Reader Question of the Week: Why Isn’t My Husband More Affectionate?

'Questions?' photo (c) 2008, Valerie Everett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Every weekend I like to post a question someone sends in and let you readers have a go at it. This week’s question comes from a reader, who wants to grow closer with her husband:

Is it fair to have ask for and have expectations of our spouse (not referring to the obvious: monogamous, no abuse, love one another, etc.)

Is it fair to ask and then expect your husband to not to look at other women in your presence? My husband is so obvious when he is drooling and seriously cannot seem to stop himself. It has affected my self esteem and I’ve asked him to stop in my presence. We can be in conversation and he has to look away because there is an attractive women. Really?

How about asking/expecting him to share small affectionate acts toward you because you like/need it not because it is his style? I don’t want to keep asking for everything I need/want. It would feel so good to have it freely given. I’m just referring to 1 or 2 times each day.

What about expecting him to take time to call or text you at least 1 time each day to fill each other in? I always have to initiate and it gets old.

Is it fair to ask/expect him to ignore his phone (calls and texts) during dinner or while we are driving in the car together? These are places that I like to share conversation with him. I feel so unimportant when he is on the phone at these times.

I seem to set myself up for disappointment and yet I feel that I’m not asking for too much. When I ask for these things, he can deliver for a few days but that is it. These few things are really important to me and definitely affect how I end up communicating and feeling toward him. Please share thoughts !?!

What do you think? How can she effectively communicate and grow closer with her husband?

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Comments

  1. You absolutely can share your feelings about this with him but then you have to let it go. You just continue being affectionate towards him and texting him for we are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We can’t nag, complain, or manipulate, however, for this is forbidden in Scripture. Continue dwelling on all his good qualities and try not having expectations. No matter how hard you try to get him to be the man you want him to be, you can’t change him. You only build a wall between the two of you which gets thicker and thicker year by year.
    Lori recently posted…Fertility Has An Expiration Date. Careers Don’t!My Profile

  2. I want to address the “looking around” first. You’re right, that is absolutely NOT appropriate behavior for a husband. Unfortunately, society has taught men and women both that it’s okay to look at members of the opposite sex and, as you said, drool over them. Scripture calls it lust, which Jesus tells us is adultery. That being said, you nagging your husband about it will most likely not change the behavior. He has to WANT to change it because it’s going to take a lot of concentrated effort! Sometime when you’re not upset with him and he is willing to listen, tell him how it makes you feel when he ogles other women. Pray for him that he will be willing and open to see the truth of what he’s doing and that he needs to change. If and when he’s willing to change, suggest that he read one of these books: Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, or A Way of Escape by Neil Anderson. (You should read one, too, to help you understand his struggle!)
    As for the other complaints… The level of affection may change once he shifts the focus of his desire from other women to you. And it may not. You’re not alone. My husband and I went through the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman before we got married 14 years ago and he identified “affection” as his primary love language, and even he isn’t good at showing affection to me! I remind him from time to time that a little affection would be nice, but mostly I try to show it to him and pray that he will reciprocate. And texting me during the day? Not going to happen! I think it’s normal for men to zone in on their work and not think about anything else. I know, we think about our husbands ALL THE TIME and it feels like they don’t think about us until they walk through the front door. That’s just the way men are wired. Unfortunately for us wives.
    I do think that if the two of you can work through and conquer your husband’s roaming eyes, many of your other issues will either also be resolved or they will seem much less important. Above all, pray daily for your husband and for your marriage, and let God do the hard work. He wants the best for your marriage, I promise!
    One last comment: I have written several articles on my blog that I think would give you and your husband some insight: A Hard Workin’ Wife, One For the Guys, and The Recipe for Love. I would also suggest So This Is Love parts 1 and 2.
    Angie recently posted…One For the G uys…My Profile

  3. I agree with the other comments, but I would also add that you should try t find out how he feels and expresses love. It may be that he feels love when you do things for him, or give him things. If that is the case he may not feel loved by you. Which would be a HUGE roadblock. I know this can sometimes be the case for my husband and I. In addition to the above comments I would look for ways to show him love, and you may just see his behavior change.

  4. As a husband, I’d be ashamed of myself if I acted like the described husband and I think of myself as the man’s man & hardest worker in every room. That’s not to say “human” won’t kick in once in a while a gal get my attention, but it’s not going to last more than a couple of seconds. As far as calling/texting from work…I work from home so my wife gets 20 “affection moments” a day but when I worked away from home you may need to understand it’s HIGHLY discouraged, like a fireable offense on many jobs men work at to call & text during the day. My wife’s friends email all day long, literally there was close to 100 messages yesterday from the thirteen or so women, I was just telling my wife yesterday that if they worked for me (I run a business) I’d fire them, but apparently there are different expectations on this if you are sitting at a desk all day. I think 1-2 “affection moments” a day is not asking too much but it may be a learned thing for your husband…this really comes unnatural for many men & some women. Mostly I think your husband needs a heart change or maybe only a change of mindset, only you will know. He may love you so much he’s jump in front of a bullet for you, but doesn’t get what his actions are doing to you…that would mean he’d need a change of mindset. However, he could just be selfish & that takes a change of heart (and mind). All you can do is pray, love him like you’d like to be loved and hope that wakes him up!

  5. I should add though, maybe in the husbands’s defense about looking at other women…back for the decade my wife wasn’t there for me sexually I wouldn’t be as obvious as your husband but probably had the same problem. So…you’re off the hook if you are being there sexually for him meeting his needs but in my opinion you are part of the problem if you are not (and we are not supposed to grade sins right? but we do! If you are refusing/not willing & excited partner then in my opinion that a bigger problem than looking at women in public but that’s not to say that isn’t a serious problem & needs to be fixed ASAP)

    • Pioneer…so good to hear a guy weigh in! And you are right-on: we wives need to do more than nag our guys for affection; we need to give, too! My article The Recipe for Love addresses this very issue in a very direct and open way.
      Angie recently posted…The Recipe for LoveMy Profile

  6. Would it help perhaps to tease him lightly about his staring habit? Not all the time – just sometimes when you feel like you can pull it off without sounding like a scold.

    “That doesn’t look like the steak your ordered.”
    “What? Does she have toilet paper on her shoe?”
    “There sure are a lot of female mammals out today.”
    “Oh wait – does that look mean you forgot to turn off the iron?”

    I’d also consider maybe upping your own girl game. No he shouldn’t be staring, but maybe think about dressing a little better when you go out with him. Flirt a little. Do the “Oh, babe, I hope you won’t mind but I realized I forgot to put on my undies today” routine. (Whisper it in his ear while you’re out.)

    When it comes to touch there are multiple ways you can frame it. You can explain it’s how you feel loved. You can simply snuggle up to him on the couch and purr over his muscles. You can explain that regular touching (kisses, stroking/caressing, or whatever) help keep your motor running so to speak and help you be enthusiastic about his advances. (Works for me, but YMMV.)

    Texting at dinner – no good answers I’m afraid. My guy will often pull out his phone and start reading when we’re waiting on our order. The only ways I’ve dealt with it are to pull out my own book or to have a supply of interesting topics of conversation I can engage him in before we head into the restaurant.
    Natalie recently posted…Still tired – still hanging aroundMy Profile

    • Or course, I feel that my husband checks his phone too much, but he is actually pretty good about keeping it put away when we are in a restaurant. Humor can help. Once when he was reading stuff on his phone, I got out my phone and tagged him in a Facebook check-in that said “Using our phones to ignore each other.” He laughed when he read it (and put his phone away).
      Rosemary recently posted…Something Special Today?My Profile

    • No. Just no to coy comments and passive hints and games. You are his wife and the mother of his children (probably). Ogling other women in your presence is extremely disrespectful to you, and a sin — looking with lust at another woman is the same as adultery. You should not try and compete with your husband’s sin ( I forgot my underwear?! Really?). You should not feel apologetic about asking for what is rightfully yours as his wife — respect and minimal attention. I wouldn’t text or be on my phone while eating lunch with my friends, much less my spouse. If I receive a work related call I absolutely must take I explain, excuse myself and take it. Why in the world should your spouse treat you with less courtesy?

