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April 19, 2017

How to Suffocate Your Marriage

Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography. 
–Robert Byrne 

Shaunti Feldhahn interviewed more than 1,000 men prior to writing her book For Women Only. Though it was no surprise that the interviews revealed that men desire more sex, what was surprising was why. She writes,

Men want more sex than they are getting. And what's more, they believe that the women who love them don't seem to realize that this is a crisis—not only for the man, but for the relationship…. For your husband, sex is more than just a physical need. Lack of sex is as emotionally serious to him, as say, his sudden silence would be to you, were he simply to stop communicating with you. It is just as wounding to him, just as much a legitimate grievance—and just as dangerous to your marriage.1

Sex is as powerful emotionally for men as it is for women but for different reasons. Women want to feel close to a man before sex, but men feel close to women when having sex. Pay attention to this difference. Many couples have trouble connecting sexually because of it. When you don't understand one another sexually, you run the very high risk of not connecting emotionally. And what could add some spice to our relationship becomes a battlefield and a power match where he's always keeping score—"We've only had sex once in the past three weeks."

But understand that in his eyes, sex is like oxygen to the relationship. He can't breathe without it.

You may think he doesn't deserve it. You may say to yourself, "He doesn't meet my needs so why should I meet his? I can't do everything around this house and meet his needs on top of it. There isn't enough time, and I don't have enough energy."

This is where I believe we all need to take a deep breath together. The Apostle Paul is pretty bold in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (MSG): "Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I'm not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them."

Does sex really mean that much to men? Psychologist Kevin Leman thinks so. I chuckled when I read this, and you might too. 

• A sexually fulfilled husband will do anything for you.

• A sexually fulfilled husband is a scriptural mandate. 

• A sexually fulfilled husband will feel good about himself.

• A sexually fulfilled husband will take on his life work with unmatched vigor and purpose. 

• A sexually fulfilled husband appreciates the important things in life.2 

Let's be honest here, when a man is sexually satisfied, he is probably more able to satisfy the needs of his wife—but that doesn't mean he always will. One thing's for sure, at least he'll sleep better!

But I've got to be honest—this is a mutually beneficial arrangement. When your husband is happy or if he thinks he's going to get happy, things tend to get done a whole lot more quickly around the house. Many women make the mistake of waiting until things are "good" in their marriage before they initiate sex. But when we refuse to have sex, we're preventing the emotional closeness we receive as a result. This enormous paradox has chilling repercussions when it is not understood. Suffocate the sexual part of marriage, and you suffocate the relationship. Nobody can breathe.

I love what Gary and Barbara Rosberg write in their book The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women:

The reality is that we often want the same things. Our deepest desire, whether we're male or female, is ultimately to become one. He wants intercourse; she wants intercourse. He may want physical intercourse more than she does, and she may want emotional intercourse more than he does, but when a couple can meld physical and emotional intercourse, they will find the pathway to great sex.3

To add some spice, I've included some "true" aphrodisiacs:

Good sex starts by caressing your lover's heart. It was never meant to be a single act of expression or feeling. Sexual satisfaction begins with gentleness, understanding, acts of kindness, and self-sacrifice. Treat one another well and you'll discover a new kind of sexual satisfaction.

Good sex is about taking time—not just during sex—to show your lover you care for and love him. African writer Ernestine Banyolak beautifully illustrates this:

A man's experience is like a fire of dry leaves. It is easily kindled, flaring up suddenly and dying down just as quickly. A woman's experience, on the other hand, is like a fire glowing charcoal. Her husband has to tend to these coals with loving patience. Once the blaze is burning brightly, it will keep on glowing and radiating warmth for a long time. 4

Good sex requires that you touch him often. Give back rubs, hold hands, kiss, hug, and caress one another. It's sure to take your intimacy to the next level.

Good sex speaks clearly and gently about caring for, accepting, and valuing your husband. Be sure to express your heartfelt needs and feelings before, during, and after lovemaking. 

The next time you're frustrated because he's not getting anything done around the house, and he's complaining he's going to die without sex, go find your raincoat and high heels. You'll be shocked at what he gets done in the next 30 minutes!

1. Shaunti Feldhahn, For Women Only (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2004), 91-92.

2. Kevin Leman, Sheet Music (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2003), 46-53.

3. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women (Carol Stream,) Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2006), 39.

4. Cited in Howard and Jeanne Hendricks, Husbands and Wives (Colorado Springs: Victor Books, 1988), 249. 

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