8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal

How should you as a husband handle it when your wife directly refuses to have sex without a valid reason? Is there anything a Christian husband can do about this?

Christian Husbands – let me be crystal clear here. The situation I am addressing in this post is not your wife occasionally turning you down for sex (even with a bad attitude, as opposed to for health or other legitimate reasons). What I am addressing here is the wife who consistently and routinely denies her husband sexually simply because she does not need sex as much or she thinks she should not have to do it except when she is in the mood or she thinks her husband should have to earn sex with her by “putting her in the mood” by doing various things she expects or likes.

Let me also be clear to all the haters(this includes liberal Christians who reject the Biblical view of male headship in marriage, as well as the Biblical teaching of the right of sex, and responsibility of sex in marriage):

Update 1/25/2018

Biblically speaking the modern concept of “marital rape” is an oxymoron.  It is impossible from a Biblical perspective for a man to rape his wife.  The Bible defines unlawful forced sex or what we would call rape as when a man forces a woman who is not married to him to have sex with him see Deuteronomy 22:23-29 for more on this. God condones forced sex in marriage in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and he symbolizes himself as a husband who “humbles” his wife Israel in Deuteronomy 8:2-3.  For more on this subject see my article “Why the Bible Allows Forced Sex in Marriage“.   But in the conclusion of the article I just mentioned I make the following warning to men:

“Am I Telling Husbands to Go Home and Force Themselves on Their Wives?

The answer is No. But you might be thinking – Wait you just said spent this entire article telling us it was not a sin for a man to force himself on his wife!

As you catch your breath let me explain a simple principle regarding Biblical rights. Just because we have the right to do something, does not mean it is always wise to do something.”

And then I go on to explain why it is not always wise for us to exercise all our rights.  But never once in this article, that article, or any of my articles do I EVER tell men to go and force themselves upon their wives.

For all of the “Rape Accusers” out there, especially the ones that are hurling applications of domestic violence laws at me – I have written a special post just for you.  It is entitled “The Frustrated Feminist Wife“.

In two previous posts in this series I addressed these key issues:

In “Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!” we established this Biblical principle:

Neither the husband, nor the wife have to earn sex in marriage.

A wife cannot flatly refuse her husband, she may only ask for a delay (a raincheck) and then she needs to make good on that raincheck as soon as possible.

A husband has the right to confront his wife’s sexual refusal as a sin not only against him, but also against God.

In “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” I elaborated further on this subject of sexual refusal in marriage with these principles:

A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.

A husband needs to use prayerful discernment to discover if her reasons for “not being in the mood” are for legitimate physical or mental health reasons or if the problem is wrong thinking and wrong attitude on the part of his wife. If her reasons are legitimate, then she needs to seek medical or psychological help as soon as possible.

Now in this post we will talk about how to handle the sexual refusal of a wife when it is because she has a wrong attitude and wrong thinking about marriage and sex.

But what about the husband refusing to have sex with his wife?

I have received several comments from people asking why I have not addressed the issue of a husband’s refusal to have sex – yes it is equally clear in these passages that he cannot refuse her.   Since originally post this article I have written a companion piece to this article entitled “4 Steps to Confronting Your Husband’s Sexual Refusal“.  Check out that article for more detail on this from a wife’s perspective.

What about Paul’s “concession” in I Corinthians 7:6?

Some Christians have tried to take the entire power out of this passage in I Corinthians 7 because of verse 6 where Paul writes “I say the following as a concession, not as a command.“ So did Paul just get done telling husbands and wives not to deprive one another sexually, only to say – “Well this is my opinion on how sex should be, but if you want to deny one another – go ahead”?

“Now in response to the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman.”But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another sexually—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say the following as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all people were just like me. But each has his own gift from God, one person in this way and another in that way.” – I Corinthians 7:1-7(HCSB)

When we look at Paul’s statement in context, his concession is not about husbands and wives not denying one another sexually.

His concession(or opinion) is about celibacy. He is prefacing the statement he is about to make as his opinion – that he wished everyone could be celibate like he was as there are many advantages to serving God as single person. But he realizes that celibacy is a gift God has only given to a chosen few, while the rest of men and women ought to marry.

What he is stating in this passage is, if you don’t have the gift of celibacy and you do get married, you have a solemn obligation to have sex with your spouse, you cannot deny them unless it is mutually agreed by both of you for a short period of time.

There is another way that people attempt to disarm the thrust of Paul’s words on sex in marriage in I Corinthians chapter seven. Some have tried to say “well if the wife has power over his body too, then she can decide to use that power to say she does not want his body having sex with her”. This is an absolutely ridiculous notion as it goes against the entire context of the passage. The entire point the Apostle Paul was making is that husbands and wives may NOT deprive one another of sex, unless they both mutually agree to a cessation of sex for a limited time.

Know the battle you face, before you get into it

The advice I am about to give you Christian husband will require courage. The advice I am about to give you will require you to show your wife tough love.

Let me be clear on something, even if you do follow the steps below I give, this does not automatically mean you will get a change from your wife, or her repentance for her sexual immorality. And yes my friend it is sexually immoral for a wife (or husband for that matter) to deny their spouse sexually unless they have a legitimate physical or mental health grounds for doing so. Most people think of sexual immorality as only someone having sex outside marriage (pre-marital sex, adultery, incest, homosexual sex). But remember that when something is immoral, that means it is sin, and we know that sexual denial in marriage is sin, therefore it is accurate to call willful sexual denial in marriage an act of sexual immorality.

I had a Christian man email me once asking if he should tolerate an affair his wife was having for the sake of saving his marriage. He had confronted his wife about it, but she told him she could not give up her lover, and she told him she loved both he (her husband) and her lover and she needed time to consider both relationships.

This man was actually counseled by a Christian counselor to continue to tolerate his wife’s affair in order to win her back. The counselor invoked the story of the prophet Hosea whom God told to marry a promiscuous woman and then left him and he had to go and get her back. What this counselor misses is – this was not God’s pattern for marriage that men tolerate sexual immorality, it was simply done to illustrate the idolatry of Israel and that God was trying to bring her back to him. Israel never did come back and later God said he gave her a letter of divorce.

In the same way men are often counseled by Christian counselors, Pastors and marriage books to simply tolerate their wives sexual denial – which is just as immoral as if she were to commit adultery. They told to talk to their wives and pray for their wives – which is good advice. But then if their wife does not repent they are told they must simply learn to cope with their wife’s sexual immorality and there is nothing else they can or should do.

I am here to tell you there is something more you can and should do. You need to call out your wife’s sin for exactly what it is – sexual immorality.

Now that you know what you are fighting against you need to know what this fight might cost you. It may end with her walking out and possibly divorcing you. You must be prepared to do what is right, no matter what the cost.

First understand this – sacrificing yourself for your wife, as Christ sacrificed himself for the church does not mean toleration of this kind of sin on the part of your wife. Many counselors throw out the “husbands you just need to sacrifice yourself for your wife like Christ did the church” but they don’t tell you WHY Christ sacrificed himself for the Church.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.  He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (HCSB)

Christ sacrificed himself for the Church, for us, not so we could just live any way we wanted to. He sacrificed himself to make us holy, to conform us to his likeness, and his Word.

As I said in previous posts – God wants sex in your marriage, your desire for sex in your marriage is not a sin, but rather it is a gift from God. My Pastor often says God put a desire in men and a command toward men that they be “intoxicated” or “ravished” by their wife’s body.

“Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” – Proverbs 5:19 (KJV)

Your desire for your wife is not the sin, but instead it is your wife’s sinful sexual refusal that must be confronted.

