UPDATE: I have cleaned up some sentences and added a couple more since I first posted this. A friend pointed out that the words I chose could be misconstrued.
Yes, it’s been awhile. This is my return post, wherein I respond to a commenter at Dalrock’s, who asked for advice.
Tacomaster said: Another awesome post Dal and I liked your table.I’m posting before reading the comments so excuse me if this has been touched on. My wife and I are both believers, married almost three years. Initially she didn’t understand the importance of frequent married sex. I was in Hell the first year of marriage with the 1-2 sex episodes/month.
I went to the young couples pastor at church who was an Omega, married about 15 years or so (told me him and his wife didn’t have sex much either and it was ultimately her decision) and only saw him that one time for advice. I fought with the idea of divorce because I was tired of living a sinful life of having sex out of marriage and wanted this to work. My wife and I waited til we were married to have sex by the way. She had one previous partner.
She’s familiar with the verse you mentioned in your opening and the sex has increased but to be honest, it really sucks. She has a ton of stipulations and rules which destroys the passion and spontaneity of it. Plus the fact that she jumps out of bed immediately afterwards to “clean up” kills the mood—oh, and there’s the pressure to “hurry up and c*m” thing that I hate. I’ve never been a porn watcher in my life (never interested me) but these last few months have gotten into it. Is this what Christian marriage sex is? I can’t talk about this with my guy friends. The sex feels like a duty she’s fulfilling. Any input is appreciated.
Here’s my input: Tacomasters’s (TM from here on out) wife is not interested in loving him, or being married to him. They don’t have a sex problem, they have a love problem. Sex is beyond an obligation; it’s a good and necessary function of a marriage; a fulfilling and wholesome manifestation of desire for that person. It is the epitome and consummation of marriage. To say that sex is an obligation of marriage is like saying a mother has an obligation to feed her children. That is to say: A mother who can, but does not, is no mother at all. TM’s wife does not desire him. That’s to say: she does not desire to be desired by him. The first thing TM needs to do is accept this; which is an extraordinarily painful thing to do. This is where TM finds himself: Married to a harlot who is demanding better emotional payment for her services, but expecting a wife.
It must be understood that the sexes were designed for our benefit and understanding. Man was made first, and woman was made for man. Women were designed specifically to be desired by men, and by that desiring to bring completion and projection. That completion shows in the physical world as sex, when the man’s desire for a woman brings forth ecstasy and life. It’s easy to see orgasm as completion, and procreation as projection of life, but there is also a projection of ecstasy that makes the difficult times more easy to bear. Sexual delight is a marvelous grace; a physical symptom of the blessing that love can bring to the lover and the beloved, the man and the woman.
Yes, the woman is the beloved. I do not say that women don’t or can’t love, because they certainly can, and most often do so when men can’t or won’t. (Nursing homes,
orphanages daycares, and hospitals are brimming with women.) Nevertheless, women thrive when they are the object of love. Little girls don’t dream of being possessed by the best man in the world. They dream of be the most desired woman in the world, and they dread being desirable to no one. Grown women fantasize about being swept off their feet by powerful men and forces beyond their control. Their bodies are formed in such a way that they receive pleasure in the most vulnerable of positions. They’re mind-bogglingly pliant, yielding, and literally impressionable. Yet, their physical pleasure centers are arranged in such as way as to be accessible to all but the most corporally aggrieved of men. Their emotions are likewise, and we see this in the breadth of men–and the diverse actions among those fellows–that they find attractive.
The desire to be loved is one of the reasons church is so appealing to women. Even if you made churches more male-oriented: as long as mankind is the object of God’s love, and church–that is, communion–is the most tangible expression of God’s love on Earth then women will be beside themselves to get in. The Israelites forbade women from entering the inner courts (you can’t get much more male-oriented than that), and my bottom dollar says ancient Jewesses were dying for access because they were sure those within were more loved by God than those without. No doubt pagans have the same problem. You can always pick out a hindu woman by her dress, but hardly a man. I don’t doubt that for every male worshipper of Zeus, he was but one pebble among the womanly sands of Hera. Among the Muslim extremists, it is the women who are the most extreme. It is women who hold each other’s daughters down for female genital mutilation. It is women who force the burka on each other. These deformities of culture aren’t hate, but perverted concern; that the subjects of such atrocities might be lovable.
Within Christian marriage sex is the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, between a man and a woman; between the lover, and the beloved. No one, but the two consecrated by covenant with each other, are allowed to enter into that blessed union. Which brings us back to TM’s problem: his wife doesn’t want to be beloved anymore. They’ve read the passage from 1 Corinthians 7, so she dutifully doles out sexual welfare every so often to fulfill the obligation they believe is set forth in that scripture. The obligation is not to have sex, but to not deny each other of it, and that is the worst case scenario. It is a warning that sexual denial within marriage is a very serious matter threatening the very existence of the marriage, and therefore their relationship with God which is bound up in the Christian marriage.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
For husbands desire steadfast love and not duty, the knowledge of him rather than sexual welfare.* A husband wants to know his wife, wants her to want to be known by him, and wants no one else to else to know her; to keep her separate and secret for himself, which is holy and beautiful and erotic. That passage from 1 Corinthians 7 isn’t a rebuke of husbands and wives who don’t want to have sex with each other. It’s an exhortation to fulfill their good and holy desires with one another.
