Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is faithfulness taken for granted?

One of my readers told me:
"I get hit on about once a week in my job and it frustrates me to no end to always have the opportunity of a participating partner on the 'other side of the fence'."

(Just for the sake of simplicity, I will generally refer to the husband as the refused spouse and the wife as the refusing one to avoid having to keep writing “him or her”. Just know that I do understand that sexual refusal knows no gender boundaries.)

I hear from refused spouses all the time; you know who you are. Day to day they live one notch away from physically falling into sexual sin because of their spouse’s refusal. To those who find themselves constantly having to resist the bombardment of eager sexual partners outside of their marriage, I say--- Good for you for not having fallen all the way into temptation thus far but the problem lies far beyond physically falling. You are aware of those “weekly opportunities” to sin this way but does your wife know about them? If she does not I would STRONGLY recommend that you tell her…. not in a threatening way because that would only push her further away but she does need to know what can potentially happen if she does not stop refusing and does not change her attitude. Being LD is no excuse for being sexually selfish. Contrary to popular belief, even having emotional issues is no excuse for being sexually selfish when you can aggressively pursue professional help to overcome the issues.

Here is a tip---
One good incentive for taking on sexual generosity is to understand that your husband is not infallible just because he has been a good Christian since you met or since an earlier time in the marriage. Remember, he is often a mere one notch away.

We wrongly assume that sexually refused Christians can easily avoid sexual temptation…. that the fear of God and fear of sin will most assuredly keep them faithful to the marriage vows. Then when things go wrong everyone says, “The bastard, how could he have done that to his wife?” With my own story, my dh was tempted IRL throughout his work days when he would see women. He lusted after them, hoping to see in them what I would never allow. Yes, he was the one who chose to lust with his eyes but I made it really easy for him. (ie, “accessory to sin” by counseling, by commanding, by consenting, by provoking another to sin; by praise of flattery, by concealment, by silence, or by defending that which is wrong). Twenty-five years later when he confessed it to me, I had to repent for his sin of lust as much as he did. Hindsight- I wish I had known years earlier what took me all those years to learn.

Just read on Christian marriage forums of the many sexually neglected husbands who on a daily or weekly basis are one notch away from physically falling. And their neglectful wives? They are so clueless because they think, “My husband may not be perfect but he would never EVER be unfaithful to me,” and they continue on with their refusing. The neglectful wife needs to know, has a right to know, what their behavior is doing to help push their husband over the edge. Yes, if you sexually fall it is your own doings but if a spouse contributes to your fall through neglect, then he or she is also guilty (ie, by accessory to sin).

If you are a refused husband or wife, have you explained to your spouse the seriousness of the temptations you face on a daily basis? Does your refusing spouse have a working knowledge of what a sexual fall would do to their marriage? Many of you would be surprised if you knew how much your faithfulness was taken for granted by your spouse, or maybe you would not be?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Yes it has been explained. Over and over again. In and out of counseling.

My sexual being is withering away- nearly gone. Like Charlton Heston in planet of the apes as their ship sank: going, going, gone.

And with it a deeply intimate oneness with my spouse is going, going- gone. It is nearly gone now.

We exist as room mates or good friends. Sex? What was that? What is that? It is just best to not think about it. Tonight I told my wife don't even try. Sex that is non-participatory leaves men feeling defeated and worthless. Who would want that feeling?

I now find peace and bury those feelings that used to be longed for in other non sinful ways. So long sexual male.

Who knows what will happen to us? After years of trying I have given up. I simply can no longer sit at a combination lock trying over and over to open it.

I do pray temptation does not run me over in a moment of weakness.

God save us all.

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy and protect us.

Anon

+

Brian Cordell said...

Restoration requires trust. If not in your spouse, then in God. Always in God. Restoration requires risk. I cringed when I read the comment, "don't even try...". Trying is a requirement for restoration. Trying indicates hope. Speaking and listening are critical pieces for marital health. Years ago, I was pierced through my heart by Eph. 5:25-27 because there was no conditional language wrapped around that verse. It meant I had to try regardless of the outcome. God honored my effort and we continue in our marriage even though at times we are wrestling with new and challenging issues within our marriage. My prayer is that you are able to hope and believe that God will honor your efforts as well.

Anonymous said...

