Sexual desire: Did you know there are reasons why a wife sometimes — or often — has next-to-no sexual desire for her husband? And there are gospel-centered solutions too. In this insightful post by Heart2Heart Counselor Julie Ganschow appeared first here on here website and is used with permisison.
In this article, we’ll consider physical reasons and spiritual reasons for lack of sexual desire.
Ware is the real reason a woman has no desire for her husband?
In biblical counseling we believe that often the surface problem is only a symptom of a deeper heart level problem. My goal would be to determine what in the heart (thought, belief, desire, will, attitude, emotion) needs to be changed for the symptom (lack of sexual desire for her husband) to be relieved.
Physical Reasons for Lack of Sexual Desire
However, there are numerous things that can contribute to the lack of desire in a woman.
First a medical check up is always in order. Women’s bodies are complex by design. Throughout our lives our hormonal levels adjust. Our monthly cycles bring times of more or less intense sexual desire. Fear of pregnancy makes women want to run away from sex, pregnancy, and post-partum hormonal changes bring physical and emotional changes with increasing hormones. Perimenopause and menopause also bring their share of symptoms as hormones begin to decrease.
I also believe the use of many chemicals in our food and the relatively poor nutritional value our foods also may influence our hormonal balances. Getting a good overall physical exam including blood work may rule out endocrine problems such as diabetes and thyroid problems. Also a measure of estrogen and progesterone may help determine if there is a true physiological cause to a lack of interest or desire in sex.
The rule of good biblical counseling is to look at a physiological cause first when it can be objectively and scientifically proven one exists. When a physical cause is not the problem, the only remaining option is that it is a spiritual problem.
Spiritual Reason for a Lack of Sexual Desire
In this day of blatant immorality, it is unfortunately unusual that the couple enters into marriage sexually pure. When my eldest son married, a part of the marriage ceremony was to celebrate their purity through the exchange of the purity rings they each wore since entering their teen years. They exchanged the rings with each other to signify that they had saved themselves for each other in marriage.
By maintaining purity they have saved themselves from one aspect of sexual difficulty in marriage. While I have not been able to find a term for this in any book on sex I have read I believe there is for the woman something I call “sexual guilt.” Sexual guilt seems to be a result of engaging in sexual contact prior to marriage, even if the only prior partner is now her husband.
In my years of counseling women I have seen this numerous times. A woman who has been sexually active prior to marriage may struggle greatly with sexual desire after marriage.
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Stories of Women and Low Sexual Desire
Case studies of women with a struggle similar to yours may give you hope and a sense that you are not alone
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. Below, these ‘counselee’ representations are fictitious and do not represent any one person living or dead or their actual case histories or personal stories. But they may resonate with you.
Great Sex Before Marriage
Fran says, “While I really enjoyed sex before we were married I knew deep down it was wrong. I thought it was ok, because we really loved each other and planned to marry anyway.
“I thought about how great it would be not to have to sneak around anymore, not to fear getting caught. I couldn’t wait to be free of the guilt I felt at all the sneaking around. When we married I carried these thoughts into our marriage, but what was once fun and exciting was now very unappealing to me. I was just not interested anymore. I felt dirty and like my husband was always pawing at me wanting to get me into bed.”
Betty says, “It never bothered me that we had sex before marriage. I was in love with him and we were going to be married. Once the marriage vows were said I lost all interest in him. I would rather go to bed with a good book. I don’t want to be touched. Once and a while I give in but I really would be fine if we never had sex again.”
The Wedding Night Was a Disaster
Jenny says, “I always knew it was wrong, but I let him talk me into it.
“I was raised a Christian and so was he. We had sex for months before our wedding, and I begged him to stop as a wedding present to me for the two weeks prior to our wedding. He reluctantly consented.
“Our wedding night was a disaster for me. I had no joy or anticipation for the event of our becoming husband and wife in the physical sense. It felt like there was nothing special about it at all. After he was asleep I went and cried in the bathroom for hours. I thought, ‘is this all there is now?’
