Slap-worthy Practices in Marriage…and Better Options

From time to time — in personal conversation, through my blog, or on Twitter — I hear of spouses who are completely blowing it in the area of marital intimacy. I’m not talking about the spouse whose approach or skills could use tweaking. I’m talking about that selfish husband or wife whose actions are destroying the feelings of the other when it comes to bedroom relations.

"Slapsgiving" scene of How I Met Your Mother

“Slapsgiving” – How I Met Your Mother

And while I generally subscribe to non-violence, some of you, to be honest, I want to slap. Seeing that I can’t actually reach my hand through the Internet, find your face, and deliver a personal wake-up call — not to mention that I really am not that kind of person — I’m merely going to describe some types who are not helping their sex lives.

Pound Counters. Those of you keenly aware that your wife weighs 17 pounds more post-childbirth than when she was leading an aerobics class back in the day and remind her often, stop it. (And all of you whose wives weigh 50 pounds more than they used to, but you knew she had never done a sit-up in her life.) As long as you nag her about her weight, she is very unlikely to feel worth the effort to exercise, dress up, and strut into the bedroom for intimate times. Honestly, what beauty contestant would sleep with the judge who gave her the lowest score? I know this happens with wives judging men as well, but I hear more often from wives feeling that they aren’t pretty enough. And being told that they aren’t pretty enough.

What can you do instead? Tell her she’s beautiful to you, over and over. Find something to compliment — even it’s her eyes. Take her shopping for attractive clothing or lingerie. When you have built up her confidence and remembered why you thought she was so hot to begin with, you can suggest exercising or taking a healthy cooking class together for your mutual health.

Barterers. A barterer is that person who conveys something like: If you build a shed in the backyard, watch the children for two hours, go quilt shopping with me, and give me a 30-minute back rub, I suppose I will open my legs a few inches so you can have sex with me. Really? You are making it clear that you do not want to engage in physical intimacy with your spouse and will only do so if he kowtows to your demands. You are putting yourself in the princess throne and expecting your subject to slay the dragon, save the villagers, and bring you the golden crown before you’ll acquiesce to his request to spend time with you.

God intended sex to be a mutually intimate act. That means that you need to willingly engage in sexual intimacy with your spouse, without all the strings that make your honey feel more like a marionette than a treasured partner.

Porn Junkies. Be assured: Not all men look at porn, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise. There are plenty of men whose view of naked females includes only their wife and their infant daughter during diaper changes. Fess up to what you are really doing — paying women to titillate you. Porn models and actresses are compensated to pose and portray; they love the dollars in your pocket. Your wife is not paid to be intimate with you; she loves you.

Engaging in pornography imprints a perspective of sex that damages your marital relationship. Physical intimacy is not supposed to occur in quick bursts of increasing arousal in which there is no relational connection between the parties. That is the antithesis of what God provided.

Moreover, a husband engaging with porn negatively affects his wife. When you look at these images and make sex about your private arousal, you communicate that she cannot turn you on and isn’t worth the time to try. Many women experience terrible body image issues because their husband is always looking at gorgeous naked women instead. They feel they can’t compete and often lose interest in trying. Which becomes a vicious cycle because the husband may view more pornography when his marital sex life is lacking.

Sex Withholders. If you withhold sex every time that you feel the slightest bit tired, unnerved, miffed, not-in-the-mood, or just “off,” you make it impossible to have a quality sex life in your marriage. If you can count the number of times you’ve had sex in the last six months on one hand, that is a big problem. If you are waiting for ideal conditions to engage in intimacy with your spouse, you are causing both of you to miss out on God’s design for your marriage.

Unfortunately, one of the common themes Christian sex bloggers see is from husbands wondering how to convince their wives that once a month or so isn’t enough or how to get them to enjoy sex with them. Ladies, the truth is that if you rarely have sex, it probably won’t feel good because you need some built-up elasticity for your body to respond favorably; otherwise, it’s like taking a high-energy aerobics class every six months and wondering why you’re sore after every time.

If you don’t enjoy sex or have problems in your marital relationship that are causing you to withhold, address them! Talk to your doctor. Talk to a counselor. Talk to your pastor. (See my Pain & Pleasure post on pain in intercourse, if you’ve having that problem.) But stop wondering why your hubby’s tongue is hanging out at you every time you undress; he’s like a dog who hasn’t had a drink in days, so no wonder he’s panting.

I don’t really want to slap any of you. Of course not! I pray for the marriages of my readers.

I do, however, want to convince you to follow the Golden Rule. It’s a great way to approach life: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Think about how your choices impact your spouse. Do you communicate genuine love for them? Are your choices selfish and rationalized? Do you need a wake-up call? Or will you wake yourself up and start loving the person you are committed to with the respect and care we all desire?

