Wifey Wednesday: Understanding the Higher Drive Spouse: Bread or Tomatoes?

Understanding the Spouse with the Higher Sex Drive--it's like the difference between bread and tomatoes in sandwiches...
It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can comment or link up your own post below.

Today’s Wifey Wednesday is a Guest Post is from The Mrs. over at Spice and Love, who writes from the perspective of a higher-sex-drive wife. I thought some of  you may appreciate her perspective on understanding the spouse with the higher sex drive!

A few nights ago my husband I were lying in bed falling asleep when he suddenly said, “You know, sex in marriage, for me, is like tomatoes on sandwiches.”

My mouth literally fell open there in the dark.

See, here is the thing. I consider myself a sort of amateur foodie. I like to eat it, I like to make it, I like to read about it, I like to savor it. I will almost always go the extra step in making my food go from just okay to amazing. My husband enjoys good food too, but not enough to go out of his way to make something amazing. Like tomatoes, for instance. He really, really enjoys them on his sandwich. But not enough to do the work of getting them out of the fridge and slicing them to put on his sandwich. If they are sitting there sliced he will always get them. Or if I am making a sandwich and ask him if he wants tomatoes, he will always say yes. But if there are no tomatoes on his sandwich, he is okay. He can still enjoy it.

As I lay in bed I felt like a huge lightbulb had gone off.

I finally understood exactly how he approaches our marriage bed. I began to laugh.

“Babe”, I said, “Sex for me is like the bread. Without the bread, it’s not a sandwich.”


Photo Credit: http://runka.com

I am pretty sure his mouth fell open then.

Because here is the deal. I think he thought that sex was like tomatoes to me, too. I like them enough to always want them on my sandwich, and I will always do the work to get them and slice them. I don’t understand how he can eat a sandwich without them if they are available. But the truth is that sex to me is NOT like a tomato.

Because a sandwich without a tomato is still a sandwich. But marriage without sex? Not marriage.

It was such a helpful conversation. I realized that he does enjoy sex when it is offered and available, but feels like our marriage can still be acceptable without it (not completely without it, but just not as often as me). He realized that sex for me, as the spouse with the higher sex drive, is crucial to our marriage – as in, if we aren’t having it often, I struggle to feel married.

Being a “spicy wife” in a culture that screams out I am abnormal is so challenging. And it’s challenging for my husband too. But, thank God, we are learning after almost seven years of marriage how to finally start communicating about it. So what about you? How do you see sex?

Praying today that God gives you and yours the perfect way to communicate, so you can see through each other’s eyes.

Annabel has been married to the love of her life since 2006. She blogs about love, marriage and sex from the perspective of a higher-drive wife at http://spiceandlove.wordpress.com. Annabel loves all warm drinks, well-written books, and being a foodie. 

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Comments

  1. Love, love, love this post!!! Ths most encouraging thing about it is the communication aspect of it. Love, love, love it!!!

  2. I am sure that sex is the bread as well. Not that you can’t be married without it. But how do you achieve the intimacy and connection marriage needs to survive without sex?? Conversation is good but not enough.

  3. That’s awesome that you were able to understand each other in such a down to earth way and wonderful that you guys can communicate about your differences!

    (On a sidenote: Am I missing the Linky? I don’t see it…)
    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives recently posted…The Prime SuspectMy Profile

    • Sorry, Elizabeth! I had it in there, but sometimes if you go back and edit the HTML after you’ve added the linky it disappears, and I forgot to readd it. It’s back now!

  4. This describes our marriage so well! Thanks for this article!
    Lori Lynn recently posted…Carmel Apple CiderMy Profile

  5. Stephanie ` says:

    oh my gosh! This is exactly how my husband would describe it! There’s nothing funny going on that lowers his drive, he just doesn’t always want to work for the tomato. Thank you for sharing this. I’m going to show my husband!

    • I thought it was great insight when I read it, too! She actually originally linked up to Wifey Wednesday a few weeks ago, and I asked if I could use it as a post, because I just knew that it would resonate with a lot of women.

  6. I love this post as well. The most encouraging part may not seem that encouraging on the surface. I find the fact that it took seven years to get to that level of communication so encouraging. No doubt there are more levels yet to come in her relationship but it just flies in the face of our societies wish for instant gratification.

    No! We won’t understand each other perfectly immediately after the wedding night. And that’s normal.

