TO WIVES: Why Is Sex So Important?

wives Sex Married strangers - Dollar Photo Married Couple having relationship problemsWives: what kinds of emotional needs does your sexual interest meet for your husband? Do you know?

In written survey comments and in my interviews, I noticed two parallel trends. They are the great benefits a fulfilling sex life creates in a man’s inner life and, conversely, the wounds created when lovemaking is reluctant or lacking.

Lets look at a few of the benefits.

Benefit #1: Fulfilling sex makes him feel loved and desired

Not surprisingly, the first thing surfaced from the survey comments was that having a regular, mutually enjoyed sex life was critical to the man’s feeling of being loved and desired. One eloquent plea captured it perfectly:

I wish that my wife understood that making a priority of meeting my intimacy needs is the loudest and clearest way she can say, “You are more important to me than anything else in the world.” It is a form of communication that speaks more forcefully, with less room for misinterpretation, than any other.

The reason why this message is needed is that many men —even those with close friendships —seem to live with a deep sense of loneliness that is quite foreign to us oh-so-relational wives. And making love is the purest salve for that loneliness.

One man told me, “I feel like I go out into the ring every day and fight. It’s very lonely. That’s why, when the bell rings, I want my wife to be there for me.”

Another related that sentiment to the power of fulfilling sex: “A man really does feel isolated, even with his wife. But in making love, there is one other person in this world that you can be completely vulnerable with and be totally accepted and non-judged. It is a solace that goes very deep into the heart of a man.”

This is one reason why some men may make advances at times that seem the furthest from sexual. One woman relayed a story about her husband wanting to make love after a funeral for a close relative. Making love was a comfort and a way of being wrapped in her love.

Benefit #2: Fulfilling sex gives him confidence

Your desire for him goes beyond making him feel wanted and loved. Your desire is a bedrock form of support that gives him power to face the rest of his daily life with a sense of confidence and well-being.

By now most of us have seen the television commercials for Viagra. It’s on in which a man’s colleagues for friends repeatedly stop him and ask what’s “different” about him. New haircut? Been working out? Promotion? Nope, the man tells them all, with a little smile.

One man I interviewed brought up those ads. “Every man immediately understands what that commercial is saying. It’s all about guys feeling good about themselves. The ad portrays a truth that all men intuitively recognize. They’re more confident and alive when their sex life is working.”

Once my eyes were opened to this truth, I realized how often I’d heard the “man code” for this fact. But I failed to understand it. When men had told me they “felt better” when they got more sex, I had just assumed they meant physically better.

But as one husband told me, “What happens in the bedroom really does affect how I feel the next day at the office.” Another wrote, “Sex is a release of a day-to-day pressures. Plus, it seems to make everything else better.”

Wound #1: “If she doesn’t want to, I feel incredible rejection.”

As much as men want sex, most of them would rather go out and clip the hedges in the freezing rain than make love with a wife who appears to be responding out of duty. My husband, Jeff, explained: “The guy isn’t going to be rejected by the hedges. And that’s the issue. If she’s just responding because she has to, he’s being rejected by his wife.”

Again, keeping in mind that what he wants most is for you to desire him, try to see what he wants most is for you to desire him. Try to see this rejection issue from the man’s point of view. If we agree, but don’t make an effort to get really engaged with the man we love, he hears us saying, “You’re incapable of turning me on even when you try. And I really don’t care about what matters deeply to you.” On the other hand if we don’t agree at all, but throw out the classic “Not tonight, dear,” he hears, “You’re so undesirable that you can’t compete with a pillow. I really don’t care about what matters deeply to you.”

Although we might just be saying we don’t want sex at that point in time, he hears the much more painful message that we don’t want him.

Here’s what the men said on the survey:

• “She doesn’t understand that I feel loved by sexual caressing. And if she doesn’t want to, I feel incredible rejection.”

• “When she says no, I feel that I am REJECTED. ‘No’ is not no to sex —as she might feel. It is no to me as I am. And I am vulnerable as I ask or initiate. It’s plain and simple rejection.”

