Kick ’em Out Of Your Bedroom

Bedroom - Photoclub

No, we’re not talking about kicking your spouse out of your bedroom. We’re talking about kicking out a couple of habits you may have developed in your marriage relationship. If you are going to experience joy in your sexual relationship, these two habits have gotta go!

Demanding Has Gotta Go:

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 is an often misunderstood Scripture. People have tried to use it to prove they have a “right” to their mate’s body. But that’s not what it’s saying at all. Let’s take a closer look at it:

The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. So do not deprive each other of sexual relations.

The only exception to this rule would be the agreement of both husband and wife to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time, so they can give themselves more completely to prayer. Afterward they should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt them because of their lack of self-control.

This is talking about mutual giving and mutual willingness to not deprive. It is not talking about taking or demanding. It’s not that we own our mate’s body and can demand, “Give, because I own you!” We’re not in that position. This Scripture commands us to give. As a married couple, we’re both in a giving relationship, not in a position of ownership where we have the right to take or demand.

Taking Responsibility in Your Bedroom

Based on this principle, we then have to take responsibility for our own sexual pleasure. We know this sounds a bit contradictory to the idea that we’re to be other centered. But it’s not! Because if we are not taking responsibility, then we are demanding that our mate take responsibility for our sexual pleasure.

Clifford and Joyce Penner describe what we’re talking about in their book The Gift of Sex (page 108):

“We advocate the idea of taking the responsibility for your own sexual needs. The sexual response is something that happens in your body. It is personal and loaded with emotions. Each individual differs from every other individual and each individual differs from one experience to another. You can’t count on all women wanting it “this way’ or men ‘always wanting’ …or even this particular woman or man responding to the same thing every time. Because of the beautiful and complicated creation you are, there is no way your partner can consistently guess what would please you. [That’s what we would be demanding they do—‘consistently guess.’] However you usually know what you like, so you should take the responsibility to go after that desire.”

We believe this. We promote it. But… with these three cautions:

1. Honor your Mate’s preferences.

Don’t proceed in pursuing your own needs at the expense of your partner. Otherwise it becomes a self-centered, selfish pursuit. No pushing, badgering, nagging or manipulating your spouse to do what you want. Simply ask. If your spouse doesn’t feel comfortable with what you are asking, back off without coldness or theatrics. Such antics are seen as punishment to your mate for not doing what you want and will actually lower your mate’s sex drive. Now that would be pretty dumb, wouldn’t it?

2. Ask to be scratched where you itch.

Simply tell your spouse about your needs and desires without placing demands on them. Your spouse is not a mind reader. He or she can’t know where you itch or how you want scratched…unless you say it out loud.

We sometimes hear, “But if he loved me — if she loved me — they’d just know!” Now we ask you, does that make any sense?

3. Communicate to your mate when he or she is doing something that turns you off.

Here are the ground rules: Talk together outside of your bedroom, fully clothed. Otherwise, you are both too vulnerable. Talk kindly about what it is that’s turning you off. Put it in positive terms like, “If you would try ‘this’ instead of ‘that,’ it might work a lot better for me.” Or, “I think it would be sexier if you…” If you talk about the problem in a non-blaming way, giving a positive solution for it, your mate will feel like there’s something definite he/she can do about it. Then it doesn’t seem so hard.

Harmful Games Have Gotta Go:

A lot of couples fall into the habit of playing manipulative, selfish games with each other. Instead of mutually givingto one another and being willing to not depriveone another sexually, as 1 Corinthians 7 clearly states, they manipulate their mate to get what they want. And instead of being honest in their communication about sex with each other, they play games that hurt their relationship.

We play these games because we don’t understand our differences sexually. Women are wired: “No love, no sex.”

Men are wired: “No sex, no love.” This is hard wiring, so we need to give ourselves to truly understand the way God made our mate.

Female wiring declares: value me, love me, make your love obvious to me, then I’ll want to have sex with you.

Male wiring says, “Have sex with me, then I’ll know you love me.” Generally speaking, that’s the way we’re wired. And guess what? God made us different sexually on purpose. He wants us to learn how to adjust to each other. You’ve got to learn how to understand each other and adjust to each other sexually, or you and your mate are going to be in a standoff that will harm your marriage.

