How to balance “responsive desire” vs “not now, it’s not a good time**”??
**I am defining “it’s not a good time” as if continuing on will have an overall more negative impact rather than positive. It may stir up the negative feelings of hurt, anger, being used, resentment, etc.
Let’s face it, to many lower drive spouses, more often than not (if not almost always) there doesn’t ever feel like there’s a “good time” for sex. (Stars have to align up just right, anyone?) They are too tired, too distracted, too busy, etc, etc.
How does one who may not feel up to sex, know whether it’s responsive desire at work and all that’s needed is to get started, or that it’s truly a “not now, because it’s not a good time” moment?
What’s a wife to do if she is willing to see if her responsive desire will kick in, but realizes mid-way through, that it was truly “not a good time”? Does she be honest and stop things? Keep quiet and just fight those negative feelings on her own? Talk about it afterwards? Something else?
Are there any tell-tale signs to look for that it’s one or the other, before making the choice to try or to say “not now” ?
What are your thoughts, ideas or experiences? Are there any links to articles/blogs who have addressed this specific aspect of the complexity of responsive desire?
I wonder if it makes a difference on the different temperament of each spouse?
Years ago, it was a much bigger problem. DH initiated without thinking about how I was feeling, the hard things I was going through, and such like. Than, it made me extremely resentful. I also felt like the stars all needed to align.
Lets just say we both have learned so much. Mostly from my reading on the old TMB. Than sharing with DH.
My temperament is of such that I just do it. Most things in my life, I don’t stop to think of whether I want to do it or not. If it needs to be done, I don’t give myself the option of not doing it. The old me would have told DH after, maybe the next day, how furious it made me. The new me doesn’t stop to figure out whether its a good time or not. And DH and I both know just a couple touches will do it for me and get me going.
But, I have tried hard to lay down some responsibilities and my workaholic tendency, so that I don’t have to feel its never a good time. That being said, my DH has also grown, and is much more sensitive, so he would not initiate if he sensed something was wrong, or the timing wasn’t right. I am also leaving my worries and stresses outside our bedroom door! But, it does take practice, although its easier for me than it is for some people, again due to my determined nature.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have such a responsive desire only, that I basically never desire sex. Many times I hope DH won’t want sex tonight. A couple years ago, though, I decided to think about it as a relaxing activity, versus one last box to check off. It all makes a difference. With my DH’s gentle nature, I would not tell him anymore how upset I was. But that maybe depends on a husband’s nature?
The funny thing is, with how negative I felt about sex, there never was a time I didn’t enjoy or consider stopping it. Ha, and many times once the first 2 minutes of getting over my responsive desire are up, I think to myself that the hardest part is over and I am good to go.
I have to say something… to be clear, I am pretty sure footed in my faith and knowing where I stand in my relationship with the Lord and what He has called me do and to be, though I am always learning and growing. I do fairly well at letting my heart and mind be guarded in Christ Jesus. I can easily take comments that I know aren’t applicable to me and dismiss them. I have a husband who is very well pleased and satisfied with his wife, and often “arises and calls me blessed, and praises me”. He is not being defiantly sinned against, and I can say with certainty that he carries zero feelings of being “defrauded/deprived”. So, the following is not out of personal offense/defense. It’s for the sake of others out there, whom may being wounded and damaged unaware. And for the principle of the matter.
I’m sorry, but these “biblical” answers have to be missing something in God’s greater plan and design….they are so one-sided. Those kind of answers, that really have nothing to do with the actual questions (or if they do, they are not expanded on enough to see the connection), point to the fact that the individual is not being listened to, nor “seen” by some. Rather than addressing a sister in Christ as a valued child of God, whom is seeking out specific answers for her own growth, change and working on herself, for the sake of herself, her marriage and her relationships (or wanting to put some useful information out there for the silent ones seeking similar, practical answers), you devalue her by shadowing her and making it about her husband and/or some “sin” she must be committing. It’s fine and dandy to tell (or shame) a wife that she “must never say “no” or “not now” because that is “defrauding/depriving” the husband.” (I disagree, even if I have practiced it.) Or to tell her, “submit more”. That is totally dismissing the wife as whole person as her own being, someone who is soul, mind, body and spirit. What a disservice to tell one half of a marriage, in essence, to shove her feelings and her needs under a rug in order to take care of her husband..and then praise it as “obedience”. You’ll never have a healthy marriage if you don’t have two healthy parts. Those kind of answers are often like slapping on a bandaid rather than truly recognizing, tending to, and healing a wound. And all the while, the questions being asked aren’t actually being answered in those kind of “biblical” answers.
