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“Sometimes it seems my wife just goes through the motions of sex because she thinks it’s what I want. But I want her, not just her body. It’s frustrating, but I’d much rather not have sex than to have it when she’s not really into it.”

In an effort to meet the sexual needs of their husbands, it seems many wives believe the message that men are only interested in their bodies, and so that is all they offer. While it is true that some husbands in their sexual frustration settle for “whatever they can get,” this often highlights the intensity of their frustration and is not their deepest and truest desire.

The Christian ideal is that spouses are truly making love with each other and not just rubbing body parts together. And, as it has been said before (here), “to help ensure the presence of love, sexual encounters should flow freely from desire or decision, not from demands or faithless duty.”

It is great when a passionate desire is the motivation to connect sexually. However, in dealing with the many demands of life and family, sometimes the choice to engage sexually must be made even when the “feelings” are not present.

This decision should still involve your wholehearted presence and participation, even when the activities do not include intercourse per se. It is a decision to offer your deepest love, in whatever the chosen form of expression, and not merely be a receptacle or servicing tool for your spouse’s sexual energies.

Wives, while it might be easier to simply offer your body while your heart and mind are elsewhere, this is not what your husband needs or really desires. He wants all of you. And Love asks you to offer nothing less than your whole and radiant being. Let your Yes be the fullest expression of love, in whatever activity that includes.

Note: These roles can be reserved. See here for more information on when the wife has the stronger drive.

Husbands, especially when sexual frustrations are high, it can be hard not to simply settle for whatever you can get. However, when you do this, even when it is not intentional, you are communicating to your wife that you only care about her body, and not her heart. Your challenge will be to pursue the best expression of love from your wife, and not settle for anything less. This might mean having the integrity to back out of halfhearted sexual encounters.

The marriage bed is resigned to mediocrity when passionless sex is all that is offered and/or accepted. Passionate intimacy is possible when we refuse to settle and practice offering and receiving only the fullest expressions of love. This starts by being fully present during sexual encounters.

What do you think? Are there times when it’s just easier to go through the motions of sex? What do you experience when you sense your spouse is not really into it? How can you help ensure you are fully present and truly making love with each other?

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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