Because I Love You…

There was some interesting comment discussion on the recent What “Feeling Desired” Means to Him post. The post was about sex, but it tapped into something that should go way beyond sex:

Because I love you is reason enough to do things.

Because I Love You...

Our love should cause us to do things we would not otherwise do because our spouse enjoys them. Be it a sex act, a certain type of restaurant, a form of entertainment, or playing a certain game, why wouldn’t we do it out of love?

Of course, this only works long-term if both husband and wife do it. It’s not about quid-pro-quo or keeping score, it’s just reality. If either spouse does most of the giving the marriage is unbalanced, unhealthy, and headed for trouble.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I took Lori to a gourd show.

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32 Comments on “Because I Love You…

  1. Our culture has emphasized feelings so much that we now think that if you don’t feel like doing something, then it’s not genuine. This idea is bogus and one we violate constantly, but we hold to it, especially for many women in the area of sex.

    Earlier this year my wife had a huge problem with nausea. Sometimes she needed me to get up during the middle of the night and get her just some water. I would do that. Did I feel like doing that? Nope. Was I always happy to do it? Nope. Would I have much rather been sleeping? Yep. Still, I did it. Once I came back with some and she apologized. I thought that was just odd. I didn’t feel like doing it at all, but I don’t hold anything against her. She’s my wife. I do it even when I don’t feel like it because I love her.

    And for the women, many times when it comes to sex, learning to just do it can help you learn to enjoy it more.
    Nick Peters recently posted…Jesus In AmericaMy Profile

    • Nick Peters,

      1) At times your comments come across as finger pointing (or even mild shaming) to women. ***Paul does such a good job of bridging the gender divide without the “us vs. them” mentality behind it, and that’s no easy task.***!!!!! (Thank you Paul!!) If the purpose of Paul’s blog is to give women a better appreciation of how God made their man, it works better if this is a welcoming place for the intended audience.

      2) The idea of comparing fetching a glass of water with having sex is ridiculous. I have had to do many things for my family members even though I was dog tired and didn’t want to. Sex is different. Sex is extremely personal. Sex is intimate. Sex is SUPPOSED TO BE relational. Sex has the potential to make you feel empty, cheap, violated. The difference between serving a glass of water when you don’t feel like it, and having sex when you don’t feel like it, is the difference between a waitress and a prostitute. I doubt anyone ever went to jail for forcing someone to get them a glass of water. I can do all sorts of difficult things for my husband without affecting my sense of integrity. (In fact, NOT doing those things would affect my sense of integrity.) Sex is not one of those things. Apples and Oranges.

      Not to undermine Paul’s original message though, my above paragraph is not intended to say that we shouldn’t stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone out of love for our spouses. We absolutely should. Even sexually. Just realize that doing sex even when you don’t want to has different psychological ramifications than anything else, and in some circumstances can even be severely damaging to the relationship.

      • 1) This is a blog that is written to help women understand men. I can assure you that elsewhere, I have had just as many hard things to say about men. For instance, a man who is not romantic at all with his wife, doesn’t try to do special things for her and date her regularly and still expects to get sex, well, he’s a moron. A man should not come home at the end of the day, prop his feet up, turn on the TV and watch it all evening, have his wife bring him dinner without any concern for her or her day, and then expect sex in the evening. Sex begins at breakfast. A man wanting sex in the evening needs to remember that his wife is giving him a great act of love. He needs to be willing to be acting in love throughout. In my own marriage, I am constantly privately and publicly praising my wife.

        By the way, that whole sentiment is also one I got reading a female blogger.

        2) I never said the two were equivalent. I am saying the attitude is what matters. Many people do this all the time. A man doesn’t feel like going to work often and no doubt many times he would rather stay home and play video games and such. He goes anyway. A woman probably doesn’t feel like cleaning the house and changing dirty diapers and such, but she can do it anyway. Love many times means rising above what you feel to doing what you ought to do regardless of how you feel. For sexual integrity, what would happen if we actually went with what Paul said? Do not withhold your bodies from one another except by mutual consent? As I heard a man say once “I have heard my wife give me many reasons for not having sex. Prayer and fasting have never been one of them.” Should a man be dating his wife and buying things for her, even if it means he can’t buy what he wants for himself even if he doesn’t feel like it? Absolutely. What sense does it make to say “I will do the right thing if I feel like doing it.” In the same way, when a husband and wife promise themselves to one another, sex in marriage is one of those promises that is made. A man especially withholds all his urges (Or he’d better! No porn men!) and devotes himself to his wife in a world rife with temptation. The wife gets to say no just because she doesn’t feel like it? What if the husband doesn’t feel like taking his wife out on dates?