• “She doesn’t understand how even her occasional dismissals make me feel less desirable. I can’t resist her. I wish that I, too, were irresistible. She says I am. But her ability to say no so easily makes it hard to believe.”

This feeling of personal rejection, and a sense that his wife doesn’t really desire him, tends to lead a man into darker waters.

Wound #2: your lack of desire can send him into depression.

If your sexual desire gives your husband a sense of well-being and confidence, you can understand why an ongoing perception that you don’t desire him would translate into a nagging lack of confidence, withdrawal, and depression.

The men I talked to scoffed at my tentative suggestion that a string of similar rejections wouldn’t necessarily mean that their wives were rejecting them as men. They warned that any woman sending those signals would undermine the loving environment she wants most. That is because, as one man said, “She is going to have one depressed man on her hands.”

A man can’t just turn off the physical and emotional importance of sex. This is why its lack can be compared to the emotional pain you’d feel if your husband simply stopped talking to you. Consider the painful words of this truly deprived husband—words that other men, upon reading them, call “heartbreaking”:

We’ve been married for a long time. I deeply regret and resent the lack of intimacy of nearly any kind for the duration of our marriage. I feel rejected, ineligible, insignificant, lonely, isolated, and abandoned as a result. Not having the interaction I anticipated prior to marriage is like a treasure lost and irretrievable. It causes deep resentment and hurt within me. This in turn fosters anger and feelings of alienation.

Feeling Loved

If you view sex as a purely physical need, it might indeed seem comparable to sleep. But once you realize that your man is actually saying, “This is essential to my feeling of being loved and desired by you, and is critical to counteract my stress, my fears, and my loneliness,” well, that suddenly puts it in a different category. So how might you respond?

First, know that you’re responding to a tender heart hiding behind all that testosterone. If at all possible, respond to his advances with your full emotional involvement, knowing that you’re touching his heart. But if responding physically seems out of the question, let your words be heart words—reassuring, affirming, adoring. Do everything in your power—using words and actions your husband understands—to keep those pangs of personal rejection from striking the man you love. Leave him in no doubt that you love to love him.

And remember, if you do respond physically but do it just to “meet his needs” without getting engaged, you’re not actually meeting his needs. In fact, you might as well send him out to clip the hedges. So enjoy God’s intimate gift, and make the most of it!

…I recognize that some wives might very much wish that they could respond more wholeheartedly to their husband’s sexual needs. But they feel stopped in their tracks for various personal reasons. I don’t want to add any more frustration. I do, however, want to encourage you to get the personal or professional help you need to move forward. The choice to pursue healing will be worth it, both for you and the man you love.

Wives: Make sex a priority

An excerpt from a Today’s Christian Woman article captures this issue. It provides an important challenge to wives to change our thinking. The author starts by admitting that although her husband really wanted to make love more often, it “just wasn’t one of my priorities.” She then describes a subsequent revelation:

I felt what I did all day was meet other people’s needs. Whether it was caring for my children, working in ministry, or washing my husband’s clothes, by the end of the day I wanted to be done need-meeting. I wanted my pillow and a magazine. But God prompted me: “Are the ‘needs’ you meet for your husband the needs he wants met?”

If your daughters weren’t perfectly primped, he didn’t complain. If the kitchen floor needed mopping, he didn’t say a word. And if he didn’t have any socks to wear, he simply threw them in the washer himself.

I soon realized I regularly said “no” to the one thing he asked of me. I sure wasn’t making myself available to my husband by militantly adhering to my plan for the day. Would the world end if I didn’t get my tires rotated? I’d been focused on what I wanted to get done and what my children needed, I’d cut my husband out of the picture.

Reevaluating Priorities

Are the many things that take our time and energy truly as important as this one? Now would be a good time to reevaluate priorities with the help of our husbands so they know that we are taking this seriously.

Having heard from so many men on this, I would urge wives: Don’t discount it. It’s more important to him—and to your relationship and therefore your own joy in marriage —than you can imagine.

Now that you understand the tender places in your husband’s heart, hopefully you have developed compassion for him and the way he is wired.

