“A Wife’s Heart”: Colloquy #7


This is the seventh in a series of posts in which Chris Taylor (of Forgiven Wife) and I dialogue about ideas and issues brought up in her post, A Wife’s Heart. (Here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, and part 8.) Chris and I have chosen colors to help with reading clarity in trying to incorporate our comments into her original text; my comments are in blue and Chris’s in purple.

In her original post, A Wife’s Heart, Chris shared eight recommendations for helping a wife in the process of healing her heart. In our last colloquy, we discussed Chris’s seventh suggestion; this post, Chris and I will discuss her eighth and last suggestion from her original post.

Continue with these efforts even past the point of change. If you support your wife in healing her heart and your sex life improves, keep at it. Stopping when the sex has improved sends a message that sex is all that matters—and that may hurt her heart all over again.

It’s a life change; that’s all there is to it. If what you did in the past led to the sorry state you were in, what makes you think that you can go back to it?

Yes, it is a life change. What I’m getting at isn’t just to keep doing the new things, but to continue to make new efforts to grow.

You’ve seen me write, many times, “As long as the status quo is tolerable, the status will remain quo. It is only when the status quo becomes intolerable that you will move to change it.” A corollary would be “If the status quo was stinkin’, why go back to it?” It’s common sense to think that the things that brought about change are the things that will sustain change. 🙂

My entire post was written to show husbands what might be going on in their wives’ hearts with sexual refusal and to suggest what they can do to help her deal with hurt he has placed there.

Fearfully I ask, “Uh, just what percentage of  refusing wives are motivated by relational hurt (hurt hearts), as contrasted with refusers who have other motivations (asexual, bad teaching, other)?”

That is a good question, and I don’t know the answer to this. I suspect it is far more than you might think. Even in these other instances, relational hurt often compounds a different problem. So even if the root of the refusal is something other than the relationship, the only part the wife might be able to recognize is how her husband hurt her. The fact that her husband’s actions didn’t inflict pain as much as evoke pain that was already there might not show up on her radar.

“I suspect it is far more than you might think.” I think we’re going to have to disagree on this one. As I’ve been reading around the blog-o-sphere, what I keep coming across are posts by bloggers such as Byerly, Gregoire, Parker, and even Taylor [*chortle*] in which they refer to really bad teaching about sex in the Church. Bad teachings aren’t the same as relational hurt, and, at least in the Christian world, I’m thinking that runs a distant second, if not third or fourth, to bad teachings about sexuality.

I think many refusal situations have many contributing factors. Sometimes it is bad sexual teaching—but a woman who isn’t aware that she is a victim of bad teaching will see only her husband’s actions. His response to being sexually deprived may be to withdraw, immerse himself in work or hobbies, or turn to porn. She knows that she feels hurt by these things and believe that they are the reason she refuses. Her perception may be that relational hurt is the reason for the refusal. 

Years ago, I attended a workshop that spoke of four layers: surface problem, surface cause, root problem, root cause. It seems to me that drilling down only to the hurt isn’t getting to the root cause, especially if the root cause is the bad teaching that the wife brought into the marriage and led to the hurt.

Bad teaching is such a tough nut to crack, sadly.

But we can’t ignore it to chase the chimera of “healed hurts”.

(Thanks for including me in a list of such wonderful marriage bloggers.)

The list would have been incomplete without you.

[Chris continues from above] Even more than relational hurt, though, I think the biggest foundation for sexual refusal or resistance in marriage is baggage. Far too many women have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault. Many of us have witnessed men not treating women well—either through outright abuse or, more subtly, through words and actions that show the opposite of honoring and cherishing. We bring all those things into marriage to help us know what men are like. It is damaging, and I encourage women to work through that baggage.

Okay, a distant third or fourth, then. 🙂

In my situation, stuff I brought into the marriage created a bad foundation. When I experienced hurt, I had absolutely no tools or understanding for dealing with that hurt in a spiritually mature way.

I know that there has been much written lately about how the baggage of the past affects the current marriage. I’ve scanned it and kenned the gist, but I’m thinking I need to go back and do some in-depth reading on this. It doesn’t seem right, however, to allow the past to hold the present and future hostage, does it?