      I don’t suggest you nag – rather, tell him once how you feel, and tell him in a manner — words, body language, tone of voice – that lets him know you mean it. This is the way men communicate with each other – straightforward, mean what you say, say what you mean, no guessing or innuendo. if you initiate open and honest dialogue with him, hopefully it will give him a chance to give you feedback. Does he feel ignored, unappreciated, as if you have let yourself go, are not interested in sex, whatever. Maybe none of that applies, and he just thinks it’s totally ok for him to disregard your feelings. Either way, you know where he’s coming from, he knows where you are coming from, and you can begin to work on the problems.

      • Ok, I’m not saying that she shouldn’t clearly state her displeasure at his activities. Other people have said that, so I didn’t think I needed to beat a dead horse. Apparently I did. HOWEVER, once she’s stated her displeasure and confronted his sin she can’t keep nagging him about it. That’s pretty much agreed upon. My suggestion is that there are ways to call attention to his behavior without nagging. Hence the suggestion to tease/gently poke fun in ways that call attention to the behavior without confronting or rebuking him in public. On the other end of the spectrum I loved the suggestion someone made to simply get up and leave. If you’re supposed to be on a date then simply don’t allow yourself to be around his shenanigans. Call a cab. Take a walk. Just get out.

        As for uppping her girl game, I’ll repeat myself here that IF any of his issues are exacerbated by her being sexually unavailable or unwilling to dress attractively then she can help him by being more sexually open. And when I say dress more attractively I mean easy things like wearing a skirt or finding some more flattering jeans. Honestly these are things she should be doing anyway. HOWEVER, this isn’t to say that he’s not killing all desire by his actions and that it could very well be that he’s a boorish fellow with a good wife who deserves a good wallop up-side the head. That could well be the case, but since it’s so hard (practically impossible) to make someone else change it would be heartless of us to not suggest she consider what positive changes she could make that could potentially help the situation.
        Natalie recently posted…Still tired – still hanging aroundMy Profile

  7. On the texting/phone thing- Is he working or is he checking sports scores? While not the ideal, if it is work give him some grace. Many folks who have not worked in a while, or especially before 2008 don’t realize the pressures and new normal of the work environment. You are working harder, longer and you are often entering a battlezone everyday to fight for providing for your family. If he’s working, in his way he trying to love you…even if he’d sometimes be better served to wait until the meal is over. I cannot stress this new normal enough, so if you are a stay at home wive please understand this change and in my opinion it’s going to get worse not better.

    One thing about Natalie’s post, while from your post it doesn’t seem fair to put the ball in your court like she & I did in an earlier post…there is something to if he’s got the best thing in the world going at home why would he look elsewhere (not that there aren’t guys that won’t totally abuse this system). And to be honest, while some of it is about how a woman looks, more of it is about her attitude, the mystery, etc. It always needed to not let things get boring…definetly good to have have him excited because he always knows he’s in for a treat. And let’s be honest, most men are smart enough to realize that they are one of the lucky ones when they have a wife that has this attitude, because most don’t and if they have half a brain they won’t take it for granted and make sure she’s knows she appreciated in attitude, word, and deed.

    • Yeah, I meant for my comment to be taken in the context of the other advice being offered. If she’s being a warm, generous, engaging wife then it’s doubly disturbing that her husband would be drooling over other women, and yet there are men who will do it. On the other hand, it’s at least worth looking at herself to see if she’s acting in ways that attract her husband’s attention. And if that’s partially the case then I think she needs to ask her husband to commit to stating his desires plainly instead of making googly eyes at other women. Unfortunately it seems like it’s easier for some men to be passive aggressive than upfront. Not saying that’s the case, but if he’s making eyes outside of his marriage instead of talking with this wife, then it could be an issue.
      Natalie recently posted…Still tired – still hanging aroundMy Profile

  8. Encourage him to read “Every Man’s Battle” and “Every Man’s Marriage” by Steven Arterburn.

  9. Jesus-in-the-City says:

    Hello!

    I have been in counseling on my own and with my husband, with a Christian counselor, for a few months now. Some things that I am learning there are that it is great to express how what your husband does makes you feel to him in a loving, honest way, from your heart. For example, “baby, I notice you get distracted when an attractive woman walks into the room and when I see that, it makes me feel sad, inadequate and unattractive. It really hurts my heart. ”

    But once you have said that, you have to let it go. That is the hard part. Once you have said, honestly and not in a nagging or whining or chastising way, how you feel, and you know that he knows, you can’t control what he does with that and how he responds. All you can do after that is pray for him and be consistent. If it happens again, bring it up again (also, at a good time, where he can hear you and in a way that is honest and heartfelt).

    Another thing I’ve learned is that in some seasons of marriage, you have to stop relying on your husband to provide your needs and start focusing in on God and Jesus to be able to do that for you. I don’t know if you are Christian, but as a Christian, one thing we have at our disposal is this AMazing God, Savior, Lover of our souls, Father, Wonderful Counselor, and Best Friend, who knows us even better than we know ourselves. The heart need that we have for that validation and love and appreciation will not always be able to be fulfilled by our husband or any other person, but if you learn about God, who He is and what He says about you and the fact that He is ALWAYS there to love on and nurture you with His Word, then you can start to put less pressure on your husband to meet all your needs and put the pressure on someone who is more than capable of doing it, and that is Jesus.

    Lots of women have a lot of marriage issues and I hope you know that you are not alone. Keep praying for your husband and for God to also do a healing and restoring work in your own heart and to heal your marriage and He will be faithful! Most importantly, press into God and pursue a fulfilled, flourishing, lively relationship with Him. You will find He is the one person in life who I’ll NEVER fail or disappoint you!

    God bless!
    Aja

  10. I’d say that the “no-looking” thing is an absolute, 100% no argument sort of thing. It’s inappropriate and it needs to stop.

    The ignoring of the phone during dinner and driving is also pretty important and should be worked on, although there may be times when he needs to be checking on things, depending on his job, etc. If he’s just using it socially, he needs to wean himself away from that.

    Affectionate gestures may or may not happen, especially if it does not come naturally to him. This may be one of the things you can’t change. However, as was pointed out above, if he can control himself to stop looking at other women, his attention may come back to you and nice gestures for you. Working out each others love languages is a good suggestion.

    Personally I would say that the “checking in once/day” during the day *is* too much to expect. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being checked up on – that sounds like you don’t trust him to be doing what he should be doing. If it’s honestly just a matter of seeing how his day is going, that’s what dinner or bedtime conversation is for.

  11. First: the issue of looking around at other women, etc. Of COURSE you have a right to expect him to be faithful, and you even have a right to expect him not to look away every time another woman passes by. That’s part of the marriage vow, to foresake all others and dedicate himself and his attention only to you.

    Second: expecting him to do the other things – showing affection in the ways that are meaningful to you and giving you attention in the ways that are meaningful to you. Yes, you’ve got a right to expect and get that. But remember, he just as much has a right to expect and get regular and sufficient fulfillment of his sexual needs from you. Is he getting that? Be honest. If you can honestly say he is….fine. But if he isn’t, that could be a good part of the reason you aren’t getting what you want and need, and making an effort to make sure he gets what he wants and needs could go a long way towards you getting what you want and need in return. It’s a two-way street.

    • Totally agreed. I used to have a lot of things I felt I needed to “ask/expect” and thinking is this “fair”? etc.
      When my heart changed and I began to give & show genuine love, he changed a lot. I have come a long way in my attitude, and I really don’t ASK for any of this anymore…. through giving I am seeing he reciprocates. Not perfect, but we are experiencing JOY!
      Anonymous recently posted…2 Corinthians 1:3-4My Profile

  12. Outside of the addressed behaviors, I will say that I am shocked about the calls/texting while driving and that it’s not addressed. That’s dangerous behavior, especially where texting is involved. He is risking not only his life, but the life of those in the vehicle and everyone around him.

    The talking on the phone during dinner, maybe it’s a cultural difference. My significant other and I grew up in very different areas of the US. I’m from a small suburb in Appalachian Mountains and he is from NYC. He was used to doing many things at once, constant on the go and would do work on his phone while dining and talking without any thought. I found it a bit rude and he did not get why, so we had a discussion about it and he decided he would not be on his phone while we dine, but I also am aware that many other times his work requires him to use his phone.