Before you take any steps to confront your wife’s sin of sexual refusal

Before you embark on this difficult journey, you need to first address any un-repented sin in your own life. You need to pray very hard and make sure you are doing the right thing. You need to confess any bitterness you have toward your wife over this issue before you can confront it. Perhaps there are some other wrong ways you handled it, things you have said or done that need to be confessed to God, and perhaps even to your wife if it directly affects her.

8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal

UPDATE: 1/23/2016 – I have reordered what I believe the Biblical steps are to confront your wife’s sexual refusal based on my understanding of when a man should seek out a marriage counselor and bring the issue to his Pastor.

Biblically speaking the husband is the spiritual authority in his home and he has the Biblical obligation to FIRST attempt to discipline his wife as she is his responsibility.  Only when he has exhausted all forms of discipline and she remains defiant and divorce is looming should he approach a counselor to act as a witness to her sin.

Christ said this about confronting a brother(or sister) that has sinned against you:

“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you.” – Matthew 18:15-17 (HCSB)

Matthew 18 gives us the first two steps a Christian husband must take to confront his wife’s sexual refusal.

Step 1 – Rebuke her privately

Rebuke your wife’s sin to her in private. This assumes you have already on several occasions tried to speaking gently to her about this issue. You have tried time and time again to find out if there is anything you can help her with, and anything you can do different. This assumes you have ruled out health problems, and or other mental problems and she simply has a stubborn and willful attitude toward sex in marriage and she does not think she needs to change.

Step 2 – Stop taking her on dates or trips

If the brother or sister in Christ who sins against you is outside the authority of your home then you would go to witnesses next.  But since your wife, like your children, is under your direct authority – you have a Biblical obligation to discipline her first before taking this outside of your home. These next 4 steps use the two types of discipline that a husband has at his disposal.  Time and Money. For some women money means nothing, but almost all women highly value their husband’s time.

Stop taking your wife to her favorite restaurants. Stop taking her out to those movies she wants to see. Don’t take her on those weekend getaways she wants to go on. I am not saying to stop talking to your wife, or ignore your wife, as that is not an option for a Christian husband. But your wife does not have the RIGHT for you to take her on dates or trips – these things are a privilege that you may remove at any time.

Step 3 – No unnecessary household upgrades

Ordinarily, I am all for a husband funding things like new furniture for the house, or new paint for the walls. Wives will come to their husband’s for these and many other household things. What you need to do as a husband is, unless it is a true family need, and not just an upgrade to something – Do not allow it.

Step 4 – Stop doing the little extra things

You know those dinners you cook, or that vacuuming you do, or those things that really she should be doing for herself, but you have simply been trying to be nice and doing for her – STOP doing them. Stop giving her those nice back and shoulder massages she loves so much.

Step 5 – Remove her funding

This step may only work if you wife does not have her own income. Stop giving her pocket money. Change your bank account so her ATM card becomes worthless. Cancel your credit cards. If she does have a job, stop paying for anything in her name and make her pay for any credit that is in her name. The Bible only requires that you provide her with food, clothing and shelter. It does not say that food and clothing has to be the fancy kind she likes to get.

If your wife has not repented and changed her ways after you these first five steps, you are sure to have a very angry and defiant wife. The little bit of sex there was in your marriage is most likely completely gone.

At any one of these points, your wife could have threatened to leave, or has already already left. You may be separated or in divorce proceedings.

But I want you to understand something, it is not your responsibility to keep your wife in the marriage by any means necessary, and certainly not by giving in to her willful, rebellious and sinful behavior. The Apostle Paul writes:

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases.” – I Corinthians 7:15

Remember that in Matthew, Christ told us to regard an unrepentant professed believer as an unbeliever. There is no sin here for you as a Christian husband to simply let her go, you are no longer bound and are free to marry another woman. My pastor told us that he had to deal with some rebellious times with his own wife, and his translation of “let him (or her) leave” was “there is the door” when she would threaten to leave.

But your wife may have stuck around betting that she can “wait you out” and thinking that eventually you will go back to leaving her alone about “all this sex stuff” and things can get back to the normal life she has come to love.

This is where we begin the final phase of confronting your wife’s sexual refusal.

Step 6 – Rebuke her before witnesses

If she is still defiant after you have tried all forms of Biblical discipline with her take her to a Christian marriage counselor so they can serve as a witness to her sinful defiance. But make it clear as you seek a counselor what your beliefs are to that counselor and that this is not about changing your beliefs – it is about having a witness to your wife’s sin.

Step 7 – Bring her before the Church

If bringing her to a counselor does not shake her defiance after you have tried all other forms of discipline then bring her to your Pastor and his wife to have her sin confronted by church authority.  If she is defiant to them then she needs to be expelled from the church.

What if none of these 7 steps work?

If your wife remains willfully defiant, yet she has not left you, it could be for a variety of reasons. She may not want to lose how she lives with you and she knows that after a divorce her lifestyle will be severely affected, and she does not want to deal with the consequences of divorce. Perhaps she may have some genuine care for you left as well as your children but she simply cannot see the error of her ways and will hold out indefinitely with the hope that one day you will fold and give her back the money, the dates, the trips, the house hold upgrades and she will not have been forced to change her ways.

But you have a final step you may take, one that you need to pray long and hard about before you do.

You have the option to divorce her for her sexual immorality.

“But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:32(HCSB)

Why bother with the first 7 steps if divorce is an option for sexual denial?

Many Christians would ask “If I have the right to divorce my wife for willful and chronic sexual denial, why bother with all these other steps?” The answer my friend, is that God wants us to fight for our wives and our marriage the way he fought for his marriage to Israel as a nation. Eventually he had to divorce Israel as nation, but he fought long and hard to bring her back to him, and we owe our wives and our marriages this fight.

But aren’t these steps a form of manipulation?

Those who oppose this type of confrontation will accuse me of advocating that men manipulate their wives into having sex with them more. But what these same people would fail to understand is, there is a big difference between manipulation, and discipline.

Manipulation is when someone who is an equal (like a friend, a coworker, a fellow student…etc.) or someone in a lower position (like a child, or employee, someone of lower rank) tries to make life difficult for their fellow equal or for their authority figure by doing certain actions in order to get them to do something they want. A union strike is a form of manipulation. A child throwing a temper tantrum or giving their parent the “silent treatment” is a form of manipulation. A wife withholding sex when she is angry at her husband, or giving him the “silent treatment” is also a form of manipulation. Sometimes manipulation is just pure retaliation.

Discipline, on the other hand is very different from manipulation. Discipline is performed by one who is in authority over one who is under their authority. It is action taken by an authority to attempt to modify the bad behavior of the subject of that authority so that they will behave correctly in the future. True Biblical discipline should never be done out of a spirit of retaliation or revenge.

And just to be clear – I am NOT advocating for husbands to beat their wives,smack them around, or physically abuse them in any way.  There are forms of discipline that are not physical.

Blatant willful sexual denial by a wife toward her husband is an act of rebellion against God’s authority first, and then the authority he has given her husband second. If a man denies his wife sexually, it is also an act of rebellion against God, because God has commanded him to give his body to his wife as she needs it (and I will address this in a separate post).

But a husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loves the Church

I have had many responses since originally posting this article, that these 8 steps are not the acts of a loving husband. Previously in this post I mentioned that God had to divorce the nation of Israel, picture as an adulterous and rebellious wife.  If it were true that a loving husband would never discipline his wife, then God was not a loving husband to Israel. When Israel, who is pictured as the wife of God, rebelled against God – he disciplined Israel and as he disciplined her he told her he was doing it out of love for her to bring her back to him.

