Sofia Tolstoy’s Destruction of Her Marital Happiness (A First Look)

I noticed a few weeks ago I received more interest in a post I did last year, detailing how a wife could possibly ruin her husband’s love for her.  The post mentioned the marriage of Leo Tolstoi and Sofia, and how through decades, her attitude turned him into a man who could not even tolerate her presence when he was old.

I’ve only read accounts based on his own troubles with her – mostly the variety of ways she would seek to control him, berate him, endlessly try to kill herself or threaten suicide.  However, I recently came across her literal thoughts and words in her diaries, and have had some time to get an insight into how this woman thought and dealt with the life God gave her.

I have to say, reading some of her diary entries only confirm what an extremely psychologically messed up woman she was from day one.  I know that sounds so harsh, but it is remarkable how she viewed her life through a lens of martyrdom and suffering.  After reading several pages (and I will read more to be sure) of her personal and constant complaining, I’m amazed Leo Tolstoy was able to create any masterpieces of literature at all with a wife who intellectually numbed and destroyed his senses.  And the temperament of an artist’s wife (especially a writer) is crucial to his ability to work!

To her credit, she was a hard worker and helped him immensely in copying and writing out his vast manuscripts.  She did, very painfully and resentfully, dedicate her entire life to his work.  But it was at such a high cost he had to pay, with even her own son admitting she never was able to just be happy, to endure her constant complaining and resentful attitude.  That her husband didn’t fully appreciate it, even though she did so much for him, was because her attitude and resentfulness cancelled her, “selfless acts,” out.

In other words, what she viewed as, “selfless acts of dedicating her entire life to him,” which she spoke endlessly about in her diary, were in reality, feeding her neurotic sense of self-righteousness and playing the ever-constant victim.

Her husband could do nothing right in her eyes, except write, and every little thing he did by his own accord, she says she, “rebuked,” him for, and made herself sick (literally ill) constantly worrying about him when he’d go out to do even the most normal of male activities such as hunting.

Here are some first thoughts on the few things I’ve read.  I’m sure I’ll have more to work with later on, but her terrible example is something I’ll teach my own daughter what to avoid in becoming.

It could be said that Sofia, for all her self-righteous assuring us she was serving him selflessly, never allowed herself to be happy… because if she allowed herself that joy, she would have failed in being the perpetual victim she wanted to see herself as.

