I started to post this as a reply to landschooner's comment from my first "acceptable behavior" article only my reply was too lengthy and would not post so I did the next best thing and decided to post it here.
For years GR did not have a label for my refusing. I think that after a while he just came to the sad conclusion that he had married a woman who had been "broken" for a long time and that I may possibly never change.
"when we tried to get pregnant, she didn't fail to come-on to me when she was ovulating. But, I don't know, I guess it made sense because we were trying to get pregnant. I didn't think of it as a ploy."
Now that was one thing that GR quickly recognized and he rightly called me on the carpet for it. Until he confronted me about it I did not realize how much disrespect I was showing when I sexually abused his body to get what I wanted (ie, pregnancy) but then all the other times of the month I kept the "sex gate" tightly closed and locked. And yes, I call it "sexual abuse" because when a man use a woman's body it is also called "sexual abuse".
“She does what she thinks is important. Sex isn't important…… "Well, we've been really busy and you've been working late and I've been tired and the kids have been difficult and....and....and.... Its all true. All real excuses. All legitimate. But you know, we got a lot of things done in the last month despite fatigue. Despite everything. Just not sex…..”
You are right. There will always ALWAYS be “stuff” going on but if we are sexually generous with our spouse and we are faithful to prioritize, passionate sex will happen most of the time. Heck, since January GR and I had 3 surgeries. How easy could that have been for either or both of us to say, “I can’t. I’m still not recovered enough from surgery. Maybe next week or next month or next year....”
“She's happily married. What does sex have to do with it? her husband's frustrations are heard but not really comprehended. I get a proverbial pat on the head "I'm sorry dear" but the truth is.....I'm starting to think that she doesn't HAVE the capacity, the ability, the life experience to comprehend sexual frustration.”
For decades I was the happily married wife, the princess, or at least I thought I was. Before 2004 I heard GR's frustrations but I just brushed them off, thinking he was just whining or expecting too much from me so I kept telling him, “Learn to live with it,” or “I’m trying,” or “I do not know what is wrong with me and I do not know how to change. Sorry.” Then in 2004 something snapped in him and he was through hearing me say “sorry” because quite frankly, I was a sorry excuse for a wife and he was done living in a mediocre marriage. He was not thinking of walking out but he was through putting up with my crap and wanted better for our marriage.
GR began putting into practice what we did with our kids when they were younger. Why not? I was acting like a spoiled child! If our kids behavior was inappropriate we would find a way to make their life miserable, giving them needed motivation to get their act together because if they didn’t, life as they knew it would continue to become less comfortable. Without motivation, nobody who is sitting there like a “princess” is going to change their behavior and risk losing their precious lifestyle, and the reason being--- because they are not living by the will of God in their marriage. They have no "good will" towards their husband. All they know is how to have their own way. A little bit of discomfort goes a long way and quickly gets our attention.
Between 2004-2006 GR’s aggressive way of dealing with this was indeed Christ-like. Look at what Christ did in the temple and… He even used a “whip of cords”. Hey, there is an idea ;-)! Once GR began toughening up his approach it became more appealing to me to figure out what I needed to do and then to do it. But if he had not stepped up to be the assertive leader we needed in our marriage and had instead continued being Mr. Nice Guy, my 2006 awakening would never have happened because after all--- if he did not seem supremely ticked off, things could not have been that bad, right?
Oh, and we do have the capacity to comprehend sexual frustration. It is called “having compassion with our spouse’s needs”…. “being a sexually generous spouse”…. and borrowing Job’s term- “being a spouse of good will”. Even average to low-SD spouses can be of ‘good will’ if they choose to do so.