7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
We modern Christians (and no doubt earlier ones as well) are putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble because we are not taking into consideration to what St. Paul is responding. The Corinthians had send him a letter mentioning that the church had decided that abstinence was the right thing for all Christians, married or not. St. Paul’s response is to say: “No! By all means: husbands and wives are supposed to have sex!” The Christian marriage covenant is such a powerful spiritual bond that it is to be that the husband controls the wife’s body, and the wife the husband’s. His words are meant to free them from heresies and misunderstandings that have led them into sin and sexual slavery. St. Paul is not merely obliging TM’s wife to have sex with him; he is removing the false narrative that good Christians don’t have great sex. They certainly do, and to deny one another is to deny not only the flesh, but God’s intent, as well. The implication then is that TM’s wife has, in fact, become a non-believer in their marriage. She is a like a priest who has rejected her religion, but still pays tithe out of superstition. It’s a sort of witchcraft meant to protect her from any allegations of wrongdoing.
Wrongness is not the bloody point! She. Is. Rejecting. Him. And she has no excuse because she has been given that marvelous ability to be lovable, and to be loved. It is not TM’s fault. This is a choice she has made. Even if her emotions are not into the idea of sex, she ought to be saying to TM, “Husband, I desire to be pleasing you, and to be pleased by you.”, which is absolutely true. If she did, she would find that–sooner or later (and the sooner the more she means it)–she would get what she really wants, which is to be loved by a man she considers worthy.
In the meantime, TM, do not ask that woman for sex. Stop lying to her and yourself. Stop trying to do what she wants so that she wants to have sex with you. Tell her the truth for a change; that you want to bang her silly, and that she should let you know when she’s ready. Then, stop talking to her except as necessary. When you do, be as polite and formal as you can. Do not hold hands with her. Do not hug her, or kiss her. If she says she loves you, say, “If you loved me, you’d kiss me.”, and be sincere about it. If she comes in for a kiss, then make it a big one, and escalate from there, groping and fondling and all the things a man wants to do his woman until you’re having sex. If she recoils, do not react. Just go back to the routine, and don’t give in.
Make your world what you want it to be, to the best of your ability. Do the chores YOU think need to be done around the house, and only those chores. Regardless of what the previous arrangements were: This is now your house, and you decide what is important. Don’t slack. Do make it a point to take care of the things you think need to be taken care of.
Get your finances in order, if they are not. Make a budget, and stick with it.
Christ informs us of how we should behave when fasting, and I think it should apply even when we are fasting from tasting the fruit of our spouses:
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
In other words: Make yourself look good; take care of yourself. Groom yourself and dress well. If you don’t know how, start here. I haven’t gone through the new Style Guide, but I imagine it’s even better than their old style series. You will feel better.
If you don’t exercise, start. At least go walk every day. In fact, it would be a good idea to invite her to go walking with you, but do not ask. Say: “I’m going walking. Come with me.” and then go. Either way, it will be important and good for you to be active. Physical activity will help you think clearer, sleep better, and feel better.
Whatever you do, while you are doing all these things: Try to smile. If she tries to pick a fight with you, say: “I’m trying to love you, not fight with you.” Leave for a bit if you have to, but never for the night. Do not–under any circumstances!–sleep on the couch, or in another room. That is your house, your bedroom, and your bed. You are allowing her to use them because you have grace and compassion.
Trust God to bring you through this trial and her and work this out for your glorification, as He promises to those who love Him.
As a side-effect: she will wonder what the hell is going on. That is good. Intrigue is catnip to women. BUT UNDERSTAND THIS: That you are not doing these things to please her. You will do what is good, and she will choose to follow, and to be your helpmeet suitable…or not. This isn’t about winning her over, or manning-up for her. That boat has sailed, and she has committed to before God regardless if you’re a lady-killer or a loser. This is about you loving your enemy as your Father in heaven does, heaping coals on her head, and not giving way before the wicked.
If she tries to “earn points” or appear like the good wife by paying you compliments, or at least like she’s not so bad** then say something like, “Thanks. If you really liked it you’d kiss me.” Let her know what you want, and that you won’t be satisfied with head pats and compliments. So if she says, “Will you stop that!” You say, “No.” with a smirk, or a knowing smile. If she retorts with something passive-aggressive like, “Geez, I’m just trying to be nice!” then you say, “A kiss would be nicer.” Never lose your frame of reference that this about her accepting your good and blessed desire to love her wholly, and that means physically, and that means sex! This isn’t about her being right, or good, or nice, or anything other than her being fully accepting of her husband as wives ought to be.
All the while: be praying for her. It will do you both good. We have been given no occasion to mistreat our spouses, for we are called to love even our enemies…which sometimes our spouses are. Bear in ming that loving them does not mean doing what they want. It means doing what is best for them.
Finally, stop masturbating to porn. It is poison. It is so tempting because those dead soulless pictures of dead soulless women exist to please you, and that is what you most desire from your wife. Do not let them pervert your good and natural desire. It will corrupt you, and has negative effects mentally, physically, and spiritually.
*I encourage you, dear readers, please: By all means look beyond the verse I’ve quoted to the whole context of the book of Hosea. It’s about a man who marries a harlot who scorns him, and how that is a symbol for how God’s people have abandoned the love of their life; who has provided all for them, forsaken others for them, and Who–with long-suffering–desires for them to be reconciled to Him.
**And she will, because she will dread the thought of actually being “that bad”, and therefore unlovable–the one true horror of women.