Monday, March 14, 2011

Only my needs count. For you, Dearie? Too bad, so sad. You're stuck with me now.

My suspicions are, that those of you who read my last article... you will either really like what I said or you will really hate it.

The wives who hate what I said, have probably been in abusive relationships either while growing up, or with a boyfriend, or with an ex-spouse, or they have been raped by a stranger. The abuse has destroyed their ability to trust the person who vowed to love and cherish them, their husband. This trust must be rebuilt, and it can be rebuilt if the wounded wife is willing to proactively work at it with a professional.

Trustworthiness and generosity have no gender boundaries, so the situations I am describing, can easily apply to husbands or wives.

If a wife is married to an untrustworthy, abusive husband, she has a choice to make. Either give him an ultimatum to get help, or kick him to the curb. I would say the same to a husband whose wife is not sexually generous in bed. If the wife will not change on her own, she owes it to the marriage to seek professional help to overcome her issues.

How many times have I heard, "But when I was growing up ..." or "But in my past ..." I'm sorry but we all have a past. It doesn't give us a free "get out of jail" card. We don't have to allow our past to continue ruining our present and our future. As married adults, it is time to grow up and use our past to make us a better person today, rather than continue giving our past permission to keep us wounded. By refusing necessary, professional help, a person is essentially saying to their spouse, "Only my needs count. For you, Dearie? Too bad, so sad. You're stuck with me now." That's how I was with my husband for 25 years. Does this describe you or does it describe your spouse? What are you going to do about it?

33 comments:

Mark 9:24 said...

"But in my past ------"

Gemma, you are correct that we cannot let our past control us.

I just want to point out that past abusive relationships are not limited to sexual matters only.
In my past I went through many divorces as a child due to my mothers many divorces.

If I were to use the excuse "But in my past ------" I would have been divorced a few times by now, whenever things got rough, instead of looking forward to my 20th anniversary this year to my 1st and only wife.

Mark

ivan said...

I have started saying that all humans become responsible for themselves between the age of 12 and 24. I haven't been able to narrow it down to a smaller window than that yet. By 24 at the latest we are all responsible for who we are and how we act and what we do.

Anonymous said...

I'll agree for the totally self centered spouse who just doesn't care. When dealing with someone who says my way or the highway, you need to be prepared with a real highway scenario. I finally got that and put it into practice.

But what about the person who is [now] honestly trying but still wants to do it without owning their stuff, or maybe isn't trying as hard as you'd like?

Does the failure to own up trump all? I really do believe failure to appreciate the effort being made would be setting her up for failure, but .. there ain't no free passes in marriage for either party.

I do believe she IS trying to deal with her attitudes - w/ her counselor, in support groups. But face to face w/ me - where it's the hardest - she's still trying to save face.

I'm inclined to believe it might finally be time to be patient and encourage her as long as these things are happening. But I also know I have a soft spot for the easy/no conflict route myself.

Gemma said...

You have to make a decision in what you think is the best way to deal with your wife. Every situation, every couple is different.

IMO, here is the key. Is your wife just verbally saying, "I am trying," or do you see evidence of real, honest to goodness effort? For years I told dh, "I am trying," but I really was not. That was my way of avoiding the issues. When I said "I'm trying", my dh tried to believe that I was being honest, but in reality my saying that, only served to buy me more time to refuse sex. You have to decide if your wife is genuinely trying.

Now that whole thing of not "owning" what she's done and her needing to "save face"... that needs to be addressed NOW or you will only be spinning your wheels. Until a person is ready to "own" what they've done, in their mind, they think that they have done no wrong. As Christians, we MUST own up to our sins. If we don't own up to them, it is as is we have not confessed them. And if we have not confessed, then we cannot repent and turn from our sins. The result is that we continue to live in unconfessed sin. That's it in a nutshell, plain and simple.

If you only want "easy/no conflict", then you can choose to not make waves with your wife. But if you want to get to the root of the problem and solve it, you must do what you should do... easy or not.... no conflict or conflict. The Christian life is not about ease and comfort. It is about following the examples of Christ. He never took the easy, comfortable way out. He always did what was necessary… what was required of Him to do.