This article comes from the terrific book,  For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men -written by Shaunti Feldhahn, published by Multnomah. This is a GREAT book. It helps wives learn what motivates men and their thought processes behind their actions (or non-actions). Shaunti had interviewed over 1000 men in researching this book. She reveals the findings of her research so wives can better understand the men in their lives and better interact with them.

There’s also a For Women Only Discussion Guide available for wives, written by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa Rice, published by Multnomah. It’s designed to be used by book clubs, or in small groups. Or it can be used for having a one-on-one dialogue with the man of your life. Many wives, after reading the For Women Only book may wonder, “What do I do with the info I’ve been given?” This discussion guide helps answer that question. It contains personal stories, questions, and situational case studies to help equip you to apply the truths you learn.

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583 responses to “TO WIVES: Why Is Sex So Important?

  1. I see the comments on here. Some are unhappy and others understanding of what a marriage is. I see marriage as a two way street if one does for a spouse the spouse should expect to do same back. This is not just sex it’s a lifetime of learning each other respecting what each other values in a marriage. Now sex is a part of life and what this one article is about. As a man yes, sex is important and like the article says mostly every thing is true to me and maybe not to others.

    I wonder why some are against what a man’s or woman’s wants/needs are? Instead of talking to spouse and both have the desire to please and bless each other’s wants/needs. I do not think this article implies that if a woman doesn’t feel like having sex that she needs to or her husband will feel not loved or be depressed. The first comment I saw was Jessica’s the way you described some of your life was hard to read. I wish you the best.

    Now I usually don’t comment on anything but I have a reason for this one. I have been married for 17 years and to me I didn’t get my wants or needs always. But was happily married for 14 years. The last three has been difficult to say the least. I supported my wife through 11 years of college. She had a lot on her. The career choice she chose was to be a doctor. She completed her degree we had two wonderful kids. But a year into her career I knew something wasn’t right. The stress she was under is enormous. So I tried to do more for her. I work full time. Took care of the kids fed, bathed, homework every thing a mom and dad should do. But then I couldn’t do things right for her. I cooked dinner she wouldn’t eat. So by now you all guessed sex was even more lacking then before.

    She signed up to join military hospital and left the kids and I not wanting us to come along. I’m trying to work with what I have but when I’m asked about my sex life by other women because she talked to her coworkers nurses here in our small community telling them how little we did have sex then they went out and told others. Just a guess but I believe the nurses were talking about after my wife left probably like I would cheat or something along that.

    To set it in stone I have not anytime of our 20 year relationship. But somehow this person changed my view on sex, married life and sorry to say but I’ve only been to church three times the last year. For some reason the nurses go to church there so I stay away. By this woman telling me details of my sex life I was devastated. See my wife never wanted to hold hands, kiss or hug in public. But she didn’t mind telling strangers about our private life. I’m working on trying to forgive but find it difficult when she’s not here.

  2. I see that many people are taking this article to a whole other realm. I see other parts in this article that are not said but implied. It’s not all about sex. It’s also about the physical presence. See my wife has gotten sick just before we got married, and in some ways I know it’s affecting her still as just a simple caress can send her nerves into fire. I am a very tactile person, and just holding her hand and rubbing a finger on her skin is a soothing aspect for me as it connects me to her, but just that can be irritably painful for her.

    It’s been sometimes though I’ve felt that she had a physical desire for us, being that we’re not in the best of shapes, the remnant of her sickness and also that she is not a very prone proponent of pda (which I am). As much as a woman wants emotional connection with us that doesn’t rely of physical contact, we as men need that physical contact for emotional connection and it’s a very nasty circle. If one feels that we are too demanding it can bring on stress on the relationship, she can grow resentful and in such rebuke the advances of her life long partner, yet on the other hand, her partner being rebuked and feel that there’s a lack in the physical connection between them can then become resentful and eventually he will feel alone and closing on himself, which in the end will only make things worse for his partner as she will feel that her emotional connection needs are not met and the wheel goes on.