        And for the last paragraph, I am not at all suggesting that sex should be done if the situation is abusive, but if a woman has a loving husband who is thoroughly devoted to her and simply says what he desires is great intimacy with her, well why not? If that is thought to be something damaging, then perhaps a marriage counselor is the person to talk to.
        Nick Peters recently posted…Deeper Waters Podcast 8/19/2017: Dan StoryMy Profile

        • Nick, please don’t say things about men, either. It makes me cringe to see you refer to men as morons. My point wasn’t about being an equal opportunity finger-pointer. Making generalizations about “those women” or “those men” isn’t really helpful. Every marriage is unique and there are unique circumstances that “those people” have experienced to get wherever they are. We haven’t walked in their shoes. We can’t say, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like those sinners over there.”

          I agree that doing the right thing should not hinge on whether or not we feel like it. Your statement “if a woman has a loving husband who is thoroughly devoted to her and simply says what he desires is great intimacy with her, well why not?” puzzles me. Sex is usually a barometer of relationship quality. This is obvious. If there’s sexual refusal going on, the HD partner (let’s get real, we can’t stereotype men vs. women here!) probably has a part in it, too.

          I’m glad you agree that abuse is a factor, and let’s get real – abuse is rampant in our society. But even when there’s no abuse, if there is no emotional connection shared, then a steady diet of “sex just because it’s the right thing to do whether we feel like it or not,” can desensitize a person to the intimacy and connecting power of sex. And I believe that in the long term, that can be damaging to a relationship. And yes, I need marriage help, but not because I *think* that this is damaging.

          • T. I don’t hesitate to say it, because it’s true. Note I mentioned something specific. A man who does nothing for his wife and then expects her to be romantic is being a moron. If you have a problem with that, what do you do when Jesus called the Pharisees fools, sons of vipers, etc. If you want to say, well that was Jesus, Paul called the Galatians fools and said he wished the circumcision crowd would go the whole way and emasculate themselves. The church fathers also used similar language. It’s only in modern times where we stopped calling a spade a spade and worried about offending people.

            True, every marriage is unique, but there’s no excuse for a man to not be doing loving things for his wife if he is able. As Christ loved the church is a serious command every man is supposed to follow.

            For the second paragraph, I agree. A pastoral counselor gave me a card with some advice when he met my then fiance and I before our wedding. One thing he said is that sex is the thermometer that measures the temperature of the marriage. In any case, both partners I think before pointing fingers at their spouses need to look at themselves in the mirror. For instance, my own wife has trust issues which she’s working on. I can often picture a hypothetical conversation where I will pray and tell God “I do so much good for her. I’m always there for her. I come to her rescue constantly. I shower her with love and affection. What keeps her from trusting me?” When I do that, I could imagine God saying back “Hey bonehead. I’ve been asking you the same questions for decades.”

            If there’s no emotional connection then here is what you are to do. Do the right thing anyway. If the emotions are there, great. If not, then still do it anyway. The emotions can follow. C.S. Lewis wrote in the Screwtape Letters about how in love we think a stream of emotions is more important often than the very reason that marriage was established for us. For my own case, I do things for my wife regardless of if I feel like it or not. If I feel like it, great. If not, it’s still the right thing to do. What merit is there to doing the right thing only when you feel like it?
            Nick Peters recently posted…Book Plunge: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Second EditionMy Profile

            • Yes, Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees. They were a group obsessed with doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, with showing the world how they were doing the right thing, and with wagging their fingers at the people who didn’t live up to their standards. And this behavior was an impediment to people having relationship with God.

              I don’t know the intent behind your comments, but at times this is how they are coming across, and the psychological reaction I get makes it more difficult for me to come here and work on myself. It’s an impediment to Paul Byerly’s work. Paul tells the truth, but he is coating it in honey rather than vinegar. I’m not asking you not to tell the truth, I’m just asking you to do it differently. Please.