Others may disagree with me. This is my take on it.

Anonymous said...

the seed of an affair is growing... while this is not totally related to the topic you posted...as per your suggestion and good solid advice I 'outed' my wife for refusal to our counselor. that was two months ago or so. for a week or so my previously passionate wife (before marriage and before children) resurfaced. A glimmer of hope shined on the marriage bed for about two weeks. Now here we are- last month we had sex perhaps 3 times and each was primarily a just get it done event.

meanwhile as previously reported my job brings plenty of opportunity and solicits from women.

I am afraid the seeds for wandering continue to be fertilized and watered by my wife's refusal and lack or interest. The ground had been made fertile from 15 years of lifeless sex and statements of 'me being demanding' 'don't give up on me' 'I'm sorry'. The ground has been watered by a wife that sleeps while her husband needs a companion, a lover and the women he thought he was marrying.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, especially when your yard is dead and has been sprayed with roundup.

I have tried everything now.

anon returns

pray i don't stumble- it is getting closer. I need to feel loved and it is not here- I am completely alone while the bride of my youth snores next to me.

Gemma said...

After the 2 weeks fizzled out, did you also report that to the counselor? And did you tell your wife what you've shared here? She and the counselor both need to know the seriousness of what you're going through on account of your wife's selfishness. Copy the comment you wrote here and share it with them.

For years I had the mentality that my dh would NEVER stray because he was a good Christian man. HELLO??? Even good Christian men can fall to temptation when pushed to the limits. You're seeing that now. My dh didn't have an affair but he did practice a habit of looking at other women IRL... hoping to see in them what I refused to allow him to see in me. Once I cam out of my sexual 'coma', he immediately stopped looking at others.

Keep us posted. God bless...

mr. self respect said...

My wife has the "Take it or leave it" attitude. More appropriately, it is the "my way or the highway" attitude. I could honestly leave today, and she would not care, so long as I continued to pay the bills and support her.

She knows I will never divorce her. She knows I will never separate. But if I left tomorrow, she would not give a hoot, unless I stopped paying the bills.

And no, she will not change. We have tried counseling. That did not work. I have tried boundaries, Love Dare, etc. My wife is not Christian, so no Biblical or spiritual approach will work with her. None of that will work with someone who legitimately does not care.

Hence, I have come to the realization that I will never have sex again. So I am simply girding my loins, for another 20 or 30 years of sexlessness. I have accepted that reality. I have really adopted a fatalistic attitude about the situation.

Anonymous said...

will report at next session. she will default to her control mechanism of feeling sorry for herself. rather than change she will say that is not me. I hate to be a pessimist but really will this ever work. she is frigid and I am not- awake at 1 am.

lonely night anon.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say anon1(me) and anon2 are different people. Might confuse folks there.

And after about two months of almost too good to be true, the pathologically self centered, zero intention of self restraint, mad at the world witch has returned. This time I did confront, only to "discover" once again you're right. She sees nothing wrong with her behavior.
Clay

Mark 9:24 said...

Mr SR.,

As I understand it you have every right in your faith to get an annulment and get out of that destructive "marriage".

Mark

Anonymous said...

Why is it that my wife does not see sex as a wonderful bonding act that is pleasurable, fulfilling and a blessing to be enjoyed? Rather she sees it as a obligation, a thing on a checklist and certainly something that she can go without and let her husband be led into temptation- up to the brink and with her full knowledge that I have every opportunity to get it somewhere else? yet she continues to refuse and roll her eyes when asked if we can have intimacy?

Mark 9:24 said...

It doesn't sound nice, and it's not much help, but it's because she has a distorted and perverted view of marriage.

Mark

Anonymous said...

OK- counseling session update- Husband feels dissed because wife focuses on children, wife does not like pressure created by husband being jealous or angry of children getting attention.

So- am I wrong for wanting a lover and not a wife?

Needless to say the marriage bed has not improved significantly as apparently I am holding the family hostage until I get the marriage bed I want and my wife is holding the marriage bed hostage until she gets???

Anon on ice.

Gemma said...

Every spouse deserves to be married to a lover. So, what does your counselor say about the hostage situation? Have you ever asked your wife if she even wants to be married to a lover? I would ask her in the counseling session with counselor there present, to keep the discussion on target.