“I dread sex now. I change in the bathroom or sneak to bed ahead of him because I don’t want to give him any opportunity to become aroused or to have to tell him ‘no’ again.
“He gets so mad at me when I tell him I am not in the mood, and it has begun to affect our marriage. I am so angry at him for making me have sex when I don’t want to! He is selfish and is only thinking about himself. He says he needs it, and I don’t believe him. I am fine without it, why can’t he be?”
In summary, when a woman is involved in sexual immorality, it affects her thinking. God tells us in His Word that all our sin has consequences. While nothing will change the believer’s position in Christ before God, all sin carries the inescapable weight of consequences.
Resources for You
EXCELLENT BOOK: Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters is insightful and encouraging as well as challenging–in a good way.
THOUGHT JOURNAL: This quick and easy download provides a step-by-step method to identifying destructive thoughts and redeeeming them with God-honoring thoughts that change the tragectory of your life. Get the Thought Journal now.
COUNSELING: Isn’t God calling you to enjoy the gift of sex in your marriage? Check out biblical counseling for married women. Learn more here.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Emotional abuse destroys a marriage. Sometimes it leads to physical abuse. Today’s guest blogger is Lilly Park, an assistant professor of biblical counseling at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, IN, provides hope an help to wives. This article (Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage) first appeart on the Biblical Counseling Coalition website and is used with permission.
This post is dedicated to the women I’ve met who have inspired me by their faith and strength in the midst of painful marriages.
Good Marriages, Broken Marriages
I’ve seen marriages that reflect Christ and the Church: husbands lovingly leading their homes and wives lovingly submitting to their husbands. How good (and hope-filled!) it is to see real life examples, especially at a time when marriages are being attacked from pornography, homosexuality, and cohabitation. I’ve also seen broken marriages and emotionally abusive relationships, which has taught me a lot about faith.
The women I’ve met believed in submitting to their husbands and tried to do so. At some point, however, they began to change negatively without knowing it. They isolated themselves. They questioned themselves. They started to make excuses for their husbands’ sins.
Some might say that you should continue to submit to his leadership, pray for him, and trust God. Is it acceptable to seek help and possibly even separate, if necessary? When I think of marriage, “protection” is one of the concepts that comes to mind. Perhaps that’s why emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse for that matter, in marriage saddens me in a different way.
My desire is that God might use this blog post to encourage those who are weary, to challenge those who are not trusting God or seeking counsel, and to provide some help to those who are not sure how to help women in emotionally abusive relationships. I’ve also met men who have been abused by their wives, so I certainly do not believe that only women are abused.
Bible Doesn’t Label ‘Emotional Abuse’
The Bible doesn’t use the label “emotional abuse,” but it does prohibit it.
First, we are not to curse people who have been created in the image of God (James 3:9).
Second, emotional abuse violates the two greatest commandments: love God and love others as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40).
Third, emotional abuse violates God’s design for marriage where the husband lovingly leads and the wife lovingly submits (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Fourth, it violates Christian living by denying yourself (Mark 8:34) and speaking wholesome words (Ephesians 4:29).
Fifth, it displays pride and a lack of fear of God, which leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). A husband who commits emotional abuse deceives himself to be a king who deserves glory, honor, and praise.
Sixth, emotional abuse is betrayal to God and people by trying to be like God and deceiving others.
Nature of Emotional Abuse
A common term found in the definition of emotional abuse is control. Emotional abuse occurs when someone tries to control you through actions or words. They might not physically hurt you, but they know how to instill fear through intimidation and manipulation.
If emotions are produced by your evaluations or perceptions, then emotional abuse involves hurting how you view yourself and others. Over time, you negatively view yourself. You might question yourself, blame yourself, or not see the severity of the situation. You become a weary person, trying to please your husband’s unreasonable demands but rarely is he pleased.
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The women I’ve met endured emotional abuse for years and no one knew about it. They didn’t even know until they finally talked to someone. (Of course, the same could happen with physical abuse.) Emotional abuse is unacceptable and sinful. It is slowly killing a person. It is also not the same as occasional arguments in marriage; it occurs frequently.