It isn’t right, but it is the way many of us are. It’s like a broken record where the needle gets stuck on the broken spot.


A husband should not, however, become a doormat.

Husbands need to declare their emancipation from Relationship Jail?

I don’t think they need to declare anything as much as just not accept the mantle of prisoner in the first place. Have you seen V for Vendetta? There is a scene when Evey walks out of her cell and is told that she’d been imprisoned only by her own fear. I sometimes think about how many of us feel imprisoned in our own marriages because we fear too much.

That’s what I see The Shot, The End, and my eight suggestions as doing, a declaration of no longer being imprisoned. 

(As to Vendetta – never watched it. That the mask became the symbol of OWS anarchists turned me off.)

Oh, dear. Do we have to talk about politics now? I’d rather not. 🙂
Vendetta preceded OWS anyway.

No discussion. Just explaining why I haven’t seen it. 🙂

Her feelings should not drive the marriage. Her wants do not necessarily reflect her actual needs. Her lack of following does not relieve him of the responsibility of leading. There should be no hoop-jumping or eggshell-walking.

This is going to call for some adroitness and agility. And, methinks, some more “relational hurt”. After all, Demonstrating Care For Her Feelings (suggestion #2), and yet push against them when I feel that they are invalid seems like a Sisyphean task. 

It is possible to care for her feelings without letting her feelings drive things. Let me try to think of an example from my own marriage . . . okay, here’s one: I have a tendency to experience a lot of anxiety when I’m in an unfamiliar environment or around people I don’t know. My feeling is that I would just as soon not do new things or go to new places. If those feelings were driving my marriage, my husband and I would not do new things together. What my husband does is to care for my feelings. When we are somewhere new, he holds onto my hand as long as I need him to. He checks in with me to be sure I’m okay before we proceed. He knows that it is good for me to have new experiences despite my feeling that I don’t want to. He acknowledges what my feelings are and he helps me cope with them. He is demonstrating care for my feelings even as he doesn’t let those feelings drive our marriage.

A husband can demonstrate care for his wife’s feelings by holding her if she is upset, verbally acknowledging her right to those feelings, and providing comfort. However, he can also go on to say something like, “Your feelings are valid, but the way you are dealing with those feelings isn’t healthy for our marriage or our family. We need to figure out how to work through this.”

I know it’s late in the game to spring this, but is “Your feeling are valid” always a valid statement?

I think feelings are always valid in that they are real. Whether the feelings are rational or helpful is another story—but they are just as real if they are crazed and nonsensical as if someone else can logically understand how they developed. One of the most hurtful things my husband has said to me is, “Your feelings are wrong.” It is much better for me if he simply accepts what my feelings are and helps me move from there.

So yes, I think that is always a valid statement—but it shouldn’t mean that anyone stays stuck there.

Husbands hurt, too, and I recognize that some of my suggestions would be very painful. And none of what I suggest is a guarantee. However, if relational hurt is part of the foundation of a wife’s refusal, the only way true heart change is going to happen is if she heals from that hurt. He can support the healing, stay out of the way of the healing, or be a barrier to her healing.

And what percentage of that is legitimate, and not nursed grudges? Not to be argumentative, but I would like to know what you think about it.

It is hard to say. Even a nursed grudge has its roots in legitimate pain. My experience has been that until the original pain is addressed, there’s little point in addressing the grudge.

Maybe yes, maybe no. Certainly from unmet expectations, but whether those expectations are legitimate or not is another issue. After all, expectations of pampering and pedestals are a bit much, right? 

Those kinds of expectations go beyond an issue of whether a wife’s heart has been hurt by her husband. They sound more like entitlement and punishment to me—although there is a part of me that wants to smack myself for having just typed that.

*snort*  🙂

Hey, wait a minute! Did you just give me an opportunity for an “Aha!?

No comment.

Fortunately, I have learned to work through the layers of grudge to get at what that pain is. Sometimes it takes me a while to get through, but I do get through it.

I can’t speak to percentages. I know my own experience. I also know what I hear from many wives who contact me, and that is fairly consistent with my own experience. The women who read my blog and contact me do so because something has resonated with them. I don’t hear from the other women much.

