What drives you? (a deep dive discussion)
I have few ideas on what drives people. What drives you definitely plays in the sexual dance of marriage. One of the concepts I have come to understand as truth is the statement “We always only do what we want to do.” On the surface, many will disagree. But they aren’t looking deep enough. Even if you don’t want to do something, meaning it is not pleasurable, you do it because the alternate choices are more un-pleasurable. So you do what you want to do, which is avoid as much displeasure as possible. Every action has a perceived payoff, or we wouldn’t do it. It is the basis of deferred gratification.
I recently got an email from an author of a book I’m reading and he outlines 5 reasons, or things that drive peoples decisions. He specifically mentions sex in the list, but when I think about it, the others can and do play into how and why we pursue sex(or not). Here’s the list – let’s discuss:
“Some of the major drivers of human behavior…
• Safety: Does it provide peace of mind or reduce risk?
• Sex: Does it help them find love or make love?
• Convenience: Does it save time or energy?
• Social norms: Does it help them get along with others?
• Status: Does it improve their standing or help them gain approval?
…which all fit into the larger category of self-interest: How does it serve the person?”
The last line speaks to my first point – every decision is at some level self-interested.
I’ve had some seriously deep theological discussions along these lines. The first thing that always comes up is “consider others more important than yourself” and “no greater love has any man than to give his life for his friend/brother.” I don’t disagree with either of these of course. It is the Christian example and the Christian charge.
But why? If there were no heaven, no eternal reward, no earthly reward – why then? If there was no hell, no eternal damnation, no earthly judgement? Is there any reason to do anything besides serve ourselves in those cases? At the core, my selfless act is selfish, for I hope to gain a crown and mansion.
So when we face that situation where one spouse wants sex, and the other doesn’t – what drives the final decision? How can you re-evaluate the reasons and grow more like Christ?
Safety for me is first/foremost especially as a woman.
Sex doesn’t even factor into it except if my hormones are aligned and one of the reasons i like it in addition to the physical factor is it helps me feel close to my husband (sex doesn’t make me feel loved or to be loving) and if we go too long i tend to go into my own orbit
Social Norms…i am a pleaser and want to get along. Nothing wrong with that at all.
@C.Joseph – What you are describing is what I have called “deprivation thinking.” I don’t know if I was the first to come up with that term, probably heard it somewhere…but it is an unbalanced focus on the one thing that dominates your desire yet you feel deprived. It can be further understood by the proverb “a man with plenty to eat has many problems, a man with nothing to eat has ONE problem.” I have built an entire economic theory around this truth.
If sex always seems to be lacking, or it’s always a struggle, even for one half of the relationship, it will dominate the mind. It will lead to an unbalanced life all around. You start making decisions based on the deprivation. Those decisions can be detrimental to the balance of your life, but you don’t see it that way at the time. You’ve got ONE problem. That problem can morph in your mind. How? Watch this: I want/need sex. I have seen that my spouse seems to be even less inclined for sex if there is ever any friction in the relationship. So I much try to get along. Eventually, this leads to get along at all costs, because that is how I get sex. But the problem is that getting along is actually doing nothing to change the desire or focus of the other spouse. In fact it may even be subconsciously causing them aversion to sex because they can now manipulate and control me and lose respect for me. But I can’t see it that way, all I know is I’d better get along at all cost to get the best chance at sex, when there is actually some value in NOT getting along at all costs. The other spouse may even be cagey enough to play along to keep getting what they want, to keep the peace, to get the *** laundry done for them. That makes it hard because our rodent mind gets a piece of cheese often enough to keep the deprivation thinking going.
The deprivation thinking precludes balanced thinking. We don’t seem to see the fact that even though I’ve been busting tail to get along, sex is no more available or fulfilling. But what do we do instead? We double down on getting along. As the famed TV therapist says “How’s that working out for you?” It never works out. The other party gets what they think they want, and has to give little to nothing for it. And we are still deprived.
I am NOT advocating being a manipulative jerk or selfish turd. Just that deprivation thinking is not clear thinking nor is it beneficial. I say that from my own experience and from others I know well. We have to be careful however , because the other end of the pendulum is “sour grapes” thinking, or apathy. I’ve been there too. Just as unbalanced and detrimental.
Another pitfall of this that it seems you C.J. my friend have fallen into is the “I’m not good enough” 💩. And that is exactly what it is – 🐂💩. I know this because I know successful, wealthy men who feel the same way because they are married to manipulative, selfish women. And if you don’t respect yourself, they can’t respect you. Read SC’s post on what her husband did that made him look sexy in her eyes. Very revealing…
One of the strongest, and most sexy things you can do is be willing to take a hit for standing up for yourself. And if the situation calls for it, hit back. (IM NOT TALKING PHYSICAL VIOLENCE – WANT TO MAKE THAT CLEAR). It’s a metaphor for not allowing yourself to be manipulated by the fear caused by deprivation thinking. Taking the hit means “this might piss her off and might mean no sex this week, but so be it.” Hitting back might mean calling sin by its name with no fear of consequences. Mr. SC was willing to take the hit of missing out on a potential friendship or a nice evening meal if that’s what standing up for his and his wife’s conviction meant. The result? SC can tell the story but I figure some panties hit the floor a some point that evening.
Wouldn’t Love be a major driver? As a person who has devoted my life to my husband and children for over 30 years, I’d say Love is the reason I do things for them.
Otherwise, I’m all about Convenience! Get it done so I can move on to do what I like to do!