Common Themes in Emotional Abuse
Anger. Emotionally abusive anger is a sin (Colossians 3:8). In this case, it reveals a desire for control. For example, a husband sends texts or calls throughout the day from work and gets angry if the wife responds too slowly. Or, he gets angry if she disagrees with him.
Manipulation/hypocrisy. This sin is revealed in different ways:
- The husband is a different person in front of a church leader and others. He knows how to blame the wife.
- The husband starts crying in the counseling session and convinces the pastor or friends. Then, everything that the wife had shared in the past carries little weight. After all, he cried. The wife trusts people even less.
- The husband meets with other family and friends to win them over.
Fear/Threats. In some cases, this involves finances or child custody if the couple is in the process of a divorce.
Blameshifting/Denial. “If you did what I told you to do, then I wouldn’t have been angry.” “When did I say that to you?”
Isolation. The wife spends less time with family and friends because her husband does not want to see them or another argument happened.
Minimizing the problem. The husband says that the wife is exaggerating. Sometimes, the wife minimizes the problem. Another instance is when the person trying to help is deceived or doesn’t know how to help. “Every marriage has problems.” “Both the husband and wife have issues.”
In-laws. Leaving and cleaving never happened in the marriage. The in-laws are the leaders in the marriage, not the husband. The in-laws believe that their son is perfect or they see their son’s faults but place the blame on his wife.
What to Do For the Wife
It is not uncommon for emotional abuse to lead to physical abuse, so seek counseling as soon as possible. We might think that emotional abuse would not happen in Christian marriages. I’ve seen cases where the husband was a church leader.
Don’t keep it private. You think that your spouse will change or won’t get angry again if you’re more obedient. Be careful of such thinking. In a way, it deceives you to think that you’re in control of the situation.
Find someone who will believe you. Sometimes, church leaders are deceived or don’t want to get involved in messy problems. Don’t give up until you find a godly person who knows how to help.
Biblical submission. This is not obedience at all costs. Yes, wives are to submit to their husbands, but not to sin or sinful treatment.
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Prayer. Pray for the spouse’s repentance. If the spouse is not saved, pray for his salvation. Pray that God would protect your heart from anger and bitterness.
Trust God. It is so hurtful when family or friends don’t believe you or desert you, but God knows the truth. You can rest in His care and know that vengeance belongs to Him.
Remember God’s character. He is faithful. He is all-knowing. He will never desert you.
Be Wise When Helping a Hurting Wife
If someone shares about any kind of abuse with you, know that a lot of courage and trust were involved. Be careful of shattering it! Most likely, this person is vulnerable and fearful. As I often tell people, good intentions are not enough. I’ve seen friends get involved by meeting with the husband and then they are left more confused.
Watch out for complaining and gossip. Use wisdom in determining how much the person should share with you. In the end, our effort to minister shouldn’t have enabled a venting session, but a return to God’s perspective session, which gives hope and honors God.
One woman said to me: “If God allowed this pain to happen so that my husband might know Christ, then it was worth it.” She also recognized that God used the trial to draw her closer to Him. At that moment, this person who never completed college taught me about faith in a way that I didn’t learn from books and lectures.
It’s easier to submit to a loving leader in the home, but to love a husband who constantly questions you, belittles you, and lies to you is a powerful display of faith in God.
Join the Conversation
What additional biblical counsel would you give to an emotionally abused wife?
Brian Borgman, Feelings and Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 26.
Resources for YOU!
COUNSELING: Are you or a friend in an emotionally abusive relationship? May we encourage you to seek help from a trustworthy person at your church or from a biblical counselor? Please contact me, and I’ll give you hope and get you in touch with help.
DOWNLOAD: Here’s a helpful reminder of who you are in Christ. Go here to get it.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Leadership at home becomes unbiblical when husbands fail to lead lovingly and wives become angry and even usurp his role. This insightful post by biblical counselor Julie Ganschow, featured in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory, appeared first here and is used with permission.