***

Some first notes…

  1. She frequently speaks in her diaries in classic, “victim mentality,” reference.  It is always bad things happening to her, and many times Sofia seeking out opportunities to feel wounded and offended by her husband’s normal behavior.
  2. She denies him sex throughout their marriage, only having enough to produce children, but then resents him for not having sex while she was pregnant.  She describes wanting more of a “spiritual marriage,” which in those days, often meant to be abstinent in marriage.  She mentions frequently that he has too much passion for her, but that she only desires a, “pure,” and, “spiritual union.”  As an aside note to historical references, there were often marriages like this where the woman would truly want to remain a virgin, or mostly sexless, to create this spiritual union, leaving the husband to have to find whores to have sex with.  Those marriages were almost always very unhappy marriages, even in those days, men still needed sex from their wives.
  3. She frames everything he does as being done to “hurt,” her… and then she goes on and on, “rebuking,” him for his (in her mind) bad decisions.  This from her diary is a direct example where she wouldn’t even let him decide when to go hunting without her permission… and her attitude when he came back is what destroys a man’s love and affection (the chastising and, “rebuking,” she felt she had a right to do to him).
  4. Before their marriage, Tolstoy had a romantic notion that his new wife should know everything he ever did that was horrible and wrong.  Instead of hiding his sins, he wanted to, “bear all,” to her, confess everything, and know that she would still love him and accept him as he was – faults and past sins in total.  He felt very ashamed of everything he’d done before finding a, “pure,” and proper wife, and her reading this and still accepting him, in a large way, would help him heal from his past promiscuity.  I actually understand this very well, because my own husband did something very similar.  We both told each other everything (his past being much more sordid and sinful than mine sexually), and I understand from my husband’s heart how much he needed to know that I *knew* how bad he had been, and yet would *still* choose to love him and receive him.  Yes, I was sheltered and virginal like Sofia, but it still didn’t harm me to know his past sexual sins.  If anything, it made me even more sympathetic to him because I could feel the shame he felt for having failed in that area.  Men seem to understand that this kind of acceptance in marriage is a kind of redemption God uses to help ease the pain of past sins.  It does for women, too, if they first acknowledge how sinful they were and are humbled enough to know their husband is doing them a great act of love in accepting them even though they come to him soiled and impure.
  5. Unfortunately for Tolstoy, his wife was horrifically repulsed by his past, and used it for the rest of their marriage to throw in his face and punish him for.  She did not, at all, accept him as the man he was, and she ensured her own unhappiness by perpetually reminding herself in her diaries of how horrible his past was… how she could NEVER get over his former relationships.
  6. I do believe that even with this single, but monumental, rejection of him when he was so honest and open with her, that she may have ruined a lot of his love in those first years when she kept throwing it in his face.  I think when he realized she could not, and would not, ever make peace with his past or love him beyond his past (without holding it against him constantly), that he fell into a depressive state that caused him to bristle at even her voice or presence (which is talked about both in his and her diaries).  How different their marriage might have been if Sofia had been wise enough to realize the power she had when he was so romantically open with her about his past, in helping him heal and redeem his value before God and society.
  7. I’ve heard callers complain about things like this to Dr. Laura, where one spouse – it’s almost always the woman – can’t get over a husband’s past or long-gone sexual relationship, and her response is always that they are simply looking for (literally digging around in their spouse’s past) something to beat the other spouse with.  This is a classic way a wife with a real psychological disorder seeks to continually, “punish,” her husband over his past sins.
  8. Continually using his past, especially his past relationship where he fathered a son who still lived on their land, to berate him for, was abusive.  Sofia, again for all her endless self-proclamations of serving him selflessly and lovingly, was an abusive and toxic wife.  Again, I am amazed he was able to create the masterpieces he did with the ever-present berating, punishing and abusive things she’d say to him.  I should say here that I’m aware that our modern society views his treatment of her as, “abusive,” because she had to, in some authors’ words, endure his “slights and insults.”  I wonder if he felt he almost had to be that way, in order to survive the war-like atmosphere she made sure she created at times (it’s notable that not all of their life was lived this way… they had short periods of happiness, again making me wonder from a psychological-standpoint, if she wasn’t bi-polar).
  9. Consider families where the wife really did sleep around for years before a husband married her, even producing offspring with a man she never even married.  What if the husband acts like Sofia decided to do, and holds a huge grudge against his wife for those things done in her past, and never lets himself, “get over,” her past sexual experiences with other men, continually bringing them in to their current arguments and never allowing his wife to fully, “pay,” for the sins she’d committed?  We’d then be able to see it clearly as the husband’s own psychological disturbance, and not attribute any further fault to his wife.  With Leo Tolstoy, many people, including Nobel Laureates, side with Sofia in this being an excusable and logical offense she held against him for the length of their entire marriage, when obviously, it’s anything but excusable and logical.