    Not saying that is the case here, but I think the best thing would be for the writer to sit down with her spouse and discuss the issues they are having with each other, listening to each other’s view and try to work on a solution that will make both of them happier. I also think it’s vital to not see these things as expectations, but concerns the writer wants to address because they bother her and unless she tells him, he won’t know.

  13. Anonymous Wife says:

    You can let him know how you feel on each issue and pray about it. You can’t make him change, but you don’t have to put up with it, either. Marital or individual counseling could help.

    The looking at other women…tell him how it makes you feel. I f he’s a Christian, you have the Biblical right to remind him of scripture he’s suppose to uphold. If it were me and he was constantly doing this, especially while out, I’d keep “mad money” in my purse. I’d remind him once if I caught him oogling. Second time, I’d call a cab.

    As for dressing up and flirting with him to keep his eyes from wandering, or making sure he’s sexed up enough at home…..bull poopy! Dressing up and flirting with your husband is great…when you do it because you love him and it enhances your intimacy. Being sexually excited and available is perfect because you ought to be in your marriage. BUT…BIG BUT…don’t do it because you think you have to compete for his attention. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO AND SHOULD NOT HAVE TO COMPETE FOR YOUR HUSBAND’S ATTENTION!! You are NOT responsible for his inappropriate actions. You are responsible for being the wife God called you to be but it is a BIG MISTAKE for ANYONE to say or assume that so long as you’re doing “your part,” he should be more likely to do his. He ought to do his regardless, but AGAIN you are NOT responsible for his actions…only yours.

    There are things I would love my husband to do more because they make me feel more loved by him, but they are not his forte…not his love language. We cannot change our husbands. What we wives can do is do unto him as we would like him to do unto us. To encourage him when he does hit the target, even if it isn’t a bull’s eye. To grow in our friendship (thanks, Sheila). To find affection in his language. For example, my husband isn’t very good with words, but I’m a words of affirmation woman. He’s an acts of service guy, so I have to remind myself that when he comes home from work with a bag of farm fresh peaches from a farm stand he stopped by on the way home and gives them to me, that’s his way. Again, pray. I prayed a simple request that I really needed to hear my husband tell me that I’m beautiful. It took a month or so, but he began to say so and it touched me so much.

    I agree that some men get zoned into work so much they really don’t think about home life during that time. There are also company rules and such. Some people don’t want to feel like they’re being checked on. However, I don’t think it is unreasonable to want contact at least once a day during the work day to reconnect. However, this may not be his thing. On the other hand, there’s nothing saying it’s wrong for YOU to send him a quick text or ask him when it is a good time to call him. Let him know ahead of time. You don’t want his phone chirping while he’s in a meeting.

    I agree with other posters about being on the phone during dinner or in the car (assuming you’re driving and he’s in the passenger seat).

    Perhaps you could ask him to carve out time for uninterrupted conversation with you. There are times hubby gets lots of phone calls and texts from coworkers and I feel left out. I’ve been tempted to send him a cute, cheeky text to remind him of me.

    Otherwise, you need to work on you and make sure you don’t fall into low self esteem and low confidence. Go to God with all of this and remember He fills us up, not our husbands. Our husbands are human and can often fail us. Keep your eyes on the Lord first and foremost.

    • I agree that when we enter marriage we’ve essentially signed a no-compete contract. I’m not looking for a better man, and he’s not looking for a better woman. However, I think it’s a little off base to say that we never have to compete for attention in marriage. When my husband initiates sex with me he’s asking me to put our relationship ahead of whatever busy-ness and distractions have been consuming my head all day. This is something I’ll do because I love him, but because he loves me he’ll do his best to be attractive enough that my response is free and unforced. By the same token he is obligated to love and provide for me, but I do my best to make that obligation light by being an agreeable, thrifty, attractive woman to be around. Part of loving each other is doing what it takes to keep attraction levels high – exercise, loving/respectful language, dressing well, being interested in the other person, etc.
      Natalie recently posted…Still tired – still hanging aroundMy Profile

    • Anonymous wife,
      So I understand it then, and please as I’m being sincere here, husbands are to compete for our wives emotional needs but you aren’t to compete for our visual/sexual ones? Sure he SUPPOSED to not look. I’m not trying to give the guy a free ticket to look and act the way he is, but you do not understand how men are wired if you think he’s not going to if she’s not competing for him. I’m not trying to be bull headed or mean…I’m trying to help you and every wife on here. For example, Anonymous 4 or 5 messages up, kind of gets it…but doesn’t realize the first thing in her message GREATLY effects the second.

      I love my wife more than ANYTHING. She’s my world. I think the world of her and would do anything for her…and please don’t laugh at me as I’ve counseled and spoke with so many men on this, I’m not alone. If she’s not competing and available at home, it doesn’t matter how much he loves her it’s going to be a fight to the absolute death and one he will lose a majority of the time to not look. For ten plus years she wasn’t (my wife)…she would rarely say no but often told me she’d rather be doing anything else with both words and actions and I struggled greatly with looking. No matter how hard I tried or prayed. It’s buried that deep in our wiring. Once my lovely wife had a change of heart and mind on this…amazingly it’s 1% of what it used to be this problem I had. Gals may mean well, like Sheila means well, but let me tell you it would be a cold day in you know what for her to put up a picture of her daughter in a swimsuit (even a modest one by today’s standards) on the internet if she had ever spent one day inside a man’s body and mind. Sorry Sheila, I know that’s a below the belt hit…not trying to be mean or cruel (or perverted) but make a true honest BIG point. Thank the Lord I’m not where I was a few years ago before my wife’s attitude change, and could scroll right down, but I can guarantee there are men that visit this site who are struggling.
      You wives don’t realize how much influence you have over us in this department. We always say you can’t change your spouse, and it’s true, but you can have SO MUCH influence. Doesn’t mean it will be immediate and it doesn’t mean we don’t need to communicate because we do, she needs to tell him this hurts her deeply but at the end of they day she doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on if she isn’t holding up her end of the deal. And I get that I will never know how much it hurts because I’ve never spent a day inside a women’s mind/body…not trying to cast blame, more just trying to pass on a little bit of knowledge to help from the other side. Wouldn’t marriage be easier if we could understand better where the other sex is coming from? Spent a day in their shoes?

      • Pioneer,

        WOW!! That is powerful! I do believe what you say is absolutely true, because I’ve seen it so many times. We wives are so quick to judge our husbands, but are not as quick to make sure we’re not part of the problem. My husband and I have had 4 kids in 4 years, and I’ll admit, more times than not, I reject his advances. Not verbally, but with my body language and eyes; and my husband notices it, BIG TIME!

        So, thank you; for having the courage to say what you said…on a forum of mostly wives! =)
        Laura recently posted…Thoughts on FoodMy Profile

      • What Pioneer said.

        Ladies, you have no idea how big a struggle this is for men every day.

        What I have found is this: when my wife is an affectionate, enthusiastic, available lover, it is as though other women don’t exist. But when she is distant and sexually unavailable, suddenly the world is awash in visual distractions. And it only takes one or two rejections to get me there. The change happens scary fast.

        So yeah, ladies, you do, to a certain extent, have to compete for our attention everyday. But don’t get too stressed out about it because it is an easy competition to win, especially if you have the right attitude! ;)

        At this point, what you need to do is sit down with him in a relaxed environment and talk to him about this issue. Ask if he is sexually satisfied. If he’s not, ask what you can do to improve that area of your marriage. Ask about his sexual fantasies. Maybe you are there for him with regular sex, but he wants to spice things up and is afraid of how you will respond, so he looks/thinks about others.

        If he is sexually satisfied, then gently explore why he checks out other women. It is possible that he has done this for so long that he isn’t even aware he is doing it. Let him know how it makes you feel, but don’t use a tone of voice that will make him feel like a pile of burning coals is being dumped on his head.

        Ask if there is something you can do when you’re with him to help him notice and stop this behavior. Perhaps holding hands while walking and if his eyes drift you can give a little squeeze to get him to refocus. In other words, offer to help, don’t just criticize.