              • AFAIK, you’re the only one complaining. Paul hasn’t put forward any complaints. If he thinks it’s hurting his work, let him say so. Now you can say what you say about the Pharisees, but what about the Galatians? Paul said it to them. Go throughout church history. Look at the early fathers, the medieval fathers, the reformers, and others. You will find this kind of language everywhere because of the great passion for truth and God. When did it stop? When we reached a modern age where how people felt about things mattered more to them than what the truth itself was. This is one reason why when we live in this kind of culture, people get concerned about how to fix their feelings, which to an extent is fine, but ignore the character that they have that leads to those feelings and fail to do anything about that.
                Nick Peters recently posted…Book Plunge: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Second EditionMy Profile

                • I see T’s point. I’ve said some things on here that reading back, could be considered off-putting and divisive. I’m working on it. I think this community needs a loving touch, which Paul is good at. Divisive comments don’t typically bring a community together nor cause people to want to change for the better. And the way I see it, T is here reading, and commenting, which shows a lot about her desire to grow. I’d hate for her or anyone else who might not be up to speaking up in the comments to seek growth, then be put off when reading the comments. One person speaking up should be enough for you to reflect on your choice of words.

                  • I have no problem with it, but if one person speaking up is cause enough, then what about myself also being one person saying that we have capitulated to a culture that is terrified of anything offensive. (Consider the snowflakes for instance.) This is something that has led us to the point where we can’t say anything that condemns homosexuality or else you’re a bigot and a homophobe and everything else. Do we really want to keep that up?

                    Both approaches are needed. A good shepherd will also use both approaches. He will carry a staff to lead the sheep and he will carry a rod to deal with opposition.

                    The point is if you want to show me something, I need to be convinced. Otherwise, this is just changing one’s own personality to fit everyone that comes along. That only leads to chaos.
                    Nick Peters recently posted…Book Plunge: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Second EditionMy Profile

                  • Nick,

                    I owe you an apology. I stand behind my request and the sentiments behind my request, but I did not use an appropriately softened startup. I should have said “I am having difficulties because I’m finding it hard not to react to your post as if you’re saying ‘X’….would you be willing to soften or rephrase the way you’re saying that?” I triggered a defensive response in you and I apologize for my part in the struggle that you and I are having.

                    I don’t always say things in the best way, and I’m working on it. I am so much better than I was a year ago, two years ago. Obviously I still have a ways to go. I hope you’ll accept this olive branch and join me in the journey.

                  • T. I hardly think about it really. It’s nothing to worry about. I can seem to come off odd and that could be because my wife and I both have Aspergers, which makes for an interesting marriage. I think both approaches are needed. A touch approach and a soft approach both have their place. If everything looks like a nail, you only use a hammer, but if everything looks like a kitten, you only use a hug. A wise shepherd uses both.

                    Don’t worry. We’re on the same side. Each can learn from the other.
                    Nick Peters recently posted…Book Plunge: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Second EditionMy Profile

                  • I guess what’s bugging me is that you are framing yourself as my shepherd, when in reality you are my brother in Christ. It feels condescending to me, as if you think you are better than me. Not saying you think that, but that’s how it’s coming across to me. Which tends to put me off your message.

                    People might be more receptive to your message if it didn’t have condescending undertones. For example, your use of the term “snowflake.” I’m not a liberal, but I have many friends who are, including but not limited to millenials. Although I’ve never used the term with them, I’ve seen how quickly that term shuts down their willingness to thoughtfully consider other viewpoints. Like the terms “hater” and “homophobe” do to folks like you and me.

                  • As your shepherd? Not at all. I don’t know what gave you that idea. I just recognize myself as a Christian leader, which I am, and in that sense, the way of wisdom shows you when to be tough and when to be soft.

                    As for snowflakes, the problem is again, this is a capitulation to culture. Would we say Jesus needed to be better with his message instead of calling his opponents broods of vipers and white-washed tombs?

                    Now you can say someone calling me a hater or homophobe makes me shut down. Nope. Doesn’t do that a bit. I want to investigate the claims and deal with them. The issue today is we start talking about how we feel about the claims instead of the claims themselves. We have a culture where people fix their feelings instead of their character.
                    Nick Peters recently posted…Another Example Of Why Apologetics Is NeededMy Profile

                  • (I keep getting my comments in the wrong places. It’s supposed to go here)

                    Hi Nick,

                    I know you love to debate, so this will be my last post and you can respond how you like, and I will let you have the last word. To me, the issue isn’t about capitulating. It’s about respect. Which is a way of showing love. They will know we are Christians by our love.

