And maybe she doesn’t.
All of this is “Lose / Lose” for the person with the higher drive. And the person with the lower drive can continue to feel superior. Or to check out of the whole thing. She has her family, children, and the piece of paper saying they are married.
The answer? Counseling, possibly. Read a book together. I suggest Intimacy Ignited based on the “Song of Solomon” from the Bible.
But if one or both partners doesn’t see the problem, it’s again, a sad situation. Another good book is Intimacy and Desire by Dr. David Schnarch. If nothing else, it will help men (or in some cases, women) see that if they are high desire partners and their spouses are refusers, it doesn’t mean they are low life’s or “base”, or anything at all but heathy humans who love their spouses. If women find themselves the high desire partners, the same applies. For some reason, my instinct tells me, that if the woman has the higher desire, she doesn’t feel like her desire is misplaced; rather, she feels unattractive to her spouse.
Two other books Julie suggested are For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. The reason these books are great is that they are based on hundreds of answers by women and men about the important issues that delineate the huge differences in how men and women view life and marriage.
One of my favorites from these books is the almost perfect mirror image of “being the provider”. From the man’s point of view, every hour he spends in his life “providing”… is proof he loves his family. The woman regards this as the opposite: why doesn’t he love me (or us) enough to sacrifice making money and spend time with us?
I hope that all marriages can heal, as mine has healed over the years. Your marriage is worth it, because as Julie says often, paraphrased, “Our children are watching how we do marriage.”
I must respond to Daniel about todays women comment….Daniel first of all, I feel your hurt and anger in your response. I am sorry you are feeling this way. Let me flip the scenario around on you…I am the higher drive wife, I want sexual intimacy way more than my younger husband. It hurts to be rejected, I researched this very issue because I couldn’t get anywhere with my husband regarding how I was left feeling. Know what I found out? That the lower sex drive spouse controls the sex life! At first that made me mad, I admit it. Why do they get to have the power to just flippantly throw advances, needs and wants to the wayside like we don’t even matter? I then prayed about it. I cried to God, literally. I find comfort in God, I delicately bring issues to my husband so he understands what it means to me to be rejected. I cannot change anyone but myself. But as a woman, we do get bogged down with daily life, taking care of the kids, the home, a job if we have one, our husbands and sometimes we having nothing left to give our hubby’s. That may be your wifes case. I recommend you begin touching her with no thought to take it further than just that particular touch, a hug, a caress, a kiss. She may be craving that from you, nonsexual touch. I dont know, I could be wrong, but depending on how you approach her can affect her positively or negatively. Its something to keep in mind. But please understand this issue is not just a man’s issue, there are some of us wives who want more sex than our partners do. Its all based on our own personal sex drives. Pray about this and I hope things will get better for you soon! God bless.
@Tracy… thanks for your comments… so appreciate you stopping by. FYI… I do have a page on my site with a list of posts that are focused on wives who have higher sex drives. You might find some of the posts encouraging and/or helpful…
Thank you Julie. I have read through your suggestions, and the comments following, feeling their pain just like my very own. I know this could be a long road for me and I am willing to tackle it with God guiding me.
I haven’t read here anything from the perspective of the low sex drive spouse. I don’t have any sexual hang ups or traumatic experiences. Nor do I think that sex is dirty. Moreover I have no problem reaching orgasm. My issues are four-fold. First I have a one year old that is still night nursing and sleeping next to our bed (also, waking up several times a night). With breastfeeding comes low sex drive. Secondly, it hurts. Ever since I was pregnant, I’ve had painful intercourse. Been checked out with the doctor and there are no issues there. These things just happen sometimes after child-birth. Thirdly, I’m tired. I work full time and shoulder most of the child care responsibilities, especially at night. My husband does help out in the home and with the baby but like most women, I have to give 120% of my time to work, child and house. Finally, my husband grew up in a house where his mother worked full time and his father stayed home. No he wasn’t a stay at home Dad, but a lazy, petulant, immature man-child who couldn’t keep a steady job. He was coddled by his mother and never learned how to deal with stress and conflict like an adult. Unfortunately, my husband, who does work full time and is not lazy, picked up some of his Dad’s bad behaviors. My husband never learned how to deal with stress and conflict without getting angry, frustrated, yelling or other immature behaviors. Moreover, there is such a huge social/educational divide between us; my husband is a high-school educated, blue collar worker from a blue collar family and I’m a law school educated, professional from a white collar family, that makes twice as much as he does. There is constant fighting and conflict in the house. I read once that “women need to feel close to have sex and men need sex to feel close”, thus creating an unsatisfying feedback loop. He had been in therapy but cannot seem to overcome forty years of conditioning. It’s hard to feel close to someone who can’t deal with the many stresses of life without trying to stress you out. So I don’t think that I’m sinning or being a bad wife. I’m just tired and I don’t think that I should have to endure physical pain so my husband can have sex, especially when he is constantly starting fights. I know that sex is important in marriage but there are other ways to be intimate and isn’t intimacy what we really need? Moreover, can we just stop pretending that anyone NEEDS sex? Nobody needs sex… you won’t die from lack of sex.