        As for calling/texting at work. Don’t.

        I love my wife, but sometimes when she calls me at work, I get highly annoyed. I’m in management. I have a gazillion things to get done everyday. I am very focused on the tasks at hand. I do not have the time to chitchat about how my day is going. And I can not afford to have my employees seeing me taking personal calls during the day. It is unprofessional and makes it very difficult to lead by example. I’ll talk about my day all she wants when I get home, but not before. When personal calls do happen, we keep them very short and to the point, i.e. “please pick up some milk on your way home”.

        Also, personal calls, no matter how short, always interrupt my train of thought thus requiring me to reboot my brain back in to work mode.

        • 26 year wife says:

          Thank you for responding. I really appreciate your insight and accuracy in understanding my situation. I do think looking at other women is just a bad habit (he did it on our very 1st date 26 years ago) and that he isn’t even aware he is doing it, but I have expressed that it hurts my feelings, makes me feel like I’m not enough and asked him to not do it in my presence because I find it disrespectful. It can be pretty bad on the beach or in environment where there are many attractive women. My husband and I are intimate, see a Christian marriage counselor and we are both working to reconnect on a deeper level. The problem is he quickly becomes complacent in his commitment to reconnect, reverts right back to old habits and I truly am feeling emotionally starved. He is not affectionate except for the standard kiss when leaving, he doesn’t talk a lot and he doesn’t read. We work for ourselves, have our own company. He chooses to work a lot. I feel like he stays busy in order to not connect/avoid. I know that I have criticized him for things over the years and I know that this has pushed him away, but he truly is so not tuned in to anyone but himself. I don’t need a lot but now that our kids are grown (youngest leaving for college next year), I feel like there is nothing special that we share. He seems happy as long as I don’t nag, but I feel so unspecial and under-loved. I am not normally needy but he did connect with another woman emotionally (texting) a few months ago so I am struggling with gaining my own esteem back. We talked about divorce after this incident and I sometimes still think about taking this action, but we do both love each other and decided to try to reconnect. It doesn’t seem that this level of disconnect is normal but when I was raising 3 kids and working in our business, I was too busy to even notice. Now I feel like I carry the relationship. I am a practicing growing Christian, he says he believes but practices only by praying before bed (no church, no bible, no relationship with God). His idol is money and working out.

      • Hmm, this sounds like a chicken and egg situation. Maybe the wife is not sexually on fire because outside the bedroom she watches her husband ogle other women, interact with his smartphone instead of her when they’re driving or out to dinner, and generally treat her with a lack of respect, simple affection, or basic courtesy. If I understand your argument about looking at other women, it’s along the lines of if a man isn’t completely sexually satisfied by his wife, he is to be excused from staring at other women right in front of her (which is the original poster’s situation). So she has to try to earn basic courtesy and respect from her husband by “competing” sexually for him. That is not a sacramental or biblical view of marriage.

  14. I would go to your pastor or an elder/deacon in your church. Your husband obviously has a heart issue with lust; and if he is unwilling to change after you have asked him, you need to go to someone else (Matthew 18). I also recommend reading “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace….especially the chapter(s) on how to submissively, yet confidently correct your husband when he is in sin, and in no hurry to repent.

    Have you actually sat down and had a heart-to-heart with your husband, telling him exactly how/why you feel the way you feel? My husband and I had a big heart-to-heart some months ago…it was painful, so, so very painful; but in the end, it brought us closer. (After I had a HUGE, terrifying conversation with my MIL…LOL)

    If you don’t feel that your pastor, elder/deacon is the path you want to go; maybe go to your father-in-law or your own father and ask him to talk with your husband.

    Constantly pray for your husband to repent. Lean on Him for all things, and know that your worth is found in the Lord.

  15. Lovely lady who wrote the post, I don’t know what advice I would give you besides not nagging and really keeping up in prayer. We can go for what seems like forever without affection. Sure, i give him plenty of excuses, but it’s just not happening.

    Look your best, give your best, and the rest is up to him and God. You will be accountable to God for your end of things, not his (hubby’s).

    And for those men who say that she needs to be competing for his attention/affection…. I’d like you to find a verse that says that in the Bible and cite it on here.

    Proverbs 5:18-19 says to the man, that you are to rejoice in the wife of your youth, may your wife’s breasts satisfy you always. It doesn’t say, may your 20s year old wife, or your 30s… Dudes, he was talking to Abrahamian men. So you should be finding satisfaction in your wife’s breasts whether they’re perky, or gravity done taken a toll (I don’t really speak like that, but you oughta get the point). YOU actively find enjoyment in your wife’s breasts. Why? Why give that commandment? Because life does take its toll on a woman’s body. Children. Age. Gravity. All of these are factors that make her body change over time.

    How dare you for thinking that you get to have license because things don’t look the same as when you met.

    Does that mean a wife should “let herself go?” No. But she can only do her best. She can only be her best. Her best isn’t necessarily the same as those perky desperate housewives on tv, but then again, she’s also (probably) not trying to kill you… so you know, perhaps you can be a little more gracious. I’m guessing you also haven’t signed her up for a personal trainer and nutritionist.

    Anyway… soap box… stepping down.

    • RV,
      Since I am the only man who posted it must be directed at me? I think you need to go back and re-read my posts. Nowhere in there did I speak about competing for him as in looking like “the housewives”. What I did say is it has everything to do about your attitude. I’m guessing this hit a nerve, but please go back and re-read my posts as I did not even come close to saying what you think I said. Competing does not mean you have to look like a fit 20 year old. It has everything to do with being available, exciting, engaged, pursuing him some also, and maybe looking YOUR best (and letting him see you & I mean without clothes!). We have different definitions of “competing”…imagine that!

      I think part of the reason guys look at “hot” girls is the are usually the ones showing off what they have, and have that kind of attitude. Yes I good pair of assets still will get a guys attention (even today, I’m going to notice them but I’m not pondering/lusting on them…if you don’t want your guy to even notice them put a bullet in his head as this side of the grave that is going to happen), but if he has a wife who maybe doesn’t have by the worlds definition of the best assets but she’s into him and available to him…most are going with the wife that’s crazy for him, and not the supermodel. Again, disclaimer…there are men who are both scumbags and also those who will abuse this. However, most of us aren’t stupid and know if we are the lucky husband with the wife who gets it…we don’t want to mess that up!

    • RV,

      It is not a competition of assets, it is a competition of attitude.

      A wife’s sex-positive attitude will win the day 99.99% of the time.

      So, in reality, there isn’t really a competition at all, if the wife knows what she is doing.

      • Mark,
        I’ll be honest, it will win 99% of the time with 75% of men. The other 25%….I don’t know. I don’t want to vouch for something that isn’t true…not to say they can’t change though.

      • Pioneer and Mark, both of your posts boil down to the same thing: we’re men, we like to look at women, boys will be boys and will look with lust at women not our wives even in front of our wives if we aren’t completely sexually satisfied. If our wives want us not to look at other women with lust and to treat them with affection and respect they have to earn it by being sexually adventurous and available.

        Both of you have read the original poster’s comments. I have to ask you – do you really expect her to be sexually available to her husband when he treats her like this outside the bedroom? Because honestly, if I were the original poster, and my husband treated me like that day in and day out, I wouldn’t be sexually available to him. I would feel completely used, and having sex with him would be painful – emotionally, spiritually and possibly physically. For a woman, letting a man inside her body is an act of supreme trust and even submission. How is that supposed to happen if there isn’t mutual respect, trust and affection? ( I know it does happen — but in a way that is contrary to what God intended and unhealthy).

        I have to tell you, this thread has made me even more insanely appreciative of my wonderful husband. We’ve been married 26 years. We have been through ups and downs, times of really hot sex and sexual dry spells where we only made love once a week, times of deep intimacy and connection and times where I felt I was married to a stranger and I’m sure he did, too. It’s called marriage. Never ONCE has he ogled another woman in front of me or suggested that he doesn’t have to honor his vows unless I earn them.