For myself, I’ve just had to be very self-aware. I know that it’s really not a good time if:
a. I’m tired and I didn’t sleep well the night before. I know myself well enough to know at what point sex over sleep is just self-abuse.
b. I’m coming down with something. I once had to take a week off work with a hospital visit because my lungs simply couldn’t handle the heavy breathing. And then there was the time when a UTI turned into a vaginal infection that lasted a month….
c. He’s had opportunity all day but waited until I was busy / going to sleep / heading out the door. That only stirs the pot.
Other than that, I pretty much assume it’s responsive desire and go for it. If I do realize partway in that it wasn’t a good idea, I think it’s only fair to continue unless there are health reasons to stop. I only recall that happening once, however.
Two things: Submitting and Loving. Both spouses should ramp up their efforts to do their part regardless of what the opposite spouse is doing. Husbands, if your wife is not submitting, work on loving more/better. Wives, if you husband is not loving, work on submitting better/more.
I would say that is “just my opinion”, but someone had it long before me…. 🙂
I didn’t answer this question at first because I didn’t feel like I would have anything of value since I am so polar opposite in my experiences, but after my passionate defense of your need for non-preachy help, I feel like I must give it a try. (Take it for what it is worth.)
I’m thinking back to a time when I did occasionally have some trouble responding to DH and it was because we were not in a good place emotionally at that time. I didn’t feel like he was paying attention to my needs outside of the bedroom so I wasn’t particularly interested in satisfying his urges in the bedroom. I know you have spoken at length about the connection between your feelings of unity with your DH and your ability to respond to him sexually. IF (Please notice the “if”…) IF you notice the times you end up unaffected by responsive desire seem connected to relationship patterns that are frustrating you, COULD (notice this is just a question) Could you ask him to spend some time talking about the things that are bothering you as a different form of the intimacy he was expecting? Then maybe as you come to a better understanding your responsive desire might begin to kick in? That way you aren’t saying “No” but are saying “How about this instead?” and preparing to be better able to provide what he wants the next time? I can’t recall right off hand if you have said how you feel about cuddling and canoodling during conversations, but I personally have found it to be a very intimate way to discuss our differences.
We’re brainstorming here, so I won’t be offending if this is not the answer you were looking for. 🙂
The “of course” answer is, both husband and wife share some blame of any problem.
Sounds like sometimes the wife needs to just deal with it and serve her husband. But it sounds like EVERY time the husband is not getting the job done at making the wife feel safe, cherished, and served. I would say 90% of marriage problems SEEM like the wife’s fault in the moment, when in reality the problem is that the husband just goes and does and acts like a man and then rolls over and says “wanna do it?” which usually ends in his frustration, her feeling unappreciated, then he criticizes, then she shuts down, a fight, yada yada yada.
Or she rejects and he just backs off feeling deflated.
Now maybe there are things she needs to work on too. I don’t know.
To answer the last part, I recently found the Delight Your Marriage podcast. It was started primarily for wives with how-to, why this, try that kinds of episodes. And they’re great. But also there are some great Hubby episodes too. Particularly useful to me was “Encouraging Your Wife’s Sexuality”, episodes 156,157, and the bonus episode “156/157”. It opened my eyes to how my wife’s problems are really MY problems. And she listened and loved it too because it gave her feelings a voice.
i THINK..maybe a good response (depending on the person) is to ask your husband to let you know in advance if possible, that he wants sex so you can have a period of time to think about it. Maybe it is truly not a good time because of emotional or physical issues or real time restraints and be honest that you are dealing with responsive desire and you need a little time to sort things out and that he KNOWS that your desire is to always make him happy (which i’m sure he does) but also let him know it would always be helpful if he could not take it personally should you ask for a rain check.
REGARDLESS of the admonition to submit or ” Corinthians 7″ (which i do not believe means that a husband or wife can demand and expect sex every time they want it, i think it’s a general application that BTW everyone should take seriously) i think it is a wise husband to listen and dwell with his wife in an understanding way that she struggles with desire and that if she is constantly expected to push those feelings aside, they will surface in some negative way down the road that will not do either one of you any good. She is a human being, after all. Caveat: I wish all wives understood responsive desire and had good will toward their husbands but we’re talking about ladies on this forum who already understand this.
I have one thing to say is that refusal for legit reason should be obvious and we husbands can figure that out. A series of refusals is
not ok and assuming that husband will be fine because “he should be understanding and loving” proves only that she (in this case) is naive and needs a lesson in “the care of husbands.” Refusals send message to him that her “I love you’s” are false and bent on misinformation on her part. Consequently he will resort to spending cash on guns, golf, boats or cars as a remedy. However, his depression only remedy is a healthy sexual relationship.