What’s In It for Me?

I resisted change for so many years. Once I stopped fighting, my life got so much better.

He wanted me to change everything. I easily became anxious. I put things off. I was a know-it-all (even when it came to what he was thinking). I was controlling. He frequently complained about these things—yet the biggest complaint of all was about the lack of sexual intimacy in our marriage.

It never made sense. My husband was the one who was unhappy with our sex life, yet he expected me to be the one to change.

Occasionally I would think about what might be involved in making changes. Because I saw my sexual resistance as a response to my husband’s ways, it was clear to me that change would consist of huge sacrifices on my part and a betrayal of my own self. It was too much. Why couldn’t he accept me as I was?

Change meant that I would . . .

  • Put his desires over my needs.
  • Do something that made me feel cheap and used.
  • Tolerate an activity I rarely enjoyed.
  • Give up my rights to happiness and to my own body.
  • Lose my identity.

I’d have to do all those things, but the only benefit would be to him.

What was in it for me?

I thought that if he had sex, I would at least get a less grumpy husband for a day or two. Too bad it didn’t work out that way. My theory is that his grumpiness resulted from feeling unloved by having to beg for sex and knowing that it would likely be a full week before he had even a chance at sex again. My reward for sex was a husband that was even grumpier.

On top of that, sex was a sleep medicine to him. Unless sex happened very late at night, I would usually have to get back out of bed to deal with kids or household chores while he got to sleep. If sex happened late at night, I would still lie there awake for several hours, distraught at how used I felt and how broken our marriage seemed. I would cry myself to sleep.

The only possible benefit I could see was that our kids would grow up in a less contentious household. That was pretty much canceled out by my concern about them seeing a mom who was a doormat.


I resisted. I dug my heels in and refused to budge.

I’d grown away from God. I was angry at him for the fact that I was unhappy in my marriage. I could barely drag myself into church.

I was so filled with anger and hurt that I believed that God wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say to him. There were moments when I admitted that my real fear was that God wouldn’t want me at all. When I did go to church, I sat in the pew like a sullen child, very aware that God was there but refusing to acknowledge his presence.

God’s response to my anger was to keep working on my heart.

I had begun to see my husband as a hurting man who felt unloved. Although I didn’t think I was wrong to refuse to have sex, I began to have moments of compassion. My husband was getting depressed. That unsettled me, and it occurred to me that sex might be the one trick I had up my sleeve that might make a difference.

I was starting to see how lonely I was in our marriage, and I began to wonder what would happen to us. The kids were in high school, and I knew that soon it would be just the two of us. Would we make it? (See The Pit of Refusal and Crawling Out of the Pit.)

God opened my eyes and my heart, and I began to see my husband and myself with new compassion.

The moment my heart was transformed was painful, but that heart change was enough to motivate me to change my ways.

So I made changes. I saw what I was doing as a sacrifice. I had the knowledge that I was finally doing the right thing as a wife, and that was no small thing.


For years, the idea of making changes in sexual intimacy had evoked the question, What’s in it for me?

Answers to this question began to emerge.

  • My relationship with God was restored.
  • For the first time in my life, my heart and soul had a sense of rightness and balance.
  • The worst of the tension in our marriage began to evaporate. Long before I got comfortable with the new approach to sexual intimacy, my marriage stopped adding stress to my life.
  • Big Guy and I began to laugh together again. As we renewed our sense of companionship, I began to like him again and see him as my partner.

I hadn’t realized how far I’d grown away from God until I found myself growing back toward him. As I began to place a higher priority on sexual intimacy in our marriage, I experienced contentment and joy that came from recognizing that my actions were aligned with God’s word.

These benefits appeared very early in the journey. In the nearly five years since then, I have seen even more benefits.

  • My relationship with God has gone well beyond restoration. It was transformed into something that is all-encompassing in the way a wonderful hug is. This relationship is part of the fabric of my life.
  • Big Guy has become the husband I always wanted him to be. His love for me and commitment to our marriage is evident every single day. The constant infusion of his wife’s love into his life has given him courage to share his heart with me. His heart has been a totally unexpected gift.
  • I have discovered that sex is an opportunity for spiritual connection.
  • Instead of feeling cheap and used after sex, I feel loved and protected.
  • I understand what it is to feel truly united with my husband rather than experience constant division and conflict.
  • After fearing the loss of my identity, I was shocked to realize that instead of losing myself, I have found myself within my marriage and my renewed relationship with God.

I resisted change for so many years. Once I stopped fighting, my life got so much better.


What’s in it for me?

I continue to discover new answers.

Big Guy recently said that the increase in love and affection in our marriage has paralleled a decrease in my habits that used to frustrate him.

The funny thing is this: although I changed a lot, I did not change my personality at all.

I still have those habits and characteristics that use to upset him so much. I still get overly anxious. I procrastinate. I think I know everything (including what he is thinking). I want to control everything.

Having the love and affection he needs has made my husband better able to put his wife’s irritating quirks into perspective. That is a benefit I didn’t expect.

As I took one small step at a time, God transformed me from the inside out. I am still the same person I always was—yet I am completely new at the same time.

I’m not different from who I was. I’m more of who I was always meant to be—more than I ever knew I could be.

What’s in it for me? More than I ever could have imagined.

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11 Comments on “What’s In It for Me?”

  1. What a great post, Chris! I’ll have to translate that into Spanish so I can show it to my wife! She has agreed to go to a Christian female doctor, whose husband is a pastor and also a doctor. The purpose of this is to see if it would be dangerous to her health to have sex with me or not. I don’t believe that it would, but she has to be convinced of that. We went to a gynocollogist last year and he explained that older women lose their estrogen, which causes them to have no desire to have sex. When I asked him if it would be dangerous to her health to have sex with me, he said no.