        • I won’t speak for Mark, but for me, what I am saying is it doesn’t matter HOW much I love my wife & I love her greatly & would gladly lay down my life for her but if she’s not available sexually (positive, willing & ready & excited to go) than it does not matter how much I love her…yes, my eyes will wander and look. Am I proud of that? No, but I also know that I’ve been considered a highly godly man by many folks & that as I’ve been around thousands of Christian men, my walk is stronger than most and I also know what they have told me. I know that I fought the good fight with every physical and spiritual tool I had but with only minimal success until my wife woke up and got it. So no, I’m not trying to give boys permission to be boys. What I am doing is opening up and being terribly vulnerable to a bunch of Christian women on the internet with nothing to gain on my end because I want them to understand. Your husband my be one of the rare ones & then again you may just not understand that it is a battle for him. The third option is that you’ve been “sex positive” enough through your marriage that it has never been a problem. But I don’t think you are right to counsel women just expect him to love you and if you say it in a strong enough voice he’ll know you mean it. I agree this can be the chicken and the egg thing, but you are assuming an aweful lot on the wives part that she is indeed sex positive….even if she “thinks” she is. A lot of Christian women don’t understand what truly sex positive is…maybe that’s another post?!

          • Pioneer, what I counseled the poster was not to be coy or cute or tease her husband about his staring at other women. She described him “practically drooling” at women and looking away from her to do so. I stand by that advice. What he is doing is a sin, is damaging their marriage and is very disrespectful to her. This is a serious situation and needs to be addressed strongly and seriously. If you recall, I suggested a discussion between the two of them to get to the root of the problem.

            You said I expect him to love her, without knowing if she’s “sex positive.” I think you probably didn’t mean this exactly as it came across, because of course a man is expected to love his wife and she him, regardless of sex positivity. I think you’re referring to him showing or demonstrating love. If the poster were just talking about him not texting her during the work day or not being as affectionate as she would like, I would agree with you. But what she is describing with the other women and him ignoring her at meals to text on his phone gives it a whole different flavor and shows a dynamic of a lack of respect and basic courtesy to his wife.

            And again, is a wife expected to be “sex positive” under the circumstances in the original post? You didn’t address this. To be blunt, a woman having sex with a husband who dismisses her, ignores her and disrespects her until he wants sex and then expects her to turn it on and become a sex kitten probably knows how being a prostitute feels.

          • D,
            I think we are looking at this at and putting the husband and the wife on opposite end of the spectrum. I think what I am trying to communicate to you & these other women is that if she is not sex positive, that she is having/doing unto him the same damage that you feel he is doing to her by his actions of looking at other women & not meeting her emotional needs (being courteous during meals). I don’t think either of us is wrong but we are seeing this from black and white, male and female perspectives, where marriage is a lot more grey! What I am saying is yes, a wife not being sex positive for years and years will unfortunately lead to this behavior in men. That’s not right, we are to be the leaders and not react negative for negative but given along enough time frame we are all human. I know you can feel the hurt of what this woman is going thru being a female and what I am saying is you have no idea the hurt, pressure, turmoil, a million emotions that build up in a man when he doesn’t have his woman to love and who is a loving back. And again, there are men (and women) who will abuse this one both sides, no?

          • Pioneer, I think we are also giving different emphasis to the ogling of the other women. You discussed your struggles with this, which involved you being aware of the tendency, looking away quickly, and trying not to do it. I appreciate your struggle, but it doesn’t sound like what you did is very similar to the OP’s husband. From what she describes he isn’t fighting the tendency, he’s reveling in it. He’s not appreciating a pretty woman, he’s lusting after her and doesn’t care that his wife has explained to him how badly it makes her feel.

            As you know, I think my husband’s the best, but he appreciates beautiful women. I’m sure he notices them, but he does it so subtly I’ve never been aware of it. He also wouldn’t stare lustfully at them – not just because of me, but because it would be disrespectful to them. He truly believes in the inherent dignity of every person and just wouldn’t do that.

            You’re right, I can’t really appreciate how a man feels when his wife isn’t sexually responsive. I will say that during the times when my husband and I have struggled with our relationship or been emotionally distant with each other, my sex drive disappeared. I would continue to have sex at least once a week, but it was emotionally painful because the intimacy of the act was not true. I’m sure my husband noticed a lack of enthusiasm during these times. I don’t know that I would advise other women to do this, but I consciously made the decision to do this for our marriage, and trusting that our marriage would endure and get better. It always did.

          • I agree with much of what you are saying. What you said about me and my struggle is true now that she’s “sex positive”…I was not able to do so before she was. No matter how hard I tried. I agree that it should not happen either way. But to counter I don’t feel like you are putting nearly enough weight/emphasis behind being having the right attitude about sex if indeed this isn’t the case in their marriage. I truly understand what you are saying about not oogling/lusting and I agree with you. What I am saying, is it’s a losing battle unless your wife is on your side and is sex positive (that is for a majority of men). I’m not trying to excuse what he is doing. What I am trying to do is help her to help him beat it.

            I’m glad you and your husband are good. I’m glad he doesn’t have this problem…praise God! However, understand that for me & a great many men your once a week sacrifice would be life support levels, especially with what you said in your own words your lack of enthusiasm. I would literally be dying. I’m not trying to battle with you, or put you down, or anything…and again I have nothing to gain or any agenda except to help Christian wives understand what sex means to their husband’s and if their marriage is suffering I have no problem you calling him to the table on his lusting after other women but you had better be prepared with a heart that isn’t about what your view as sex as women should be and he needs to conform to you, you’ve got to have an open heart as well and meet his needs & live up to your end of scripture. I can guarntuee you for everytime a women quotes Matthew’s “do not lust…it’s the same as adultery” they are quoting “do not withhold” about 1/25th of the amount. I have no problem calling men to the table on the first, please don’t be afraid to call women to the table on the second (and not to women’s idea of what the second looks like). And please understand one effects the other in most cases…that’s all I’m saying!

          • So you’re not responsible for your roving eyes as long as your wife isn’t being “sex positive?” I’d like to see you back that up with scripture. YOU are responsible for your actions independent of what your wife does or doesn’t do. Granted, wives have responsibility too, also independent of a husband’s attentions or lack thereof. However, as a wife who has been relegated to the sidelines for years because her husband would rather watch hours of tv, do hobbies or anything else rather than pay his wife the attention she needs, some men make it almost impossible for their wives to respond positively or be sexually proactive. It’s deeply degrading and psychologically damaging to be expected to be always ‘ready and willing’ when you aren’t loved for who you are, not just for what you readily give out. Read Angie’s post tagged above (2nd response, “One for the Guys.”) It has some good advice for the guys who, in my opinion, often aren’t looking to learn how to better love their wives as much as they’re looking to learn how to get their wives to be “sex positive” toward them. Love your wife, really love HER and not just sexually and I think you’d find a woman who wants to please her man in all areas. In Ephesians 5 Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Jesus didn’t make excuses or not love us if we didn’t love Him first or in return or because we weren’t “passion positive” toward him.

          • Both of you have read the original poster’s comments.

            Yes, I have read the email. Unfortunately, we only have her side of the story.

            What I am trying to do with my comments is make all of the women here aware that there are two sides to every story. While you may want to criticize the husband’s behavior, and it deserves criticism if the email is an accurate portrayal, offering the letter writer ideas on how to fix her husband may not be helpful at all if her behavior is the root cause and/or a contributing factor to her husband’s behavior.

            In other words, before everyone heaps scorn upon the husband, let’s be sure the letter writer isn’t sexually starving her husband, which is a tremendously effective way to develop bad habits in a spouse.

            Put another way, yes this is a chicken vs egg thing and since we don’t know which one came first in their relationship, the behaviors of both spouses need to be addressed to fix the problem. And since most women visiting/commenting on this blog truly do not understand the male sex drive, we few men do our best to educate you on the subject.

            Their relationship is dysfunctional, in all likelihood, they both contributed to the dysfunction, so they both need to fix it.

          • Pioneer, ultimately you and I have to agree to disagree. You think a woman who is dismissed, disregarded and disrespected by her husband needs to be “sex positive” before she can expect him to treat her with respect or common courtesy. I now understand that by sex positive, you mean she has to enthusiastically participate in frequent sex with the man who won’t even have an uninterrupted conversation with her over dinner or not show her how much more attractive he finds other women.

