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Wifey Wednesday: Do I Have to Wait To Be in the Mood?

Dennis Prager has been talking about sex in his recent Townhall columns. He says this in his essay, "When A Woman Isn't In The Mood, Part I":

It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.

First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife's refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny).

This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men's natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman's nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it. This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.
We're going to deal with the second part to his essay series next week, but let's deal with the first part.

Men and women think differently about sex. To women, if we're not in the mood, we don't really want to. And we rarely start out in the mood because sex, to us, is primarily relational. We have to feel loved to make love. It's not a physical urge to the same extent.

For a man, on the other hand, it is a physical urge. And it's also related to how he sees himself. He has to make love in order to feel loved.

So when your husband is interested in sex all the time, it's natural for a woman to think there's something wrong with him, because on the whole this isn't how we work. Some men, of course, aren't like this, and in about 30% of marriages she has the higher sex drive. But this tends to happen later in marriages. For those of us who are in our twenties and thirties, chances are he wants it, and you can't figure out what all the fuss is about.

But the other issue is that we come into marriage with expectations of what sex will be like: it will be a glorious, riproaring fun, awesome experience. And if we know that we're not going to be up for a glorious, riproaring fun, awesome experience, then we women tend to feel like we're cheating if we make love now. We should wait until we're really "in the mood".

In a way, we feel like that's the proper thing to do. To make love when you don't actually feel like it seems somehow dishonest. But it's not. I'm not talking about faking here, please understand me. What I am saying is that he needs it in a way that you do not. And if you can give yourself to him, even if you don't particularly feel like it, you build incredible closeness in your marriage.

We still need those riproaring good times. But that doesn't have to happen everytime. Occasionally a quickie really is okay. And if you have too much on your mind and you just don't think you can relax tonight to enjoy it, then you can still make love for him. Challenge yourself to make it fun for your husband!

Now, I'm not saying that you should make love no matter what: even if he's having an affair, or he's into pornography, or he makes you feel dirty. Absolutely not. But in a regular marriage there needs to be give and take. And sex is vitally important to men. It's horrible for them that we hold all the cards, because basically in most marriages we determine whether or not we're going to make love. If we say yes, we do. If we say no, we don't.

So they have no control over something that is the key to their hearts.

We women need to give up some control. We need to say occasionally--not every night, but at least sometimes--if you want it, I'm there. That's part of marriage, is giving to our husbands.

And if we also get our minds in gear, then our bodies will likely follow, too. We may not feel in the mood beforehand, but we can get in the mood if we decide to, because sex, for women, is all in her head.

I know this is hard for some women. Believe me, I do. I had a really hard time with sex early in our marriage. But what I am saying is absolutely true. If you want a great marriage, you need to learn to give to him in this way. And if you have hangups because of past abuse, or flashbacks, that's okay. You may not be able to yet. But please get help so that you can eventually get there, and believe that God does want healing in this part of your life!

I talk about this issue a lot, and if you want to actually hear my voice (and my jokes), download my most popular podcast on Why Women Aren't Like Slow Cookers, even if Men are Like Microwaves. Or you can watch this GodTube video:

Best of all, this month we're going to be concentrating a lot on how to get "in the mood", because on February 4, ten days beore Valentine's Day, I'm having a blitz for my book, Honey, I Don't Have Headache Tonight: Help for women who want to feel more in the mood. If you order the book on that day, you're going to get a whole ton of free downloads from me and many of my friends. And I'm offering free Teleseminars on it in the days leading up to February 4. So keep coming back here, and you'll hear lots more!

And if you want to be reminded of the sale on the morning of February 4, just sign up here with your email address!

On my right sidebar, I've got a countdown going to the day! I'm looking forward to it!

In the meantime, do you have any marriage advice you want to share? What do you think about the importance of being in the mood? Please participate! Write your own Wifey Wednesday post on your blog, and then come back here and enter the URL address of your post in the Mr. Linky below. We'd love to read what you have to say!

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At 8:30 AM , Blogger Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said…


You explained that so well. It's something I wish I'd known a lot earlier in my marriage. My husband and I kept the communication lines open, and to his huge credit, HE is the one who told me it communicated love to him.

