Does God Care More About Sex Than Marriage?

Does God Care More About Sex Than Marriage?
Posted on: April 30th, 2012 by Leslie Vernick

Good morning friends,

Thank you for all your comments and notes encouraging me to continue writing this blog. I want to serve you and meet your needs and so I appreciate the feedback. I was in Dallas, TX all weekend speaking at the Wonderful Counselor Conference, so what I thought I’d do is share with you a blog I recently wrote for this organization titled, Does God Care more about Sex than Marriage?

I know many of you struggle with the issue, and, although I wrote this blog for counselors, I trust many of you will find it helpful.

You may even want to print it out or forward it to your counselor or pastor.

Does God Care More About Sex than Marriage?

by Leslie Vernick LCSW

As a biblical counselor, how would you respond to a client who asks…

“I’ve been married for 25 years to an emotionally and verbally abusive man. He regularly curses at me, calls me degrading sexual names, refuses to have a normal conversation with me, and mocks me in front of our children. He will not see a counselor nor talk with our pastor.

I don’t want a divorce, but I’m tired of trying to make this better. I feel angry and bitter toward him for the way he treats me, yet he still expects me to be loving and affectionate with him, especially in bed. I can’t do it. What does God expect me to do?”

This is one of those difficult questions to answer thoughtfully and biblically, and I fear in this short blog I won’t be able to adequately tackle this issue. But I’m asked this type of question so frequently; I want us to talk about it.

One of the most standard answers women hear from biblical counselors on this topic is that God’s word is clear. She may not withhold herself sexually from her husband, citing 1 Corinthians 7.

But what are we saying to a hurting woman by this counsel? Are we saying that her husband’s sexual needs (or desires) are more important to God than her emotional well-being? Are we telling her that God calls her to meet her husband’s sexual needs regardless of the damage he’s done to her spirit or their relationship? Are we telling her that God says she never has a choice? She is to be available sexually no matter what?

That is a horrible picture of God, and it is not who He is. When we paint that picture of God, we are telling a woman that God values a man’s sexual needs and desires more than a woman’s need for love and safety, and this is not the truth. God cares equally for both individuals in a marriage and for the relationship itself.

In answering this woman’s question, we must look at the whole counsel of God with respect to marriage and not take one passage about sex in marriage as the sole biblical answer to her dilemma.

What does God say about marriage and the way a husband should treat his wife?

Marriage was not designed by God as a legitimate way for a man to get sex, but rather a loving partnership between a man and a woman. Tim Keller in his recent book on marriage writes, “The Christian teaching [on marriage] does not offer a choice between fulfillment and sacrifice but rather mutual fulfillment through mutual sacrifice.*”

The important word here is mutual. When one person in a marriage is not sacrificing or loving or caring, a biblical marriage is not happening. The scriptures teach, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25) and are instructed not be harsh with them (Colossians 3:19).

Granted, no husband is perfect, but when there is repeated emotional and verbal harshness and cruelty with no evidence of repentance, remorse, personal responsibility or change, the marriage relationship as God designed, is clearly broken.

The question we must ask ourselves as biblical counselors is what is the wife’s responsibility in these situations? Is she to prop up the broken marriage and try to act as if all is still well? Or, does that approach enable her husband to continue to be self-deceived believing he can act selfishly and sinfully towards her with no consequences?

What does God say to the wife and what should her biblical response be to the way her husband is treating her?

God’s word clearly tells us not to retaliate when we are sinned against. Instead we are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). As counselors, one part of helping this wife overcome her husband’s evil with good is to help her forgive her husband and deal with her anger and bitterness toward him.

But here is where we must be exceptionally wise. When we help her forgive and let go of her bitterness (which are good goals), if he continues to treat her as he always has, it would be realistic for her to continue to be wary of him and unable to feel wifely affection or sexual attraction toward him.

Next, the bible commands believers to love, including our enemies. But what does biblical love look like toward an abusive husband? Biblical love isn’t necessarily feelings of affection, warmth, or sexual attraction, but actions that are directed toward another person’s good or long term best interests. We can help this woman overcome evil with good when we help her biblically love her husband.

