Tag Archives: Q&A with J

Q&A with J: “My Husband Wants to See Me with Another Man”

I’ll be honest: Q&A days are hard. Because oftentimes, a reader’s question hits on a difficult situation. While I write maybe 1000 words to answer the query, the issue here consumes a lot of heartache for the questioner and real-life decisions they have to make. Today’s question is definitely in that realm.

I have been with my husband close to 20 years. I have never been or wanting to be sexual with another man; however, my husband has been pressuring me for many years — wanted to see me in a sexual act with another man. This breaks my heart, makes me feel like he doesn’t love me. I believe practice what you preach. I am a Christian, he is not. Have you heard of this type of thing before? Thank you.

Yes, I’ve heard of this before. It’s called a cuckhold fantasy. The word “cuckhold” refers to the husband of an adulteress and derives from the cuckoo’s habit of laying their eggs in another bird’s nest.

This fantasy has become quite common and is actually one of the top porn searches on the internet. Of course, porn searches don’t necessarily tell you what people would actually do in their sexual relationships, but it is interesting to discover how prevalent this fantasy is.

The first question many are likely asking is why would any husband want this? Surely, we know that adultery damages marriage, right? Why would any spouse invite adultery into their home?

There are a number of potential reasons, ranging from the adrenaline rush a husband might get from a forbidden sexual act, to a belief that he cannot fully satisfy his wife so he wants someone else to do it, to a desire to see his wife treated like a “whore.” Two of the more convincing options I read are:

1. The masculine tendency toward competition means that a man might enjoy seeing his wife as desirable, and even actively sexual, with other men. In turn, he gets aroused that she is so sought after yet she chose him and that he will assert his dominance over the competitors by keeping her when the other man is gone.

Does this sound perverse? Yes, but let’s remember that it’s an extreme version of every love triangle we’ve obsessed over in fiction or the screen (Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, anyone?).

2. The prevalence of pornography has made men into sexual voyeurs. They have been trained to be aroused by watching as much or more than participating. Leon F. Seltzer Ph.D. expressed it well in his article, “What Secret Male Sexual Fantasy Is Surprisingly Common?” in Psychology Today:

It only makes (erotic) sense that if we’re now subject to a porn-centric culture, many men … would be exceptionally turned on by fantasizing their partner as an enticingly provocative porn star, unrestrainedly exhibiting the wildest excitement in expressing her rawest, most provocative sexuality.

Husbands even expressed to one researcher: “My wife is the most beautiful woman in the world to me, I’d rather watch her having sex than some porn actress I don’t know” (David J. Ley Ph.D., “Why would you do that? (Watch your wife with another man),” Psychology Today).

Of course, finding out that a fantasy is widespread and can be explained doesn’t make it right or a good idea. In fact, this is a supremely stupid idea.

Even the secular article by Dr. Seltzer, mentioned above, noted that “experts writing on the subject of cuckold sex have observed that its reality … generally doesn’t begin to live up to the fantasy. Too many other emotions (i.e., other than pure lust) are likely to interfere with its enticement — like embarrassment, jealousy, fear, shame, anger, and resentment.” Fantasies are rather controlled experiences, an ideal of what it would be like, while the reality is often quite different.

In the fantasizer’s mind, he gets to watch his wife have sex with another man, which arouses him as a sexual voyeur and makes him feel more powerful because he possesses this highly erotic woman. But what about what she feels during the act? Either she feels like an object used to turn her husband on or she enjoys the experience, making it a true competition and comparison with the sex she’s had with her husband. And how do either of those promote trust or intimacy in a marriage? Of course they don’t.

Moreover, what happens when all is said and done? Is this a one-off? Does it launch a pattern? Is she now to be whored out to various men to satisfy her husband’s fantasies? Does she begin to conclude that the sex is better with those other men after all? Why stay with the husband who either treats her like a harlot or who can’t sexually satisfy her?