    How cool is that?!
    Colleen recently posted…Master of the Small ThingsMy Profile

  7. How funny! To my husband, I’m pretty sure sex is the bread, the meat, the tomatoes, and the mustard. ;)

  8. I am definitely the higher drive spouse. My wife can go for weeks without it and just get on with life. I get antsy if we do not do it twice a week. Well, health problems caused a few weeks without but that is now over. I thought about those dreadful people on Huffington Post who mocked you and I know just how wrong they are in saying you can have pre-marital and extra marital sex with no problem. Now both over 70 we have never been intimate outside of the marriage bed and we ‘did it’ the last two nights . It was absolutely wonderful. We both felt totally intimate and enjoyed each other as God intended. That requires a totally committed and loving relationship. I feel on top of the world today.

    • That is awesome. Gives me something to look forward to!

    • Stephanie ` says:

      I love hearing this. If Christians rarely talk about sex, they NEVER talk about sex for those over a certain age. It makes me happy to know there are those out there enjoying sex into their 70s and even beyond!

    • I love this testimony! It completely deflates the hot-air-filled message that says: “Shortly after the honeymoon, it’s all over for the marriage.” This is evidence that, when done God’s way, marriage is like a tasty cheese whose flavor only gets better as it ages.

      BTW, cheese makes those tomato sandwiches even better: just ask Alton Brown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xABzCETbahY). ;)

  9. I love that you posted this ! No one ever mentions that there are marriages where the wife could have sex every day but the husband not so much – you always feel like the anomaly. Thank you for taking up how you tackle this issue so everyone understands the importance!!!

  10. Interesting post, Sheila. I have a friend who is like Annabel and finds that she gets weird looks from her girlfriends when she talks about it. I think I’m more like Annabel’s husband but am a bit envious of Annabel’s heart and desire for her husband. Great post and so glad the link up debaucle was ironed out. :)

  11. Marriage is truly the finest of the fine arts. Learning to see as my wife sees, to feel as she feels, and to nurture her as she needs to be nurtured is my life’s work. This post reminds me both of the struggle and the joy that defines marriage. Thanks for sharing.
    RmRm recently posted…Intimacy>IntercourseMy Profile

  12. Lisa Hetherington says:

    @Megan G: LOL

  13. Hi all! Thanks so much for the encouragement on this post – it was a great conversation to have with my husband, and has continued to be a point of reference (and “inside joke”) for us.

    Hoping and praying for each one of you as you continue to walk & grow in love with your spouse (just as I am with mine).

    Annabel

  14. Oh Annabel, thank-you that you are out there, and thank-you for having this conversation cause I am like you. I will talk to my husband and see if he concurs with your husband, I have an inkling that he will totally agree.

  15. At this point my husband could just do without sandwiches, so I’ve stopped thinking about sandwiches because I just end up feeling like I’m a bad sandwich maker who misses sandwiches, but it’s ok, because they probably were bad sandwiches in the first place, right? It’s been a long time since I’ve had a sandwich. Well at least a sandwich that didn’t fall apart and end in tears and ruin.

    • Maggie & Elizabeth,

      I grieve with both of you!! I agree with Sheila completely – this situation is not what a healthy, God-glorifying marriage looks like. Still, I know that knowing that doesn’t fix the hurt you are both going through. I want you to know I am praying for you & asking God to rescue and redeem your marriages.

      Pray, pray, pray, pray, dear sisters. Prayer is our greatest tool against the Enemy of our marriages – and don’t be fooled, it is his handiwork you see. So pray over your husbands, over your marriage beds, over your own hearts. Fight the good fight, and please know I have added you to the list of women I pray for often.

      Your sister,
      Annabel
      Annabel recently posted…Theology of sexMy Profile

  16. Hugs to you Maggie. I’m right there with you. Its been almost 4 years, and we’ve only been married for 8. Leaves a girl wondering what’s wrong with her. I guess if I starve to death without this sandwich, who’s gonna care anyhow??

    • I really need to write more about this, because so many people are suffering in these intolerable situations! I’m so sorry, Elizabeth. This ISN’T okay, and I pray that your husband will see that. I encourage you to read this post, too, and to find someone to talk to and perhaps to come alongside both of you.

      • Yeah, I’ve tried that an ended up getting told that “by discussing such personal things with other people, (I) did more damage to the marriage than he would ever do by the issue I was complaining about.” That as the husband, he was the head of the relationship and I had no choice but to submit to him in everything. Oh and as a sidenote, “Its not wrong to ask for help, but you should be careful about what you’re asking for help with b/c some things are just so personal that they should only ever be spoken of between husband and wife.”