                    I know you’re right. What I’m asking you is whether it’s more important to you to be right, or to be effective.

                    1 Peter 3:15English Standard Version (ESV)

                    15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; *yet do it with gentleness and respect*

                    Proverbs 19:20New International Version (NIV)

                    20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
                    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

                  • Hi, T.

                    The problem with that interpretation is that again, it causes problems with the numerous parts mentioned. Did Jesus respect the Pharisees? Why did Paul call the Galatians foolish? Why did he wish the circumcision crowd would go all the way and emasculate themselves? Now if you go with my system that love is to be upheld, but it doesn’t mean sentimentality and can be tough, then you have no problem. If you go with respect being earned, you also have no problem. You can interpret all the texts fully consistently.

                    If you say I’m right, then I have to ask “If a person does not want to hear what is right, could the problem be with the hearer just as much?” Those who are seeking truth will be willing to have their feelings hurt. Now let’s look at the Scriptures.

                    1 Peter 3:15. I know I’m in a rarity here, but here’s a shock. This verse is not about apologetics.

                    “But it has the word apologia in there!”

                    To say it’s about apologetics because of that is like saying when Paul says in Acts 27 that unless all the men stayed with the ship, they could not be saved, he must be giving a doctrine of salvation. He’s not. So what is going on?

                    In Jesus’s world, it was an honor-shame culture and nothing was given for the sake of giving. There was always a catch. The Christians were instead to go and do things freely for the people they met. This would be looked at with suspicion. People gave to get. So some would ask, why do you do this for us? The Christians would give an answer with gentleness and respect about the Lordship of Christ. Other experts in honor-shame thinking like Jayson Georges in his paraphrase of 1 Peter back this as well.

                    As for the Proverb, I agree with that entirely. The thing is, that goes both ways. Today, people don’t accept discipline. They talk instead about how they feel about what people say. Do that and you don’t get to the truth. The more we give into the culture, the more we enable this mindset. We tried to do this with the homosexual community. How has that worked out for us?
                    Nick Peters recently posted…Another Example Of Why Apologetics Is NeededMy Profile

  2. When we married, both my wife and I exercised regularly, and thought this was something we could share…but because our workout styles were so different, it was almost impossible for any kind of happy synchronization to take place.

    So we’d go to the gym, and I would head for the weight pile while she used the machines. We were apart, but still united in purpose, and that did work OK.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 350 – Oh, The Unfairness Of It All!My Profile

  3. The responses I hear most to this:
    1) Thats not who I am
    2) If you loved ME, you wouldn’t ask me to do that

    • @John — those sound like defensive responses. Do you know if she’s been through some trauma in her life that might have something to do with it? As hard as it is, you need to be sensitive to that, and try not to let your hurt affect how you love on her.

      • She has unequivocally denied any abuse or trauma, not only to me but to our counselors as well. To show that some of the things I am asking for are not lidicrous or way out there, here is a list of things she has responded to in this way:
        Oral sex for me (she recvs plenty and likes it)
        Wearing lingerie (never does)
        Touching my manhood with her hands (never)
        Positions other than missionay or her on top
        Sex more than 6 times a year

        • @John – Being exposed to a very negative attitude about sex as a child can also do all these things. But few will call that abuse or trauma even though it is both.

          If she is selfish in general, this might just be more of the same. If she is not so selfish in non-sexual areas, I’d bet she has some sort of abuse/trauma/bad teaching in her past.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Dealing With a Nightmare MarriageMy Profile

          • Paul,

            I agree with closertotheheart that the wife’s responses sound defensive. What I’m having a hard time with is that his and your go-to thought is “she must have some abuse or trauma in her past.” She very well could have some trauma in her past. However, she claims she does not.

            Sorry to sound like a broken record, but there are other possibilities, other reasons for a spouse to be unresponsive besides being selfish or damaged from childhood/past experiences. Here’s just one of them: Defensiveness is often a response to the harsh startup. How about, “What approach have you been using?”

