You want to be a good husband, the kind of husband God wants you to be. You love your wife deeply. But when it comes to sex, many husbands can fall into the belief that sex is about meeting their own needs, that it’s something you “get” from your wife. But it’s not only about you! There are also important things sex does for your wife.

This is dangerous territory. Not all sex is good. It’s a very rare woman who has not been harmed sexually. (And most men have been as well.) That doesn’t only include abuse; it also includes more seemingly subtle exploitation, distorted messages around sex from society and from religion, and more. The enemy has leveraged this area to do untold harm to humanity.

Sex is good when it is mutual, loving, honoring, exclusive, and within the covenant of marriage. Neither you nor your wife is entitled to sex. But a healthy sexual relationship in a Christian marriage does much not only for you, but for your wife.

So with those very important caveats out of the way, there are some wonderful things that kind of sex does for your wife.

Helps Her Feel Cherished

When the sum total of your sexual desires are focused on your wife, it helps her feel like she is enough. She is seen, enjoyed, treasured, desired. She is cherished.

That’s why she is so hurt if you turn elsewhere to get your sexual needs met – porn, an affair, etc. It’s why you looking lustfully at another woman will damage her soul so deeply, or why sexually crude jokes can wound her. Such things make a woman into an object that is only good for meeting a man’s needs, and that’s cruel and offensive.

That word cherished is a big one for a woman. It’s the opposite of being used. It means you see her as the most valuable thing in your world. You serve her, love her in the same way Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5:25)

A woman wants to respond to that kind of love. When you treat her in a cherishing way during sex it nourishes the deep parts of her soul.

Affirms Her Femininity

Your wife can sense what you value about her. It may be you value her giving you children, taking care of the house, perhaps her career, giving you sex, or whatever. But when you invite and woo her into a sexual encounter that’s about giving her pleasure while you also enjoy her deeply, you let her know you value her as a woman.

That’s why I hear from many wives who feel so hurt when their husband rejects them sexually, or seems simply uninterested. It cuts to the core of her personhood. This is not primarily about the different sexual appetites between husbands and wives; (that’s almost universal). It’s about a woman feeling wanted.

When you enjoy your wife, with tenderness and cherishing, you help elevate her sense of womanhood.

Helps Her Body Image

Almost every woman struggles with insecurity around body image. Too skinny, too fat, too old, too wrinkly, too something. Body changes after having a baby (or babies!) can be especially hard for some women to deal with.

One wife wrote to me devastated because her husband told her that when she became old he wouldn’t have sex with her any longer; he didn’t like old women’s bodies. Please don’t be that husband!

While a woman may dress to impress other women, what she wants most deeply is to be seen as beautiful, captivating, by her husband – clothed and unclothed. For you, remember the powerful mental aspect of sex. Choose to look for the appealing parts of your wife’s body, enjoy them, and let her know. When you are satisfied with her sexually, it helps a woman feel that her body is valuable.

What’s a Husband to Do?

You are not responsible to “make” your wife feel any certain way. But you can be a tremendous help to her when you understand the powerful role sex plays not only for you, but for her. So here are a few things you can do.

  1. Deal with your own sexual baggage. Your wife’s role is not to “cure” your porn use (I mention this only because it’s so common). Your sexual “stuff” can hurt your wife. Get to the roots of your own sexual issues, and deal with them before God.
  2. Support your wife’s healing journey. Marriage is intended to be a place where healing occurs – for both of you. If she feels safe with you it will be a lot easier for her to feel safe with God, and to do the work she needs to do in her own heart.
  3. Seek her heart more than her body. A woman wants to be wanted. She needs to feel that you “get” her, that you see her. Work overtime in that regard. Seek to connect with her heart. Most women want to be romanced.
  4. Cherish her outside the bedroom. Non-sexual touch, listening when she needs to talk, helping relieve her household or other burdens – those impact a woman’s sense of herself as a woman. Tell her she’s beautiful. (If you struggle here, find what’s beautiful about her, and tell her!)
  5. Seek her pleasure. Many wives tell me their husband seems to make sex all about his own pleasure. Don’t do that. Make intimacy about her. Take the time she needs before, during, and after. Look into her eyes. Talk to her. Be present with her, really present.

A healthy sexual relationship is worth the effort it takes. And you can make a big difference in that effort.

P.S. And yes, sex does important things for husbands as well. 

Your Turn: Has sex been a point of conflict in your marriage? Does this help you understand what sex means to your wife? Leave a comment below.

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