I received this question in the comments on the post What Do I Do If I Get Turned On By Someone/Something Other Than My Spouse?
If you knew your spouse was deliberately looking at stuff to get aroused but goes to you for sex, would you refuse them? Would you also refuse sex with your spouse if they accidentally see something arousing in a movie, but watch it anyway with no repentance or attempt to look away and then they come to you for sex?
It is one of my fears that I’m having sex with my husband, but he is having sex with someone else (in his mind.)
Now, this presents a problem, we have two concepts in direct opposition to each other:
- Sex is a marriage right. One spouse does not have the right to deny the other.
- Sex is viewed by many men as a “reward” or an indication that everything is alright in the relationship. So, having sex may be telling him that you are OK with his behavior.
So, how do we reconcile these two opposing choices?
I’m going to lean on 1 Corinthians for this one.
Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.1 Corinthians 7:5
Now, this verse is talking about not depriving your spouse of sex, and that’s what everyone focuses on, but what if we flip it the other way around? What if the couple decided to mutually take sex off the table (or bed, adjust for personal preference) for a while to dig into scripture, pray and meditate on what God wants in their lives concerning this topic? What if you went to your husband (or wife) and said “Dear, I want us to take a break from sex because I feel what you are doing is hurting our relationship and your relationship with God and I want to spend time with you studying scripture to see what it says about this point we disagree on.”
How can you argue with that and still claim to be a loving spouse and a Christian? Now, if they do put their foot down and refuse to do it, then I think it’s time to go to a pastor, elder, trusted friend. Someone with whom your spouse trusts to hold them accountable in their walk with God, who won’t judge but offer help and guidance. If you have no one like that, get one.
Now, during those whole process I, of course, advocate praying for yourself and your spouse, for guidance and wisdom and strength to endure.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that this will work. One of the downsides of free will is that we have the ability to choose against God. So, what do you do in that case? Now, keep in mind, this is just my personal opinion. I think it depends on the couple. Some would see this sort of treatment as emotionally abusive, and in such cases, I suggest complete separation (not divorce) until such time that the abuse ceases. An abusive marriage must not be tolerated, it needs to be addressed and healed. If you do not consider it abusive, but just don’t like the fact, then I’m afraid all you can do is be transparent about your feelings and continue in your marriage the same way you would if your spouse had a problem with any other sin, as we all do.
And if your spouse is not a believer, or deliberately chooses against God? All I can do is point back to scripture again:
And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.1 Corinthians 7:13-15
And then go read the story of Hosea in the Bible and how he was treated by his wife Gomer, perhaps it will help give some perspective to how marriages are to be endured when things are wrong.
That’s my take on the question. What would you say to this person?
7 thoughts on “What If Your Spouse Doesn’t Think Watching Arousing Scenes Is A Problem?”
…in a marriage I know…
But, I agree with Sheila Wray Gregoire that refusal on occasion isn’t deprivation. I have no problem making love with hubby at any time except when I feel like I am just relieving his arousal from elsewhere. If he perpetually was aroused outside of our marriage and came to me, then it would be a bigger issue. I have gone to our pastor and trusted friends, but they all advise that I just pray for hubby and won’t step in and speak to him.
Having the freedom to say no makes the yes more valuable.
I don’t know what to say other than from the context I have, your pastor is not taking his responsibilities seriously if he knows an issue, has been asked for help, and yet refused to help (advise to pray aside). It sounds like he’s avoiding conflict, which, I think in a pastor’s role, is not an option. The trusted friends fall into the same boat in my humble opinion. They don’t sound too trusted if they can’t be trusted to help a marriage that needs it.
I’m sorry this is something that is a struggle in your marriage. I would offer to help, but coming from a stranger, I may do more damage than good. The relationship has to be there before the rebuke.
I don’t know what I would do if my husband did that…..it would distress me to a great extent. I already have problems with anxiety – that would give me panic attacks every day! That would be one thing that could actually take away my sex drive. My heart goes out to women in that situation. I don’t know what to say other than that. 🙁 I think you addressed this issue well, by noting that it’s a complicated issue, and pointing to scripture. I do agree that sort of behavior could be classified as emotional abuse.
I haven’t read the story of Hosea and Gomer. I’ll have to look that up.
My advise: don’t read it as a recitation of facts and events, but immerse yourself in the story, in Hosea’s situation, treat it like a novel. It will tear your heart out.
Wait, is she the one who committed adultery many times and had children with men who were not her husband? And then she was selling herself/her body to the highest bidder, and Hosea went and purchased her and took her back home because God told him to. I think I have come across that story before….I actually think I heard a sermon on it. God told Hosea to marry her and then redeem her from the cesspool over and over because He wanted to show Israel an illustration of what His love is like. Or is that a different story?
That’s the one. It’s an illustration of how God stuck with Israel (his bride), no matter what she did to Him or against Him. Then we are called to love our spouses as Christ loved the church. Now, if that is how God loved his bride, how then should we love our spouse when they sin?
God even lets Hosea off the hook at one point, says not to worry about Gomer anymore. Hosea asks God what about His bride (Israel – by extension, the church)? God responds that He will continue to seek her. Hosea is so moved that he decides to do the same for Gomer and eventually managed to buy her back for half the price of a slave. By the time he got her, that’s what she was worth, next to nothing. And he was overjoyed to get her back, even in that condition.