The Approach/Avoidance Game

This standoff usually manifests itself in a little game called The Approach/Avoidance Game. One of you has a greater sex drive than the other. Generally men have a higher sex drive than women, but that’s not always the case. The game starts when the spouse who has the higher sex drive starts believing he or she has to ask or hint for sex 6 or 7 times in order to get it once. You feel like you have to go through this pattern, this game, in order to get sex one time.

The problem with this is every time you hint, every time you ask, is seen as a full-blown approach to your mate with the lower sex drive. So what it looks like to your mate is approach, approach, approach, approach… that can be very intimidating.

If I were to run as fast as I can at you, would you want to lean forward to catch me? Or would you step back out of the way so you wouldn’t get run over? You’d step back out of the way, right? That’s called self-protection. That’s what happens with the mate who has the lower sex drive. She or he will back off from you out of self-protection and start avoiding sex altogether. If you are the “Approach-er” in the Approach/Avoidance game, you are actually lowering your mate’s sex drive.

That’s not what you want. You both have to talk about this. Together you have to confess you are playing this game.

Game Playing in the Bedroom

If you are playing the game, you must decide together what you are going to do about it. It takes both of you to stop it. If you’re the “Approacher,” you’ve got to back off lovingly without even subtly trying to lay guilt on your mate. If you lay guilt, you’ll lower your mate’s sex drive. You’ll shoot yourself in the foot. Back off lovingly.

If you are the “Avoidee,” then you have a responsibility here too. Talk about how you have been playing this game and together decide that it’s going to stop. As the “Avoidee,” you must be honest with your mate and with yourself. You can now stop avoiding sex with your mate, because he (or she) is going to stop approaching you so much. Start learning to talk together about your sexual desires. Learn how to mutually give to one another. Think about loving and giving to your mate, not about taking.

We’ve had “Approach-ers” complain to us, “I quit approaching last week and it’s not fixed yet!” We have to ask, “How long have you played the game?” You see, if you’ve played this game for years and years, don’t expect that in a week or two you’re going to turn things around and everything’s going to be hunky-dory again. It’s going to take time and effort. But if you work on this together, you can stop playing this game in your bedroom and beyond.

Make Your Bedroom a Place of Mutuality

If you kick these two habits out of your bedroom, it’s going to be a lot happier place. Not only that, but Satan won’t be able to use these habits against you. 1 Corinthians 7 makes it clear that the devil wants to get a foothold in your love life. And it also makes it clear that one way to kick him out of your bedroom is to be sure you are mutually giving to and willingly not depriving your spouse.

This article comes from GTO Family Ministries founded by Harold and Bette Gillogly. This great ministry has a number of other articles related to marriage that you can read on their web site at as well as resources and other information you may be interested in obtaining. It’s sure worth the visit to their web site. We hope you’ll do so!

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Filed under: Sexual Issues

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One response to “Kick ’em Out Of Your Bedroom

  1. (USA) This was very helpful in many ways! My husband’s grave will read, "Your body’s not your own." Our marriage right now is in a shambles. I have for 14 years done my best to honor and respect him. I have lived through so many things his immaturity and self-centeredness have produced. He has been saved since he was 5 and went through an extremely hard childhood. He has from the beginning of our marriage said things like, “the world would be a better place if it were just like me.” I used to think it was funny. After a while it became repulsive when every time I expressed a need sex (literally) was his answer.

    The comments about me just giving him what he wants and I would be happy — somehow I thought in my naivety that maybe he was right… but of course it wasn’t and I was only more disappointed and my trust continued to spiral downward. I’m the one always buying the books, always looking for a way to balance out this incredibly one-sided relationship. Much like another woman who commented on another one of these articles, I thought if I would do everything (because he also continuously mentioned to me how he should have been born in a time where he could have multiple wives, how he views himself as the king, etc). Again, I thought if I did everything he would start loving me.

    About a year and a half ago as we entered yet another crisis cycle and I sought the Lord – AGAIN – I felt the Lord say to do nothing. It got so bad that even though I was in total peace, he came at me (normally not an angry man at all) and asked me what I was going to do about this. Finally he began praying. Out came the confessions about his demeaning treatment. He used to say almost daily, "something’s wrong with you," because I wasn’t driven by sex 24/7 like him.

    He made me feel so devalued until reading about the Love Languages and finding out I was quality time… but it didn’t last. Then the comments became, "how did we ever get together" and, "why can’t you have my love language?" Even now he’s constantly telling the kids how they should make sure to marry someone with the same love language.

