Can a Christian wife withhold sex as a way to change her husband’s bad behavior?

Can sexual refusal be used by a wife to change her husband’s bad behavior? Does God allow sexual refusal as method for addressing wrong behavior on the part of a husband? Can bad behavior on the part of a husband justify a sexless marriage?

I recently received this very heartfelt comment from a Christian wife named Jenn and you can see how much she is hurting as you read this. I would be willing to bet there are many Christian wives that face a very similar scenario. The emotion runs deep in this story, and I think for some valid reasons.

Jenn’s story

“I agree that a sexless marriage is not God’s plan and that both parties should do everything in their power to maintain their physical union and covenant. However, I do not believe it is appropriate to give a blanket statement that denying sex in a marriage is sin. Sometimes, refusing sex becomes necessary as an effort to PRESERVE THE MARRIAGE when the husband repeatedly shrugs off spiritual leadership in the home, ignores the wife’s emotional needs, treats the wife as a roommate, does NOT consistently do the steps you outlined above (going on dates, upgrading around the house, show any type of affection, etc.) leaves ALL THE PARENTING TO THE WIFE, and then just expects to get laid!

Continuing to engage in intercourse under those circumstances is submitting to sexual abuse, even though there is no force or violence involved. Continuing to engage in intercourse for the wife leaves the door open for bitterness and resentment to fester. NO! The wife does NOT want to live in a sexless marriage, but neither does she want to be devalued and violated, either.
Yes, private communication was sought out to correct these issues… as was counseling that went on for 18 months… communication among godly, loving friends. To make matters worse, this person is an elder and a counselor in the church! Is all this grounds for divorce? Most say no. Does one uproot the children because one spouse is spiritually lazy and hypocritical? Difficult call.

Should the pleading spouse continue to allow the husband to treat her this way? Or should she stand her ground that she needs to be valued and cherished? The sexless part is actually the decision of the husband for refusing to correct his behavior out of pride.
So before you heap on condemnation, perhaps you should spend more time encouraging the husbands (or the wives, for that matter) to deeply investigate WHY there is no interest in sex in the first place.”

My response to Jenn and any other Christian wife who finds herself in this situation

I believe it is possible based on Jenn’s statements that her husband is sinning against her by not “knowing her” as the Bible commands him to do:

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:7(KJV)

I wrote a post a while back entitled “10 ways to know your wife” – and these things are a challenge and admonition to all of us as Christian husbands (including myself). Yes we will fail as husbands and we may not do all these things as we should, but we need to get up each and every day and ask ourselves as men – “Am I communicating with my wife as I should? Do I know her concerns? Am I addressing areas where she needs my help?”

God knows that a wife needs her husband to know her on a spiritual, emotional and physical level. This is why he commanded husbands to dwell with their wives “according to knowledge”. A man cannot know his wife as God would have him to without talking to her, and listening to her on a daily basis.

Sometimes we as Christian husbands can become so wrapped up in our careers, hobbies or even our ministries (as this woman’s husband is a church elder and counselor) that we can become neglectful of the needs of our wives and children. This woman’s story should serve as reminder for each of us as believing husbands to make sure we are knowing our wives as God would have us to.

The second thing that Jenn’s husband might be doing is neglecting to honor his wife. This is a duty that God calls Christian husbands to. He does not appear to be honoring her in her role as his helpmeet. I also wrote a post on this subject entitled “12 Ways to Honor you wife” where I go into detail on how a man can honor his wife.

A big part of honoring one’s wife – is to show her that she is valued and to praise her for her work in the home. It is also about making sure that her children are respectful of her. From what I saw in this woman’s sad account – it appears her husband may not be doing any of this. This story should serve as admonishment to all of us as Christian husbands how it makes our wives feel when we don’t know them(talk to them and listen to them) and when we don’t honor them(value them and praise them).

It appears that if this woman’s account is accurate – her Christian husband has been neglecting many of his duties to her (and perhaps his children as well).

Is withholding sex a tool that God allows a wife to use to change her husband’s behavior?

Jenn as well as many other women (Christian and non-Christian alike) believes that withholding sex is valid and justified tool when a husband is neglecting his duties to her and his children. But as sad as these types of stories are – two wrongs never make a right. God does not allow for sex to be withheld as a tool to modify bad behavior, or to encourage right behavior on the part of a spouse (either the husband or the wife).

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-4

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

The Scriptures are clear in the area of sex that a wife is to willingly give her body to her husband, she does not have the power to deny him or withhold sex from him. The Bible says she is to submit to her husband in “every thing”, and this includes in the area of sexuality.

The only way sex can be halted or denied in marriage is by mutual agreement to do so for a short time. People talk about consent in regards to sex all the time. Biblically speaking sex is only to occur in marriage. But in the context of marriage, consent is about ceasing from having sex for short period (mutually agreeing to not have sex). Consent is not about ALLOWING sex as sex is a duty and responsibility in marriage – it is a central part of the marriage covenant that you freely give your body to your spouse for the purposes of sex.

I have talked in previous posts about a husband having the right to discipline his wife, to motivate her to repent and change her bad behavior. But a husband is never allowed to use sexual denial to his wife as method of discipline. So for instance, if a man’s wife keeps denying him and then eventually she comes to him for sex – he is not allowed to deny her because she previously denied him.

The Bible tells us we should not repay evil for evil:

“Recompense to no man evil for evil..” – Romans 12:17 (KJV)

A wife in the same way is not allowed to deny or withhold sex from her husband in an effort to reform his bad behavior. When a wife withholds sex from her husband because of his bad behavior in other areas – this is a textbook example repaying evil for evil and God will not bless such actions by a wife.

In fact when we look at sex from the wife’s role, this is just one part of her overall submission to her husband. God does not allow a woman to stop submitting to her husband in any area of her life (including sex) in order to reform his bad behavior – except if he asks her to engage in an immoral or sinful activity.

But doesn’t giving a husband sex when he behaves wrongly encourage bad behavior?

Many women ask this question, and I think Jenn is inferring it by her comments above. The answer is that it is never wrong to do what God has commanded, in fact it is ALWAYS right to do what God has commanded. Short of a husband asking his wife to engage in a sinful activity – she is always to submit to him (including submitting her body to him for sex).

The Bible tells us this:

“Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” – I Peter 3:9 (KJV)

In God’s view if a woman’s husband is treating her sinfully by neglecting his duties to her, she is to repay this evil behavior by blessing him with her continued submission, even in willingly giving her body to him for sex.

I know what I just said sounds CRAZY from a human perspective. But this is God’s way, not man’s way.

I completely realize that Jenn’s head is probably spinning right now and I truly feel for her situation with her husband. If she does not withhold sex, but blesses her husband with her body – freely and willingly won’t this tell him that everything is ok and she is fine with his neglectful behavior?

No – and here is the reason why. Jenn and any other woman can continue to bring her grievances about his neglect of her and her children. Nothing stops her from doing that. I think it would really make a man’s head spin, that his wife brings her grievance before him in a respectful manner in one hour, and later that evening willingly gives herself to him when he initiates sex with no attitude or hesitation. This can be a powerful tool for change in a husband, when he sees that his wife continues to submit to him, even though she has legitimate grievances with him.

Isn’t this abusive behavior?

Jen said this about submitting her husband sexually under these conditions:

“Continuing to engage in intercourse under those circumstances is submitting to sexual abuse, even though there is no force or violence involved.”

This is not sexual abuse for her husband to have sex with her while neglecting her legitimate needs in other areas.

Her husband’s behavior in other areas may definitely be inconsiderate, neglectful and sinful by Biblical standards. But him asking for sex and her yielding to him for sex(regardless of his failings outside the bedroom) is NOT sexual abuse. I have said this in previous articles and I will say it again here. Christian wives need to be very careful of using terms like “abuser”, “rapist” and “molester” when it comes to their sexual relations with their husbands. Unless a husband actually rapes a woman(has forcible sex with a woman he is not married to), touches a person other than his wife in a sexual manner, or actually physically abuses his wife, his children or others these terms have no place in these kinds of discussions.

Let be clear as I always have to be in these posts. If a husband forces himself sexually upon his wife, Biblically speaking this is not rape but it could be abuse. So in that case it might be legitimate to call the husband an abuser, but it would still not be right from a Biblical perspective to call him a rapist.

But based on this story, there does not seem to be any forcible sex going on.

But won’t allowing sex to continue cause bitterness in the wife?

Jenn said this about bitterness:

“Continuing to engage in intercourse for the wife leaves the door open for bitterness and resentment to fester.”

I think we could safely say, and Jenn would probably concede that bitterness toward her husband has definitely “festered” in her heart. God says this about bitterness:

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” – Ephesians 4:31

Someone once said of bitterness, “Bitterness is like talking poison when you are mad at someone for wronging you, and then hoping they will die from it”. I have many men write me with bitterness in their hearts towards their wives over their wife’s sexual denial – some say some very hateful things toward them and I have to remind them that they need to let go of that bitterness, that it is a sin against God, their spouse and really their own bodies (because it hurts you when you are bitter).

This same truth would apply to Jenn and other Christian women that are dealing with husbands who are sinning against them by neglecting their duties.

A wife needs to understand the source of her bitterness towards her husband about sex

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; “ – Hebrews 12:14-15(KJV)

If you don’t understand the root of your bitterness as a Christian wife, then you will never be able to remove it. The reason you grow bitter and resentful toward your husband when he initiates sex is this – you believe he did not earn it.

Let me put this another way. It is very easy for us as men to shut our wives out, to stop talking to our wives when they deny us sexually. It is easy for us to grow bitter and think – “She wants me to sit down and talk with her when every time I go to touch her she tells me “not tonight honey”. But our wives do not have to earn the right to talk to us by having sex with us. Talking to our wives, whether we feel like it or not is a duty of every husband.

In the same way as a Christian wife you must realize the truth that your husband does not have to earn sex with you by talking to you(as he should), honoring you(as he should) and doing other nice things for you. He has a right to sex with you because of the vows you made to him and before God.

When you as a Christian wife let this truth really settle in your heart, then you will find that you are no longer bitter at your husband when he goes to have sex with you – even when he is not doing right in other areas.

Does the husband’s behavior warrant divorce?

