A gracEmail subscriber seeks spiritual counsel concerning infrequent sexual relations with his wife. After caring for young children all day, she tells him she is too tired. He concludes that she has far less desire for sex than he does. He intends to be faithful to his wife but feels that he is being cheated by her abstinence which requires his as well.
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Those who are expert in these matters generally agree that most wives are content with far less sex than most husbands, although sometimes the levels of desire tilt the other direction. The Apostle Paul, writing with permission from Christ, urged both husbands and wives to fulfil marital duties to each other in order to prevent immorality. Each spouse should regard his or her own body as belonging to the other and not deprive the partner of marital relations (1 Cor. 7:2-6). To deprive a spouse in today’s culture is like sending a starving person into a giant food court replete with tantalizing aromas and free samples. It is foolish, self-defeating and contrary to biblical instruction.
Sex begins in the head, however, and here also the genders seem to differ. Marriage counselor Gary Smalley says that women are like crock-pots and men like microwave ovens. Men are instantly “turned on” and ready to mate, whereas women tend to crave affection and wooing to “get in the mood.” Night-time relations might need to “start” before breakfast, another expert has written. Affectionate words and non-demanding physical contact in the morning, followed by consideration and loving words through the day can ignite a spark that builds to romantic warmth when evening rolls around.
If a wife spends all her physical and emotional energy chasing children all day long, or working outside the home, she might visualize bed primarily as a place for sleep and rest. Her husband would do well to think creatively how to relieve her of some of that obligation, free her from some responsibility, pamper and soothe her during the hours before bedtime. If late-to-bed children interfere with marital play, put the children to bed a bit earlier. It is commendable to strive to be a first-class parent. However, one of the best gifts a parent can give a child is a strong marriage between mom and dad. Wise parents will recognize that their own relationship needs to come before the relationship with their children. Attention to that priority will pay valuable dividends in happy child-raising for years to come.