I can see truth to this whole concept. I think some of our biggest drives will be around how we are uniquely created (personality) and gifted (Rom. 7). I think it’s all about what filter we use…. in “self-interest”, is it my “old-man self-interest”, or is it my “new-man self-interest”? (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22-24) What “self” are we going to feed?
As a “new man/creation”, my perception of all those drives change.
Well, I’m a simple man. I told my wife again this morning, it’s two things for me, “If I’m grumpy it’s probably one of two things. If I’m already fed, I’m probably wanting sex…and if we just had sex, I’m probably hungry…and then I’ll want sex.” 😀
To answer from those five, it’d be the first three, convenience, sex & safety (not really sure about the order). Social norms? Status? Whatever, if I’m dressing “nicer”, it’s because of my wife and desire to make her happy, please her & turn her on for sex because I am ALL about comfort/convenience. But I still will draw the line and wear ankle socks with my flip flops out of, what for it…COMFORT.
The only real drives for me in that list is Safety (especially as a Type 6) and Convenience, I have a major drive for efficiency. I could really care less about the other things for myself. Even as a kid/teen I never let Social Norms and Status drive me, I was always fine with standing alone to do the right thing, and I still am….I am the one swimming against society as I walk into stores. And I just don’t see or use Sex as a way to find love.
There are times when I have made decisions, behaved in such a way that was motivated by every one of those. I think we probably all do if we are open with ourselves. Of those five, I do respond to some more than others, and some primarily play into the majority of all my decisions. I would list them in order of priority:
- Sex – obvious reasons, but also because it serves as validation and evidence of acceptance. I have spent way TOO much time thinking “what if I do X, will it keep me from sex? What about Y, will it get me more?” Ad nauseum. I can see where it has been debilitating in the past. Ties back to leadership issues I struggled with.
- Status – because I am always concerned about what others think of me and want everyone’s approval – the bane of a “pleasers” existence!
- Social Norms – tightly connected to Status, I just want to get along…
- Convenience- I am an efficiency monster! Work smarter, not harder! It’s how I go about my every day. I will spend the time in the morning to plan accordingly.
- Safety – As I get older, I think more about this, but it does not usually trump the others. However, I am a very risk averse person, so this often has a portion in all my decisions, it just is often not the main driver.
I think the idea of “new me” vs “old me” is a good one. Another way to think of the same concept is these 5 are within ourselves, but a Christian must endeavor to look outside ourselves, to the greater wisdom of Christ, to flavor ALL decisions.
I remember a couple from church 25 years ago. Side note: During that time I needed sex about every 2 days. So every other day. Needless to say, I never got it more than twice a week, even when we were young. My wife mentioned this couple and the wife accommodated him with sex every single night. (no I can’t verify that info) I was dumbfounded.
For me it seemed important that my wife O every time we ML, but at times she seemed to just accommodate me because although we were young and able, at the time, her head just could not do an O at the time she knew I needed it. With this, (I need it thing) in mind, I felt like an unreasonable stud-dog at the time, but over the years, it became more important to me that she O every time. Realistically, her head is definitely NOT into it at times. So, I need to be more attentive to how I am during the day. She has to understand my frustration at times and with a mutual understanding of each other, we can get into LM and both have a good time.
so I totally get the above idea to keep the peace in order to get along during normal life.
Deep question here with many possible lines of thought. All human beings are subject to suffering and death, and are thus driven to look for food, seek for shelter, etc. in order to simply survive. So, things like seeking safety, convenience, status, etc. are means of getting what we need to stay alive. Getting status, for example, could help get someone a higher paying job so they can more easily fulfill their basic needs. Everyone has a slightly different way of ordering the importance of these drives, but we all select some kind of strategy in order to help us get what we need to live.
Sex is interesting because I think it points to our desire to be known and loved as deeply as possible. Ultimately, as Christians we believe this desire for union can only be fulfilled by God. As Augustine said so well, ‘…Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.’ Even the best sex eventually cannot totally fulfill us since we will all grow old and eventually lose the ability to have sex, but our desire for union will still be with us.
The Fall has impacted our ability to correctly order what motivates us, hence people tend to misuse the various driving forces. This is especially true, of course, with regard to sex.
The point about doing things out of the desire to gain a crown is interesting. To repeat Augustine again, God made us with the explicit purpose of knowing and loving Him and each other, and if that is indeed our proper end, then it is totally appropriate that we seek Him and the other goods he intends for us.
Regarding @LBD’s most recent answer:
I just wanted to boil down what @LBD is saying to make it very simple/straightforward. Lets look at two quotes:
“I have seen that my spouse seems to be even less inclined for sex if there is ever any friction in the relationship. So I much try to get along. Eventually, this leads to get along at all costs, because that is how I get sex.”
That is the first. Then this:
“Read SC’s post on what her husband did that made him look sexy in her eyes. Very revealing…” (Note: here is a link to the post.)
This juxtaposition there is that the first thought is peace, peace, peace, often being passive. The second is lead, lead, lead, even if it might be some temporary lack of peace. You’ll read women online (for instance, in comments at TLHV) talking about how they just want their husbands to do chores, etc…just if they’d do that then there would be way more sex. However, many of us men have tried that and it doesn’t work…I myself went from doing the majority of chores to trying to do all of them…if anything, it had the opposite of the desired effect.
What many women want is their husband to lead, not to be a peacemaker at all costs. Being a passive, peace-making husband hurts many of us in the long run.