            Imagine this real-life scenario: It isn’t like the HD partner is a bad person. They are just frustrated and ignorant of a better way. They use a harsh startup, because that is human nature. We often don’t even recognize our own startup as harsh even if we are confronted with the fact, because we don’t mean to be harsh. A soft startup is REALLY difficult, and it’s not intuitive. Even after I had read all the Gottman and thought I had mastered the startup, our Gottman counselor helped me to understand mistakes I was still making.

            The LD partner feels attacked, and responds with defensiveness because that’s human nature and they also don’t know any better. That increases the frustration insistence, and harshness of the HD, which in turn increases the defensiveness and resistance of the LD, and it turns into a vicious cycle, probably creeping into criticism, contempt, and stonewalling. The relationship breach becomes larger and larger, which further affects the desire of the LD. Then, even if the couple becomes aware of the dynamics, there are psychological effects of those dynamics that take time to deal with and overcome.

            Not all cases of sexual refusal are like this. I get it. But it when a situation comes up and the only response seems to be something along the lines of: “Well, they must either be selfish or damaged goods (trauma, abuse, bad church teachings, etc.)” it just makes me a little crazy. Sometimes it’s the relationship. And that isn’t just about going on dates or buying presents or being romantic.

            P.S. I see closertotheheart’s comment about his wife having a list of reasons why sexual frequency wasn’t happening, it makes me wonder what were the circumstances that led to the list. Could be she is simply making excuses. Or could be, his approach triggered defensiveness. My husband’s first startup went like this: a little grumpily: “You never want to have sex. Why don’t you want to have sex?” Me: “That’s not true…” Cutting me off more angrily: “It IS true. We never have sex. You always say no. (yadda yadda…).. why don’t you ever want to have sex?!? Answer me!” Which in effect, left me in the position of trying to think up reasons why I didn’t want to have sex. I think we can all agree that nobody really wants to put their spouse in that state of mind, but you can see how easily it can happen.

            • @T – There certainly are other possibilities. But I see that they are in counselling, and they are having sex no more than 6 times a year. If they have a sexless marriage because of his approach I would think the counsellor would have hit on that by now.
              Then there’s the fact she won’t touch his penis with her hands or her mouth, even though she receives oral.
              Of course, all of this is assuming he’s given a clear understanding of what is happening, which none of us can do perfectly.
              Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Being True to Yourself is Good for HerMy Profile

              • Paul, there are as many bad marriage counselors out there as good ones. We’ve been through many ourselves. Please don’t assume that just because someone is in counseling, that relational issues have been addressed.

                Granted, you know some of the history of this situation. I encourage you for the sake of your ministry to think about how the comments may appear to others coming here, and what they might take away from it. Anyone may stumble across this page and see your response without the entire context, and get the wrong idea.

                I see here a post encouraging *us* to examine our own selves and serve our spouse out of love. I see a comment that, instead of self-reflection, essentially says “Yeah, my wife won’t do this.” He says “The response I get to this is ‘If you loved ME you wouldn’t ask me to do that.’ ” The logical inference would be that it’s her response to “If you loved me you would….” which is a controlling and manipulative approach. And the response to the comment is “Yeah, there must be something wrong with your wife.”

                • @T – I wouldn’t say as many bad as good, but there certainly are some I wouldn’t want anyone going to. The bigger issue is it’s a very personal fit, and a counsellor who would be great for one couple would be horrible for another.
                  I see your point on the other, but a woman who limits sex to six times a year for 25 years has something more going on.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…The G-Spot Isn’t A Myth!My Profile

  4. There was a point in our marriage that I knew I wanted more frequent sexual intimacy with my wife, and when she’d list reasons why it wasn’t happening, I’d try to address those reasons. I worked on being more involved as a dad, on taking on more household chores, on doing more romantic things. I really have put everything into rectifying the reasons with a desire to grow as a husband, father, and human being. I will keep doing this because it does benefit our marriage in other ways, even if the frequency doesn’t change. In a nutshell, I will continue to go outside of my comfort zone in areas that I know will grow my marriage because I love her so deeply.

  5. @Paul “I see your point on the other, but a woman who limits sex to six times a year for 25 years has something more going on.”

