Understanding Your Wife’s Heart: Part 9

The Wife of an EMB Attendee

I just spoke to you (you are currently at the Every Man’s Battle workshop) and you requested that I share some of the effect your sexual addition has had on me. This may be hard for you to hear, I will try to be honest and I will try to not exaggerate. I want you to realize I am not trying to hurt you, although I am sure it will hurt; to hear what I feel, think and what your behavior has done to me and our children.

1. First and most painful is my loss of PHYSICAL/SEXUAL SELF ESTEEM. I feel in some ways you deceived me before we married. I thought your lack of sexual desire for me before we were married was because you didn’t want to sin by having sex with me. The truth was that this was an established sexual sin in your life that you did not plan on giving up. Yet, sexual intercourse is one of the things that married couples look the most forward to. I was not prepared for this and I was blown away by your rejection that started even during our honeymoon.

Physically I feel repulsive. I am ashamed to have you look at me naked. I feel ugly and fat. I feel I can NEVER NEVER become an object of desire for you. The truth is I have felt this way for many years of our marriage. Long before I gained my weight. My weight was my excuse I created so I would have a reason for you to reject me. To reject me because I am fat was less painful than being attractive and still not being desired. Your lack of willingness to make love in the daytime or with the lights on only feeds this rejection. I have stopped dressing in sexy nightgowns because I feel it wouldn’t make a difference. It isn’t that I think that fat women can not be attractive or even sexy. I know I can be sexy even as I am – but I feel I will NEVER be sexy to you! I feel like I am asking you to do a chore like scrubbing a toilet (totally disgusting) any time I ask you to make love to me or touch me sexually. I feel guilty, like my need for sex is a burden that you hate to bear. Often when we are done, giving ME sex, I feel more hurt emotionally than I did before. Why? because it is so mechanical and one sided. Usually and in the past you tended to do the bare minimum. No kissing, definitely no talking, or moaning or even smiling. You keep you eyes shut the whole time; like your thinking of someone else or anything else as long as it isn’t me. I have asked for french kissing our whole marriage but to this day you avoid it. Our kissing is mostly picking, rarely does it involve putting your arms around me or caressing my body. I love to be kissed on the neck! Just thought I’d remind you! How about kissing my body. Looking at my sexual areas instead of avoiding them. You have looked at me 3 times in 24 years of marriage, and only because I requested it! I have counted, maybe that was stupid, but it hurts me so much, to be that unattractive to you. It was an everyday event in my first
marriage and I have such a hard time understanding why I am so repulsive to you, yet you can look a pictures of other women and that turns you on.

Sorry if this is getting intense, I guess the pain is just pouring out of me. You see I really was a good lover before you; I felt like a woman, like I was beautiful and sexy. You have taken all that away from me. Words will be helpful but the only things that can even begin to help the healing is going to be PHYSICAL CONTACT/SEXUAL CONTACT. Consistent and often. You need to take the risk to give me the type of love and physical affection I desire and need. It would be really nice if I could feel that someday it was genuine desire on your part, but that will take some time. I need for you to communicate about YOUR sexual needs. I feel totally useless trying to touch you. I don’t know what to do, how fast, harder, slower… you need to teach me and interact with me. You prefer masturbation by yourself, you don’t even care if I touch or see you when we are in bed together. Only my physical needs get met and that makes me feel guilty, unloved, useless, ugly and angry.

2. Second and just as important is what your sin has done to me SPIRITUALLY. I know that my depression and obsession with wanting to heal you and the pain your sin caused, has stunted me spiritually. When I chose you for my husband I was very careful to choose a man who knew and love God. A man who I could lead me and walk beside me as I tried to become more Christ-like. Whether it was as a couple or as a parent, I always felt that I was pulling you along, many times unwillingly, to do Bible Study, ministry, attend helpful seminars, read a book, do family devotions… I don’t want to be the spiritual leader in our home! I want you to be. But because of the constant guilt and sin in your life you had a hard time staying close to God. I suffered and the kids suffered because of it! Yes I am responsible for my own faith and in many ways I have gone on without you. Even the pain of your sin has made me grow in my faith, but how much more would we had grown individual, as a couple and as a family had you not had this addiction! I have 40 years more (if I am lucky) to reach people for Christ, to show God how much I love him and to grow in my knowledge of Him. I would like to do this together. I have great respect for your knowledge and you have good insight and you must agree that I sometimes have some Biblical wisdom – how much easier would it be if we could walk down this road together, hand in hand. We have wasted so much time and I feel I have so much I want to learn and do for Christ. Lets stop wasting our time do the trivial things, constant TV (mostly my fault), lack of self-discipline and everything else in this busy world that causes us to focus on the instant gratification or the urgent but not the most important.