Therefore, is it in her husband’s good and long term best interests to be available to him so that his sexual needs are met? If the answer is yes, then keep in mind this still does not address their marital problem, it is only a solution to his sexual frustration.

Often when counseling a woman in this kind of dilemma, I find she has lost sight of her God designated role as her husband’s help mate. As his partner, she can love him by helping him become the man God designed him to be. As his wife, she is not a second class citizen with no power or say. That kind of wife was biblically called a concubine and clearly not God’s intent for marriage.

In cases where repeated abuse is present, it is always in her husband’s best interest for him to repent of his selfishness, pride, and submit to God (James 4:7). It would also be in his best interest and in the best interest of their marriage for him to learn to control his tongue (James 1:19; James 3:10-12) and become more thoughtful and considerate of his wife’s feelings (Philippians 2:3-4).

When we tell a woman that no matter how her husband treats her God says she must have sex with him, what we’re saying is that God cares more about the fact that her husband is sexually hungry than the fact that her husband is hurting her and their marriage relationship. And, that’s not biblical.

We need a new paradigm. Let’s help this wife learn to speak up to her husband lovingly but firmly and say,

“No, I can’t have sex with you in a godly way because of the way you treat me. I can’t feel affectionate toward you when I feel afraid. When you curse at me, scream at me, and call me horrible names it breaks my heart. I am God’s image bearer, not an object to be used for sex and then discarded when you’re finished. With God’s help, I choose to forgive you, but I can’t reconcile with you in a loving relationship until you begin to see the damage you’re doing to me and to our marriage and change.”

Words of truth spoken in love and humility are the potent medicine her husband needs to wake up to the fact that he can’t expect the perks of a good marriage without changing his ways and putting in some work. The scriptures are full of examples of God’s law of consequences. What you sow, you reap (Galatians 6:7). If her husband wants a good marriage and not just a concubine, he will need to stop sowing thorns and thistles into his wife’s heart.

Overcoming evil with good empowers this woman to take constructive action that may lead to the restoration of their marital relationship. That would be good for him, good for her and good for their family.

——————-

Leslie’s book and blog can be found at http://www.Leslievernick.com

I cannot recommended this book enough!  The Emotionally Destructive  Marriage..It’s full of Godly wisdom that we all need!  Buy it today!!

 

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Leslie Vernick Videos

I’m still reading Leslie Vernicks book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, and I’ve learned quite a lot already that I will share in a post later on this week, but for now I want to share a couple of her Youtube videos that I feel all women AND men who are caught up in a PA relationship need to watch!

These videos have really opened up my eyes to how much I have let PA Man change me into someone I don’t like or respect, and how I need to change that, but also I see how I need to proceed in my marriage with PA Man…

Let me know what you think about these videos! 🙂

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jSbGN7Yk_fI&list=PLzdKFulvL15p0OZkbt9QqiYVM2bJ2_f_3

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Kez99hKBJ7U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Abuse….it’s NOT normal!

I’m reading a book right now that I have to tell you all about because it is blowing me away and I’m not even half way through it!!

 

Its a book by Leslie Vernick called The Emotionally Destructive Marriage and I have to tell you…if you’re a Christian woman and have questioned WHY your marriage is the way it is…and WHY God is not answering your desperate prayers for a different marriage, you HAVE to buy this book ASAP and read it!

Leslie really hits hard on the church and how they are letting women down,  women who come to them begging for help, only to be told it’s THEIR fault and they aren’t respecting their husbands enough and to go home and be even more subservient to their husbands!!

NEWSFLASH!!!! I loved this quote from the book….

“God does not value men more than women, or the institution of marriage more than the people who are in it.

He wants to help you know how to heal and what to do to bring true restoration to your destructive marriage.

He also knows that because of the hardness of your husbands heart, true reconciliation of your relationship isn’t always possible.”