Ultimately, though, adultery is wrong in any context. While I believe that God’s rules protect us from personal harm — thus, my point that sexual cuckholding is a stupid idea — the greater argument is that it’s immoral. Here’s some of what the Bible says about sleeping with someone who isn’t your spouse:

You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18).

But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

After King David slept with a married woman, God sent the prophet Nathan to convict David of his sin. David, finally admitting to his adultery, prayed to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (v. 4, read the whole psalm here).

Cheating on your spouse, whatever the context, is sinning against God.

Cheating on your spouse, whatever the context, is sinning against God. Click To Tweet

Knowing that it would be terrible for your marriage and a sin against your Heavenly Father, what do you do with the request from a husband to fulfill his cuckhold fantasy?

This husband is an unbeliever, which is a difficult situation in and of itself. Let’s see what the Word of God says about that:

If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:13-14).

In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives” (1 Peter 3:1).

A lot gets made of the phrase “submit yourselves to your own husbands…” with some arguing that it’s the submission that will win over their husbands. I’ve heard of Christian wives going through with problematic or immoral sexual requests from their husbands because they think what matters most is the wife’s submission in marriage.

But these verses are very clear that what wins over a non-believing spouse is that the believer live out their Christianity. You can’t say yes to anything that takes you away from God’s desire that you be holy, pure, and reverent.

You have to say no, and say it firmly.

Sometimes when a spouse realizes their fantasy will never ever ever happen, they drop it and the issue fades away. Through the power of extinction, not rewarding the behavior of thinking/discussing a bad sexual fantasy, the spouse might get over it.

Other times the spouse continues to talk about their desires. And that’s when you have to set boundaries. Things like:

  • “If you bring up the subject again, I will leave the room. Because it’s emotionally painful to me for you to suggest me sleeping with anyone but you.”
  • “If you can’t let this go, then we need to go see a counselor. Because I want to feel emotionally safe in our marriage, and when you bring up this fantasy over and over, I don’t.”
  • “If you ever invite a man over to have sex with me or attempt to force me into this act, I will leave. Marriage should be exclusive, and I will not be a part of adultery.”

Then if your husband does any of those things, you have to follow through.

I know that’s tough. But at the end of the day, we cannot enable sin. Even from our spouses.

We cannot enable sin. Even from our spouses. Click To Tweet

Definitely practice what you preach. Be the example of what it means to be a loving spouse, to be a trustworthy wife, to be a holy Christian. Set godly standards and then keep them.

I’m praying for you.

Also see Should You Go Along with His Sexual Fantasy?

Q&A with J: Sexual Release Without Sinfulness

Our question for today comes from a wife who is currently separated from her husband, fighting for her marriage, and trying to deal with her restless sex drive. Here it is:

Our sex life has been amazing from day one. I have a very high libido and I just enjoy sex and trying new things, etc. However, we are currently separated due to him falling into an international affair. I am fighting hard for my marriage and I’m praying the Lord will grab his heart and turn him from his sin…

My question is this: I’m 31 years old with a high libido and I feel trapped in how to how to honor the Lord with my sexuality right now. How can I get a release without indulging in anything sinful? I believe masturbation is okay, especially in my situation, but it has become really hard to climax without having a scenario in my head. I believe erotica can erode a marriage, but are there certain types of erotica that can help people people in my situation?

Blog post title + woman under bed covers with arms raised

First off, I’m praying for your marriage too, and I invite my readers to do the same. Obviously, the best answer is for this marriage to be not only restored but brought to a place of thriving.

Yet whatever happens, you have to deal with this high libido that was awakened in marriage and now has no place to be satisfied. I feel for you. Your sex drive doesn’t just go away when your spouse is gone; it can be a hungry little beast when not properly fed.

You essentially have three ways to deal with a restless sex drive.

1. Release it.

That’s where your question heads to: “How can I get a release without indulging in anything sinful?” You say that masturbation is okay, and I’ve laid out my own position on this blog before. A summary of my perspective would be that masturbation that brings you and your spouse closer together is okay and masturbation that draws sexual energy away from your spouse is not okay.