For me, the percentage question would seem to be important. After all, in your original post, you said that The Shot and some of my suggestions wouldn’t have worked for you, and I know that you are representative of a segment of refusing wives (well, you WERE, that is). The implications are enormous.

I know that you hear from refused husbands, and that while you have great concern for them, you know that you are called to minister to hurting wives. Do you hear from wives who AREN’T hurting? After all, your readers are not just hurting wives, as evidenced the husbands who you hear from. 

I do hear from wives who aren’t hurting, although they frequently are struggling with something. Sometimes it’s a matter of having gotten into a habit of sexual neglect, and now they’re struggling to purge that bad habit and grow in new ways. I also hear from quite a few wives who have worked through much of their hurt already. That is so encouraging to me, to get to hear from women at different stages of growth in intimacy.

[Chris continues from above.] When both spouses are hurting, someone has to make the first move toward healing.

I like the discussion between elovesc35 and myself, in the comment section of our Third Colloquy. elovesc35 said that The Shot “failed miserably”, and yet….. 🙂

Yes, I saw that comment, and it brings me full circle.

Just in time, given it’s prolly the penultimate colloquy. 🙂

I think The Shot wouldn’t have worked on me—but I admit that I don’t really know for sure. I do know it would have made me furious and deeply hurt. It’s possible that I would have chosen to work through that—but it’s also possible that I would have checked out of the marriage altogether. I was so caught up in relational hurt that I felt stuck. The Shot would’ve moved me, but it’s hard to know which direction I would’ve gone.

The Shot is a risk—but if nothing else has worked and if the husband has worked on his own growth and is willing to do the work to help his wife heal, it may be a risk worth taking.

Hence the warning I give, “As long as the status quo is tolerable, tolerate it. When the status quo becomes intolerable, don’t.” We both know of a guy who, at the end of his tether, did The Shot, and his wife chose divorce valuing sexlessness more than marriage.

When it becomes intolerable and a husband’s genuine work on himself has not led to any change in the marriage (and I’m talking over a period of a year or two, not “well, I stopped watching porn, and two weeks later, I’m still not getting any action”), it is time to lay out all the cards and draw a line in the sand—not as a threat as much as a glimpse into the trajectory of the marriage.

So many Christians experience guilt about their sexual desires. A wife who has chosen celibacy for her husband has already abandoned the marriage (although she may not realize it).

Well, there you have it, folks. Chris and I have gotten through her eight suggestions with souls and spirits relatively unbruised. Our next post, the last of our Colloquy, I think we will draw things to a close with final comments and ideas, and maybe address something that came up in the course of the series and might need a final touch-up.

Chris, at one point, you told someone that I had the gift of pushing buttons, and that some of the rabbit-trails have been challenging. Do you have any questions that you think maybe I should answer? 

Whoa, dude, you’ve just handed me a blank check. 🙂 I’ll have to think about this one and let you know.

You’d better hurry up. After all, having just had another birthday, you might find yourself racing to be my advancing senility. 🙂
But at least let me bask in the glow of an “Aha” for a little bit. 🙂

While you have the gift of pushing buttons, I don’t. I’ve had questions for you as we’ve gone through this series, but I’ve either asked them or re-directed them into my own comments somehow. 

What I want to ask is for a glimpse into your marriage with Mrs. Librarian. (Who knows? Maybe asking personal questions is what pushes your buttons.!)

My original guest post addresses dealing with past hurt in the relationship. I believe it is important to go back and deal with that if it is causing trouble in the present. However, I also think it is important to become a good husband now. In fact, a husband’s consistent demonstration of his love and trustworthiness may be the very thing that his wife needs to reach out to him in working through the past. 

While I’ve talked about working through the past from a hurting wife’s perspective, I think it is also important for men to know how to be good husbands going forward. So here are my questions for you:

How do you and your wife deal with feelings of hurt in a healthy way? What lessons have you learned about your wife’s heart or about how to be a husband in your years of marriage? 

Those are the kinds of things I want to ask–not to push buttons, but to share your insight into how to be a husband.