A husband being “spiritually lazy and hypocritical” is not grounds for Biblical divorce. Now if a man fails to provide for his wife and children and just sits on a couch all day while they lose their home and starve that may be another issue. But nothing I have seen in this story would allow for Biblical divorce.

A wife is not responsible to discipline her husband

A wife is not Biblically responsible (or allowed) to discipline her husband. The husband is spiritually responsible for his wife and his children and as the head of his wife and his home he has the right to attempt to discipline. As I stated in previous posts when it comes to the wife I don’t believe physical discipline is warranted or prescribed by the Scriptures. But other types of non-physical discipline like taking credit cards away, or stopping household upgrades may be used as discipline.

God does not hold a wife responsible for her husband’s wrong behavior, he only holds her responsible for her own behavior.

A situation like this can be extremely frustrating for a Christian wife, and we can see that all throughout Jenn’s post. But she and any other wives facing this type of situation needs to make sure they take a step back and realize they are not their husband’s mother, they are his wife.

What recourse can a wife take in this situation?

I think we can see that scripturally speaking a wife has no right to discipline her husband for sinful behavior and she does not have the right to stop submitting to him in any area, including in the area of sex because of his sinful behavior. To do so amounts to repaying evil for evil – something that is very plainly condemned in the Scriptures.

But a wife can continue to bring her grievances to her husband in a respectful way. She can ask her husband to attend counseling as this woman did.

But what if the husband never changes his ways?

Jenn would most likely respond to my last comment that “I tried counseling with him for 18 months and nothing changed! He says he will change with the counselor but he comes home and nothing changes!”

Is it possible that even if Jenn repents of her bitterness, and submits herself in all ways(including sexually) to her husband that he will still not change his ways and do what God would have him do as a husband? Unfortunately the answer is yes – he may never change his ways.

Also it can help to realize that you are not the only woman or man that faces these issue of being mistreated by their spouse. I often get emails from Christian husbands asking if they can divorce their wives for less than Biblical reasons.

These are some of the things they ask about:

They ask if they can divorce their wives for belittling them and disrespecting them – the Bible says no.

They ask if they can divorce their wives for going against their wishes and disobeying – the Bible says no.

They ask if their wife is giving them sex, but with a bad attitude and she just lies there like a dead fish can they divorce their wives – the Bible says no.

They ask if their wife is too involved in her career and other activities outside the home can they divorce their wife? Unless their wife is sexually denying them or cheating on them they cannot divorce her for being too involved in her career.

The truth is that we live in a sin cursed world and sometimes people do not submit themselves to God and repent. Sometimes our spouses have horrible attitudes, or they are neglectful of our feelings. Sometimes spouses are extremely selfish.

I believe though in these cases where husbands are not doing what God says they should do for their wives – Christian wives can get through this difficulty by depending on the Lord, and recognizing that their submission to their husband, is really them submitting to God.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” – Ephesians 5:22

So perhaps from a human perspective, your husband has done nothing to earn your submission. But would say you don’t owe God your submission? It is God who is commanding you to submit to your husband.

What Jenn and other Christian wives need to do in this situation

Acknowledge your hurt and your feelings of disappointment with your husband, don’t bury it, don’t repress it. Give it to God, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.(I Peter 5:7)

Pray and ask God to forgive you for any bitterness you are harboring in your heart toward your husband. Pray that God will strengthen you to be able to submit to and please your husband with a right heart and a right attitude. Pray that God will change your husband’s heart and reveal his sin to him so perhaps he will be the husband that God meant him to be.

Pray that God will continually remind you that your submission to your husband is really submission to God himself.  When you submit to your husband it pleases God, especially when he knows it is hard for you to do it because of your husband’s behavior.

All of us need God each day, we can’t live this Christian life in our own strength.

76 thoughts on “Can a Christian wife withhold sex as a way to change her husband’s bad behavior?

  1. One reason wives submit to Christ is to relieve ourselves of the burden of trying to control, punish, or manipulate husbands. When we lay our pride down with Christ, we are also laying down the burden of responsibility for our husbands, we are placing them in His good hands. We let go of shame, pride, and responsibility, and actually empower our own selves instead. That frees us up emotionally, which allows us to invest in the things we really can control, like ourselves and our own relationship with Christ.

    If one is trying to use sex as a reward or punishment for good behavior it is actually a form of psychological abuse. It also requires an already overburdened wife to take on full emotional responsibility for her husband’s behavior, to regulate and monitor him, and with that comes other unpleasant feelings, guilt, shame, resentment, anger, frustration. That is like lugging around a whole other bag of rocks you do not need, especially if you are already distressed.

    What the wife here refers to as her husbands prideful behavior, is her husband’s prideful behavior. It is not hers, it does not belong to her, and it is not her responsibility to fix it.

  2. Insanity,

    I agree with you and that is part of what I was trying to communicate – she is not responsible for her husband. A husband is to a certain degree responsible for his wife and children’s spiritual well being, this responsibility comes with his headship over them. But she does not bear this same responsibility for her husband, he is responsible for himself. Another very important point I was trying to stress is that two wrongs never make a right – we cannot repay evil for evil and expect God to bless us.

    A woman cannot refuse to submit to her husband(and this includes sexually) because he is sinning in various areas – her submission is to be constant(with the exception of him asking her to sin, or be involved in sin).

  3. Greetings! Thank you for your reply. I can see you are a very caring ChristIan man, and I can also see from the limited post I made how you would think I have become bitter. I assure you, I am not embittered towards my husband. Heartbroken? Most definitely – in 7 different ways!

    However, you should know that I have been in willing submission to my husband for nearly 20 years (our anniversary is this coming Wednesday) and have also submitted to the counsel of our Pastor as well as holding myself accountable to a small circle of godly friends who are also leaders within the ministry. My conscience is clear before the Lord in this area, as I diligently fight through the times I become hurt and angry over this situation.

    I have been lovingly addressing these issues with my husband since 1997… When we were attending a church that wasn’t meeting the needs of our family, and I questioned why we continued to go.

    Then, as time went on, I would sometimes sit with him as he counseled, and hear him minister the truth of the children’s need for a godly father and repeatedly watch him ignore his own children at home… unless a correction was to made: “clean up your room,” “wash the dishes,” etc. I would talk to him about the danger of causing them to see love as only something they receive when they perform a task. “Yes, yes…” Nod. Ignore – would be his response.

    Fast forward: in 2011 I had to face the fact that the breakdown was not just with him & the children, but with us. I lovingly brought it to him then. Yes. Yes. Nod. Ignore.

    In 2012 I brought to him my concern that we were leading separate lives. “I don’t see it that way.” was his curt reply.

    In June 2013 there was a major incident that made it abundantly clear that our relationship was in trouble and at the urging of one of our godly friends and my repeated requests, he finally agreed (well, actually he agreed earlier, he just never made the move to do so) to counseling with our Pastor. We’ve been under his counsel ever since.

    I submitted your statement to my pastor and this was his reply (edited to save space and repetition)

    “…I completely understand your position and what you are struggling with. First off I want to say it is definitely not sexually immoral. Sexual immorality is the perversion of sexual relations. In this case your question is more to do with spousal duties and where sin begins… We can see by this verse that there are times when the couple need to abstain from relations with the purpose of prayer and fasting to overcome something. I definitely believe you are in this phase as long as he understands this…”

    Believe me, I know well what bitterness feels like as it was a battle I fought long and hard as a survivor of very early childhood sexual abuse.

    I had years of counseling and deliverance ministry dating as far back as 1984. I came to the Lord in 1988 and forgave all of my abusers (yeah, there were a bunch of them – they didn’t even wait for me to get into Kindergarten & the abuse lasted into my first year in high school).

    You should also know that I did exactly what you recommended: continually submit sexually to my grossly negligent husband (nice enough guy, but extremely passive and sadly, very selfish) and it brought me to a cracking point so that during this last year I experienced the resurgence of horrific nightmares that had been a thing of the past since 1997. Only the nasty twist in the dreams of being sexually used and abused was that it was my husband who was the perpetrator! The result: despite my desperate efforts to respect my husband AND the sexual relationship, I would have physically, mental and emotional responses to him touching me akin to PTSD. NOBODY was more devastated over this than I was!!

    I admit, I did enter into despair. Depression stalked me and breathed down my neck so strongly, one night I had a heavy tightness come over my chest and I debated for a moment whether to wake my husband to go to the emergency room… I actually hesitated because my first thought was “Good, now I get to leave!” But I thought of my children and I woke him.
    Thankfully, it turned out I didn’t need to go.

    I brought all this out in counseling, confessed and repented for not wanting to live any more and yes, even still continued to submit sexually. Every strategy the pastor gave my husband from the onset of the counseling was met with Yes Yes Nod Ignore, or, at best: Yes Yes Start Stop.

    So believe me when I say, when I got to the point of saying “I can’t do this anymore!’ It was not out of a selfish motivation or inconsideration for his sexual needs (or mine, for that matter – because despite my struggles, I still have sexual desires, too).

    I am not abstaining from sexual relations with my husband in an attempt to correct his behavior or change him! That smells too much like manipulation to me and I view that as witchcraft. I’m abstaining to protect our 5 precious children from the pain of losing their mother to the hellhole of despair… I’m certainly not planning on divorcing, and they know NOTHING of my struggles with my husband. So I continually seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I’m abstaining to keep our marriage from irrevocable damage. I’m doing it to PRESERVE MY SANITY.

    It is WRONG for a husband to continually ignore his wife’s needs and then expect her to perform sexually. It is WRONG to prostitute her by refusing economic support unless she “puts out.”

    You do need to understand that husbands can abuse their wives sexually even if there’s no force used.

    To tell a wife that biblically she is to continue to “take it and smile” is the same as telling her that God is on the side of the abuser, & I can think of no greater sin than to misrepresent the Father God.

    I vehemently disagree with you that biblically a husband can’t rape his wife. The “your body is not your own” goes both ways so the husband is not free to use his body to bring harm to his wife.

    Do I agree that it is wrong to withhold sexual affection for selfish reasons? Absolutely!

    The sexual union is sacred and should be treated with holy reverence on both sides!