Anonymous said...

anon on ice here-

OK another day in frigid hades. Wife says- I was that way (referring to horny, creative and energetic) when we were dating and first married because I knew that is what you needed and it would make you happy. It is not really me. "What is the real you?" "I don't know."

"I married that woman, that lover and I love you- that was a lie then. You need to repent from that lie. That is the lover that I want."

"I am not sure that is me. you need to accept me for me"

Counseling is in a couple of weeks. Any suggestions to tide us over?

Anon on ice.

Gemma said...

Anon,

Keep doing what you're doing. I love the direct, shoot-from-the-hip way you confronted. Well, you all know, that's how I deal with problems ;-). It's the most logical way and it quickly exposes and eliminates excuses as long as you can keep your cool during the discussions. I know how those conversations can make you want to chew nails.

So, keep shooting from the hip, Bud.

Anonymous said...

anon on ice- attempt number 4 for the week in a few minutes. we will see if there is fire or ice. I am now keeping track of the refusals and non-participating times of sex where she closes here eyes and thinks of the queen so to speak. So far not looking so good and she hates that I am keeping track. Any other suggestions would be great- please let them fly- we are the petry dish for this blog:-)

Gemma said...

Of course she hates that you're keeping track. It's a reminder right in her face, that she's falling short in her marriage bed.

Again, keep your cool when making these attempts. If you emotionally 'loose it' when you have these pointed conversations, then you end up spinning wheels. And don't let her move the discussion towards distracting non-essentials. So stay on target, stay cool, and keep shooting from the hip. Oh, and keep reminding her that you're doing this because you love your marriage, and because you love her too much to sit idly aside and watch your relationship go down the toilet.

Gemma said...

Mark said:
Mr SR.,

As I understand it you have every right in your faith to get an annulment and get out of that destructive "marriage".

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gemma said:
Yes, he most certainly does have every right but, instead, he is choosing to stay married to a wife who has repeated and in every way possible, broken their marriage vows. He is choosing to continue a lifelong habit of enabling his wife to comfortably live in habitual sin. She chooses to live in sin, and his allowing it to continue indefinitely, makes him a spiritual ‘partner in crime’. If we assist a person to live in sin, when they and we stand before God, He will judge all who allowed the habitual sin to take place. Many, MANY people have told him this, so it’s not like he hasn’t heard it before. He simply has it in his head that he is doing the Christ-like thing. No small wonder that his wife is enjoying her life as it is. She shows no love for him and in her lifestyle of habitual sin, she has everything she wants to keep her happy, including the way she keeps him on a leash as her spiritual ‘partner in crime’. When she goes down, he’s going down right alongside of her.

To Mr. SR,

Christ never did and never will show love by sitting idly by, watching someone live in sin. He gives us all a free will to choose life or death but if we choose death, HE DOES NOT CONTINUE STANDING BY US. Our life of habitual sin or our life of assisting someone in a life of habitual sin, will most assuredly keep us eternally separated from the love of God. Why a person who claims to be a Christian would choose to separate themselves from God’s love, is beyond me. Mr. SR, I’ve heard you dozens of times, try to justify your position in standing by your wife. You think you’re doing the Christian thing in standing by her but instead, you are only digging spiritual graves for both you. I’m sorry to be so harsh about this but, Bud, you need a reality check.

Anonymous said...

anon on ice- blow by blow updates for the world.

OK this didn't go so well.

But the scab needed to be pulled off for healing to begin. I told her straight up that I am tempted by other women, have never strayed- don't want to and am working through this with her and a counselor so that I don't stray.

Well apparently I am a pathetic sinner and "I will never let you see me naked again knowing you have looked at other women." was my greeting back. She needed to know how real this is and she still is not grasping that men are tempted. She thinks I should not even look at or consider other women. Again in my job I have the opportunity several times a week to get it elsewhere and have not strayed. But the patience is wearing out and I am more vocal and frustrated about it. Change must happen.

Feed back please- thanks, anon on ice.

Gemma said...