Some might respond that in the end God had to eventually divorce Israel, and his discipline did not work – so maybe Christian husbands should not discipline their wives.

But God shows by his example that he would not and could not compromise his holiness even for the nation he loved. In the same way God does not want a Christian husband to sacrifice his faith to enable his wife’s sinful behavior, even if it results in divorce.  See this post that I wrote separately on this issue entitled “10 Ways to know if you are sacrificing your faith for your wife“.


Christian husband, you are not powerless to act against your wife’s sexual refusal. Also you need to remember that this about a lot more than sexual refusal. This is about your wife’s rebellion against a central tenet of marriage and her rebellion against the order God has established in marriage. But you must realize that this may be a long and costly battle. Your confrontation of your wife’s willful, sinful behavior may result in your marriage ending.

In our next post “10 Ways to know your wife” We will move out of this sexual arena and into getting to know your wife better.

Some might wonder why I addressed sexuality from a husband’s point of view first before I talk about “knowing your wife” and “honoring your wife” in following posts. The reason is because Biblically speaking “knowing your wife” on an intellectual, spiritual and emotional level was never a prerequisite to marriage in the Bible, it was something that often times came after the consummation (sex) in marriage.

Some have mistakenly compared the “Betrothal period” of the Bible to modern dating. The fact is betrothal and dating have nothing in common. In dating, the man and woman both choose to come together mutually and decide between themselves based on a physical, emotional and intellectual level if they want to get married (and often times they even have sex during this dating period).

Betrothal in Biblical times was nothing like dating today. Men did not convince a woman by romancing her to marry them as is the typical model of relationships and marriage in modern western culture. Either the parents of both the man and the woman would arrange their marriage, or the man would approach a woman’s father and ask for his daughter in marriage, and they would agree on a bride price (like Jacob asking Rachel’s father for her hand and he worked 7 years to buy her).

They were officially considered married at the Betrothal, and it took an actual bill of divorce to break a betrothal. But during the betrothal period the man was primarily concerned with being able to setup a house and be prepared to support his wife in marriage. When he was ready, he would come to claim his wife and they would consummate the marriage with sex. Many couples saw very little of each other if at all during this betrothal period.

A man really did not know his wife emotionally and intellectually until he “knew” her sexually.

That is why we will talk about “10 Ways to know your wife” and then “12 Ways to honor your wife” now that we have concluded our discussion of sexuality as it relates to being a godly husband.

230 thoughts on “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal

  1. There is a hole in your 8 step plan. It does not take into account the wife’s sexual sexual attraction to the husband and almost completely relies on invoking the wife’s religious duty and obligations. A more complete plan would include some steps to restore sexual attraction with the wife such as standing up to her, leading her emotions and the relationship, developing a self improvement plan for the future, getting in shape, learning some sexually dominate moves, and taking steps to be more calm, stoic, strong and masculine. Also, before you withdraw your financial support you should gradually withdraw your attention as you seem to suggest but in order to actually do that you have to first build a life apart from your wife so you can leave her to stew alone in her sex denying juices.

  2. The OT descriptions of how God Himself treats his “Bride” who are the Israelites are very telling descriptions. As husbands we are called to love our wives like Christ loved the Church. Except I don’t see any examples of Christ and the church and no, he didn’t “die” for her, he died to redeem the sins of all mankind.

    So Scripture doesn’t record how Christ “loved the church” but it DOES record how God (Jesus) loved his own Bride- the children of Israel. Read Jeremiah, or Lamentations or Isaiah or a half dozen other books in the Bible to learn how God deals with His bride when His bride turns her face from him.

    He asks her to:

    Only acknowledge your guilt—
    you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
    you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
    under every spreading tree,
    and have not obeyed me,’”
    declares the Lord.
    14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.

    When she (Israel) does not, He doesn’t rub her feet and beg her to return to him when she turns her face from Him.

    Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel
    were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to
    this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!
    2 And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them,
    ‘This is what the Lord says:

    “‘Those destined for death, to death;
    those for the sword, to the sword;
    those for starvation, to starvation;
    those for captivity, to captivity.’
    3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild animals to devour and destroy.

    THAT is what Paul meant when he said we should love our wives like Christ loved the Church. Not this sick and sinful abomination today used to cudgel men into submission to their wives.

  3. Bluepillprofessor,

    I have actually talked in other posts about a man doing his own thing – working and having hobbies. My writings while having some overlap with Red Pill ideology but where we have a major disagreement is on the issue of duty and obligation. Rollo and I have had this discussion as well.

    You have correctly pointed out that the 8 step plan I suggested does for the most part depend on helping a woman to see her duty and obligation in marriage. From a Biblical and Christian perspective, I believe that when a woman fully embraces her design and the fact that God made her mind and body to serve and compliment her husband this is a very powerful and long lasting force.

    I am often accused of advocating for men to emotionally manipulate their wives into getting them to have sex with them. But the truth is both Red Pill and Blue Pill ideology in my view are both just different sides of the same coin of emotional manipulation. They both try to answer the question – “How can I emotionally manipulate my wife into having sex with me?” Now yes “manipulate” is seen as a negative word – so we might say it in a more positive way “How can I emotionally attract my wife into having sex with me?” But the result is still the same, you are both suggesting things to evoke an emotional response but your big difference is what things you do to evoke that response.

    The methods I suggest ask the person to go beyond their feelings and emotions and they rather appeal to the Spiritual side – a much deeper foundation in my view. They answer the big questions of life – “Why I am here and for what purpose did God make me?” Those questions have a very different answer depending on our gender from a Biblical perspective.

    Only when we see this is about far more than a man getting his wife to have sex with him more, can we see truly see the answers to these kinds of problems.

    Now I agree that a man should have good basic hygiene, and I also agree a man needs to have his work and his hobbies and not feel guilty about that. But in the same token from a Biblical perspective a man is required to carve out a certain amount of time to know his wife, to talk to her. I Peter 3:7 tells husbands they must “dwell with them according to knowledge” in reference to their wives. You can’t know your wife without spending any time with her and talking to her. This is also unconditional, it is not conditioned upon her sexual response or doing things she ought to be doing.

    So what I suggest to men is carving out an hour a night, or every other night to just watch a TV show with their wife and let natural conversation occur so he can know his wife and her needs and concerns. Sometimes she may have nothing to say, other times she may have a more to say.

    But I make it clear – this is not a man talking with his wife in order for to have sex with him, that is a duty and obligation on her part.

    My point is I do not believe it Biblical for a husband to 100% withdraw his attention from his wife. However he can definitely adjust HOW MUCH of his time he gives her depending on her behavior. I will be writing a post in the future on the subject of “A husbands time” where I go more into this.

    Women generally want two things from a man – his time and his financial resources. Now for some women who have their own financial resources they only want their husbands time. So a husband’s time – whether that is him just sitting with her quietly, or him listening to her, or him sharing about his life with her or him doing things for her(household repairs, or more intimate things like massages) – this is usually the most valuable thing to most women.

    This is also a powerful tool of discipline that a husband can use to show his wife the correlation between her doing her duties and obligations as help meet and the amount of time she gets from him.

  4. bluepillprofessor,

    Your Statement:

    “The OT descriptions of how God Himself treats his “Bride” who are the Israelites are very telling descriptions. As husbands we are called to love our wives like Christ loved the Church. Except I don’t see any examples of Christ and the church and no, he didn’t “die” for her, he died to redeem the sins of all mankind.

