July 1, 2015

Sex Isn’t Optional

Gary Thomas — 

Sex isn't optional final

 

“Since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

1 Corinthians 7:2-5

The notion of a sacred marriage calls us to a new standard in every aspect of marriage: kind, generous, and selfless service. We should look for ways to serve our spouse every day. We might miss opportunities because of being too busy or preoccupied with our own problems, but the notion of intentionally and deliberately denying something to our spouse is to Paul completely beneath the character of a true believer.

What Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 is that this is also true in the bedroom, that in fact, it is a very serious sin to sexually deprive or deny your spouse unless it is by mutual agreement for a season of concerted prayer. Fourth century church father John Chrysostom spoke with forcefulness: “If you refuse to serve your husband properly, you offend God [and likewise husbands refusing their wives].”

An eighteenth century Russian Orthodox classical writer (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk) took it further than I would, but he demonstrates the passion of those who have dealt with this issue in previous centuries: “When the husband leaves his wife and the wife sins with another, then the husband is responsible for this sin, as he gave his wife occasion for sin. Likewise when a wife leaves her husband and the husband sins with another, then the wife is guilty of that sin, for the same reason.”

“Leave” could be read as “long term denial.” “Sins with another” could have many additional modern applications.

Because of the reality of evil, because of the constant pull of sexual temptation, because sexual desire is a physical yearning as much as a spiritual one that can’t be simply “turned off” by will power alone, Paul is clear that it is cruel and sinful to deny our spouse what they can lawfully receive nowhere else. When I marry someone, I am agreeing to meet their sexual needs—that’s part of the deal. To then renege on that is to, in John’s (and Paul’s and St. Tikhon’s) words, commit fraud.

Now, of course this isn’t true when, for instance, the wife or husband is seriously ill or the wife is recovering from pregnancy. The same could be true when psychological issues over past abuse start cropping up and need to be dealt with compassionately. But even in these circumstances, when full intercourse isn’t possible, there are things a spouse can do to meet his/her mate’s sexual needs, and a wise, loving, and kind spouse will do so.

Some might say, “Well, my spouse doesn’t deserve sexual favors, the way he/she is treating me.”

That’s a contradictory statement—the mere fact that they are your spouse means they deserve, in some sense, “sexual favors.” Of course, if a woman fears physical abuse, she should never feel a spiritual obligation to become naked and defenseless in the face of a potential assailant. To deny this is to twist Scripture far beyond common sense and even decency. If a man has given himself over to a repugnant sexual sin and the wife has to work through the process of forgiveness before she can be intimate with him, that’s understandable as well (and in such circumstances, a time of therapeutic abstinence for the man can be necessary and helpful for restoration and healing). But many use the above statement for far more “casual” sins—moodiness, selfishness, or simply being lazy in demonstrating love.

The wise couple will address why one spouse no longer desires sex or is withholding it, rather than simply forcing the issue with a blanket statement from Scripture. But they will never let the status quo remain the status quo if the status quo is offensive to God. Continually denying our spouse—God’s son or God’s daughter—is to cultivate a heart that is in rebellion to God’s nature as a giver.

Besides, withholding sex perpetuates the problem, it never solves it. Haven’t you found this to be true? Has withholding sex ever made a marriage better? Chrysostom writes, “Imagine a household in which the wife abstains from marital relations without her husband’s consent. Suppose he commits fornication, or on the other hand remains continent but frets and complains, loses his temper, and constantly fights with his wife.”

John is essentially saying that one of two things will happen: the husband will commit fornication, and the wife will be considered partially responsible for “setting him up.” Or, the husband will manage to resist temptation, but he’ll take out his frustration in other ways—he frets, he complains, he’s negative, he loses his temper, he picks verbal fights, he never affirms his wife, encourages her, or compliments her. This sounds like a horrific marriage but it is not, sadly, an uncommon one, and withholding sex is one of the most fertile seedbeds to create such a despicable relational climate. Whether or not this should be the case, the fact is that it is more difficult for a man to act lovingly toward his wife when he is being denied sexual opportunity.

As an older husband I feel great empathy for younger men, many of whom are passionate about being faithful and walking with integrity, but they are shamed and denied by and sometimes even humiliated by wives who don’t understand what it is like to live with a younger man’s body and a younger man’s brain. Wives, many things change for men as we get older. But if you’re married to a younger man, you probably have to multiply his struggle against this pull by ten times to get up to half of what he feels like he is facing. Must he face this alone? Will you allow the father of your children, the man who has pledged his life to you, to struggle without any demonstrated compassion by a wife who apparently has more important priorities to which she gives her time, attention, and energy?

