Note: This post is long—and that comes from someone who already writes long-ish posts. I tried to break this down into several shorter posts that could published throughout the week. I just couldn’t make it work.


At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy realizes that all along, happiness had been in her own back yard. She’d had the power to go there the whole time.

From adolescence on, I wanted only a few things from my husband (even before I knew who my husband would be). I wanted him to feel connected to me. I wanted him willing to slay a dragon for me. I wanted him to want to care for me. I wanted him to want to be part of me emotionally, not just physically. These are unrealistic expectations, of course. But even after I knew this, there was part of me that still hoped.

As we settled into our marriage and I saw that the man I’d married was not what I had expected husband-wise, there were moments when I could feel the resignation in my own bones. The process of accepting the husband I had was a process of letting go of my youthful heart’s desires and learning to deal with reality (which I really didn’t do so well). The dragon-slaying knight in shining armor who would cherish me might as well have been in Oz.

Like Dorothy on the yellow brick road, I meandered through life, trying to stick to the path in front of me, never knowing what to expect, distracted along the way. I was searching for my heart’s desire.

Many women have craved a stronger emotional connection with their husbands, yearning for intimacy, a bond, a sense of completeness that goes far beyond a physical need. I had a deep yearning for an emotional connection, yet my husband only seemed to want to connect with me sexually. We both were frustrated in these desires, time and time again, year after year, neither of us finding our desires.

Inviting husbands to share

In my recent survey of husbands about duty sex, I asked only three questions:

  1. Which is better—duty sex or no sex at all?
  2. Duty sex provides you with a physical release. What physical, emotional, or spiritual needs are left unfilled by duty sex?
  3. If you have experienced sexual encounters with your wife in which she fully participated (NOT duty sex), please describe the emotional benefits to you of these encounters.

I intentionally asked about emotions because that is how many women have shared they want to be able to connect with their husbands. Inviting men to respond in the language of emotion makes it easier for us to see their hearts. So I asked, and they answered. At the time I am writing this, more than 175 men have responded to the survey.

With exactly one exception, every single man has decried duty sex for being nothing more than a physical release that they could just as easily (well, more easily, in many cases) accomplish with masturbation. Yet they crave so much more than that physical release. So much more.

Oh, dear sisters, do you have any idea that you have within you the power to hold your husband’s heart? All I ever wanted from my husband is mine. If your husband is anything like the men who answered the survey, you, too, have your heart’s desire right in front of you.

Processing this survey has been an emotional experience for me. I guess that’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever visited this blog before. For years, my husband shared his sorrow that we didn’t have intimacy in our marriage. I thought he was just trying to make sex sound like it was more than it was.  Dressing it up so it sounds all emotional doesn’t change the fact that it’s really just about you wanting an orgasm, I would think.

He wanted my body. I thought it was because my body could offer him orgasms. I was wrong. My body contains so much more than the promise of orgasm. My body contains me. It contains the promise of unity, of connection.

When things are going wrong

When things aren’t going so well, it’s easy to think about what’s wrong. My husband would tell me how he was negatively affected by my refusal and gate-keeping. If I had been less selfish, this would have been enough to get me to make some changes.

When I learned about these negative effects from the voices of other refused husbands and wives, something finally broke through my stubborn and selfish heart. That got me started on this journey. I wanted to be able to share some of these negatives here for other women to read, and that’s why I asked the first two questions on the survey about duty sex. I wrote about some of that in this post.

There were times, though, when I found myself wondering if there was anything in it for me. I was doing hard work on myself, and I knew my husband and my marriage would benefit. But sometimes I wondered what my goal was. How would I even know when I had arrived at my destination if I didn’t know what was waiting for me down the road?

As I continued to read and learn, I began to see forum discussions and blog posts that described the joy and connection available in a healthy Christian marriage bed. I saw husbands and wives who were mutually generous, describing how love-making helped them actually make (create) more love between them. I saw emotional connection, contentment, and fun.

Is that possible for us? Could we ever have that kind of marriage?

It was when my eyes opened to the joy that could be found in marriage that I understood that I was on a journey that included a destination. It was when I made a commitment to keep growing. I wanted some of that joy. I was flooded with peace as I realized I was finally doing what God wanted me to do in my marriage.