  4. Jenn,

    I am sorry to hear of the sexual abuse you suffered as a child, I can’t imagine what how hard that must of been to process, but I am glad you got counseling. My mother suffered abuse as a child at the hands of her own grandfather and it definitely took a toll on her emotionally and sexually. She told me about how she struggled for many years to have a normal sex life with my father because of what happened to her, and even to this day in her 60’s the scars still remain.

    But my mom did tell me something that at certain point she had to realize that she had transferred somethings from her childhood on my father. She went through a lot of counseling to figure this out. Once she did, she was able to have a better(not perfect) sex life with my Dad.

    I don’t doubt and I do not deny that husbands can abuse there wives in many ways, and yes even sexually. I just think that the boundaries of what we would consider sexual abuse within marriage, verses other relationships would be different.

    But I must respectfully disagree with your Pastor on this. The part where Paul talks about abstaining for fasting and prayer is by MUTUAL consent, not one party saying that they do not wish to have sex anymore. Sexual immorality is not just about perverting sexual relations, it is about sexual sin and sexual denial is by definition sexual sin. Sex goes to the very core of the marriage covenant – if sex is brought to a complete stop the marriage is in breach.

    I hear what you saying, I hear that you believe you are not doing this out of a motivation to change your husband, but rather to preserve your own sanity. But I believe based on your own words that the resurgence of dreams with your husband as the perpetrator is transference of the real abuse you suffered as a child.

    I will concede that you husband is sinning and doing wrong things. But his sin is a sin of negligence, not abuse from what I read. Him neglecting you emotional needs is wrong, him not talking to you as he should is wrong. Him not being the father he needs to be is wrong. But it is not abusive for him to have sex with you because he is negligent(and sinfully so) in these other areas.

    Your statement “It is WRONG for a husband to continually ignore his wife’s needs and then expect her to perform sexually” – says very much your philosophy of sex, and I am not saying you are the only woman to think this. This is taught to women by our culture. This statement says to me that you believe sex in marriage is earned by husband meeting his wife’s needs, and then she will give him sex. But that is not the Biblical formula for sex. You will find that no where in the Scriptures.

    Jenn – I say this with all sincerity and as a fellow brother in Christ. Until you stop seeing yourself as sexual abuse victim of your husband you won’t be able to have real lasting peace. You have to find a way in your mind to break this equation that you have made:

    “My husband neglecting his God given duty to know me and honor me and then still insisting on sex with me = Sexual abuse”

    I have one followup question if you don’t mind? How long have you been withholding sex and how does your husband feel about this?

  5. So what if a wife doesnt want to have sex with her husband ( whatever her reasons may be) but still allows him sex. Is the husband really satisfied with his wife basically laying there beneath non-engaging like a life-like blow-up doll?

  6. BTW, in my husband’s defense, he is not demanding nor even requesting intercourse at this time.

    He understands why the pain of continuing to have sexual relations with him became far heavier than the pain of abstaining for me…
    It does indeed hurt me that it has come to this.

    That became an issue because of chronic – by his own admission – not fighting for our relationship in his part, rendering value to me or working to protect me from my struggles, abandoning me to teach and equip the children for life all on my own.

    On one hand, I am thankful that he does not pressure me about sex… But sadly, he does not remedy the areas that are open doors of hurt, either. He hasn’t been working on the things in his own heart and mind that cause the disconnect in the spiritual, mental & emotional intimacy that lead to the physical intimacy becoming a literal nightmare for me.

    I have been forced to ask myself whether he actually loves me, or if getting married was just something to check off his list of things to do in life. Unfortunately, I believe strongly that it leans more towards the latter. He never let me into his heart… And, yes, he has admitted that, too.

    I honestly can’t say at this point if it’s more painful to think that he doesn’t love me than it is to think that he does. If he doesn’t love me then I ask HOW did I wind up in this slow death grip of a relationship, and if he does love me then I ask WHY am I in this slow death grip of a relationship?!

    I recognize there are much worse scenarios I could be facing, so I continue to count my blessings and lift my voice to my precious Father in praise and worship knowing that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” & “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:18, 28

  7. First of all, to be clear, I have NEVER nor would ever “lie there like a blow up doll.” The very idea of it is so disgusting and repulsive to me, I can’t even think straight!

    Secondly, I absolutely DO NOT think sex is to “earned” by either party. Nor do I, my pastor, nor my husband think that it is acceptable for one member of the marriage to unilaterally decide he/she should withhold sex.

    Agreement is the key issue. I HAVE NEVER REFUSED my husband’s sexual advances, even when he has gone for WEEKS barely speaking to me, no matter what was going on inside my head. I dealt with my internal struggles on my own time, never wanting the abuse I suffered to cause my husband, or children to suffer as a result.

    BTW, I so loved your post about knowing your wife. I think most of our problems would simmer down to manageable if he would just TALK TO ME… but for some reason, he won’t. He also doesn’t communicate effectively on his job, nor in the ministry, and it’s jamming him up in those places, too.

    To answer your question, I made a heartfelt plea to him for a break back in February of this year, but it was very short-lived. HE AGREED. I asked for this break for the allowance of our relationship to HEAL. Regrettably, our relationship is not healing due to his lack of follow through with the things our pastor/counselor instructed him to do. I never wanted us to settle into a sexless marriage, but I also didn’t want to continue to have insult added to injury, so I REQUESTED that we take another break on the 7th of last month to allow time and space for HEALING of our marriage. AGAIN, HE AGREED. In the meantime, he is seeking private counseling with the knowledge and approval of our pastor to sort out his end.

    Why the transference with regard to the abuse? Well, to be blunt, it feels the same as the abusers due to the lack of intimacy and to openly show little regard for the value of someone you vowed before God and others to cherish for years on end and
    then use that person’s body so you can have an orgasm is indeed abusing the role of sex in the marriage. Sex is not just for the husband, nor is it just for the wife. Sex is not just so either party can have a biological release. In sex, the wife’s focus is to please her husband and AS A RESULT, receive pleasure herself. In sex, the husband’s focus is to please his wife and AS A RESULT, receive pleasure himself. If he or she is coming to the marriage bed solely to please himself, he defiles its purpose (and vice versa).

    Sex is sacred and is comparable to the worship we render unto God. I asked for this break out of respect for that and to protect our union.

    I agree with the other person who posted that withholding sex for no valid reason is psychological warfare… On the other hand, so is withholding in all the other areas of life and then using your spouse’s body for your own selfish purposes – not to honor the Father, not to celebrate your covenant, not to render love and affection to your spouse. Sex should respected ON BOTH SIDES of this coin!

    It is not selfish, nor is it sinful for a wife (or a husband for that matter) to expect and require her/his spouse to treat her/him with dignity in the bedroom.

    It is not “I won’t have sex with you at all.” It is “I ask to abstain from sex with you UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES because it degrades God’s design for sex, it degrades the value of our covenant and it degrades me.” (Of course I didn’t put it that way when I made the request). It is BECAUSE I continued to submit sexually under these painful circumstances that brought me to point of not wanting to live. I fought through that and now I’m fighting to not go back there.

    Again, I requested & he agreed. The only reason it remains this way is that he does not talk to me about it… nor pretty much anything else, for that matter.

    HE has grown comfortable leading separate lives. Yep, once again I will probably be the one to go to him (as always) to seek out a resolution – to try to open up the lines of communication… to bring us back together. Sadly, the culture of our relationship is: if I don’t step up and initiate the process (whatever that may be) IT AIN’T GONNA GIT DONE! 😞

    I am prayerful that the work done with this new counselor will bear godly fruit. I would appreciate your prayers on this matter, as it is mind numbingly painful to linger in this abyss of sorrow for so long.

    This is why I take issue with your stance that women are emotionally weaker than men. The Bible never states that, that has to be read into it. My husband shut his emotions down instead of dealing with them and now it has infested our marriage like a poison. I’ve dealt with the whole gamit of my emotions all along the way, no matter how painful, and shielded everyone around me from the negative effects of it and I’m emotionally weaker?! I don’t think so. I also don’t think I’m better than my husband, either, just better off because I confront my emotions instead of burying them. Submitting to sex under degrading circumstances is not a sign of godliness, it’s a sign of low self value. I have value because Jesus shed His precious Blood for me. I require respect out of honor to Him.

  8. Jenn, I understand the issues with child sexual abuse and the damage that is done. It does great harm, especially in terms of how one perceives their own worth and value. I will pray that God continues to grace you with His healing.

    With great kindness and love, the language you are using speaks of still unhealed wounds. You use words like “disgusting and repulsive,” “like low self value” and “it degrades me.” The words we speak over things have great power in our minds and these are the words you are using in regards to having sex with your husband. Those are the kind of words that belong in a sexual abuse context, but not in a marital relationship. It is completely understandable, but your husband is standing in for those who have abused you. You are looking at him and seeing them in your mind. No doubt you are also trying to regain a sense of control because that was once stolen from you, but it sounds as if that is getting transferred over onto your husband. There is contempt in your voice and disrespect and although those feelings are valid, they must be laid down where they belong.

    You do have tremendous worth and value to Christ, that is the whole point. To surrender these issues to Him is not about losing your power, but rather empowering yourself and handing the shame back to whom it truly belongs.

  9. Jenn,

    Recently a Christian missionary wrote to me telling me that his wife admitted to him that she never really romantically loved him and only married him because of pressure from family. Hearing this from your spouse – whether your are a husband or a wife can painful. But Jenn I admonished this missionary to look closely at the Scriptures and what love in marriage really is. He came to me with a whole new view, realizing that that vast majority of the time marital love in the Bible is a love that is based in duty and commitment, a love of the will not based on emotion.

    There is nothing wrong with emotionally based love and feelings, romantic feelings – they make marriage more enjoyable. I compare romantic love, feelings based love to “the icing on the cake”. It is not the cake – the cake is built from Agape love – an unconditional love of the will and based in commitment to God and and our spouse, but when we have the icing on the cake it makes things so much better.

    From God’s perspective your husbands love for you is not measured in his romantic feelings toward you. In fact it is entirely possible that a man might not be physically or romantically attracted to a woman and marries her for other reasons. As I pointed out to some others – feelings before marriage are irrelevant Biblically speaking, that vast majority of marriages before the last couple centuries were in fact arranged which couples having little to no feelings for each other before marriage. Biblical love in marriage, comes after marriage.

