One of my readers, “davyp” commented on my last article and said, “Gemma, I hope the book writing is enjoyable and ultimately that lots of people buy it. You have a perspective on marriage that I've not heard anywhere else and that I continue to be challenged and encouraged by.”
I decided to share my perspective here.
I’ve waited four years for the right time to begin this project so, yes, I am enjoying the writing. Thank you for your well-wishes.
The reason my perspective may seem unique to many folks is because, to the best of my ability, I have tried to "own" what I did when I was putting my dh through all those years of misery. Some ex-refusers, I find, are more concerned about making excuses for their past behavior. Some also carry around a certain degree of 'entitlement' meaning, they stop refusing and then they expect their spouse to immediately bounce back... to be all happy and smiles. That's not reality because many ex-refused spouses have been emotional wounded for so long, from the lack of frequent, passionate sex. These wounds need to heal before the ex-refused can get on with the marriage.
Once I experienced my sexual awakening, I never had a need or desire to cover up my past, wrong-doings with excuses. What I did was wrong as wrong can be. My past emotional and physical health issues cannot excuse what I did because, after all, I was the one who refused to get help. There is not much that ticks me off more than to hear a refuser or an ex-refuser make excuses. (ie, my mom was-----, my dad was----, I was promiscuous, I was sexually abused, I was on BC, I had physical health issues, etc, etc.) Guess what? I can apply all those things to my past except for the SA and still… I didn’t have a leg to stand on for excuses. I was wrong. I selfishly chose to refuse sex and I selfishly refused to get the help I needed because, for me, that was the easy way out. I gave no thought to what it was doing to my husband. It was all about me, me, ME.
Some have told me, "But Gemma, you refused for 25 years. It doesn't seem to be the Christian thing to do, for me to be so harsh with my wife when we've only been struggling with this for 5 years... or 10 years." Well, Bud, to that I would say- Suit yourself. Keep walking on eggshells around the sexual issues if you think that's helping. If it's not helping, your wife will be like I was in another 15 or 20 years. For how long would you like to live in a sexually refused state? My dh lived with it for 25 because he was too afraid to insist that we get professional help and I sure wasn't going to get help on my own initiative.
When I finally understood what God had been trying to show me all along... I determined to become the opposite of that person I was during those first 25 years of marriage. Trust me, I have not arrived. I am a work in progress. When I came to my senses, it was easy for me to become a submissive in the bedroom. I still struggle with obedience and respect outside of the bedroom. For so long I've done what I wanted to do and it has brought me and those around me so much grief. Now I purpose to do what my husband wants me to do. Choosing that as my goal has been so emotionally and sexually freeing.
Please note- Below, I am only referring to mature, loving husbands. If a husband isn’t at that place, then he needs to find help so he can finish growing up. Does he want his wife to be obedient and respectful? His wife needs for him to be a man. We each have our work cut out for us.
Many female refusers think that total obedience and respect is demeaning… as if it will turn them into a dimwit. You know what I’m talking about. These wives fight to have their way, their husbands give in, and the wives are still unhappy. Then the husbands ask, “What went wrong? I did everything she wanted. I let her have her way in everything and yet, she still won’t consider my sexual needs and desires.”
Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Come closer. Are you listening?
Many wives don’t know what they want in a husband. Some wives think they want a wimp of a husband, who will bow to their every command. These wives don’t know what will bring them happiness in their marriage. They equate giving up rights with being a weak, brainless woman. You see the results. They demand to rule in the relationship. They are the gatekeeper for what little sex that might possibly take place, and for what little passion they feel like rationing out and yet, they remain unhappy. These wives continually shoot themselves in the foot. Husbands who don’t love their wives do the same thing. Why continue to be self-defeating?
On the other hand, a basic principle of life is that when you give, you receive. The more obedience and respect I give to my husband, the more I am content in my role as a female and as a wife. This goes completely against feminist ideas and that’s why many wives can’t move into the role of a submissive wife. You know what I do with feminism, don’t you? I keep it in the toilet, where it belongs. Now this doesn’t mean that a wife should have no voice. When my husband and I have things to discuss with our finances, our kids, our house, etc… we discuss them together and listen to each others’ ideas before making decisions. But with our emotional and sexual intimacy- I want my husband to rule. I want him to insist that I obey and respect him in all things. This is what makes me feel loved and cherished.
Wives who initially try to fight to have their way all the time, and have (mature, loving) husbands who put their foot down and insist on obedience and respect… these wives are surprised to find that they enjoy having an emotionally strong husband tell them what to do.
Please post your thoughts.