This “carrot” is why I asked what I think is the most important question on the survey: If you have experienced sexual encounters with your wife in which she fully participated (NOT duty sex), please describe the emotional benefits to you of these encounters. I expected that most respondents would indicate that fully participatory sex is better than duty sex—but I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what happened in the hearts of husbands when their wives willingly and fully share their sexuality with them.

Our husbands’ voices

Our husbands benefit

Husband’s descriptions of the emotional benefits seem to fall into four broad categories: primal, emotional, bonding, and transformational.

Primal benefits include things that get at the core of manhood. Many men commented that they feel more masculine when their wives participate in sex—particularly when she experiences orgasm.

  • “I feel as though I am fulfilling part of my purpose as a man.”
  •  “Nothing makes me feel more like a man.”
  • “One of the important things a man does is provide his wife with an orgasm. We too feel unfulfilled when we fail to or aren’t given opportunity to.”
  •  “I feel loved, desired, wanted, needed, and I feel more like a man knowing that I have been able to satisfy.”
  • “There is nothing that builds a man up on every level like being fully, passionately, ravenously desired by his wife.”
  • “I feel accepted in total.  Like I’m worth more than the work I do, or the service I provide my family.  I feel like I’m left without any further needs for a while.  Totally satisfied with everything in my life.”

Several words were used by quite a few men to describe this area: strengthened, affirmed, respected, admired, satisfied, successful, and desired.

Emotional benefits include such things as feeling loved, at peace, joyful.

  • “It is like hitting my emotional reset button. All is well with the world.”
  • “I feel so much more fulfilled, satisfied and I’m even able to see past my raging sex drive and become aware of other relationship issues or issues in myself that I could not see before.“
  • “All is right with the world!  Feel loved, appreciated, respected, and joy that she is enjoying what I give to her.”
  • “I feel joy in a way that nothing else on this earth can provide.”
  • “The emotional connection is much greater.  I feel loved rather than tended to.  It’s like having someone cook you a three course meal versus buying you fast food.”
  • “I opens my heart up to her. I have told her several times that I am most open to deeper communication in the “afterglow” of that time together. I am much less sensitive about subject matter or criticism (for lack of a better word) because I am confident in the security of our relationship.”

These first two areas are clearly things that directly benefit our husbands. When my husband feels more manly or joyful, those things are mainly about him. I read some eloquent descriptions of emotions, although none of it surprised me.

Our husbands are more connected to us

Quite a few men talked about relational benefits. It is here that we can start to see how wives benefit more directly from what happens in our husbands’ hearts when we fully participate in sex. Most men made some comment about how they feel more bonded with and connected to their wives after fully participatory sex, using words like connected, oneness, sense of wholeness, and completion.

  • “It’s transcendent. We are joined not only in body, but also in minds and spirit. We are generous with one another and it echoes for days after.”
  •  “The difference is that duty sex is all one sided. Making love (not duty sex) is the best outcome of the marriage act and what keeps the marriage the marriage strong. Who would ever want a one sided relationship? That is not what the Creator intended.”
  • “You feel more like you’re one with her!!”
  • “We are closer to being of one flesh not just a couple in the same bed.”
  • “I feel connected, appreciated, like the two of us together is the only thing that matters at that moment in time.”
  • “It is difficult to overstate how emotionally and spiritually connected this can make me feel with her.”
  • “I feel at one with her.”
  •  “There is no comparison. Full participation is a whole-being experience. Emotionally I feel so connected to her when I know she has fully given of herself. I love to please her and that is my goal in our intimacy. I get pleased as a byproduct.”

Our sexual love transforms them

There was one category of responses that have me overwhelmed. Dazed. Blown away. Floored. Stunned. Astonished. Amazed. Humbled.

I expected men to say that when their wives were fully sexual with them, they felt more masculine. I expected to find that they felt happier and more content. I even expected to read a lot about connections and the feelings of one-ness.

In As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson’s character Melvin says to Carol (played by Helen Hunt), “You make me want to be a better man.” When I saw that movie, I thought how romantic that sounded. It didn’t occur to me that this statement might ever apply in my own marriage.

Sisters, when you fully participate in sex with your husband, sharing your sexuality with him, you transform him. You change him. You make him into a better man—or at least a man who very much wants to be better for you.