Different anon. Yes I have. Unlike some, I can't even claim we're good friends. Live in different worlds, and she's emotionally exhausting to be with. She's also the 2nd most suspicious person I've ever met, after her mom (who did the cheating when her parents split).
I told her after an innocent episode that shook me deeply, because I thought it was the right thing to do, and all it did was further fuel her jealousy. It did absolutely NOTHING to her desire to proactively tend to her marriage, it only gave her reasons for her paranoia.

landschooner said...

I think the first Anon's point, when he said "Don't even try" is that she wasn't actually trying. Just phoning it in. Refusers are quite adept at giving the absolute barest minimum possible to be able to say "We have sex!" When in reality, its 5 minutes of their time once every 6 weeks while they are doing their shopping list in their head. If that's the effort that's being given, then "Don't even try!" is appropriate. He's calling her on her lack of effort. Her lack of even trying.

Gemma said...

Landschooner said: "I think the first Anon's point, when he said "Don't even try" is that she wasn't actually trying. Just phoning it in. Refusers are quite adept at giving the absolute barest minimum possible to be able to say "We have sex!" When in reality, its 5 minutes of their time once every 6 weeks while they are doing their shopping list in their head. If that's the effort that's being given, then "Don't even try!" is appropriate. He's calling her on her lack of effort. Her lack of even trying."

Yes, to what landschooner said. I read it the same way.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. Some progress in my marriage my wife wanted me to listen to Tony Evans series on marriage.
Listen for free. 6 series
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/the-alternative/

When I suggested something in this manner she would shut down. Now that she is asking me is a break. 20 years of "what everyone else is talking about"
James

mr. self respect said...

Like it or not, I see myself in essentially the same position as the anonymous poster. I don't see a path, back to any sort of a sex life. I don't see how it can happen. It really would take a miracle at this point. Like the anonymous poster, I have tried virtually everything to improve my marriage, and nothing has produced any real benefits.

So I have all but given up. The best I can hope for is to salvage what little of a marriage that I can. It may be fake, hollow, and meaningless - but at least I won't end up another divorce statistic.

Instead, I try to focus my efforts on acts of Christian charity and goodwill. There are a lot of poor people in the community where I am working now (in Michigan), and they need help. They need help, more than I need a sex life. So I put my efforts into that.

Anonymous said...

Anon-the original here. Yes- bulls eye gemma and landschooner. Total Bullseye. I have dealt with this for at least 12 years and it is exactly that. I did post this in a previous post here but it is basically a just finish attitude from her. Close your eyes and think of the queen for all intensive purposes. Like I said it is gutting to have 'sex' with a non responsive wife who just wants to get it done. I hate to say it but it is better to lust after a stranger knowing that i can't have it with them than to have it with my wife and not really be having it at all.

Anonymous said...

Anon2. Its certainly NOT better. I prefer solo to passive disinterested sex, but lusting after others is still wrong. Something I struggle with, but wrong.

Sex outside of marriage is so obvious that the gut check is still there. The things that scare me are the more holes in our relationship that have more seemingly innocent approaches. Just being nice, affirmation, activities my wife refuses to share with me
. Those scare me the most.

Anonymous said...

Anon-original here. OK sexless team here is a question. Last night my wife offers to have sex. I say no because it would be most likely a get r done or I should say get him done event. She in turn says you don't want to have sex because I won't be the horny women you want. My response is that I want a participant not an object. Morning reaction? My wife says that I was wrong and she wanted to connect with me. I asked her if it was because she wanted me. "No because I want to connect with you and you want some horny wife. This time of the month I can't be." I did make note that she is not that kind of wife most of the month, not just this time of the month.

Soooooooo- Am I wrong or a wife that is horny for me and to be with me? Should I just take what she is offering even though it leaves me unfulfilled? Truthfully I would rather not do it simply out of 'wanting to be with me'. What does that even mean?

Well I asked- "I wanted to be with you. But i am not the wife you want and you were wrong."

James said...

Here is the summary of our pastors message on Sunday.
When LIFE Gets DESPERATE John 4:46-54
1. Get to Jesus Immediately 46-49
5 Wrong things people do.
A. Avoid the problem
B. Go to Friends expecting them to be god for you.
C. Get Angry and bitter
D. Use Drugs or Alcohol
E. Commit Suicide
2. Take God at his word v 50
Faith is believing the word of God and acting upon it no matter how I feel, knowing that God promises a good result.
3. Remember His miraculousness power v 53-54
4. Share the testimony with others. v53-54

Seek out the truth in the Bible! It will calm you Heart and give the truth that you are seeking to deal with you spouse.

James

Mark 9:24 said...