Long physical separation from your spouse could be one of those times when it’s beneficial to “take the edge off” so that you can remain focused on your husband and your intimacy with him and not be tempted by another’s man attention, get cranky with your husband because it’s been way too long, etc. But imagining a scenario in your mind that doesn’t involve your husband takes sexual energy away from him; it’s inherently detrimental to your relationship.

If you’re imagining anything other than your hubby in your mind, you’re in sinful territory. And that’s what erotica encourages you to do. Jesus said, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NLT). Of course that also applies to a woman looking, or imagining, a man with lust.

Ideally, if you’re masturbating to be able to withstand a long physical separation from your spouse, you’re doing so with their knowledge, support, and even presence (yes, some married couples Skype and simultaneously pleasure themselves). In your case, however, that’s not possible. So you need to be careful about how you engage in this physical release.

Look at your motives, your heart and your mind, and what will best keep your sexual energy on your marriage. Prayerfully ask those questions and listen for God’s answers.

2. Channel it.

You don’t have to use sexual energy sexually. That pent-up feeling can be channeled toward other activities. For instance, physical exercise can help diffuse that tension. It’s another way to be active, experience body chemical highs, and end up with that level of fatigue you sometimes feel at the end of sex.

I’m sure you’re also missing that physical touch that comes with sexual connection. You can refocus your desire for sexual affection to other forms of affection and other relationships. Spend more time with family. Volunteer in your church’s nursery. Head to a convalescent home and hold hands with an old woman, who might also have some wise life advice to share while you’re there.

Check out these and other ideas on what to do with your sexual energy when you’re not attached in this post.

3. Ignore it.

You’re probably thinking, I can’t! It’s impossible to ignore. But hear me out. In psychology, there’s a principle called extinction. In behavioral therapy, we know that linking a stimulus and a consequence causes people to expect the latter when the former shows up. The classic experiment is Pavlov’s dogs who heard a bell before being fed and thereafter drooled for food whenever they heard the bell ring. But if you de-couple that stimulus and consequence (bell → food), eventually the conditioned response (drooling) goes away. That’s extinction.

Right now, your hungry little beast — aka, your sex drive — wants to be fed. But it doesn’t literally need to be fed. You don’t have to have sex for your heart to keep beating. So it’s possible to use a bit of extinction in dealing with your drive.

I don’t believe your libido will completely go away, because our sexuality is an integral, God-given part of our humanity. But if you constantly shove juicy morsels at that beast, it will keep coming and coming, demanding to be fed. If you ignore it, eventually your drive will diminish. Enough to be more manageable.

Lest you think I’m being completely unrealistic, my husband and I did not have sex for about four months when expecting our second child. I was right in that high-libido part of my pregnancy when my doctor announced that health risks precluded intercourse. I did a lot of ignoring my drive, and so did my husband. Over time, it got less demanding. So I believe it can be done.

(By the way, for those who are in a marriage where you should be having sex and one of you has been practicing extinction, this might help to explain why it’s hard to get going again. But you should, for the sake of your marriage.)

Which of the three options should you choose? Each of them — releasing your sex drive, channeling it, ignoring it — could be beneficial depending on the motives, circumstances, and goals. But ask serious questions about what would honor God and your marriage when deciding what to do.

Once again, I’m praying that your marriage will be saved.

Q&A with J: What If Hubby Is Passive in the Bedroom?

Today’s question is from a wife who’s been married for a while, and they’re encountering an ongoing problem. Despite making sex a regular part of their marriage, they’re still struggling:

Please address the topic of a passive withdrawn husband. Mine never initiates, asks, nor jumps in to ravish, nor does he do foreplay, nor sexual talk, nor sounds.  Our sex live has been unsatisfying for us both. He believes God has told him that His will is for married couples to have sex everyday. We have tried this for a while. He liked it, but I still never felt connected.