    So Scripture doesn’t record how Christ “loved the church” but it DOES record how God (Jesus) loved his own Bride- the children of Israel. Read Jeremiah, or Lamentations or Isaiah or a half dozen other books in the Bible to learn how God deals with His bride when His bride turns her face from him.”

    In these two posts below and in many others I touch on this subject of how God was a husband to Israel as well as how Christ is a husband to his Church.

    I disagree with you that the Scriptures don’t show that Christ died for his bride the Church – they actually do:

    “25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
    26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
    27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

    It is clear here that Christ gave himself for “it” referring to his Church, his bride. It is not inconsistent to say that Christ died for us as individuals as well as for his Church which collectively represents all whom he died to redeem. The story of Ruth and Boaz is a beautiful picture of a husband redeeming his wife.

    But there are definitely differences between God’s relationship with Israel and Christ’s relationship with his Church. God consummated his relationship with Israel after he rescued her from Egypt. Israel agreed to a covenant with God and became his wife, no longer just his betrothed bride.

    The Church however is pictured as a betrothed bride and the marriage between Christ and his Church is not consummated until the marriage supper of the Lamb in a future time. Christ deals with his betrothed bride primarily through her caretakers which are his Apostles. Paul said this was his duty as a caretaker for Christ’s betrothed bride:

    “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” – I Corinthians 11:2 (NIV)

    “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?” – I Corinthians 4:21 (NIV)

    So at this point Christ is leaving the discipline of his Churches to his Apostles as the caretakers of his Bride.

    Later Christ talks about disciplining his disobedient Churches himself in Revelation 3:

    “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” – Revelation 3:19 (NIV)

    So I think both in the Old and New Testaments we see the kind of husband that God his to his wife as a model for us a husbands to our wives. He is definitely not a coddling husband and his disciplines his wife in many ways.

    But going back to Christ sacrificing himself for his Church – yes that is true that he indeed gave himself up for his Church. However why did he sacrifice himself? Was it to enable the Church to sin? To overlook her sin? No sir. It was to make her holy.

    A husband’s sacrificial love for his wife is not about him giving up his leadership, his headship, his job, his sexual needs or his other en devours. Rather it is about him sacrificing himself to make her holy. When a husband has to remove some of his time from his wife, or rebuke her wrong behavior this is a sacrifice on his part. We as men often times just want peace with our wives. We don’t want to disturb that peace – but we are called to do that. We are called to actively help our wives and children conform to design God has for their wives.

    Yes there is another side to sacrificial love from a husband where cares for his wife when she is sick and where he sacrifices his sexual needs when her health needs are greater(like when a woman has a baby or just had surgery).

    But I agree with you that a husband sacrificing himself for his wife as Christ did for his Church is NOT about a husband simply submitting his will and his leadership to his wife.

  5. K. Q. God created marriage and made sex a martial duty to keep people from sexual immorality. That’s why the apostle Paul said if you can’t resist it’s better to marry then to burn with passion he’s talking about sex. And what you said about the non Christian cultural causing the problem with sex in a marriage I don’t agree everyone has a different sexual desire and need and as a spouse you are to meet those needs and that’s not just sexually weather you feel like it or not in a marriage relationship you put your spouse before you, your needs and your wants example being a Christian we are in a relationship with Christ we are married to him we are the bride Christ put us before himself when he came here and died on the cross for us he didn’t have to but he chose to. In the same manner husbands and wives need to choose to put their spouses needs before themselves. There are many one another commands in the bible one them is to consider one another more important then yourself ( Philippians 2:3). That means to consider the other person more important than you and what do we do with things that are more important we put a priority on them and we put those things first. That’s how it should be with your spouse only God is above them.

  6. I’m assuming since I am a wife in relationship with a husband who refuses sex, refuses to kiss me, refuses date nights, refuses emotional connection, refuses time together, has been to multiple counsellors, took him before the pastor and his wife and he still after 4 years of marriage won’t even tell me I look nice. That all of your information transfers gender roles? We have 1 child because I force him to have sex. I forced him to have sex for the second child and we lost it sadly. I cannot stomach forcing him into 43 seconds of kissless ejaculation a 3rd time. We even went to doctors who say there is nothing physically wrong with him. I also found out he was calling girls when I was out of town to see my mother. He claims he was looking for ‘marriage advice’ though he was telling them how good and attractive they were…. I want to divorce him. He said I can’t because I’ll be sinning…. And I feel I’m living with a man who hates me….

  7. To biblicalgenderroles

    It’s strange that you say that a defrauded husband shouldn’t “force himself” on his wife ..doesn’t her body is HERS ? He just has to come to his wife and DRINK .
    Did you read what beautifulbeginningsbridal wrote ?
    that she FORCED her husband to have sex !!!!!!!!! In another words , she took back the legitimate power she has over her husband’s body as men should do to their rebellious wives who think they have a right over their own body.
    She forced her husband to have sex but strangely you did not blame her for ‘physical abuse’ lol

    But the problem for a woman is still different. We women don’t really like initiating sex ,because we don’t feel desired if we do.
    For a man it is different , he has to be in control ..and for us , women , it is a turn on.

    Do you know that it is radical feminists who made up the ‘marital rape’ lie to make husbands think that their wife’s body does not belong to them anymore ?
    Those people are directly from Satan and their hatred of man is blatant.

    There is no such thing as ‘ rape’ in marriage !! Why not calling a man who takes money from his own bank account a thief then ? Would it make sense ???

    The husband has power over his wife’s body and she nas NOT ; So , tell me , brother , how can she withhold a body that is not hers anymore ?
    You can only use something as you want , sharing it or not , when it BELONGS to you.
    The man who does not PHYSICALLY takes back her wife’s body still lets her think that she has a right over it. That’s the core of the issue.

    You see , I used to say that withholding is wrong and sinful , but looking more into 1 Corinthians 7, I came to the conclusion that withholding is IMPOSSIBLE .
    Defrauding can only be done with your spouse’s consent ..why ? because it is your spouse who has power over your own body ..NOT you !

    How should a husband deal with that ? Simple , he just has to exercise the God given authority he has over his wife’s body .
    Physical abuse ? ha ! ha ! just take a look at the number of WOMEN fascinated by the fictional character of Christian Grey and please stop thinking that we are nothing but china dolls.
    We suffer the torture of delivery you know . We are weaker but not 100% weak.

  8. framboise,

    Your statement:

    “Did you read what beautifulbeginningsbridal wrote ?
    that she FORCED her husband to have sex !!!!!!!!! In another words , she took back the legitimate power she has over her husband’s body as men should do to their rebellious wives who think they have a right over their own body.
    She forced her husband to have sex but strangely you did not blame her for ‘physical abuse’ lol”

    Welcome to BiblicalGenderRoles.com – I can appeciate your passion for godly marriage and submission that I see in many of your comments and your coming out against sexual refusal so strongly from the perspective of being a woman is much appreciated.

    As to beautifulbeginningsbridal’s comment about her forcing her husband to have sex a few times to so she could have children she was not meaning she physically held her husband down and forced him inside her. By “forced” she meant she compelled him so strongly – YOU WILL DO THIS! And he complied. That is not physical force, that is verbally compelling someone to do what is right and they then concede and give in.

    Your statement:

    “But the problem for a woman is still different. We women don’t really like initiating sex ,because we don’t feel desired if we do.
    For a man it is different , he has to be in control ..and for us , women , it is a turn on.”

    I agree that a lot of women don’t like initiating sex and rather they would like to be pursued as they would like to feel desired by their husbands. Most women don’t want some milk toast man, they want a man to take control and men are designed both psychologically and even biologically to be the initiators of sexual relations. However I do think as spouses we need to keep a sort “inventory” of the other spouse and their needs being met.