  10. She, several times in her diary, expresses murderous intent toward his former lovers and the one son he had who still lived on their land!  She obsesses over his sexual past to the extent of wanting to commit murder several times.  Again, as much as I feel sorry for her, I am amazed at the extent of her insanity and what Tolstoy had to put up with for a lifetime of marriage.  A healthy woman would have accepted him as he was, but Sofia still used his son’s mother against him in arguments even into their old age!  I feel so sorry for him, and amazed he was still able to create the works he did.
  11. Side note – the more I read her words and the conclusions she comes to, the more I believe she probably had a severe psychological disorder.  Her family described her as not having an easy time being happy in general… even as a child, it is noted she was never able to really be happy.  I believe people are able to *choose* happiness, and I don’t excuse Sofia for literally ruining her life over the most mundane reasons to be unhappy.  Her entire diary seems to be one of constant finding fault, constant taking offense (oftentimes where it’s unclear if she even understands it was intended!).  She is a very sad and pathetic woman, what an eye-opening experience reading her mind’s workings.
  12. So back to this issue of holding a spouse’s past against them.  My own husband has a past sexual history before he met me, and it’s something I’ve never held against him because when he married me, he committed to me wholly, just like Tolstoy did to Sofia.  It would be incredibly foolish and perverted to continue to, “punish,” him for things he did in his past before he even knew me, or had taken vows to me.  Like Tolstoy, my husband wasn’t even a real Christian back then, so to hold his sins against him would be wrong.  Sofia’s immaturity and psychologically disturbed thinking gives me an even more sympathetic perspective to how Leo managed to live with her successfully all those years at all.  The fact that he was able to produce such magnificent and powerful novels, even while being relentlessly torn down by such a mentally disturbed woman, shows remarkable strength and resilience.  It’s sad that I although I do feel sorry for her, I also feel even more correct in my first assessment that she was one of the women who make sure they are chronically unhappy no matter what the circumstances may be.  She constantly pities herself, and hates her life.  She resents the life she could have had if she were a single woman.
  13. She absolutely hated him spending time with the peasants, teaching them and mentoring them. She hated having them around their house, taking care of them, and despised her husband for loving this service he desired to provide to the poor.  My own great great grandparents also had peasants and homeless people living around on their estate property (which was not large… so they literally had homeless people living in their backyard)!  Their adult children talked about this a lot in the document they left, which is the only reason why we know about it.  My great-great grandfather was a doctor, one of the only ones in that entire area, so it made sense these people would flock to this strong Christian family, who were both husband and wife, very loving and kind people who would physically and spiritually care for them for free.  They were probably like a beacon of hope to destitute people, and this is what Jesus said we should be like.  I know they viewed this service as a beautiful charity, and I’m amazed in contrast, at Sofia’s selfishness and greed and disdain toward the poor.  For all her admonitions and self-proclamations of thinking she was super religious and selfless, we see she was anything but!  But that is how self-righteous people operate.  They see themselves as put-upon, as an ever-perpetual victim, but in reality, their lives are much more complex with their causing their own problems.  She hated the poor, hated serving them, and hated her own husband for loving them and having them on their property.  I am so grateful my great-great grandmother did not feel this way, how awful it would have been for their marriage if she’d behaved like Sofia Tolstoy.
  14. Sofia would frequently use threats or actual attempts of suicide in order to manipulate him further in order to control her husband.  This is classic psychological disorder-type actions.  I believe she was probably bi-polar, or Cluster B-type, but it would take a very skilled psychologist to go through everything she did (and especially the disturbed way she thought) to untangle what she had.  But it’s clear she was not mentally healthy, and probably wasn’t from a young age.
  15. Tolstoy went on to become a fervent and very strange, type of Christian (note that he wasn’t when we was whoring around in his young years).  In his later years, he came to the strong convictions that it was morally wrong and horrible for young men to do what he had done, to sleep around so much before marriage, and praised and promoted abstinence before marriage for both sexes.  I do admit he took his views a little too far in his old age, but after decades of living with a wife who tortured him mentally and emotionally, I think his views that people shouldn’t get married at all (or have sex – he became asexual in ideology) probably are the reason for his extreme views.