    It is based in actions and attitudes not feelings. God measures his love by how your husband leads you, provides for you and protects(the word cherish is actually a translation of word meaning to protect) you. God measures your husbands love for you in how he “dwells with you according to knowledge” and how he honors you as his helpmeet. Now based on those measurements it would appear that your husband is not acting in love toward you and he has much to do to in loving you as God would have him to.

    But as much as your husband may be doing wrong, let’s look at this from what might be his perspective. He has a wife that is constantly unhappy and frustrated with him. He has been told things in counseling sessions with you, but he really does not understand what they mean. He feels helpless to help you through your emotional struggles. On top of that when he went to have sex with you he could read by your face or body language that saw his sexual initiation as “abuse”. Few men would continue to want to have sex with their wives under those conditions.

    So he gives up – he says to himself “its not worth it, I don’t understand this woman, I don’t understand what she wants. I don’t want to be made to feel like I am abusing her ever time I want to have sex”.

    This may be his perspective.

  10. Jenn,

    Let me first say I can completely understand your frustration with your husband not talking to you. I had a man write me a while back realizing that he was not having regular and daily communications with his wife. After he read my post on “10 ways to know your wife” – he started doing some of those things and he said he his wife responded like someone who had been in a desert dying of thirst.

    I realize you take issue with me saying women are weaker emotionally than men. You ability to talk about and face your emotions is a good thing, and your husband repressing his may not be healthy. But you also have to realize that men compartmentalizing their emotions can also be a good thing, for instance in battle or in other areas of life our emotions may cloud our ability to do our duty. Also men sometimes compartmentalize their emotions out of utter frustration this is very common. A man may shut his own feelings down and shut down communications with his wife when feels utterly unable to understand his wife’s feelings, and when he feels that she does not understand his. In this cases many men just “walk away and shut down” from an emotional stand point.

    On the issue of sex though – while think you honestly believe that you think sex is not earned in marriage, but your words you. You said in a previous statement:

    “He hasn’t been working on the things in his own heart and mind that cause the disconnect in the spiritual, mental & emotional intimacy that lead to the physical intimacy becoming a literal nightmare for me.”

    You in fact do believe that a husband earns sex with his wife by being spiritually, emotionally and mentally connected with her first, and then this leads to physical intimacy. The Bible does not place any of these prerequisites on sex in marriage. This is why you transfer your past abuse on to him because you see him as abusing you if he goes to have sex with you without first establishing the emotional and mental intimacy that you think is required for sex. In essence in your view, he has not earned the physical intimacy with you by first emotionally and mentally connecting with you.

    Now do I think a husband ought to try and connect emotionally and mentally with his wife before pursing sex? Yes. Will it make sex a much better experience for both the husband and wife? Certainly. But there are going to be many times when a husban just needs to physically connect with his wife without any prerequisites and there is no sin that. Many women don’t understand the reality that while women want to emotionally connect BEFORE sex, many men can’t emotionally connect until AFTER sex.

    I have some slight disagreement with your philosophy of sex:

    “Why the transference with regard to the abuse? Well, to be blunt, it feels the same as the abusers due to the lack of intimacy and to openly show little regard for the value of someone you vowed before God and others to cherish for years on end and then use that person’s body so you can have an orgasm is indeed abusing the role of sex in the marriage. Sex is not just for the husband, nor is it just for the wife. Sex is not just so either party can have a biological release. In sex, the wife’s focus is to please her husband and AS A RESULT, receive pleasure herself. In sex, the husband’s focus is to please his wife and AS A RESULT, receive pleasure himself. If he or she is coming to the marriage bed solely to please himself, he defiles its purpose (and vice versa).”

    Most men naturally want to please their wives in bed. Sex is far better for a man who loves his wife when feels as if he is giving pleasure to his wife. In fact if he does not feel that he is pleasing his wife and that she does not want to be there at all, it can make sex a much less fulfilling and sometimes a miserable experience. But unlike women, men have a physical need to release their semen which drives them to have sex on a regular basis. This means yes a man can have sex with his wife, knowing she is not “all there”, or “just performing her duty” because of his need for a release. There is no sin in this, and this will happen in many marriages.

    But I believe based on what I have read from many godly Christian women bloggers, that when a woman fully understands and accepts that her husband’s sexual nature is more physically based than hers – she will understand that not every sexual encounter is going to be this great romantic experience. But she won’t be mad about it, or miserable doing it, because she sees it as her act of love toward her husband.

    There is nothing wrong with a husband seeking out sexual pleasure with this wife(nor a wife with her husband):

    “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
    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 5:18-19 (KJV)

    The Bible not only allows, but it commands men to find sexual satisfaction in their wives bodies. My Pastor regularly tells men that they are to be “intoxicated with their wife’s body” and the tells wives they should never shame their husband’s for be so.

    There is no selfishness on the part of a man who thinks about his wife’s body all day and comes home from work and wants to have sex with her. This is by the design of God. But I agree that he needs to channel his sexuality, and also try and connect with his wife emotionally before sex. When he has sex with her he should not be a selfish lover where he does not seek to sexually please her as well.

    I say all that to say – I don’t think it is right to say that sex in marriage is never just about physical release, because sometimes it is just that and that is OK. If it is always like that then I would agree there may be some selfishness going on.

    But when it comes to physical release realize this. A husband my come to his wife out of the blue, perhaps because he is stressed from work or something else. When a wife willingly yields in this situation with barely a word spoken she blesses her husband. When she renders unto him this “kindness” that is due him, afterwards her husband feels connected to her, he feels loved by her.

  11. WOW!! How sad. You seem to be perpetuating the very thing that causes this issue to have such an explosive response from women. You are not listening. You have it in your mind that I am dealing with sex based on your presuppositions and read only what you think will support that theory.

    You have absolutely no idea what my body or face showed towards my husband at any time during my 20 years of marriage, yet you assume I would display anything less than love and respect for him in the bedroom, in spite of the fact that I’m telling you I worked long and hard to see to it that he would never experience that.

    You said:
    “With great kindness and love, the language you are using speaks of still unhealed wounds. You use words like “disgusting and repulsive,” “like low self value” and “it degrades me.””

    First of all, I used the words “repulsive and disgusting” SOLELY in the context of “lying there like a blow up doll” not to sex in general. It just so happens, I actually like sex, just not when I’m being used. The term low self value and the phrase “it degrades me” are only used in context of my husband’s continued receiving the sex his body needs and still by his own admission not rendering unto me the value the Savior granted me by his shed Blood.

    To be perfectly clear, my philosophy of sex is this: Sex is neither in and of itself repulsive, disgusting or degrading. It is holy unto the Lord in the context of the marriage covenant. Sex in the context of being used and neglected is degrading. Submitting to sex from one who persistently misuses sex as soley a means to meet his own physical needs and chronically not considering the needs of his wife is degrading and defiles the marriage bed.

    You said:
    ” …she will understand that not every sexual encounter is going to be this great romantic experience. But she won’t be mad about it, or miserable doing it, because she sees it as her act of love toward her husband.”
    I never said that EVERY SEXUAL ENCOUNTER is going to be this great romantic experience. The BREAKDOWN came in when the CHRONIC NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELATIONSHIP PERSISTED FOR YEARS & after his repeated refusal to repent of his sin in the relationship for 18 months.

    You said:
    “But you also have to realize that men compartmentalizing their emotions can also be a good thing,”
    I never said it wasn’t. I just said that women are not emotionally weaker than men are and there is NO SCRIPTURE THAT STATES THAT THEY ARE.

    You said:
    “On the issue of sex though – while think you honestly believe that you think sex is not earned in marriage, but your words you. You said in a previous statement:

    ‘He hasn’t been working on the things in his own heart and mind that cause the disconnect in the spiritual, mental & emotional intimacy that lead to the physical intimacy becoming a literal nightmare for me.'”

    I have been submitting to my husband willingly and consistently for 20 years. By your own admission, he has been sinning against me and SURPRISE, yes that impacted our sex life in a negative way. I am not at fault, nor am I in sin for that impact since I have been working diligently to avoid this crisis by everything in my power and with the help of others.

    You said:
    “There is no selfishness on the part of a man who thinks about his wife’s body all day and comes home from work and wants to have sex with her….”
    I never said this was selfish at all.

    “…This is by the design of God. But I agree that he needs to channel his sexuality, and also try and connect with his wife emotionally before sex. When he has sex with her he should not be a selfish lover where he does not seek to sexually please her as well…: NO PROBLEM THERE.

    “…I say all that to say – I don’t think it is right to say that sex in marriage is never just about physical release, because sometimes it is just that and that is OK. If it is always like that then I would agree there may be some selfishness going on.”

    I DID NOT SAY THAT SEX IN MARRIAGE IS NEVER JUST ABOUT PHYSICAL RELEASE. I said it is sacred and respect needs to be on both sides of the coin. I said it isn’t ONLY ABOUT JUST A PHYSICAL RELEASE.

    You said:
    “When she renders unto him this “kindness” that is due him, afterwards her husband feels connected to her, he feels loved by her.”
    I’m saying that is not my experience here. In spite of all my years of continued submission, he does not communicate love and “connectiveness” to me, but rather ignores me on a regular basis. Say what you’d like, that feels degrading to a woman.

    You said:
    “As I pointed out to some others – feelings before marriage are irrelevant Biblically speaking, that vast majority of marriages before the last couple centuries were in fact arranged which couples having little to no feelings for each other before marriage. Biblical love in marriage, comes after marriage.”

    I disagree with your assessment of Biblical marriages. Rebekah was asked first if she WANTED TO GO with Abraham’s servant to marry Isaac and she gave her consent. Jacob loved Rachel and worked all those years to marry her.

    With the vast majority of the marriages in Biblical times are completely unknown to us how they felt about each other because it is not addressed. Were there times the wife’s feelings were not considered? Unfortunately so. Leah’s feelings weren’t considered,
    The feelings of Leah and Rachel’s maidservant weren’t considered. Haggai’s feelings weren’t considered… but in all of those instances, look at the vast amount of pain that ensued! These should not be our standard!! Just because it isn’t addressed doesn’t mean it isn’t irrelevant. Obviously it IS relevant to God, or He wouldn’t have admonished the men so strongly to love their wives and dwell with them according to knowledge.

