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.

Men’s Voices

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 . . .

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10 Thoughts on “A Women’s Ministry

  1. Janna94 on August 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm said:

    This definitely is a balancing thing, and like you said, sometimes the “other” voice is needed, whether it comforts or hurts, because sometimes growth and change can be very uncomfortable, and just be painful.

    For me personally, I read all of your entries, but when you were going through this Respect Dare, I felt like I was an observer rather then a participator and therefore, I didn’t comment as much, because what am I going to add to YOUR experience? Could this be part of the reason why the women seem to be more silent lately? I wonder, if comments from women would have naturally gone up once you started blogging again about other things after the Respect Dare. Well, those are my wondering’s.

    Blessings to you and this “ministry”!

    • I thought about that, and that was why I hadn’t acted earlier. I’ve known for a few days that I would need to head this direction for a while; I just didn’t know for sure when that should happen until a series of prayers yesterday and today.

      Who knows? Maybe it is just for a season. We’ll see.

  2. Vanessa on August 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm said:

    I usually get your blog posts via email and do not take the time to look at the comments. Often, I am so touched (that is the only way I know to put it) by what you have wrote, that to read the comments would take away from what you have wrote and how it has ministered to me. As a result of that, I did not realize what was happening. However, I have went back and read the posts with the comments, and I can see why you are concerned. As a woman who is trying her best to be a good wife in all areas, this is a safe, soft place for me to be, and sometimes, seeing a guys comments (no matter how well intentioned) is not what I really need right now.

    My loving husband, in his attempts to help me, has done what you wrote about, sending me links to other blogs, but his attempts have often made me feel like he was just trying to “fix” whatever he saw as “wrong” with me at that moment. The only time he has sent me a link and I really appreciated it was the link to this blog. 🙂 And for that I am forever grateful.

    Thank you so much for your openness here-it has made me laugh, made me cry, and has inspired me to be more open sexually with my husband, and to be a better wife to him.

    • Thank you for taking time to write this sweet comment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sending links–but it depends on how it’s done, how the relationship is, how the husband presents it, how ready the wife is to work on some things. I am absolutely delighted to know that you have been inspired to be more open sexually with your husband. I hope you both continue to grow in joy and contentment within your relationship.

  3. Excellent. I must say – there are times when I read comments from other men and it just puts me in that bad headspace again – where I start to feel like I can’t ever satisfy my husband and I will always be a failure in this area. Which certainly is not what he is expressing these days 😉 But its easy as pie for the wrong tone from a hurt husband to lead me back to that well of negativity. Because the path to the well is so familiar. Thanks for taking the time to explore when and why regarding comments for husbands. I already felt like a failure when gate keeping – comparisons would have been utterly devastating. If they were there, my Godly hubby never expressed them. And I am going to make a point to thank him for that today!

    • Good for you. There are times I read certain phrases that my husband used to say in response to my refusal and I find myself cringing. There’s one phrase in particular that he still says sometimes when he’s interested that I struggle with. I have to force myself to breathe and respond differently. I don’t like that it’s still hard sometimes.

  4. justme on August 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm said:

    There will always be “trolls” under the bridge! Some much uglier than others, for sure! The best thing to do is to stay in the light….as you most gracefully accomplished

  5. Christie on September 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm said:

    I have just started reading your blog, and I very much appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your experiences, which are brave, encouraging, and expressed with honesty. You’re right that when the responses were mostly from men, I almost stopped reading altogether because the comments were putting me back in a frightened and self-protective mindset rather than the courageous warrior mindset I need to practice.

    Most of the time in our sinful world, YES, husbands are starving sexually. And it’s wrong. But most wives are starving, too – for affection and validation (which aren’t usually communicated to us via sex). Women are given the responsibility of enjoying a sexual relationship with our husbands regardless of whether we constantly feel loved and affirmed. Men are given the responsibility of consistently showing tenderness, love, and affection to their wives regardless of whether they are completely sexually satisfied. I know that sometimes one person can work hard becoming what God would want and the other person doesn’t respond at all (which breaks my heart!), but most of the time, it’s a dance. The wife doesn’t feel loved, so sex feels unsafe. The husband isn’t sexually fulfilled, so he doesn’t feel like showing tenderness and love. In this scenario, one person changing brings about a cascade of changes that restore health to a relationship.

    I realize that husbands can gain valuable insight into their wives’ minds by reading your great blog, but as I was reading the comments, I began to wonder why husbands were focused on their wives’ battle (being sexually available and responsive to their husbands) rather than their own God-given battle: understanding their wives and loving them in a sacrificial and Christ-like way.

    What I’m getting around to is that (not that husbands aren’t doing this already) but just like the author of this blog is doing, it seems best if each spouse takes responsibility for our own mission in marriage rather than focusing on what our spouses are doing wrong. Which is why I think it seems weird if more men than women are commenting, and why I’m glad you’re being careful about which comments you choose to post.

    • I appreciate the feedback. Although I’ve appreciated many of the comments from men from the vantage point of where I am now on my journey of transformation, earlier on, I would have turned around and run just like you almost did. I’m so glad to know you feel welcome enough to comment.

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