Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stop. Don’t. No. Quit. Is it all you think about?

Here is a condensed version of the excuses you all submitted. Imagine this- Your refusing spouse says “no” to sex with one of these pathetic excuses. You whip out a list and say, “OK, dear, which one will we choose this time?” Or what if you were to keep a private journal? Every time your spouse gives an excuse, you mark it down in the journal and date the entry. After a few months you share the journal with them so they can have a good visual of their marriage bed attitude from over an extended period of time. Or you could keep a copy of a list in an obvious place in your bedroom as a reminder to them of the mental pain and suffering you experience each and every time they give you an excuse.

Some would say, “My refusing spouse would be furious if I showed him/her this list.” Well, why should they be furious if this is a fair sampling of the excuses that come out of their own mouth? Just like refusers do not realize how seldom they have sex… they equally do not realize how awful it is to continually hear the excuses. This could be quite an eye-opening experience for some refusing spouses. Some of you may have other uses for such a list. Please share them.

-Not feeling well.
-Long hard day of work and I'm tired.
-Not emotionally up for it.
-Kids are still awake.
-I have a tummy ache. (It can be something this childish.)
-The sure fire “go-to” method is to start a fight or otherwise be absolutely unapproachable.
-Don’t want to be bothered.
-You’re smothering me.
-Quit playing games.
-Don't feel connected.
-Kids are around.
-Don’t feel like being touched.
-Give me some space.
-Stop.
-Don’t.
-No.
-Quit.
-Is it all you think about?
-S-I-L-E-N-C-E
-Don’t want to interfere with your sleep.
-It's only been [xxx] days/hours.
-Under too much stress. Can't turn my brain off and relax.
-In the morning- “Too much to do today, need to get started.”
-In the evening- “Still too busy.”
-Kids will be knocking on the door soon.
-I have a headache.
-We just did it last week. You horny already?
-I’m not in the mood.
-You don't accept me for who I am (sexually).
-I am not into that.
-You are a pervert (for non-perverted requests).
-It’s my time of month. (PMS and period- that means 21 days of the month not in the mood.)
-I feel fat.
-You’re pressuring me.
-You only want me for sex.
-Wife does not participate- non responsive- “Just get it done.”
-Bait and switch: Outstanding sex b4 marriage, anemic after marriage and lifeless after children.
-Honor and respect for husband lost or faded.
-She refuses to give feedback/participation to help make it wonderful for her.
-I am not the women you want. You want some porn star and I am just a simple women .
-We already did it 2-4 times this month.
-I would rather you masturbate than ask me for sex.
-I am no longer in a sexual phase of my life. I don’t want to have sex with anyone - ever again.
-You are getting some so I am not really refusing. (From a dispassionate spouse who is rarely willing.)
-You want me to be enthusiastic in bed? Not going to happen.
-You have looked at porn in the past… not excessively, not addicted… but just the same, you will be forever tainted. (I’m a good Christian but I can’t forgive you.)
-I don’t think we’re close so I can't be into it.
-Here is a nice one to start the new year: Husband says, “Happy New Year I love you- kiss. I think we’ve grown closer this past year in spite of the difficulties.” P-A-U-S-E. "Maybe". The icing on the cake- Twice that day I had two women offer themselves to me for New Years Eve. Purity and resistance continues in the face of a non-generous and non-loving wife.

40 comments:

Mark 9:24 said...

Gemma wrote:

Some would say, “My refusing spouse would be furious if I showed him/her this list.” Well, why should they be furious if this is a fair sampling of the excuses that come out of their own mouth?


I can tell you that when my wife has been most furious is when she knows she was wrong, has been caught, and hates realizing she has been stupid.

I am so glad that the refusing time and excuses are behind us.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Oddly- I seem somewhat proud? that most of those are from my non participatory wife.

Anyway, a couple updates. Counseling on friday so if you have a suggestion as to how I need to call her out please advise.

Here is yet another example- I just walked into the close to see my wife reaching up to the top shelf with a beautiful breast exposed. "that is perfect" I said "errrrr- you need to love me for me." She said.

So, apparently if I admire my wife's naked body I am a bad person.

Anon

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps the best answer to "why can't you accept me for me" is 'oh, but I do! Why can't you accept that part of yourself, or accept ME for me?" Because really that's what's going on here, one person is denying their sexuality even in the context God intended it for.

landschooner said...

"you need to love me for me"

This is NOT biblical.

18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
Proverbs 5:18-19 (English Standard Version)

One of the major goals of marriage is SEX. Its not one of the sometimes happy results of it.

"you need to love me for me" - That's rich. How about; "I don't want to talk to you or spend any time with you or share any of my thoughts with you,or EVER touch you (non sexually of course) but hey, you need to love me for me"

Gemma said...

Anon said: "Oddly- I seem somewhat proud? that most of those are from my non participatory wife."

Then you get the prize ;-)!

Anonymous said...

I don't like this prize.

Anon

davyp said...

I'm only just beginning to learn that (as important as sex is in marriage) it is meant to be the expression of a loving relationship and that it is unlikely to happen or last if trust and respect are not there.
Let's pray and work for marriages where love and affection are the most obvious characteristics and I think the sex will follow.

Gemma said...

davyp said: "I'm only just beginning to learn that (as important as sex is in marriage) it is meant to be the expression of a loving relationship and that it is unlikely to happen or last if trust and respect are not there. Let's pray and work for marriages where love and affection are the most obvious characteristics and I think the sex will follow."

And a loving relationship is an expression of a healthy marriage bed... and a loving relationship will be sorely lacking when the marriage bed is lacking. You seem to think that the refused spouse is the bad guy. I'm sorry but I know way too many refused spouses who have loved and respected their refusing spouses for years, even decades. You know what the problem is in their marriages? The refusING spouse does not trust or respect the refused spouse. Now, how is that Christ-like? (ie, Yes dear, I love you but I don’t trust or respect you enough to enjoy a marriage bed with you. Maybe I’ll try to trust and respect you 10 or 20 years down the road or… maybe I won’t.)