3. The third things that your addiction has done to me is change my personality and my behavior. I was not always this ANGRY. I think I was a pretty happy person before all of this. Habitual sin and a lack of repentance has made me angry. I still am angry. I will be for some time. I have forgiven you and I am dealing with the anger when it comes up, but until some of the hole in my heart is filled with real love from you I am afraid that anger is going to still flair up. I have always had some DEPRESSION in my life because of my father, mother and divorce from my X. But no one, no one, has depressed me more than you have. Living with you this past 24 years had made me feel useless, meaningless and unlovable. In the height of your addiction you would avoid me like I was a disease. I became so AFRAID of your presence that the mere touch of your hand on mine brought me great fear; I became sensitized to you hurting me.

This has got to be very hard on you and if you need to stop and take a break please do so. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed with pain and despair. But it is important you know the truth, so I am going to go on.

4. Your sin caused ME TO SIN. You became a stumbling block. I am not trying to make excuses and I definitely made the choice to sin, but often that choice was made because I was either sexually and emotionally unfulfilled or was angry at you. Whether it was my SEXUAL FANTASIES or my DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR TOWARD YOU; almost always these were the backlash caused by your addiction. I came into this marriage with a strong sexual desire toward you and I still want sex with you even after all these years of pain. However it became too painful to think of you during sex because I knew you really didn’t want to be there; it was less painful to think of someone else. Likewise, I did not come into this marriage not respecting you. I was very proud of you, your character and your abilities. You are a very intelligent person and have some great qualities. Your sexual sin and lack of control and LACK OF DESIRE TO CHANGE that behavior, made me lose respect for you… so I began to treat you like a child or treat you with disrespect. I am not saying that my behavior was justified but only that your sexual sin was the main reason I lost respect for you. I hope you also realize that this respect can be regained. And you have been doing a great job trying to pull everything back to where it should be. My respect and wiliness to be submissive to you grows with each new day.

5. Your sexual sin and the impact it has had on our children. This is the most painful of them all. I am willing to bear the pain of my marriage but it is really hard when I see your sin and how it has impacted our children. This one is going to be hard for you to hear.

Our Son – I feel in several ways you failed to show your son what a real man is suppose to be. He was searching for a role model. How do I love a woman? How do I handle sexual temptations? What should I look for in a woman? How should I communicate with a woman? Am I a man, what does that mean? All these questions were left with fussy answers. He and our daughter knew you were into porn. They knew we had marriage problems, they saw me crying often enough. Why didn’t Dad grab mom once in a while and act like he wanted her? Why doesn’t Dad stand up and express his opinions? Why does Dad stay away and hide in the basement so much? Are my parents going to get a divorce? All these questions must have gone through his mind. Now I know that our son made his own choices when he chose to sin sexually with his girlfriends, even to the point of living with his current fianc’, but might he have chosen differently if he had had a father who handled his sexual needs biblically? All I can say is we can make a difference from this point on in his life. You have the chance to answer those questions even now. You can still be a role model of what Biblical sexuality is and a Biblical marriage. I think you need to take an active part in answering these questions and discussing this with him.

Our Daughter – This one is hard. Hard because the effect is more subtle but not any less severe. I think she has a hard time being intimate, especially physically even though they are newly weds. She has seen a lot of my pain and I am sure she had been thinking: I will never let myself be that vulnerable. I love him, but… I am going to protect myself. I pray our daughter will know what it is to love unconditionally. To love and be self-less, thinking of her husbands needs and not her own. The example we set as a couple, in our lack of communication, our dysfunctional sex life, weak faith and so on, will definitely have an effect on our children’s interactions with their mates. If only we had learn what we know now 20 years ago! I also think it is going to take time to earn back your children’s respect. I feel the more you share about your problem and it’s successes the more respect you will earn.

Another area was your unwillingness to disciple the kids. You even spoke of it tonight in our conversation, and felt your sexual sin had changed your personality and you had retreated and were not the father you could have been. Whether it was discipline or having fun, sometimes you just avoided the kids. I think you were too caught up in yourself; whether selfishly fulfilling your needs, or feeling so much guilt that you just tuned out of their lives. Well we have lost those years, we can’t go back and discipline the kids but we can give advise and we can have fun and be encouragers to them. I can tell that you and your son’s relationship has really grown over the last month, I think in time both of the kids will get to know the REAL YOU and really have a richer life because of it. Sexual sin can be devastating; you have a chance to show them that the power of God can overcome anything. That is one of the most important lessons in life that you could teach them.

