Refusal Is Like . . .


In A Moment of Hard Truth, I shared with you the moment when I realized what my sexual refusing and gate-keeping had done to my husband:

My husband’s anguish began to take shape in front of me. So many men wrote about how unloved they felt by the one person who they thought would love them the most. As I finally allowed myself to imagine how that would feel, I felt like my gut had been punched in. It was a moment of very hard truth.

This moment came when I had landed on the discussion forum at The Marriage Bed and began reading the collective voice of refused husbands. A reader recently suggested that I share specific posts from that site that influenced me, thinking that if they were so powerful that they affected me, they might also make a difference for other women.

The words and stories of those men are not mine to share. The men behind those voices poured out their pain for the purpose of their own healing and for their ministry to others in that specific place.

Still, there is great power in a collective voice. Although I can point to a few posts that had a strong impact on me, what overwhelmed me was the unity with which all these voices spoke—a unity further strengthened as I read comments on various blog posts by men who are sexually refused.

We see through the lenses of our own experience. A woman who hears her husband say he’d like more intimacy may think it is just him, that his sex drive is the problem, that he doesn’t deserve sex because of a sin he committed against her, that sex is for when everything else is going well, or whatever. She is likely to see the sexual problems in their marriage as his problem, not her problem or their problem

My husband asked me countless times to work on my problems with sex. Just as often, I pointed out that he was the one with the problem, not me. He was the one who wanted more sex, so he should figure out how to want less or deserve more. I didn’t have a problem; he did. When he expressed his feelings, I thought he was just manipulating me so he could have more orgasms.

In a way, I was right. My husband did have a problem—one that I created in depriving him of sex. At the time, I didn’t realize that his problem was one of my creation; I just figured he was being selfish and demanding.

The power of so many voices, speaking the same pain of refusal, is that it becomes impossible to say it is just one man who is the problem.

Many of my readers are refused husbands. Guys, I invite you to help me help women who land here. I have a page that pulls together some of my posts that talk about a refused husband’s experience.

The links there are in my voice only.

Your voice is needed.

A woman who chooses to visit this blog and see what is here has a heart that wants to grow. Will you please help her? I want her to have the opportunity to be overwhelmed by the voices of men speaking the pain of refusal, just as I was nearly four years ago.

What is refusal (or gate-keeping) like for you? What does it do to your heart and your spirit? What would you most want your wife to understand about your experience?

If you are a refused husband who is willing to add your voice to the mix, please use the contact form below to share what refusal is like for you. You can write a few brief paragraphs, a short sentence, or even a haiku. If you are a husband who used to be refused, I invite you to share about your recovery as well.

I will add your words to the Understanding Your Husband’s Hurt page. Names will not be included (unless you are a man who blogs about marriage and would like your name and URL included). I reserve the right to edit and omit contributions as I see fit.

Men, thank you for taking time to open your heart and share your pain with us. Pray that your voice opens the eyes and hearts of refusing wives.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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2 Comments on “Refusal Is Like . . .”

  1. Saw the Understanding Your Husband’s Hurt page before I saw this )living life backwards or something). A great idea, thanks so much for doing it. Praying it makes a real difference in a lot of marriages.

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