That made such a difference in my decision. THEN I had to work thru some abuse damage (which I agree you MUST do. It's your responsibility - not his fault that he married you "the way you are").

I mentor young married women, and I'm always surprised that I was not alone in my misconceptions.

Thanks for writing this. I second it in every area. ;)


At 10:33 AM , Blogger Kathleen said… I'm not going to participate in Mr. Linky and post about sex because my daughter reads my blog, and I'm not quite ready to go there yet! lol. However, I wanted to share that I think one of the most important things in a marriage is that both spouses go to bed at the same time. I have so many friends who go to bed hours later than their hubbies, and I always wonder when they are intimate. Of course, you want to make it interesting and not always reserve intimacy for just the bed at bedtime. However, with small children, sometimes this is the only alone time you get, so I think it's important for both hubby and wifey to be in bed at the same time and then just see what happens from there. :-)


At 1:16 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

Great thoughts, Sheila. Looking forward to the next part.


At 6:09 PM , Blogger Melissa said…

Thanks for this post! I have been reading this alot lately, God is talking to me! I need to hear it often and then listen!


At 6:37 PM , Blogger Angel Reuther said…

Thanks so much for writing this. There is so much about marriage I wish I would have know earlier. :) I had to learn this the hard way. Now, praise God, I understand and we have almost reached a point where our rolls are reversed. Me wanting it more. :) I do have to say. For me what really helped me were those times when I was doing it just for him. The more often I did that the more often I was in the mood other times.

Thanks again for writing this.


At 10:31 AM , Blogger Kristy Muysson said…

Beautiful explanation. One thing people forget to do is to take it to the One who made us different!

My husband and I went thru a real "dry spell" before the birth of our third child, nine years ago. We were building a house, I was pregnant and working as a nurse, I was tired, we had two little boys running around, and I didn't feel particularly romantic. Ever. My hubby was stressed about his job, tired, not able (I was going to write *willing*, but if he had the resources, energy wise, he would likely have, since sex is so important to a guy!) to put forth the effort it would take to get me going.
So, we were in a really bad pattern - for both of us.
Without telling him, I took it to prayer - I prayed that God would restore my desire for my husband - that he would make me long for him the way I did when we were dating.
And awesomely enough, He did!
It wasn't immediate, but if you can even imagine, by the time three weeks (THREE!!! WEEKS!!!) had passed after the delivery of our daughter, I was ready to chase him down and make him do something about it! (Can you say "Hot mama"??) I was thrilled to feel that way again, and no doubt he wondered if the right woman had come home from the hospital, of if they had done some sort of transplant!
I can't say we have kept that momentum going for nine years (ooh, that would be tiring!) but it was an amazing thing to me that my God, the one who gave me this body and these emotions, who has so many more "important" things to be concerned with, would give me something just "for fun". It's like getting toys for Christmas instead of just the stuff you PJ's!
I'm off today to chat with a group of 11th grade students about sexuality - any prayers would be appreciated!


At 12:50 PM , Blogger Ragdoll Billie said…

Sheila, you have me anxious about your blitz on the 4th, and I will do some writing next week while getting my IVIG treatments in the hosp. If I have a hot spot, I'll post, if not when I get back home next weekend. I *will* buy your book that day even though I cannot read because the day will come when I can see to read once more.

Thanks for your enthusiasm and lightheartedness. I need it and go looking for it. I think I had found your book and site before twitter.


At 10:28 AM , Blogger Mrs. Anna T said…

Sheila, we have been married less than a year, and I'm about to have a baby any day now. My husband and I didn't touch each other at all before marriage, so you could say it's all still very new and exciting for us. Usually we're both "in the mood", but if one of us isn't, we try to make an effort for the sake of the other. And of course, praise God, my husband often tells me he finds me incredibly attractive; I look like I'm trying to smuggle a watermelon under my shirt - but his appreciation alone is enough to make me feel loved and "in the mood".

I hope everything continues to go well for us in this department after the baby is born. And yes, it's important to make time for making love, even if sparks don't fly. It's easier to keep the fire burning than to try and re-kindle it once in two weeks.

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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