We both understand that often a women’s body will warm up sexually after her mind. That the couple starts foreplay, and then in a while, she will get turned on. Only thing, with him being so so passive, and not doing anything, nothing much happens. He often is too limp to proceed, or even though I’m not ready, I let him penetrate just so he can quickly climax and go to sleep. I have been very clear, that I am interested to make love, but I need him to make a direct move, pass…..not be like a 90 year old man shuffling down the hall with his walker.

Q&A with J- What If Hubby Is Passive in the Bedroom- with illustrated couple in bed

Let me start with this tidbit: We’ve got this idea that 99.9% of men are ready, eager, and assertively pursuing sex in their marriages. It’s been conveyed directly, indirectly, and through both secular and religious messages. But it’s just not true.

Sometimes the passive, lower-drive, or even disinterested mate is the husband.

Sometimes the passive, lower-drive, or even disinterested mate is the husband. Click To Tweet

It could be that something’s amiss, or it could be his biological makeup or personality. But I just want wives reading this, and those dealing with something similar, to understand that perhaps 15-25% of marriages have a higher-drive wife who longs for more frequent and intense sexual intimacy.

And now, the question when one spouse isn’t interested or active in the marriage bed is why. Why is this person not grabbing hold of this gift of sex in their marriage? It’s quite possible something has gone awry, so here are some possibilities for your husband:

  • Low testosterone
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Shame about sex, based on poor teaching or past experiences
  • Porn use (past or present), which interferes with the brain’s arousal mechanisms
  • Depression/anxiety disorder
  • Relationship conflict or discontent
  • Prior inability to perform, affecting his confidence
  • High stress, and the resulting body chemicals that block arousal

The only way to know what’s going on, and thus how to proceed, is to communicate about your sex life. All too often, though, what we do is start that conversation with a complaint about our own dissatisfaction with sex. Instead, I challenge you to open yourself up more, create a safe atmosphere for him to share, and dig deeper by asking questions and really listening.

If his body simply isn’t cooperating with libido or responsiveness … well, that’s a very different issue to deal with than if he’s secretly watching porn. Dealing with depression calls for a different answer than relationship stress. Once you find out what’s going on, you can better address the challenges.

All that said, it’s possible nothing’s particularly wrong. If your husband is passive in other areas of life, he might be passive in the bedroom too. I’ve talked to wives whose husbands were shy in flirting, asking them out, popping the question, and so on … and then, not surprisingly, those men are shy in the marriage bed. They are timid by personality, and expecting him to suddenly unleash an assertive lover is likely unrealistic.

But you can help him be more assertive in lovemaking in the moment.

Communicate what you like. Speak up for what you want. Or move his hand where you want it. Show him what you like and then encourage him with sounds and compliments for what feels good to you. Make your marriage bed a place of freedom to express what you desire.

Ask what he wants. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Besides, if you outright ask what he would like to try or do, you might discover something that arouses him more than what’s been going on. This attitude also demonstrates that you are interested in satisfying him sexually, which itself can be a turn-on.

Be the assertive one. Nothing says you can’t take charge and be the assertive one. Pull him closer toward you. Get on top and get things going. My book, Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, also has ideas on what to do with your hands, your legs, and your hips to be more active in lovemaking.

Have intercourse less often. Did anyone ever think I’d write those words on my blog? I sure didn’t! But you’ve been married for a long time (info from the email, but not the question above), which means you’re bound to be older, and you’re still trying to have sex everyday. Some couples can do that, but if he’s struggling to get or maintain an erection, he may need a longer refractory period. You can certainly engage in other forms of sexual intimacy—like he could pleasure you—but maybe go two to three days in between intercourse.