    You said:
    ” He has a wife that is constantly unhappy and frustrated with him. He has been told things in counseling sessions with you, but he really does not understand what they mean. He feels helpless to help you through your emotional struggles. On top of that when he went to have sex with you he could read by your face or body language that saw his sexual initiation as “abuse”. Few men would continue to want to have sex with their wives under those conditions.

    So he gives up – he says to himself “its not worth it, I don’t understand this woman, I don’t understand what she wants. I don’t want to be made to feel like I am abusing her ever time I want to have sex”.

    This may be his perspective.”

    Clearly, having never spoken to him, you do NOT know his perspective. Perhaps you overlooked the fact that he sits in counsel of marriage couples and advises men to do what he himself does not do. There is no ignorance on his part, simply a lack of will to do, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, in the presence of our Pastor/counselor.
    He actually was quite instrumental in helping through my emotional struggles early on in our marriage. He just didn’t know what to do with me once I DID, IN FACT, GET HEALING. His neglect and refusal to lead the household, consider my feelings and BLOW ME OFF FOR YEARS, is what brought the hurt back. He gives up because he chooses to… not because I am not humble and willing to work through whatever struggles we both may face. My philosophy of marriage is that what we are supposed to do for each other.

    If you are not going to really read what I say, turn my words into something I did not communicate, take things out of context and insert your own preconceived ideas into my motives and actions, then I respectfully suggest that we just agree to disagree.

  12. Jenn,

    I am not trying to turn your words around, only to try and give you a different perspective. Some of what you ascribed to me was actually from another commenter here(insanity). I have said it continuously that I believe that if your account is correct your husband is sinfully neglecting his duties as a husband and father. You are right I don’t know your husband’s perspective, he is not here to offer it – I was only trying to guess what might be in his mind. I think you and I would agree there are always two sides to an issue in marriage.

    Years ago when I attended a Christian divorce support group while I was going through my divorce(my first wife had an affair and wanted to marry her ex boyfriend) they pointed out to us that yes not every marriage ends because of equal problems on both sides. It is entirely possible that a husband is 80% at fault and the wife only 20% or that the wife is 80% at fault and husband 20%. They taught me that even though I though my wife was acting so wickedly and selfishly – I needed to look at myself for the part I played(even if it was only 10 or 20%) in various issues in our marriage.

    I see from everything I have read from you that you feel you tried to do the right thing all these years, that you have willingly submitted to your husband, that you did not make sex miserable for him(even though he was neglectful of his duties to you and his home). You have reached the point where you believe for your own sanity(and not to change his behavior in your words) that you can’t have sex with him anymore until he repents and addresses some of these issues. He has agreed and is now practically living a separate life.

    I agree with want insanity wrote that you are conflating the sin of your past abusers with the sinful neglect of your husband. It is one thing for a couple to mutually agree to stop sex for a short time of prayer and fasting(or perhaps for medical or other issues), but for this to become a long term solution I do not believe it is Biblical and a husband should not consent to this long term.

    But as you said at the end of the day we will just have to agree to disagree. Insanity – do you have any closing advice Jenn?

  13. Jenn, those first few words are my words, not Biblical’s. I am the one that mentioned the power of the words we speak over ourselves and how it shapes our perceptions and our sexual attraction. I did not mean to offend you. I would actually love to see you at peace and content within your marriage.

    You say, “The term low self value and the phrase “it degrades me” are only used in context of my husband’s continued receiving the sex his body needs and still by his own admission not rendering unto me the value the Savior granted me by his shed Blood.”

    That speaks to a kind of exchange. You are perceiving it as if your husband owes you something in exchange for access to your body. Never mind your husband, perceiving your own self as a commodity, as a form of payment for his good behavior is going to reinforce your own feelings of being degraded, of being nothing more then a sexual commodity.

    Also, the value and worth you have is in Christ, He sees you and He loves you. He died for you. He is your source, your strength. So when you said your husband is not “rendering unto me the value the Savior granted me,” that power is not in your husband’s hands. You husband can no more grant you the value Christ sees in you then He can deprive you of it.

    It seems to me that what you seek is to be treasured, to be valued and delighted in, much like a little girl might seek to seen as a delight and a treasure in her father’s eyes, or how a grown woman may seek the favor and delight of her Heavenly father. I pray that hubby can someday come to see that need in you, too, because that is a powerful component of women’s sexuality.We need to be the source of someone’s delight and appreciation. However, you are going to make yourself absolutely miserable if you don’t stop looking at how hubby needs to change and instead start asking yourself what you need. What is hurting within your own self? What you are doing is trying to hand all your power over to hubby as if he can fix it, as if he can make you feel better. Only God can do that.

  14. Insanity – sometimes I wish had your talent for putting such concise truths into such a small amount of words, it sometimes takes me forever to say what I am trying to say. You done it again here in your response to Jenn. I know from own personal experiance, whether it was when my first wife cheated on my, or with issues that occurred earlier in my second marriage – when I saw myself as a victim of my wife’s bad behavior I was MISERABLE.

    But when I recognized my hurt and gave it to the Lord realizing there were things only he could change – it was a very freeing experience. Yes as a husband and the head of my home I am responsible to a certain degree for the behavior of my wife and children, and for exhorting them to godly behavior, and yes I believe there is a call to men to exercise discipline in their homes. But I can’t control everything they do, or what they think, or what attitudes they have. That is in Gods hands.

    Again well said.

  15. Hello Jenn,

    I do think that the husband not loving you (and it’s clear to me that your husband has not been loving you properly) is grounds for an annulment (as is your refusal to have sex with him.) So I must say I admire you for staying together, separation is a terrible, evil thing.
    However, that said, you are clearly sinning. The Catechism of my church makes that clear (and it’s clear in the scripture too.) “Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman.” Ordered, it is not your choice but your duty. Consider, that by withholding sex from him, you are encouraging him to commit sin, either by taking sex from you or by seeking sexual pleasure by other means. So you are not only sinning against God but causing him to do so as well.
    I am also curious to know how you would think that abstaining from sex will help your relationship? Since divorce is off the table, as it should be, so it seems to me that you have two options to ‘repair’ your relationship; abstain (and commit sin) or submit to him properly as God commands and trust in God to repair your relationship. Denying him sex will only cause bitterness and more distance between the two of you. On the other hand, showing him love, care and submission – while having a gentle talk with him and your priest about your issues – might change him.
    You also have to repair your own state of mind because you should enjoy sex with your husband, your spiritual other and the father of your children, regardless of his behavior.

    God Bless!

  16. Hi Emily,

    Thank you for your words of encouragement, but perhaps you missed that I made a REQUEST TO MY HUSBAND AND HE AGREED to this TEMPORARY separation while he receives ministry. I do enjoy sex with my husband when I’m not feeling used. I understand that my history makes that more of a challenge for me, which is why I’ve worked so hard to protect him from perpetuating the suffering I endured. However, women who have never known sexual abuse can also begin to feel used when their husband only engages in physical contact when he wants to have sex, when their husbands barely talk to them, when their husbands leave all the parental responsibilities to the wife, when their wife has gentle talks with him for years and years and years and he blows her off repeatedly, or when he stubbornly doesn’t budge when their pastor/counselor lays out steps for him to take to heal the relationship. My husband has has a whole lot more power over this situation than he has been exercising.

    I respectfully disagree vehemently that it is a sin to abstain from sex in my situation as #!- my husband and I are in agreement, and #2- Paul made it a point to say “,,,IT IS NOT A COMMAND.” One should not insert one’s opinion in the Scriptures and accuse another of sinning for not adhering to something that has been clearly established as “not a command.” …and by the way, my husband is not laying on the side of the bed begging me to have sex with him with me giving him the cold shoulder. If you have that impression in your mind, know that that’s not the case here.

    I do not believe it honoring the Father for either a husband or a wife to reject their spouse sexually because he/she just doesn’t feel like it on a regular basis. I also don’t think that a spouse has a right to DEMAND that the husband or wife have sex with them. The “your body is not your own” goes both ways. Sex is sacred and should be treated as such. BOTH the husband and the wife should respect that sex is not just about him or her, and that applies whether you’re the one doing the approaching or the one being approached.

    In answer to your question, I expect our relationship to heal as we devote our full attention to the root of our problem while we abstain in order to stop perpetuating the pain (of neglect) that has been inflicted on me so that our situation doesn’t spiral out of control to the point of no return.

    On a good note, my husband came back from his counseling session yesterday with positive fruit and we are committed to work together to experience lasting results. 🙂

  17. I apologize for confusing your post with the one called Insanity. However, I don’t know what gave you the impression that I viewed this as a long term solution.

    Thank you for respectful replies. I do think, however, that you and Insanity have overlooked the intent of what I wrote IN SOME PLACES, and inserted your own thoughts / assumptions (like the one above, and context in which I used the words “repulsive and disgusting.”)

    I do not argue that the feelings of being used by the sin of the abusers from my childhood was getting fused with the feelings of being used during the sin of my husband’s neglect. That was my whole point, ALL of them were using my body for their own pleasure and showed LITTLE / NO REGARD for my thoughts and feelings. It was harder to deal with since my husband and I are in covenant with each other before God, and he is an elder and counselor in the ministry, and to hear him explain biblical truth regarding relationships and then not apply those truths at home became overwhelmingly painful to bear.

    There is a root as to why he was behaving this way. My request to abstain was so that our full focus could be directed to uprooting that and thus the healing process begin & my husband agreed. No where on the table was it even suggested that this would be a long term solution. However, he has made it longer than it needed to be by not yielding to the godly counsel he was receiving. In fact, it was his refusal to yield to the counsel that caused the breakdown to begin with, as I was still submitting to him sexually during that time.

    You have acknowledged that a husband can abuse their wife sexually (unless I’m confusing your posts again). It is a sin against God to willfully submit to abuse. As I stated in my reply to Emily, “Sex is sacred and should be treated as such. BOTH the husband and the wife should respect that sex is not just about him or her, and that applies whether you’re the one doing the approaching or the one being approached.”

