I heard such a sad thing the other day on the radio. Now and then, I listen to the Dennis Prager show. I particularly enjoy his “happiness hour” and the hour he lets callers ask him anything under the sun. (He’s also interviewed the fabulous Sheila Gregoire for his male/female hour.)
Anyway, this man called in to ask Mr. Prager for his take on this scenario: The man’s wife wanted him to have an affair so that he could “get it out of his system” and not desire sex so much with her. What floored me is that Mr. Prager said he knew of another couple where the wife had said the same thing and he presumed that other wives felt that way.
I immediately wanted to find that wife, buy her a cup of coffee, and have a heart-to-heart. But I would have to make my tongue behave, because what I’d want to start out saying is:
You’d rather he have an affair?!!
Which really isn’t the way to ease into a conversation about what sex should mean for a marriage. A wife who is this reluctant simply doesn’t get it.
I don’t know if such a wife would even read my blog, but if she did, here’s what I’d truly want to share with her:
God gave your husband his sex drive for a reason. Yes, there are crazed sex addicts, but your husband isn’t likely one of them. If he wants to have sex frequently and friskily, he is most likely . . . normal. God created us to be sexual beings, to desire and enjoy physical connection with our mate. His Word is clear that sex serves several purposes: reproduction, relational intimacy, and pleasure. God knew what He was doing when he invented libido. It’s only when we twist sex to purposes outside God’s plan that the drive becomes a problem. In the context of a covenant marriage, a desire to have sex is a blessing.
Your husband doesn’t just want sex. When he chose you, he chose having sex with you. Yes, some husbands do not make this clear when they say things like, “But I need sex!” However, having heard from many husbands at this point, the vast majority are not merely interested in sex. They specifically want to have sex with their wife. He chose you. He wants you. To put it bluntly, if it was just about physical release, he could accomplish that without you. Sex has a deeper meaning for him, and what he most desires is connection with you (though, yes, that does include the Yippee! feeling of climax — hopefully both his and yours).
If you don’t like sex now, you can learn to like it. If you really hate sex, there’s something going on that needs to be addressed. Maybe you simply received bad teaching on what sex is in a marriage. Maybe you’ve had a bad history that includes abuse, promiscuity, or mistreatment. Maybe your body isn’t cooperating due to health issues. Maybe your relationship is faltering and needs work. Maybe you haven’t tapped into the pleasure centers of your body and learned to relax and enjoy. Whatever the issue, it can be addressed and, in almost all cases, fixed. If you don’t like sex now, make sex a priority, deal with any medical or psychological issues, and learn what you need to do to foster a positive response to sexual intimacy with your husband.
Extramarital affairs take their toll, even if they only seem sex-based. It’s simply a fallacy to believe such drivel as: “It’s just sex, nothing else” or “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” The act of sex engages the senses, releases pleasurable body chemicals, and can result in positive or negative consequences depending on the context. It is not a neutral thing. Sex has the power to bind you to the other individual in a private, shared way. No wife should want another woman to have that influence and connection with her husband. Yes, I joked about how tempting it would have been to say, “Go see the other wife,” when the kids were young, I was exhausted, and I entertained the thought of polygamy for a split second . . . but ain’t no way I want another woman touching my husband. I know too well the impact of sex, and only spouses should have that kind of impact.
Sex both expresses and fosters covenant love in a marriage. Sex is not icing on the cake. It’s an ingredient in the cake. Want a great cake? You’ll need flour, eggs, sugar, etc. Want a great marriage? You’ll need shared values, communication, sex, etc. God blessed marriage with the gift of sex as a way to both express our love to one another and foster our love for one another. Sex in marriage should not be optional. It’s essential. Those couples who have the best marriages will testify to the importance of sex in keeping them connected and engaged with one another. Plus, as I’ve said many times, it’s hard to get your “panties in a wad” over some small annoyance when your hubby just sent you to the moon with a mind-blowing orgasm. I doubt that’s what the apostle Peter meant when he said, “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8), but it does apply.
Mostly, I would want to listen to this wife and hear her emotional state — why she has concluded that she would rather her husband be in the arms of another woman than to make love to him herself. I would want to guide her past the hurt or faulty thinking she possesses. I would want to give her tips for desiring and enjoying sexual intimacy. I would want to challenge her to love her husband in the way God intended her to love him — with her mind, heart, and body.
Have you ever felt this way about sex in your marriage? What would you want to tell such a wife?