Chris, I have a proposition for you. Instead of lengthening this post, let me devote a whole post to answering this question in full. Since this series of Colloquies was started by your post “A Wife’s Heart”, how about I end it with a concluding post on “A Husband’s Heart”, or something to that effect? That way, our posts could serve as a set of bookends to the Colloquy series.

This makes sense.

And so, the curtain is drawn on the Summer of Colloquy. All that remains is for me to write a bracketing post, attempting to answer Chris’s three questions:

How do you and your wife deal with feelings of hurt in a healthy way?
What lessons have you learned about your wife’s heart?
What lessons have you learned 
about how to be a husband in your years of marriage? 

I will try to post this next Friday.



Filed under Marriage & Sexuality

23 responses to ““A Wife’s Heart”: Colloquy #7

  1. I second Chris’ comments that the feelings are valid. Period. If you are a refused husband who approaches his wife to say, “I am hurt by our lack of intimacy,” how would he feel if she responded with, “Well, it doesn’t bother me, so you shouldn’t feel that way either. Get over it.” Ouch, right? What you *should* or *shouldn’t* feel does not matter. His feelings are valid. If a wife is crying because she is upset and the husband comes back with a list of all of the reasons he feels she shouldn’t be upset, how many wives are going to wipe their tears away and say, “You’re right! I shouldn’t be upset. Thank you for pointing out to me all the reasons I shouldn’t feel what I am feeling right now;. I feel better now.” Yeah, not happening.
    Whether a hurt husband or a hurt wife, the feelings are valid. Acknowledge them, name them, and ACCEPT them as valid, then ask, “Okay, now what? Let’s figure this out together.” Sometimes (for women, anyway) all that is needed is a hug. (Was that Chris who said that? That a hug is never the wrong answer? It’s true.) In any case, start with the assumption that the feelings are valid, and find helpful ways to move forward, even if that means calling foul on those ways that are not helpful. The feelings are valid, but the coping mechanisms may not be. Feeling insecure as a man? Turning to porn is not okay and should not be tolerated, but the insecurity is real. Feeling hurt as a wife? Refusing sex is not okay, but the hurt is real. Work as a team to find healthy ways to address these hurts.


    • Object of Contempt

      I have made several comments around this blog and others that address the issue of emotions in a difficult relationship. I think cultural junk (that’s the technical term) causes a lot of the problems here. I’m not talking about feminism, or philosophies, but the more subtle stuff that we absorb without thinking it through. It’s the stuff you revert to when you want to decide if something is true, good, real, beneficial, etc.. This epistemological baggage has affected churches hugely in this one particular point: we tend to value emotions too highly. We use them to decide if something is good, true, real, and so on. Reason isn’t infallible, but emotions… well, that’s not what they were made for.

      I still think that emotions are extremely important. I also know what it feels like to be invalidated for years. Still, I don’t think that feeling an emotion is the single factor that makes it valid. By the same token, *not* feeling the same thing someone else feels does not *invalidate* that emotion.

      It seems normal these days to completely disregard the work of examining our emotions to discern if they might be unfair, unreasonable, or skewed. This, however, is a very important task (and it is difficult for everyone). If a husband is expected to validate each hurt his wife feels out of hand, this is a burden to the man and relationship that will eventually cause huge problems. Validating her feelings of being hurt, but saying it is not based on truth really doesn’t work. In fact, it can be downright insulting. What can a man do? He can either undermine himself and reality, or he can offend his wife by not taking her emotions as an authoritative source of the reality of a situation.

      I don’t really have an answer. I’m not a vulcan or a robot, and I know what it is to hurt. It would seem that we could tell our spouse, “wow, that must really hurt, and I want to comfort you.” However, the husband still has to transition to, “I need you to trust that this action/request of mine is really a good thing.” Without the willingness to give a backseat to the feeling, and a front seat to the husband and reasonability, this isn’t going to happen. Our culture is so twisted, we don’t think we have valued someone if we don’t support all of what they feel without question. It’s a mess.