    Yes men and women both men and women desire sex but we desire it for different reasons and we desire it different amounts. I would also say that both men and women want to verbally and emotionally connect with their spouses but in this area we also do so for different reasons and we desire it in different amounts. That is why it is an husbands job to recognize if his wife has been being extra quiet and not wanting to talk to him as she usually does. If she has not talked in a while he may be called on to initiate conversation and investigate if there are some issues that need to be resolved – this is VERY difficult for us as men to do and I am speaking to myself on this. But we need to do it. In the same way a good Christian wife will be keeping a “sexual inventory” on her husband – and realizing if he has not initiated in some time and perhaps at times she will need to initiate sex even when she does not feel the need.

    Your Statement:

    “There is no such thing as ‘ rape’ in marriage !! Why not calling a man who takes money from his own bank account a thief then ? Would it make sense ???

    The husband has power over his wife’s body and she nas NOT ; So , tell me , brother , how can she withhold a body that is not hers anymore ?
    You can only use something as you want , sharing it or not , when it BELONGS to you.
    The man who does not PHYSICALLY takes back her wife’s body still lets her think that she has a right over it. That’s the core of the issue.

    You see , I used to say that withholding is wrong and sinful , but looking more into 1 Corinthians 7, I came to the conclusion that withholding is IMPOSSIBLE .
    Defrauding can only be done with your spouse’s consent ..why ? because it is your spouse who has power over your own body ..NOT you !”

    I agree with you that there is no such thing as marital rape and I have said that many times on this site and taken a beating for it even in a national radio broadcast where I was interviewed on these subjects. However I do think there is such a think as physical abuse which is different.

    Do you honestly think it is OK for a man to physically hold down his wife or tie her up and physically shove his penis into his wife? I do not think that is right for a husband to do to his wife. Is it wrong for her to refuse? Yes. But two wrongs never make a right.

    If you are in fact saying men should throw their wives down on the bed hold their arms back and force themselves inside their wives then how do you explain Paul’s use of the word “defraud”. This word literally means to “hold back what is rightfully owed” and it was also used to speak of an employer holding back the rightly wages that he owed to his employees. So literally Paul was saying do not hold back what is owed except my mutual consent. Someone who is a defrauder is one hold’s back what is owed WITHOUT mutual consent.

    But I respectfully disagree with you that it is “IMPOSSIBLE” for a wife to hold back on what is owed because she can sinfully do this as we can hold back on what we owe God.

    God says of us as Christians “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:20) so we belong to God yet we can still disobey him and rebel against him. How does God handle it when we disobey him? When we fail to yield to him what is rightfully his? He disciplines us. He brings consequences into our lives to help convince us to turn back to him, to yield ourselves back to him as we should. He does not come into our minds and control us like Robots as he has the power to do. He sets choices before us – do this or this will happen. It is not different with a husband and wife relationship. If the wife does not submit in any area including sexually – then her husband is to bring discipline into her life to persuade her to repent and do what is right.

    Your Statement:

    “How should a husband deal with that ? Simple , he just has to exercise the God given authority he has over his wife’s body .
    Physical abuse ? ha ! ha ! just take a look at the number of WOMEN fascinated by the fictional character of Christian Grey and please stop thinking that we are nothing but china dolls.
    We suffer the torture of delivery you know . We are weaker but not 100% weak.”

    Again as I said previously – if your solution is for a man to physically hold down or tie up his wife and force himself into her I do not agree that as a solution to sexual denial. It is not marital rape, but I believe is a form of physical abuse. God does not force us to give ourselves to him what is owed – but rather he disciplines us to attempt to convince us to do what is right.

    Discipline is needed for sexual denial and other forms of rebellion from a wife – not physical force.

  9. Tina,

    No you should not physically force yourself on your husband(and I do not advocate for husbands to physically force themselves on their wives). That may be framboise position but certainly is not mine nor the position of this blog. I am not clear yet what framboise’s position is as they have not responded to my questions. Here are ways I recommend for a wife to confront her husbands sexual:


  10. Thank you so much. I have read the article. My husband filed for legal separation and is getting ready to move out of town, before I could get to step 3. We have the pastor who married us (in my town), and his pastor friend (in his hometown). He has specfically stated he doesn’t want me to contact his pastor friend ever. Since he is moving back to his hometown, what should I do? Do you think I am right in filing for divorce? Or stay legally separated? Thank you

  11. starving is death sentence. when there’s hunger or starvation you can feed on anything even poison until it kills you. denying yo husband his conjugal rights is sin. sex is the second biggest gift God gave us.

  12. I am so fed up. I am a Christian, bible believing active etc and so is my wife. We have been married 22 years and have wonderful grown up kids. However, my wife (who i love very very much) just constantly refuses sex. We only have sex maybe once every say 3 or 4 months and even then it is like a major battle – I very much have to “earn” any intimacy. And I really mean that. Earn it. Lots and lots of treats, rewards, etc etc. I am just sick and tired of it all. I feel constantly rejected. I wish now that I had never got married. I feel totally trapped.

  13. Martin,

    I am very sorry to hear about your situation and I can hear the frustration in your words. Have you considered reversing this whole thing with your wife? God does not tell men( or women for that matter)that they must earn sex with their spouse. We are called to unconditionally love our spouses and one of the actions of this unconditional love is to have sex with them whenever they need it.

    But guess what? There are a lot of things we do as men for our wives that are NOT unconditional. Your wife does not have to earn your love or your basic provision(food, clothing and shelter) but she does have to earn your extra time, extra money and affection. You do have to give her some of your time as her husband – but you can still use a great deal of discretion with her as to how you spend your time.

    I want you to think of all these discretionary ways you give your wife your time, or your money for things she wants(rather than things she needs). Change the relationship. Instead of you trying to earn sex(which you should NOT have to be doing) – make her earn things that are not her right in marriage. Make her earn your discretionary time, discretionary money and especially your affection.

  14. I just found out a month ago that I’m pregnant again and have been experiencing the usual morning sickness compounded by frequent migraines triggered by cigarette smoke. Between work and home its nearly impossible to get away from. These migraines make it impossible to have sex because the pain causes me to vomit. My husband hasn’t expressed an issue with our lack of intimacy (I do make an effort to try at least once a week and when he asks if I’m not recovering from the head achs) but I worry about it. I have a desire to be intimate more often since overcoming vaginismus but time and health have not been on my side. On top of everything I haven’t been able to climax during sex which hurts him a lot. Four years and my body just will not respond. But if my husband isn’t having problems with our frequency will I be OK to skip out on a few times a month until my pregnancy hormones stabilize?

  15. Victoria,

    I think husbands needs to be more gracious during the difficult time of pregnancy for their wives while at the same time sex may become a sacrifice rather than a joy for many women during this time. It is OK to ask for rain checks when you are feeling especially sick but you need to make it up to him as soon as you can. If he is OK with less sex and not showing frustration than just accept that and relax. Also on the climax issue that is normal for many women not climax – sometimes forcing yourself to try makes it even harder. Are you trying things other than vaginal intercourse for climax? Most women don’t climax through vaginal intercourse. Is there any way you can fake it with him so he feels better? There is nothing wrong with you doing that. He also needs to understand for a lot reasons(pregnancy can be one of them) you may have a harder time and he just needs to accept that you want to bring him joy through sex.

