“Been married two years and we are both Christian. Our marriage is good, outside the bedroom. We have no children. My wife consented to sex once in the last year and that was six months ago. She refuses any kind of counseling. We abstained prior to marriage and from the first day of our marriage, she has always avoided sex and never enjoyed it.” – this came in as a comment from a Christian husband on my post “How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife”.
The man identifies himself as “M’s Husband”. This story actually is not technically a story of physical sexual denial, but one of emotional sexual denial. As I have said in some other posts – there are really two sins when it comes to sexual denial. The first sin is to physically deny your spouse sex. The second sin is when you give sex, but you give it grudgingly (with a bad attitude).
M’s Husband’s Story
“Been married two years and we are both Christian. Our marriage is good, outside the bedroom. We have no children. My wife consented to sex once in the last year and that was six months ago. She refuses any kind of counseling. We abstained prior to marriage and from the first day of our marriage, she has always avoided sex and never enjoyed it.
I came to the “end of my rope” this morning and after trying to be affectionate, asked her how long I need to wait. Her reply was that she never wants to have sex, ever. I told her, that was not an acceptable answer and something would have to be done. She then removed her clothes and lay on the bed, stiff as a board. She told me that it was her duty to submit and that I should make it quick and get it over fast. I backed off but after she got dressed, she kept telling me how I had my chance and I should not complain. She then gave me another chance and I took the offer. She was in a rage for the next two hours but the release felt good to me and it was something that I needed. I expect this to emerge as a pattern in our future.
I will always look to please her in and out of the bedroom, but if she refuses pleasure, I see no alternative. I will not engage in porn, adultery or anything sinful. I will not divorce her. Our marriage is good, outside the bedroom. I expect this to persist until, Lord willing, someday she may soften and accept the sexual pleasure and fulfillment that I will always offer.”
My Response to M’s Husband
I am so sorry to hear about the sexual dysfunction in your marriage.
You say that your “marriage is good, outside the bedroom”. But is it really?
When you have sexual frustration building up in the back of your mind how is that not going to bleed into your relationship “outside the bedroom”?
Sir – with all due respect you are only lying to yourself if you think your marriage is good outside the bedroom. At best you are simply suppressing your sexual needs to keep the peace and the illusion of a good relationship outside the bedroom.
A good marriage should be good inside the bedroom as well as outside the bedroom.
If a couple has great sex but has no relationship outside the bedroom that is not marriage as God intended it. But in the same way if a couple talks and seems to have a good relationship outside the bedroom but what happens inside the bedroom is ugly or dysfunctional then it cannot be said that this is a “good marriage” as God intended it to be.
When I wrote that post about “How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife” I made it very clear that this is not how God intends marriage to be. But because of sin this situation occurs where a husband has to sometimes accept grudgingly given sex by this wife.
I made the point there that we as husbands need to be making sure we are doing our part outside the bedroom to help cultivate that desire in our wives so things can be good inside the bedroom. But we cannot do our wives part. She must also do her part in cultivating her own desire toward you, you can’t do it all for her. She must be willing to go to counseling and explore why she has such a negative view of sex.
However some women have deep psychological and sin issues that have hardened their hearts where they do not have a healthy and right view of sex as God intended it.
Some Pastors and other Christian’s will tell you if you tried to get her to counseling and she refuses, then perhaps you will just have to accept a celibate life. They will tell you this is sacrificing yourself for your wife as Christ did his Church. This is “your cross to bear”.
Perhaps a few will even tell you that you need to just accept this grudgingly given sex by your wife as miserable as she is making it in order to avoid temptation, but beyond that there is nothing else you can do.
Many will tell you that “All you can do is pray for your wife that God will change her heart.”
By all means pray for your wife every day! Pray without ceasing! Pray for her and pray for yourself that God will protect you from temptation and from your heart becoming bitter toward your wife.
You said “I see no alternative”. Let me tell you my brother, there is an alternative. There is more that you can do.
A Sexual intervention is needed
You did the right thing, you suggested counseling to your wife but she has refused. When someone has a problem like this and they refuse counseling, that is when a sexual intervention is called for.
You need to have a sexual intervention for you wife with your Pastor and his wife. Go to your Pastor and explain the situation. If he is willing (and he should be), have him and his wife come out to your home one night. Do not tell your wife they are coming (that defeats the point of an intervention).
Explain to your Pastor and his wife in front of your wife the issues you are having with your wife’s attitude toward sex. Maybe your Pastor will ask you to leave your wife alone with him and his wife so they can speak privately with her and give her a chance to open up without you there. Maybe your Pastor’s wife may need to take your wife alone to another room so they can talk woman to woman. Women sometimes respond to women much better than to men on these issues. This may simply be a wrong attitude toward sex, but it may be a result of some much deeper issues. Perhaps she was sexually abused as a child. Maybe her parents or her church made her feel that sex was dirty and evil.
Now if your Pastor and his wife are not able to break through to your wife and she stubbornly resists this intervention you need to take additional steps.
For the time being while your wife is still resisting any help you will have to accept the grudgingly given (but still consensual) sex that she gives you. Look away from her face as she displays her sinful attitude.
Do not let her sin cause you to sin. You may think you are strong, but if you allow yourself to go too long without at least physically connecting with your wife (even though she is emotionally still rejecting you) you will leave yourself open to dangerous temptation.
The Bible tells us one of the reasons we are to marry is to avoid sexual temptation:
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)
But you also need to look at what you are doing outside the bedroom. You said your marriage is good outside the bedroom. Do you spend a lot of time with your wife doing things together? Do you talk a lot? Does your wife work? Does your wife have expensive habits?
If you are meeting all your wife’s wants outside the bedroom, as opposed to her needs you may well be enabling your wife’s sinful attitude and behavior toward sex in your marriage.
As the leader of your home, and as a Christian husband God does not call you to sacrifice yourself to enable your wife’s sinful behavior, but rather he calls on you to sacrifice yourself for her holiness.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” – Ephesians 5:25-27(NASB)
As a husband God wants you to unconditionally love your wife by providing for her needs, but he does not require you to unconditionally provide for her wants.
So if after an intervention attempt you see no change and no progress but a continued willful and defiant rebellion from your wife you have to stop meeting some of her wants (as opposed to her needs). Some will tell you this is you acting “petty” or “vindictive” toward your wife.
But it is not being petty or vindictive. It is called discipline. Your wife is not responsible for your behavior before God, but to a certain extent you are responsible to help shape and mold your wife’s behavior to the best of your ability.
Ultimately all you can do is start to remove some of her wants and see if she will make the right choice. Will she go and explore what has hardened her heart with a counselor or your Pastor’s wife? Or will she continue in rebellion in this area of sexuality in marriage? You cannot force her, she has to make the choice. All you can do is bring discipline into her life to attempt to persuade her to change course.
Once you have done all you can, then it is in God’s hands. But God wants you to do your part as the leader in your marriage.
I pray that God will give you the courage to “rock the boat” and confront this sin in your marriage. Do you realize that if your wife figures out what her road blocks are to sex it will benefit not just you but her as well? God designed sex to be a core part of marriage and a pleasurable part of marriage that should draw a couple closer. This is what you are fighting for.
When your wife finally does open up in counseling once she stops fighting it, there may be some issues revealed in that counseling that you as her husband need to work on. But you will never know until she finally breaks down the wall and opens her heart to God and to you.
May God be with you as you seek his will in this situation.