            If she doesn’t do this, this man is devastated. His feelings are hurt. He feels demoralized. Well, if

          • D,
            I think you are right, we will have to agree to disagree for I strongly believe “you can’t pull the speck of sawdust of his eye if you have a log in your own”. If this man was my friend or in my church or in my family I’d politely chew him out & do anything I could to help him change his behavior. His actions are unacceptable as I’ve stated numerous times. What I can’t understand is why her actions (if indeed they are, again getting half the story) you seem to think have no bearing on it. You seem to put on all the weight on “do not lust” and none on “do not deprive each other”. Going back a few posts you speak about how during the bad times in your marriage you’d sacrifice and have sex with your husband once a week. Do you not see the hypocrisy in this? You basically told your husband I won’t do what you need until you give me what I need. Or I’ll dole it out in small doses. You called it an act of submission, and yet you held the keys & control. In other words I won’t love you until I’m loved (and in my way)….sorry not trying to be harsh on you, but it seems a common attitude these days. When the Christian thing to do would of been to even of had more sex with your husband, afterall your marriage was in a bad place and needed healing…but it sounds an aweful like the healing was only to come on your end and when he shaped up and was a good boy again you’d give him what he needed (after all many bad places in marriage happen not because one spouse is sinning, but because we don’t understand each other). It sounds a little one sided. It sounds a little controlling. Look if this guy did this from day one the marriage, well quite frankly he needs a good knock upside the head but if this is something that developed over the years and she is playing a part in it…that quite a different story!

          • First of all, you assume this women is committing the sin of deprivation at all. You go through this “list” of things a woman needs to do to keep her man’s eye from wandering: have sex a lot. Be “adventurous”. What is adventurous? What if she’s not adventurous enough? It feels very much like a hostage situation. “You do this, this, and this, and I will keep my eyes in my head. I won’t cheat. I won’t use porn”. What if women don’t do it right? At what point is a man justified in indulging his lusts? At what point is sin understandable? If the wife (or husband in my case) will have sex 3 times a week but not 5, are the man’s eyes going to wander because his wife is depriving him? At what point is it reasonable for a spouse to expect some self-control?

          • I agree with you, d. I’ve found this input from the men here to be dismissive. As a sex-positive wife (I’m the higher drive wife, so I *do* know what “sex-positive” means, and I also know what it’s like to be sexually rejected over and over again), I am frankly appalled at the idea that a wife that is treated like what is described above should swallow it all and be enthusiastic in bed. No sir, no way. I would feel cheap and violated, like I was only an outlet for the women that made him hot in the first place. It takes my breath away to even think about it. This would go as well for porn! It is cheating. There is no excuse for it. None. The end.

          • Where are you reading we aren’t responsible…I think I’ve stated a dozen times his actions are wrong and gone as far as saying he deserves a knock up side the head! All we’ve said is that as men, if you’re wife isn’t doing her job, it makes this a very, very difficult thing for us to beat. That’s it! As far as a husband learning to love his wife, you are absolutely right, but I can tell you from my own experience I “loved” my wife every way possible, followed every piece of advice doled out on this site and dozen others (and books) for over a decade & you know what it didn’t make a bit of difference. My wife took a dozen years to become “sex positive”… And she would gladly admit this to you (and I can name a dozen other marriages I know of that this is also the case) I’m sorry I get the hurt you feel from this husbands actions. I loved as much as any man could “love her as Christ loved the Church”…I’m exassperated, really. ALL WE ARE SAYING IS WOMEN NEEDS TO MAKE SURE SHE’S PART OF THE SOLUTION AND NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM. How is this being dismissive?

            Sorry for a dozen posts…I think I’ve said everything I can say. I will pray God will open your eyes and hearts to not just see his responsiblty but hers as I in no way want to take away his responsiblity and sin. If anything these responses today just confirm in my mind what I am saying. We both (mark & I) have said “IF” as if we only have her side of the story but what has been done to her is the only thing that matters & not the reverse. These last couple posts seem like It only matters if the woman is hurt sexually/emotionally and not if the man is. Even in the post above, read it. We have to learn/teach/love her to be sex positive to us…nothing is freely given just because you love us? It’s just jump through every hoop? You want unconditional love, just don’t want to give it?

            If this is as one sided as the oringal poster states it, then absolutely you are right, but you are making huge assumptions here and you’ve had two guys that state they love their wife more than anything and that if you want your husband to win this battle you have to be on his team, meeting his needs, not just giving what you want to or are comfortable with…. Because if not that attitude is just as selfish and sinful as the husband in this post!

          • I can sense your exasperation, and must admit to feeling the same. Believe me when I say women are VERY aware of how men like to look at women. In one of your posts above you said that the woman’s hypothetical denying her husband sex is “even worse” than his ogling other women. I don’t know how you get to decide whose sin is worse (again, this is just assuming the wife denies sex. An assumption that you seem to operate on). I can guarantee you most women would not feel he way you do. You don’t get to decide who has the bigger problem. If a woman’s denial of sex can be the cause of her husband’s boorish behavior, then a man’s boorish behavior can be the cause of a woman’s denial of sex.
            Bottom line is love does not seek its own. We should be seeking in marriage to please the other spouse, in whatever form that takes. No spouses needs are greater than the other, and no spouse’s sin can be blamed on the other ( sounds a lot like “the serpent made me! The wife you gave me made me!”). We will all answer for our own sins, so it’s time to own them.

          • I think you didn’t read my post to which you responded. I don’t have a problem with sex. I am the higher drive spouse.
            Also, there have been men on this site recently who have said they have “loved their wives like Christ loved the church” and on the same post commented that they used porn when their wife did not respond. This is NOT loving a wife like Christ loves the church. So I guess if we’re going to assume this wife is not giving her husband the sex he needs, or is not adventurous enough, or may *think* she is sex positive, but actually isnt, and that is why he is looking at other women, we should also assume those men who say they’ve done their part are, in actuality, looking at porn (drive killer in wives!), or not loving her the way she wants to be loved. With these men we don’t have the whole story. So assuming he is not doing his part is a safe bet, right?

            After all this, I genuinely hope the original emailer is not, in fact, denying her husband sex, or even rejecting him a lot. Ma’am, take it from a higher drive wife, it hurts. It makes you question everything about your desirability. Makes you wonder what’s wrong with you. So if you are doing that? You’ve got to find a way to give to him in that way. Your hurt meter is probably pegged right now, but maybe talk to him (again!) about this and ask if you can both come closer to each other by giving each other what you need. God wants your marriage to thrive, so with him nothing is impossible.

          • Stephanie,
            My last post so bear with me…I agree with so much of what you are saying & I have a feeling you’ve been hurt by this personally so please re-read my posts. I can’t tell you how many countless times I’ve said this guy is wrong. Here is my thing okay….please try to follow. If this guy was always like this, would she have married him? Probably not. So let’s assume this is an after marriage thing…sound reasonable? What makes a man take up this habit after marriage? Could he be a jerk and selfish that managed to put off the bad behavior until after the vows were read? Yes, if so I’m the first to tell him how wrong he his and how he is hurting his wife? But isn’t it just as likely, that something is causing this? Whether it’s oogling women in public, looking at porn, or having an affair- a woman’s actions in the marriage bed are going to have a great effect on what the man does. He might be able to hold out for years…but eventually he going to fall even if he loves his wife more than anything. Because even if we are trying to love our wife as Christ loved the church, we are still human, you can’t expect us not to be. Eventually this is going to happen no matter how hard we try and love our wife, because let’s face it…we are men! This is my point. Is he still sinning, yes. Is he wrong, yes. But is she contributing to this yes, greatly. My wife will tell you my heart. I’m not trying to tell you right and wrong…I’m trying to tell you the reality of the situation. Okay going back to the greater sin…I probably misspoke & did not communicate what I meant effectively. Okay the husband is loving his wife, doing the best he can…over a period of years (YEARS!) and still it is not being returned in the way he feels loved (sex). He is giving her first opportunity and the second and the third and the ten thousandth…and still nothing. He’s trying to be faithful over a long period of time, but she is not be faithful to their marriage vows…not by cheating with someone else…but by cheating with no one, by cheating him. And I can appreciate you being a high drive spouse and you kind of get it, but it’s not about “desiriblity” that’s 1/10 of what it feels like to a man to be rejected, refused, sneered at, eye rolls, etc. etc over a long period of time. Not trying to say it doesn’t hurt you. It would hurt me if my wife didn’t like talking to me but it’s going to hurt you way more if your husband doesn’t like talking to you as you are a woman. So while I think you kind of get it, you don’t fully, okay? We aren’t trying to dismiss the hurt he’s doing to his wife, but is it possible that if this he has been turned down for 5,10,15 years…are you really telling me you don’t expect to see some outward behavior that reflects his actions in some way? That doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t excuse it, but it does explain it and it does need to be corrected if he has any chance of stopping this behavior. We are not robots. We are people, men, wired for sex with our wives and when that is repeatedly thrown back in our faces please understand that the results probably won’t be pretty.

