Warning: this article is best for MARRIED EYES ONLY.
One of my husband’s and my favorite books on marriage is “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard F. Harley. In the book, Harley relates that in counseling sessions, he would often advise women clients to make love with their husband every day for a month and then come back to see him. What he found was that this alone made a huge difference for both partners in the marriage relationship. Why? According to Harley, a man’s number one need is sexual fulfillment and when his needs were being met, he naturally began seeing to her needs. It is hard for us as women to understand sometimes, but men are wired (by God!) differently than we are. Study after study has shown that on the average, men think about and feel the need for sex far more than women do. According to a recent issue of Prevention magazine, women think about sex an average of 10 times a day while men think about it nearly twice as much at an average of 19 times a day.
Even the Bible recognizes a man’s need for sexual fulfillment. Proverbs 5:15-19 says,
“Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.”
Here the writer relates a man’s need for sexual fulfillment to his need for water. “Springs” and “fountain” are representative of his sex life and he is advised to find his fulfillment in one place and one place only: with the wife of his youth.
During the marriage retreat my husband and I attended earlier this month, David Shannon illustrated the passage this way. Imagine that your husband is only allowed to drink water and he’s only allowed to drink it from one cup– the cup you hold and control. He can only have a drink if you say so. Now imagine that when he comes to you for a drink, you say to him, “You want a drink? Again? Seriously? That’s all you ever think about, isn’t it?! Well, good grief. Fine. Have a drink. But I hope after this you’ll leave me alone for a few days.” Not a response steeped in respect, is it?
Grudgingly meeting your spouse’s needs is not respectful or loving. Instead, we can recognize and honor the fact that our husbands are wired very differently than we are. -Erynn Sprouse
Grudgingly meeting your spouse’s needs is not respectful or loving. Instead, we can recognize and honor the fact that our husbands are wired very differently than we are (most, anyway). His need for sex is just that: a need. If he wants to be pleasing to his God, he will seek to fulfill that need with you and you only. We understand that part of it, and we agree with God that this need should be met in our own beds. The trouble sometimes is that the desire just isn’t there on our end. So what do you do if sex is something you’re truly not very interested in? In many ways, that’s the million dollar question and there isn’t one simple answer for everyone, but let’s discuss some helpful hints.
First, start by praying. The marital relationship is definitely something every married woman should be praying about and why not include your sex life in that? Pray for increased drive if that’s what you need. God already knows what you need. He invented sex as a cement for your relationship and certainly wants you to hold it in high esteem (Hebrews 13:4).
Second, learn about the differences between men and women in arousal. Brad Harrub explained this with kitchen appliances: he is a microwave; she is a Crock Pot. Men, being more wired for sex and being visually aroused, typically don’t take long to heat up, so to speak. Women, being aroused primarily through emotional and mental connections, take longer. If you and your spouse can discuss these differences openly, you can use the differences to your advantage. It can be embarrassing and difficult to do the first few times, but let your husband know the kinds of things that start your Crock Pot cooking (hint: euphemisms do make it a bit more comfortable). Maybe what helps you is an extra long kiss in the morning. A call mid-day to say he’s thinking of you. Maybe a note taped to the milk jug. Whatever makes you feel loved and cherished will likely also turn on your Crock Pot. Harley explains that affection (things like the long kiss, mid-day calls, etc.) creates the atmosphere for sex. Without it, sex isn’t going to happen– at least not in a satisfying way.
Third, read the Song of Songs together often. This was a homework assignment given by Brad Harrub. He suggested each couple read the book together once a month (maybe on your anniversary date?). I would add to that, learn what the various phrases mean. While there is plenty there that is very plain, you’ll get more out of it if you devote some extra study. Just like we have many euphemistic phrases to refer to the marital act (there’s one!), they had many as well. A great book on the subject is “Solomon on Sex” by Joseph C. Dillow. You will be shocked about what God has to say through Solomon.
Overhauling your bedroom life isn’t an easy task. Society’s views on marriage and sex don’t help anything either. Remember as you’re trying to change things for yourselves, do not resort to worldly or sinful behaviors. Things like self-pleasure, pornography and “romance” novels are ultimately harmful. Keep in mind that the point of sex is not the pleasure, but coming together and becoming one flesh. Bringing other people into your bedroom, if only in your own head, is damaging and sinful. Selfishness has no place in marriage, including in the bedroom. Paul reminded the Corinthians that the husband’s body belongs to the wife and hers belongs to her husband (1 Corinthians 7:4). You are each other’s, so cherish one another as such. Love making is the most intimate and vulnerable way to express that. Treat it with reverence and the attitude alone will carry you far.
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