Please go back and re-read the 'excuse list' on my last blog entree. No one who trusts and respects their spouse would use those hurtful excuses to deny their spouse of having a healthy marriage bed AND... of having a loving relationship because when a refusing spouse does not trust and respect the refused spouse... the marriage suffers every which way. When I didn’t trust and respect my husband he was not giving me any reason whatsoever to distrust and disrespect; it was all in my head. He could not have showed me more love and affection than what he was already doing and yet, THE SEX DID NOT FOLLOW in spite of the fact that he loved, trusted, respected and showered me with affection.

I’m sorry but that is a load of crap… your thinking is waaay off. From where have you been learning? Are you a husband or a wife? What is the state of your marital intimacy- spiritually, emotionally and sexually?

Blondie said...

I think what he/her means is that it comes out of intimate relationship.

Do we put sex before relationship? Would not the wife think you only want her body not her? If it was that way I don't think one would experience intimacy even in sex.

I think right relationship is important to the marriage bed. I can't initiate without it anyhow.

Gemma said...

Blondie,

I'm not sure what he/she meant. I only know what it sounded like to me. He/she will have to come back and clarify.

What I DO KNOW is that in most cases when the refused spouse regularly shows love and affection, sex from the refusing spouse rarely follows. All married couples would be living in harmony if when one spouse is kind, loving affection, etc... the other spouse will return the same loving behavior. That's just not real life.

Corner of a Rooftop said...

Gemma is right. My wife is a love sponge. No amount of outpouring of selflessness will ever dent the behavior of a willfully self-centered person who lacks good will.

There's an awful lot of advice out there, especially in Christendom that might be generally true for most people, but will only feed the appetite of the narcissist. And that includes the 'woe is me' narcissist, not just the Napoleans.

Scripture spend a lot of time exhorting us to give selflessly, putting others first. But when it comes to willful sin it's extremely blunt and harsh.

Blondie said...

I agree with what you are both saying. Love and concern for ones wife does not necessarily produce reciprocation and physical intimacy. That point is loud and clear on her.

I was just pointing out what davyp seemed to be saying inasmuch as there are those who just want the sex without bothering with intimate relationship.

I know this isn't the case with people on here but it could be a reason not to feel passionate with some women.

Gemma said...

Yes, I'm sure there are those who just want the sex without bothering with emotional intimacy but with most of those that I talk to, that is not the case. The refused want it all- sexual and emotional intimacy. The refusers only want emotional intimacy without bothering with the sex.

Anonymous said...

Gemma is right. I shower my wife with love, affirmation and do all of the right things that all of the books have told men to do and still it is like an annoyance to have sex. It is like work- to both of us because of HER attitude of refusal.

Sure I recognize there may be times when she is tired from children etc. But sex is supposed to be pleasurable for women as well. Soooo there must be something else going on as to why they refuse.

I want it all emotional and sexual intimacy.

Again look into how many promise keepers look at porn. These are the good guys- showering their wives with love and respect and obviously not getting it from their "Christian" wives.

Anon

Anonymous said...

Promise keepers article:
http://www.crosswalk.com/1336107/

Gemma said...

Anon, I hesitated to post your link for the Promise Keepers article but decided to post it anyway and then just ask you what was your reason for submitting the link? We are talking about sexual refusal in Christian marriages where the bulk of the refusers are women and sometimes men too, who just don't like sex and don't care enough to be sexually generous for their spouse. While I suppose you are insinuating with your link that most Christian men use porn and that that is the cause of most refusal situations with wives.... I'm sorry but I am not buying it.

Sexual refusal is very much a cultural thing. I'm in a church which is predominantly Lebanese and Greek. Among our church friends sexual refusal would be totally, TOTALLY unacceptable in a marriage. If a spouse were to pull the 'refusal card' they would quickly find themselves in the pastor’s office being counseled or directed to a professional therapist to get to the root of the problem. If they refused counseling or refused to work with pastor or prof therapist, they would likely end in divorce. There would be no micky-mousing around with it. You’d either proactively work on the problem and fix it or kiss your marriage good-bye. God hates divorce, I know, but He also hates sexual selfishness just as much.

I'll be honest- It sometimes blows me away how in some church circles sexual refusal is supposed to be tolerated. "Be more patient with her" (ie, even when it drags on for 5, 10 years or more).... "Be more loving and she'll come around"... "Do more around the house"... "Be more affectionate"... "Be more romantic"... and the list of ineffective suggestions goes on and on. THE SUGGESTIONS DON’T WORK WHEN THE REFUSER IS JUST PLAIN AND SIMPLY BEING SELFISH. Porn separates a husband and wife, no doubt about it, but sexual refusal apart from porn also separates a husband and wife. One sexual sin is no better or worse than the other, contrary to popular belief. One sexual sin should not be tolerated more than the other. Sexual sin is sexual sin in God’s eyes, there are no degrees of sinfulness. He doesn’t sit on his throne and say, “Oh, you bad man looking at porn,” and then say, “Oh, you poor wife needing to refuse sex.” It’s as if refusers think that God excuses them so their spouse should also excuse them and be tolerant. I don’t think so!!!! As long as some Christian circles continue to tolerate refusal it will forever be a major force in breaking down marriages, just like porn.

Gemma said...

After going back and rereading my last comment, I realized that I might have come across as accusing Anon of posting the link as a means of justifying sexual refusal. That was not my intend. It's just that the article got me off on a tangent, thinking about how so many tolerate refusal in their spouse but when someone finds out their spouse is using porn they are horrified and often have thoughts of walking out on the marriage. The refused spouse is often told "tolerate it"... just love her the way she is. The one married to the porn user is told "how awful, the bastard".

davyp said...

"I’m sorry but that is a load of crap… your thinking is waaay off. From where have you been learning? Are you a husband or a wife? What is the state of your marital intimacy- spiritually, emotionally and sexually?"