Pursue other forms of intimacy. Finally, you might need to attend to other areas of intimacy in your marriage. Believe me, I’m all in favor of consistent, spicy sexual intimacy and believe sex is an important ingredient in a healthy marriage. That said, your husband believes it’s important to have sex every single day, but are you pursuing other intimacy-building activities with that regularity? Sex itself is not the be-all end-all for your marriage, but rather one component of intimacy.

Sex itself is not the be-all end-all for your marriage, but rather one component of intimacy. Click To Tweet

You might need to invest more in times away from the bedroom to really feel that heat and excitement in the bedroom.

Pray for change. I say this all the time, but that’s because it’s such a good idea. And it’s not because I think you’ll pray to God that your husband will suddenly become assertive and voila! he’s a tiger the next time you tumble into bed. You know what really happens when you pray openly and humbly about marital issues? You change. And if you let God change you, He’ll bring you a better perspective, resources to help you, and patience as you work on the issues. In turn, that might well cause your husband to make changes too.

Given your own issues with arousal, I also think you could both learn more about how to get things going and what feels good. Thankfully, I wrote a whole book about that! Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design is essentially a how-to manual for wives with ideas for getting your body cooperating, revving, and stimulated in the marriage bed. What I haven’t covered here, you can find there.

Q&A with J: How Do I Get My Husband to Do What Turns Me On?

I often talk about telling or showing your husband what you enjoy in bed, so that he can arouse and satisfy you. But sometimes, that doesn’t work. Today’s question gets at that issue.

How do I get my husband to be more attentive to my sexual wishes? I have placed his hands where I want him to touch me but he just pushes my hands away. I have told him to kiss my breasts but it worked only one time. I would like my husband to French kiss me, kiss my neck, and touch other areas of my body during sex. How do I tell him, so that he understands, that it’s a turn-on?

Q&A with J How Do I Get My Husband to Do What Turns Me On + light switch

My initial reaction was: C’mon, dude. What’s up with you? Give your woman a great time in bed! But then I snapped out of that and remembered the person who has to convince him is his wife. But if you had that same reaction, just know that I did too. 😉

So what can the wife do? She’s tried subtly moving his hands and verbally requesting what would feel good, but not only does he not listen, “he just pushes my hands away.”

Talk outside the bedroom.

In the midst of sexual initiation or activity, neither of you is likely thinking as clearly and calmly as you would at an alternate location and time. Remove some of the pressure and bring up the subject when you can have a real conversation.

Here’s the post I suggest reading for specifics on how to have that conversation: How to Talk about Sexual Problems with Your Spouse. Quickly though, I’ll give these tips:

  • Choose a neutral location. That could be your dining table or on a walk in your neighborhood; whatever works.
  • Make sure it’s an opportune time to talk. So not at the end of a long, hard day or when he’s trying to watch the game.
  • Be willing to talk shoulder-to-shoulder. Generally speaking, women prefer face-to-face communication, but men prefer speaking about difficult topics without eye contact.
  • Ask questions. Avoid the temptation to spill everything about how you feel and instead ask about what’s going on with him. Like what was he thinking when he moved your hands? Or when you request something in particular?
  • Explain what you’d like your sexual intimacy to look like. Avoid rehashing the issues of the past and take a future focus. Talk about what you’d like for your sexual intimacy to become (e.g., mutually satisfying).

Explain how your body works.

Most men start out believing that our sexual response is like theirs (and that’s what experts erroneously said for too long). Women tend to need more time to get aroused. They also get aroused being touched all over, not just the sexual parts. I’ve shared this before, but since men are perhaps less likely to read a blog post like this, maybe he’d watch a funny video.

Return the favor.

If you want him to listen to what turns you on, be willing to ask what turns him on. Set the example. Demonstrate with your approach, your questions, and your conversation that you believe sexual intimacy should arouse and satisfy you both.

Listen carefully for suggestions you could implement. (If he suggests you’re not sure about, see what I have to say about that here.) If he tells you something you’re not doing but could do, follow through.

You could even come back later and check with him on how he liked it. That positively reinforces listening to one another, and he might see through experience that it’s a good idea to share longings with one another and then meet your spouse’s desires too.