Those refusing wives who say their husband would never be "unfaithful" to them don't seem to realize that they are "unfaithful" to their husbands every time they turn him down.

Mark

Gemma said...

Anon-original said:
“Am I wrong or a wife that is horny for me and to be with me? Should I just take what she is offering even though it leaves me unfulfilled? Truthfully I would rather not do it simply out of 'wanting to be with me'. What does that even mean?”

If your wife is LD she may rarely bring horniness to the marriage bed table. She may not be able to change her LD but she certainly CAN change her attitude to go from being sexually selfish to being sexually generous. Instead of asking or begging her to be horny, why don’t you challenge her to be sexually generous? That would be my best advice. It is ALWAYS doable to become generous even when it may not be possible to become HD.

As for taking what she offers--- If she’s offering her best in a sexually generous way, yes, absolutely take it. But if she’s only offering you crumbs in a sexually selfish way, I would tell her that you don’t need crumbs. I would tell her that as a Christian wife, she should want to be sexually generous and that it should horrify her and embarrass her to be anything less than sexually generous. God expects our best. Is she bringing her best to the marriage bed? Lovingly challenge her as a brother in Christ.

Gemma said...

Mark,

I totally agree with you. Sexual refusal, making a habit of giving excuses, being passive-aggressive in avoiding sex... and any other way you want to describe this type of spouse... it is all a form of unfaithfulness. To the refused, sexually neglected spouse it is equally as emotionally painful for them as it is for a person who has a spouse go out and have an affair.

How did we ever get to a place where it is horrifying to have an affair but it is acceptable to refuse sex? Folks, there is no difference.

Mark 9:24 said...

To Anon-original from Gemma's reply.


If your wife is LD she may rarely bring horniness to the marriage bed table. She may not be able to change her LD but she certainly CAN change her attitude to go from being sexually selfish to being sexually generous.


This is my wife. My wife has never brought horniness to our marriage bed in almost 20 years of marriage. Left on her own she is low drive. Almost asexual.


Instead of asking or begging her to be horny, why don’t you challenge her to be sexually generous? That would be my best advice. It is ALWAYS doable to become generous even when it may not be possible to become HD.


It took a long time but she finally realized what she was doing to me and our marriage, after I told her I couldn't take it any more, and she chose to be sexually generous. Plus we both, me and her, realized that what worked best for her is for me to initiate sex 100% of the time. According to her this actually lifted a burden from her shoulders since I no longer expect her to initiate anything.


As for taking what she offers--- If she’s offering her best in a sexually generous way, yes, absolutely take it.


Yes, take it. If she won't initiate negotiate with her about her accepting you when you initiate.


Mark

Mark 9:24 said...

Gemma wrote:

How did we ever get to a place where it is horrifying to have an affair but it is acceptable to refuse sex? Folks, there is no difference.


I am reminded of a scene in the movie "The Quite Man" where John Wayne's wife admits to her Priest that she has been denying her husband sex.
The Priest is furious with her.

We need more of that from our church leaders.

Mark

Gemma said...

My priest was equally as upset when I told him that I had been denying sex to my husband. I will be forever grateful to him for his honest way of dealing with me.

Mark 9:24 said...

Gemma wrote:


My priest was equally as upset when I told him that I had been denying sex to my husband. I will be forever grateful to him for his honest way of dealing with me.


He was as equally upset with you as the Priest was in the movie? Wow.

Was GR in the room at the time?

Mark

Mark 9:24 said...

Gemma wrote:

How did we ever get to a place where it is horrifying to have an affair but it is acceptable to refuse sex? Folks, there is no difference.


Good question.
As far as them being the same, are not the feelings the betrayed spouse feels the same?

1) How can he/she do that to me?
2)I'm not good enough for him/her?
3)What did I do to drive him/her away?
4)Doesn't he/she find me attractive?
5) etc, etc, etc,

Mark

Gemma said...

Gemma said: "My priest was equally as upset when I told him that I had been denying sex to my husband. I will be forever grateful to him for his honest way of dealing with me."

Mark said:
"He was as equally upset with you as the Priest was in the movie? Wow. Was GR in the room at the time?"