Hi Gemma, thanks for your reply. I'm a husband and I think I was reponding to people who seemed quite angry and just wanted sex without being kind. (I may be wrong). My wife and I don't really share feelings and intimacy which I find very hard but I know I'm part of the problem. We're friendly like lots of couples but don't make love as often as I would like. I actually find it hard to talk to my wife about all this so perhaps only have myself to blame.
I'm inspired by your forthrightness about the issue of sex and intimacy with your husband but just can't seem to find the right time or words to say more to my wife.
It's interesting that in writing this I realise that we're actually missing out on more than sex, which is probably where my original comment came from.

Wifeacacia said...

"Sexual refusal is very much a cultural thing. I'm in a church which is predominantly Lebanese and Greek. Among our church friends sexual refusal would be totally, TOTALLY unacceptable in a marriage."

So what makes these cultures like this? It's just passed down parent-to-child? It's some type of unwritten assumption? I can't imagine it's just discussed at the dinner table or church potluck, but maybe it is!?

Anonymous said...

Hello- sorry to be short- buried at work and trying to answer your great questions.

The reason for the link is two fold-
1) it shows that even these great men that are doing all within their power are being most likely REFUSED by their wives. They are showering them with love and affirmation and working diligently at it by being 'promise keepers'. I can attest with fact that I am tempted to look at other women and or porn if my wife is refusing.

and

2) These groups are predominately protestant or evangelicals which will reaffirm that the culture is assisting in creating sexually deprived men and refusing wives. When is the last time anyone saw a Orthodox Christian family bookstore or hours upon hours of talk shows devoted to Orthodox men who are refused or women of the Orthodox faith phoning in saying they have these problems? I side with Gemma and agree 100% with her facts.

I think the PK link is a HUGE proof of it.

The society of evangelicalism has an infinite supply of self help books in this area and for some reason there just is not a market for it within the Orthodox faith- hmmmm.

----->While I suppose you are insinuating with your link that most Christian men use porn and that that is the cause of most refusal situations with wives.... I'm sorry but I am not buying it.

ANSWER: Opposite and women would probably club me for saying this but- I think the reason is that these men are inclined to using porn is because they are married to refusers who listen to people that tell them they can refuse and feed them PLENTY of ammo to do so. Boy are they (women) missing out on a fulfilling relationship with their husbands and are being led down a wrong path by pied pipers.

That culture tells men to be patient- that is just the way their wives are, pray more, love more, do the dishes, pick up the house, take care of the kids, on and on it goes. Well- I do all of those things and have for years and sex is a burden to my wife not a perk. And that is wrong and horrible for her and all involved.

Sex should not be seen as a burden it should be seen as a blessing and a benefit. It is enjoyable for men and women. The stupid culture has told the women that it is more of a duty than a pleasurable experience.

When I step back and see that people living together, dating, college students and people outside of wedlock are having better sex than married 'Christians' I noticed there is a huge problem. That problem is scientifically verifiable and is replicating AND destroying marriages and lives. The common denominator is the culture as Gemma has pointed out.

Feel free to edit and repost however you choose to.

Keep up the GREAT work.

Anon

Gemma said...

davyp,

If you’ve been around here a while you will find that most, not all but most, refused spouses are much like you in that they desperately want frequent, passionate sex with all the emotional connection that goes with it. On the other hand, the refusing spouse wants all the emotional connection they can get and then some but want little or nothing to do with the sexual connection regardless of the fact that some of their much-wanted emotional connection comes in the form of sex and then the fact that their spouse has these sexual needs not being met. The refusing spouse’s lack of concern for their refused spouse’s sexual needs is rooted in a number of things such as- living in unconfessed sin, selfishness and greed (ie, All for me, none for thee.) The sad truth is that many refusing spouses if left to their own devices, would never ever have sex again.

I am sorry for your situation but if I may ask- Why can’t you find the right time or words to say more to your wife?

Gemma said...

Gemma said:
"Sexual refusal is very much a cultural thing. I'm in a church which is predominantly Lebanese and Greek. Among our church friends sexual refusal would be totally, TOTALLY unacceptable in a marriage."

Wifeacacia said:
"So what makes these cultures like this? It's just passed down parent-to-child? It's some type of unwritten assumption? I can't imagine it's just discussed at the dinner table or church potluck, but maybe it is!?"

Wifeacacia,

In general, the Lebanese and Greek in my church have a very balanced mindset regarding sex. Yes, the mindset is indeed passed down through generations. And then many Lebanese and Greek are Christian Orthodox. Sex is not considered evil in my Faith. Rather, it is thought of as a natural and necessary part of marriage. It is unfortunate that so many Protestant Christians have such a negative view of sex. I grew up Roman Catholic. I never thought much about sex being evil until GR and I married and then joined the Protestant Faith a few short months after our wedding. From then on my thoughts of healthy marital sex all went downhill and stayed that way until we finally walked away from the Protestant Faith 20 long years later. There is an unhealthy fear of sex within most Protestant circles. I’m not sure why but it is definitely there as is evident in places like TMB forum. Perhaps some of you Protestants can explain why you think there is such a fear of sex in your Faith.

WifeAcacia said...

I didn't know there was a fear of sex in evangelical Protestantism, and I've been on the far right fringe of that group in some stages of my life. I hear what you're saying about TMB, and I'll take your word for it that most of them are Protestants. ??

I'm not categorically saying that such a fear doesn't exist, I just don't see it. Not that every pastor is Mark Driscoll, but I've never hear that marital sex was bad.

I will say I've seen a "fear" of sexual sin, porn, etc., a sadly crippling inability to deal with the issue of homosexuality in Protestant circles. Not sure anyone else deals with it all that well, but I'm not very familiar with other faith groups.

