Denying My Husband, Denying Myself


Today was a long day. It is a stressful time of the year for those of us who work with students in higher education, and I’m starting to see nerves fray—in students and in my colleagues. No one is at their best, and sometimes it just takes a bit more energy to get through the day. Today was one of those days.

I came home from work tonight and found my husband and daughter in the kitchen together, unloading the dishwasher and cooking dinner. They do well together and are creating solid father-daughter memories with each other. I wonder if he realizes how much he will miss her when she leaves for college.

After we ate, my husband was standing in the doorway to the living room. I walked to him and put my arms around his neck and laid my head on his shoulder. We held each other.  We breathed together. I felt his heart beating against mine. I thought how nice it was, to just hold and be held, to be in that moment together. I was vaguely aware that my daughter was watching us. My husband and I stood together and just soaked in each other’s presence, our arms wrapped around each other, inhabiting one space, together.

I found comfort in being held. The pressures of my work day fell away from me as my husband held me and I remembered who I really am in my heart—not a college administrator, but a child of God who is joined to this man. I could feel my stress level drop.

For so many years, I denied myself this comfort. I rarely approached my husband for a hug because I worried that he might get, you know, “ideas” about sex. I was so busy avoiding the appearance of sexual contact and creating expectations in him that I did not know what a sanctuary my husband could be for me. Denying my husband sex also denied me something I deeply needed.

How many women are denying themselves their own needs as they deny their husbands, I wonder? And how many women are denying their children the opportunity to see a truly loving marriage that is giving, thoughtful, and comforting?

My husband just called. He is out with our daughter, giving her a driving lesson and getting me frozen yogurt. My daughter is learning—better late than never.

How do you begin to make changes?

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15 Comments on “Denying My Husband, Denying Myself”

    1. A whole and balanced marriage is so much better than what we had for so long. Even when we face struggles, we find that it is easier to face them together and we get through them more quickly.

  1. I think it would best for a spouse who is not in the mood ( this applies to any need not just sexual needs) to be honest and take ownership of that choice. It should be do e by saying ” I am sorry but I refuse to meet your need.”

    I am sorry but I refuse to help you with the dishes.

    I am sorry but refuse to make love to you tonight.

    When we are honest and say it that way we can hear how selfish we actually are.

    Something to think about.

  2. NIce article.
    Does a person need to ask if you may hug your spouse; that sounds silly. I find it just as strange for a person to ask their spouse for sex. Somethings I understand like maybe a back rub but initial intimacy ? I find that weird.

    1. When we were first married, I don’t think there was asking as much as mutual falling into bed. After years and bad patterns, though, asking for sex is one of the things that can grow.

  3. This is so true! While we do have a lot of sexual and non sexual intimacy together, precious moments of comfort and bliss, my hubby takes little to no pleasure in making sure I am pleased in bed. It hurts me to have that loss, but it also hurts to know how much he is missing out on.

  4. How did you work through the “hugging might lead to sex” scenerio with your husband? My ex-wife and I really struggled with that.

    1. The real key was that my heart had changed. Once I decided to do things differently, I still struggled with old patterns. I learned to take deep breaths and remind myself that an outcome of sex would be okay. I never have to do this now, but it helped me as I was learning some new habits.

      1. Thanks. I wish that I would have known that then and could have communicated that to my wife. It would have saved so much heartache and agnst, not just for us but for our kids.

        1. Your wife’s journey is her own. Pray for her relationship with God. That will be good for her and for your children–and if the marriage heals, it will be all the stronger for that.

  5. I think you really hit the nail on the head with the idea that denying sex denied both of you a lot of important things. Closeness, support, even non-sexual intimacy. It is a big thing!

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