I'd say it went very well. She needed to know what her behavior is doing to you. And all that crap of 'I'll never let you see me naked again because you've been tempted to look at other women'... most definitely make that a priority to discuss with the therapist. Sexual refusers collect excuses. Your wife is trying to use that as yet ANOTHER excuse to condone her sexual refusal. She needs some serious help.

You know that I refused sex for over 25 years. Shortly after I came out of my sexual coma, my very, faithful dh confessed to me that he had been looking at other women throughout all my refusing years... looking and hoping to see in them what I refused to allow him to see in me. My response to his confession? I told him- Don't even think about it. I am just as guilty if not more so because of my frigid behavior. I pushed you into looking at other women. I had to apologize to him for my creating that environment which pushed him over the edge. I HAD TO ASK HIS FORGIVENESS. During those first few months after my awakening, I must have apologized to him, dozens of times because I knew I had done so much damage to our relationship. I didn’t stop apologizing until my dh finally said, “Let’s just put all that behind us so we can move on with our lives.” So I stopped apologizing but even then, it was not easy for me to put the past behind me.

If and when your wife comes out of her sexual coma, some of her healing will have to be for her to "own" her part of what you're going through. If you stray with another woman, it will be your doing, but her behavior will have contributed to it. Does your wife claim to be a Christian? If so, part of being a Christian is to be willing to confess and repent of ALL OUR SINS, INCLUDING THE SIN OF CAUSING ANOTHER TO SIN. We have to own what we do. In other words, your wife will have to get off her high horses, humble herself before God and before you and say, "I was wrong. Please forgive me." Anything less than that, would suggest to me that she’s just continuing to live in un-confessed sin.

Anonymous said...

She is in for therapy first in the next 48 hours then me(therapist suggests separate sessions and wife thinks we are in coercion together against her). I am not sure she will quite get it that she has caused this as she tends to go down the complain rather than action route in many areas of her life. So this could be interesting. I will stick to the points and not deviate. She is trying to turn this into i only love her for sex and not the emotional connection that it creates. As well as if we were more connected then she MAY be creative in the deadroom again. The clock is ticking and my patience is running out. I hate to use pressure but Good Lord 15 freaking years is enough already- I want my girlfriend and a lover not a wife and a mother any more.

Any preemptive suggestions for my therapy session or response to hers would be GREATLY appreciated.

Anon on ice

mr. self respect said...

Mark and Gemma:

I have often considered leaving my wife. Three years ago, I was perhaps on my way to doing it. I actually spoke to the deacon about getting the annulment, and I met with the lawyer about getting a divorce.

I prayed long and hard, and discerned that divorce was not what Christ was calling me to. I never went back to the lawyer's office.

Instead, what Christ expects of me to do is this: to guide my wife back to Him. My wife is an apostate, and perhaps by my example, she can return to the faith.

If I separate and leave her, I will no longer be a factor in her life. This means that I will have zero ability to effect change in her.

If I honestly believed that by divorcing her, I could bring her back to the faith, then I would do it. I simply do not see that happening. I actually see the reverse happening if we divorce: she will become even more angry and embittered. This would only serve to drive her further away from the faith.

I do need to change. I honestly, freely admit that. But the change does not include divorce or separation. The change I need to make is this: I simply need to be a better Christian. I need to set an even better example than I have before.

Anonymous said...

Mr. SR, did it ever occur to you that you might be able to bring many other people to faith if you weren't tied to a stubborn, unrepentant woman?

Leah

Mark 9:24 said...

Mr. SR,

Lets pretend for a moment that your wife's sin isn't refusal or neglecting her duties as a wife (and I am not just talking about the sexual side).
Her sin is instead being an active Alcoholic and you are her husband.

My wife has the "Take it or leave it" attitude. More appropriately, it is the "my way or the highway" attitude. I could honestly leave today, and she would not care, so long as I continued to pay the bills and support her.

So, she doesn't care if you are there or not as long as you continue buying her booze for her so she can keep getting drunk whenever she wants.

She knows I will never divorce her. She knows I will never separate. But if I left tomorrow, she would not give a hoot, unless I stopped paying the bills.

She know that you'll keep buying her all the Tequila she wants and she knows that no matter how damaging this is to her and your children you will keeping bring home the booze.

