For review purposes, here is what Chris Taylor, of Forgiven Wife, suggested (via email) I write for refused husbands:
How can a guy cope with a sex hiatus other than simply taking care of physical release on his own?
Whether he is giving time to a wife who is making genuine effort to work through some issues, creating a crisis but not yet seeing results, or trying to work on himself so he is sufficiently prepared for WW III, if he is not having sex, he is without an important connection. How does he cope with that mentally and emotionally?
Guys, for this Interim Period™, this period of waiting to see how things will go, you have to think in terms of You. Your main concern isn’t going to be about fixing your marriage, it’s going to be about fixing you. I’ve explained, in my previous posts about the need to get your mind and heart cleansed and cleared. Now, I want to address your needs during this period.
Shooting The Big Dog First
Ditch the porn!!!
I know that I’m writing for a Christian audience, but being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are sin-free, right? I’m addressing this on the off-chance that you might be one of the, oh so FEW, Christian guys who might dabble with porn.
I’m always reading where some husband says he is turns to porn for some sense of satisfaction because his wife ain’t givin’ him any. But that’s not the way it works, guys; it just ain’t. First, porn is a lie; that all too willing babe who actually likes sex? So stinkin’ what? You aren’t gonna bed her, so what can she do for you?
Second, porn is sin. Before you start getting all excited about that babe, think to yourself; “she was some dad’s baby girl”, and then think what you would do to the guy you found drooling over your daughter. Puts a whole new twist on the Golden Rule, doesn’t it? “Do unto another father’s daughter as you would want another father to do to your daughter.”
Third, it won’t help your marriage. In fact, to prove my point, why don’t you go tell your wife that you won’t be bothering her for sex anymore, that you’re watching porn instead. See just how happy THAT newsflash will maker her.
Okay, someone might be (probably is?) thinking, “CSL, you don’t understand! I’ve got a sex drive and I’m frustrated out of my gourd!” I get it. I really do. But if you’re not getting, guy, you’re just not getting, and porn isn’t going to help. That will only raise the pressure, you’re going to masturbate to someone NOT your wife, and it’s not gonna be a solution.
Does that mean I say no masturbation? No it doesn’t. As I said in my first post in this series, I think masturbating WITHOUT lust (read that as porn!) is an acceptable route for physical relief. But here’s something that you need to factor into your thinking. Paul Byerly, early last month, wrote an XY Code post in which he cited a joint Texas A&M/U of Texas study that showed that men and women have the same level of sexual control. That means that you are not a slave to your libido. You can control it.
You’re thinking, “I’m married, I shouldn’t HAVE to control it!” No arguments here, guy. But because of the imposed celibacy, you have to while this Interim Period™ lasts. You can ignore porn, you can control your thoughts, you can channel your energies into healthy activities until the Interim™ comes to an end.
Get Help To Get Healthy
By this, I am not (automatically) saying that you need professional help. Instead, I am addressing Chris’s spot-on assessment, “he is without an important connection.” After all, sex isn’t just sex, it IS a connection for guys, and when a wife delivers a ukase on little-to-no sexuality, the hubs IS without this connection.
Many writers have made the point that it is unfair that women can have their need for emotional support met outside their marriages but that Christian husbands have no outlet to have their sexual needs met outside their marriages. (It’s this ‘plight’ that always brings me back to Julie Sibert’s line about Christian husbands “feeling trapped by the Christian morals they have grown to resent.”) Okay, guys, it’s true, but it is what it is. You need to tell yourself that God’s morality is not at fault here; your wife’s sin is.
The fact remains that this “important connection” is missing from your life, so you are going to have to compensate for it by forming other connections that will be able to provide you with support. No support in your marriage? Then find support from your faith community. The key thing is to find support.
Guys, be willing to go get help from someone other than your not-so-helpful/caring wife. Yes, I know the mantra: “Everything in our marriage is great; Except…..” Face it, guys, you wouldn’t be reading my blog if things were all that wonderful. Your relationship with your wife ISN’T all that great; she likes you as a companion, but desire you? Eh, maybe not so much.
So be willing to take your situation to your pastor; s/he should be able to help you as you try to make The Fog™ dissipate. Some husbands have told of pastors who basically sloughed off these valid concerns, saying that they didn’t know anything about that area, or even saying, in effect, “Well, what can you do? That’s life.” Not helpful.
Be willing to search out counselors, whether they be personal or marital, for help. Again, be willing to ask tough questions in order to discern whether or not these counselors are sex-positive. My personal bias is to seek out Christian counselors, but that’s just me. Also, just claiming that you are a Christian counselor doesn’t make you competent. I know of several husbands who have reported that they and their wives have met with counselors who were, in essence, crap. Be willing to let a counselor know that they aren’t hitting your bat if you find that they are whiffing.
One objection I hear is “But my wife will be upset if I go to the pastor or if I go to a counselor.” There’s only one response to that objection:
Dude, you’re going to the pastor or a counselor because you’re upset and miserable in your marriage. Why? Because your wife is imposing celibacy on you, against the dictates of the Bible and your wishes. And you don’t want to upset her? What will she do, stop having sex with you?
Taking an active part in the ministries and activities of your local church is a good place to start. Now, I don’t know your church or the churches in your area, so I’ll just use my church as a starting point. Wife and I attend a local Methodist church, and there are several ministry and fellowshkip activities open to members, to take part in.
Our Methodist Men will do different fundraisers throughout the year to benefit the church’s outreach, such as purchasing and maintaining the bus ministry. They make Brunswick stew for the Fall Festival, do breakfasts and suppers for wives/families, and help older members with home maintenance that they can no longer do. This last gives the men an opportunity to minister help to others, and saves those elderly from having to dip into badly needed financial reserves.
As well, our men will be active in service for the Salvation Army, doing bell-ringing during the Christmas holiday season, and helping the SA with their soup kitchen. As well, twice a year, our men’s group co-ordinates an activity for a overseas relief agency that provides food for the poor in Haiti.
You can see where I’m going with this: get outside yourself and your frustration, by connecting with others and serving others.
“CSL, isn’t this just a diversionary tactic? There are already a raftful of preachers, teachers and writers telling me to just sublimate my sexual drive and frustration into other activities. What are you saying that is any different, and actually helpful?”
Yes, in a way you could say that what I am writing in this column is just like that. Believe it or not, there is a difference, however. All those folks, those pastors, writers, counselors and advisors are basically telling you, “Well, that’s the luck of the draw. You pays your money and you takes your chances, and you lost. The best thing to do is make the best of a bad situation, keep praying and hope that God can somehow turn your wife around.”
I am saying that this is what you do to get yourself on the road to …..
Well, just on the road.
Those who tell you to sublimate your drives are saying “sit tight.” What I’m telling you is that you are to get up and move forward. If you are working toward having the wherewithal to have The Talk™, you are building yourself up into being the man that God wants you to be. If, as Chris has said, you have already had The Talk™ and are waiting for your wife to decide just where she is going to land, you are seeking God for His help and direction. If you feel that your wife is making small, slow, halting steps, you are working on improving your character with patience, so that you can be the man that she can say yes to.
By cleaning up your life and clearing up your mind, by finding counselors, pastors and friends who can help with support and advice, and by moving outside of your frustration, you are working with God to create a better man.