And men, let me apply this in another sense: meeting our wife’s sexual needs doesn’t just mean being available for sex—it means creating the kind of sexual experience that she desires. You can say, “I’m always ready for sex,” but if the sex act is always all about you, if you aren’t discovering what pleases her, if you don’t know how to fulfill her pleasure to completion, then you are denying your wife in another equally cruel sense.  Because she’s not fulfilled in her sexual relationship with you, perhaps she is now more vulnerable to temptation in other ways, should someone else offer a more thoughtful sexual experience.

If God takes this seriously enough to make it so explicit and so clear in Scripture, then we should take this seriously as well. Unless there are substantive reasons being addressed with a counselor or pastor, we simply should not and cannot deny our spouse sexually. To do so is cruel, mean, selfish, and unkind. It sets them up for a serious spiritual fall. It’s an act of fraud, because on the day we got married we committed to meet this need. And it makes us become cold-hearted people who don’t live with God’s warm generous grace.

Even more, however, it causes the couple to miss out on what a positive sexual relationship fosters: the intimate connection that touches our souls, the stolen smiles throughout the day, and the memories of pleasure that naturally bonds husband and wife. Like all of God’s commands, this one is the doorway to true happiness, though at times it may feel more like a burden.

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30 responses to Sex Isn’t Optional

  1. .

    I am trapped in a marriage with a man who has little interest in sex. There have been a lot of relationship issues as well… I understand very well some of the ways that we both went wrong in relating to each other, but there have been no egregious sins such as adultery.
    He has been guilty of using pornography occasionally in the past, but I honestly don’t believe this has been an ongoing problem.
    We had a lot of conflict over money in the early years of our marriage. Without going into a lot of detail, we both did things that were hurtful and unreasonable. Both of us could name off a long list of things that the other person did that any marriage counselor would say was wrong. We were both wary, defensive, and reactive.
    A couple of years ago I came across one of your books that did a lot to change my attitude towards marriage and towards my husband. I told him I was sorry for my part in the mess that our marriage had become, and I have worked very hard to change the things about myself that I know are bothersome to him, and to become a more loving, giving wife.
    And we do fight less… but our sex life has not improved at all. He will “allow” me to do some things if I take the initiative and do all of the work, but we haven’t had “normal” sex in years.
    Once when I tried to talk to him about it, he said I emasculated him and this is just what I get.
    I have done a lot of things in managing our home, kids, and finances because I felt like I had no choice. He wouldn’t, so I had to step up. I see now that there are ways that I could have handled our issues better, but at the time, I was in survival mode.
    I have worked hard in the past couple of years to become more sensitive to his needs, to build him up as a man, and to simply let things go.
    But he still has little interest in sex.
    I think most Christian marriage authors seriously underestimate the raw power of women’s sex drive. It isn’t all about love and roses… Women need sex too. I would go so far as to say that it is partly about supply and demand. If a husband wants it all the time, a wife might begin to view it as a chore. But when there isn’t any, it is very difficult to deal with. And it makes it worse when many if not most Christian marriage articles allude to the notion that marriage would be so much better if only women would give their husbands more sex.
    It isn’t all about self esteem either, although it is definitely hard on my self esteem that my husband does not desire me. I feel like a freak and a total loser at being a woman.

    As usual, I appreciate your articles, but I see no way out of the situation I am in. I don’t want sex that is tolerated out of a sense of obligation. I want passion and sharing. I think the same could be said for most people, women or men. The physical side is easy to take care of. But without sex, a marriage just isn’t a marriage.
    I feel trapped in a hopeless situation with a man who bailed out emotionally long ago (actually I don’t think he was ever very invested in making our marriage work).
    But even the lack of emotional commitment is easier to deal with than the lack of sex. And they both feed off of each other in a vicious cycle.
    I am trying so hard to keep my head above the water. To do what I know is right. To put my marriage vows and my children above my own needs. But I don’t know how much longer I can do it. It is a long and lonely road

  2. I also would like to hear your thought on this topic in lieu of pornography/sex addiction and unfaithfulness on husband’s part.