          • I cannot respond to you directly, Pioneer, but I want to say that I think most of the women here enjoy getting the male perspective. So thank you for being here to do that.

            If I may humbly submit–your tone throughout this thread has been dismissive. You asked me to “please follow” as if I am not able to do that. You said that I “just don’t get it” when it comes to being the rejected spouse, which is the epitome of dismissive. The fact that I have never been a man does not mean I do not feel that pain just as much as a rejected man. And how would you know otherwise? You have said a wife’s rejection is “worse than” a husband’s roving eye. You come across as superior. Men’s needs trump women’s (neither is the case!).

            If the question is “if she is rejecting him over and over, what does she expect?”, it is not what SHE expects that counts, ultimately. What counts is what God expects. Does God, the creator of men, women, and marriage, give the man an out for his behavior? Nope. How about a woman who has an emotional affair because her husband never talks to her? Nope. Ultimately we have made these vows to God. It is to him that we hav the commitment to submit to HIS expectations in our marriages.

        • …your posts boil down to the same thing: we’re men, we like to look at women, boys will be boys…

          Nonsense.

          We are simply trying to make the letter writer (and other women) aware that her husband behaves a certain way for a reason. Her job is to do a bit of self-reflection to insure that her behavior is not one of, or the main reason for, his behavior.

          Once she has identified and/or eliminated her own attitudes and behaviors as contributing factors, then she can move on to other causes and address those appropriately.

          Maybe he checks out other women because he is sexually starved. Maybe he does it as a result of sin issues. Maybe he does it out of habit and doesn’t realize what he is doing or when he is doing it. Maybe his wife has gained 200 pounds and is no longer sexually appealing. Or maybe the letter writer is very insecure and her husband is merely glancing at other women but she interprets it as ogling and drooling. Or maybe the husband is simply a jerk.

          Since we only have the email to go on, we need to cover all bases, not just rush to affirm the letter writer because she is a woman in need.

          When it comes to fixing a marriage, no one gets a free pass.

          • How does one “make” someone sin, exactly?

          • You don’t make another person sin, but it is very easy to create an environment that causes people to sin (or “to stumble” if we want to use the Biblical term).

            And that is the whole point of what we two men have been trying to communicate. The husband acts this way for a reason, identify the reason and you will have found the key to solving the problem.

            Ignore the cause, stand there with your arms crossed, tapping your foot, looking down your nose at him while saying “you shouldn’t be doing that, it is disrespectful” won’t change a thing. Doing so may fill your heart with moral righteousness and convince your mind that you are right and he is wrong, but it won’t change the man’s behavior.

            In short, all I’m saying is put emotions aside, approach the problem with a bit of objectivity (don’t immediately take her side when we only have her version of the story), and logically work through all the possible reasons for such behavior. If you truly want to help the letter writer solve the problem, then you have to consider the possibility that her actions may be part of the problem, too.

            As men who have struggled in this area, we provided our lives as personal examples of how wives can create an environment that makes it very difficult not to engage in the behavior the letter writer is complaining about. Our personal experiences may or may not be relevant to the situation at hand, but they may be helpful, so we shared.

          • For the record, I think I was being as objective as you were. ;)

            i think it was absolutely appropriate to ask “is he being sexually fulfilled?” because she did ask for advice and it’s only logical to look at it from all angles. I think where it turns into hurtful territory, however, is when you guys started just operating on the assumption that the woman was doing this. You kept saying “if” but your posts (to me. I’m one person) did not come across as if you believed it could be otherwise. You went through all kinds of other things: “is she fat?’ “is she overreacting?”. As a woman I can tell you to come to someone with a deep hurt and ask if I am expecting too much, only to have it be assumed that I must be an enormous, hysterical sex-deny-er is just adding insult to injury. Again, asking if she is making love to him on a regular basis is an absolutely logical thing to do. But the posts on this thread seemed to go beyond that into assuming it must be her fault somewhere for not being ‘enough”.

            Anyway, I’m walking away from this now. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of common ground on this obviously emotionally charged (on both sides) thread, though I think we probably agree more than we disagree on this in real life.

          • …only to have it be assumed…

            I wasn’t assuming anything. Posting possible reasons for behavior is not the same as making assumptions.

            So, according to your comment, we can only ask female letter writers one question and one question only lest we make them feel bad about themselves.

            In other words, let’s not delve too deep into the issue, ask one question, then immediately return to affirming the letter writer’s feelings and concerns.

            Got it. Question little. Affirm much. Solve nothing.

            Perfect approach for our therapeutic society.

          • Mark, I think Stephanie was just saying that when someone is obviously hurting, you need to be gentle with what you say. That’s all.

          • While you and Pioneer educated us women on the male sex drive, I tried to reciprocate and educate you on the female sex drive. A woman is likely to have zero sex drive when she feels uncared for and unimportant to her husband. Expecting a wife to be sex positive regardless of how her husband treats her outside the bedroom is unrealistic and wrong. Your responses don’t address this as you continue to insist that if a man is sex starved, he’s going to act badly and the woman has to acknowledge her responsibility for his bad behavior. In essence, you’re saying that even if a man is disrespectful and uninterested in his wife, she needs to act like she wants to have sex with him (and it will be acting, because very few wives who feel uncared for have genuine sexual desire for their husbands).

            You realize that you are asking the wife to separate sex from intimacy, love and respect, and to accept just being a body used by her husband, right? This reduces the act of marriage to its basest, most meaningless state, which is NOT the standard for Christian marriage.

            You’re right, no one gets a free pass in fixing a marriage. That’s why if a man feels sex starved and that his wife is not “sex positive,” he should take time to reflect and ask himself the following questions: How do I show my wife that I value our marriage and her company? Do we spend a little time together almost every day, even if it’s just sitting on the couch watching tv or going for a walk after dinner? When my wife tries to start a conversation with me do I participate or half heartedly listen and look at my phone, or the tv or computer screen? Do I openly stare at attractive or sexily dressed women, even though my wife has told me how this makes her feel unwanted and insecure? If I’m feeling unappreciated and sexually frustrated have I talked to my wife about it and tried to find out what’s wrong in our marriage or have I just withdrawn and not dealt with the problem?

            After he’s reflected and considered how his attitudes and behaviors have affected his marriage, then he can accuse his wife of being responsible for his ogling other women and texting instead of speaking with her at dinner.

            You are right that we only have one side of the story, and that the OP’s marriage sounds dysfunctional. That’s why I suggested she try to really talk with her husband to find out what is going on in their marriage. t’s really interesting the lengths you go to though, to discount the situation the OP describes — she could be over-reacting, it could be her fault because he’s sex starved, it could be her fault because she’s gained weight and is no longer attractive, etc. And what if, as you admit, it could be her husband is just a jerk? Does she still have to be sex positive before she can hope to be treated with respect?

          • t’s really interesting the lengths you go to though, to discount the situation the OP describes

            No one is discounting the situation. If I was discounting the situation I wouldn’t bother leaving comments here in the first place.

            What you refer to as “discounting” is actually a very short list of possible reasons for her husbands behavior. I could think of hundreds more if I wanted to take the time. The purpose of the list is to get the letter writer thinking about her own behavior to ensure she is not contributing to the problem.

