FEAR HAD A HOLD ON ME. Then I learned how to overcome it. Here’s my story (more…)
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. Click & Tweet!
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 Click & Tweet! . 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,
SELF-CARE: As you follow in step with Christ and make godly habits that come from a changed heart, you’ll also experience joy.
In case you missed them, here are part one and part two in this series. So far, we’ve looked at the role of the heart in true self-care (part 1) and the first three steps in whole health wellness: recognizing emotions, choosing godly thoughts, and acting on renewed beliefs (part 2).
In the final part of this self-care series, let’s consider:
- Making new godly habits and sticking with them.
- Experiencing the joy-filled life.
Making New Habits
Acting on my renewed beliefs a time or two isn’t enough to make a genuine difference in my thoughts, emotions, and actions. We need a fourth step: making new habits that stick.
I used to eat super healthy foods and was a vegetarian for 14 or so years, and exercised regularly too. In recent years, however, I believed the lie I was too busy for regular meals, exercise, and rest.
God helps you and me break ungodly habits Click & Tweet! , including things like critical speech, self-pity, worry, smoking, chewing fingernails, people-pleasing, pornography, and more. In my case, the bad habit of neglecting self-care came from a heart of pride.
Sinful habits are not disorders or defects. Jesus Christ gives us victory over sin. You and I no longer have to live in slavery to sinful thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and motivation. God himself provides the way out.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Putting off pride, renewing my attitude, and putting on humility: This is my new thought habit.
New Habit Plan, Detailed
To successfully change a habit, we need a plan. The more detailed, the better. Click & Tweet! First you’ll see an overview below. Then I’ll share a detailed plan a counselee and I wrote together.
- Put off: Identify the ungodly habit that needs change. For me, I was irresponsible with diet, exercise, and sleep. For a counselee I meet by Skype, she is quick to argue with her mother.
- Renew my attitude: Me — I agreed with God that I was sinning by erroneously thinking that I was too busy for self-care, as if God didn’t stuff enough hours in a day. My counselee agreed with God to honor her mother and to choose Christ righteousness over self-righteousness..
- Put on: Me — humility. I am not Super Woman! I need good food, exercise, and rest…just like Jesus when he walked this earth. My counselee also needed humility as well as determination to speak the truth in love.
Together my counselee and I wrote a plan for her that looked like this:
- When mother says something mean, quietly thank God for an opportunity to practice the new habit.
- Remind myself of James 1:19, which says, “… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” and that I need to change my attitude, desiring most of all to honor God.
- Then speak the truth in love. Depending on what mother says, I may say, “I feel hurt when you suggest I’ve put on ten pounds and am lazy. You know I am an honor student and my clothes fit as they always do. I want you to know that I’m making a new habit to speak the truth in love. This is what the Bible tells me to do.”
- Proactively and regulary choose words that build up, saying something like, “Mom, I love you” or “Great to see you!” or “Just want you to know I appreciate that you want the best for me” or a simple “Thank you,” always with a loving tone of voice and friendly body language.
When making a new habit pattern, we need to repeat it many times for it to take hold. Click & Tweet! In counseling others, I’ve discovered that this step of forming new godly pattern is challenging and part of the reason why we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside us and encourage us.
What bad habit does God want you to replace with a godly habit? What obstacles are in the way? How might other Christians helped you?
Receiving Joy in the Journey
What I learned in this self-care journey may sound kind of crazy. It’s counterintuitive. My avoidance of true self-care fed my sinful appetite to live self-sufficiently and was, in fact, self-indulgent. Does this make sense?
I thank God that my poor self care didn’t create a health crisis. Rather, fear crept in and settled in my heart and mind. This is equally bad, this unsettling. Yet it has resulted in my obeying God’s call for heart change, which is always good. He knows what you and I truly need.
A quick review of the biblical counseling journey:
1. Recognizing your difficult emotions.
2. Identifying your faulty thinking.
3. Acting on renewed beliefs.
4. Making new habits.
As I continue my journey, how may I pray for you? All of us need God’s help, and he’s faithful. How we handle our everyday problems reveals our hearts: our desires, our motivations, our beliefs, and our thinking.
When God shows us that our hearts are self-centered, he gives us everything we need to live life according to his plan Click & Tweet! , which is what any true Christian really wants, right?
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 1 Peter 1:2-4, ESV
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Self-counsel: When you counsel yourself with biblical truth, your emotions become more stable and you respond in better ways. Why? Because you’re speaking truth to your heart! This article by Heart2Heart Counselor Ellen Castillo appeared first here at BC4Women blog and is used with permission. Check out Ellen’s page in the Heart2Heart Counselor Directory.
