Sometimes “Sexual Interventions” are needed in a Christian marriage

“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.

About me

I just did a well needed tune up on my About me page.

As a young man I was passionate about four areas of study – theology, history, human nature and computers.  My day job working in IT lets me exercise my love of technology and this site allows me to serve God by teaching others what I have learned from his Word, from history books and from human nature.

Many have asked what my educational background is.  I attended and graduated from a Protestant Christian high school. I also have some college training as well as certifications in various technical arenas.   I have taught Sunday school classes and during my first marriage filled my church’s pulpit when my Pastor was not available to preach.

While I do not have a degree in theology I have studied the Scriptures in high school and for most of my adult life(so about 25 years).  I have read through the entire Bible several times and I have memorized many portions of the Scripture.  While I was in college I studied the Greek and Hebrew languages but I do not claim to be a scholar in these areas….

Read the complete new About me page here.

You Can’t Be Together All the Time – Respecting Your Husband’s Space

This is a great post by DragonFly and so needed in marriage. Abraham Lincoln’s wife being so needing and jealous is a great example of what not to be as a wife.

While husbands and wives definitely need to talk,have sex and give each other quality time – that does not mean we have be spending every moment staring into each other’s eyes or talking or even having sex.

We and we should be able to have our friends(both husbands and wives) – I think this makes it better when we do come back together for quality time.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

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Something I deeply treasure in our marriage is the time we spend together.  Whatever season we’re in, whether there is ample amount of time, or barely enough time to reconnect, I truly do value that sense of togetherness.

When we were dating and in college, some of our mutual friends joked that we were attached at the hip, they said they never saw us by ourselves – we went everywhere together, did everything as a couple, and tried to see each other as much as humanly possible.

When we were first married, I heard the term co-dependent and worried that we’d fallen into that relational category because of how much we loved to spend time together.

Co-Dependent -a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly:  dependence…

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“I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband into an Idol!”

This is absolutely a fantastic post. While the Bible commands wives to submit to and follow their husband’s leadership – they should never make their husband into an idol by making all their happiness and joy dependent on him. God must remain our source of joy both before marriage and after marriage. Our spouses(husband or wife) will let us down, but God never will.

The Peaceful Wife

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FACEBOOK NEWS!

I am starting a new prayer group on Facebook. It will be just for women who want to become leaders in ministry for this prayer team for the first 4-6 weeks while I train these leaders. Then we will open up the group to all women who would like to join. It will be a closed group in a few days. Right now, I have it as a public group and have links on my FB pages if anyone is interested in joining the training for leadership. Please join me in prayer that God might direct every step I take and every step we all take in this endeavor for His kingdom and His will to be done and His glory! There is a link on the right hand column of my blog for my Facebook page. 🙂

From a dear sister in Christ whose marriage is facing…

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What would it look like for Christians to honor husbands and fathers?

Sunshine,

Excellent and Biblical post!

I especially agree with this that you said at the end of your post and I am actually working on some posts of my own on the subject of Men implementing Biblical discipline in their homes – as it is not only their right to do so, it is their responsibility to do so.


affirm that men have both the right and the duty to insist upon obedience,
teach husbands and fathers how to identify and lovingly confront disobedience in their wives and children, just as Christ did with His Apostles,
and support men in their efforts to lead their families by supporting their right to gently, lovingly rebuke rebellious family members.”

The Sunshine Thiry Blog

Several weeks ago, IB linked to this quote at Preston Yancey’s site:

I want to hear about the Jesus who demanded loyalty, who commanded authority from storms, sinners and satanic forces, who said vexing and frustrating and wild things. I want to hear preaching which is not just faithful to His words but to His TONE: of comfort but also of rebuke, of welcome but also of warning. I want to hear His dares, His call to come and die, His challenge to make hard choices. I want the Jesus of the gospels who does not just meet our needs, but who calls us to bold and courageous adventure, to self-sacrifice, to taking risks. I want the Jesus who promises huge rewards for huge sacrifices, who embraces fiesty Peter and wayward Mary and touchy-feely John.

I want the Jesus who welcomed the little children, but also the Jesus with eyes…

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Can a Christian husband deny his wife equal access to his income?

I have had this question asked to me a lot lately so I thought I would dedicate a post to this issue.  While a wife is Biblically entitled to be fed and clothed by her husband(Exodus 21:10 & I Timothy 5:8) she is NOT entitled to equal access to his income.

The only “equality” the Bible places in marriage is on the issue of sex, that both the husband and wife have an equal right to have sex with the other(1 Corinthians 7:4). But in the Biblical model of marriage, marriage is NOT an equal partnership, but rather a patriarchy(a male lead hierarchical relationship) that is symbolic of the relationship of God to his people.

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:23-24

Some egalitarians and Christian feminists attempt to try and point to Ephesians 5:21 where it says “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” in order to cancel out the specific submission commands to women in the context of marriage.  They do this in order to try and prop up their false “mutual submission” and “partnership” style of marriage.  But this does not match the context and it makes no sense. If man and woman were equal partners in marriage(with no hierarchy) – this would break the model of Christ and the Church where he is the head, and the church is to submit to Christ in everything.