  2. sandi

    Have you ever read “For Men Only” by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn? He talks about how he used to think his wife was holding a grudge about something. He writes: “If you’re like me, you might think she is unwilling to ‘let go’ of something–an old offense or memory or grudge. That she’s choosing an ’emotional’ response, instead of a ‘rational’ one–as if the two were mutually exclusive. (Hint: For women they’re not.) What’s more likely is her past is invading her present, and her current reaction is a quite reasonable response to the fact that she is feeling blindsided, surprises, stung or dismayed by the current experience of an old problem that has never really been resolved or healed.”

    I believe there is much truth to this.


    • Object of Contempt

      Hi Sandi,

      I have not yet read that book. I do understand that sometimes a person can carry wounds from history which then come out and make problems in current relationships. When that happens, I think that is usually *understandable*. Saying that it’s “reasonable” is a slightly different thing, though.

      You mention about emotional response and rational response are not mutually exclusive for women. I think emotions and reason are not mutually exclusive for men, either. I know we think differently, though. I think men have less difficulty in reasoning through a problem when they feel strong emotions. Neither emotions nor reason are sacred. They have their purposes, and they don’t substitute for each other very well.

      Let’s use an example where the wife’s emotional hurt is caused by transferring anger at her dad onto her husband. Then, the wife frames the argument in terms of her emotional perception, expecting that the husband will validate those emotions out of hand. But– he can’t do that. The accusation is false, even if it isn’t malicious. It invalidates him and his role. Taking that passive route will create a dangerous pattern for the marriage. Reconciliation won’t happen that way. It requires both to find a true understanding so that the feelings *will* be *reasonable*.

      Implicitly using emotions for discernment just puts the cart before the horse. Understanding allows our emotions to flow in the “channels” we have prepared by renewing our minds — as I see it. Won’t that make reconciliation easier? Is it difficult to see that demanding the husband satisfy and validate emotions, despising his disagreement and correction, will make him feel controlled and despised?


  3. Object of Contempt

    Something else that occurs to me is that when a husband’s feelings are not validated, it isn’t considered a problem. For many years I validated my wife’s feelings, and apologized because the love and healing the feelings were so important. When I was hurt, however, that was always my fault, too. Still is. Men don’t get a lot of encouragement and support for that elsewhere, either.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. tjcox53

    It seems to me that from what I know, of Chris from reading this along with her other posts, on her blog, although The Shot might not have worked this probably wouldn’t have either. Somewhere, I remember reading that Chris at one point had gotten to a place where she knew she was wrong. So much so, she didn’t want to attend church. Having, to my shame, an intimate knowledge of how sin works, I recognize this place. You know you’re sinning, you’re ashamed of how you’re acting, but you feel the need to justify yourself because of perceived wrongs. All the while knowing God is not buying any of it.
    Could any of this have been avoided, in Chris’ marriage? I’m of the opinion, that is part of the path God has put in front of her and her husband, in bringing her to a place where she can help others. So no, I don’t think anything would have made a difference. It is only in Christ, and living as Christians we are willing to sacrifice our wants and desires for another. When you know you’re being disobedient, there is very little Christ or Christian in any of us.
    I do agree that as long as the status quo is tolerable to both partners, nothing will change. I would advance the idea that if a wife is knowingly sinning against her husband, The Shot might be the most loving thing he could do. Too much today, I hear people today speak, of love and being loving as an emotional thing, of caring for others feelings. And at times that’s true. However it is also loving to call someone out on wrong behavior. Of course, this assumes that one’s partner has any interest in what God thinks of their behavior.


    • Phil

      So, are you saying that a christian husband who has a wife who has refused all forms of intimacy for a number of years and he’s tried everything he can think of including ‘the shot’ and even professional counselling with zero success should just live without intimacy to keep a status quo because that’s the christian thing to do? Or should he split the family up just because he wants sex?


      • Hi, Phil,

        Actually, I am saying that you need to pray and decide what your breakpoint is. I can’t tell you what you should do; that’s your call to make, not mine. What I can do, though, is write about the false teachings that have become bondage for Christians. For example, everyone knows that “God hates divorce”, right? But why is it that newer translations are saying “He that hates his wife and divorces”, rather than “God hates”? When I read that the Hebrew actually reads “he hates” and that most translators change the translation from third person to first person, I’m really suspicious.

        I’m assuming that you are a new visitor to my blog, so let me point you to a couple of posts that I think will tell you what I’m presenting.