  3. Hey Gary,
    My husband and I have been married for two years. I wanted to seek your honest godly counsel on something that’s been on my heart the last several months. I have talked to my husband about it over and over but we get nowhere and both just walk away more upset in the end. I married a wonderful guy who loves me and loves Jesus, but my sex drive is significantly greater than his. We agreed to be intimate about once a week about a year ago but it ends up being once every 2wks or even a little longer than that. I wait and wait and then I say something in tears like once a month about wanting to more. And he says he just wasn’t wired that way so it’s hard for him since his meds have depleted his drive and enjoyment of it. I don’t want to be a nag so I try not to say anything anymore in hopes that things will just happen if I let him take the lead but it seems even less frequent now probably bc he just doesn’t even think of it. How can I be a blessing to my husband and how can we overcome this together? Please help. Thanks for whatever words of wisdom you have.

  4. Dear Gary, My husband and I have been married for 13 years and been together for 15. We have been thru so much and God has taught me so much about marriage and my spouse. In fact my husband was the one who found you and we did the sacred marriage a few times. I read a few of your books on my own. Recently the flame seems to have gone out when it comes to his sexual desire or much of anything intimate with him. He is on medication due to his OCD and PTST but not sure if thats a side effect or not or he is 44 and could partially blame it on that. I have been prayed for him for several years that God would help become a Godly man. He is a believer but lets just say I have been the strongest when it comes to being led by the spirit. I was wondering if you could help me with some advice as to how to go about helping us with this problem. He says we will work on it but he will forget about it cause he says he does not think about sex. What! Drives me crazy. Much less makes me feel unloved and undesirable! He says he still loves me and is still in love with me just doesnt think about sex. Please help. I need prayer and if you can reference scripture for me that would be great. thanks, Lisa

  5. Sex is a need.

    Yes, for life we only NEED food, water, and shelter.

    A marriage is a life of two that have become one. Without sexual intimacy the marriage will eventually wither and die. In certain times, such as tragic loss in the family or medical emergency’s we can (and should) withhold for a time of prayer but that is inline with what the bible teaches.

    A marriage without sex is nothing more than two roommates that will eventually go their separate ways.

  6. While there is much more to this subject than your blogpost, what do you feel is the best way to reconcile intimacy in marriage when one spouse is not fulfilling their marital role ( insert your more recent post on the selfish spouse)?
    When you are aware your spouse desires it but due to the daily struggles you have and their constant lack of awareness to your needs makes them very much undesireable to you? Not so much a withholding for power sake but resentment perhaps.

  7. Hi Gary Thomas,
    I have read 2 of your books, Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence and a regular reader of your blogs. I am interested in your view on pornography, marriage, and Matt. 5:28-32. I have been married to an unbeliever for 40 years who will not stop viewing pornography. This has been going on for many years. When ask to stop he has repeatedly said, “I am not his mother and he does not need me to monitor what he watches”. I get conflicting views from pastors when asked this question. “Does God allow at any time separation/divorce in Matt. 5:28-32 for pornography”? From what I have read you do not address it or if you do I can not find it in any of your writings. What you send me my pastor (who also has read your books and I have been in marriag counseling with for 3 years) would also like to read it. We are both interested in what you have to say on the subject. If you don’t want to address this subject on reply please email me. babyjane2525@hotmail.com
    Thank you

  8. I married at 24 years old to a man I was already sexually active with and after the vows were said it was like someone turned the faucet off with an occasional drip. He was spiritually, verbally, and emotionally abusive. I didn’t know better at the time and I really believed I was so unattractive..Shortly after, I stopped undressing in front him because I believed he hated my body. His remarks toward my stretchmarks or blemishes would drive these insecurities so deep they became my identity. I later found out he was addicted to pornography. (I knew he was into it when we dated, but I honestly thought that was gone when we got married) We went to church occasionally….but were never vested. I began seeing a therapist (not a Christian). At this time Jesus did not rule my life and the marriage ended in a divorce.
    Today, I am in a thriving marriage. Not because of sex, but because our desire is for the other person to know, down to their very core, how loved they are, how appreciated and wanted they are….and when I am physically drained at the end of a hard day, he lightens my load…not to seduce me, but to remind me of how precious I am to him. Those little acts of sweetness draw me toward him, they revive me and I find myself wanting to show him how much I love him in ways I know he will receive it most.
    It’s a beautiful harmonious melody….. I love my “duty” as a wife, I can see God’s work in my husband’s life over the years and feel honored to be a part of it!

    This blog was a great read…as always, thanks and God bless you and your sweet family!