“He won’t lead!”
This is a common complaint from women in my counseling office. If it is a session where her husband is present, the next words spoken are typically,
“Oh yeah? Well, she wouldn’t follow even if I did!”
The issue of leadership is a frequent issue in biblical counseling situations. If you are a woman who is married to a man who does not lead in your home, you need to understand that he has been conditioned by our culture to be conciliatory, and to not lead his wife and family. There has been little or no instruction or biblical discipleship in his life that would enable him to lead his wife or family.
Men have been taught to be our partners; to be permissive and have the role of a consultant in the home instead of being a leader. They are trained to be sensitive and strong only in opinion. Many have never taken the mantle of God-given leadership seriously. They do not know how and are not at all sure they even want to know how.
Leadership and the Women’s Movement
Over the past 40 years, the feminist movement has emasculated men. The women’s movement and our “liberation” has also created tens of thousands of homes led by women. They are raising sons who will never know the leadership of a man or father, and daughters who will never see or learn what it means to biblically submit to godly male leadership.
I suspect many of you will agree with me, and some will be upset with me for these statements. But please sit back and look at the result of all this “liberation” on our society.
Do you think it is any coincidence that the number single parent homes have skyrocketed? Is it an unhappy chance that more children than ever before are on psychotropic medications (along with their parents)? Is it happenstance that society as a whole is worse off than in the 1950’s? I don’t think so.
While I am certainly not encouraging a return to the Victorian Era, when women were little more than pampered decoration, the consequences of progressive thinking have been terrible for the family and our country as a whole.
Many of the people entering the doors of the church each week come from homes or families under matriarchal rule. Couples have entered into marriage with little training or understanding of the biblical roles of manhood or womanhood. This creates a mess of problems in the marriage — men who won’t lead and women who won’t follow.
Wives Are Angry
The wives are angry. They bear the burdens of managing everything in the home alone. The husband views his only obligation to be that of a co-bread winner. He has a passive interest in disciplining their children and takes little interest in discipling them. He leaves most things to his wife. The husband doesn’t understand that this is not biblical because it is all he knows. She resents his unwillingness to step up and “be a man” and may consider him to be weak and lazy.
The women I have in counseling and discipleship situations have become aware of the biblical model through a women’s Bible study or women’s conference. They observe the marriages around them that do operate biblically. They desire for their husbands to take the leadership role in the marriage and home.
She begins to have expectations for him that he cannot meet because he is not equipped to meet them. By the time she gets to my office she has become frustrated with her husband. She already decided to “encourage” him to take the mantle that is rightfully his and has taken it upon herself to teach him how to lead her.
Books and pamphlets on the subject of leadership and biblical manhood have begun to appear in the home. She wants him to watch videos and attend conferences about marriage and relationships, and is devastated when his interest is minimal. From the husband’s perspective, things have been going along just fine thus far, why does she want to rock the boat?
Wives Begin Leading at Home
Complicating matters is the fact that in his absence of leadership she has stepped handily into the vacuum and has become the leader of the family in the affairs of life and spiritually. She has been the driving energy in the home, making decisions for the home and family with some consultation and input from her husband.
She is the spiritual leader as well, teaching and training the children to honor God. There is a part of a woman that loves the seat of power, and this is part of our curse to bear (Gen. 3), for we want to rule over our husbands.
If this resonates with you then you need to consider if the first problem in this equation is you. Pray and ask God’s help in changing your heart toward submission and leadership. Find a Godly woman in your church who can help you to learn these principles and then begin to build them into your life.
Be aware of the times you respond sinfully to your husband, and confess to him that you have become aware of your usurping his authority in the home and ask his forgiveness. Give him the grace and the space to be the leader.
Stop making decisions and doing his job, and put him back in the place to succeed. This is going to be a process, but with a humble heart and a submissive spirit you will see rapid positive changes.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Complaints in marriage are as plentiful as summer dandelions. Left alone, they multiply and their roots grow deeper. Guest writer and Heart2Heart Counselor Julie Ganschow gives effective, biblical cures to marital complaints. Her article appeared first here on her website and is used by permssion.
