This is going to be short (well, by my lights, anyway), and certainly won’t answer any questions. But if it prompts someone to action, then well and good.
In response to my last post, one reader wrote a comment and included this at the end of his comment:
In my reading of many of the marriage blogs by wives, I’m starting to think, a lot of the lack of desire in wives for husbands, is a symptom of lack of respect, and appreciation for what the husband does and is.. All the comments about only wanting sex, to me as a man, is very disrespectful. As if my desire for my wife, is perverse or sinful.
And as seems to be the custom of my commenters (my readers are perscipacious, if I do say so myself), he put his finger squarely on something that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks. Oddly enough, I’ve even run some thoughts by Wife. The fact is that while Christian marriage bloggers and writers (I include myself) deal very earnestly with trying to help husbands and wives to improve their relationships and their marriages, there are two specific target audiences that seem to have little to no support at all. These two audiences I refer to as the Black Holes of Advice.
Black Hole #1 – Refused Wives
As you might surmise, I do carry a concern for husbands who are going through the hell of sexual refusal in marriage. (If you haven’t surmised that, you’re blind. jes’ sayin’.) But I am hardly the only one out here addressing the matter. Yes, I am possibly one of the oldest and most obnoxious and obstreperous writing about it, but I’m hardly alone.
But there doesn’t seem to be much support for refused wives. Oh, a couple of years ago, an anonymous woman started blogging about living in her sexless marriage, but after a few months, she stopped. I do know this, that many of the bloggers I visit who address sexless marriages receive feedback from wives saying “My situation is the opposite, it’s my husband who doesn’t want to have sex.” And while these bloggers (whom I do admire, I assure you) sympathize and offer prayers for these wives, I notice that there aren’t too many referrals or resources for these refused wives.
That’s not to say that there aren’t a few resources, but they are few and far between. Michelle Weiner-Davis followed up her Sex-Starved Marriage (2003) with The Sex-Starved Wife (2008), and she has a website that builds on the book. I’m ordering her book, and I’m hoping to find that it will be a good resource. However, I just went to YouTube to re-watch her great TEDTalk of a couple years ago, and noticed that while she paid lip service to the fact that both men and women suffer in sex-starved marriages, her examples and solutions tended to the archetypical, including the Nike solution.
All is not lost, however, as one of the bloggers that I spoke of, above, decided to address the issue head-on. Her article was so good, it inspired me to refer refused husbands to go read it and to heed her advice to sex-starved wives. I’m referring to Sheila Wray Gregoire’s Do I Have To Live With A Sex-less Marriage. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but it seemed to me that her post was ground-breaking.
Black Hole #2 – Disrespected Husbands
There are any number of writers and bloggers who address the topic of disrespectful behavior by wives toward husbands. Just about every Christian blogger focused on women readers addresses the need for wives to be mindful of showing respect and not contempt toward their husbands. April Cassidy, of Peaceful Wife, has made that a touchstone of her blogging and vlogging.
Emerson Eggerichs has written a excellent book on marriage dealing with the eponymous topics of Love & Respect. I have the book on my Kindle and it has me pondering, and will probably show up in my blog in the form of several new posts. However, I have noted that all these wonderful writers don’t seem to have any advice for husbands on how to deal with disrespect.
While I highly recommend Eggerichs’ book, I have noticed that he relies on the assumption of good-will, saying that a good-willed husband and a good-willed wife can break The Crazy Cycle (his term for the downward spiral of a marriage relationship). Reading that set me on my own crazy cycle, the one in which I spin out contradictory questions, and I had to wonder how all this would work if one spouse wasn’t all that inclined to ‘good-will’. What if the disrespect has turned to contempt?, I began to wonder.
And I realized that there isn’t any Christian support, print or internet, for husbands of disrespected husbands. Yes, there are many who are willing to help wives learn to be more respectful, but I don’t see anyone coming alongside Christian husbands who are having to deal with blatant disrespect.
I’ve No Solutions, I’m Afraid
This is not my normal modus operandi. I don’t like posting without solutions; after all, I’m a guy and I prefer to put puzzles together, not take them apart. However, tj’s comment to my last post decided me on this post. He may or may not be right with his comment about lack of desire being due to disrespect. I suspect he’s correct for a certain percentage of sexless marriages. But be that as it may, he set my mind to whirling on this matter of lack of support and advice for refused wives and disrespected husbands.
I have no solutions, I’m afraid. I hope that someone else will consider the matter and discover a solution.