            Look, this is very simple. If your husband sits around the house drinking beer and you hate the fact he drinks beer all the time, but you continue to buy him a case a beer everyday after work, then maybe you are contributing to the problem you are complaining about. So, instead of writing a letter to a blog visited mainly by women who will rush to affirm your feelings about your husbands terrible drinking behavior, why don’t you just stop buying the man beer?

            Works the same way with sex and affection and respect. The problem, in this case, is we don’t know when the behavior started or what triggered it. Only the letter writer has the relationship history to fill in those blanks. We few men are encouraging her to fill in those blanks.

            That’s not “discounting” the problem, that is called “trying to get to the bottom of it so the problem can be solved.”

            So, from my perspective, here are the facts:

            1) Her relationship is dysfunctional.

            2) She can’t make her husband change.

            3) She can change her attitudes and behavior, and how she responds to her husband’s behavior.

            4) Given number 2, she should try number 3 and see what impact those changes have on her husband’s behavior.

            5) She is the one complaining about the relationship so the burden is on her to do whatever she can to improve the relationship. It may not be fair, but it is reality. See number 2.

            6) The best way to start the rebuilding process is to initiate a conversation(s) with her husband. The sooner the better.

        • 26 year wife says:

          Amen, could you have your husband train mine?

  16. Wow! Lots of discussion going on here! Boy oh boy! I am going to step out here and add my two cents. I agree with everyone who advised you to take this to the Lord in prayer. That’s number one.

    The easiest thing to answer is the calling/texting. I would let that one go. My husband is a very busy construction foreman and I do not expect him to call me just to “check in.” That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. Think of the thousands of years before cell phones. I think our society gets too wrapped up in technology and I would just not make that one an issue.

    I do expect my husband to ignore unimportant texts or phone calls while we are at dinner or driving (no one should be using the phone while driving – regardless!) Sometimes something comes up with a job and he has to take the call. I understand. If it were just chit-chat, I’d be mad. As I said, we’re not big “technology” people. Neither of us is on Facebook, so I don’t have that to contend with. That is one reason why we don’t do social media. Who needs the added distraction?

    My husband was raised in a not-so affectionate family. So you know what I do when I want affection? I go and get it! I will kiss him, or ask for a hug, or rub his back, or tell him, “I missed you and I need attention!” and he is happy to oblige. Sometimes he is distracted by thoughts of the day, but if I go and sit next to him, or on his lap, he knows I want attention and 9 times out of 10 – I get what I want. :o)

    Now the tough one. Other women. Okay – my view may be controversial, but here it is. They are men and they have eyes. They are going to notice. It is what it is. They are wired that way. Expecting your man not to notice other women is unrealistic. BUT – it is what he does after he notices that matters. If your husband can’t take his eyes off of the other woman, that’s an issue. But if he just notices, cut him some slack. He loves you and he wants to be with you. Try not to be envious and try not to be quick to get angry. If I notice my husband’s eyes lingering for more than a moment I usually strike up a conversation to get his focus back on me. Sometimes I’ll crack a witty comment but usually not. Usually once we start talking, the other woman fades into the background. I know he loves me. If your hubby looks away during a conversation with you, you could say something to him like “Yoo-hoo babe – I’m over here.” Then smile at him. Don’t beat him up. Don’t feel like you have to compete with other women – there will always be someone more attractive. But if you take care of yourself and have a confident attitude, and show your man how much he means to you – that goes a very, very long way.

    I am blessed to have a good marriage, but it has taken years of practice, and we’re still working on it. Don’t be too hard on your man, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Praying for a strong and loving marriage for you both! God Bless!

    • Respect is the primary issue in any relationship. The other things are just details and can be worked on, one at a time, after trust and respect are firmly established. Blatant ogling of the opposite sex in front of one’s spouse is disrespectful, no matter what the state of your sex life. If there is disrespect in the marriage, then that has to be addressed honestly and openly, possibly with the help of a counselor.

      Phone calls or texts during the day – Nice, but as others have pointed out, this is not appropriate for every kind of job.

      Phone calls and texts during dinner – The phone should be put on mute and placed in another room during meals. The exception would be if one of you is expecting a truly important phone call from work or if you have a close family member undergoing a health crisis. Many modern phones have settings that allow you to designate special ringtones so that you know who is calling, and therefore answer only calls from work or the hospital. Or the phone can be set to vibrate and placed in the center of the table, face up, where it’s easy to see the caller ID and take only vital calls.

      Phone calls and texts while driving – In some jurisdictions this is illegal. No one should be breaking the law, period. Even if not illegal, texting while driving is so extremely dangerous that it shouldn’t be allowed for any reason. Some phones now have settings or apps that will prevent texting and certain other activities while the car is in motion. A person who lacks the self control to wait until he can pull over and stop would be well advised to invest in this technology. Otherwise, it would be a good idea to give custody of the phone to a passenger (such as the spouse) who can safely respond to phone calls and texts if necessary.

      Small gestures of affection. This is hard if it doesn’t come naturally to him. But instead of demanding, begging, being sad, etc., it may be possible to encourage him by catching him doing something right. That is, don’t complain about what he does wrong. Respond positively when he does something right. If he hugs you, smile and hug back. Say “Mm, that feels good.” Don’t add a complaint to your compliment! That is, don’t say something like, “Finally!” or “See, isn’t that better than when you don’t hug me?” People respond a lot better to positive reinforcement than they do to negativity.
      Rosemary recently posted…Knowing When to TrustMy Profile

  17. I have to agree with Pioneer as well, shockingly as a woman. Here’s an example, I had a friend in a similar situation and she was distraught about it and decided to take the initiative and offered her husband sex for ten days in a row. She recognized her lack of initiative and excitement in their marriage and she choose to do something about it. I spoke to her last week and she related Sounds good, we’ll be home in about an hour, can’t wait!to me with a huge smile on her face that her life virtually changed overnight. Their marriage is on fire, with three young kids, he bends over backwards to make her happy, and she says that she’s never felt more confidant and satisfied in her marriage. So, sometime wives, it really it that simple. Men are wired differently than us and we can point fingers all day long but if we want change in our marriage, it most likely will have to begin in the bedroom.

    • So, sometime wives, it really it that simple. Men are wired differently than us and we can point fingers all day long but if we want change in our marriage, it most likely will have to begin in the bedroom.

      Yep, for many of us, it really is that easy.

      Frequent, enthusiastic sex is a miracle drug for many a man.

    • Yep! I wrote a post about that here (Why He Won’t Meet Your Needs). I know it’s different if a guy is really into porn, or if he really does ogle women, but in a lot of cases when she feels unloved and he feels unloved, it really does boil down to that!

  18. Sorry for the mess up in my comment, on my phone while working out, not sure what happened! Hopefully the message still comes across:-) have sex wives!!:-)
    Jess recently posted…Things That Press My Annoyed Button.My Profile

  19. Where are you women that are cuddlers? I am a man And I NEED cuddling. I don’t know what to do. I would give almost anything to have a wife sit down and cuddle while we watch a lifetime movie. But my wife will not cuddle

  20. Wow! Where to begin… My husband and I just got married 5 months ago after living together for 9 years. I have a similar situation and I’ve been searching everywhere I can think of for help! I’ve ordered marriage handbooks, I’ve downloaded sexual attraction meditations. I’ve even tried attracting him. My husband is a huge flirt and I also know that there’s been inappropriate touching involved. And he’s so blatant about it. He does it right in front of all our friends to the point they’re all talking about how badly he treats me and I feel like a fool – like a laughingstock! And when I confronted him with it, he refuses to change. He says he’s been a flirt his whole life and that’s just the way he is. Period. And yet when we’re alone together he’ll look deep into my eyes and tell me how much he loves me. And we have a great sex life, so, at least he doesn’t short me there. How do I convince him this is unacceptable marriage behavior??

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  1. […] quite a debate going on in the comments on yesterday’s Reader Question of the Week: Help! My Husband Isn’t Affectionate. I’m going to weigh in on this tomorrow because I think it’s a really important debate. […]

  2. […] Saturday there was quite the hullabaloo in the comments! I submitted a Reader Question: Is it right to expect your husband to be affectionate occasionally? Is it right to expect him not to […]

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