As far as my experience, having been in a very legalistic Protestant ministry in our 20s, I guess it's a wonder that DH and I have such a "normal" marriage bed. Sure, we are probably pretty vanilla, and not sexperts like many on TMB, but we're young yet. :) We're both very happy with where we are and where we're headed.

I just think people have to do their own thinking for themselves. I'm not saying that churches and Christian organizations don't have a responsibility to get it right (they do!), but people also have a responsibility to read their Bible for themselves and listen to what God is telling them to do.

I do understand there being a problem, if a refuser can go to the pastor and get more ammunition. But I can't see how just sitting in the average Protestant church is more or less likely to make one think that marital sex is bad.

I do think there is an American cultural stereotype of "men want sex, women put up with it." I hear this promulgated at times in secular culture at large and also in Protestant marriage-focused parachurch organizations (which are very clear, btw, that married sex is a great thing). DH came to our marriage with that perspective and we've since dealt with that.

Fortunately for us, I'm the adventurous one in bed and interested in getting the "education" :), but the more conservative one elsewhere in our lives (e.g., drinking, music). So that has probably helped us deal with the stereotype--I just don't know that I can pin it entirely on Protestantism and DH said it wasn't just from there in his case anyway.

I will say for the Evangelical Free church we attend now, that our Sunday school class is doing a pretty good job of addressing it I think. We've done Tommy Nelson's SofS course, led by a wife who had no problem offering to talk about OS, AS, porn and anything else; she even mentioned how her husband said regular sex can help a man avoid porn. Now there wasn't a huge rush to go into details with all the other women in class :), but at least the topic was raised and they had a really nice person they could go to if they needed to. They were dubbed "The Sunday School Sex Couple." :)
A few Sundays ago an entire class was devoted to "teaching your kids about sex" by a late-40s couple with college and teenage kids.

So, that has been my experience.

I just don't understand the refuser thing at all. Maybe it's just because I'm married to a really great guy, but you are too, in fact GR sounds a lot like my DH, so that can't be it. I do understand people with CSA issues and I understand your explanations on your homepage, Gemma, but for a girl like me with none of those "issues" (except for the 10 years in a legalistic parachurch organization), I just don't understand why someone would do that, especially when a husband comes and tells you "this is my favorite thing to do," "I need this," "it makes me feel like you're rejecting me," "this is my version of talking," etc. I mean, it just isn't nice. Maybe you can explain it to me, but I just don't get the whole refuser thing, in an otherwise healthy spouse. Thanks for letting me ramble.

Gemma said...

PART I reply to WifeAcacia…

My reply to you is too long to post as one comment so I will break it up as Parts I, II and III & IV.

The ‘fear of sex’ in Protestantism that I mention, is not an obvious fear within the Church walls. It is more subtle where the fearful atmosphere is not even noticed in the Church except for when Church members are in the privacy of their marriage bed. And you don’t have to take my word for it—Look at all the theological discussions on TMB forum. On a guess I’d say that the posters are 90% Protestant. That percentage may not be accurate but I know it is pretty darn close.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>WA said: I just think people have to do their own thinking for themselves….. people also have a responsibility to read their Bible for themselves and listen to what God is telling them to do. I do understand there being a problem, if a refuser can go to the pastor and get more ammunition. But I can't see how just sitting in the average Protestant church is more or less likely to make one think that marital sex is bad.

I don’t think a lack of Bible reading is the issue. Most Protestants read their Bibles at home more than other Christian Faiths and more than secular communities and yet who do we mostly see at TMB forum? Protestants who say that they and their spouse are Bible readers. I read my Bible most days for over 25 years while refusing sex. To be honest, back then I read it way more than I do now. If a simple thing like reading our Bibles more would eliminate sexual refusal, there probably wouldn’t be a need for the large Bible-reading TMB forum. Most Christian individuals who live in “sin habits” be it sexual refusal, porn or anything else… don’t read their Bible through the lenses of a habitual sinner. They either don’t see their sin habit as “sin” or they are aware to one degree or another that it is “sin” but they tune it out during their Bible reading and prayer time. I would apply my own Bible reading to other things but not to my refusal habit. I think this mindset is fairly common among those living in sexual sin habits. A person can pray and read their Bible until the cows come home but if they are in denial about their sexual sin habit, they will not change.

As for the need to think for themselves, I absolutely agree with you but it’s not going to happen in an environment where there is a fear of sex… a fear that freedom within their marriage bed resembles sex outside of marriage. How often do we read on TMB, “Good girls don’t-------“? It’s that bondage of fear which prevents those same ‘good girls’ from understanding that ‘Good (married) girls should and do-------“.

Gemma said...

PART II reply to WifeAcacia…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>WA said: I do think there is an American cultural stereotype of "men want sex, women put up with it."…… Fortunately for us, I'm the adventurous one in bed and interested in getting the "education"……. I just don't know that I can pin it entirely on Protestantism….

Do you really think that “men want sex, women put up with it” is still a stereotype? If it is, how do we explain all the prevalent promiscuity among single women, esp young women? Young women in high schools and colleges hit on guys as much as the guys hit on women. I do see that stereotype in many marriages represented on TMB, either with posters or with their spouses. Please know that I’m not saying all this to “pin blame”. Playing the ‘blame game’ helps no one. My purpose is only to help those who are in agonizing marriage bed relationships because of the sexual fear. Since you’re the adventurous one in your marriage bed, I would say that you have been most fortunate with your own Church environment and perhaps your parents did not live with this sexual fear. Upbringing and Churches are the two most influential factors which help determine whether or not a person enters marriage with the baggage of sexual fear.

Gemma said...

PART III reply to WifeAcacia…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>WA said: I will say for the Evangelical Free church we attend now, that our Sunday school class is doing a pretty good job of addressing it I think. We've done Tommy Nelson SofS course, led by a wife who had no problem offering to talk about OS, AS, porn and anything else; she even mentioned how her husband said regular sex can help a man avoid porn. Now there wasn't a huge rush to go into details with all the other women in class :), but at least the topic was raised and they had a really nice person they could go to if they needed to. They were dubbed "The Sunday School Sex Couple." :) A few Sundays ago an entire class was devoted to "teaching your kids about sex" by a late-40s couple with college and teenage kids. So, that has been my experience.