    • What a stark picture of two entirely different visions and realities of marriage! Thanking God with you that you now enjoy such a blessed union.

  9. Hi Gary, thank you for this article. My husband & I are involved in marriage ministry @ our church & FamilyLife. I’m also published author (Desperate Wives ~ Help & Hope for Women Considering Separation or Divorce). I used several excerpts from your ‘Sacred Marriage’ book.

    Having said that, there needs to be some compassion & understanding for couples who struggle with physical disabilities. We’re retired, & once had a very fulfilling & satisfying sex life. However my husband has had 7 back surgeries & also has neuropathy in his legs & feet. He is on pain meds, which keeps him comfortable but one of the side effects is erectile dysfunction. So although we dearly love each other & give each other so much in every other area of our married life, our sex life is practically nil due to these issues.

    We talk, research & seek God to know & understand what if anything we can do to achieve a better sex life, but in the meantime we both feel sad that this part of our marriage relationship is lacking. So for those couples who may be dealing with this or similar issues, I ask there be grace extended. Believe me I would love to have what we’ve experienced in the past, & feel we need to continually express our love, care & commitment in other ways. Thanks for listening

    • Please understand that a short, 1200 word blog post can’t address every situation. You two need compassion, not a sermon. The fact of a physical disability is way beyond the scope of this discussion. I commend you for your faithfulness in the face of this challenge and pray that God will richly bless your marriage

  10. Thank Gary, this os precious and so important,thanks for presenting this topic in a balanced way and with the word of God as the bases. If you would allow I would like to make a few comments. I also married with the idea that men were the ones who were high on desire and need for sex, so I read christian books to prepare myself to give my best to my husband. Much was my surprise when with the years I discovered that actually I and many other women also have strong desire and need for sex and that many men have a lower desire which is by no means abnormal. My situation was complicated by the fact that my husband had actually no interest in me after we married,which was the total opposite of when we were dating,I had to keep his hands of and take care otherwise we would have been intimate before we married I did not want that as a believer. Well the rest is a long story which is not for now. But my comments are on the journey during these 14 years. I struggled a lot to know the balance between submission, patience,long suffering etc. What did God want me to do? Also not knowing where to get help isolated me and worsened the problem,we women also tend to want to protect the man,again,finding the balance between what should stay private and what should go into an accountability stage. Today there are excellent christian sites were one can find guidance ( True intimacy site and Every man’s battle series by Eldridge and your blog) You are right about the consequences, I went down a hill into major depression, I lost all hope and died inside. But God is our helper. When I read the” Boundaries books for the first time I realised what I had allowed to happen and continuo happening in my marriage. I obviously had some growing to do and some boundaries to set. It still took another few years of praying and asking God’s direction before I got out of this situation. Maybe it’s obvious for an outsider but I had made a promise in front of God when we married and that meant only moving in the direction God showed.He showed me that my fight to save my marriage (as noble or biblical as it was) had become more important than my relationship with Him. I had to lay my marriage and much more in His hands. I had to accept that the battle was the Lord’s and not mine, and that I would never change my husband,only once he let God work with him could something happen. I had to step out and go and live away from him after praying for a few years about leaving or not ( and I am not advising anyone to do this,God works individually and not by formulas). It was the most difficult thing I had to do, but slowly God is restoring my self-esteem,my desire to live. He said He never leave me nor forsake me,and He hasn’t. Another thing I had to learn was to brings this out in the open, God is light, opening up to a select few of mature believer helped me to share the load,have people praying for and with me and made my husband accountable. I do not know the end of this story but He does and even if I made or make mistakes in these difficult decisions,He work all things for the good of those who love Him. I pray that if there are other women going through similar situation, that they will cling to God,His arm is not too short for any situation and He works uniquely in each situation. Blessings from someone who is still deeply and desperately depending on His grace. Thanks Gary

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Mara. Your experience is not, sadly, all that uncommon any more, so I’m thankful you raised the issue. To the wives who resonate with this–it will never get better on its own. You need to work with a counselor who can confront the husband (when a man seemingly has high libido before marriage and none after–and it’s not due to physical disease or age–there’s a rather predictable reason) and address the situation directly. The longer it goes on, the more damage is done, and healing becomes even more difficult. Being proactive isn’t a betrayal–it’s what your husband needs you to do most, though he may well resent it.