  •  “I feel on top of the world, like I can conquer the world.”
  • “I feel bullet proof. I can weather any storm at work or with our family life. I am more capable of trying things I am uncertain of doing well, because I don’t have to rely on that success for my self-worth. I have a wife who loves me.”
  • “I feel like I can do anything, get any job, paint the house.”
  • “I feel I could conquer the world for her.”
  • “You want to do whatever it takes to please her. It makes you want to be her hero.”
  • “Oh, the freeness! It is the best sex EVER and had very little to do with physical release. When she is fully present I can do anything in life! I am capable of doing whatever she asks of me and I would!!”
  • “I feel like protecting her and bending over backwards to meet her needs.  I feel like I’m the king of the world.”
  • “Closest thing I can imagine to Heaven on Earth.”
  • “Able to conquer the world (especially the next morning).”
  • “It is wonderful to feel wanted, desired, sensing her pleasure in our union. I begin to understand what God intended sex to be and ho it models Jesus’’ love for His church. The pleasure continues long after the sex act is over.”
  • “I could take on King Kong, Godzilla and all the rest of them bad boys. There was such a feeling of harmony, oneness, peace and fulfillment.  I wanted to go out of my way to bless her. The weight of being the husband/father was no longer a burden or heavy yoke but a joy. It generates a strength that maybe only other men can really relate to.”
  • “I go to work the next day on a high. I seem to think more clearly and am able to focus better. It is easier to deal with challenges. I know that no matter what happens, I have a safe place, a refuge at home in her arms. I am her man and she is mine…accepted just as I am.”
  • “When my wife really gives myself to me, I feel loved totally, I feel like I can face the dragons in my life.  I feel like I have been validated as a man, as a spouse.”

My body contains my sexuality. And that can change my husband into a better version of himself.

Our sexuality is our superpower

All along, I’d wanted my husband to feel connected to me. I wanted him willing to slay a dragon for me. I wanted him to want to care for me. I wanted him to want to be part of me emotionally, not just physically.

My early expectations of my husband were unrealistic. No husband can do all those things—not all by himself. With his wife’s sexual love and participation, he can become these things. Her sexual love can transform him into someone who feels capable. He can conquer the world. He models Jesus’ love for the church. He can take on monsters. He can face the challenge. He can slay the dragons.

Like Dorothy, I’ve discovered that I had the power to find my happiness all along. In fact, I’ve learned that I have a superpower. The willing sharing of my body makes my husband into a different man. My sexuality is my superpower. With it, I make my husband feel all the things I’d been wanting for years.

Your sexuality is your superpower. Sharing your sexuality with your husband has the power to transform him into the husband your heart has craved.

While I don’t actually believe in superpowers, I can think of no other way to describe the effects of our sexual sharing on our husbands. God designed us to become one flesh in marriage. When we allow ourselves to fully participate in God’s design for us, sharing our sexuality with our husbands as they cleave unto us, good things happen. We experience the ultimate physical and emotional pleasure possible in these bodies God created for us. Even more, we become part of what God provides in helping our husbands grow into the men He wants them to be.

So, ladies, go get yourself a cape. Put it on (and very little else), and go get started transforming your husband.

35 Thoughts on “My Heart’s Desire

  1. trixie1466 on November 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm said:

    This has to be one of your best posts ever. Really powerful stuff. My husband really enjoyed it too.

  2. userdand on November 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm said:

    Thank you so very much Chris. Finally a woman understands what we do not always have the emotional vocabulary and comfort to adequately express; or, when we do, it is received as self-serving and only as a means to a more frequent orgasmic end.

    There are some feelings one cannot describe or define by word. How do you perfectly convey the feelings of warmth, safety, acceptance, nurturance, respect, empowerment, irreplaceablity, and so much more you feel in your wife embrace? How do you express the pride and honor you feel when she submits her body to you. How do you express the emotions that well up as she allows you to enter into her very body in a way reserved only for you? That moment is not only one of tactile pleasure for us, but one of deeply powerful emotions. The soft moan you hear us breath out at that very blessed moment should be received as our thankful prayer to God for gifting us with your loving presence in our lives. More than once during the act, I have uttered out to God my thanks for my wife. It is my duty to remind her that I am thankful to God and to her for the places she fills in my life.