From what I hear from friends who are in various Protestant Churches, I would say that your church seems to be putting out much more effort than many other Churches and that’s great, however, a course or a teaching will not dispel an atmosphere of sexual fear. Think of other spiritual issues like “anger” or “envy” or “sloth”. If these things are only mentioned in a course or a class and then put back on ‘the shelf’ never to be brought up again…. how well do you think Church members would be equipped to overcome in these areas? And again, going on my own Protestant experience and on the experiences of friends who are suffering in marriage beds, sexual refusal is just not seen as “sin”. If a Church member is found to be using porn, others say, “How awful, the bastard.” But if someone is found to be refusing sex, others say, “Things could be worse. Just be more patient, loving, romantic, helpful around the house, etc, etc… and she’ll come around.” Well, that just enables the refuser to keep on keeping on. That’s how it was for my husband. He did all the right things and it took me over 25 years to come around and even then, it wasn’t because he finally found something that worked. It was because I finally took ownership of my sexual sin habit with the help of our pastors who viewed refusal every bit as sinful as porn use.

Gemma said...

PART IV reply to WifeAcacia…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>WA said: I just don't understand the refuser thing at all…. I just don't understand why someone would do that, especially when a husband comes and tells you "this is my favorite thing to do," "I need this," "it makes me feel like you're rejecting me," "this is my version of talking," etc. I mean, it just isn't nice. Maybe you can explain it to me, but I just don't get the whole refuser thing, in an otherwise healthy spouse.

The issue isn’t simply that “it just isn’t nice”. It’s that the refuser is living in unconfessed sexual sin habit AND unconfessed selfishness towards their spouse. And I don’t see refusers as being an “otherwise healthy spouse”; they are not. Refusers becomes very good at hiding it but they are emotionally unhealthy. Pastors and church friends do not recognize the emotional instability because many refusers are active Church members. They go to the nth degree to help with music, prayer groups, teachings and many other ministries and they feed on others patting them on the back and telling them, “You are such a great person for all you do here at Church. What would we do without you?” When a person living in a sin habit is constantly told how great they are and how they are such a good Christian because of their Church service…. they go back home and continue believing they are a good Christian. Their refused spouse says, “It’s not right to withhold sex from me,” and the refusing spouse says, “Don’t tell me I’m sinning. Pastor and all our Church friends know that I am a good Christian. How come you don’t see it?” Incidentally this is why I always tell others to “out” their refusing spouse to their pastor. Any pastor worth their weight in gold will take the *good Christian refuser* aside and tell them, “Your house is out of order. I’d like you to step out of all Church ministries for a season so you can work on your marriage bed issues. I’ll be happy to counsel you or if I can’t help, I’ll point you to a professional who can. I’m sorry to have to do this to you but you’ve got to come to the realization that sexual refusal is a totally unacceptable, selfish way to treat your spouse.”

Anonymous said...

WifeAcacia-

Glad for what appears to be a sexually free & holy church you're involved in and that you are not only taking care of your husband but taking the lead in the bedroom. Bravo for you!

I wouldn't say it is a fear of sex in protestant women. More of a mixed signals which leads to numbness, guilt and ultimately refusal of their men.

In being in six different 'protestant' religions; Baptist, Reformed, Christian Reformed, Bible Church, Wesleyan and Pentecostal and small groups in most of them that CONSISTENTLY this issue is predominant. Women refuse, are annoyed about their men and the men have stray. Some are idiots and don't give the time of day to their loving wives. Many do all of the right things and still don't get a sexually participating spouse as you describe yourself.

To blame only the women in the culture of protestantism would be wrong as well. This culture has also forged the 'woman must submit to the man' mentality. Here again another intimacy stifling factor.

Also within the protestant fish bowl is a constant seeking after the formula for many things spiritual- Oh there is a new book by- you name it; Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Beth Moore on and on it goes. What one finds within orthodoxy is a stable journey. Sure there may not be the emotionally driven praise and worship services but the strength is in steady plodding. If you do not have to constantly change the approach to ones religious lifestyle is when one can truly grow.

Why go down this path when talking about tmb? Because the same formula is present in tmb for protos- it is always the next book (for most) to find the answer. As a former proto I found myself working the formula of a book- it would work for a while then when that failed move on to another. Repeat process, over and over and over.

Eventually that creates an arena for perpetual disappointment and a I have exhausted all options so it will just be this way forever.

I pray for my wife and the wives of the others on here that this cycle will break and marriages and sex lives will be restored in a pure and holy way.

------>"I just don't understand why someone would do that, especially when a husband comes and tells you "this is my favorite thing to do," "I need this," "it makes me feel like you're rejecting me," "this is my version of talking," etc. I mean, it just isn't nice. Maybe you can explain it to me, but I just don't get the whole refuser thing, in an otherwise healthy spouse."

I don't understand it either. My wife is loved, respected, cherished, complimented, honored and treated with respect. When the children question her I always defend her and never allow them to once see that I am disappointed with her.

When I come home after working 12-14 hours for the family and she needs to talk about her day, the children, her life- I am there for her. When we get into TMB she falls asleep and leaves me 'alone' in bed by 9:30. I have told her all of the things you mentioned. Sorry those needs of the husband are simply a part of a list that can be taken care of when it is convenient- only it seldom is.

My wife also knows that at least twice a week I have a full opportunity with a women because of my job. I am confident these women would more than take care of my sexual needs and I refuse their propositions only to be refused myself when I get to my marital bed.

I continue to wonder: why is porn so prominent in 'promise keepers'? and why are sinners more free with their sex lives and identity than 'Christians'?

If you are what you say you are- keep it up and your husband will be fully committed, be tempted significantly less (with both women and porn) and he sure better honor you as you honor him or there are hundreds of men that pray their wives would be like you.