A couple of months ago, I was in a car accident. My van was totaled, but my daughter and I were not seriously injured. Whiplash, bruises, and soreness have become our daily battles, but those things will get better.
Emotional Effects Post-Trauma
The emotional effects are the most difficult to overcome. I have counseled many post-accident and post-trauma victims. As biblical counselors, we know how to come alongside someone gently in the immediate days following trauma. We know how to eventually begin to target the heart when we see unhealthy and unbiblical responses to the trauma.
When the trauma is our own, do we know how to “self-counsel” our own hearts? There is no trauma too big or too small when it comes to the need for counsel.
When we find ourselves repetitively dwelling on and reliving the accident details, condemning ourselves for the guilt we might bear for the cause of the trauma or accident, having panic attacks at the thought of re-entering normal life again, getting behind the wheel, or seeing the place where the trauma occurred, we must cling to the good counsel we offer to others by offering it to our own hearts.
Goals of Biblical Counseling
One of the goals of biblical counseling is that the counselee would eventually be able to do self-counsel. Self-counsel means that when someone is struggling with sin or suffering, she can turn to God’s Word for answers. She can read, study, memorize, and pray as she seeks to bring the gospel to bear on her struggle.
One of the goals of biblical counseling is that the counselee would eventually be able to do self-counsel. Click & Tweet!
In that process, God can reveal her heart issues, and she can focus on mind renewal as she repents of her sin. This is how we are all to live, every day, as self-counselors.
Good Self-Counsel Helps for Trauma
As I continue to recover from whiplash as I write this, I have found these things to be most helpful. This is good self-counsel for someone who has recently suffered any kind of trauma:
- Take every thought captive. Remember that every struggle we have begins with a thought. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to destroy the things in our thoughts that are not consistent with the gospel.
- Focus on what is true. Philippians 4:4-9 is a passage to go to often and consider it as sort of a checklist. Run your thoughts through that Philippians 4:8 grid, and redirect your thought life.
- Rehearse the gospel. This phrase is not a cliche, it is life-giving. Thinking on the gospel recalibrates our minds and reminds us that we are no longer under condemnation, that we have been given a new identity, and so much more.
- Fight the fear with the knowledge of God’s sovereignty. God is either in control or He isn’t, and I believe He IS. Yes, even over my car accident. I do not need to know the why’s or how’s in order to trust His promises. Romans 8:28 keeps me from dipping too deep into the “why me’s”.
- Know when your natural initial responses are becoming debilitating, and ask for help. Low-grade temporary depression, for example, is common to most trauma victims. But debilitating depression requires intensive biblical counseling. If you are unable to function at home or on the job, spend most of your day isolating or sleeping, have turned to substance use to self-medicate, are unable to make decisions, or get along with those you love, then it is time to ask for help. God’s Word has answers you need, but we sometimes need someone to come alongside us and show us the way.
- Some people say that “time heals” even trauma. I suggest that although that may seem to be true sometimes, it is only God who can truly heal a traumatized heart. Because of my self-counsel, I am struggling far less with the effects that the accident had on me.
How to Self-Counsel
To self-counsel, you must seek Him more intentionally, dig deep into His Word – read it, study it, memorize it. Keep a meaty prayer life, stay in the church, and in fellowship with Christian friends who encourage you (and also admonish you as needed.)
Serve in ministry at your church, putting others before yourself. And do not hesitate to call on a biblical counselor if you are stuck, and she will be glad to come alongside and offer help and hope. These are the things that helped me and I believe they will help you, too, regardless of your struggle.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) “Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Your language matters! The words you say indicate what’s going on in your heart. And when you replace your words with biblical language, you can make significant progress. Observe how Heart2Heart Counselor Suzanne Holland listens to her counselee’s language and helps her find victory. Suzanne’s article appeared first here and is used with permission.
A counselee I was seeing for depression and anger issues once had this response when I asked her how her week went:
I really messed up this time. I yelled at my kids, and they didn’t even deserve it! I was so irritated with their behavior that I just snapped and started screaming.
I realized almost as soon as the first sentence came out of my mouth that I was blowing it, but I couldn’t stop. I was just so mad.
She continued to describe the incident, sharing with me about what happened when her husband came home:
Well, I had told the kids I was sorry, but I felt really bad about my slip-up. When my husband got home, I was irritable and snappy with him, because I was just so mad at myself. I had to apologize to him too, but that didn’t help either.
I went to bed depressed and cried myself to sleep. Sometimes I think I’ll never get this temper under control!
The Language of Truth
As I listened to my counselee, I was making notes about the words she had chosen to describe her actions.
Many times, the language our counselees use to describe their problems can give us a clue as to why they are not finding victory. I’ll explain what I mean by sharing with you the questions I asked my counselee about her word choices, using the quotes above as an example.
