Wendell E. Miller
Q. We are both saved, and we have been married for more than 20 years. Earlier in our marriage I rebuffed my husband's sexual advances quite regularly. Now, he is not affectionate toward me, very seldom seems to be interested in me sexually, and is cold spiritually. What can I do to help our marriage and to help him spiritually?
A. There are at least three things to consider:
First, why did you sexually defraud your husband (1 Cor. 7:3-5)? Do these same problems still exist?
For instance, when you were first married, did you believe that sexual relations in marriage were bad?
Or, did you know in your mind that sexual relations are God- given and good, but your feelings were not in accordance with biblical truth? Did you let feelings keep you from doing in accordance with the will of God?
You should be fully persuaded in your mind that sexual relations in marriage are God-given and good (Rom. 14:5; Gen. 1:28,31) and then do in accordance with your convictions regarding God's will, even if your feelings do not agree with biblical truth.
Carefully consider this check list:
God has the power to help any believer overcome the trauma of being sexually abused. He can use even the trauma of being sexually abused to make a woman more Christlike (Rom. 8:28,29).
Now for the second question that you should consider: What factors caused your marriage to deteriorate to the condition that it is in?
It may be that the biggest factor in the decline of your marriage could be traced back to the violation of one biblical principle--the biblical principle for sexual happiness in marriage.
The biblical principle for sexual happiness in marriage is part of a basic principle of living. It applies to all of life, and so it applies to sexual relations as well.
The world does not understand this biblical principle of life, nor does it understand this principle as it applies to sexual fulfillment. Instead, the world's formula for sexual happiness is diametrically opposed to this biblical principle.
Even in Christian circles, this principle for sexual fulfillment is seldom understood--and rarely taught.
The basic principle that God gives for happiness--for fulfillment in life--is that it is more blessed (happiness) to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.
This means that a husband's sexual happiness results from pleasing his wife sexually. In like manner, the wife's sexual fulfillment results from pleasing her husband sexually.
Since you were sexually defrauding your husband, it seems obvious that you were not pleased with sexual relations. Perhaps you felt guilty, perhaps you had resentment toward your husband, and perhaps your body was turned off toward him. You did not receive the pleasure from sexual relations that you should have.
Your husband knew that you were not pleased. So, it was impossible for him to have the sexual fulfillment that he should have had. Instead, he felt an emptiness.
He may have started concentrating on pleasing himself, rather than pleasing you, in a vain attempt to achieve sexual satisfaction. It may have seemed that he was wanting sexual relations with abnormal frequency. If so, it is likely that he had become insatiable, as he hopelessly tried to get fulfillment in sexual relations by pleasing himself.
It could be that he has even been tempted to become involved in adultery, as he reacted sinfully from a root of bitterness, and as he told himself that sexual happiness resided in another woman.
It may be that your marriage cycled downwardly somewhat as follows:
Now consider things that you can do--things that may help your husband's spiritual life--things that may rejuvenate your marriage.
As you look back, it is likely that you will remember things that your husband said and did that offended you. Also, it is likely that you will remember things that you said or did that offended your husband.
Did you get so caught up in your children, their needs, their wants and their demands, that you neglected your husband? In what other ways have you offended him? You admit that you sexually defrauded him.
Think back again. As the unforgiven offenses piled up between you and your husband, did not your "good feelings" toward each other diminish?
Now it is likely that he is full of resentment, and that he is out of fellowship with God, not having forgiven with regard to your past offenses (Matt. 6:15).
It may be that you can help him to get back into fellowship with God by asking his forgiveness for your past offenses against him.
Be sure that you have prayed and released to God the penalty of all offenses against you, both your husband's and offenses received from everyone (Mark 11:25). Your husband needs your prayers, and you need to be sure that unforgiveness is not keeping you out of fellowship with God and perhaps keeping Him from answering your prayers (Ps. 66:18).
Let God put away your bitterness in response to your obedience to His command that you pray and release to God the penalty of the offense whenever offended (Mark 11:25; Eph. 4:31-32).
Be sure to love your husband at least as much as God instructs you to love an enemy (Luke 6:27,28). This does not mean that you have to "feel good" toward your husband, but you must do good for him.
Act affectionately toward him. As he forgives you, it is likely that he will start acting affectionately toward you. As you both practice being affectionate, the romantic feelings will return. If you want romance in your marriage, practice being romantic.
You should be ready to ravish him with your love (Prov. 5:19). You should determine to do what is right--because you love God and want to obey Him (John 14:15).
As you do right for your husband sexually, you can change the way that you feel toward sexual relations by using three steps:
You should know intellectually that you have pleased God, because God commands sexual relations in marriage, and a sense of satisfaction will follow.
As you practice these three steps, your feelings should realign to be in accordance with biblical truth, and you should start to enjoy sexual relations with your husband.
It is important for you to:
Carefully consider all of these biblical principles. Diligently apply those that apply to your particular situation.
Do all that you can to help your husband's relationship with God and to help rebuild your marriage, because "ye serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:23,24).
Copyright 1988 by Wendell E. Miller Downloaded from http://www.biblical-counsel.org
May be reprinted and distributed in quantities if distributed free or at cost, and if copyright, download, and permission information is included.
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