@Alisha… thank you for taking the time to comment.
I definitely agree with you that finding time and energy for sex can be difficult, especially during some life situations or seasons when demands on a couple (or individuals within the couple) can be particularly high.
Even so, when a couple doesn’t figure out a way to still nurture their sexual intimacy, rarely does the relationship get stronger. In other words, if a couple isn’t having sex, more problems tend to develop.
As to whether if sex is a need… well, you are right that it is not a need like food or water or air. Yet, God still places high priority on it for married couples and actually tells couples to not take lightly the significance of sex. I actually wrote a post about this whole thing of sex not being a “need.” That post might have some insights you hadn’t considered…
Sadly, Daniel is in the place that many, if not most, husbands are in. What can he do? If he leaves (and he has every right to), the State will take the house, give it to his wife, garnish his wages for alimony and child support and take his retirement…all because his wife has effectively pushed him out of their own bedroom. Daniel, and all the other men like him, are living examples of why children are such a risk for men. They provide the perfect excuse for the wife to neglect the husband, to turn him into a paycheck, to make him the economic slave that Western society has forced him to be. I have a son that I dearly love, we’re a Christian family, and my comment to him concerning marriage: “Not without a pre-nup”
My wife has had Vaginismus for 9 months. I have been unemployed for 5 years and on welfare. I am in grad school. I am healthy, fit and I feel I am intelligent. My wife is so disrespectable in so many ways! She demands I listen to her ideas about how to treat the kids including our autistic 20 year old. (in front of him) He has gay issues. Sex is controlled by her. Now she has a legitimate excuse (Vaginismus) to refuse sex because as long as she will not go to a doctor (since she says she has no time) she does not have to have coital sex with her unemployed dweeb husband. She has shoulder pain. (all the time and then cleans house) She is not adventurous, will not do oral or any other sex act. I have decided to stop initiating since she is not patient to have me stimulate her.
I cannot leave since I really have no real income and I cannot make divorce threats. Her answer to any argument is to get mad. I feel like one of the kids. I am giving up. She is the enemy now. I am fed up! Our 30th anniversary trip she wants, is off!!!
I want to add my voice as another woman who wants way more sex than my male partner (who, if I’m lucky, is up for it once or twice a year).
I don’t believe there is anything healthy or right about abstaining from sex; and it is something that relationships need in order to thrive or even to get by.
There may be many men, like the ones who have posted here, who feel frustrated by their wives’ lack of libido, but there are also many women in the same boat. Plenty of studies suggest that the latter is actually more common!
So, I don’t want to invalidate anyone else’s frustration as I completely understand their feelings of anger, hurt and rejection. But to say that it is usually men who want sex and women who don’t, is an inaccurate and frankly offensive stereotype.
I think the original article was unhelpful in that it reinforced this stereotype – all the advice given, should have been aimed at *whichever* partner had the lower libido, instead of making the assumption that it would be the wife who this applied to.
My wife hasn’t had sex with me in more than five years. Nor will she let me even hug or touch her. She’s also mean to me and stonewalls any suggestion for how to improve the marriage. I just love my babies though and would do anything for them. I also support my wife financially, and I think that’s why she keeps me around (and that I am a good dad). She is a social worker and I am a lawyer. I couldn’t bare not to get to see my kids every day. We are very close. Not the ideal situation for them or me, but trying the best of it.