    I made it clear to her that I could not, and would not, live with her in a celibate marriage. However, if she were really physically unable to have sex with me, I believe that God would give me the grace to live with it. But, right now I have a strong desire to have sex with her, even though I am 76 years old (she is 68). This unfulfilled desire opens me up more to unclean thoughts about other women, as 1st Cor. 7:5 says.

    When I was a single missionary, I led a celibate life. It was easier to do so then because I was living alone. However, as a married man, it is very difficult for me to able to live a celibate life with a wife living with me. I have explained this to my wife, but her reaction is like yours was before God changed your heart! Thank you for being so honest about this!

    Please pray for our marriage!

    1. Hi Missionary Mexico, good questions. The shame guilt of sin or defense is already in her. It’s got to be convicted of in her. If she’s able to repent confessing little things and with obeying God the Spirit takes that over with small things. Remind her of tough things Gods Grace has pulled her through. It doesn’t matter why she felt pressured to married you. God has placed you two together, and He doesn’t make mistakes.
      I had a break through when I saw my husband hurt one day. I wanted to stop making excuses, I wanted to be in a right relationship with God, and I wanted to be a testimony to those around us. This might sound sad but may help her. At first it was like going to the dentist. I’m able to go because I choose and know that it’s good for me. That’s the beginning with the romantic feelings its a zero. After the victory of overcoming self it gets easier and God has given me the desire.
      From a Missionary in US
      And the Heavy Heart is for the lost souls dying without Christ.

  2. I’ve been thinking on the Mexican missionary mans response. Chris had clearly put what change means and that’s submission. Can’t force it, demand it, threaten for it, have a your way attitude for it, it has to be a heart change on your wife. If your wife is serving others in her ministry why is it hard to serve you? If you are breaking the bonds of sin in others why is it hard to do that in your wife? Just some thoughts.

    When my husband would tell me he used to be tempted by other women I would have so many feelings of anger, sadness, and confusion. I have to go against my feelings and trust God. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

    1. Hi Heavyheart,

      I am very glad that you realize that you have to go against your feelings and trust God.

      The only people who can have the bonds of sin broken are those who want to. Jesus Christ Himself cannot break the bonds of sin in people if they don’t want to repent. If He can’t do it for those who have their hearts hardened to do whatever they want and do not want to change, much less can I do it. I can only point people to Him and tell them what the Lord wants, I cannot make them do it.

      I agree that I cannot make my wife change. However, I don’t have to accomodate her sin either. 1st Cor. 7:5 makes it clear that sexual refusal on the part of a spouse puts the other spouse in great temptation. Therefore, if after receiving godly advice she refuses to submit to God’s will in our marriage, I will have no choice but to tell her that we cannot live together under such a condition. God does not expect anyone to live a celibate life when they are married with a spouse living under their roof.

      Some may think that I am being hard and selfish, but, the one who refuses sexual relations with their spouse is the one being hard and selfish, not the other way around.

      God created sex. However, He created sex for a man and a woman who are married to each other. Just as it is a sin to have sex outside of marriage, it is also a sin for one spouse to continually deny the other spouse sex, unless having sex would be a great danger to one’s health (an example of his would be a wife with an adulterous husband). 1st Cor. 7 is very clear about that

      Some have told me that her continual refusal to have sex with me is grounds for divorce. However, I love my wife very much and I do not want a divorce, neither does she. If we can’t resove this severe problem, we will have to separate until such time as both of us want to follow God’s plan for our marriage. Naturally, if it comes to that, I will keep praying that with God’s help she will change her heart concerning this matter.

      Chris has excellent advice for those wives who are frigid and don’t want to have sex with their husbands (her advice would also apply to men who don’t want to have sex with their wives). I have copied portions of her advice, translated it into SpanIsh, and have given it to my wife. I thank God for this website of hers!

      1. Yes she does have heart changing advice. .. The Spirit convicts when we read or hear the word of God. Is she in the word? Its done that for me when I was the frigid rebellious wife. Satan wants to divide the marriage. It’s about a testimony and living out the gospel. Unrepentant sin may mean unbeliever as you have biblically displayed. So leaving or separating may bring her to God’s plan for salvation? The world is watching our marriage..have you considered the cost? Go to the states or home church to help your bride. I’ll be praying for your marriage.

        1. Hi Heavy Heart,

          I could defend my position, but right now what is most important to me is knowing what your feelings were when you decided to resume conjugal relations with your spouse. Did God give you a sudden romantic feeling for your husband? Or did you just decide to obey God regardless of your feelings? I would like to hear more how God changed your heart!

          I have read 1st Cor. 7 to my wife several times along with other scriptures from the Bible about marital relations and it did not seem to move her. She believes that since she does not have romantic feelings towards me and is not physically attracted to me, she cannot have sex with me. We had a great honeymoon, but she says that she has never had any romantic feelings towards me, that she married me because she felt pressured to do so. Plus, according to the gynocologist, her estrogen level is low (which Chris says is not an excuse to not have sex with your husband).

  3. It is as if you wrote my story to the tee! I did the same things and changed how I perceived and reacted and we’ve become closer than ever before. Thank you for sharing your story/and mine too.. 🙂

  4. Wow, Chris! This was an awesome post! I am so very glad that you made the decision to risk your pride before it was too late. I just wish my wife would make the same decision, but it’s too late.

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