Your husband berates you when you turn down his requests for sex, or when you don’t want to do the sexual acts he would like. Perhaps he even lobs Scripture at you, criticizing you for not meeting his sexual needs as the Bible says you should. Your husband calls you frigid. (Is that still a word the “younger generation” knows and uses? I could be dating myself.)
Your heart is crushed. You feel embarrassed or ashamed, or perhaps angry. Is there something wrong with you?
There are couples where the wife has a stronger sexual desire than her husband, and some husbands have learned wonderful ways to help their wives enjoy physical intimacy. But some Christian wives carry a boatload of guilt and/or shame about their sexual response or lack thereof.
Let me help unburden your heart. Here are 5 things to know as a Christian wife.
You have the right to say NO.
Your husband does not own you. Your body is not his property. You are not sinning when you say NO to your husband’s request for sex. God gave you the responsibility of caring for your mind, body, and soul in a way that first and foremost honors Him, and that allows you to offer your best self to your husband, your family, and others He places in your life.
That means if you’re used up, exploited, and empty, part of your responsibility is to find godly healthy ways to get filled up again. You don’t sit back and wait for someone else to fill you; you proactively go after the nourishment your soul needs.
God made your husband to desire sex.
Your husband is not a brute because he wants sex frequently. God placed that sexual drive within him. Engaging in sex with you as his wife affirms in your husband’s heart that he is a man, and that he has what it takes to make it in other areas of life. If he can be successful with you, it fuels his internal engines to go out into the world and survive. Sex is perhaps the deepest fulfillment of his masculinity. Some Christians have devalued this part of a man’s being.
But just like with any other need God gave human beings, your husband’s need for sex can be distorted, perverted, and used to control and destroy. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced that. This same need can also be used to nurture, allure, motivate, and bring you and your husband closer together. It’s not his desire for sex that’s the issue; that’s God-given. It’s what he does with that desire.
It’s his problem, not yours. (In part)
If your husband is comparing your sexual response to what he sees in pornography, to how a previous sexual partner responded to him, or to some imaginary picture in his mind, that’s his problem – not yours. It’s also, in part, up to him to allure you, draw you out, and help you respond. That may be something he needs to learn.
I’ve heard from some couples that a woman’s inability to achieve orgasm is a big source of shame or conflict. As an OB-Gyn, let me reassure you; some women experience the “Big O”, and some don’t. There’s nothing wrong with you if this isn’t part of your experience. Every woman’s sexual response is unique. Over time many women who choose to do achieve orgasm in sex. But please don’t carry any burden if you don’t, or don’t really want to! You’re not a failure, and neither is your husband.
You can choose to respond sexually.
Sex begins in the mind. (Remember those romance novels or movies? How did you feel then?) You can choose to take a mental step toward your husband. You have the power to “flip that mental switch.” When you do so, your body may well respond more then you anticipate.
Have you been avoiding your husband? It may be time to turn that around. Perhaps you need to take the initiative to address some big marriage problems so that you CAN come closer together. And then try looking at your husband a little longer. Mentally take a step toward him rather than away from him. Then follow up that step with an action. Say something caring rather than walking away. Put your hand on his shoulder. Make that kiss last. Make the decision to move closer, and see what happens.
Your response affects your husband deeply.
You have a lot more power than you think. You can say NO to your husband’s request for sex and still say YES to him as a person. You can emasculate him and elicit feelings of anger, desperation, and overwhelming frustration in his heart. Or you can protect, build up, and strengthen your husband as a person and as a man. That does NOT mean you are responsible for your husband’s behavior. But you ARE responsible for your behavior. How you use your power makes a difference.
If your husband seems to be only after your body, you can help him learn what it means to experience intimacy in the other dimensions also – those of emotional safety and closeness, deep friendship, and spiritual oneness. Study your husband. Find those areas where you can enter his world. That’s a big part of being the “helpmate” God created you to be.
True intimacy with your spouse includes at least four facets. If you’re feeling disconnected, there are things you can do to improve the intimacy between you in each of these areas.
In order to help, I’ve prepared a Resource Guide to help you Re-Connect with your Spouse. I hope you take advantage of this FREE resource right now!
Your turn: Has Scripture or shame been used to pressure you into sex? Does this help you let go of that burden? Leave a message below.
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