    I disagree with your and Emily’s premise that it is sinful or sexually immoral to withhold sex IN THIS CONTEXT WITH MY SITUATION. On the contrary, I believe it would ENABLING him to continue to sin against me (as you both have willfully acknowledged that he’s been doing) unless we took some time to focus on the healing that needs to take place in our relationship.

    It might interest you to know that his working with this new counselor is showing great promise for lasting fruit of change.

    If you did pray for us, thank you.

  18. Insanity, I apologize for mixing up your reply with the other post. I do not deny that the many years of sexual abuse I suffered have been cause for me to work overtime to rightly view the role and purpose of sex in a godly marriage. I do not think I have “arrived” either.

    Up until just a year ago, I held myself at fault for not being able to separate the mixed feelings internally that I experienced with my husband – although I never took it out on him and never denied him. I just dealt with it with prayer, counseling, & continually submitting myself to God. It was during our time of counseling together that it occurred to me that the reason these bothersome feelings persisted was due to the fact that my DH was not valuing me, not loving me the way he was supposed to as my husband, etc. Never once did I feel less loved or valued BY THE FATHER GOD, nor would I practice the idolatry of elevating my husband to the status of loving me the way only the Father can. That’s just plain silly and unrealistic.

    However, my history with abuse is a well established fact with my husband who COUNSELS AND MINISTERS to couples, so there was no ignorance on his part as what he could and should do to honor and love his wife as he knew he should. He just didn’t wanna! He was not rightly handling his own emotions and that negatively affected our relationship including our sexual relationship.

    He was being prideful and stubborn when it came to receiving correction from our pastor because of issues he was not willing to deal with when it came to him (the pastor).

    His persistent refusal to submit himself to God’s will & the counsel he received translated as a lack of value he had for me and our relationship. Under those circumstances, sex became a more difficult thing for me and I’m telling you both that the advice to continue to submit under those circumstances MADE MATTERS FAR WORSE. My mental and emotional health was plummeting and I maintain that to continue in that vein would be detrimental to myself and our marriage. So out of respect for myself as well as respect for the actual role that sacred sex has in a marriage, I requested a time of separation for us both to focus on healing, and he agreed. This was never intended to be a permanent solution and never once did he approach me sexually and get met with a cold shoulder.

    My stance is that under these circumstances, there is no sin in my holding him accountsble to treating me with dignity. Anything else would be enabling him to misuse the role of sex in our marriage.

    My stance is that the Bible should never be used to empower men or women to make sexual demands. SEX SHOULD NEVER BE DEMANDED. IT IS SACRED. Because of that sacredness, sometimes, it is BETTER TO ABSTAIN if a person’s attitude and approach to sex need to go through an adjusting period, as both of ours did.

    In addtion, the very verses used for this purpose specifically states IT IS NOT BY COMMAND, therefore it is wrong to attach the word sin to someone’s actions where there is no command.

    I believe if all the people who call themselves Christians would truly honor the sacredness of sex, there would be no need for this blog.

    One benefit I have most certainly received by reading your posts (and the other posts) is a much greater appreciation for my husband’s desire to honor my wishes and I truly see that as an act of love. As much as I can say I have never denied him as an act of my love for him, I can also truly say he has never tried to force, coerce, guilt, or shame me into it as an act of his love for me.

    So I take away from this blog a greater appreciation for that aspect of our marriage. Finally, it might interest you to know, that he is showing much more potential for lasting fruit through the work with his new counselor, and I believe will be able to celebrate our 20th anniversary and beyond in grace and peace.

    I pray for grace and peace for you and the other bloggers as well.
    In Christ…

  19. Hey Jenn,

    Alright, my bad, I didn’t read everything you said. Yes, if he has agreed to it, I don’t think you are committing a great sin, though I can’t imagine that God is pleased with such a marriage. Anyway, I’m trying to place myself in the shoes of a man who’s been rejected from having sex with his wife for months. I understand that he agreed to it but… I imagine he is going crazy and personally, I can’t see how he going through this will change him for the better, but that’s my opinion. If you think he’s changing for the better, I suppose you can continue doing what you are doing.

    I don’t think you are doing a great sin right now, but you may cause him to sin and then it will be on you. I know that something similar happened to my parents, since my mother was more or less refusing to be intimate with my daddy because she had problems with how he was treating her (although in here case she had little reason to complain.) I think this went on for months until he finally started seeing another woman. In the end they both shared in the sin of adultery – and ended up getting divorced.

    So… just me careful, and mindful, of what you are doing. He is a man, and will look for a release somehow, and you WILL be sharing in all his sin.

    As for demanding sex… I disagree with this website that the husband has the right to ‘take’ sex from his wife, because I think that’s a breach of the command by God to love and protect your wife. That said, if something like that was to happen, hypothetically, you as the wife should not withhold sex… we as women are told to submit, and that includes submitting sexually to husbands.

    Best of luck and God Bless! Keep us updated..

  20. Jenn,

    I have prayed for you and your husband. But my prayer is perhaps a little different than yours. I have prayed that you will both yield to the Lord to change your hearts and thought patterns. I have prayed that your husband will talk to you, admit his failings and ask for your forgiveness. I have prayed that he will make a habit of talking with you daily, and knowing you as the Lord would have him to. But I have prayed for you that God can help you to see that you are looking to your value, and that is something only God can give you. I pray that you will stop seeing yourself as a victim of your husband. Our spouses will fail us, sometimes fail us little, and other times they fail us big.

    I understand what you are saying about feeling used, but the reason you are feeling that way is because despite your words to the contrary, you continue to view sex as something that a husband earns by being emotionally, mentally and spiritually connected to his wife. You talk about the fact that you submitted to your husband sexually for many years, but if you grew to the point of feeling used – this indicates that even while you thought you were submitting sexually with a good attitude, underneath it your attitude began to change. God wants us to do the right thing, with the right attitude and I think at a certain point you began doing the right thing, but with the wrong attitude.

    On the issue of “enabling sin” – yes I believe it is possible we can sometimes enable sin in our spouses – but this case you are speaking of is not one of those times. When a wife allows her husband to physically abuse her or her children,beating her or them and doing nothing about – that is enabling sin. If a wife sees her husband sexually molesting her children and does nothing about it, that is enabling sinful behavior. She should leave with her kids and report her husband to the authorities(both Church and civil authorities).

    However your husband having sex with you is not sin. You submitting your body to him in the act of sex is not enabling sinful behavior, it is in fact the very opposite of that – it honors God and it honors your marriage. Until you can realize that you husbands sin in other areas(emotional, spiritual and mental neglect) is a separate issue – that this is God’s hands not yours, and no your husband is NOT using by having sex with you will never have a Biblical attitude toward sex in marriage.

    I realize you are excited about this new counselor, and I truly hope your husband does repent. But if you cannot come to seperate sex with husband, from your husband’s behavior outside the bedroom I believe you will continue to have struggles in your marriage.

    One other clarification I wanted to make – on the issue of “sexual abuse”. You are correct that I said I believe it is possible for a husband to sexually abuse his wife, but not how you are applying it. When I think of a husband sexually abusing his wife I am thinking of cases where wives having gone into the emergency room with torn and bleeding gentials and cuts and bruises all of their bodies.

  21. “One benefit I have most certainly received by reading your posts (and the other posts) is a much greater appreciation for my husband’s desire to honor my wishes and I truly see that as an act of love….”

    Amen to that. Sometimes being able to see and recognize the amount of sacrifice, love, and consideration being shown by a husband can be very helpful.

    So to recognize that sex is a vital and significant part of men’s lives, that sex is a part of the marriage covenant, that there is a biblical expectation there, does not preclude men from making temporary allowances and accommodating their wife’s needs. The thing is, if we try to change what the bible says, to ignore that dictate, to claim it doesn’t exist, then it is very easy for the entire sexual relationship to become damaged.

    I understand the context of saying that it is possible for a wife to enable a husbands sin, but I don’t want to see us go there, not in terms of having a sexual relationship with a husband. Wives have enough weight on their shoulders without now having to worry about how we may be “enabling a husbands sin” by having sex with him. That actually just adds an extra layer of shame where none should exist.

  22. Well a woman in a marriage is pretty much her husbands property. A man in biblical or other cultures in ancient times paid the father of the bride (brideprice) for his virgin daughter. A woman was considered property in many cultures, so when Jenn says she feels “low self value and it degrades me’ seems right to me.

    Also despite her history of sexual abuse, from what i have read so far is that she has willfully submitted to husband sexually but they had both agree to substain from sex from a period of time to get to the root of the problem. Now a problem can not be fixed unless one finds the cause. I do not think that still having sex with her husband while the problem is still there is going to help also in terms of he needs release, masturbation could help with that issue along with sex toys like a flesh light which I dont think should be an issue unless christians thinks masturbation and sex toys is a sin then I don’t know what else to say.

  23. I think i understand what you mean by demmanded sex. Yes in a marriage sex should not be demanded by either husband or wife but given freely. By demanded sex it takes away from its purity and sacredness

  24. Oh my word! Guys… I am truly sorry for any and all hurt you have experienced in your lives with regard to a breakdown in your sexual relationship with your wives! You are DEFINITELY NOT SEEING what I am saying, though.

    I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT HAVING A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP IN MARRIAGE IS A SIN!! NOR DO I THINK THAT A HUSBAND WANTING TO HAVE SEX WITH HIS WIFE IS SIN! Sex is a GIFT not only to the husband, but also to the wife. A gift has to be GIVEN, (ON BOTH SIDES) not taken. Sex does not have to be earned, but you kid yourselves if you think a husband can be cold, withdrawn, neglectful and hurtful to his wife outside the bedroom (or inside the bedroom, for that matter) and it NOT affect her response to him, sexually. You really should spend a LOT MORE TIME focused on the HUSBAND’S behavior towards his wife, rather than the wife’s withdrawing sexually. MORE THAN LIKELY, IT IS MERELY A SYMPTOM OF A DEEPER ROOT.

    Guys, do you ever stop to think that perhaps the way YOU VIEW SEX IN MARRIAGE and the diminished value you have of your wife (you said her emotions are irrelevant, as far as the Bible is concerned with regard to marriages, and God is telling us that “she is weaker, physically, mentally and emotionally in a previous post) is the reason for the breakdown of YOUR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP IN MARRIAGE?! NOBODY LIKES TO BE DEVALUED AND THEN BE TOLD “THE BIBLE SAYS YOU HAVE TO SUBMIT TO ME, SEXUALLY, NO MATTER WHAT.” (Which is essentially what you told me in an earlier response.)

