“To women who feel it is their right to refuse sex, I can only give my thought process. I can be quite the feminist when it comes to certain things, but I don’t think there’s any place for that in a marriage.” – This is a quote from a woman named Angel who recently started commenting on my blog. I include her full story below that she emailed me and gave me permission to publish this.
I am hoping to make this a continuing series as I get testimonials from married couples who have continued to show physical and sexual love toward one another through various physical adversities they face.
The most amazing thing about her story is that she and her husband are not Christians. But they instinctively knew what God put in their hearts(even if they did not know his word on the subject of marriage).
Their story reminds me of a passage from Romans:
“(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. – Romans 2:14-16 (NIV)
I am not saying that following God’s law regarding marriage gets you to heaven. The Scriptures are clear “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.“ – James 2:10 (NIV)
None of us can keep God’s law perfectly and that is why despite her obedience to God’s laws in marriage(without even knowing it) Angel and her husband still need to trust Christ as their savior. I hope they will see the wonderful savior we have in Christ as they explore his Word.
With that said here is Angel’s story.
Firstly let me just clarify that we are not a Christian couple. In fact, until I read your blog I was quite disparaging of the bible. It was only after reading your blog and seeing that Christian couples hold very similar views and morals to our own that this view is starting to change. I am now reading the bible as is my husband. I felt it important to let you know this from the start as I’m not sure if you are specifically interested in the religious aspect of our relationship.
I will tell you my story but will not be offended if, because we are not a Christian, you choose not to use it.
We have been married for 8 years, we always knew we wanted a traditional marriage, although I have to admit that the first year or two was quite difficult for me. It is one thing to say you want a leader and are happy to acquiesce to that leadership and another to put this into practice.
There are consequences for my behaviour as it is a reflection on his leadership. For instance, if I overspend one month, my budget with be cut the next. Again at first this was difficult to accept but, as we had both agreed before marriage that this is how we believed relationships work best, with a leader and a follower and we both felt the leadership role was the mans, it eventually worked out. I now enjoy the benefits of having a strong relationship and loving guidance. And get genuine pleasure from my husband’s praise, whether that be on how I look or having certain chores done when I’m having a difficult health day. I also feel genuinely sorry if I do something that makes him disappointed.
About a year into our relationship I found out I was pregnant, this ended in an ectopic pregnancy, the operation to remove the tube caused huge health complications which are ongoing. I will suffer severe pain for the rest of my life. Some days are better than others but at least once a month I will have a flare-up, this is the only time that I will ask him for a rain-check sexually, although I hardly ever have to as he is aware when flare-ups happen.
As the leader, he also leads in the bedroom and regularly brings up sexual discussions. How best to please him and how he can best please me. He needs sex or sexual release more often than I do, if we were to wait until I was sexually excited without any help from him, our sex life would be a lot slower.
Part of one of these discussions was me explaining to him that, for me, sexual arousal starts in the mind and so we regularly exchange naughty texts and he seems to delight in whispering naughty things in my ear to embarrass and excite me. He looks at me in a certain way sometimes and I know he wants me. The upshot of these little things is that I am very regularly looking forward to bedtime without him ever having laid a finger on me.
However there are times when this doesn’t happen, where we get into bed and he makes his desires clear without having indulged in the mental foreplay beforehand. Sometimes I am aroused quickly and its not an issue but then there are times when I am tired or feel particularly sore.
It’s those times that I see it as putting in the effort to make my husband happy and make our marriage work. I could make him feel like I’m doing him a favour, but I don’t see it that way. It is my job as his wife and help-meet (I believe the term you used was help-meet and it resonated with me, that is how I see myself.) to do what I can to keep him satisfied.
In the first instance, if I am tired, I turn over and join in, completely. I’m lucky in that I have a husband who gets pleasure from giving me pleasure, he enjoys my orgasms (my face is red) immensely and very rarely just wants release. These times do happen obviously, sometimes he’s tired and just wants a quickie. Again, I join in enthusiastically and make sure he goes to sleep satisfied.
When I am in more pain but am not having a flare-up, I make him aware that I am sore before we start. This used to stop him in his tracks until I explained that I only made him aware of it to make sure he treated me more gently. Sex is always painful at these times and so we have a certain position which allows penetration without adding to my pain and so that he cannot see in my face if it causes me more pain. This was my decision as I don’t want him to feel bad and stop.
I haven’t shared with him that I don’t get physical pleasure during these encounters as I would hate to make him feel guilty about something so natural. And again, I get pleasure from satisfying my husband. It may not be physical but it goes far deeper than physical. It can be difficult agreeing to sex during these times as I know it will hurt, but if I didn’t we would hardly ever have sex and I feel that would hurt our marriage far more than the physical discomfort I feel.
The longest he has had to go without sex is about 3 weeks, it was during a flare-up and I had asked for a rain-check but this flare-up just seemed to last so much longer than usual. He was good about it but I knew he was feeling frustrated. We discussed it and he finally allowed me to satisfy him in other ways. As soon as I was able to after everything had settled, I initiated sex and tried to make up for the length of time it had been. We have discussed it and he’s told me that he does get sexually frustrated during my flare-ups but that he doesn’t get cross with me because he knows that I would never refuse him without my pain being bad and that he would rather wait and be frustrated than to add to my pain.
I think it’s really important to have an active sex life. If I allowed my pain to get in the way of that it would change the way we are with each other. Sex is fun and makes you feel good (most of the time) but it’s also an intimate act, a way of strengthening your bond. We giggle during sex, usually about the funny noises our bodies make and the awkward positions we try out. Other people are not included in this, this is our time to be sexy and loving but also goofy and vulnerable. I think giving up sex would be giving up a huge part of the intimacy that keeps a couple strong.
To women who feel it is their right to refuse sex, I can only give my thought process. I can be quite the feminist when it comes to certain things, but I don’t think there’s any place for that in a marriage. You can say “we should only have sex when we both want it” but ultimately this can only damage a marriage. If you are regularly rejecting your husband it will affect his confidence, he will become insecure in himself and will think its because you don’t want him. That is a horrible thing to do to another person, especially the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. And it will lead to affairs and/or divorce.
Just like you have the right to not want sex, he has the same right to want it, why should he have to constantly go without? If you don’t feel in the mood, do you just not bother to cook for your children? Or go to work? Sometimes in life as well as marriage we have to do things we don’t want to. But the consequences for not doing it make us grit our teeth and do it anyway. And 9 times out of 10 when I’m just not in the mood and he makes advances, it will only take a kiss in a certain place or a (excuse the graphics) well placed finger, for me to become aroused.
Perhaps the next time you aren’t in the mood, make the effort anyway, you may be surprised at how quickly you will start to enjoy yourself. And it will make your husband feel loved and wanted again. I was in a previous relationship where my partner regularly refused me, he just wasn’t into sex, it might not have had anything to do with me but it totally destroyed my confidence in my looks, personality and sexual ability. I would hate to do that to another person, even accidentally.
The sacrificial love that Angel’s husband shows to her during her flare ups would put many Christian husbands to shame. The sacrificial love that Angel shows to her husband by having sex with him even through the pain at times or when she is not in the mood would put many Christian wives to shame.
The way that Angel willingly submits to her husband’s discipline in the area of finances is another thing that would put many Christian wives to shame.
Angel’s story shows that even when non-believers practice God’s design in marriage they reap the benefits of following his design. If only more believers in Christ who have this plainly set before them in God’s Word would follow their example in this regard.