And no, she will not change.

Why should she? You'll buy her any kind of drink she wants, no matter how damaging it is.

We have tried counseling. That did not work. I have tried boundaries, Love Dare, etc.

No you haven't. To help an alcoholic get off of the booze requires follow through. You try taking away the bottle for a moment, she whines, complains, and fusses, and yo give in, letting her get drunk again.

None of that will work with someone who legitimately does not care.

Of course it doesn't, since s knows you don't really mean it as proven by your actions. You keep bring home the booze and do nothing when she goes out to drink or brings the drinks home.

I have really adopted a fatalistic attitude about the situation.

That's because you're an enabler. you help her to be a drunk and you refuse to dump all the booze down the drain and smash all the bottles. She knows that no matter how drunk she becomes you will never man up and get the booze out of the house. You won't do what Christ did in the temple and tip over the table, breaking the booze and kicking out the thieves.
You marriage, all marriage, is a representation of Christ and the Church, and in your marriage it is a den of unrepentant, and willing alcoholism because you won't man up like Jesus Christ did, would, and kick the thief called alcoholism out of the Temple of your Marriage even though that is YOUR DUTY as the Husband and Priest of the Marriage.

How will you answer for YOUR actions before GOD when he asks you why you let the alcoholism into your house and did NOTHING?

Christ would be breaking every bottle, kicking out anyone who brought more int the house, and would EVER sit idly by as you do. He would never back down because the drunk got into his face, or worse helped them buy and drink another bottle just because it was hard. He would DIE to keep the alcoholism out.

If I separate and leave her, I will no longer be a factor in her life. This means that I will have zero ability to effect change in her.

You have zero ability NOW because you keep handing her all she wants to drink.

She is unrepentant. What does Christ do about the unrepentant? He walks away!
Until you walk away, stop supporting her, in ANY way, she will NEVER believe that you are serious in wanting to take the booze away from her.

If I honestly believed that by divorcing her, I could bring her back to the faith, then I would do it.

How do you know that by taking away her alcohol that THAT won't be the final straw that shocks her into realizing that she is an alcoholic? You can't until you DO it.

continued..........

Mark 9:24 said...

continued.........

Her alcoholism is HER choice. NOT yours. But your choice is whether you continue to support her in her habit or not.

I simply need to be a better Christian. I need to set an even better example than I have before.

Then STOP buying her all the booze she wants!! If she refuses to stop drinking the best thing you can do for her is to walk away, stop supporting her in her habit, and then see what happens.

Once her PARTNER in SIN leaves and she has to shoulder the whole burden by herself, she may finally realize what it is she has been doing.

You can NEVER help an alcoholic get away from the booze by helping them have all they want which is what you have chosen to do until you die.

Mark

Anonymous said...

anon on ice here- My wife feels insecure with me which according to her makes her not attracted to me. Of course I contribute to some of this but is this just another excuse for her to continue in her cocoonic state of not wanting to express sexual freedom?

Gemma said...

Insecure how? Did she explain?

Tom Joad said...

I have considered many of the same heartaches mentioned above. The theological milestones that continue to guide me are these in no particular order of importance:

God hates divorce. He tolerates it but then only in limited circumstances, adultery, abandonment and severe abuse.

God commands us to love our wives as Christ loves the church. How many of us have not sinned repeatedly and habitually in other areas?

God commands us to forgive at least until "seventy times seven."

At times, God uses bad marriages for a greater good for example Hosea.

At times, God may call a man to honor the marriage vows even though it is a burden for example the Apostle Paul.

I've never seen a divorce between true Christians that passed the "praise God test" ie an ability to say truthfully "Praise God I divorced my husband or wife."

IMHO, there may be situations where your intimate life not be perfect but when you have done all that can be done you have to simply offer your burden to the Lord and ask Him to help you bear it.

Gemma said...

[eyes rolling in head] Yes, God hates divorce but where is it written that He hates divorce more than He hates an habitual sinner... such as a sexual refuser? Part of the reason that many professing Christians justify their refusing habits is because of that overused excuse of "God hates divorce". They refuse and think, "He/she won't leave me 'cause God hates divorce," so I'll keep doing what I'm doing. And let me clarify- habitually sin in ANY area is wrong.