  16. I am capable of climaxing through outercourse, but the time and effort needed to achieve an orgasm is a bit too much. I’ve timed it out before, about 15-20 minutes if we don’t even try foreplay but I can do it in 3 if some foreplay is done. It’s just he duesnt really like foreplay much. Touching me gets boring and he really doesn’t like being touched back because he says it makes him finish too fast. I feel bad just laying there not doing anything. I’m not allowed to fake, I did that once and he was very upset with me. I’d rather not go through that again. I can’t really give directions either, he’d rather figure things out on his own. On the plus side, he is becoming more patient with me and he’s stopped getting frustrated when I tell him that what he’s doing hurts. I don’t know what it was but I’d say ouch and he’d tell me he was being gentle and keep going. Oh it just dawned on me, I’m pregnant. I’m going to blow up like a balloon again and I know he hated it. After I trimmed down from the last time he said he didn’t like it, the whole sex with a fat girl. I only gained 40lbs but I’m so small it had no where to go. How am I going to hide it now, I’m only going to get bigger. That stretch mark butter helps a little but there’s no way I’m going to be able to prevent them all. I guess he’ll have to be OK with blind folds once the Pudge starts to show. I wasn’t this self conscience with my first, why’d he have to say I was fat(“I know you couldn’t help it but when you’re used to having sex with a thin woman its not like you’re going to be happy with trying to have sex with a whale.”) then find out a few days later I’m pregnant again? I’m not going to make it. I hope he’s changed, it seems like it; but I’m not showing yet.

  17. @Victoria,

    You can only do what you can do. You know if your are doing your best for your husband. He can’t insist on you having an orgasm through vaginal intercourse and frankly it is selfish for him not to want to manually stimulate you if that is your desire. But if you would rather not go through the trouble of manual stimulation that is your choice. Your husband is far from a perfect man and has many faults and acts selfishly in many cases. But I am glad that you can also see glimmers of improvement with him.

  18. God’s discipline for Israel does work. As we see in Revelations, 1/3 of the nation returns to God in the end times. Very good and Biblical article.

  19. I moved out. I found out I could loose my daughter if he got caught with pot. Hes a frequent smoker and says hes not addicted but uses it to help him sleep. I noticed he’s only nice to me when he wants sex. Its the only time i get touched, but he only touches my butt or boobs or shoves his hand down my pants. I found out a couple of weeks ago that I’m pregnant with twins but unless God sends a mericle I’m going to have a miscarriage. My husband doesnt care, he was buisy overdrafting our account for a paintball gun when the doctor told me they didn’t have heartbeats. I feel like I’m dying inside. I’ve had suicidal thoughts in the last week. Now I’m away from being told how horrible I am, im starting to feel a little better.

  20. I almost bled to death on Sunday. I started to miscarry and hemorrhaged. My husband came to the hospital for a little while. He let me know that all the blood was making him sick then wanted to know how long everything was going to take since he had to wake up early the next morning. When my pressure bottomed out (I nearly went into shock and died) he left and went home. The next day he said he didn’t want to drive all the way up to the hospital to visit so he could save gas. I’m recovering now, its hard to move without feeling exhausted. He’s agreed to counseling but doesn’t think its going to help.

  21. I keep reading all these things husband’s do for their wives and I just want to cry. I nearly have to beg for my basic needs (food, finatual stability, clothes) to be met. It’s a lonely place to know I’m only being kept around for the free sex.

  22. Hi Victoria, how are you doing right now??? I’ve been reading your comments today and wondering if you want someone to talk to about what you’re going through. My email is angelpixiedust86@live.com if you want to send me an email so we can talk.

    It sounds like you’re going through a lot right now! How is your spiritual walk? Are you still in the hospital or are you at home?

  23. Victoria,

    Its so sad to hear what you’ve gone through and to hear how selfish your husband has been. I don’t understand what drives a person to be so cold and heartless when Christ showed us the perfect example of what love is.
    “Do nothing out of
    selfish ambition or vain conceit.
    Rather, in humility value others above
    yourselves, not looking to your own
    interests but each of you to the
    interests of others.” (Philippians 2-3)
    Your husband has not put your needs above his selfish interests and this will surely lead you to anger and bitterness whis is sinful. I would advise to that if he doesn’t change and you have respectfully rebuked him in private, before a marriage counselor and before the church elders, it is time to walk out of this marriage abd seek a divorce from him

  24. I have tried it all! I am a counselor by profession and every attempt to negotiate, motivate, cajole, confront, or otherwise bring about some level of intimacy has failed. I have even raised the possibility of finding someone else and divorce, but she hasn’t budged. I love her with all my heart and it’s impossible to imagine a life without her. Other men have advised me just to fine a good female friend, who is in the same situation. I haven’t, but time is eroding my willpower. Ending it all is an option that may be much easier, than solving the problem. Just stopping daily medications would do the trick…no blood, no foul!

  25. Sean,

    Please do not give up my brother. Your situation is not without hope. There millions of men across the world in the same exact situation with you. They love their wives, they truly do. But their wives are unwilling to love them as they need to be loved as men.

    Yes solving the problem – by divorcing her will not be easy either, but it is easier than trying to live with a woman who is constantly unfaithful to you. An make no mistake my friend – this is unfaithfulness on her part. This type of unfaithfulness is more difficult to process though. It would probably be much easier for you to let her go if she were going around sleeping with other men. But because she is not being unfaithful in that way, but is instead being unfaithful by denying you the sexual intimacy that is part of your marriage covenant – it is harder.

    Don’t go sleeping with other women outside of marriage, don’t go “the easy route” by not taking your medicine. You need to pray and ask God to give the courage to take the final step and divorce your wife. I have talked about men using porn as a “supplement” of sorts when their libidos don’t match up with their wives – but fantasy and masturbation will never completely make up for that real human contact that we all need.

  26. Can I ask if when you married, did she include in her vows to honor, love, obey and submit to you in everything?

  27. i hope you don’t mind if I make a suggestion. i am a wife who is in a patriarchal marriage. I am committed and divorce is NOT an option. I have slipped up a few times in the sexual denial part and my husband has had to discipline me. Discipline not by being abusive but by helping learn my ways were wrong. I have not gone off path in years but have been tempted lately. i found this website and it has really been a positive thing for me. I read it every day, sometimes the same blog over and over. Bgr rminds me of my role as a wife. It is a great study tool for me and a constant reminder of the important role I play in my marriage. Maybe share it with your wife. It can’t hurt.

  28. @Sean,

    I’m so sorry that you’re experience so much pain now. I’m sure that it’s frustrating to still be denied after all these years of trying all manner of counseling, persuasion, discipline, and reasoning, and it’s gotta hurt that she keeps rejecting you, even when threatened with divorce.

    But please, pray to God. Ask Him to give you the strength to forge ahead. Please, ask Him to strengthen you enough that you will not let your wife bring you down to the level of adultery with a married woman who’s also being denied or to an even darker level. I think that D’s suggestion is a good one if your wife is a Christian woman open to teaching, but if that doesn’t work, I do believe that you will be happier divorced than you will still married and being treated wrongly. Divorce gives you an opportunity to avoid the pain of constant rejection. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to find another woman, proceed more carefully, ask the right questions and look more closely at her character, and forge a better and more Christian marriage. You’re older, wiser, and more experienced now. You have the discernment to choose better for yourself a second time.

  29. It seems some people can’t or won’t view it as a sin for a married person to repeatedly, habitually, refuse sexual relationship with the other person they (voluntarily) married.

    I do think that very strongly and carefully pointing out the requirements that a husband MUST give sexual affection and intimacy to his own wife could actually help (even this post), because some people might be able to see the problem of broken marriage vows and sexual defrauding more clearly rather than get tangled up. The word of God is very egalitarian in this particular area and maintaining the physical relationship of a marriage is not a matter of “male privilege.”