      • My husband is the same way. He assures me there is no pornography, just exhuastion and in case he is slightly obese which reduces physical desire. It is very hard on me emotionally. Sometimes I feel betrayed and I wonder why he told me he wanted to marry me so much. Many thoughts and prayers for the women who have to struggle with this as well. I finally reached out to my parents and pastor but I don’t know if anything will actually change.

      • Thanks for your words, you are right about being proactive, I saw at least 5 christian counsellors during these yrs but nothing changed in my husband’s atitude,there was never a point where I saw sorrow from his side,or admitting addiction to pornography (although I found out and confronted him). My wish is just that other women in the same situation will have the strength to be proactive as you said. It is very difficult and very painful but its the right thing to do like you state. Ephesians 6:14.

      • How to find a counselor who is trained and can help? I have tried to talk with counselors at church — I don’t think they have the training for this depth of an issue. Twenty plus years of a similar situation and I am beside myself, ready to change. Ready to do the hard work of forcing the issue before I have an emotional or physical affair and ruin my testimony.

  11. This Is pretty eye opening and I never thought about withholding sex from my spouse. We are getting married soon, so this role will be one I gain. I guess this goes into learning each other, which as a woman– I realize is a job in itself. Because I can already notice where we disagree and have to work through things and life is pretty busy. So we are just learning how this all fits in.

    This is really well written, I definitely hope to be the wife God wants me to be. I believe it will be a daily battle. One I will need help with.

  12. “Because of the reality of evil, because of the constant pull of sexual temptation, because sexual desire is a physical yearning as much as a spiritual one that can’t be simply “turned off” by will power alone, “….this is an issue I’ve always had with the church concerning singles. Some in the church tell singles its a sin for singles to even think of sex. I’ve been told this to my face by people in the church. I like Paul because he was a very practical man. His solution was to get married, yet the church seems to want singles to just ignore any desires for sex. Many cannot do that, the desires are there. I wish the church would push for REALISTIC solutions instead of wishful thinking.

  13. Hi Gary, I agree – sex is very important in a marriage and I think a lot of women need to hear that generally men can’t take it or leave it as a lot of women might feel they can. I also agree that it is important to seek help if one spouse does not feel they want to make love to their spouse and that it is not a situation that can just be left to continue indefinitely.

    However, I think perhaps that it needs to be “sold” in a different way. Yes, what you are saying is in the Bible so it is important for Christian spouses to take note of. However, I think for most women, being told that they have to have sex with their husbands because their husbands have physical urges, if you don’t they will either be grumpy and fight with you or cheat on you and you will be held responsible, is a pretty sure way to turn a woman off sex. Making love to your spouse should always be out of a freedom to love and not out of duty, obligation, intimidation, fear of abandonment etc or else resentment is likely to set in pretty quickly. Instead, people need to learn the true beauty of connecting with their spouse in this most intimate way – not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually (I recommend writings on Theology of the Body in this regard).

    You speak of how women need to understand men’s sexual needs. I think you also need to mention how a woman’s sexual needs are often very different to a man’s. We don’t always have that physical compulsion to pursue sex as men generally do. Our desire to make love to our husbands needs to come out of a deep emotional and spiritual intimacy with our husbands. You exhort men to provide a satisfying sexual experience for their wives and while this is important, I think for a lot of women this would be secondary (unless the poor sexual performance comes from a place of selfishness, carelessness or laziness (i.e. lack of love)). I think it is more important for men to realise that their wives need their time, their love, their care. In order to make love we need to feel loved. Couples need to have make time to experience emotional and spiritual intimacy in their relationships if they are to have a hope of enjoying a deep and satisfying sexual intimacy. It all has to come together in a deep relationship of love, and of course, this is the responsibility of both spouses. We are faced with so many enemies to intimacy in this modern world – TV, internet, social media etc – and that in addition to the usual challenges we face in life (children, exhaustion, painful past experiences, physical pain and illnesses). Both spouses really need to make intimacy in their marriage a top priority in order to experience the intimacy that we both desire. But with the grace of God it is possible!