        First, I wrote a series on Christian Go-To Marital Tools, and in the third one, I included a quote from Martin Luther, in which he says that sexual abandonment of the marriage is grounds for divorce. You can read that at:

        The advice I would have for you is to read my first post in the Addressing The Sexless Marriage series, in which I link to a Sexy Marriage Radio podcast, with a very pertinent quote about taking stock of where you’re at, and what you are willing to accept and not willing to live with. You can read that quote here, and find the link to the podcast:

        Should he split up the family? That depends on just how much misery his marriage brings him. A toxic marriage is just what it says: toxic. Even Proverbs seems to support the idea of separation; three times Proverbs says it is better to live apart from a brawling wife.


  5. Phil

    Dear CSL,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and also for your fantastic work (also to Chris, the Forgiven Wife). I have been following your work for a little while and had read the posts you mention although I will go back and re-visit them again.

    I was actually responding more to those that commented on your post as some appeared to be a little lost in what they were actually trying say. I was hoping my directness would spur them into thought and subsequently produce slightly more defined prose to help those that read them.

    However, I am in a quandry as to what to do. Life in my house is good (the children & wife are happy which makes me happy) until I mention or act in any-way that my wife perceives may lead to sex. If I live life without letting my sexual needs interfere then the status quo reigns and if I don’t control them its as if the devil has appeared. This leads me to the believe that I know my wife is not commiting herself to our marriage but if I put my love for my wife & children before my own needs then life is good. Some may think that I’m a sap for letting things be this way but to truly put others before myself in such a way feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done and, in a strange sense, the most manly thing to do. It certainly feels as though its the christian thing to do.

    However, I do have sexual needs and a yearning for intimacy with my wife so we continue with the counselling in the hope……

    Yours ever optimistically


    • Hi, Phil,

      Thank you for your nice comment. In looking above your comment, I see that you were addressing the commenter above yours. And yes, I truly get the “direct approach.” 🙂 I am a past master at it. Only I’m a little more point (let’s face it, I’m abrupt!) I’m known for asking a guy, “Oh? It’s only been 20 years? So how much longer do you think you will be able to stand it? Another 20 years? How about 30 more years of a sexless marriage, will that be alright?” I’ve had a few guys tell me that the comment was a slap in the face, a true wake-up call.

      Phil, I’m going to be as nice as I can be (I do admit to being “nice-challenged”), so please understand that I’m not trying to get in your grill, here. When I read your second comment, what came to mind was my Plucked Chicken metaphor in this post: https://curmudgeonlylibrarian.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/plucked-chicken-anyone/

      From the very first paragraph: “Here they are, living a life of sexual denial and misery, but they will always include a line or three saying something to the effect that, other than the imposed celibacy, they have a great marriage!” Can you identify?

      I get that you feel you have a good marriage, and as long as you submit to the imposed celibacy in your marriage, things are “good.” You love your kids and long as you keep quiet, your wife is peaceable. When you speak up, “its as if the devil has appeared.” And, yes, you fit very nicely into the stereotype that subjugating your needs (note: NEEDS) to the dictate of your wife for the sake of peace makes you a godly Christian man.

      We recently watched a TV program in which a man told a story: a rich man became aware that there were many needy people in the world, and decided to help by selling all that he had and giving it away. The day after that, he met a man who was dying because his kidneys were failing, so he donated a kidney to save this man. A bit later, he came across another man who was dying, for the same reason, so he went to his doctor and asked him to take his second kidney.

      The doctor said, “I can’t because you will die”. “I don’t care,” said the man, “there are so many people who need organs, and I want to give them all.”

      “I can’t do that,” the doctor said, “that would kill you.” The man went home, called 911, climbed into his bathtub and cut his veins. Above him, over the tub, he posted a sign for the EMTs, “Take them all.”

      The narrator said, “Do you think he ended all suffering by doing that?” Of course he hadn’t; he had just alleviated his own personal guilt. Sublimating your needs might help you with any guilt you might feel about your resentment of the sin against your marriage, but how long can you sustain it?

