I was sure my husband valued me only for sex. I knew I should be okay that he wanted me sexually—but for years, that was the only time he seemed to want me.
I’ve been trying to unpack this belief of mine, and I’m pretty sure it hinges on how I feel valued by anyone, ever.
Acknowledge Me, Please
A person’s close attention to me (comments or actions showing awareness of what I am doing and what has been on my mind) is how I best experience care and love. I have some friends I consider close because they note when I am tired, happy, or preoccupied. They pay attention and comment on their observations about me. When you bother to pay attention to me and make an effort to encourage or support me in what you observe, I feel loved and valued.
My belief that my husband wanted me only for sex grew out of the fact that it is only when he is planning to make a sexual advance that my husband pays close attention to me in a way that matters to me. He will mention my mood, what I’ve been doing, things I’ve discussed with him, etc. when he is wanting to be sexual with me–but not at other times.
I’m pretty sure he is aware of me a whole lot more than that, but the only times he initiates conversations about my condition or interests is before he asks for sex.
One thing that helps me feel acknowledged is when someone recognizes the time and effort I have put into something—especially when it has gone above and beyond my usual efforts.
My husband isn’t one to express appreciation or thanks for a whole lot. I have always made an effort to thank people for doing their jobs. This confuses my husband. “Why are you thanking them for doing what they’re supposed to do?” he’ll ask.
He occasionally thanks me for cooking food he likes or for doing his laundry—but he never expresses his appreciation for these things or acknowledges the time and effort I put into doing things for him. In fact, the only thing I remember him expressing appreciation for is that I have changed how I approach sex.
So . . . here I am, a woman who feels valued and loved the most when her efforts and feelings are acknowledged . . . and sex is the only thing for which my husband has ever done that.
Is it any surprise that I thought my husband valued me only for sex?
Fighting the Feelings
This belief that my husband values me only for sex is one I still have to fight against on occasion—and sometimes I lose that battle.
I have to make a decision to act according to what I know to be true rather than according to what I feel.
How do I do this?
- I remind myself that how I best feel loved and valued isn’t the only way that other people express their love and appreciation. (Some people find it helpful to look at this in terms of love languages.) My feelings are not truth.
- I make a point of looking at what my husband does and says on his terms, not mine. Even things that don’t necessarily help me feel loved and valued are often his way of expressing those feelings.
- I have to tell myself the truth that I know my husband wants me for more than sex because I don’t feel the truth.
- I remind myself that my husband’s sexual desire for me is God’s design. It is the way he is wired to experience deep emotional connection with me. Sure, he wants an orgasm—but even more than that, he wants to feel intimately connected with me—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is how he feels whole.
What about you?
If you are a wife who thinks your husband wants you only for sex, I would like to encourage you to consider a change to your approach:
- Let go of your mental list of things your husband doesn’t do that you are pretty sure would help you feel loved and appreciated.
- Look for the ways your husband acknowledges and expresses his feelings for you. If someone asked him how he shows his wife he loves her, what would he say? Does he provide for you? Does he carry the dirty laundry so you don’t have to? Does he keep the oil changed in your car? Does he buy your favorite sparkling water for you at the grocery store? Would he do these things if he didn’t love and appreciate you?
- Remember that your husband’s sexual desire for you is a good thing. Being with you sexually makes him feel whole in a way that absolutely nothing else can.
He Only Wants . . . Me
My husband is a good man. He appreciates me deeply. His life and heart are intimately intertwined with mine. I am part of him in a way that no one else is. It is easy to let the Things He Doesn’t Do list take over my heart. It’s one of the things that I allowed to nurture my sexual refusal of him.
By seeing only the list of what he does not do, I blinded myself to all that he does do to express his feelings to me. I was allowing myself to receive his love only in the shape I wanted, thereby rejecting most of what he was offering me.
The fact that my husband makes an effort to acknowledge and appreciate me when he wants to have sex is actually a good thing. It means that he wants to be part of me so much that he is already stepping outside his comfort zone to think about what I need from him. It is part of his own mental preparation for sex because his heart is already craving that connection.
I am the one my husband wants to have sex with. I am the one he wants to feel connected with. I am the one who makes him feel whole. I am the one who holds his heart.
I’ve realized that he doesn’t want me only for sex.
Yes, he wants me for sex . . . because he wants only me.
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