I received this question almost a week ago from our anonymous Have A Question page:
When we first got together my husband was a reasonable lover in that he seemed to care about my needs somewhat.
He quickly turned into a raging bull, satisfying only himself and actually hurting me. Almost every sexual encounter was a violent quicky.
I explained what was happening to me hoping for a answer and he said he would take it easy.
That lasted a very short time and he was back at it.
I learned to position myself to take his abuse and just tried to deal with this. Occasionally I would bring the subject up because I felt used, abused and just taken for granted. I had no sexual pleasure and was literally only satisfying him. Nothing ever came of my pleads.
Recently ( years later) I admitted to him I felt like I had created the problem by not taking some kind of action but frankly I have not idea what to do. Again I asked him to get help with me.
Now he is saying he looses his reasoning and mind and can’t seem to help it. He does not want to get help.
I told him to find a way because I cannot take it anymore. I have not had an orgasm for years with him. My libido is very low by now but there are times when I do feel something. I love him very much for numerous reasons but find I avoid sex and try to find other ways to be intimate with him. Any suggestions?
So, I would consider this a case of abuse, that changes the discussion dramatically. In other cases, my advice is typically to stick with it, pray, model for your spouse how to be a good spouse. But, in cases of abuse, where harm is being done (be it physical, emotional or mental), I think the sensible approach is to get out of the situation. I’m not saying divorce, but I think it might be wise to separate, for a time, in the hopes of reconciliation. In particular, it’s this I’d want to see change:
He does not want to get help.
This tells me he doesn’t really think it’s a problem. He think it’s okay to engage is spousal abuse. Furthermore, this tells me that he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions:
Now he is saying he looses his reasoning and mind and can’t seem to help it.
So, I consider giving an ultimatum (which I’m not a fan of, but desperate times…): Get help, or I leave until you do. But, if he refuses to get help (or delays), then I’d find another place to sleep, and I’d get myself into counseling. In fact, getting counseling is probably a good idea either way. You need to learn how to establish healthy boundaries. Also, I’d say don’t be shy about why you left. I’m not saying yell it from the rooftops, but don’t sugar coat it either. People don’t need the details, but I think too often we bury our troubles, we hide them away, and then our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have a responsibility to keep us accountable and safe, cannot fulfill their role in our lives.
Also, this is not the time to be worrying about “don’t deprive one another”, (1 Corinthians 7:5). I would argue that’s superceded by worrying about your husband’s relationship with God.
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. – Psalm 11:5
Again, this is an abusive situation, I don’t want anyone going to their non-abusive spouse and saying “No, we’re not having sex because you need to pray more”. That’s not the same thing at all. Now, I don’t believe it’s that God hates your husband, Hebrew is a language where contrast plays a big part of how something is interpreted. For example:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26
You don’t actually have you hate your family, in fact, you shouldn’t, but the contrast here is that you should love God so much that the love you have for your family should be so strong as to render all over loves hateful by comparison, if that makes sense.
Note: I know, someone (probably a seminary graduate) is going to say “but Luke was written in Greek”, to that, I say: Yes, but Jesus would have spoken Hebrew so, it’s still valid, and there’s plenty of evidence for that if you want to email me to have a discussion about it.
Also, I worry that it’s going to continue to escalate until it starts to turn even darker and more violent. Stopping it now may save you a lot more pain and suffering, both in the continuation, as well as in further reconciliation, as well as increase the chances of success. Another note: If you are in an abusive relationship where you fear for your safety and/or life, get help before leaving and/or delivering an ultimatum. That’s, again, a very different situation that I’m not qualified to speak into.
My point is that, whether or not you have past responsibility for keeping this dynamic going, you are evaluating it now, and so something can be done. Be proactive. Seek the change that you both need. Get help. Reach out to professionals who can assist in resolving this. And just a heads up: not all pastors will be able to, or willing, to handle situations like this. You may need to go to a few, or hire a counselor or therapist. It may be that he can’t control himself, but that doesn’t mean he can’t learn to, and until he accepts responsibility and endeavours to change, I doubt you’ll see him even try.
And just because the world has become a scary place, legally, I should point out that I’m not a doctor, lawyer, pastor, therapist, counselor nor do I have any other credential that allows me to take responsibility for your actions. My opinion as written above is merely an option that you will have to choose to follow, or not, or modify, as you see fit.
In that same vein, I open the floor to anyone in the comments to add their unqualified opinion.
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