    See, personally I’ve only been married for a couple of years, and we got married late-ish in our age (I was 37 and she was 36). She had been married before and it was a stressful marriage that turned bad. So when it gets stressful between us she is reminded of that and it bears on her, which I then get the blunt of the comments of “You’re just like him” Etc. For the past few months I’ve been feeling that there was no desire left alive in her, and not just about sex, but holding (her holding me) or her deciding on her own to kiss me without me having to ask for it. Stuff like that, that some people might find benign, but I’ve come to realize that all these aspects are as much important for a man to feel that he is desired by his wife and loved than just having full blown sexual intercourse.

    And yes I can say that I have been feeling rejected, hurt, alienated and resentful, which in turn has brought on more stressful moment in our relationship and the wheel goes on as I mentioned before. I’d give a leg, my hand and my ears (I’m a musician so you have to understand that this is a lot) for just getting back to a state where that feelings of her wanting to be close, holding, kissing me was alive again, just that by itself would be a boon in our relationship.

    So no, in essence it’s not just about the sexual intercourse; yes of course it’s very important because it is a reset button for us men, it’s the ultimate flashing panel that unequivocally and undeniably tells us that she loves us and desires to be with us and that no matter how tough things get, she will be there loving, Which in turn it opens us up to be more emotionally connected to her. But our need for attachment is not just bound to that ultimate unification, it’s lighter than that and yet much deeper too.

  3. Thank you for this article. I am going to “once again” put everything I read to heart. I’m asking for prayer. Past hurts have caused me to lose interest in this very important part of our married life. I need healing and confidence that he sees me as a good person, in order to fulfill his every desire. I want to I just need some serious healing. God can still move, right?

    1. Yes, God can heal our bodies and our minds. We have to focus on healing not the past. You may have to make confessions daily. hourly, every minute if necessary.

  4. Why isn’t the topic of “To Husbands, Why is Sex So Important?” ever discussed?

    1. Like most articles this one deals with 99% of the cases. Yes, it does happen in reverse and yes it should have one here but those articles do exist.

  5. I’m in my mid 70s and have no interest in sex and that’s due to a hysterectomy! I do like intimacy but some 40 years ago my husband told me I was boring and uninteresting. He then refused to talk to me, sleep with me, or anything else married people do. He moved to the basement and since then he moved out of the house to a small cottage on our property as far away as he could be. I thought he was gay or out chasing other woman, but neither was true. I had him followed by professional people and they told me he’s fine.

    When he was working he would work mid nights 365 days a year. He made his work his married life. I was a fool for not leaving, and I blame myself for that error.

  6. Married 52 years and maybe had sex 10 times in all those years, and that occurred in the first few years of marriage. Neither one of us had sex before we were married! My husband didn’t see any need for sex and intimacy, as for myself I didn’t know what I wanted. But years went by and we got older and why bother with sex. Now in our 70’s and I guess wasted our lives and it’s way to late to fix any thing. Husband has slept in the basement for almost our entire marriage. Life will end soon and then it won’t matter at all.

    1. I have a relative that works for a GYN. She was telling us that he heard of a couple in their 70’s that do it 3 times a week. Never too late to start

  7. Very well written article and incredibly relatable (and important!). :)

    If I send this article to my wife, it feels like she would only be changing (if she did) “out of duty” or still feel as though I’m “making her” try to want to have sex more, etc. What do you think of sharing the article to my wife/ the impact?

    1. Tim, Yes, it is possible that she could take this in a way that you don’t intend. But tell her this upfront. Tell her that you don’t want to manipulate her, but you think this article (and the book it came from) explains your needs better than you can. This is important to you, and anything that is important to you should be important to her, just like anything that is important to her should be important to you. And some of these things, like sexual issues, is difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t have the same needs or vantage point.

      And if she makes love to you “out of duty” or because she recognizes your need for it… so what? Don’t let that play with your mind, although it will be difficult to do so. If she does this with a poor attitude, then that can be problematic. But if she starts out by making love to you even if she doesn’t want to, doesn’t that tell you even more about how much she loves you? She wouldn’t do this for someone else because of their need. But out of love for you, she does. And wouldn’t this make you want to please her all the more, which would mean that eventually it will be all the more pleasurable for her?