    Maybe some find that the very idea of discipline in the area of sexual relationship seems offensive and foreign, so people get tripped up on that idea (reacting to it) before they ever get around to thinking about how bad and how harmful and even nasty it is when someone first marries and then sexually rejects the person who they married.

    Maybe people have now become so accustomed to sex outside the marriage that sex has become redefined as a one-night-stand (take it or leave it, optional) and the whole idea of commitment to another human being has been forgotten. “Forgotten” in the sense that we don’t even think about what commitment means, and we don’t think through implications whether commitment means that ongoing sexual rejection of your own marriage partner is a horrible sin.

    Mental health issues are very tricky —- if a husband sleeps with 50 different women because he has a mental health problem I suppose many people would probably judge that his wife would have Biblical grounds for divorce. The husband’s mental health problem would probably not change the evaluation of that situation.

    With some people ideas of discipline probably come along with fear — fear of such a thing sliding into misuse (abusiveness) and again discipline is a very foreign-seeming idea because sexual intimacy with integrity is supposed to be loving, kind, pleasurable, even celebratory. (How do you discipline someone towards being kind?)

    SO if you are trapped in a marriage with a spouse who is utterly selfish, unloving, nasty, cold, uncaring, sexually lazy and unmotivated, or something like it, and suppose counseling doesn’t help and you are being harmed by that awful relationship, I suppose people who don’t like your article would say to people “there’s nothing you can do about it: you either divorce or get extremely badly harmed for years and even decades.”

    I do think people who dislike your article would find it easier to just hear about divorce first: “if someone is treating you that badly then divorce them.”

    While courting my wife told me she wanted a large number of children in a family; then right after marrying me rejected me so utterly and for so long that she prevented me from having those children… She destroyed the large family and the children that we agreed upon. There is no physical companionship, nor friendship, nor loving behavior, and instead I am actually living with an enemy who wounds and harms me. The marriage prevents me from living in an actual loving relationship with someone which is a real human need and just a longing for me.

  30. Sorry for some writing errors when I wrote in reply to your post yesterday. I think what I wrote could be improved with some very minor edits.

    Early this morning I came across an article published in Psychology Today written from a “moral philosophy” viewpoint by someone who does not appear to be a Christian. He reaches some wrong, Biblically incorrect, conclusions but it is fascinating what he writes:

    “Consider the following three statements:

    1. People in relationships have sexual needs.
    2. They are restricted from satisfying those needs outside of their relationship.
    3. Their partners have no obligation to satisfy these needs for them within the relationship.

    These three statements are mutually inconsistent, and one of them has to break. ”

    He went on to write “It’s this sense of an obligation [to satisfy the needs of one’s partner] that leads some people to say that a refusal of sex is a betrayal on the same scale as adultery.”

    Just thinking through the issues brings this fellow, who is most likely not a Christian, straight into direct contact with the depth and severity of sexual refusal as a sin. Someone who is evidently a non-Christian “gets” this simply by thinking about morals and right and wrong, but sadly there is a significant population of “modern” Christians who are unwilling or unable to see it or deal with it.

    I personally struggled because western churches generally do not publicly recognize sexual defrauding as grounds for divorce. (It’s easy to picture a lot of western pastors would crassly say, “huh, you want to divorce because he’s/she’s not putting out? How crass and immature of you to think that way!”.) Churches talk about adultery as one of the only Biblical grounds for divorce: it’s “safe” as a subject. But I’ve virtually never, ever heard a church really examine “sexual immorality” — to include sexual defrauding — as grounds for divorce.

    As men we have Hosea, who took his wife back after many betrayals. But I must either live in self-deception or reckon frankly with the reality that my “marriage” functions as a sham. It is nothing like the loving, bonded, sexually active and kind relationship that I believe God intends marriage to be. (There was one child conceived begrudgingly after years of counseling and then an almost immediate return to defrauding and punishing any advances or expressions of desire for marital intimacy.) My wife who professes to be a Christian shows virtually no indication of feeling personal moral responsibility for her own personal actions. She has seized control and systematically devastated her own household and husband, and sexually defrauded me for absolutely certain. In addition to sexually defrauding me and our marriage she has gone on to devastate the material provision for her own family. When confronted with her own behavior in factual terms she actually evades and defies personal accountability. She isn’t even honest about her dishonesty. It’s been that way throughout the entire marriage. And after so many years there is no hint of bona-fide loving behavior from her; she simultaneously acts as a destroyer and an actress denying her behavior.

    If anything my wife seems to be trying to force me to love her sin. She talks of wanting grace but does not talk about wanting truth. She sometimes speaks of wanting to BE loved (rather than to love someone herself in her own heart) but there have always been stipulations attached that are non-verbally saying “you must, you have to love my SIN.” It is an affront to her to point out that she is sinning. She actually uses Christianese-sounding doctrine to try to tell me that I’m not even allowed to complain about her controlling, hateful, destructive life. She had lead a bible study and says its perfectly okay because after all the local church doesn’t require her to have it all together and she “told” them she has some “struggle” in the marriage so its all fine.

    I’m not sure but I have very serious doubts that she even knows what it means to love another human being.

    The marriage has been so destructive to me, and until lately I have not had support, and my means of supporting the family (even myself) has been destroyed by my wife’s defiant, rebellious and intellectually dishonest actions. It appears that my “Christian” wife’s sickness has pushed me into a path of years or decades of misery like being shoved in front of a train.

    More than a decade ago a Christian leader in a local church told me it would take some years to put my wife back together. But the injury I’ve sustained has only deepened since then and she remains far from even a non-Christian’s normal “human love.”

    I am still trying to invest in recovery of her but someone else has recently told me that on ordinary “natural” timescales the issues are so very deep that it would usually take a really, really long time for my wife’s character to be recovered — and candidly I urgently would like to receive God’s supernatural intervention in terms of speediness of relief to me and recovery to/of her. The darkness seems like Joseph’s dungeon and the pain is almost unbearable and the sickness is affecting my one child as well.

  31. Just Pray,

    I think what you gave here from that article is very logical:
    ““Consider the following three statements:

    1. People in relationships have sexual needs.
    2. They are restricted from satisfying those needs outside of their relationship.
    3. Their partners have no obligation to satisfy these needs for them within the relationship.

    These three statements are mutually inconsistent, and one of them has to break. ”

    You don’t have to be a Christian or even believe in the Bible to know that one of these 3 things have to break. They can’t all stand. What I find most often is people will deny point #1 – that sexual relations in marriage are true need. They instead classify as a “want” that may not always be met and it is ok if it is not met many people’s view.

  32. To say the above though would effectively be to say “If you don’t want sex then don’t enter a relationship”.

  33. angloagnostic,

    I agree with what you said and it absolutely a true statement when it comes to marriage. I heard a pastor one time at a marriage conference say “If you don’t want to have sex 3 to 4 times a week then don’t get married”. Now you might argue with the number – but the concept is valid.

  34. I can see in the beginning of marriage, when the couple is young and immature and selfish. Mostly the woman and yes I am a female saying this, sometimes you think you will “teach your husband a lesson” by denying them sex. I realized I was spiting only myself the few times I held off. Just like a child who is told no dessert because they misbehaved or no tv,etc. the child responds, I didn’t want dessert or to watch tv anyway. You know they did, they are just being hardheaded. Same as a wife denying sex to her husband. Wives want sex, at least I do, just as much. This whole idea of withholding seems ridiculous, especially after you have been married for longer than two plus years. Sex is great, one of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse. I am just amazed that there are so many couples out there going through this! They need to get over their pride and selfishness and just “do it”! The more sex you have with your spouse the more you will love it. Husbands need to stand firm on this. What IS the point of getting married if you aren’t going to have sex???