Anon

WifeAcacia said...

Part I (Protestantism): Still having trouble getting my head around the "fear of sex" in Protestantism, but I won't argue with your experience or the demographics of TMB. I do wonder in part whether it is more cultural/ethnic and also somewhat generational? Most (not all) refused on TMB seem to have been married for 15+ years? And while there is a denominational breakdown by culture, it means we're holding a "warm" Mediterranean people up against "more reserved" German or Scandenavian heritage with a few British Islers. I just wonder if that is part of it.

"Good girls don't/do" Obviously both messages need to be sent. A lot of energy is spent on teaching single girls don't, with less emphasis on creating a vision for what you do do when married. Maybe some of the "worth the wait" campaigns are helping address this, but I suspect they still focus on the "don't" for obvious reasons. Premarital counseling, marriage books/seminars seem to be the place for "good girls do" discussion.

I will gladly concede to your Protestantism point in order to get practical. What are some things that churches and members can do to change this "fearful atmosphere"? You seem to think it is more than things like SOS studies or more marriage seminars. I can't imagine just "checking in" with other couples in Sunday school about their sex life (maybe Greeks and Lebanese do this?). A good friend, maybe, but what practically changes a church culture like that?

Part II (stereotypes): I'm still thinking on this one. :)

Part IV: Let me clarify "it's just not nice." I didn't mean "just" as a mitigating term, but to say "it is simply not nice." Not nice=mean=selfishness. Your word is better, which is why it's good you blog about this, and not me. :) "Otherwise healthy" means "other than the refusing they would be healthy" (ie healed from or not having other issues that impact the MB).

Gemma said...

Maybe I’m not wording my thoughts right. When I say a culture is plagued with this “fear of sex” I mean- their young girls grow up thinking that sex is bad, sex is scary, sex is to be avoided because sex is sinful and then…. they marry and are supposed to embrace their sexuality? What sexuality??? How in the heck are they supposed to take off their “sex is to be avoided” hat and replace it with a “sex is to be embraced” hat? And then there is that whole other issue of marital sex hardly even being mentioned in premarital counseling at most churches. What signal does that send to the already sexually repressed wife-to-be? Avoiding it in premarital counseling only serves to reaffirm what these young girls *already know*, that sex is scary and sinful… that’s why pastor isn’t comfortable talking about it. Keep in mind, I’m only talking about young girls who grow up in a Christian environment. The secular community is not afraid of sex and they don’t see it as sinful.

Anon, the numbness, guilt and refusal you mentioned is a result of what I just explained. If in a young girl’s mind sex is scary and sinful… of course they will associate it with guilt. And I’m not blaming these new brides because of what they were taught. I’m trying to offer explanations for where the scary, sinful thoughts are rooted. If we can recognize the root causes and change that negative thinking while women are young girls… just think how much healthier they will be upon entering into a marriage.

And that “woman must submit” teaching that is so prevalent in many Protestant circles… you’re right, that doesn’t help either. Most couples we knew who embraced that teaching used it in tearing down their marriages, not to build them up… big difference. Incidentally, that negative way that the “women must submit” teaching floats around… it is only seen in Protestant Churches. Roman Catholics and Christian Orthodox do not embrace it.

>>>>>Anon said: “Also within the protestant fish bowl is a constant seeking after the formula for many things spiritual- Oh there is a new book by- you name it; Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Beth Moore on and on it goes.”

I don’t think that will ever change. A large part of the Protestant mindset is to always look for newer and better ways to live the Christian lifestyle. So of course you have the huge Protestant self-help book market with everyone claiming to have the “keys to the kingdom”. Some of the authors are very devout, sincere, stable Christians but, unfortunately, some aren’t and their readers aren’t always capable of distinguishing between the two.

>>>>>>Anon said: “My wife also knows that at least twice a week I have a full opportunity with a women because of my job. I am confident these women would more than take care of my sexual needs and I refuse their propositions only to be refused myself when I get to my marital bed.”

Anon, I’d like to be able to tell you that your wife’s thinking is unique to her but it’s not. I went through a stage where I almost hoped my husband would have an affair so he would quit asking me for sex. Now I am ashamed even when admitting that I had those thoughts.

Gemma said...

>>>>>>WifeAcacia said: “Most (not all) refused on TMB seem to have been married for 15+ years?”

It can seem that way but I think there’s also a huge number of couples represented who are anywhere from newlywed to having been married 5 or 10 years. The ones married 15 years or longer are more vocal. They’ve been living with refusal for so long that they are at a breaking point and are more willing to say or do anything to fix the problem OR… they have turned to porn or affairs to try and self-medicate their despair. I’m not saying that all porn use and affairs are a result of living with a refused spouse, just to be clear.

On the other hand, look at newlyweds and those married on up to 10 years. Living with a refused spouse is still relatively new to them. They believe this is a temporary phase that their spouse is going through and that one day soon their spouse will just snap out of it on their own. In reality that rarely happens. Most refusers need the intervention of professional help. Unfortunately, many of the refused spouses in this group, are still under the delusion that they can make their refusing spouse change if they only love more, be more romantic, do more in the house, be more patient… so they waste a lot of precious time trying these things when they could be getting help.

>>>>>>WifeAcacia said: "Good girls don't/do" Obviously both messages need to be sent. A lot of energy is spent on teaching single girls don't, with less emphasis on creating a vision for what you do do when married. Maybe some of the "worth the wait" campaigns are helping address this, but I suspect they still focus on the "don't" for obvious reasons. Premarital counseling, marriage books/seminars seem to be the place for "good girls do" discussion.

Some of the marriage bed books we see promoted on TMB can be useful but the general atmosphere in churches towards sex needs to be changed. Currently we’re seeing most pastors skirt around the issue in premarital counseling. Most marriage books that pastors traditionally recommend don’t make a dent in the MB. I read most of them and kept on refusing because I never saw the connection between ‘refusing’ and living in a ‘sexual sin habit’.