Gemma’s reply:
In the Eastern Orthodox church ALL sin is dealt with swiftly and completely. We have none of this, "I'll just pray about it and repent," because as we all should know by now, change comes about the most when there is more accountability from other witnesses such as a pastor or therapist. I know that you Protestants don't believe in doing confession with your pastor like we do in the Orthodox Church but we are all human and our human tendencies often have us doing half-@ss repenting when in private which does little or no good. Ever see someone repent, everyone jumps up and down for joy and then weeks or months later you see the person back in their sin habits? Repentance, true repentance, isn’t something to give joy to others or to make us feel good because others are patting us on the back. Rather it is something which genuinely turns our own life around. When I confess a sin to my pastor (priest), it is a confessing to God with my priest present as a witness. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about indulging in an “already confessed sin” but then once I conjure up the visual… which I always do… of me confessing it before my priest, it stops me dead in my tracks. All of that for background…

Now when I initially told my priest about my refusing it was not during confession. GR and I were in a meeting with him in his office when I brought it up and yes, my priest was livid. We talked about it first and then later on I went to confession and confessed it before my priest. It wasn’t until a long while later on that I purchased the DVD of The Quiet Man and saw the scene when she tells her priest that she has been refusing sex and I went- WHOA!!! It brought back my own visuals of having been there, done that. That’s why I love the movie so much. I love the way her husband would not mess around with her refusing… how he was bound and determined to put a stop to her nonsense. With the help of her husband showing her how wrong she was, I love the way she took it upon herself to go confess it to her priest in hopes of him telling her what she needed to do. I also love the scene where her husband is dragging her through town, the town’s people cheering him on as he brought his wife home and reclaimed his marriage bed. And then last but not least, I love the way that when her husband took charge and put his foot down, she came to her senses and made a decision to be the wife he needed her to be. It’s a great movie. Happy ending for all…

Mark 9:24 said...

Gemma wrote:
In the Eastern Orthodox church ALL sin is dealt with swiftly and completely. We have none of this, "I'll just pray about it and repent," because as we all should know by now, change comes about the most when there is more accountability from other witnesses such as a pastor or therapist.


I can see that. Accountability helps A LOT.

Ever see someone repent, everyone jumps up and down for joy and then weeks or months later you see the person back in their sin habits?

Oh, yes. I have seen this.
I have seen where it doesn't happen, but I think this happens more often than not, hence the "ongoing" battle with fill-in-the blank sin.

Repentance, true repentance, isn’t something to give joy to others or to make us feel good because others are patting us on the back. Rather it is something which genuinely turns our own life around.

Very very true. I have been there, and it was a time for tears as you break down and confess your sin. I have been fortunate to have accountability partners when this has happened. Even if they weren't my pastor.

I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about indulging in an “already confessed sin” but then once I conjure up the visual… which I always do… of me confessing it before my priest, it stops me dead in my tracks. All of that for background…

I have never thought of it that way. Thank you for that perspective!

Now when I initially told my priest about my refusing it was not during confession. GR and I were in a meeting with him in his office when I brought it up and yes, my priest was livid. We talked about it first and then later on I went to confession and confessed it before my priest. It wasn’t until a long while later on that I purchased the DVD of The Quiet Man and saw the scene when she tells her priest that she has been refusing sex and I went- WHOA!!!

Now we just need to get other denomination on board to reacting that way!

It brought back my own visuals of having been there, done that. That’s why I love the movie so much. I love the way her husband would not mess around with her refusing… how he was bound and determined to put a stop to her nonsense.

Lots, most?, men today don't seem to have this level of strength and conviction.

With the help of her husband showing her how wrong she was, I love the way she took it upon herself to go confess it to her priest in hopes of him telling her what she needed to do.

That took strength and conviction on her part too.

I also love the scene where her husband is dragging her through town, the town’s people cheering him on as he brought his wife home and reclaimed his marriage bed.

A PUBLIC declaration. Very powerful!

And then last but not least, I love the way that when her husband took charge and put his foot down, she came to her senses and made a decision to be the wife he needed her to be. It’s a great movie. Happy ending for all…

I agree completely!

Mark

Anonymous said...

I am a long time participant in such a relationship. Bought flowers, lingerie, candy, jewelry, romantic self help books, sexual self help books, made romantic dates, suggested counseling for twenty or more years until I realized it wasn't going to happen. No romance. None. Function at best. She will go through the motions but there is no feeling there. I cannot tell you how to handle the heartbreak but I can tell you that sublimating your sex drive does not work in the long term. It will pop out in places you neither expect nor desire and will put you in great danger of moral failure. It will also damage your relationships in other parts of your life and career. You cannot be completely balanced in the other areas with such a gaping hole in your personal life. So, I guess you have to take what you can get on terms that do not degrade you and strive for some kind of dignity in this sensitive area of your life. God give me the serenity ...

sonya said...

love this post