Reinforce positive changes.

Speaking of reinforcement, if he does something you wanted, let him know how great that was! Even if his execution wasn’t perfect, reward steps in the direction with gratitude and encouragement. For heaven’s sake, tell him he’s your personal superhero if that gets the point across! I’m not saying to lie, just recognize progress.

You like being affirmed when you do something good, right? Do the same for him.

Take action in the moment.

What if it all fails? What if he refuses to cooperate with the conversation or dismisses your desires? What if he keeps doing his thing and even pushing you away when you suggest something different?

Hey, I’ve been writing about sex in marriage long enough to know some spouses just don’t respond to reasonable efforts to nurture mutual satisfaction. Expend every avenue before you go here — like initiate the conversation in different ways and different times — but at some point, you can’t keep rewarding behavior that is selfish and, frankly, rude.

That’s when you need to take action in the moment. He pushes your hand away? Stop what you’re doing, get his attention, and speak up: “I really want to make love to you, but I need you to respond to what I’m telling you about making this good for me too.” Even move his hand back where you want it, more than once, until he gets the message. If you stop in the middle of what’s really turning him on to let him know you need to be aroused too, he’ll be frustrated…but he’ll also learn he can’t keep going without considering his wife’s pleasure.

I’m not advocating being rude about it, but rather firm. Make it clear your pleasure matters too.

Let’s hope he gets the message well before that. Most husbands I hear from really do want to arouse and satisfy their wives. They might just get wrapped up in the moment with what feels good to them or don’t really understand how women’s pleasure works. I’m praying you can teach him. Because the best lovers are the ones who respond to their spouse’s deepest longings and pursue their pleasure.

The best lovers respond to their spouse's deepest longings and pursue their pleasure. Click To Tweet

Q&A with J: Is It Possible to Have a Great Marriage (and Sex) Long Term?

When I read this question, I immediately knew I had to cover it. Because while the wife describes her specific situation, this is an all-too-common problem.

So my husband and I have only been married about 1 1/2 years. Lately when I’ve been visiting with other married women from church/Sunday school, they complain constantly about their husbands. If I try to say something nice about my husband, it’s met with “you’re newlyweds…just wait.” Its usually followed by an eye roll and a “husband’s just don’t understand” topped off with “I wish he would do”and ” I have no libido.” I know the honeymoon wears off eventually. But I guess I need encouragement that you can still love each other, have sex, and enjoy one another ten years down the road. I don’t want to dread my future marriage, but that’s what I’ve started doing and it’s started to affect the way I treat hubby. I want to start now to invest in the future so we CAN have a good marriage later. I guess I feel like maybe it’s not possible. Thoughts?

Isn’t that so sad? Didn’t your heart just sink at the thought of this young wife standing among Christian women who could be mentors, as Titus 2:3-5 prescribes, and instead they’re bashing their husbands and dismissing this wife’s desire to stay in Christ-like love with her husband.

Title with silhouette of embracing couple and sunset in background

Let me say emphatically to you, reader, Yes! You “can still love each other, have sex, and enjoy one another ten years down the road.” And 20 years down the road. And 30, and 40, and…

Is marriage without challenges? Of course not. You’re a sinner, and he’s a sinner, and you just merged your lives — with that equation, something will go wrong at some point. But it is more than possible to have a holy, healthy, and happy marriage. And wouldn’t you think the Church would be the one place where this would be announced from the rooftops?

It is more than possible to have a holy, healthy, and happy marriage. Click To Tweet

After all, Christ himself, when asked about the stiff requirements of salvation, responded, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26). Shouldn’t we be saying, “With God, a beautiful, intimate marriage is absolutely possible”?

Look, my own marriage hasn’t always been happy, but we’re definitely happy now and we’ve passed that 20-year mark. And I could name many couples who are also happy, committed, and, quite frankly, having sex like bunnies. No, I don’t know all the details, but I have conversations with enough wives and hear from enough spouses through this blog to guarantee that plenty of marriages are not just surviving, but thriving. Even those who’ve been married for decades.