It’s no secret that most of the couples who come for biblical counseling have marriages that are in trouble. The reasons won’t surprise you much, the solutions might!
Here are some common complaints and some rapid-fire thoughts I have on how to fix your marriage. The complaints are nothing new and fall into the typical categories: time, money, and sex. The mother of all complaints: “I’m not happy.” Usually at least one person will tell us they are not happy with their marriage.
Spending Time Together
It really surprises me how little time couples spend together and how much of marriage is conducted via text message. If you are a wife whose primary means of “talking” to your husband is a text message or a social media post I have some advice for you–STOP IT. It is impossible to have a true relationship in 140 characters or through your cell phone text box.
Spending time together is the only way a couple will remain a couple. Every couple needs a date night. EVERY couple, EVERY week needs to go on a date.
For those of you who don’t remember what a “date” actually is I will refresh your memory. A date is when a man asks a woman to accompany him somewhere outside the house for several hours. A date can include dinner, coffee, dessert, water over ice, seeing a show or movie (not my personal favorite because there is no communication), a walk, a boat ride, a ride in the car or on horseback. In short, anything that the two of you do together for the purpose of enjoying each others company can be a date.
The couple can take turns determining what date night will consist of, or one person can always decide. It does not have to cost a fortune or any money at all. The purpose of a date is to enjoy being alone together.
TALK while you are together. LEARN what is going on in each others lives during the day. LISTEN to your spouse talk about their hopes, dreams, job, latest project, favorite cooking show, the thing that bothers them the most, their favorite color, or hand tool. Talking leads to relationship building, relationship building leads to understanding.
Figure Out Finances
Talk about money and finances. Create and live by a budget! Discuss what your financial goals are for your family in 1-5-10 years and beyond. All of these things lead to what is known as happiness. Relationship building will also lead to that emotional connectedness that will increase sexual desire with your spouse.
Sex and Marriage
While I am at it, let’s talk a bit about sex. I am really astonished that so many Christian marriages are sex-less! It is heartbreaking to listen to couples say there is no physical desire between them, or that one partner could live without sexual intimacy for the rest of their lives.
People…can I tell you how wrong that is?! Husbands and wives are to meet each other’s physical needs on a regular basis. If you have no desire for one another, get to the doctor and be sure you have no medical condition that needs addressing. Once that is taken care of, if there is still no desire for sexual intimacy with your husband it is clear you have relationship issues that must be addressed.
3 Common Desire Killers
ONE: being overweight. Yes, I dare to say it. As a person who struggles with her own weight, there have been times when I was self-conscious about my appearance because I packed on a few too many pounds.
I didn’t want to be physical because I thought I looked bad. Few women will admit it, but many know it’s true; some women hide from intimacy behind their size. The “simple” solution….you already know it. Lose the weight, every pound helps.
TWO: tiredness. Some women just do too many things in a day and are too tired to be interested in physical intimacy. If this is you, cut things out of your daily schedule that are non-essential like crafts, book reading, television watching, and so on, and go to bed early with your spouse! If you have time, take a short nap so you are refreshed and awake enough to be interested.
THREE: kids in your bed. Get the kids out of your bed and your bedroom. Your children do not need to sleep with you, even if you are nursing them! It is dangerous to have them in bed because they can be crushed as you sleep. It is also wrong to use the kids as a shield against intimacy. Even if they cry, like their little heart is breaking in the beginning I promise, your little one will be just fine in his or her own bed or crib.
You and your husband need the private time in your room that will grow your relationship. Once the kids are out of there, determine not to have difficult discussions in your bedroom either. There are most likely several other places to have unpleasant discussions in your home.
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, the place that is uniquely yours as a couple. Fix it up in a way that stirs up romance and desire. If the television is a distraction, get it out of there and replace it with soft, sensual music. Repaint, recover, or redecorate if you can afford it. These things are simple and will help your mindset turn toward romance.