Another Bible passage egalitarians and Christian feminists point to in order to cancel out the mountain of Biblical passages that support the patriarchal view of marriage is found in Galatians:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

Context is ALWAYS important when looking at the Bible(as well as any other book). In Galatians 3 Paul was not speaking on marriage, but rather on the new entity that God created, the Church .  He was saying that spiritually speaking we as believers are equal spiritually before Christ.   God equally saves men, women, Jews, Greeks, slaves and freemen the body of Christ is made up all these people – this is what Paul was saying.

Egalitarians and Christian feminists would have us believe that Paul literally just canceled out everything he wrote on the submission of wives to husbands,the headship of husbands over their wives and the general headship of men over women(Ephesians 5:23-24,Colossians 3:18,Titus 2:5,I Corinthians 11:3 & I Timothy 2:11).

They would also have us believe that Paul was directly contradicting Peter who also commanded wives to be in subjection to their husbands(I Peter 3).

No where in ALL of the Scripture is marriage EVER portrayed as equal partnership.

Recently I have had many Conservative Christians emailing me privately and some commenting publicly about how happy they are that I am presenting the Biblical view of marriage, despite how it totally conflicts with the modern western view of marriage.  But I have actually received comments and emails from some atheists and those who have left Christian churches.

While these people(atheists and non-Christians) detest the Biblical view of marriage they have actually said they appreciate that I am not trying to do what many Christians do – and read egalitarianism into the Bible.  The Bible and egalitarianism could not be more contradictory, and even non-believers who take the Bible at face value can accept this(and that is why they reject Christianity).

It is sad that many professed Christians continue to refuse to accept this truth and instead continue to try and replace God’s design of marriage with their “equal partnership” idea of marriage even though it directly conflicts with what God has clearly revealed in his Word.

Applying the Biblical principle of male headship to marital finances

So no, Biblically speaking both spouses do NOT have an equal right to what the other makes. The husband is the authority of all income that comes into the home, whether through his wife or himself.

A husband can deny access to his income as long as he is providing the necessities of food, clothing and shelter to his wife. He may do this because his wife spends too much money, or he may use it as a form of discipline for other sinful behavior.

But there may not be any negative reason why he chooses not to give complete and equal access to the family finances.  Some men might do this in order to shield their wife from some of the financial stresses the family may face. Whatever the reason, the truth is from a Biblical perspective a husband does not have to open the family finances to his wife.

However, this truth does not mean he is released from talking with his wife and knowing from her perspective what she thinks are the financial needs of herself, their children and their home.  Out of respect for his wife’s position as the manager of his home and children, and also because a husband ought to know his wife’s opinions, he should regularly inquire of his wife what she thinks the home needs are.

Is there anything wrong with a husband choosing to give his wife equal access to the family finances?

No there is nothing wrong Biblically speaking when a husband chooses to give his wife equal access to the family finances.  Some husbands might choose to delegate the weekly paying of bills to their wife and there is nothing wrong with this.  But these same husbands must realize, that while they can delegate the actual paying of weekly debts to their wives, they can never delegate their responsibility to lead the families finances.

However, a Christian husband is not permitted to have a “hands off” approach to the finances where his wife handles all the money and he has no idea what is going on – this is by definition dereliction of  a husband’s duty to lead his home in this very important area of finances.   A Christian husband should be setting the financial policies of the home and setting a budget(after gathering the needs of the home from his wife’s perspective of course), and planning for things like family vacations and savings for emergencies.

What if the husband refuses to work or improperly spends money?

A wife cannot discipline her husband because she is not his authority. If he is doing something wrong, like not providing for her or their family such as in the case of a lazy husband who sits at home all day, then she can go to his authority in the Church(the Pastor) and have the Pastor deal with her husband’s sin.

This could also apply to a husband who has a gambling problem or a drug addiction and leaves his family with no food, clothing or shelter. In this case a wife does have recourse, because even though she is under his authority, her husband is sinning against her and violating the rights of her and her family to be properly provided for and she can take action by going to those who are in authority over her husband.

In a worst case scenario if a husband refuses to provide for his wife and children after being confronted by his authorities and she has consulted with her Pastor and he agrees, she could divorce him for breach of the marriage covenant which includes his responsibility to provide for her if he is physically able to work.

Conclusion

The scriptures tell Christian wives that they are to submit to their husbands in “everything“(Ephesians 5:24) and this includes in the area of finances.  A Christian husband is to be “one that ruleth well his own house”(I Timothy 3:4) , and he does not have the option to take a “hands off” approach in this very important area.

A husband may choose to give his wife equal access to the finances, or he may choose not to.  He may restrict her access temporarily because of her overspending or because of other issues in the marriage.  There may be no problems in the marriage, but it is still his prerogative as the head of the home whether he will grant her full and equal access to the family finances.

However, a Christian husband’s authority in the financial area carries with it his responsibility toward his wife to talk with her and understand her opinions as to what she, the children and the house need. Only then through prayerful consideration and taking his wife’s concerns into account, can he make wise and informed decisions about the financial direction he will take his family in.

Ultimately, if the finances of a home are in disrepair God holds the husband as the head of the home directly responsible. We need to be encouraging more Christian men to take a more active role in leading their families in all areas of life, and especially this very important area of finances.

And for all those “abuse accusers” out there, this is not “financial abuse” according to our creator and God but rather this is the order and responsibly he has given to Christian husbands to provide for and lead their homes in this important area of finances.