    It was so insightful of you to use the term “sexuality”: “Sharing your sexuality with your husband…”. That is the perfect term to indicate an emotional sharing that is beyond couples exposing their bodies to engage in sexual acts leading to orgasm. Such a situation may be satisfying, but is also mechanical, and not only in duty sex. Being willing to have sex and doing it with loving intent can still be lacking. It is the vulnerable sharing and positive expression of her innate sexuality and desire that overwhelms a husband’s heart. It is not enough to only feel, but to KNOW she has desire, wants sex, enjoys sex, and desires to have it with us. We too want to be wanted, needed and desired. When our wives share completely, openly, joyously, and most of all, shamelessly from the depths of their sexuality, their core female being, we sense this and our hearts are filled with love, peace, and contentment. The one flesh union becomes is a wholly, holy spiritual experience. As much heartfelt consideration and effort as I have put into this, it still does not convey to my satisfaction the true transformational spiritual purity of a wife’s sexuality. I can only hope it shed some light.

    God, continue to bless our wives, our marriages and Chris’ healing ministry.

    • My husband is one without a robust emotional vocabulary, so I found this all fascinating. I printed out the results for my husband to look at and asked him if the comments matched his feelings (they do). This knowledge has already added new meaning to our sexual encounters.

  3. Great essay! Sure to be helpful to many, many married couples.

    Yes, men have strong emotional needs, and these needs can be fulfilled and satisfied by joyous, enthusiastic sexual intimacy with the loving (and fully participating!) wife.

  4. Fantastic post! You know know our secrets, “Your sexuality is your superpower.” Please use your superpower for good.

  5. Thanks for sharing the results of your survey. And thanks to the many husbands were willing to share!

    I would love to hear stories from women who have seen their “superpower” change their husband in observable ways, beside the big smile on his face 😉 In what ways were they able to see that their husband had been transformed?

    • userdand on November 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm said:

      Same here. Those stories could be edifying and beneficial for wives who are hoping for change in their husbands. Men who want to change need motivation. It is not the responsibility or duty of the wife to “change” her husband. What a wife can do though is encourage change by giving positive reinforcement when he exhibits a change. Give him a reason to desire to continue the change which will allow him to be that “better man”. This goes beyond dangling a carrot which is an offensive metaphor. I liken the situation to John Gottman’s teachings on relationship bids.

      Your husband has made a behavioral bid and is waiting for a response from you to continue forward with the bidding process. Your response determines his. The passionate romance and fiery desire and that we both originally felt is not extinguished, but banked as glowing embers. The breath of your sexuality can help inflame that fire within us both. Come blow your warm inflaming breath and watch the glow build into an old familiar flame. Use your superpower. Please.

  6. Witness9 on November 4, 2013 at 7:33 am said:


  7. As a wife, do you get the same kind of emotional connection from sex? Should you? My trouble is- sometimes it is duty sex, or pity sex- and it comes from a place of knowing my husbands needs and wanting to meet them, so from a relatively kind heart. But he knows when there is something lacking. And I don’t. I got blindsided by a resentful complaint about our sex life this week.. because I “haven’t been emotionally there”. I truly didn’t know the difference! I feel like my husband must be getting something out of sex that I just can’t, or wasn’t designed to, because I thought things went really well and he said it felt really empty the last couple of times. Am I missing something? Or is it normal for men to place far more emotion into sexual interaction than women? I’m committed to being available 3-4 times a week, but frustrated by the idea that I’ve got to be ALL IN every single time for him to feel like we are doing well. I’m an introvert with two small children, do you think it’s ever reasonable to just be there physically? I thought we were doing well, but after that conversation and this post I feel like I really cannot achieve what my husband is after.

    • userdand on November 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm said:

      “I thought we were doing well, but after that conversation and this post I feel like I really cannot achieve what my husband is after.”