    • Leone, I really appreciate your comments. I find myself frequently struggling to loving provide in the marriage bed for my husband as our lives seem so hectic that we struggle to built that intimacy first. I agree with and appreciate Gary’s writing (this and every thing of his I have read) about the man’s perspective. My husband and I frequently talk about our different desires and how we each experience intimacy within our relationship.
      Gary- a couple of questions if I may: I am always put-off by sex being considered a need (even with a science background that talks heavily of Maslow), is it a need, or as others have mentioned is it a desire/urge? I’m not saying that it would then be ok to deny for periods of time as it is evident that it would be cutting my husband off of an impactful way he received love from me. Wanting an honest answer so I can try to have a mental shift if so. Also, I’m embarrassed to say but hope that perhaps I’m not the only one that this answer could pertain to, but I struggle with excitement and interest level to keep up with my husband. I understand that there are different levels of libido and its noteworthy that he is always excited to be giving and not just receiving (sorry if it’s TMI). Suggestions or recommendations in resources so that I help our marriage and my husband more?

      • N M, I’m a bit hesitant to say “need,” because if a wife got really sick or in an accident or something like that, a husband could survive and would still be expected to remain faithful. But to a younger husband in particular, it will FEEL like a need. So the question really is, do wives want their husbands to “just get by” or feel generously blessed? And of course, vice versa, since many wives now bear the burden of having an apparently higher libido than their husbands. (which makes it particularly cruel when men “satisfy” themselves outside their marriage and stop showing interest in their wives)

        For further study, I’d recommend you check out books by both Sheila Wray Gregoire and Juli Slattery. Both have written thoughtful books about sex in marriage from a woman’s perspective that I think you’ll find helpful..

    • Very thoughtful reflections, Leone, and I don’t disagree at all with what you’re saying. But this post isn’t a book, or even a magazine article–it’s a short blog post based on a specific biblical passage, so I had to treat it the way the apostle Paul does (and keep his focus). I go into more of what you’re saying in the chapter on sexual intimacy in “A Lifelong Love,” but with blog posts I have to be brutally specific. Having said that, I’m glad you posted the comment because it’s a fair and needed addition.

      • well, the “specific biblical passage” is not just about “physical” sexual needs – it’s about ALL sexual needs, grant it, men are much less intricate in their “needs” and if you cover the physical with them, that’s pretty much it.
        so for you to say that this post is about the passage. NO. the reality, you’ve chosen to only address mostly the men’s physical WANTS….I guess you get out of it what you are looking for. I have had this passage yelled at me along with being told I am a disobedient wife and Christian.
        >>>>this passage is about SO MUCH MORE than the act of sex>>>>>>>>>>>
        ….if we could just get that into Christian men’s and women’s brains, we could heal so many marriages.
        so much disappointment in reading this….

  14. Last night after feeding our 4 month old for the last time before bed, I felt strongly in my heart that it was time to fast for mine and my husband’s sex life. It was a difficult pregnancy, difficult birth, and has been a difficult 4 months. Our baby had a stroke in the womb, and we are walking that path towards healing right now. In surviving, our sex life has become very poor. We have only had sex a few times since she was born, and I can sense a pulling away from each other. The longer we go, the easier it is for me not to have sex. I see my husband dealing with this the best way he can; but I see frustration, anger, discouragement, and depression. As I went to bed last night, I told my husband we needed 3 days of fasting to turn this tide. He was in agreement. Then I wake up this morning and see your blog. I know it was confirmation that we are doing the right thing. Thank you for that confirmation from God.

    • In situations like this, it’s only natural for the sexual relationship to suffer, so I hope you don’t carry any guilt. We live in a real world and medical catastrophes (or even near catastrophes) can’t be ignored. But you’re wise in wanting to heat things back up. I’m praying that you and your husband will have your love renewed and that God’s healing hand will visit your child.

  15. Amen and AMEN! Thank you for your bold exhortation, Gary. I’m grieved by the thoughtless joking often heard among women, who have contempt for their husband’s needs and think it funny that they rarely meet them.

    Of note — I think it probably used to be more typical for women to neglect their husbands, but in today’s porn saturated culture, more and more of my women friends are feeling neglected because their husband’s sexual appetites are being satisfied with pornography, leaving little energy, interest or desire for the marriage bed. The use of porn to meet those unmet marital needs only makes the problem bigger.

    May we be strengthened to stand up for the truth, to bless our spouses in this most intimate way, and to bring glory to God through the personal testimony of our marriages.

    • Statistics back up your anecdotal conversations, Sarah. This is a growing problem. Both husbands and wives need to reserve our sexual energy, interest and focus for our spouse’s benefit.

  16. I do not want to be the kind of wife that dishonors God by withholding from my husband. I want to nurture my husband by giving him the one thing he needs to feel truly a man and truly a husband to me – as God has commanded. May He give me the strength to do so.