These are only a few of the more basic complaints and cures to think about if your marriage is a mess.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Blended families: Ups and downs, joys and messes. If you’re in a blended family, then you know what it takes to bring together two families. It’s hard work, isn’t it?
But if you’re considering remarriage after divorce or the death of a spouse: What should you do before you marry again?
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Two words: premarital counseling.
Already blended. . .and struggling? Counseling works for you too. Don’t despair. Be encouraged. At the end of this article you’ll find helps just for you.
Did you know your family is among the 40 percent of married couples with children in the US that are blended? This percentage counts full- and part-time residential step families with children under age 18 as well as adult children.
In this article, you’ll discover four main things regarding blended families:
- Take it slow!
- How premarital counseling works before remarriage.
- Helping the children.
- Encouragement for blended families.
Slow Down. . .When You Want to Speed Up
After years of parenting alone, it’s tempting to “follow your heart,” as today’s popular mantra advises, and marry quickly. As Ron Deal of Family Life Blended says, “You cook a stepfamily slowly in a Crockpot, not forcibly in a blender! Kids need more time than adults to get used to the idea of a wedding.”
For example, consider a couple I counseled who married within months of meeting each other. Fiona and Eli (names and details have been changed) were previously married and have five school-age children. (Two of the children also live their mom during the week.)
The couple disagreed over parenting, handling money, and dealing with the ex-spouses, among other things. Both of them are Christians and declared their love for each other. However, life’s struggles created significant stress. Fiona became controlling; Eli backed away. Sometimes he moved in with buddies for a few days for a break.
Meanwhile, the children were confused and acted out.
As one spouse said, “I just want to live and make life fun. It seems that everything is a task. I’m just drained.”
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Do these words resonate with you?
Did you go through pre-marital or pre-engagement counseling before you remarried? What difference has it made? If you didn’t have pre-marital counseling before remarriage, do you wish you had?
Pre-Marital Counseling Before Remarriage
First, during premarital counseling, you’ll think through the compexities of combining families and determine if the marriage is wise.
Second, you’ll discuss topics that may have factored in to a previous divorce — everything from communication and conflict resolution to parenting styles and personality differences. You won’t address every potential problem in premarital counseling but you will see the glaring ones.
Third, you’ll consider reasonable expectations between the children and the new spouse. Did you know that children cling to the hope that their parents will get back together? I did when my parents divorced when I was age eight. But when you remarry, your childrens’ dream dies. This is a loss for them.
Helping the Children
In premarital counseling, you’ll discover how to listen to the children–their hope, their fears.
You’ll also learn how to talk to the children about God’s role in blended families. Now they’ll have more people to love and support them! This includes the non-custodial parent when possible.
Sometimes chidlren become fearful that the new blended family will also end up in a divorce. In premarital counseling, you and your future spouse will develop a habit of praying with and for your children. reassuring them and each other that you choose to glorify God always.
5 Encouragements for Already Blended Families
Is your family already blended? You’ll appreciate these reminders from Ron Deal. I encourage you to peruse his ministry website, where you’ll find extra resources.
- SLOW your expectations of how quickly your blended family will harmonize. Deal says, “The average stepfamily needs between five to seven years to form a family identity. In movies, love between adults and bonding with children happens quickly; in real life, it happens gradually.”
- INVEST in your marriage relationship. It is the the new foundation for your home.
- BE a united parental team while building relationships with stepchildren. What about disciple? Deal urges, “Early on, biological parents should continue to be the primary disciplinarian to their children while stepparents build relationship, trust, and respect with stepchildren.”
- AVOID common pitfalls. For example, a child who says, “You’re not my mom, I don’t have to listen to you” is telling you about their sadness that mom isn’t here. Also, keep some holiday traditions while creating new ones. Money matters can be confusing too. Calmly discuss how you will balance your responsibilities to previous individual financial obligations (such as paying child support) while combining assets for the new family.
- STEP UP your faith. Spiritual resources help everyone in blended families find grace for each other and strength for the journey.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,