      I’ve been in this place a number of times in our marriage. But as I’ve started to make love to my husband, I’ve found that almost always, I’ve actually gotten into it myself, and really enjoyed it. And always, always, always feel glad that I did this. I gave to my husband something I didn’t want to start to do (wasn’t in the mood for), but got into it because he did. And somehow, that makes the whole thing more pleasurable for both of us.

      Do I think that my husband only does things for me that he wants to do? What about cleaning the garage–when it isn’t important to him, but it is to me? How about making dinner when I’m too tired to do so? Or how about when he visits with a family member of mine, or does errands for me when he would much rather be doing something else? Do you think I complain because he didn’t want to do those things for me? No, I’m thrilled that he did those things to please me, even though he didn’t want to do it. He did them out of love for me. He doesn’t do that for others… but for ME! What a good guy he is! You won’t hear any complaints from me (at least most of the time :)

      Yes, it would be nice if we only made love when both of us want it. And yes, it would be nice if we only did things for our spouse when we want to do them. But that is not reality. And actually, when you think about it, it shows all the more how much we love our spouse when we do things for them (with a good attitude) when we DON’T want to do them than when we do. THAT truly does show love.

      I don’t know if I’m explaining myself well in this so you (and your wife) better understands this. It took me a long time before I “got it” as far as how important making love was to my husband. (It’s a physical and an emotional need.) Sometimes making love wasn’t important to me at all when he would first make his approach. Verbal expressions of love from my husband (like his taking the time to talk together with me, affirming me, expressing thanks for big and small things I do, etc.) are more important to me than sexual expressions of love. But they aren’t as important to Steve. He is more of a physical guy. And that’s okay. I’ve come to realize that we both feel loved in different ways. So I give him more of what he needs and he gives me more of what I need and in the long run, we’re both more fulfilled and satisfied within our marriage.

      I hope this helps. I can’t tell you what to do with your wife, because I don’t know her. But I sure am glad that I came across articles like this one that helped to open my eyes and get me on the right track… a more loving, serving one. I hope this is true for your wife too.

      1. Thank you for sharing. From all the comments I’ve seen so far this is the first useful one I’ve seen that I found out has enough detail for an action. Now how to approach this is going to be the next step.

    2. Don’t do it. She will resent you doing it. Ask me how I know…Just try being the “player” without touching her.
      I do have a couple of questions:
      1. Do you have smaller children or grands? Probably yes, taking up all her good emotions.
      2. Is her family or work crazy? If yes, all her emotions good and bad are going there too.
      Again, ask me how I know…

        1. Imagine your wife gave you an article saying you should cut the grass every 2 days regardless on how much is grows. Then states that other guys cut their grass every 2 days. Then they wash and wax the car twice every day, 7 days a week. Regardless if it was clear or raining, clean or dirty. And you must do this. Suzy’s husband does it. How would you feel?
          How did it go, not a positive response.

          1. I see your analogy but not the same. In theory, this should be enjoyable to both. If that is not the case then words like: “this is my soul mate”, “the one”, “my special someone” or even “my love” should never ever be said by either. For instance that scenario, although possible, is so unlikely it is ridiculous. This is slavery, the wife in this case does not have to be there. She could be cutting someone else’s grass, and washing 10 cars everyday herself.

  8. I am a married man for 24 years. She is never interested in romance or sex, and when I insist she gets annoyed. I don’t want to force her.

  9. I guess as in most of nature, one sex is always ready and the other must be discriminating. What a mess if it weren’t that way! The human race would be extinct!

  10. Unfortunately it always comes down to the man’s entitlement to have sex. How come we never blame the men. My husband asked what he could do differently to make himself more desirable; I requested he talk to me, not about feelings because that’s gross, just about his day, plans, and what things are going good and what is going bad. I require some intellectual connection before I can connect and open my legs.