7 thoughts on “Slap-worthy Practices in Marriage…and Better Options

  1. Anonymous

    Some Christian wives spend so much time rationalizing all the reasons they won’t have sex and trying to explain away their husband’s desire for sex (or in reality, trying to convince her husband that “once a month or every other month is normal”) that they do untold damage on the marriage. Rather than burning so much emotional energy on all the reasons you won’t have sex…just have the sex! Christian men in these marriages are really facing an enormous uphill battle. Ladies you are playing with fire. You have bought the lie that no sex is “just the way it is” and in so doing, have beaten your man down. Don’t get me wrong, us men have plenty of fault on our side too. Women crave intimacy and nuturing and security before they’ll consider sex. And yet, their men are now the ones that are completely starved of the intimacy. Is isn’t sex I crave with my wife…it is intimacy. And so the the tables have been turned upside down. Instead of the man being cold and distant and distracted and the woman craving intimacy, it is the women who have shut themselves off and now their men are the ones begging to be desired and held and nurtured. This IS NOT God’s design. Satan has twisted and distorted sex inside Christian marriages and we are buying the lies. Men are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. It means dying to self. And so fine, OK, that may mean the woman “wins” and it is a sexless marriage and the men spend their Saturdays shopping with their wives and baking bread…but that is NOT how God designed it. It does not promote trust and intimacy and it leaves your marriage very vulnerable…and it is no one’s fault (men and women)but our own for allowing this to happen. Sex is God’s HUGE gift to marriage and we have relegated it to a once every 4-6 weeks “I guess we have to have sex” thing. Sad. Very sad.

  2. Anonymous

    I just found your blog last week via “To love, honor and vacuum”. Thank you for this! I hope those who really need it will read it. I use to fall in the “with holders” section. Very unintentionaly. I took a few wake up calls for me to really learn how important sex is to my husband. I firmly believe in the “if you don’t use it – you loose it” theory. If I don’t “force” myself when I’m not 100% in the mood, over time I will never be in the mood. However, the more often we can be together, the more often I will be in the mood all on my own.

  3. UK Fred

    So true, J, so true. And that is all of it. I would especially like to remind all of us, men and women, that we are our spouses only legitimate sexual outlet, and that when we refuse it allows temptation to get a chance. I’d also like to remind other men that whatever your wife is, now, is your ideal, your perfection for the human female. She’s rubenesque, so your ideal woman is definitely not skinny. She’s brunette, so your ideal is brunette. And if she hasn’t gone back to the same shape she was before the children came along, remember that the children aren’t solely of her making, you had a part in that too. But basically love each other. Not because you have to but because you can. It isn’t a duty, it is a priviledge. Take it and enjoy it.

  4. J

    Apparently, I’m not alone in my frustration here! I hope, however, I don’t sound too testy because my heart breaks for those caught in bad patterns that injure their marital relationship. Even those of us who don’t fall into a pattern with these infractions could use a reminder of how important it is to nurture sexual intimacy with our spouse. I SO appreciate your comments!

  5. Anonymous

    J it is very hard when your spouse does absolutely nothing to nurture sexual intimacy. We are called to puruse our wives, to adore them, to build them up and yet, when they take no (i mean zero) ownership of the sexual part of the relationship, it is defeating. The woman is, in effect, saying “pursue me, adore me, make me feel safe, cherish me” … but then… “no sex”. Something is this is broken. Eve has fallen. She has bought the lie that she can refuse sex, make no effort to initiate or even be receptive and still expect her man to be attentive, caring, nurturing and adoring. You cannot push your man away over and over again and expect him to nurture you in the way you need nurturing. God designed it just right. Man pursues woman and through God makes the woman feel safe and cherished. Woman gladly becomes one flesh with man. She actually enjoys giving her body and making love to her husband (not laying there working on her to do list in her head but she is actually making love to him) and they grow closer. The closer they are, the more they do together, the more united they are, the less time there is for bickering and nit picking — they are truly one flesh. And in feeding the man, Eve is fed. As man feeds Eve, she returns the favor, etc., etc. God has it right. And for some reason in our culture – and particularly in the Christian community – Eve has decided sex is off the table and is only a “duty” and it is pulling a lush plant out of miracle grow potting soil and replanting it in dusty, clay-filled dry soil. And Eve wonders….where did the intimacy go? Why doesn’t my husband ever just hug me any more? Why is he so disconnected?

  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous – you’ve hit the nail right on the head. You’ve described my wife *exactly*. I have no clue what to do about it.

    I try again and again only to get pushed away and called a pervert for wanting sex more often then every month or so.

    I’m at wits end. I find my mind wondering more and more when I see attractive women out in public; and I pray about it, but the temptation is certainly stronger when you know that your wife is just going to nit-pick you all day, then turn you down at night.

    *sigh*

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