      “Most Christian thing to do.” There are doctors and aid workers in famine areas of Africa. What they learn very quickly is that they can’t give away their own food to try to save people who are dying. They have to, they MUST, eat in the face of famine, to keep their own strength up. It doesn’t seem very “Christian” to eat when people around are dying of starvation, but they have to or they won’t be able to serve.

      These are some things to consider, and I do hope that you get that I’m not trying to be critical (I come by it natural-like.:) )


  6. tjcox53

    I would add to one thing to CSL’s comment. Consider what your children are learning about what is acceptable in marriage. If you think keeping the peace instead of making peace, I believe you’re only kidding yourself.


    • Phil

      CSL, I appreciate the effort you have made to be nice whilst you must be thinking IDIOT. I’m flattered by the length you have gone to help me. I did read your ‘plucked chicken’ post when you originally posted it and all I can say is there is no fog here…..I’m very aware of my choice to stay or go….its just deciding where my ‘break-point’ is (as you succinctly put it earlier) if indeed there is one. I guess my posting on your blog and reading the many replies & posts is a way of me trying to draw a conclusion to my quandry.

      TJ, I hear many people say that a sexless marriage is a bad place to raise children but to my children (3 x teenagers/young adults) and the outside world our marriage is a shining example of what’s good about marriage. We show affection (my wife knows affection in public isn’t going to involve sex – obviously), offer a balanced view point when it comes to parenting and demonstrate that marriage is not about perfection but more about realising our differences and allowing for them. Surely this has to be better than the bitterness that follows the break-down of a marriage/divorce and the ensuing one-sided view point that single-parenting, by definition, has to bring. If we were arguing all the time and being negative towards each other then you would, of course, be right.

      I really do think that couples put their own needs first too much and perhaps that’s why divorce rates are so high.

      Having said all that, I fully realise that my wife is not honouring our marriage vows and I know that she is hurting me but do I listen to my urge for intimacy and sex or do I put those that I love first…….heart or head……sometimes life is so hard!!


      • I notice that, in your reply, you didn’t “speak of the devil” even though you mentioned him in your first comment and I spoke of him in my reply. I take it that Mephistopheles rails at you when the “S” word is broached? It would be interesting to read your comments on these subterranean manifestations.

        And in the light of tjcox53’s comment, your feelings about the approaching ’empty-nest’ status of your sexless marriage.


  7. tjcox53

    Phil, no one is suggesting divorce, or being unloving to your wife. My main point is that if you are in fact living in a sexless marriage by the conventional definition, you are allowing your wife to continue in sin. If she is knowingly sinning, it is damaging your marriage, your children, and her own relationship with God.Her devotion to God is a sham if she is knowingly defrauding you.
    I am no stranger to this, my wife and I struggle with sexual frequency, and we have seven adult children.They all tell me now, that they were very much afraid that my wife and I would divorce after they all left home. I know it is difficult to maintain a loving attitude towards your wife, in the midst of this. However allowing her to continue in sin is NOT being loving.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Phil

    CSL, when my wife relates any action or word from me that may, in her mind, suggest I want sex her mood changes instantly to one of anger and/or disgust (as if the S word summons the devil from within). What could have been pleasant turns instantly to hostility and upset and the amount of times I hear ‘all you think about or want me for is sex’ is unbelievable.Some reading this may think that I must be hinting at sex too often but these episodes can be weeks even months apart. To be fair, there are many reasons my wife reacts so badly to the idea of sex, much of which stems from her formative years moving from childhood to adulthood before I even met her (if you refer to Chris’ Forgiven Wife blog much if not most rings true). We are continuing with professional counselling which I hope will eventually get my wife to realise what she is denying us both.

    With regards life after our children have flown the nest, I really see that as the next chapter in our marriage and how could I make any decision before at least starting that chapter to experience it. To be honest, raising children can put quite a strain on a relationship and my wife and I do feel more relaxed then the kids aren’t around.

    TJ, I’ve re-read your comments and whilst you didn’t mention divorce many other posts & blogs do and I’m sorry I jumped to the conclusion that you were too. I haven’t given up yet as we are carrying on with counselling however, if I were to put my foot down and insist my wife change her ways the ensuing fight would very likely end in divorce.


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