  35. As my name suggests I’m not a believer (please let’s not get into the how’s and whys of that as this isn’t the page for it) but I’m just curious.

    My wife and I almost never have sex. This is because neither of us is particularly interested in it.

    Are we sinning in this? I don’t feel that either of us is denying the other, because neither of us actually wants anything. How is denying someone something they don’t want a problem?

    This is just out of curiosity, if anyone can help.


  36. I am not a Christian either but I can’t imagine being married to someone and not making that physical connection. I can’t really put it into words, the emotional connection that eventually comes after is so beautiful. Its communication without really saying a word, if that makes sense. Are you not physically attracted to each other? Just trying to understand.

  37. I think just low sex-drives (relatively) and we can think of other things we’d like to do together.

    I would rather play chess!

  38. angloagnostic,

    Well you asked the question so I will give you an answer. From a Biblical and Christian perspective yes you and your wife are sinning by not having regular relations. Now one can debate what regular is but I think we would all agree it is definitely more than a few times a year. It is also one thing if a spouses are separated because military duty or reasons. Or if for medical reasons it has to be temporarily stopped that is understandable.

    The Bible says that marriage is a “one flesh” relationship. Not a “one heart”, “one mind” or other type of relationship. Yes there is more to marriage than sex, but not less to marriage than sex. The physical aspect of marriage is one of the main factors that separates it from friendship. Not trying to be disrespectful, but it sounds like you and your wife are simply living as good friends – not a husband and a wife.

    God does not give couples the option – but he commands that they become one flesh when they are married:

    “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they SHALL be one flesh.”
    Genesis 2:24 (KJV)

    He also commands married couples to attempt to have children(which also requires sex) in this command:
    “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
    Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

    While God honors celibacy for single people in the service to him, God does not allow celibacy in marriage.

  39. I see. Thank you for your answer.

    It seems a little odd and a shame to see it that way. We do love each other very much, just little or no desire for sex. I just never considered this as morally wrong.

  40. angloagnostic,

    Of course, you can play chess the whole rest of your life with someone, in fact you can play chess with anyone and everyone (who enjoys chess) without marrying a single one of them.

    IF a couple has mutual low desire for sexual intimacy and they are not depriving one another (neither one of them has a complaint) then I suppose very many people would say “no problem, no harm, no foul.”

    There are some people who do have a gift of celibacy and yet as far as I am personally aware they are not instructed to form marriages.

    More generally God says things like be fruitful, multiply, “I desire Godly offspring,” give to one-another the affection due, and do not deprive each other.

    We can see very obviously that human beings bodily exist as male and female, human life itself is sustained by male-female sexual relationships, and scientific research and medical textbooks extensively document the way in which new life comes about (even if the science was written by very committed atheists).

    Physical union is a very basic and existential facet of marriage.

    It is normally understood when marrying as a tenet that the man and woman are agreeing to a sexual life with one another, carried out lovingly with one another. At the risk of repetition, the intent and commitment made includes fulfilling the sexual part of human life with another human being, very probably with offspring, and for a lifetime. Yes, “love”, where love especially and specifically includes fulfilling together the sexual aspect of living out a human life.

    For all these reasons I do not think it is very wise to make an attempt to separate the two from one another.

    I had to search out these issues when they came up in the unhappy and painful context of my very broken marriage.

    At a younger age I think I would have quickly agreed to “no harm, no foul” approach regarding the low-intimacy marriage. But after time and experience I would really slow down the answer. I would question and examine it closely and if it were me I would suggest a couple explore very carefully whether what’s really happening is that they are setting aside a lot of God’s word in the process.

    As you probably know, people do put a lot of exceptions and fringe cases out there on every subject, such as “the happy celibate marriage,” the “spouse in a coma”, and all manner of situations which can “sound” all well and good and even noble on the surface but an awful lot of the time the effect or even the intent on the heart (which is not necessarily your situation) is to generate a red-herring argument that tries to set aside the meaning of God’s word.

    Having written all this, I’m very obviously not God and He is a better authority than me on every single matter.

    You’ve expressed what seems to be genuine curiosity about whether sin is involved but you also are not a believer. If you do really care about whether there is sin you could check again if your wife is being absolutely honest with you, then ask God about it, and you might be able to strike up a conversation with God about other things while you’re at it.

  41. BGR, thank you for your reply.

    Indeed my wife tried to break statement #1 (and enforce #2 and false statement #3) even while I was clearly communicating to her that there was unwilling deprivation –not mutual agreement– taking place in our marriage.

    She tried to argue that I was immature for wanting marital intimacy to take place within the marriage and tried using many other false and disingenuous arguments. I’ve experienced a lot of shock, pain, and grief that as an outwardly professing believer she would go down this route. I still feel beside myself with the sadness and pain involved for me, her, and the marriage.

  42. Your blog is great. There are times when I don’t feel like doing it with my husband, but I do it because I must and I love him, and eventually in the act of ‘doing it’ I am very happy I didn’t say “I’m not in the mood” or “I’m tired.” I get in the mood once I stop focusing on my own lack of mood and on my husbands needs. And I wouldn’t want to deny my husband because of my own mood. In the same way, I wouldn’t want to deny what God wants for my life because I wasn’t in the mood for Him. Fighting against our moods or/and emotions is what’s necessary in order to do what is right and good. Sometimes wives forget that sex unites us again both physically, spiritually and emotionally. It is not a chore, or whenever it’s convenient for oneself, but a gift for both husband and wife. Your steps to discipline are on point but necessary for repentance depending on the wife. I would repent if my husband denied me my massages!

    A side note: An encouragement I have for myself when battling my own lack of sexual enthusiasm as a woman, is I remind myself of how much I sexually desired my husband before we were married. This works for me because we abstained from premarital sex. Not only was this a huge struggle for my husband as a man, but it started a foundational bond that would be later sealed with marital sex. Reminding myself of that desire also blesses me to cherish our time in the bedroom presently. As Christian people we should remind ourselves of our blessings and struggles to mature.
    I hope your post encouraged husbands and wives. Thank you again for the unashamed loving truth.

  43. Just Pray if you will,

    Many thanks for your reply, which was very comprehensive.

    You have certainly given me food for thought.
    My wife like myself is an agnostic Anglican (we both sometimes attend church, you may be surprised to hear) and we discuss our views probably even more seldom than we have sex!

    It is very hard for me to imagine anything changing anytime soon but I will certainly think about all you’ve said.


  44. Ashley,
    Thank you for your comment. Although I am not a Christian, as a married woman I am in agreement with you. A wife has to make her husbands basic sexual needs a priority. If we don’t then the marriage just won’t work. it shouldn’t be a struggle, it should be something all wives should look forward to. I wish there was a way to make the ones who don’t get it just understand what they are missing out on. Submission brings not only peace but great pleasure for not only the husband but the wife as well.

  45. What if the wife has denied the husband of sex for over 5 years because she is homosexual. And the man still does all his other marital duties but now decides to get a divorce and the woman is fighting it maybe because of what she knows she gains being married to him. What should the man do?

  46. Bee,

    That sounds an odd situation.

    If she was homosexual it beats me why he would wish to remain in a marriage to a man. Indeed, unless very confused, why would she marry him to begin with? That said, I know these things can be complicated.

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