A seminar can be helpful but many attend them, get fired up for a few of days and then go home and gradually forget about what they’ve learned. I do agree with you in that both messages need to be sent but maybe with more balance to them. What my husband and I have seen in other Churches is the “sex is evil” message hammered into young people. As these kids reach ages 13- early 20’s they go 1 of 2 ways- One group becomes promiscuous, they are tired of the rules. The other group falls into the “all sex is evil” camp. The “all sex is evil” message backfires because it has no balance. Both groups carry sexual baggage into the marriage…. the promiscuous ones carry it out of guilt, the “sex is evil” group carries it because it’s all they’ve ever know.

>>>>>>>WifeAcacia said: “I can't imagine just "checking in" with other couples in Sunday school about their sex life (maybe Greeks and Lebanese do this?).

Our senior high Sunday school class does a variation of that. They don’t use a curriculum but their class is designed as a forum of sorts. The class is set up like a discussion group and they do this all year long. What gets said in class by any of the kids, stays in class. That’s the rule because it works well in encouraging the kids to bring up struggles they may have and then all the kids with the teachers discuss possible solutions. They often get onto sexual topics as you can imagine. At home the more balanced approach is also emphasized between parents and kids.

Anonymous said...

WifeAcacia- thanks for the dialogue here. I hope the open discussion doesn't squash your feedback.

Isn't anonymity a wonderful thing?

Gemma- couldn't agree more on all points.

I would only add to WifeAcacias point that while some of this may be do to ethinicity. Predominantly those outside of the Ortho or Catholic circles huddle together and: read the same 'Christian' books, listen to the same speakers and talk shows. This constant drumbeat has a much more catastrophic effect on both the men and the women issues needed to create a healthy marriage bed.

It is all very repeatable and predictable. The control 'experiment' would be a control group that has not been tainted and a study that proves it. I am not sure if there is a study on sex in religions. But, I do think having swam in the pool of protestantism and heard years of sermons, watched days of videos, sat through multiple small groups and heard about dozens of conversations between my wife and her female small group participants that these problems are huge in proto circles.

My priest seems to confirm that he does not counsel for great lengths about guilt etc. because: a) Orthodoxy is a freeing religion and b) as Gemma has stated to perfection sin is dealt with and forgiven.

While Protos may say this the fact is sin lingers in their lives for in some cases decades.

Thanks ladies-

Anon

WifeAcacia said...

Anon: >>>>>>>I hope the open discussion doesn't squash your feedback.

LOL, I used to practice marriage law defending traditional marriage before I married and became a SAHM, so I'm loving the "open discussion." That, and we're all on the same team here, trying to reach the same goal--unlike what I used to do on a daily basis. :-)

Anon, DH and I were discussing the same thing about research this morning. Outcomes from different faiths and denoms would be fascinating to see. I bet there's something out there--will look. I have a hard time believing that promiscuous unbelievers really have better MB, regardless of how comfy they are with their sexuality. If this was the case there likely wouldn't be a 50% increased chance of divorce for premarital cohabiting couples, as there is.

I do think there is something very big to how guilt is dealt with. Gemma, this seems to be what you ran into. Legalism by its nature controls much in part with guilt or with fear or shame. Yes, I can see this in some Proto. circles, and definitely saw it with the legalistic ministry I worked at. I developed a good deal of independent thinking there (hence the earlier comment about reading Bible/thinking for ourselves). Evidently the church we go to now is fairly healthy. I have little to no experience in other Christian sectors and while I had an office at Catholic Univ. for 4 years, I really didn't delve into the life and times of Catholics. Missed an opportunity evidently. So, I do appreciate the life experience commentors on here have shared.

We have company this weekend. The "Sunday School sex couple," which moved out of town is coming to stay with us, so I will have to ask her about this topic. She has talked to many more Protestant women about sex than I have! Will have to get her perspective (not that those on here are not valid, but it's more good "research").

Gemma, want to respond more to your comments, but need more time.
I'll be back and thank you Gemma and others! WA

Gemma said...

>>>>>>WifeAcacia said: “I have a hard time believing that promiscuous unbelievers really have better MB, regardless of how comfy they are with their sexuality. If this was the case there likely wouldn't be a 50% increased chance of divorce for premarital cohabiting couples, as there is.”

Oh, I agree with you there. I would never say that they have better marriage beds or for those who aren’t married- better emotional intimacy. I only mentioned secular couples because they are usually more comfortable with their sexuality. As for divorce stats- Last I heard, the divorce stats for non-Christian or unmarried couples was about the same as the stats for Christian couples. Maybe I’m wrong? Does anyone know?

>>>>>>WifeAcacia said: “I do think there is something very big to how guilt is dealt with. Gemma, this seems to be what you ran into. Legalism by its nature controls much in part with guilt or with fear or shame. Yes, I can see this in some Proto. circles, and definitely saw it with the legalistic ministry I worked at.”

In my 20 years experience in a number of legalistic Protestant Churches, yes guilt, fear and shame are not dealt with properly, consequently, folks go on for years and even decades with these struggles.

>>>>>>WifeAcacia said: “I have little to no experience in other Christian sectors and while I had an office at Catholic Univ. for 4 years, I really didn't delve into the life and times of Catholics. Missed an opportunity evidently. So, I do appreciate the life experience commentors on here have shared.”

My husband and I have seen it all- 20 years in the Roman Catholic Faith, 20 years in the Protestant Faith and the last 10 years in the Christian Orthodox Faith. I have not subscribed to it yet… haven’t been subscribing to anything in these last couple of years… but Touchstone Magazine: http://www.touchstonemag.com/ is one of the most scholarly and balanced magazines out there that I’m aware of which covers articles on all 3 Christian Faiths- Roman Catholic, Protestant and Christian Orthodox with editors are from all 3 Christian Faiths.

Anonymous said...