      I would caution you against this line of thought. First, does your husband really know what he “wants” or is he pursuing a fantasy in his mind that cannot be implemented. Second, if he knows what he wants, is he effectively communicating it to you. Third, is that discussed something which is missing for him a thing that is beyond your moral code or comfort zone? Fourth, are you physically up to sex or are you tired, mentally distracted by wife/parent responsibilities, or suffering from postpartum low libido which can last months or years? Fifth, is there adequate foreplay preceding the sex, both physical and mental? Do you steal occasional moments throughout the day to prime your libido in anticipation of time together and do the two of you allow sufficient physical stimulation time in a way that is most effective for your arousal, particularly since you say you are introverted? Being introverted, are you shy or uncomfortable about having your arousal needs met to the point of being ready for sex and is he aware of your specific needs? Can he read you and your body as well as he needs to for your pleasure? Most importantly, are you getting pleasure out of sex?

      I do not bring these things up to say it is all YOUR fault or YOU need to do all the changing. I bring them up to illustrate that there are factors that are not completely in your control, that some of these factors do not even involve a conscious choice you have made and that you are assuming facts not in evidence that your husband has needs you cannot meet. Do you absolutely KNOW what he “thinks” he “needs”? If not, find out what he thinks those needs are. Discuss how the two of you can work toward having BOTH your needs met some of the time. ALL of the time need-meeting really is too much to ask or expect of anyone, but fun to shoot for when in the mood.

      DO NOT consider yourself as failing in this area. DO NOT feel you cannot satisfy your husband until you know what it is he is missing and whether or not his expectations are reasonable within the relationship you share. A lot of men dream of Corvettes but never own one. They re-evaluate their expectations, adjust and live a fulfilled life just the same. Evaluate BOTH your needs, wants, and desire. Meet what you can and adjust where you need.

      Last piece of advice. NEVER, NEVER us the terms “duty sex” or “pity sex” to his face. Not only does it sound like you are doing something under duress, but those terms devalue what is a one of the most highly-valued shared experiences a husband can have with his wife, and in marriage, will share ONLY with his wife. Do not devalue this most precious of bonding experiences with such little regard. To be sexually refused is painful enough, but to be offered obligatory “sexual release” through an act of passionless, joyless consolation by a wife is humiliating and ultimately emotionally dissatisfying.

      • What my husband Wants/Needs is for me to be as eager and enthusiastic as he is, 3-4 times a week. No weird fantasies or requests I am uncomfortable with.. perhaps a perception that women’s sexuality is the same as men’s.. that I should run around all day wanting him. 🙂 None of this is bad. I know that. It’s just difficult as an introverted mom of two small children to achieve the level of engagement he is looking for all the times that he is looking for it. I’ve spent seven years striving, this past year harder than ever (in spite of the sleepless baby!) and I’ve just lost hope that I can ever keep up.

        Thanks for the advice about sex when it’s just for him. Tho I don’t use those terms when we are together, I have been bluntly told that when i’m doing it just for him, he doesn’t want to know. But what I can’t figure out is why we are having sex at that point? If he doesn’t want duty sex, and it’s clear it’s going to be that kind of night due to outside circumstances (teething baby for example) why is he still pushing for sex? Insight please?

        • M,
          First off, I would encourage you to stop using the term introvert to describe yourself as this has absolutely nothing to do with a sexual relationship with your husband. I know, because I’m an introvert, very uncomfortable in social situations, etc, but very open and comfortable sexually with my husband. I think when we start labeling ourselves as this or that, it creates negativity in our heads about ourselves.
          Now, maybe you are using that term because you are shy in the bedroom and feel that is affecting your intimacy with your husband? I’m not sure. From what you write, it sounds like you have a healthy sexual relationship, other than the frequency for you.

          And having two little ones, well, that certainly is demanding and can just suck all the energy right out of you. I’m past that stage in my life as my two ‘little ones’ are now 22 and 18. ;), but I do remember it and the exhaustion and feeling touched out by the end of the day. Makes it very difficult to suddenly shift gears and be some sexually charged vixen in the bedroom. 😉

          After reading your comments, I too am questioning why your husband would still be wanting sex if you have let him know whether verbally or not, that it’s not going to be a night where you are 100% there…even if you are still willing. Not sure how many times out of the 3-4 times a week you feel that way, but if it’s only one time, even two, I wouldn’t think that should be a problem for him to accept that you are still willing, but just aren’t as charged up about it that particular night.
          I could not see my husband still wanting to have sex and then telling me not to tell him if I’m just doing it for him. He actually wouldn’t even want sex if it were just for him.
          I would be interested to hear from a man’s perspective on this one, because if the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldn’t want sex just to have sex, if my husband were not totally into it.

