I refused my husband for several years. The frequency was far below what he wanted, I rarely participated, and I looked at sex as just one more thing on my to-do list. And I also rejected any physical signs of affection. I didn’t want him to get the idea that I was sexually available, after all. 🙁
Just about every Christian marriage blog I’ve seen has addressed the effects of sexual refusal on the refused spouse. Maybe you’ve read some of those blog posts. Maybe you’ve started to wonder if you really are the one who needs to make some changes.
When I first ran across some of those posts, I was in tears reading through all the pain from men and women whose spouses were, well, like me. I had no idea how much I was hurting my husband. If you are starting to wonder how to make change, that is a good first step. Your heart is where it needs to be.
But now what? I would think that a two-pronged approach would help:
1) Try to understand why you are refusing your husband. When you do have sex, are you able to experience orgasm? Is sex painful? Is your husband asking you to try sexual activity that you aren’t comfortable with? Then, as you start to figure out different pieces of what is going on, make a way to address them. Maybe it means that you ask your parents to take care of your kids for two hours on Saturday mornings so you and your husband can be alone together. Or you commit to have sex three times a week and then have one more time during the week when it is just naked cuddle time with no sexpectations so you can feel your husband as a source of relaxation and a sanctuary for you from your busy life.
2) Even more important, even while you try to understand why, try to change your actions–and let your husband know that’s what you are doing. In my case, I began first by being more engaged when we were having sex (instead of just lying there and waiting until he was done). My next step was to stop refusing. Did you know that it is normal for a woman to not want to have sex until she’s already having it? My husband’s go-to pickup line was something like, “you wanna get lucky?” My answer was always no. I didn’t feel arousal and sex wasn’t on my mind–but I began adding, “but I’ll let you convince me.” And as my husband got more confident that he wasn’t making himself vulnerable every time he tried to initiate something, he was able to be more comfortable approaching me in ways that were more pleasing to me.
Whatever it takes for you to change your heart and help you and your husband enjoy your marriage bed is completely worth the effort. It truly is. As I have become the wife my husband always needed in the bedroom, our emotional intimacy has grown. I never understood what was meant by the idea of a husband and wife becoming one flesh. I get it now. We are part of each other in ways I never could’ve imagined. I feel closer to my husband–and to God– than I ever have before. Whatever it takes, do it, and you will be blessed for it.
It isn’t an easy journey to move from where you are to where you could be, but the destination is worth every step.