I hope this is the right place to post this: My wife and I have very different sex drives, mine as you would guess is a lot stronger than hers. She is content with once a week usually Friday or Saturday. But let me say it is usually very good when we do ML. She loves long foreplay but it only starts when we are about to ML. I've suggested we begin the foreplay a day or two before with suttle comments, texts, phone calls but she "don't like to do those things" I understand that to mean it's too much trouble. It seems that the only hugging and kissing we do is on "play nite" other than the kiss goodbye or hello. I hope I don't sound selfish but I like to have sex 2-3 times a week, she has offered to perform oral on me to tide me over til the next weekend. But she'll do it once or twice then it goes by the wayside if I mention it well she don't care for it too much.

I do need to add she has fibromyalgia and understand at times it causes her quite a bit of pain and at these times she does not feel like being intimate. But it was the same even before she found out about the fibro. We've been married 34+ yrs and we argued more about this issue than anything else. Not much else I can do about it but just enjoy it when we do ML.

Gemma said...

PART I TO ANON

Where you posted is fine.

Many LD's seem to get in the bad habit of doing the quick peck on the cheek unless it is official 'time to have sex' and then they only have sex when it's absolutely necessary (read: insisted upon) and that's all rather sad. The LD insists upon being the ‘sex gate keeper’. Where does that leave the HD? It leaves them living an unfulfilling sex life and battling daily with bitterness, resentment and temptation. Fun, fun… is this how marriage is supposed to be? NO!

I’ll be honest- My husband and I don’t usually do texts and phone calls throughout the day when he’s at work. He stays so busy that he doesn’t have time for that. If you can do it, if you can’t don’t fret over it. And I know that for my dh, it’s not that it is too much trouble. He really doesn’t have the time. Sometimes when I call him to ask questions about our budget, health care, home repairs, etc, he’s either on the phone talking business or he’s so busy in the middle of something that he has to say, “I’ll call you back.”

Desiring sex 2-3 times a week is hardly selfish. What IS selfish is for a spouse to use excuses in order to limit sex to once a week or even much less often than that. And the whole thing of, “I’ll do oral on you in between our once a week sexual encounters,”… and she can’t even do that??? I’ve heard from a number of husbands who say their wives do the same thing. I mean, how is having a quickie a few times a week more difficult or stressful than doing OS? Why is it so hard for some women to spread their legs and allow their husband in between them for a few minutes of sexual bliss with PIV-IC? It is hard… for a selfish person!!! Few of us have time for long, daily sessions but what’s so hard about doing long ones with quickies in between? Nothing unless you are a sexually selfish spouse.

Gemma said...

PART II TO ANON

>>>>>>>>>>>>I do need to add she has fibromyalgia and understand at times it causes her quite a bit of pain and at these times she does not feel like being intimate. But it was the same even before she found out about the fibro. We've been married 34+ yrs and we argued more about this issue than anything else.

You can add it but it doesn’t mean diddly-squat to me. So your wife has fibromyalgia. You know what? That pain will be there whether she agrees to have sex or not. Sex doesn’t make the pain worse. I’ve had scoliosis my whole life and I used to use back pain as one of my excuses. “My back hurts too much tonight. Can we do it another night?” I’m ashamed of that behavior now as it was all a crock to get out of having sex. Now we often have sex every day and of course I still have scoliosis. Guess what? The sex doesn’t make it worse. In fact, the added physical activity that sex offers actually helps to alleviate the pain. Those who don’t like frequent, passionate sex are quite skilled at pretending… yes, I said “pretending” that the pain is too unbearable to allow for sex. How can you tell if your wife is pretending? Besides refraining from sex, what other things does your wife refrain from doing? Does she pass up date nights because of the pain? What about visiting with friends… does she tell her friends ‘I can’t meet with you.. I’m in too much pain? Does she work outside the home and miss work days over it? When she wants to go shopping is she sometimes in too much pain to shop and decides to stay home instead? Is she ever in too much pain to enjoy herself while on vacations? I think you get my drift here.

Up until now you’ve felt like, “Oh, well, this is my life!” but now, my friend, you have a choice. You can keep on keeping on and continue dealing with bitterness, resentment and temptation OR…. you can become more assertive with your wife. Watch her closely when she’s doing other things she likes to do and see if the pain ever slows her down or prevents her from doing those things. If you find that sex is the only thing that makes her pain worsen, challenge her. If she suddenly begins complaining of pain while doing fun stuff, you’ll know she has been pretending. Believe me, if you find that to be true she won’t be the first wife who used sickness and pain to avoid sex. It’s done all the time, unfortunately.

I deal with gastric reflux where sometimes positioning my body flat in the bed hurts but I learn to work around it using different positions. My scoliosis gets worse simply from standing too long but when it hurts, dh gives me a back rub and I’m ‘good to go’. We can figure out how to do things we want to do and make a way to do them. These are just a few thoughts off the top of my head…

Anonymous said...

My DW is not so much a refuser, but after almost 6 years of marriage (and two kids running us around all day) she says she wants to be intimate, but she's so tired. I believe she's honestly sorry about this, and I am too - I wonder if I pressure her or make her feel guilty somehow. I'm madly in love with her, but every day that goes by without enjoying that part of our marriage is pretty much lost forever, and I don't want to miss anything with this woman.

littledinobug said...

I get the "too tired from work" excuse a lot. Granted he does work crazy hours, for crazy lengths of time (IE Gets up at 4am to fly for 16hrs or more)..doesn't sting any less, and with his history of refusing me, I can't help but take it to heart.

*sigh*

Gemma said...

Sometimes I really do wonder if keeping a list at the bedside might do well to bring the point home. When refusing spouse goes to verbally give excuse, refused spouse can just point to the list and say, "Don't bother telling me about it. Just check off the appropriate excuse for today. I'll look at it later!"

Gemma, who can be a real smart-ass when she wants to be AND who has been on both sides of the fence so I do understand where both sides are coming from...