          I don’t know if you have been able to really sit down and discuss all of this with him, but if not, I would encourage you to. It sounds like you love your husband and enjoy your sexual relationship with him?? But he needs to understand that right now in this season of your lives with two little ones, that you being completely enthusiastic about sex 3-4 times a week may not be realistic. Let him know how much you enjoy your time together and what a great lover he is (hopefully you are getting pleasure from it too), but that perhaps it would be easier for you to only make love 2-3 times weekly so you have more energy to devote to each time.

          Just some thoughts. It is always difficult to truly read into a comment and try to give advice. Will pray for you.

        • Introversion is less about personality and more about where you go to get mentally recharged. My husband is an extrovert who finds it difficult to be quiet or alone. When he is around others, he finds energy.

          I, on the other hand, am very introverted. Being around people and having to consider anything or anyone outside my own skin is very draining. When I have had a day with frequent interactions with others, I need time completely alone to recharge myself.

        • I completely agree and understand, as I’m an introvert too. I get drained very easily from being around people and find it excruciating to be in social situations. I need my alone time and crave quiet time frequently. I wasn’t sure where she was coming from in this situation. If she is feeling shy and uncomfortable in sexual intimacy or just feeling drained at the end of the day and therefore doesn’t have any more to give.
          Could be both. 😉

        • userdand on November 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm said:

          @M and Amy, I was going to sit this one out for a bit, but M asked specifically for insight and Amy also did indirectly so I will add this:

          Why would a husband still accept the sex if he felt he was getting duty sex or pity sex? I truly don’t know that all men would, though some may. I do think, from a man’s perspective, there COULD come a point where the physical or emotional desire for sex is so strong that you have only two options: masturbate or accept duty sex. Some men may, not surprisingly, prefer the enhanced physical environment of duty sex over Rosie and her five friends. Every husband loves seeing and touching his wife’s body, even if only masturbating in her presences. (Yes, mutual masturbation does happen with some people.) I though, cannot imagine maintaining arousal to orgasm easily while looking upon a dower expression. I don’t want to be made happy while creating unhappiness for another.

          Here is the fine point to consider that places such sex beyond duty or pity for either spouse in my opinion. If your partner comes from a place of willing compassionate want to relieve or pleasure you, I would not call that duty or pity sex. It is then being done out of your partners DESIRE to be meet a real and pressing need. To go even further with the point, If I desire to meet my partner’s needs whenever practical and possible, is that desire to please, in effect, indeed a need or want of my own. Am I then not also meeting a need of mine me while satisfying theirs. I feel that not-so-subtle difference elevates such an action beyond duty or pity. It then becomes a marital blessing bestowed upon one another. For this blessing to happen, it is incumbent on both parties to be aware that this is and act of desired service that is pleasing to both. That means, the spouse has to acknowledge that it is being done for right reasons. The “doer” can leave not doubt about their motivation, while the one being “done” is accepting of that motivation and can accept the blessing without reservation or guilt. To deny to accept such a offering could create confusion and pain in its own way. This is particularly true when oral or manual sex is the gift. It is sometimes difficult for the recipient to accept the service while feeling the giver may be getting nothing in return. In reality, the act giving service may give all the satisfaction they need at the moment. Give freely with a kind heart. Accept willingly with a humble heart. Do both without reservation and there will be no duty or pity involved. Only humble, loving service.

          Am I also, when giving service to my partner in that willing and compassionate spirit, obeying my marital vow to honor my partner. Something to think about?

        • PS- Not particularly uncomfortable with intimacy. The introversion is a drained issue.. I feel completely drained, and hubby is energized from a day of social interaction and an evening enjoying our kiddos. 🙂

        • Userdand,
          Thanks for your perspective.

          “…there COULD come a point where the physical or emotional desire for sex is so strong that you have only two options: masturbate or accept duty sex.”
          I could understand this if the husband were only having sex less than a handful of times a month and is constantly being denied, but when it is 3-4 times weekly and his wife is more than willing and committed to having sex, it just seems odd to me that he would be feeling like he NEEDS it so badly. So, I think that is where my question came from…if a husband has a willing wife who eagerly participates at least 1/2 of the time, does not say no and still selflessly participates the other 1/2 even when exhausted, letting it go one night should not be a big deal.