        • Elizabeth, that is a complete and utter cop out on his part and is not biblical at all. DO NOT GIVE UP! I know from other comments that you have children. You don’t want to raise them in a household where he is so damaged. For his own GOOD you need to get help. He is misusing the Bible to prevent having to go face to face with God about this. I don’t think you should tell everyone; but keep seeking that one person or couple who can confront him with you. And if you share something with someone, and they think it’s just too big and they don’t know what to do, find someone else. We are not meant to suffer alone; we are not meant to live without healing in this life; we are not meant to hide from the source of healing. If he is doing that, he needs help, not just you. That’s what I would say to that!

  17. Because a sandwich without a tomato is still a sandwich. But marriage without sex? Not marriage.

    Completely agree.

    During the many years of sexual starvation I kept wondering and asking why my wife married me at all. If we’re not going to spend the rest of our lives together as lovers, then she should not have stood in front of God, family and friends and said “I do.”

    Even though our marriage is getting better, I still don’t know why she married me. Apparently sexual desire had nothing to do with it.

    My only conclusion after nearly 20 years of marriage: Humans are weird and we make life, especially marriage, a whole lot more complicated than it needs to be. Should of bought a dog. /sarc.

  18. Between this post and the other one I just read at spice & love about “Emotional Care of a Husband” (loved this and never really had that spin on it) from the same day, I just felt led to post. I had (have) a husband who I THOUGHT was looking at sex as the tomatoes-really maybe more looking at it as the pickles that a sandwich CAN live without. And, to some extent, maybe he is still the tomato guy. But it took a very rough patch in our marriage, from which God restored us beyond measure, for me to understand that it’s often much more than uneven sex drives. It has much more to do with the overall state of the marriage (which we are – as these great blogger ladies have said – led to believe doesn’t matter for men where sex is concerned). Strong, controlling women can turn sex in to (rotten :)) tomatoes for their husbands in no time flat – especially the ones who have to have thier heads in the right place to even go there-and I don’t even mean performance-wise if you know what I’m saying – I just mean to even want to initiate at all. If we compare them to past lovers (shame on us but it happens and is another GREAT reason to encourage our daughters to stay pure), emasculate them about just about anything (their jobs, their roles as fathers, etc), sex becomes ROTTEN tomatoes very quickly. And who wants tomatoes at all on their sandwich when they are rotten? There is a type of man who would rather not even go there because of all the emasculation he has had to deal with from us outside of the bedroom. And shame on those of us (me, me, me) who wouldn’t let their husband be a man outside of the bedroom and then whine about him not going there in the bedroom. It’s like there’s this ONE place where we expect him to step up the plate but other than that, he better do what you say and take all of the disrespect we can hand out. I know that often we go to the disrpectful place because they are unloving. But if you just start doing what your supposed to do before you FEEL like doing it or before he “deserves” it (unbiblical anyway), you can at least see sex become the tomatoes again. Sometimes the bread. If your marriage is already good, it’s probably just worth having a heart to heart with your husband about it. That’s what I do when it starts becoming the tomatoes. I just say, “I’m off…you’ve been busy and we haven’t been getting busy and I’m starting to get snippy and sarcastic and I know it’s because we haven’t been intimate and I just need that glue.”. That’s different than emmasculating him about it… which never gets any man motivated to do anything. I think all the stuff they say about not worrying about how you look naked and whatnot is true – he doesn’t care. It’s not about your looks. But sometimes how you look outside of the bedroom, fully clothed, with your mouth open is more what you need to worry about :(.

    • Wonderful thoughts! Thank you for sharing them. I knew a man who went through what you described, and who basically tuned out from sex. His wife eventually left (she had an affair) and he’s happily remarried and everything is working very well. We do need to watch how we treat our men.

    • Wow, did that strike a nerve. I am going to really ponder on this one. My husband and I have been having problems….I don’t speak disrespectfully, but I know that I withhold my love from him , when I am hurt inside. He tells me he wants me to be aggressive sexually, outside the bedroom, and show interest in him., but so often I don’t because he doesn’t show me love outside the bedroom either. How selfish is that!! I guess if I wait until I feel like it, it may never happen. Maybe I just need to do it, and trust God. Thanks MB, I will definitely be praying about this, and see if this is truly God’s answer. I came to this site completely unexpectedly, maybe this is what God wanted me to see.

  19. AnotherHungryWife says:

    Will you please replace my comment with this one? I’m not so emotional now and would like to do damage control on things I typed too soon after reading.