    First of all, that attitude is abusive! It abuses the purpose of sex in the marriage. I suggest you read the book, “Sacred Sex” by Tim Gardner. http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Sex-Spiritual-Celebration-Marriage/dp/1578564611 One thing I find consistent about your posts is that you fail to address the sacredness of the sexual relationship in marriage that God ordained.

    Secondly, NEITHER ONE OF THOSE ASSERTIONS IS TRUE anyway! God never said a wives are weaker emotionally and mentally, you read that into that verse (the same way you read into my posts what I do not say.) God specifically tells the husbands to LOVE their wives and to dwell with them according to knowledge. He doesn’t think her feelings are irrelevant! Now don’t read what I don’t write. I do not think any of us should allow our emotions to rule our behavior, and yes, sacrifices ON BOTH SIDES need to be made in the marriage relationship (not talking about just sex, here). Sometimes, out of love, we do things we really don’t feel like doing. Sometimes, that means we share in a sexual encounter with our spouse when initially we weren’t planning to — & I AM NOT SAYING THAT I BELIEVE THAT IS ABUSE. I do believe it is abuse to use your spouse’s body for the SOLE PURPOSE of your own gratification and not consider the sexual and emotional condition of your spouse ON EITHER PARTY’S SIDE. I also believe it is wrong to allow oneself to be consistently ignored and not stand up and say “Hey, our relationship is too important to me… our covenant is too vital for me to allow this mal-alignment to on without talking some time to get it adjusted.”

    Furthermore, you ASSUME as a rule, the woman’s feelings weren’t taken into account… which is also not true. Learn about the Ketubah, the marriage contract outlining the HUSBAND’S RESPONSIBILITIES TO HIS WIFE in the Jewish tradition which the wife has to agree to and sign before the marriage can take place.

    Emily: you said: “I’m trying to place myself in the shoes of a man who’s been rejected from having sex with his wife for months.” LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT I HAVE NOT GONE FOR MONTHS WITHOUT HAVING SEX WITH MY HUSBAND. Again, I have never rejected my husband. My request to him was made a little less than just 4 weeks ago. He honored it and we are working on bringing healing to our relationship. Let me also assure you that my husband is more mature than to go without sex for a few weeks and then immediately start looking to gratify himself elsewhere — Another thing I appreciate about him. 🙂 He doesn’t ogle women, he doesn’t watch porn and he doesn’t masturbate.
    BTW, I wouldn’t want to go without sex for months at a time, either. 🙂

  25. Jenn, I’m not a guy nor am I interested in judging you. I simply believe that scripture is tried and true and that there is great value to be found in the concepts there.

    The idea of women being weaker emotionally or being weaker vessels, is not about “weakness” being bad or inferior. In fact the bible tells us that “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”

  26. Insanity,

    Once again, an excellent point. Weakness does not make one bad or inferior. It simply makes us designed for different roles. We have different strengths and weaknesses as men, and rather than covering them up or glossing them over – we should be celebrating them as part of God’s marvelous design.

    When you look at men and women – the truth is that men are typically better at some things than the typical woman, but women are better at some things that the typical man. It does not make man better than woman, because he excels at certain things she does not. It does not make woman better than man, because she excels at some things he does not.

  27. Jenn,

    I am familar with the Ketubah but the woman signing this was a formality. Her father could force her to sign it whether she wanted to or not. I have had several Jewish people email or comment to me here that my interpretations of Jewish custom and tying them to the Old Testament is correct. A woman was seen as the property of her father, and then of her husband once she God married. While a father might listen is daughters opinion, he did not have to. He could override any decision she made, and so could her husband.

    But are value as human beings, is not found in our equal rights, it is found in God. A woman was not worth less(and is not worth less) because Biblically speaking she has less rights than a man. That is an American and Western falsehood to teach that our humanity is based upon everyone having the same rights and privileges.

    Please check out these posts – along with the Scriptures I present on this subject.

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2015/07/10/biblical-human-rights-vs-american-human-rights/
    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2015/07/10/does-the-bible-teach-the-concept-of-human-property/

    Also Check out these posts on the differences between men and women.

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2014/04/12/how-god-made-woman-superior-to-man/
    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2014/04/12/how-god-made-man-superior-to-woman/

    I found it humorous that no woman took offense at the title “How God made woman superior to man” – that was fine. But plenty of women emailed me taking offense at the sister article to it “How God made man superior to woman”.

  28. I have a couple of questions/points here.

    1) I don’t think that you’re properly understanding Jenn’s objection. She’s not merely expressing offense at your description of women as being emotionally weaker than men and equating this with your belief that this makes women inferior. She’s arguing that women are not emotionally weaker. Indeed, the model for marriage that you present (but most importunity, your view on the differences between men’s and women’s sexual nature, which are not supported by scripture or by science, which has found that women also struggle with monogamy and can also desire sexual variety[1] and which suggests that women refrain from casual sex more for fears for their safety and of social stigma than because of emotional reasons) doesn’t allow for women to be emotionally weaker than men. In short, because you believe that it is more common for women to be the lower libido partner in a marriage, you must also believe that women are more frequently required to overcome their feelings on sex in order to have sex. You also believe that women always require an emotional connection to have sex but that men don’t need such a connection. This, again, requires women to look past their feelings at certain times. You would argue that men have to overcome their feelings sometimes to remember to talk to their wives and know their wives, but this simply suggests that you believe that men and women require equal levels of emotional strength at different times.

    You also state that women are not required to or allowed to discipline their husbands for sin, whereas husbands are required to and allowed to discipline their wives for sin. This means that wives have far less recourse than husbands do when their husbands sin against them. Insanity tried to argue that this is actually a blessing for women because it doesn’t mean that they’re responsible for their husbands’ actions, but this doesn’t make much sense. For one thing, (to reverse Uncle Ben’s quote) with great responsibility often comes great power. Men have much more power to actively work to change their wives’ behavior in this system. You offer tips for women hoping to change their situations, but those are more passive steps. For another thing, for all your claims that wives aren’t responsible for their husbands’ behavior, I’ve seen several commenters here and in other threads claim that wives are partly at fault for their husbands’ adultery if the wives are in any way failing to meet their husbands’ sexual needs. You also put forth the argument that women can cause their husbands’ to be neglectful in other ways by not satisfying his sexual needs or by failing him in some other way. It seems that a lot of you do see cases where wives are held responsible for their husbands’ sin. In short, I don’t see how men and women are unequal in responsibility. (And yes, you say that husbands are required to provide for their wives and children, but wives are also required to provide in different ways by cooking, cleaning, keeping house, and doing other things to make the family look better as well as bearing and taking on the primary nurturing responsibilities for children.) Again, it’s difficult to see how women would be able to do all of this if they were emotionally weaker than men.

    Finally, you seem to acknowledge that men have emotional weaknesses in at least two areas: firstly, the hurt and pain that they experience when their wives deny them sex and secondly, their difficulties in understand and empathizing with others. (These being your beliefs about men’s emotional weaknesses, not mine.)

    2) I just read your articles on the ways in which men are superior to women and vice versa. It certainly seems as though you think that men are, overall, superior to women, especially given that you believe that men are not just physically stronger on average but also intellectually (a strange interpretation of data, given that your IQ scores prove that, just as there are more male geniuses on the IQ scale, there are also more male idiots on the IQ scale) and emotionally stronger. However, I do find your statements that men are less capable of being empathetic than women are to be contradictory to my experiences and that does seem pretty offensive to men.

    3) I’m wondering why you don’t think that a man’s (or indeed woman’s) failure to know his (or her) spouse would be grounds for divorce. As you’ve made clear multiple times, God specifically commands men to do this. You’ve also made clear in at least one post on here that you believe that a man’s failure to communicate with his wife to be as serious as a wife’s failure to meet her husband’s sexual needs.

    [1] http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/06/women-arent-wired-for-monogamy-and-more-myths.html

    [2] http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/home/2011/5/18/when-are-women-into-casual-sex.html

  29. I don’t think you should try to paint this as a sexist thing, as a double standard. If a husband was refusing sex to his wife for the same reason I think we would all argue that he was doing wrong. I mean, while the husband has the right to discipline the wife, denying her sex is not a biblical way to do so. I do think sex is sacred, so both partners should give it to each other whenever the other desires it. I think it should be separated from your mood. I’m often quite depressed about one issue or the other but I don’t think I would deny him when I’m not feeling in the mood. I don’t think I would anyway, I’m not married yet tbh.

    I think men and women are equal, but in different ways. God did advise us to be submissive to our husbands, which means that He clearly gave the role of the leader of the household to the husband, not to you. However, since it’s your pastor that’s advising you to do this I think it’s fine to some degree.

    It’s good to know that it’s only been 4 weeks. I wouldn’t advise continuing this for tooo long lol. My bf is going crazy because of my abstinence but I’m not going to give him any until we get married haha

  30. Emily, I’m not sure of you quite understand why Jenn is saying that they are, by mutual consent, talkng a break from their sex life. She’s saying that his neglect of her in other of their life has made it so that his sexual advances are triggering symptoms of PTSD. She also has said that she tried to deal with it on her own but eventually realized that her husband needed to be a part of this process and needed to change his behavior so that his touch would stop triggering such symptoms. I don’t think that it’s healthy for the long term sexual relationship of the couple if such a situation goes unaddressed. In this case, their decision to abstain while they go through this counseling session together might actually be better for their sex life overall because it will give Jenn a chance to resolve her issues with the aid of a counselor and without risking the worsening of such feelings, which could damage their relationship further. The temporary abstaining/counseling also seems to be doing good work.

    Also, for the record, I wouldn’t object to a husband turning down his wife for similar reasons. However, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see such stories posted here because the blog owner has repeatedly stated that he believes that they are very rare. Because he believes that men have naturally higher sex drives on average, his statement that husbands also owe their wives sex is a bit like the governor who stated that the new poor laws weren’t just prejudiced against the poor! Rich people were also forbidden to sleep beneath bridges and beg. It doesn’t have to be a double standard, but if we accept his view on male and female sex drives, it does become one.