    Does it happen often? No. I get requests for love making at bad locations and bad times. He’s an intelligent person; can he rein in his animalistic desires and figure out how to be intimate without his penis? But what do I know? Let’s just make the women put out because we are taught he’s incapable of expressing love any other way.

    1. I truly feel sorry for you Missy. You just don’t get it. I’m sad for your husband too.

  11. I have looked on your blog for articles advising men on how to nurture and help their wives enjoy sex. How to meet the needs of a lower drive wife, how to respect and understand her responses and be patient in how he approaches sex with her. I might have been looking in the wrong places, but I don’t seem to see any. If you have any could you provide a link to them? If you don’t could I suggest that a blog post (or two) looking at sex from a woman’s point of view would be most encouraging.

  12. One of the major problems with sex in marriage in this day and age is that our feminist brainwashed society does not and will not understand male sexuality. Our grandmothers taught their daughters that men need to be taken care of sexually. They understood that male sexuality is different than female sexuality and if a wife wanted to please and keep her husband, she needed to honor his sexual needs. Then came feminism, which teaches women that they should be sexually “free”. In feminist terms this means that they should be free to have sex with any man they want to AND that they should NEVER have sex with their husbands if they don’t “feel like it” because to do so is “abuse”.

    So now we have women who have sex with multiple partners before marriage decreasing their ability to pair bond AND are completely dismissive of, if not down right contemptuous of, their husband’s sexual needs. The real reason for all of this is that feminist ideology, which is so ingrained in our society that we don’t even recognize it when we see it, is intent on destroying relationships between men and women for the purpose of destroying the family.

    Feminism is anti-men, anti-women, anti-marriage, anti-family and anti-Western society. The so called patriarchy is the word that they use to replace the word capitalism. They used to call for the destruction of capitalism until they changed the word to “patriarchy” so as to focus more on blaming men for all of the ills of society.

    All of the contents of this article are absolutely true. What better way to destroy families and marriages than to turn women against men and make men feel that marriage no longer has any appeal for them. It is all part of the feminist plan.

    When our society finally comes to understand that if it wasn’t for male sexuality, none of us would be here, perhaps then men’s sexual feelings with be honored and legitimized. Until then, I am not optimistic that there will be positive change to the status quo. In other words men will continue to opt out of marriage and relationships because the price is too high and the benefits too low. And it will be women who suffer the most.

    1. I always find it interesting when one of the partners in a marriage refuses to have sex. This causes divorce, then this person will find another partner and go at it like rabbits.

    2. Granted I’m not a fan of some of the over-excesses of feminism, but not everything is about feminism. Women having multiple sexual partners is no better than men having multiple sexual partners. Feminism, like any worldly ideology, has always been used to divide people. Turning women against men has been happening since Adam and Eve deciding to eat from the forbidden tree. Just as women seek to revolt against their husbands’ authority, men seek to revolt against God’s authority in their “natural” sinful state.

      The good news is that we are called by Christ out of this state and to follow His example of how a relationship should be between the Church and Him. And one way is to introspect ourselves first before blaming the other. Are we, as men and husbands, loving our wives in a sacrificial manner just like Christ loved the Church? And if we are, then “all these things” will be given to you if you seek the Kingdom with all of your heart and strength. This is especially true when both the husband and wife are believers. Even if one is not a believer, God’s grace is still strong enough to overcome any sin/rebellion.

  13. But why is sex important for HER? This is all about HIM. C’mon, let’s hear it for the wives for a change. I want husbands to know what sex means for their wives, we know all about his needs.

    1. Well, that’s what this article was about: a man’s needs, presented by and to women. But if you’re searching for a woman’s perspective on the issue, I guarantee you won’t have to look very hard. You sound like the captain of the football team who’s had his way with every cheerleader on the squad, but complains about that one girl who turned him down.

  14. I’m honestly going to say this as nicely as possible. First this isn’t always about men. It seems this culture is constantly focusing on women sacrificing for men and their desires and needs. If a man needs to feel intimacy with his wife then he better be meeting her needs in order for her to meet his sexual needs because last time I checked husbands had a duty to do that first before a women gives him sexual pleasure.