I really messed up this time.
Questions: What does that mean? What is the biblical word for “messed up”?
Did my counselee make a mistake when she yelled at her kids? If I “mess up,” that might mean I forgot to carry a number in my checkbook, or I bumped the curb when I turned the corner.
I was so irritated with their behavior that I just snapped and started screaming.
Questions: What kind of behavior were you expecting? What entitles you to have what you expect? What is the reason that the behavior was not brought under discipline before it got to that point? Was everything calm and cool before you “just snapped,” or were there warning signs that you were becoming angry, which you chose to ignore?
Language Reveals a Deeper Problem
When someone tells me they are irritated with something, it’s a sure sign that they believed they were entitled to something else.
Any sense of entitlement is an attitude of pride. Also, at least in parenting, behavior that reaches the point where Mom wants to scream is usually a behavior that should have been addressed much sooner. This is often the result of distraction or just plain laziness on mom’s part.
With very rare exceptions, no one “just snaps.” There are always thoughts and warning signs leading up to a sinful outburst of anger. Mom may choose to ignore or stuff them, but they are there, and it is a decision she makes to either address or ignore them.
I realized almost as soon as the first sentence came out of my mouth that I was blowing it, but I couldn’t stop. I was just so mad.
Question: Was there an unseen force that took over your body and made you keep yelling and screaming?
This may sound facetious, but it gets the point across quickly. Obviously, this part of her report is a lie, whether or not she sees it. Of course, she had a choice to stop screaming, even in the midst of her angry outburst. Her decision to continue led to her sin.
Well, I had told the kids I was sorry, but I felt really bad about my slip-up.
Questions: How does the Bible teach us to express sorrow when we have hurt someone? Where in the Bible do people say they are sorry? What is the biblical word for ‘slip-up’?
Apologizing for a slip-up is not the path to reconciliation. Asking for forgiveness for sin is. Click & Tweet! My counselee “felt really bad” because she had not repented and received forgiveness from God and her children for her sin.
When my husband got home, I was irritable and snappy with him, because I was just so mad at myself. I had to apologize to him too, but that didn’t help either.
Questions: What do you think is the reason your apologies didn’t help your mood?
This is where we will begin to discuss the difference between messing up and sinning, between apologizing and repenting. She went to bed depressed (sorrowful without hope), and rightly so! There is no hope in apologizing for a mess-up. There is, however, great hope in repenting of sin and receiving forgiveness!
Changing Your Language–Wow!
The point of dissecting these few sentences is to show you the importance of using biblical language when you address counseling issues. Most counselees aren’t even aware that the language they use to describe their sin makes a difference in whether or not they will overcome it.
Let’s rephrase my imaginary counselee’s report, to see if it makes a different impact:
I really sinned this time. I yelled at my kids, and they didn’t even deserve it! I was so entitled and prideful about their behavior that I just ignored the warning signs that I was becoming sinfully angry, and made a decision to start screaming.
I realized almost as soon as the first sentence came out of my mouth that I was grieving the Lord, but I held fast to my decision and exercised my will to continue. I was just so sinfully angry!
And about her interaction with her husband…
Well, I had told the kids I was sorry, but I felt extreme guilt about my sin. When my husband got home, I was prideful and sinfully angry with him, because I had not received forgiveness for my sin. I had to apologize to him too, but that didn’t help either.
I went to bed sorrowing without hope, and indulged in self-pity. Sometimes, I think I’ll never get this sinful anger under control!
Biblical Language Pierces the Heart
Do you see how using biblical language shines a very bright light on sin, and makes it crystal clear what needs to happen to bring about change? My counselee certainly did!
As she learned to use biblical language to describe her temptations and sins, her heart was more readily pierced, and she began to hate even the idea of knowingly sinning in these ways. One thing she said in this quote was probably true: Thinking and speaking the way she was about it, she likely would never have overcome it.
There is no hope in “feeling guilty.”
When we have sinned, the only way to freedom is repentance. Click & Tweet! If I don’t know or acknowledge that what I have done is sin, how can I be forgiven? How can I be restored to a right relationship with the person against whom I have sinned?
I will continue to sin, apologize, and feel bad forever if I don’t understand and apply the truth of Scripture to my behavior.
Are there areas of your life, or perhaps your counselees’, where you think using more consistently biblical language could help in overcoming a pattern of sinful response?
Reply in the comments, and let’s talk about it!
An Offer from Lucy
Are you struggling? I invite you to sign up for a 15-minute phone consultation — it’s free — to ask questions and discover if biblical counseling is right for you. (We can Skype no matter where you live or meet in person in greater Chicago.) Contact me.
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Sharing Hope with Your Heart,