So i got this comment at the bottom of the recent ‘Singleness’ Taboo Topic posted and approved it and started replying, but then thought that responding to ‘How much sex in marriage?’ on a Singleness post might be stretching the boundaries of love and sensitivity and so i decided to deal with is directly as a separate post… [singles are welcome to read, because maybe this will help]. So the comment i received is below, as it came through:
Can you do an article on “how much sex” in marriage? Say you are married, then hopefully it comes naturally and everything is great. BUT what if it does not. You are both Christian, and it says in the Bible that the woman must give herself to the husband. What if your wife is not being reasonable and you are not having sex too often. Say months go by, what is a man to do? If the wife is not willing to work at things from her side, then what should he do? Should he just wait, one, two years if need be or longer? Try to get professional help – but only if she is willing which may be difficult in some cases. It is not the all that ends all, and the love should carry the relationship. But a man has needs.
So if one partner is not up to meeting the needs of the other then what can you suggest from a Christian standpoint?
And let’s be honest, just doing this because I knew how many people would come and read this post due to the title alone [you guys!]
But ja, a very interesting question and ‘Sex in Marriage’ is definitely a Taboo Topic that could do with being handled as that is certainly something you don’t get told much about in church.
[The 'No sex til marriage' mantra seems to be it as far as sex and the church is concerned]
This is not the kind of topic that is brought up a lot at the dinner tables i hang out with, but i do imagine i would find it a particularly difficult one to invite my friends to share my stories on as well for this blog.
so let me try and deal with this by speaking a little more generally, by specifically looking at some of the key issues which i think underlie the question. and hope that some of my cool friends will add their thoughts in the comments section afterwards.
i think i would put the ‘how much sex in marriage?’ question alongside the ‘how far is too far before marriage?’ question in suggesting that both of those might be the wrong questions to be asking.
and it might help to more properly frame the question i am hearing you ask in this example, which is ‘how much sex can i get in marriage?’ because it doesn’t sound like your concern here is for your wife. this is a very me-focused question, which is fine to ask [we all have me questions] but i think it is more important to be asking a ‘her’ question first. i don’t think the me question is a good place to begin, otherwise that shows a misunderstanding of marriage.
this passage from Ephesians sums a lot of it up for me powerfully:
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — 30 for we are members of His body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
# it speaks of a mutual submission and so that is an important thing to notice – this passage has been used by many to somehow try to show the woman as being under, or less than the man, but it starts off with verse 21 which boldly states this is a two way thing [and it's done out of reverence for Christ!]
# then, what is interesting, after you get past all the woman submission stuff, which a lot of women have found difficult to take or understand or hold on to [again because of a lot of damage that has been done when this has been misused causing understandable hesitance to embrace this piece] is the description of the man’s responsibility. the woman is meant to submit, yes, but the man is meant to love ‘just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.’
how did Jesus show His Love for the church? By dying for her.
um. wo. now wait a minute there. i don’t remember that being in my vows. [well it was there, if you took the time to read the finer print]
so if we go back to your question in the context of this statement, does that change how it looks at all? if we make her the subject of the question, then it looks a little more like, ‘what are her needs? and how are you meeting them?’ ‘are there some needs she has outside of sex that you are maybe not meeting, which may possibly be having an affect on how much sex she is being open to? [this is really difficult to say in terms of your situation, because i don't know you and so i just have to ask questions - you will be able to ask them more specifically and on target] ‘have you tried discussing this area of your marriage from a her point of view or only from a ‘this is what i need/want’ point of view?
i just think there might be some different questions to ask. what is the end point you are looking for? you being sexually fulfilled or the two of you having a real, authentic, honest relationship? and is it possible to have both [hopefully]. but i would suggest the latter is more important? have you listened to her at all on the topic or have you simply presented your side and your needs?
so those are my thoughts which feel very scattered as to some extent it feels like i am addressing a hypothetical question as i don’t really know any of the people involved, but there are some key questions and principles here which all of us can grab hold of strongly for marriage. and so hopefully there was something helpful and if anyone else has some helpful thoughts, as always please chime in…
is it worth getting help for your marriage? absolutely. and that can come in various shapes or forms. is there a married couple that you both respect that you could ask to sit down with both of you and give you space to talk out some of this stuff with them? is there a pastor or leader you both trust enough to be able to meet with you both individually to hear both sides and then together to give you a chance to share your feelings with each other? or maybe even a professional counsellor who may be able to help.
i say this cautiously, but my thinking is that if in some way you have made sex and being sexually fulfilled the centre of your marriage or the focus of it, then you are likely to be in some trouble and this will not be easily resolved… if, however, you have made your wife the centre of your marriage [with God the foundation, of course], then it will be a lot easier to figure this one out, and every other one that comes along.
Love her well, look after her needs, go out of your way to spoil her and treat her well just for the sake of her feeling good [not for what you might get] and who knows what might happen as a result…