          I also liked what you said about the recipient needing to humbly accept the gift of the doer wanting to please them. I think that is vital too, along with the doer having a loving heart and attitude towards giving without necessarily receiving. Although as you also said, often times the giving is enough in return for the doer.
          Wow, that was a mouth full…no pun intended! LOL

          Always good to hear a man’s perspective on topics like this. 🙂

        • M,
          Have you talked with your hubby about how drained you feel? Explain just as you did here…you feel drained and he feels energized because of your different personalities. Perhaps he can give you some alone time on those nights where you feel drained and he wants sex. You could take a bath, have a glass of wine, whatever it may be to help you feel a little more energized by having that quiet time you need.
          I always find that if I just tell my hubby what I need or explain why I’m feeling overwhelmed, etc, he always understands and wants to help me feel better. After all when we feel our best, they get our best. 😉

    • Sweetie, extend yourself some grace. You are an introvert with small children. I am also an introvert, and as much as I have always loved my children, it was incredibly hard for me to never have time completely to myself in which I could recharge. What is happening in your life that gives you a chance to take care of this need? If you are constantly giving (and draining yourself of energy), do you have a chance to be emotionally present for yourself, ever?

      I don’t know if I get the same emotional connection from sex that my husband does. I get emotional connection in multiple ways, including sex, and I don’t know that the same is true for him. But as I grow in our sexual relationship, I get more and more from it than I ever used to.

      Have you asked your husband what “being emotionally there” would look like to him? What would you be saying and doing? And what were you saying and doing that he interpreted as absent? Is there anything you can think of the last couple times that was different?

      As far as whether it’s ever reasonable to just be there physically, well, I think it’s not a good idea to close your eyes and make the next day’s to-do list while your husband has at it. I think it’s important to be mentally present–touching your husband’s face or arms, relaxing in the feeling of simply being physically close to him. I do think it’s okay to sometimes say, “Honey, I’m just not into anything for me tonight. Let me just be here for you and enjoy being held while you are inside of me.” This is not duty sex or pity sex. This is lovingly saying, “I am here for you, honoring you sexually and loving you.”

      Instead of setting yourself a goal of being what your husband wants in bed, think about simply working toward enjoying sex more for your own sake. Sex isn’t just for men. It’s for us, too! The more you embrace your sexuality for own enjoyment, the easier it will be for your husband to experience what he desires as well.

      • userdand on November 4, 2013 at 10:04 pm said:

        My comment and yours are making some of the same points and drawing some of the same conclusions; however, I presented mine in a typical, logical male manner, while yours was constructed in a more empathetic fashion as one woman would talk to another. I cannot empathize in the same way you would of course, but I see I still have more work to do if I am to get to where I want to be doing this. You write an excellent blog Chris. Always insightful and a pleasure to read.

      • For the first 4 years of our marriage (until I gave birth) sex was extremely painful for me. I loved your point about enjoying sex for me, because the fact is that even now I struggle with enjoying sex for my sake. Hubby is generous in bed so it’s not that at all!!! It’s just long term mental programming- that my decision to engage in intercourse or not was more like “physically am I up to handling the pain tonight or not?”, not “do I feel close to my hubby today?” There was not emotion in it- if I gave into emotion I wouldn’t do it, because emotion said “this hurts, and its mean of your husband to constantly ask you to do something that really hurts”.

        I’ve been really run down the past three weeks due to outside circumstances and as I read your reply, it dawned on me that maybe I subconsciously have gone back to my old thought patterns. Time for a reboot- to start reminding myself again that sex is for both of us, and mostly it doesn’t hurt anymore so why not? 🙂

        Introversion and motherhood are such a challenge!! And I haven’t found good resources to help. I can’t remember the last time I was emotionally present just for myself. Neither of my babies were sleepers (Like woke every two hrs for the first year non sleepers) and the past three years has been a fog of sleep deprivation. I concentrate on them and being a better wife (which I needed to do!). I just thought I was doing really well and got blindsided this week. Thanks for your empathy and encouragement.

  8. Anonymous on November 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm said:

    I am honored that you included a couple of my responses to your survey in this post. I actually responded instantly when I first saw the request for input from us husbands. The next day I responded again and could even now submit additional comments. I totally agree with userdand above. Regardless of how we try to respond to your survey, we can never fully express the impact you wives have on us. I don’t know about superpowers but it is DEFINITELY Supernatural.