    And you know this how, exactly? Have you met her? Have you met John? Have you heard both sides of the story? Have you asked John what else is going on in the marriage? I looked through the comments for the last year, and there’s not a lot to go on. After re-reading your comments, I realized that you’re not claiming to base them on more than what we know from the comments. (If that’s wrong, please clarify and enlighten us.)

    I’m not saying that John has done anything wrong. She could have a major problem and he is 99% in the right. But we don’t know this. He could have a major problem, such as abusiveness, hygeine problems, emotional neglectfulness, substance abuse, or morbid obesity. Or he could have a very subtle problem; he may simply be giving her a negative payoff for saying no to sex (see Gottman on game theory if you don’t know what I’m talking about. By his calculations, it leads to a sexless marriage.)

    To point the finger at the wife after only what we’ve seen in the comments and not asking questions is irresponsible. If John has any responsibility of any part of the problem, all we’ve done is encouraged him to blame his partner. This does not support a ministry of helping marriages; it undermines it.

    It’s rude to tell other people what they think. It’s rude to tell other people how they are. And it’s rude to tell other people how their spouse is.

    I had to stop going to the TMB forum because of this “blame the LD without asking questions” mentality from some of the members, including a moderator. It seemed contrary to how carefully you present your blog posts. I’m saddened to see it here in your comments. I am losing faith, and if this is unresolvable, I will need to stop reading your blog, too. It is very difficult not to let the frustration I feel from the HD to LD negativity seep over into my relationship with my husband, so for the sake of the future of my marriage I just can’t read it.

    • @T – “Something else going on” could include chronic pain or her husband being a total jerk, among other things. I can see how you would have read it as accusing the woman, that was not my intent. If you’ve read much of what I post on TGH that should be obvious.

      My point was this is NOT something to just accept and live with. Few marriages survive this, and even fewer thrive. Regardless of why, it’s a marriage crisis, and it needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Are You Reaping What You’ve Sown?My Profile

      • “My point was this is NOT something to just accept and live with. Few marriages survive this, and even fewer thrive. Regardless of why, it’s a marriage crisis, and it needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.”

        I am behind you 100% on this, Paul. I see this exact thing in Ricky’s situation below your next post, and it makes me want to cry. Finger pointing is really bad, but avoidance is even worse. Thank you for your words. Your point was not coming through originally, but it is now and I am very grateful for your patience and cooperation and for restoring my faith.

    • My, my, a lot of turmoil over a 3 sentence post. For @Ts benefit:

      Married 25 years, sex less then 5 times a year (average I would say. Most times, worse). Including 0 times in the first 16 months, 5 times in the first 3 years. We’ve been to counseling 3 times (all with pastors and their wives, who I made sure all had degrees in maritial counseling) in 25 years, for over a year each time. Each time, I made sure that it was not just because of the sexlessness, but for the entire marriage.

      I still remember the first time, during that first 16 months. She said, and I quote: “I don’t see the point of it, unless you want to have a baby. And I don’t want children”. This is after, during our 6 YEARS of dating (and I had no idea she would be like this), she picked out the names of our first 3 children. I still have the letter she wrote about that. Nothing improved over that first time.

      The second time, I made sure that the counseling we got deemphasized it. We followed a book with 14 chapters, about 3 weeks per chapter (one week to read, one week for us to go over it, one week with the counselors). Chapter 13 was on sex. when we got to our counseling session: “I’m done with this – of course HE will say that sex is important, he’s a MAN. And her? She’s NOT ME” – and she walked out. We didn’t get to chapter 14.

      The third time is this year. 9 months so far. For over a month she has battled both me and our counselors that more than every other month normal, but once a week (at our age, 45-50) is. She has fought and fought just against just that, never mind anything else. Finally, she seemed to have relented, but just this week i heard that she only thinks 2x a month is normal – “If we can get to that” – Again. I suppose thats an improvement.

      I should mention that in all of these, I insisted she bring up any issues she had with me – and I would work with on them. Each time, I had her draw up a list. I would honestly work on them. After the first time, I kept a record and log, so she couldn’t deny that I have, like she has before . This time, When the counselors would bring it up (“Here’s all the things you wanted him to work on – he’s done them/working on them all! Here’s the list he has about you – you haven’t done any!”) she would discount it immediately (“Doesnt matter, thats not me”).

