On a marriage forum, Job asked a couple of questions that had to do with refusing sex. He indicated that he wanted to discuss this further so I decided to bring it here, with his permission. Please read this and feel free to post comments or questions of your own which you may have about this topic. Keep in mind, each refusing spouse is different so you may see similarities here with your situation or the situation of someone you know but there will also be differences.
This is what Job asked:
"Why does a refuser even care if a spouse goes out and "cheats"? I mean, if there is NO attraction, NO care for the physical relationship... what does it matter that a spouse goes out and has a strictly physical affair? (Don't get me wrong. I believe it would be TOTALLY wrong/sin. But I don't see why a refuser would feel "jealous" or "wronged". It seems so hypocritical.)"
I attempted to answer his questions here:
Yes, it is hypocritical but in spite of the fact that a refuser usually will not engage in frequent passionate sex, many of them often know deep down inside that something is seriously wrong with their thinking. Refusers may INITIALLY say "I do not care" or "I cannot fix this" or "do what you want" or any other similar comment because they genuinely do not see their refusal as a problem (ie, Living w/out sex does not bother them so how could it bother their refused spouse?) LATER, when they know they are wrong, those words are often expressed out of a loss for a workable solution to change their thinking. They hear the distraught comments from their spouse but out of pride, many refusers will not admit to the refused spouse that they know their own behavior is destroying the marriage.
When I was refusing, I believe that a part of me may have still loved GR but it was not a healthy, mature love and at the same time, I was not bright enough or caring enough to even begin professional counsel to help our marriage. Instead, I was more concerned about my embarrassment. How pathetic is that? My embarrassment??? If I kept telling him "it is not that bad" or "I am working on it" or "it is because of how you treat me"... I could continue to justify the refusing without taking blame for it.
Did I want GR to disappear from my life? The part that wanted sex-- yes, but the rest of him-- no. Yet, at the same time I would not have blamed him if he had had affairs during our marriage. My refusing could easily have driven him to that point. I thank God to this day that it did not or we would have had even more issues to clear up before our marriage was restored.
Then Job asked:
"So Gemma, in your case, and maybe in others, could it be that your original "love" was simply affection, or a level of comfort, or good companionship? Could it be that it took you 25 years to TRULY find Love with GR? Could it be that it took that long for you to permit the Lord to dig up and find actual "deep rich soil" in your heart and plant the seed of true love there? Is THAT the true beginning of your mature love with GR?"
I replied again with the following:
Two years ago, Dec 2006, was certainly the beginning of a healthy, mature love for my husband. But even before we were engaged I knew we were meant to be. On two other occasions I was offered marriage proposals, knew those relationships were wrong and I turned them down. With GR, I knew it was right. When we married it was all there- emotional, spiritual and physical. What went wrong with me began three months into the marriage during the time when we both left the Roman Catholic Faith and became practicing Protestants.
Everything went downhill from there. I could not handle my promiscuous past in a healthy way. Our health/fertility issues tore at my emotions. The legalistic teachings we began receiving in the Protestant Church just made things worse for all the emotional and physical issues I listed in my "About Me" article (in right side bar). A huge part of me just shut down and totally stayed that way until we became Christian Orthodox 20 years later. This was when I began acknowledging how wrong I had been and then it took me another six years to complete my emotional healing.
So I would say that I did love my husband in every way in the beginning until the first three months of marriage but then something in my emotions went terribly wrong and I just snapped. Can we say that I was deeply in denial about the state of my emotional health? GR should have hauled my butt to a professional back when it all began tumbling down; he knows that now.
Would I have cared back then if he had had an affair(s)? I think so because deep down, I knew that GR and I had something special that lie dormant and was just waiting to spring forth. Looking at what we now have, how can I deny that? But such may not be the case with some refusing spouses. The following words I'm sharing are strong words and I don't share them lightly but in my heart of hearts, I know them to be true. Gently, I would dare to say that some refusers would rather find a way to walk away from the marriage because clearly they, or their refused spouse or maybe even both of them know that the marriage should never have happened. Unfortunately, there are people who DO marry for the wrong reasons but the truth always, eventually comes out.
Perhaps that would be a good exercise for all of us to do periodically-- Share with our spouse the reasons why we married them. It would bring us back to the basics when there is strife developing between us unless, of course, we married for wrong reasons.