Statistics support this as well. In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, The Good News about Marriage, she explains how the “half of marriage end in divorce” claim is complete bunk, based entirely on projections that turned out to be wrong. About two-thirds of couples stay together, and among those, statistics show that spouses are largely happy. The University of Chicago NORC posts annual findings on Trends in Psychological Well-Being, and in the latest year reported, 2014, spouses who reported being either “very happy” or “pretty happy” comprised a whopping 96.5%.

Now research also shows that marital satisfaction dips after you have children. That isn’t true for everyone, of course. But I’d feel remiss if I didn’t warn you that bringing a child into your home — if that’s something you and your husband plan to do — can temporarily affect your happiness. It’s not that you don’t adore your children and feel happy to have them in your life; it’s just that there’s stress, exhaustion, differences in parenting styles, etc. that go along with having children. However, if you know where the treacherous waters are, you might well be able to avoid them by being intentional in supporting one another.

As for sex, Sheila Gregoire reported in her excellent book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, that wives had their best sexual intimacy long after they were newlyweds. Not to discount what you’re enjoying right now (enjoy it, sweetheart!), but a decade or two into your marriage, you’ll know each other’s bodies even more and have a history of sexual intimacy that makes you feel even more connected. Quantity of sexual interaction often decreases, but quality increases.

So with all this good news, why are women in church standing around bashing their husbands and shushing the one wife trying to be positive?

I’ve been in that circle with those women. Not your particular women, but wives like that. Here’s how they typically work: One wife says something disparaging about her husband, and another wife is quick to jump in and agree. Now the tone has been set. Women, being relational in nature, want to connect with the people in our midst, so others join in with their own complaints — wanting to show I understand, we’re connected, we’re all in this together. Soon enough, it’s become a husband bashing session, and the way to gain acceptance and approval is to share your own can you believe my husband?! story.

Let me give you some practical suggestions in those moments. Look at the circle and find the woman who isn’t joining in. She might be an ally. When sex became the topic of conversation and I was often the lone voice of sex positivity, I realized someone else in the circle wasn’t talking. If I got that woman alone, I’d often find out that she agreed with me, but she just didn’t feel comfortable speaking up. So it turned out that I wasn’t alone. Sometimes that woman was even two women or three women or more. Cultivate those friendships and see if you can set a new tone together.

Seek other women who are marriage and sex positive. They’re in your church, because they’re in every church. Oftentimes, they are indeed the quiet ones, because the negative tone has been set by more vocal members. But turn special attention toward older women who’ve been married 25, 40, 50 years. I once sat down at church next to a wife who’d just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary and simply asked, “What’s the secret to fifty years?” Because here was this woman who had golden wisdom, and I wanted it. She wasn’t negative; rather, she was honest, godly, and helpful (she answered, “forgiveness”). Look for those ladies.

Keep speaking positively about your husband. If you maintain your positive attitude and share what’s so great about marriage, eventually they might stop brushing you off and start wondering what you’re doing right. You never know who you might influence with hopefulness and holiness. As Paul so aptly said in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Your marriage may be young, but you can still set a good example.

Your marriage may be young, but you can still set a good example. Click To Tweet

Finally, you’ve noticed a difference in how you’re feeling about your marriage and treating your husband. If these conversations continue to injure your marriage, walk away. Your marriage takes priority. The apostle Paul also said, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character‘” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Wives who continue to bash their husbands and encourage others to do the same seem to me to qualify as “bad company.” Since they are believers, try to alter the tone first, but at some point, you need to do what you must for your marriage.

Also, check out my post on Finding Friends to Support Your Marital Intimacy.

Hopefully you can turn the tide. I’m certainly on your side! I’m a happily married wife, and I know you can be one as well for many, many years to come.