The most challenging vicious cycle we often fall into at some point during marriage, is that caused by intimacy and sex. I know I’ve discussed intimacy and sex numerous times before, but it is always worth repeating. They say that sex is the barometer that measures the health of a marriage. We need to keep intimacy healthy in our relationships.
Generally speaking, women and men differ in their ideas of intimacy. Women’s strongest desire is for emotional intimacy while men desire physical intimacy. Most women feel the closest to their spouse through conversation and undivided attention. They don’t desire sex until their emotional intimacy levels are met. Men, on the other hand, don’t feel emotional intimacy until after the physical act of sex. That’s when they feel closest to their spouse. They won’t think about emotional intimacy until their sex needs have been met.
So here we see a conflict that quickly develops into a vicious cycle if not properly handled. When a woman does not feel emotional intimacy from her husband, her reaction is to withhold sex. It starts out unintentionally but quickly becomes a power struggle when the husband begins to push for sex. That becomes even more of a turn-off to most women. Because she withholds sex, the husband in turn withholds any sort of intimacy that may bring the closeness a wife needs to desire sex. (As usual, there are always exceptions. Sometimes the tables are turned, and the wife desires sex more than the husband.)
This vicious cycle can quickly destroy a relationship when one or both partners selfishly deny the other of their most important need.
Many women feel as though they have complete control of their bodies and see no need to satisfy their husband’s physical intimacy needs (sex) when they are not in the mood. As for men, emotional intimacy is foreign to most, and they have to discover what fulfills their wife’s emotional needs. Both men and women have to learn to take care of the intimacy needs of the other to keep harmony in a relationship. In order to have a healthy sexual relationship, each spouse must die to their own selfish desires at one time or another.
I Corinthians 7:3-5 – “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Like every vicious cycle, someone needs to take the initiative to break it. That is not always an easy task, and you may fail a few times before you perfect it. So how do you do that? Wives – you have sex with your husband even if you don’t feel like it – even though he sometime disappoints you as the Godly leader of your home and your family – even when you feel like walking out the door. Most women roll their eyes at this suggestion and hold on to their selfish pride. I’ve heard it many times – “The last thing I’m going to do is sleep with that man!” Do you want your marriage to work? Then listen to what God’s Word tells you. (see I Cor. 7:3 – above.) If you aren’t going to give your husband the sex his body needs, he may eventually go elsewhere to find it. (Satan WILL throw temptations at him.)
Women – most men just don’t understand. We have to teach them how to romance us. Romance to them is seeing you walk around in your underwear, and so they think that’s how you want to be romanced. A man in his underwear will not get the attention of a woman taking care of children, a home, a job, and a husband . We want to feel loved and attended to. We want to see a husband walk beside us to help raise our children, not behind us watching us do it all. We want our husbands to be the Godly leader of our homes.
We ask a lot of our husbands, and all they ask is that we give them sex. So give it to them. Only then will they be in a receptive mode to listen to your ideas on how to improve your relationship and your family life. It’s a moot point when their testosterone levels are off the chart. It isn’t until they release it, through sex, that they can think rationally again.
Men – when you don’t take the time to listen to your wife and talk to her, she feels just as rejected as you do when she denies you sex. If you want more sex with your wife, you have to give her your undivided attention. Find out about her intimacy needs. You’ll discover it doesn’t take a lot to please a woman. A little attention goes a long way. She'll give you all the sex you want if you give her your time. If you don’t give it to her, she may eventually seek it in another man’s arms.
When we learn to put our spouse’s needs ahead of our own, the cycle will be stopped, and we will find our spouses eager to meet our own needs. Sex can either be a battle ground that will destroy your marriage, or it can be the beautiful joining of one as God intended.