That’s all I am going to write. I have shot from the heart and exposed some pretty raw stuff. But I felt it was important for you to know the truth. It is hard to take correction, to look at the pain you have inflicted on others. I am so proud of you, that you are willing to listen and then try to change. Going to this conference has really proven to me you are sincerely desiring to change. That takes a very strong man, a very Godly man to take that step. I love you very much, I love the man you are right now (not just the man I hope you will become). I look so forward to us growing closer together.

Your loving wife.

After attending Every Man’s Battle, we strongly encourage you to attend our marriage program at our New Life Weekend
This weekend will help your marriage to heal from the wounds of
impurity and will especially help your wife with questions that she
still may have.

Holy and Healthy Sex in Marriage: Part 4

David Wever

My guess is that many of you have heard this familiar phrase from your wives at some point in your relationship: ‘You just want sex!’ As men this is often times the main goal or mission we have on our minds even if it is with good intentions. The problem is that our lack of communication may leave our wives feeling that our sexual intimacy is more about getting to the goal rather than truly connecting.

One of the most essential, yet often times least developed facets of sexual intimacy, is communication. Romance and arousal are truly built on this necessary dynamic. Communication is the lubricant in a well oiled machine. Often times we learn as men by our culture or otherwise that talking may get us to sex. The problem though with our talking is that it may just be a vehicle to get our ‘goals’ met without truly connecting in the relationship. We may converse in order to get information or direction towards the goal we are trying to accomplish especially if we have hyper-stimulated ourselves to achieve certain goals in sexual intimacy.

I want to offer a different way of communicating for us as men. It is not the manliest way but it may help to establish connection rather than just completing a mission in sexual intimacy.

This proposed way of communicating is chatting. That’s right, I said it. You might be thinking, ‘But Dave, chatting is something guys just don’t do.’ You’re right! But when a person chats, there is often times not a goal or mission to get somewhere in mind. Instead when most people chat they are usually pretty relaxed and talking about their days or their hearts and thoughts. The main point I want you to catch here is that in your romance or arousal towards healthy, Godly sexual intimacy, sex is not the goal. It is truly connecting that needs to be at the forefront.

Sometimes a paradigm shift in the way we approach communication can help us move towards actually letting ourselves be there in heart and mind and then body. The Songs of Solomon are a beautiful picture of a couple moving toward God’s gift of sexual intimacy and then celebrating their oneness. The small but deeply explicit book on romance and intimacy is filled with conversations and chatting about how they feel about one another. Simply, it is filled with communication leading up to eventual physical intimacy.

One set of verses in particular can be found in Song of Songs 1:15-16, How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.’ Here the Lover (the husband) and the Beloved (the wife) are exchanging not only feelings about one another but are expressing and conversing about the heart of their relationship that leads to a verdant or lush place of intimacy in their marriage bed. Their chatting, if you will, goes on throughout the entire book. An exchange of not only passion but of true hearts is shared in a back and forth dialogue.

Is the vibrancy or lushness of your marriage bed rooted routinely in how good the physical component of intimacy is? Or is it founded upon the communication leading to connectedness in the heart?

Communication leads to connection. Ultimately, connection allows communion with one another in celebrating God’s oneness in your hearts. Rebecca and I both do not commune in sexual intimacy unless we feel connected. And the way we feel connected is to talk, to chat, to dialogue and express our hearts not just to gear up our loins. You may be thinking, ‘Well what about spontaneous, ‘quickie’ sex? Is that ok even if we don’t communicate?’ Yes. But I would guess if you go back a day or two, you may find that even that spontaneity may be founded upon safe, understanding, heart felt communication. If not you may be cheating yourselves of the most important part of sex: true connectedness and intimacy from the heart.

Next time you and your wife are feeling aroused, give chatting a try as it leads to further physical intimacy. Ask yourself before the fires of desire are fanned, have I communicated or talked about my day with her? As you rebuild and restore your heart around sexual intimacy ask yourself: Am I communicating? Is the communication we are having leading to connection? And when we commune in physical sexual intimacy do I feel and stay connected emotionally and spiritually?

Remember, your communication is an essential building block to connection and safeness to allow desire to blossom. It is also a building block to physical foreplay in sexual intimacy. We will look further at Holy and Healthy physical foreplay next time in this series.

For more help, join one of our couples groups at our next New Life Weekend.