 

FINALLY!! Here is someone who GETS it!! After having it hammered into my head for years that my husband is the “leader” in the home, and I have be “submissive” here is a woman who truly understands emotional abuse within a marriage!

And that sometimes…it’s better to get OUT!!!

I’ve also  watched several of Leslie’s Youtube videos, and I’m telling you…it’s made me feel so much better about how I’m reacting to PA Man…and it’s lessoned the guilt I feel for not loving and respecting him like he wants and expects!!

I CAN’T love and respect a man that is emotionally abusing me…it’s not normal…so the fact that I feel this way…means I AM normal, but my marriage isn’t!!

I’ll write a follow up post after I finish the book….now, back to my reading!! 🙂

I am Thankful

As I go around different blogs, reading other women’s stories of living with their PA spouse, I find that I AM grateful that PA Man is who he is….kind of.

There are some real losers out there! Abusive, cold, penny pinching losers!

I really don’t have it THAT bad! Yes, PA Man can be mean at times….he can be snarky and sarcastic…but it’s not ALL the time, and I’m grateful for that!

I’m looking at PA Man and I see a little boy….an immature, little boy who I really think doesn’t like who he is, but doesn’t have any idea how to change it…..and is too scared to even try!!

Its like this….As a child, how many of us were scared that there might be a boogie man under our bed?

You really do know that there’s not a boogie man under the bed…but first you have to get out of the bed so you can look under there and prove it….but you can’t make yourself do that…because then you’re vulnerable because maybe there really IS a boogie man under there!

That’s PA Man….he’s always been this way, it’s who he is. Change is hard, we all know that. But for a PA, it’s not easy or acceptable….because their brain tells them that it’s not THEM, it’s their spouse, their boss, etc…

 

I’m finding that the more I learn about PAs…the more I feel sorry for them. What a horrible way to live.

I’m still not sure if I’ll stay with PA Man in the future…I really do think that once I stop asking him for anything emotional, and not depending on him to be open with me….I think I can be somewhat happy. I will have my kids and grandkids to focus on : )

I mean, I did it for 25 yrs….before the EA….we lived a somewhat normal life, was I emotionally lonely, yes, but I survived.

I was busy with my family, with homeschooling, with life in general. If I did it then,  I can do it again.

As my boys have gotten older I’ve become involved in other things that make me happy. One of those is feeding the poor.

Every month I get a team together from my church and we go and feed the poor who live in local low budget hotels. It’s very fulfilling…and get this, PA Man is right there, helping. And he seems to enjoy it….but PAs like that. Don’t they?

Being seen as the “good guy.” But hey, at least he’s not grumbling about it…well, ok, sometimes he does, but I ignore him! LOL!

Some might say that’s not living a happy life…but I think it’s all in how you look at it.

I’m nearing middle age. I haven’t worked in over 28 yrs, I have a beautiful home, and if things work out right, PA Man is talking about buying a condo on the beach in a few years.

Am I being materialistic….yep!  But I’m also realistic that I could have it worse…much, much worse!

And I really do not want to enter the dating game….my sister is there at 57 and it’s not pretty!!

And other than an occasional blow up, like when he called my son a name…I’m learning to let most of it go…and since PA Man only gets mean and snarky when I push him for more of an emotional connection, I try not to do that.

We actually had a good talk last night, he opened up a little….When I talk to him very softly and keep it to a few minutes, he responds better. Just like a small child.

What’s that they say about about a child’s attention span being equivalent with their age? PA Mans is about 8-9 mins…soooooo…..

Anyway, in comparison with what others are going through, my life isn’t that bad.

I have a friend who’s PA husband is really, REALLY cruel to her…and that’s what got me thinking that I don’t have it quite so bad….and I’m going to be thankful for that.

Very, very thankful!

He Has No Conscience

I don’t even know where to start.

Tonight PA Man and I were sitting on the bed, watching a show  on TV….we hadn’t talked anymore since our earlier “discussion”, which is nothing unusual…pretend it never happened, that’s the way he operates!