Tom, a lot of what you're saying is true but the other side of it, what you're NOT saying, is also true. Your conclusions are based on imbalanced theology.

Offer your burden to the Lord and do nothing to your habitual sinner of a spouse to encourage them to take ownership of the damage they're doing to the relationship??? And how does that win you brownie points with God??? Your spouse is a habitual sinner and you are the habitual enabler of the habitual sinner. You are just as spiritually guilty as 'partner in crime'.

In discussing refusal, we're not talking about 'less-than-perfect' intimacy. We're talking about crappy intimacy.

Forgiveness? Yes we are to forgive and not harbor bitterness. NEWS FLASH- Forgiveness does not mean we should continue enabling sin. What if a refusing spouse dies before a refused spouse forgives? Does that mean he lost his chance to forgive? Of course not. Forgiveness takes place in the heart, with or without the other person being present. This all means that a refused spouse can forgive in his heart AND can address the habitual sin, head-on, and stop enabling the sin.

Tom Joad said...

Gemma, I don't pretend to know the entire mind of God on this issue but I do know that divorce is a legal and social disaster that has implications far beyond what happens in the bedroom. Again, the three A's of Biblical divorce are abandonment, adultery and (conditionally) abuse. The scripture is very clear.

But, from a practical viewpoint, I know a great deal about divorce. I know that the man of average means who goes into one is almost never financially sound again. I know of working men who are in prison because they couldn't pay both their child support and the expenses of their "new" family. And, once their wages are attached, they often lose their job and start a downward career spiral because no good employer wants to fool with the inevitable, recurring garnishments. Some end up working "off the clock" and "off the books" for lousy wages and no benefits. I know of cops who lost their jobs because a vindictive spouse said "leave me and you'll never work again" and then made good on it by alleging spousal abuse and having their right to carry a weapon withdrawn under federal law. I know that the children of divorce are presented with incredible burdens to bear that have nothing to do with their own conduct and then face an increased likelihood of divorcing themselves(or just never marrying). And, I know that there is a high likelihood of another divorce by the first divorced parties. As heartbreaking as it is to live in a less than sexually satisfying marital relationship, what often happens in divorce court (especially to the man) often pales in comparison and only adds insult to injury. Men and women who marry badly but still hold the family together to offer their children a better chance at happiness are heroes.

Gemma said...

Of course divorce is legally and socially difficult. It is equally as difficult, however, for a couple to live together for decades with one spouse trying to enhance the relationship while the other spouse only tears it down. And while it is difficult for kids to grow up in divorced families, it is also difficult for kids to grow up with parents who have a deeply troubled marriage. IOW- No matter which side of the fence you're on with this, long-term, unresolved marital issues hurt everyone involved whether the couple stay together, separate or divorce.

This isn't just about sex. It's about sex and everything else that goes along with marriage. It's about creating a home filled with love and harmony for the spouses and for the kids. Yes, God hates divorce. He also hates daily disharmony in the home.

And since you mentioned abandonment, adultery and abuse-- Sexual refusal always causes abandonment and emotional abuse. Sometimes it indirectly causes adultery as well.

job29man said...

Mark,

I like your alcoholism analogy. It works.

SR- You are acting like the Sugar Daddy who keeps enabling your wife. You've already said that she has a job and an income and she spends it all on fun stuff for her, and a few of the bills.

IMHO you should tell her...

"I'm here to financially support the wife who acts faithfully to me. Here is the bed for the loving wife. Here is the wallet that contains the money for me to go food shopping for the loving wife. But I'm not here to be the Sugar Daddy for the faithless woman who shirks my bed, who abuses my love."

"You want a roof over your head? You want insurance paid for? You want a car and gasoline? All those things and many more I stand here and offer to the faithful and loving wife I married. Where is she? Let her step forward and claim her bed and board from her loving husband. I will be waiting in bed. Come here and rock my world!"

By doing this you will be fulfilling the role of husband/provider that God gave you SR. But by standing there like an ATM dispensing cash to an alcoholic harlot you participate in her sin. You enable it.