    I appreciate the positive tone you took in looking at the husbands’ responses about the willing and fully participating wife. You may be planning a related post for the responses you received on the damage that is inflicted upon husbands from the other question but I believe some wives may be touched by the pain their men experience more so than from the possitive expressions in this post. Please understand, ladies, you can TOTALLY destroy your husband and turn him into a shell of a man. Realize you can not be neutral in this. Your level of participation in the relationship IS either building the husband you dream of or crushing his soul.

    • I will get to the hurting voices in depth at some point. I want to be careful about how I do that. This is a ministry for women, and I want to be mindful of encouraging women to do better without pushing them away because they’re hearing the same thing they hear from their husbands.

      • trixie1466 on November 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm said:

        I think that’s really wise. Too much too fast can make me feel like I can’t possibly do that. It doesn’t matter what the change I’m trying to make. A little at a time is doable.

      • userdand on November 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm said:

        Don’t count me among the hurting voices, but I will bench myself coach. I recognize your concern. I think it’s a guy thing where we feel we are just reinforcing a point of view without realizing women are feeling overwhelmed by our persistence. It likely has a lot to do with being able to speak online without censoring our remarks; a forum we don’t often entertain with our wives because we don’t want to breach the peace or needlessly rock the boat. No, that’s not how it should be.

  9. Amen. Amen & Amen. I love the way you can put my story, and so many others’ story down on “paper”. This is pretty much spot on what happened in our marriage. I began reading the Marriage Bed, so many husbands voicing their heart on there, it really echoed in my heart. So, I began changing my attitude, without saying anything to my husband. He asked me one night after we’d made love “what has changed?” I wanted to cry. I was happy that he noticed, sad that it was noticeable-confirming that I had been less than I should have been. All I could do was tell him “I’m so sorry for the way I treated you.” I just told him that I had been reading and not really sure what else I said after that, but he loves the change that has occurred in our marriage. I am so much happier and feel so much more alive as well. We are two halves of the same whole, it really is a spiritual thing to be fully involved and invested in each other, it’s amazing. Thanks for sharing the results of the survey with us!

    • We are two halves of the same whole, it really is a spiritual thing to be fully involved and invested in each other, it’s amazing.

      So true! Becoming a better wife had given me a better husband and it has given both of us a better marriage.

  10. Debbie on November 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm said:

    This is truly the best explanation I have read on the subject of the power women have with men. My husband often tells me men will do “stupid” things for a woman who truly loves him followed by an example of Marc Antony and Cleopatra or some other man in history. I’ve wondered why my husband didn’t see my love (service) as a measure of how much I love him. This is the male love language I do not speak well.
    I always knew the way to get to a man’s heart was through his stomach. I’m a pretty good cook. And that hasn’t worked the way I thought it should. Preparing food is much simpler. I can prepare a meal even when we have an emotional disconnect or a disagreement. Being fully in the moment for sex is not easily done when we have a misunderstanding that leads to accusation or irritation.

    • I once read something along the lines of, “Anyone who thinks the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach needs a lesson in geography.” Our sexuality–not just sex–speaks to the core of our husbands’ hearts, I believe.

  11. TheHubby on November 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm said:

    I think there needs to be a clarification. As a husband who has had pretty much only duty sex for his short marriage I know it’s not good. Duty sex is essentially vaginal masturbation where the wife is emotionally some where else during the act. However that does not mean that every night it needs to be amazing and crazy. The biggest thing is about knowing my wife is mentally present, not checked out and in some way enjoying herself.

    There is nothing wrong with a quickie, especially mid week to keep the relationship connected and husband sexually satiated and I think a good husband understands this. It’s more about wanting and knowing sex won’t only be that way. I know my wife works a lot so I’d like at least once a week to have slow, passionate, sensuous, deeply connecting sex. Also, it makes me feel loved knowing that even after a long day my wife has saved something for me, even if it’s just a quickie and that’s she’s trying to meet my needs.

    Don’t set the bar at expecting every time to be a marathon of passion, like the FW did focus on taking a step, no matter how small, in the right direction and build. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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