Anyway, son#4 comes into the room, and is standing there, watching TV and he’s “twitching”  AKA jerking his head sideways, a OCD habit.

He’s been in therapy for OCD and anxiety for the last few months…and he’d been doing better, but the last few weeks he’s started up with these “habits” again.

I told him to stop, which is what his therapist has suggested, and he kept doing it, again, I told him to stop, and then PA Man, very harshly, says, “Stop it, you weirdo!!”

OMG!!! I was LIVID!!!! Absolutely LIVID!!! How DARE he??

I’M the one who is home 24/7 with this child, I’M the one who takes him to his therapy classes, I’M the one who talks to him and reasons with him when he’s feeling anxious, I’M the one researches and finds natural ways to deal with his anxiety, instead of drugging him up, which has been suggested by his therapist!

PA Man has gone to one, yes ONE therapy appt. with me…and he didn’t say a friggin word!

When David, MY sons therapist, finished questioning me about why I was bringing son#4 to counseling, he turned and looked at PA Man and asked him if he had  any questions, or anything to add….and he said, “No, she’s about covered it.”

Thats it. He had nothing to add. How about, “Yes, I’m very concerned because our son was hitting his head against the wall last week, and said he couldn’t stop…that he HAD to do it…why was he doing that??”

But NO, he has NO questions!! JERK!!!

Anyway, I looked at PA Man and said, “THAT was very mean and uncalled for…you need to apologize!!”

And to be honest, I can’t remember if he did apologize, because I was seeing red by that time!

After son#4 left the room….I exploded! I told PA Man that that was a disgusting thing to say, that he hasn’t spent 10 mins with ANY of our boys all day long and how DARE he say that to him!!

I then forgot everything I’ve written on this blog, LOL, and just ripped into him!

I told him I don’t respect him, that this marriage is a marriage in name only, and he can expect NOTHING (sexual) from me ever again!! That all I am to him is a sperm depository anyway!! Yes, I actually said that!!

I also told him he IS his father all over again, and he should be ashamed of himself!!

That riled him up a bit. And he told me to leave his father put of it. Right. You can’t stand the man and yet you act just like him!! Fantastic!

Listen up…cheat on me, treat me like I’m invisible, walk away when I’m crying and need a strong pair of arms around me…I can deal with it….but DO NOT attack my kids!!

But never fear, dear readers, PA Man is just fine….he was asleep TEN minutes after I shut up!!

The man CLEARLY has NO conscience!! NONE!! And that became apparent tonight…more than ever.

 

Uh Oh…PA Man is mad at me! :o

Just a quick post this time….

PA Man has retreated to our bedroom with a headache!  Now….I’ll be fair and admit that I wasn’t in a good mood when he came home from work, that was Mistake #1….

Our youngest son…the moody, hormonal changing one had been giving me trouble all day long! Like since the moment his feet hit the floor that morning!! Ugh!

So when PA Man called to tell me that he was on his way home from work, moody son and I had been having words, and I told PA Man that he needed to step up to the plate and help me deal with this, that I was tired of being the mother and father, etc…

So after PA Man gets home, I told him in a very no nonsense voice that he needs to stop taking the easy way out, that he’s supposed to be the head of this home, and not leave everything up to me!

And I told him since he’s not up to it, I’m going to start making decisions around here, for me and the boys…and the first decision was to talk to our Pastor…and tell him EVERYTHING that is going on in our family, and ask for his help with moody son!!

THAT didn’t go over well! Lol!

So anyway, of course PA Man says he IS the head of this home, and he’s doing “his part” by working and keeping a roof over our heads…what ever!

A few more things were said back and forth….then PA Man asked where the Tylenol was….I told him in our bathroom, he went upstairs….and I haven’t seen him since!! LOL!

I guess hearing a few truths about things around here was too much for him! And he missed a really great dinner….but the boys and I enjoyed it!:D

And I’m ok…it hasn’t upset me at all! I AM choosing to be HAPPY in spite of how he acts!!