      To your point about how I might be a terrible person and “deserve it” – thanks for blaming the victim, btw, do you blame an abandoned wife that her husband left her ? – even my mother in law calls me the best son-in-law she knows (and she KNOWS EVERYTHING. My wife told her, presumably about what a sex fiend I am), and even her own mother has said that this just ain’t right. Am I perfect? Not by a long shot, as I’ve mentioned. I’m introverted and quiet. I’m not that good of a spiritual leader. I tend to avoid conflict/confrontation and withdraw when hurt. But at least I’ve tried to work on it. Every counselor (and my MIL) say that I’m patient, kind, hard working (home and job), sacrifical, and put just about everyone before myself – which might have made confronting this issue hard to do for me.

      When I was younger, early 20s, yeah, I wanted a lot more. A LOT MORE. But I’m almost 50 now, so that has been forever lost. I just want someone to love me back. To touch me. To hold me. To say “You are important to me – even if it costs me something, I’m going to show you in the way you need it”. I’ve lived my whole life like this for her. Given up just about everything, including my own view as being a man. I’ve literally given up everything, and in this current counseling session, I’m finally standing up for myself, and saying “this isn’t right – it has to change”.

      @T – its hard, naturally, in this type of forum to have “both sides of the story”. But you could give a little lee-way to those of us who are on it.

      • John,

        I am so sorry for your situation. My heart breaks for you and for your marriage. I am also sorry that you felt like I was blaming you. I really wasn’t. I really thought I was trying to give you leeway. I did say “his wife could have a major problem and John is 99% in the right.” (I really would have said 100%, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, because like you acknowledge, nobody’s perfect.) If there’s a way I could have expressed myself better, please let me know so I have an opportunity for growth.

        Like Paul clarified his position for me, I’m glad you’re giving me feedback so I can clarify mine. I don’t blame you, wasn’t blaming you, and I really don’t like to blame anybody. I prefer to look for solutions and move forward. It’s just that the way the comments were unfolding seemed really unhealthy to me. Like giving medical advice/diagnosis on a disease support forum, when the other members aren’t even doctors and don’t know the other patient or their peculiar needs. That is usually strictly forbidden. Paul appeared to be making assumptions about your wife based on very little information. It might have been better phrased as, “Yes, there is something seriously wrong in a marriage where this is occurring. Something definitely needs to be addressed. The sooner, the better.”

        So that you can also understand where I was coming from: my husband could have written something somewhat similar to your story during the first 26 years of our 27-year marriage. In our situation, we both had serious issues, but my husband believed he was entirely not at fault. (He was recently diagnosed with a personality disorder.) I’m pretty sure he would have seen Paul’s response as validation to keep on blaming me. Furthermore, even if he had just seen *your* message and Paul’s response, he would have seen that as validation to keep blaming me. (I am delighted to say that he has made a major turnaround and I couldn’t be more proud of him.)

        I feel a little bit guilty, like I goaded you into baring your soul. I wasn’t trying to ask you to prove yourself, but of course that’s how it came across. I’m so sorry. If you shared more than you wanted to, maybe Paul can manage your comment for you. On the other hand, I think what you shared – and how you shared it – is a truly great and powerful testimony to the importance of addressing the issue of sexual intimacy in marriage.

        One final note: “I’m finally standing up for myself, and saying “this isn’t right – it has to change”.” You just wrote the cliff notes version of Dr. David Schnarch “Passionate Marriage” and crucible therapy. I did a little cheer for that part of your comment :)

      • @John “I’m finally standing up for myself, and saying “this isn’t right – it has to change”.”

        This is the only way something like this changes. I wonder why it takes so long for most men to get to this point? I suspect a big part of it is being told how we are oversexed and selfish. Something God made for good and blessed becomes an “obsession” or “hurtful” and we buy into that enough to cause us to back off.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…A Few Kind WordsMy Profile

  6. Hi Nick,

    I know you love to debate, so this will be my last post and you can respond how you like, and I will let you have the last word. To me, the issue isn’t about capitulating. It’s about respect. Which is a way of showing love. They will know we are Christians by our love.

    I know you’re right. What I’m asking you is whether it’s more important to you to be right, or to be effective.

    1 Peter 3:15English Standard Version (ESV)

    15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; *yet do it with gentleness and respect*

    Proverbs 19:20New International Version (NIV)

    20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

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