    I feel like this article does nothing for women dealing with husbands who have pornography and masturbation issues and again is meant to make women feel more pressure to self sacrifice her self-worth to please her husband sexually. I also understand the article if it’s put in perspective with a husband who honors, respects, loves his wife and is fulfilling his fatherly duties but if your asking a women to “pretend” to desire her dead beat husband, chances are he’s going to continue to be the loser he is.

    There’s a reason women won’t desire and sexually please their husband and that is a sign for a man to straighten up his act cause she’s probably ready to leave. It’s the mans duty to recognize where he’s failing his wife and it’s also a mans duty/responsibility to create a safe, loving, happy home for his family. So with that being said, if he doesn’t fulfill his duty as a good husband chances are he will be sleeping with himself.

  15. I don’t know if Ms Feldhahn is still writing articles like this nowadays. I hope she isn’t, but I suspect she is. I’m so thankful I never came across this sort of intimidating and manipulative pressure when I was younger. To tell a young wife she is responsible for her husband’s physical, mental and emotional well being as well as his comfort, happiness and how well he performs in everyday life places an impossible burden on her. This is exactly what this article does. Even ‘occasional’ refusal is seen as rejection. I think it’s time some of these husbands put on their ‘big boy pants’ on and stop being so self obsessed!

    1. Fiona, I hope you and your husband feel mutually fulfilled in your marriage–that all your needs are met and if not, I hope you pull up your “big girl pants” (just as you expect him to pull up his “big boy pants”) and adjust accordingly. If that works for both of you and you are both happy with it, then that’s great. It is a marriage that works best for both of you, and I am truly happy for you.

      But that isn’t reality for most of the other marriages in the world. It’s supposed to be a partnership of love where spouses go the extra mile to help each other, compassionately listen to, and work in partnership together to care for one another.

      If my spouse came up to me and said, “I’m really, really hungry” and I knew I had the key to the kitchen (and he didn’t), I wouldn’t say, “Just pull up your big boy pants and stop being so needy. I don’t feel like helping you to accommodate your hunger. I’m not hungry so you shouldn’t bother me in this way. I didn’t feel like helping your hunger earlier, yesterday, last week, or the week before that. Just quit being so self obsessed!” Does that speak any type of love to you? And isn’t marriage supposed to be based on love?

      I know this is a crude illustration. I wish I had a better one to illustrate physical/emotional needs. But the fact is that sometimes our marriage partner’s needs are different than ours. We’re wired differently. And sometimes we need to help each other. Being sexually exclusive is supposed to be a part of marriage. If that surprises you then you entered into marriage with different ideas than most people. Sexual needs are sometimes different than the other’s. That doesn’t make it wrong; it just makes it different. And if you love someone you pay attention to each other’s needs and help each other.

      That doesn’t mean that EVERY time the other wants to connect physically and emotionally to his or her spouse that we have to accommodate them. Sometimes we’re sick, or tired, or just can’t for some reason. And that’s okay. Spouses can’t always get what they want when they want it. That’s not realistic. But when it happens time after time after time with no end in sight, something is wrong there. That’s not a loving partnership; that’s selfism. And if someone wants to only accommodate their own needs and not be bothered with their spouse’s needs, then they should have stayed single.

      Shaunti– Mrs. Feldhahn, reveals in this article what married men have honestly told her. (She did a huge survey of thousands of men. She was a reporter–that was her job.) They didn’t tell her what they did to manipulate, but to honestly express their needs and their feelings. I found this to be enlightening because I never realized that men had these needs and feelings. It’s good to learn what the other person is feeling. (She also has a book out that expresses a woman’s feelings–same concept where she surveyed thousands of wives.) By listening, caring for, and learning from each other you can somehow work together to build a workable bridge between you. That’s what marrying is all about. It’s marrying your differences and making them work for your life together.

      Again, if this isn’t your experience and it isn’t your husband’s… then great! That means your needs are being met. And that truly is a good marriage. But if one spouse expresses heartfelt needs and the other disses and shames him or her for feeling that need, then that can lead to an unhealthy marriage relationship. … Just saying!