  31. “I’m not sure of you quite understand why Jenn is saying that they are, by mutual consent, talking a break from their sex life..”

    I wish Jenn much peace and grace and healing, so this isn’t directed towards her at all, this has nothing to do with her personal situation, but that is not the idea that was originally presented. Let us not pretend that what was said was not said!

    Jenn clearly spoke of denying sex, of refusing sex in order to attempt to modify a husband’s behavior, about how engaging in sex with a husband when he has not corrected his behavior, is sexual abuse. That is the issue we were all speaking to.

    That is a far cry from, “the husband has consensually agreed to temporarily abstain from sex out of empathy and compassion for his wife’s PTSD and sexual abuse issues,” which is how it is now being translated.

  32. Insanity, it’s just how it’s now being translated. It’s what Jenn’s explained while giving more details on her situation. As she’s clarified, they’re abstaining by mutual consent, and her realization that he was triggering symptoms of PTSD in her by touching her was part of her decision to ask him for this. Just because you want to keep pretending that she’s the straw(wo)man that you want her to be doesn’t mean that you can ignore what else she’s written.

  33. “As she’s clarified, they’re abstaining by mutual consent….”

    Awesome, fine, wonderful! I do hope it works out well for them and they grow closer to one another.

    However, you are actually the one introducing the idea of a straw man here. Jenn wrote in and clearly stated that she was uncomfortable with some of the ideas being expressed by stating, “I do not believe it is appropriate to give a blanket statement that denying sex in a marriage is sin.” That is what everyone was responding to. Denying sex, with holding sex, using sex to control and manipulate behavior is not biblically sound.

    The issue here is do wives owe husband’s sex. The answer is yes, and in Jenn’s case it than becomes a matter of a husband making a temporary and loving sacrifice on her behalf, out of compassion and understanding.

    That is an entirely different thing from denying a man sex until he modifies his behavior. One is a loving act of sacrifice, the other is a controlling and manipulative tactic.

  34. “However, you are actually the one introducing the idea of a straw man here. Jenn wrote in and clearly stated that she was uncomfortable with some of the ideas being expressed by stating, ‘I do not believe it is appropriate to give a blanket statement that denying sex in a marriage is sin.’ That is what everyone was responding to. Denying sex, with holding sex, using sex to control and manipulate behavior is not biblically sound.”

    What Jenn wrote in her first response on this thread:

    “I am not abstaining from sexual relations with my husband in an attempt to correct his behavior or change him! That smells too much like manipulation to me and I view that as witchcraft. I’m abstaining to protect our 5 precious children from the pain of losing their mother to the hellhole of despair… I’m certainly not planning on divorcing, and they know NOTHING of my struggles with my husband. So I continually seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I’m abstaining to keep our marriage from irrevocable damage. I’m doing it to PRESERVE MY SANITY.”

    I think that her response like these have shed some clarity on what she means by denying sex within marriage. It sounds as though she’s referring to asking her husband to abstain for a period while they work on other issues if she realizes that continuing to have sex with her husband when his treatment of her is recalling her past experiences with sexual abuse will do damage to their marriage and (presumably) sexual relationship.

  35. What is this “Biblical reason (justification) for divorce?” I keep seeing in your posts. I have searched every reputable, and some not so reputable, Bible version and I haven’t been able to find even one.
    Are you referring to breaking betrothal or engagement?

  36. The woman doesn’t want to feel USED.
    Romans 1:27
    “natural use of the woman” — AKJV, ASV, Douay-Rheims, ERV, Jubilee, KJV
    “natural use of the female” — Young’s
    “to avoid fornication (porneias)” — 1 Corinthians 7:2
    These references are not to the highest ideal relationship between a man and his wife but they are an integral part of marriage. Many good, solid marriages are so not because of feelings (which are fleeting) but because of dedication to Him Who created and ordered marriage. Adam and Eve were barely acquainted before they messed up and were evicted. They had not “known” one another while in the garden. They only came together sexually after being sent out.
    Sometimes I wonder if we don’t read too many romance novels, watch too many love movies and listen to too many love songs.
    Isaac took Rebekah, who his father’s servant had bought for him, and who he had just met, into his tent (which had been his mother’s) and had sex with her, sealing her as his wife. — Genesis 24:67

  37. Gerry,

    I have don’t have time right now to debate the issue of divorce – but I am working on post dedicated the subject of divorce in the Scriptures where I will show my understanding of divorce from various Scripture passages. I might have it in the next week or so. Look for that post and then we can discuss.

  38. If this BF is pressuring you now, a woman to whom he is not married, be careful as he may not have the moral strength you need in a husband. You, the “weaker vessel,” should not have to be the spiritual and moral leader in your marriage.

  39. Gerry,

    I don’t necessarily agree with you that a young man would not be a good husband because he is tempted to have premarital sex with a woman that he is serious about or engaged to. I attended a Christian high school, and many of my friends went off to Bible college to be Pastors and they all struggled greatly with this. In fact after they were married some my Pastor’s friends wives would joke about how they constantly had to “keep his paws off of her”.

    I think the real issue is that we have “dating” today. This allows men and women to be alone together and just creates a huge burden of temptation. In Biblical times couples did not “date”, they were betrothed and barely saw each other during that period, and if they did they had family around them. They were never alone. It would be wonderful if we return our society to a betrothal type system, but I am not holding my breath. Even the Apostle Paul admits that young people “burn” with passion, and this is why I am against long engagements.

  40. Insanity said:
    “The answer is yes, and in Jenn’s case it than becomes a matter of a husband making a temporary and loving sacrifice on her behalf, out of compassion and understanding.”
    WOW, perfectly said. That’s what I was trying to say. You have a way with words!

  41. Insanity,

    Well said as always. The only thing I would add is a key word is “temporary”, the Scriptures only allow for “short” cessation of intercourse by mutual consent. So as you correctly pointed out – this can be a loving sacrifice on her husbands behalf for a temporary time, but if he allows this to go for months or years then it goes from being a sacrifice to him enabling his wife’s sinful behavior and it opens a dangerous door to sexual temptation – no matter how strong he thinks he is.

  42. That’s nice, Insanity and Emily, but what makes you think that Jenn disagrees with you, now that she’s clarified her position multiple times and explained that she’s not doing this in an attempt to manipulate her husband into changing his behavior?

  43. “If this BF is pressuring you now, a woman to whom he is not married, be careful as he may not have the moral strength you need in a husband. You, the “weaker vessel,” should not have to be the spiritual and moral leader in your marriage.”

    I definitely agree that I should not be the spiritual leader in a marriage and that’s why I haven’t got married to him yet. He’s still learning to be a better Christian and hopefully he will be soon. To his credit, he’s agreed fully to my proposal and has supported it throughout. It’s been 4 months and we were sexually active before that – my priest convinced me to stop sinning and since then, and particulrly since visiting the Vatican we haven’t done anything. He’s a guy, and he’s only 20, so of course it isn’t easy on him. He isn’t pressuring me, he just tells me that it’s really hard for him.

    At a time when it’s so easy to get sex, particularly for someone like my bf, I think it’s admirable that he has agreed to wait for marriage. Among my generation it’s hard to find a guy who’s willing to do even that. Most are very wary of any kind of commitment.

  44. Hey Gerry,
    I replied on my phone but I guess it didn’t work.
    Anyway, I definitely don’t want to be the spiritual leader in my marriage – that’s his job not mine. But that’s why I haven’t married him yet, he still has some work to do to be a good Christian. But still, I give him credit, because he’s a guy, he’s 20 years old and in our generation, it’s so easy to get sex – particularly for my bf – but still, he’s supported my decision and he hasn’t really pressured me into anything, he just tells me it’s really hard for him. The guys in my generation won’t even commit to this much so yeah.

    Oh and Larry, I’m not sure about that. ‘arranged marriage’ still happens in many cultures, and it doesn’t always work well because a couple may not be physically or mentally compatible.

  45. And are we also going to ignore that Jenn apparently made a loving sacrifice for her husband by continuing to have sex with him for the years during which their emotional relationship and communication broke down because, for whatever reason, he stopped talking to her and apparently ceased doing his part as a spiritual leader to their children, and even trying to continue having sex with him after he began triggering symtoms of PTSD in her. Having had the full story, we can see that, when she speaks of there being times when it’s permissible to deny one’s spouse sex, she means times when the other spouse is failing to meet other needs and the other spouse agrees to abstain for a time while they work on their other marital problems. I also think that it’s worth noting that continuing to have sex under such circumstances (i.e. when the sex is causing trauma) would be permanently damaging to the sexual relationship (and probably the rest of the marital relationship) between the couple and that it would likely be better in the long run to take a temporary break from sex so that both spouses can work on their issues (in this case, Jenn’s work on her newly revived nightmares and her husband’s work to resume his emotional relstionship with his wife). Then, hopefully, they could come together again and have a better relationship in all aspects, including a sexual one.

  46. Emily,

    He sounds like a good man. Many men of less character would have broken up with you as soon as you turned off the sex(for good reason).

    I agree that waiting for sex for marriage is God’s will. But then we have the question of waiting on marriage itself? I realize that some people will try and use the example of how Jacob worked for 7 years to get Rachel that somehow long engagements are OK. But what they forget is Jacob’s father – Issac – took Rebekah(Jacob’s mother) literally the moment he met her. He met her and took her into his mother’s tent and had sex with her, sealing her as his wife. I think if we were to ask Jacob if wanted to wait 7 years – he would have said “heck no”, he was forced to by the situation. I say all this to say I don’t think it should take forever to figure out if this is the right guy, and when you do you should get married. Knowing that as sexually frustrated as you are – he is probably 10 times more frustrated. – Just a thought.

  47. Larry,

    He is way more frustrated than me, and trust me, I’d rather we get married ASAP. But Gerry hit the nail on the head, I do NOT want to be the spiritual leader in the marriage, and currently it seems that I might have to be. For example, a few days ago he mentioned that he thinks some sexual activities, without going to as they say ‘fourth base,’ outside marriage should be allowed. I believe nothing whatsoever should be practiced, so I had to convince him. Though I wonder what your position is?

    There is also the issue that he’s in his final year of uni. He needs a proper job before anything happens.

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