I CHOOSE JOY!!

As we all know it’s not easy living with a Passive Aggressive man. In fact, it’s often quite frustrating, leaving us angry, resentful, depressed and in my case, feeling very lonely!

As the days, weeks and months have passed by, I have found that my attitude is really affecting me in all areas of my life, things I once took pleasure in, I now struggle to care about at all!

Example…I LOVE to read….but I have several books that I’m right in the middle of, having never finished them! That is so not me!

I’m the girl who would hide under the bedcovers with a flashlight, trying to finish the last few chapters of a book I just couldn’t put down!

Another example…Cooking! I LOVE to cook and finding fun, new recipes for my family has always been something I’ve enjoyed…but lately I’m just so Blah about it all!

In fact, my family rarely sits around the table having dinner anymore…everyone fixes a plate and disappears!! And I hate it! But I just didn’t have the “mental strength” to even care anymore!

But this has to change! This is MY home and MY family, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to let passive aggressive ugliness steal anything more from me and my family!!

So about two weeks ago, I made the mental decision to choose to be HAPPY and JOYFUL in spite of PA Mans attitude and lack of concern for our family!

I’m  in charge of MY happiness, no one else is!

It’s MY decision if I want to be depressed and unhappy, it’s MY decision if I’m going to allow passive aggressive behavior to bring me and my children down!!

It’s MY decision if I want my house to be a house of chaos or a house of peace…and I chose Peace!

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have moments where I could just SCREAM with frustration when PA Man does his stupid crap….but I’m getting pretty good at just saying to him, “You’re acting PA and you need to stop, it’s really very childish!” And then I walk away! Yay me!! 🙂

Point in fact…last night. I was sitting on our bed, PA Man was next to me, watching TV and I got up to go into the bathroom to take off my makeup….and I closed the door, because I decided to call my sister and check on her, since she hasn’t been feeling well…

So we are chatting for a few minutes, and I open the door…and PA Man is standing there, eavesdropping!!! What the $@&#!!

I look at him and say,”What are you doing…are you eavesdropping on me??”  And I actually see GUILT on his face! OMG! GUILT??? He really DOES have a conscience?? LOL!!!

So anyway, he steps away from  the door and says, “Well, I was wondering who you were talking to…”

And I look at him and say, “Did it EVER occur to you to open the door and ask??”

I then say, “You know what, that is soooo disrespectful and I can’t believe you’d stoop so low to EAVESDROP on me!!”

PA Man then gets defensive and says, “Well, I’m tired of you always talking about me behind my back!”

My very calm response,”When have I done that,  PA Man?”

PA Man, “Well, not lately, but in the past you have!!” (Side note…yes, in the past I have, when his emotional affair came out of the slimy, black hole he and the Cow were hiding it in! I did talk about the affair to my sister!! Typical PA…expected me to suck it up all alone I guess!!)

My response, “Yes. In the past I have because YOU gave me a reason to,  remember? But WHY are we talking about what I did in the past? You have stated several times  that you are TIRED of dredging up the past and have accused me of never letting it go and you aren’t going to listen to it anymore! So does that mean YOU can talk about the past, but I can’t??”

PA Man, VERY snarky now, says “No, we aren’t going to talk about the past!!”

And he then goes to bed! LOL!

Round one of staying calm and standing firm goes to ME!!!!

But you know the amazing thing is….I was able to go to bed and SLEEP last night! And I even slept in MY own bed!

In the past, I would have been so mad and upset, I wouldn’t be able to sleep, and secondly, I would have stayed downstairs on the couch, not being able to be in the same room with him!

I didn’t let him rob me of my joy and happiness…I’m now at the point where I can truly see that PA Man has the problem! I can’t fix him…he had to decide that HE wants and do something about it!!

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this…a friend recently shared this and it really resonated with me…

“Don’t look at God through your circumstances, Look at your circumstances through a loving God.”

I have chosen to look at God first, my marriage second….and to be joyful in spite of PA Man and his passive aggressive behavior!