When I share the story of my journey from refusing to where I am now, it sounds nice and simple, clean and straightforward. It looks like a nice little story. Refusing wife comes to her senses and stops refusing. Everybody is happy. The end.

If only it truly had been simple. The thing is, when I started the journey, I didn’t even know I was on a journey. If it had occurred to me that I had the place I am now as my destination, heck, if it had occurred to me that I even had a destination, I would’ve turned around and run the other direction. The thought of making a big change was way too huge for me to wrap my brain around. It would require me to rethink who and what I am as a woman and as a wife. It would require me to admit I was wrong.

I did not set out to change myself. True, I prayed for a change of heart, but I saw that as my feelings, not as my actions or my true self. All I did was set out to change one little thing.

My husband was unhappy, and one of the things we was unhappy about was our sex life. I was miserable being married to a man who was unhappy. I was miserable with all the fights about sex. I still thought my husband was wrong to be after me all the time.

All I did was try to change one little thing, and that was “duty sex” (which usually involved me rolling my eyes, sighing, and then closing my eyes until it was over). I took just one step, and that was to say this to myself: “If I’m going to spend the time having sex anyway, I might as well try to enjoy it while I’m there.”

That’s all. One step. One little change. I wasn’t thinking about step 2, or step 3, or a destination. I was simply thinking about trying one little thing and seeing if it made a difference. I was surprised that it actually did.

They say it takes three weeks to make a new habit. After about three weeks, I realized that I had gotten used to actually participating in sex with my husband. I even enjoyed it sometimes. I took a couple more weeks to allow myself to just feel a sense of normal. And then, I looked around and I saw another step I could try. And I did. And so on and so on and so on.

If you are living with a husband who is sexually unhappy, he may be asking you to do all sorts of things—increase frequency, give or receive oral sex, look him in the eyes, touch him, kiss him, etc. It is okay if you can’t imagine yourself doing all those things. Just pick one. Try it for three weeks. Just one little change, for just three weeks. Let go of thinking about where it’s headed. Don’t think of the huge mountain he wants you to climb.

Just take one step. Start today.

I just have to update this with a Joyce Meyer tweet I just saw: “You can either keep walking in misery or make the decision to begin taking steps out of it. ”


15 Thoughts on “Just One Step

  1. Pingback: Leaving the Path of Refusal | The Forgiven Wife

  2. Effy on May 29, 2013 at 12:43 am said:

    I’ve been doing variations on your suggestion for years, I’ve even prayed unceasingly during sex. I can enjoy the physical act, but due to an earlier rape by my husband before we were married I have never worked past my displeasure to his touch. Last year I royally messed up and had sex with another man. My husband knows of this and I believe he will never be fully able to forgive me. Who can blame him? Our marriage has been on the rocks for many years, even though I’d forgiven him years ago for forcing himself on me I haven’t been able to forget. Now the problems are compounded by my sin. I honestly do not see a way out of this.

    • My heart hurts for both you and your husband. Have you spoken with a pastor or counselor about how to work toward healing? There may be a way to healed hearts and forgiveness, even though you’re too close to see it right now. God bless you.

      • Effy on June 1, 2013 at 2:05 am said:

        We have been in Christian marriage counseling 15 years ago and at the present as well. I myself have been seeing a born again Christian psychiatrist for the past 17 years, give or take, as well as having seen a sexual abuse counselor in the past. I have added another counselor recently to “speed up” the process, as it were. My answer is coming up the same,” why did I stay with this man for so long” ? I entered into the marriage under the false impression that I had to because of the rape. If sex wasn’t THE major issue in our lives I might have been able to keep up the pretence, He needs a wife who wants to be there for him not just trying to do the right things, he wants a wife who is crazy about him in that regard. I am not that woman, I have spent the better part of my life working toward that very goal. I have tried sincerely, prayerfully, and with an open and submissive heart. Not perfectly obviously! He has told.me he sensed it from the start and that is why his attitude toward me soured, that was his reason for being so snarky with me. He states that I am the most self centered person he has ever known, and that was before he learned about my severe lack of moral judgement . I put his needs ahead of my own for all those years, kept a nearly spotless home, cooked wonderful meals, you name it, all for him. Yes, I benefited as well, he has been an excellent provider. He is a good man, but I never should have married him in the first place this is something I have just come to realize, we have been miserable for years. Does a mistake made fourty years ago mean I need to continue on until my death? Is that truly God ‘s plan for us? Do I go back to putting on the act so well as before for times he thought I was happy? He was so confused by my frequent bouts of severe depression. I believed in ” faith, facts, feelings” as your article suggests. I practiced it for years waiting for God’s answer, I know sometimes the answer is no, but I was only 16 when I was raped, and barely 19 when I got married. Have you any wisdom to impart? I have a clear conscience when I say I earnestly gave it my all. Sorry about the length of this reply.

        • I have no wisdom, but I will pray for you. I was raped as a young adult and went on to have a relationship with the man. (I’ve been told that isn’t uncommon.) You were so young, and even after all these years, it sounds like you think of him as your rapist as well as your husband. Is the marriage counselor helping you address this? It is the foundation your marriage was built on. You and your husband have both made choices that hurt each other.

          I will pray for healing for you both.

        • Effy on June 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm said:

          I thank you for your prayers

        • I’ve been thinking about you, and it seems to me that there’s a lot of individual healing you need to do from what happened before you married. I can’t imagine that this pain is what God wants for you. Heal your heart from the past first. And then, look at the man in front of you now. Is he the same young man who had no self control? Has he repented? What has he learned about himself, about marriage, and about God since then? Your presence in his life has shaped him in ways that make him a different man than the one who raped you. Is this a man you can learn to love?

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  4. userdand on August 22, 2013 at 11:35 am said:

    I think the three week trial is key to trying the one thing. It gives you time to get comfortable with the new behavior. Sometimes we stop trying because we aren’t immediately good at something: French cooking, oral sex (giving or receiving), salsa dancing, female on top, zumba, sex someplace beside the bedroom, tennis, masturbating in front of our partner, playing and instrument, verbally expressing our sexual wants or needs, knitting or sewing, female orgasm or ejaculation, learning a new computer program, being bound or blindfolded, etc. Most things involve a learning curve to some degree or simply becoming accustomed to them. It took awhile to like brussel sprouts. They’re still not a favorite, but I can enjoy them on occasion. Sex has a lot of things like that: some days it’s green beans and on others its brussel sprouts. Both partners should be able to feed their needs.

    • I get it–but if I ever had a day when sex was like brussel sprouts, I might have a problem 🙂

      It takes three weeks to make a habit, and I like to recommend taking the additional time to perfect the habit, get comfortable with it, and see how it works with other things in life. Slow growth gives roots more time to grow.

      • userdand on August 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm said:

        Now you put the juju on it. You know now that you have said that your husband will develop an insatiable appetite for “brussel sprouts.” Such is married life 🙂
        Great advice on the utilizing the extra time. With enought time, cedars will frimly root into solid rock.

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