This blog exists as a ministry to women—specifically women who are on the journey out of sexually restricting their marriage beds. This place needs to be a soft and safe place for women who are trying to work toward sexual generosity in their marriages.
For several weeks I’ve sensed a shift away from this being a safe place. I’ve watched more and more comments from men appear, and women have become largely silent. Now, I know that you cannot assess the effectiveness of a blog ministry by the comments. Many people read but never comment. Still, the shift has troubled me.
Over the past few days, I’ve prayed specifically about this shift, asking for guidance as to what to do and when and how to do it. I hear, “You’ll know.” And now I do. This post began in a response to a comment on one of my earlier posts. As I wrote, I realized where God is leading me.
The Grey Area
My husband is not the luckiest man in the world. He does not have a perfect wife. A perfect sex life does not make a perfect marriage—not that I would know, since our sex life is far from perfect. However, these are comments some men have made to me—some in email and some in blog comments. I’ve been uncomfortable with this for my own sake, but I’ve realized that this is also concerning for the men who make these kinds of comments. A sexually restricted husband is starved; he thinks a great deal about the very thing he hungers for. And he comes here and reads about a banquet. It is good for a man to say, “Understanding what you’ve gone through gives me better insight into my wife and gives me hope that things can change.” This is a recognition that a wife has her own perspective; it acknowledges that growth is a process. However, it is not good to say, “I wish my wife were more like you.” That’s coveting. In between those two is a huge gray area where the lines sometimes are hard to determine.
At what point does a comment move from hopeful heart-broken husband to a man who not only focuses on what his wife doesn’t do but compares her to other women, or to an ideal woman that no real wife will ever be?
Many men have written to me saying that they are trying to get their wives to read this blog. Guys, when your wife is ready to change, this will be a good place for her to be. If she isn’t ready to change, sending her links to my posts shouts, “You need to change. Here’s what you should be doing. Why can’t you be more like this woman?” And she will hear, “I’m a failure. There’s no way I can change. Will I ever be enough? Why does he keep pushing me? Leave me alone!”
What if a man sends his wife a link to a post that speaks to him and she reads it—and recognizes words or a username that make her think that commenter might be her husband? If I had seen comments from a man who I had any idea might possibly be my own husband, I would have been devastated and furious—and deeply hurt by a betrayal of our private lives. I would have thought, “There he goes again, always after sex. Now he’s trying to recruit other people to think I’m wrong. That’s going to backfire on him.” And I would have wondered how he could share his heart so easily on a public forum (even though no one else really knew it was him) when all I got was his sexual frustration and never his heart or the emotional connection I needed. Why does he have to air my dirty laundry?
I have been concerned at times how a man’s wife might perceive his comments on my blog posts. I have occasionally edited or deleted some comments. This ministry is for wives, and if a husband’s comments could interfere with his wife benefitting from this ministry, it’s a problem. As much as I have undergone a complete sexual transformation, my husband doesn’t have a perfect wife–but if all a woman hears from her husband is that she needs to change sexually, seeing that he has been reading or commenting on a blog where a woman is talking about her sexual transformation can cause deep damage.
I know many women have found this blog on their own. Although they may not be seeing comments from their husbands here, they are seeing comments from other women’s husbands. On one hand, comments from husbands give powerful testimony of their pain. The thing that convicted me that I was wrong was reading through the pain of refused husbands. This is the reason I have let many comments stand, and it is why I have allowed comments from husbands. Seeing my husband’s pain through the words of others was what finally got through to me.
I’ve received emails from several women who have said that comments from refused husbands on my Naked and Broken post made a big impact on their understanding of how their husbands suffer from sexual neglect. On that post, comments from men became an important part of the ministry.
Sometimes, though the voices of women are being drowned out my men’s voices. This ministry is for women. When a post receives many comments from men, it can begin to silence women who might be at a point in their journey when they are still seeking the words or the courage to say, “Me, too. How can I do this?’
A woman who has been sexually restrictive can be pushed away by the voices of men who sound no different than her own husband. When I was refusing, I would not have wanted to comment on something if I thought my questions or hesitation would be challenged by men. If I read a comment from another husband that hurt me, I wouldn’t want to even engage in that conversation.
Even very appropriate, gentle comments from men can drown out a woman’s voice if there are a lot of them. That is not okay here.
When women’s voices have become silenced, this place has ceased to be a soft and safe place. God has made it very clear to me that this blog is to encourage and support women. In this place, women’s hearts are more important than men’s voices.
Everything in Moderation
I like to be fair. I don’t like to sit in judgment of comments on my blog—but it is, after all, my blog. More important, it is God’s ministry, and by letting the comments through with very little filtering by me, I fear I have interfered with God’s work.
So, I will set this blog on full moderation, at least for a time. I will spend more time in serious consideration of comments. I am not restricting men from commenting. However, I will read their comments with an eye toward whether those comments might interfere with ministry for their wives specifically and other wives in general. I may approve fewer comments, and others I will edit.
Brothers, your voices matter. If you have been sexually restricted by your wife, your pain matters. My heart hurts for your pain—the same pain I caused my husband for many years. There will be times when your voices are needed here—as long as they support a ministry for wives. If you need a place to share your pain or to develop some strategies for growing yourself or coping with your pain, visit The Generous Husband or visit the Sexually Refused section of The Marriage Bed boards. This blog is for the wife who wants to be forgiven, not for the husband who wants her to repent and ask for forgiveness.
And dear, dear sisters. I am sorry. Please forgive me for taking so long to think through this. If you are trying to grow away from sexually restricting your husband, or if you are just starting to think about it, you need a safe and soft place to share your experiences, ask questions, and express frustrations.
On this post, I will not be approving comments from men. Guys, if you disagree with any of what I’ve said, feel free to email me—but this post is not for you. It is for your wives.
Blessings to you all . . .