    Last night I was turned down. Again. He’s just too tired. He says I am a good wife, and we have a beautiful friendship. I’ve been begging for sex every way I know how, and he’s just too tired. When he gets home from work, he gets to chill on the couch till supper is ready, then he gets to nap or watch his shows while I put away the leftovers, wash dishes, clean the kitchen, put the children to bed, nurse the baby, and fold the laundry. Not always, but he’s still “too tired” on the nights that do go like this. I don’t know how to make him less tired. I’m always asking him to “hang out” with me and tell me about his day while I do this. We know about being with one another and enjoying things together. I sent him the article about “Bread or Tomatoes” as a way to start the discussion. We both agree: it hits the nail on the head. For him, it’s tomatoes. For me, it’s bread. After last night, I started spiraling into a depression again. It’s just so crushing in so many ways. At least now I know it’s not that he finds *me* undesirable, it’s sex in general that just isn’t worth it. He says he likes tomatoes, just not enough to miss them if they’re not there, or to go and get them. I feel like I keep putting platefuls in front of him & he says no thanks. This morning, I’m fighting back against depression instead of allowing it to overtake me again. I’ve made some decisions:
    (1) No more pursuing or initiating. The rejection is too painful.
    (2) I’ll always be available for him to satisfy his needs, i.e. I’ll never turn down his advances.
    (3) I’ll nicely say “No, thank you” to his efforts for my orgasm. No matter how hard I try to resist, when I have one, I can’t help but get my hopes up that things will continue on and we’ll have more sex. I can NOT handle the yo-yo effect of the hope and the letdown anymore.
    (4) I’m going to focus more on doing things that make me happy and improve me (hobbies, exercise, etc) rather than play victim and allow this to dictate whether I’m happy.
    (5) I will remind myself often of how grateful I am that he chose me as his “roomie”, and that I get to share life with him, because I truly can’t imagine sharing life with anyone else

    • I don’t think you should stop initiating. It’s tempting. Many of us have been there. But you can’t give up. It could just be the “nail in the coffin” for both of you. It would not be protecting your marriage. He still needs the tomatoes. You do too. Don’t accept him as your “roomie”. It’s not meant to be that way.
      I have two observations. One is that I think that you are maybe doing too much. Men are wired to be needed and your husband doesn’t sound as needed as he should be. I think it would help if you would rely on him more for help. It will build him up more and possibly show up more in the bedroom. Are you affirming him in other areas? as a dad? as a provider? Second, I feel maybe you are putting too much effort/pressure in to the sex stuff (begging). Maybe even talking about it too much with him? I think the begging makes them feel emasculated (speaking from experience). It makes them feel like a failure in that area. See if maybe you can initiate morning sex once a week. And just make it about him. Fuel to start his day. Who is too tired in the morning? Make it 4am if that’s the only time that works. But don’t talk about it. Just reach over and put the tomatoes on the sandwich without asking him if he wants any. Start with fast food sex and work up to gourmet sex. Just my opinions from what I’ve read and lived through in a restored marriage.

  20. This post is so encouraging. I love how you addressed the need to communicate about sex in marriage in a fun, creative, and meaningful way.
    Hannah Williams recently posted…Christmas Change of Plans & The Door, Emmanuel, and FriendMy Profile

  21. Wow! I totally get this. My husband and I have had very open communication from the beginning, but when we were first married we had the hardest time with this issue! My drive was way higher than his, and he just didn’t understand… and of course, it wasn’t his fault, but I was left feeling empty, and like our marriage lacked something. 2 kids later, he’s caught up with me (or I’ve slowed down…) but who knows how long it will stay that way. I’m so glad you posted this, and shared Annabell’s blog! I will be sharing this with my husband, for sure :)

  22. Kellie says:

    I’m like the tomato and my husband is like the bread and I HATE IT I want to be so into making love with my husband it totally consumes me. I gotta change my thoughts which is why he is like the bread and I’m like the tomato…. Are there other woman out there like me??? Please share any feedback

  23. Thank you that you for being out there and having this conversation cause I am like you. I will talk to my husband and see if he concurs with your husband, I have an inkling that he will totally agree.
    Tulisa recently posted…Does Pregnancy Miracle Work? My Detailed ReviewMy Profile

  24. Premature ejaculation
    How to I handle premature ejaculation and no erection but he still wants to reach orgasm. Me lying there unsatisfied

  25. Thank you for the post. This is exactly like my marriage. It’s refreshing to hear that there are other wives out there that have the higher drive. It reminds me that I am not alone. Thanks for speaking out!

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