    He is destroying us, and it’s all about sex! He doesn’t have a problem with pornography. He has a serious problem with masturbation… but 3 years ago when he became extremely unbearable and we began having severe problems during our daily, "satisfy _____ romp," that we found out that it wasn’t actually my fault that he couldn’t sustain an erection anymore b/c, "I wasn’t exciting him" ….He has ED b/c he has diabetes.

    Now, we haven’t had sex since just before my one year old was born… and once again it is all my fault. I could have sex with a rubber penis if, "I was willing," or I would be happy if I would, "just let him do what he wants to me." "Don’t you want me to take you upstairs and show you how much I love you?" Obviously he’s physical touch and he just doesn’t get it. I am falling apart mostly b/c I see it hurting our kids in so many ways whether it be the comments or my angry outbursts b/c of the constant pressure I’m under to, "satisfy him," and I just can’t take it anymore!

    I’ve read so many things that may touch on an area but this is the first that has fully described what has happened — except that I don’t want to avoid sex and I had to give it to him consistently or the belittling comments and rudeness toward me and oh, yes the, "your body’s not your own," comment would increase to many times daily. I still ask him to stop treating me like I am a piece of meat and poking me, prodding, groping, and otherwise touching me on my private parts throughout the day especially when the children are near by and yup you guessed it, I get the old, "YBNYO," comment.

    Oh, and every time I’ve tried to discuss things with him I get the, "you don’t even want to know what the Bible says," and "you’ll stand before God," comments. He doesn’t even acknowledge all I’ve done for him. As a matter of fact I’m pretty sure he thinks my actions are his right if that makes sense.

    Just recently he actually started supporting me with the children about running the household, but all because there is an in-home job he has wanted me to get and now he’s claiming he’s always been that way. I tell what he’s always had and that is a terrible memory! I am completely spent. I don’t know if there is any hope for us. I don’t know if this area does get worked out that I could even de-familiarize certain bedroom behaviors to the point that I could receive the necessary healing and would want to continue or participate. Even outside of this all my husband is just plain gross.

    He obviously wasn’t this way while we dated, but he only takes showers about once a week and brushes his teeth even less. If one of us (the kids or I) make the mistake of saying he has bad breath he’ll blow it in our face on purpose, sometimes even grabbing us or chasing us to make us smell it.

    And now I am completely reduced to oral sex which I have willing participated in when I was at least feeling sometimes fulfilled. But I hate it and of course, "YBNYO," and my wifely duty in life is to submit to him all his wants and desires (according to him). When I bring up simple Christian attitudes and actions toward a brother or sister in the Lord and say that it ought to be more so for us as husband and wife he just twists it and says that I just want to be sister and brother.

    Even tonight, he said how the only difference between our relationship and the relationship we have with everyone else in the church is sex. He is so ignorant of what true intimacy is! I don’t know if you have any suggestions. No one wants to see their marriage fall apart even if the separation would produce some relief.

    He asked me tonight what I wanted to live happily in this marriage and I said, "never say another demeaning, nasty, word to me." Then I added, "fat chance." Then he (who claims he has such a wonderful life- duh and mine is miserable, which is of course my problem) then says, "oh well, I do want one thing. Don’t come up to me and hug me or, ‘pretend,’ everything is okay sexually between us. Like you do all the time." Again with the ignorance. He doesn’t even see that I am trying to get my intimacy needs met in a safe way. Even when I make any sort of actions like that he automatically begins poking me and half the time I pull away.

    I know this was our worst fight ever. But for once I don’t feel condemned and belittled b/c I wouldn’t stand for it. It is only now that he thinks I am so disrespectful b/c I have finally stopped holding back. I know it has not been the right thing to do sometimes, but I repent and try not to give in to that temptation the next time.

    Well, he said he thinks we should have counseling. I hope that it will work. Even now as he left for work I longed to give him a hug and kiss and tell him I love him; my heart has always been toward him. I’m sure his heart is toward me (at least when it isn’t interfering with his heart being toward himself) LOL!

    Thank you again for your article. It explained what I couldn’t. If we could apply this and have it work there would remain only one problem his E.D. Medicines (natural & prescriptions) have not worked. The doctor says nothing will until he gets his sugar under control — which he isn’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices (sugar-wise) to achieve that. His immaturity is astonishing. I just want somehow for the Lord to redeem this hideous mess so the children won’t suffer.