I’m sure I’ll write more when I have time.  It’s interesting to read someone else’s diary… very eye-opening to see how someone else’s mind works.

I myself, am an avid diary-writer ever since I was 6 years old.  My husband has read all my diaries LOL, so reading about Sofia and Leo reading each other’s diaries, and such, leads me to compare and contrast the differences between their relationship and ours.  It’s so sad that she chooses to constantly write herself as the victim to her own life’s story… never taking ownership of her glaringly obvious faults, and everything always being other people’s fault… her always the perfect, selfless martyr who resentfully dedicates her life to others in a way that makes them feel they’re taking advantage of her.  It just doesn’t have to be that way.

We’ve been through many trials in our marriage of different kinds, but we’ve remained remarkably happy and are closer together in every way through having gone through those trials.  It’s strange how some of the very same things that caused so much hostility in the Tolstoy marriage, have only caused us to grow closer together and more strongly bonded.  I do believe a lot of that has to do with how I chose to respond to our trials in ways that encouraged my husband, and didn’t tear him down or berate him for, “failing.”

Major outside stresses that could have broken us, didn’t, and when I read the old diaries, they’re filled with this stuff (getting kicked out for wanting to marry him, living in poverty for a few years, having a baby before we were financially ready, doing too much at one time like school, work, and child-rearing, extreme in-law problems, losing jobs early on that made it more financially stressful, miscarriage, parental health decline, caring for dying grand-parents, etc.)… the diaries hit on all those events, but at the same time they’re also filled with so much joy, optimism, and hope and ways/ideas to be better in the future.  They read in stark contrast to the way Sofia wrote and thought about life.  It’s been a very important spiritual lesson to see the way she saw things, how she couldn’t get past them, and then how those, “hang-ups,” caused her to destroy her own happiness or future chance at happiness.

When I went to a counselor a few years ago because my husband wanted me to after my dad had his stroke, he was amazed how good our marriage was even with going through as many difficulties we’d already been through.  He had some kind of checklist for “major,” trials a couple may have experienced in marriage, and our marriage checked almost every one!  By all accounts, we should have been in a horrible marriage where I resented and hated him for, “failing,” me as a husband.  The counselor was very proud of how in love we still were, how strong our marriage was, and how even after everything we’d been through, we still had a joyful and cheerful outlook on life and the future.

It really makes me wonder how different Sofia’s marriage may have been, if she’d just been aware enough to understand how much she contributed to her own unhappiness?  Do people like this ever know how off they are in their reasoning, or are they truly mentally disturbed?

 

 

 

Quick Link reference for those who don’t have a copy of her diary:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/jun/02/sofia-tolstoy-diaries

Advertisements

Always Have Great Sex!!

Hi Dr. Laura!

My husband is easy. He’s pretty much in the mood all the time. Whenever, wherever… we have sex at least once a day, sometimes two or three (and we’re in our 40’s). But because women are different, I found that it’s good to always stay “prepared”…

One way is, I NEVER go to bed with clothes on. The second is that I have a few things I rotate inside of my head about my husband throughout the day. Things I love about him, things that attracted me to him in the first place. I focus fully on one or two things and before I know it, I’m ready to go. And yes, even with a headache.

My mother taught me to never say no to my husband, but I realize that there is a difference between just being a willing participant and being right there in the moment with him. It’s my very favorite part of the life we share, and I think it’s his, too.

Julie

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve talked on the blog before a few times, about how I listened to Dr. Laura on the radio fairly often when I was a little girl.  My mom always had her on (when she was on air), and wow was it insightful LOL!  The female callers complaining about their husbands were always the worst and most annoying people to behold.  They’d complain about their husband’S normal male-habits, or negative things like having a porn addiction, or that he didn’t clean the house the way she wished he would, or that he had no motivation to move up in his career or make more money, and on and on the complaints were.

She’d speak very harshly to them, although I enjoyed hearing her tell them those things, I always thought to myself that being that harsh with the women was not something I’d want to do.  But perhaps I was wrong… ?  Maybe those types of women truly do need a smack to the head or to be treated as harshly as they’re more than likely treating their husbands.  A lot of the stuff I heard that the men were going through (when the men would call in) sounded like emotional and psychological torture or abuse!  So maybe I was wrong to think they didn’t need some very harsh “slamming” of their own behaviors, perhaps that’s the only way to help them gain humility – by giving them a mirror to see themselves the way other people see them.

And how many women that were like that, were Christian women going to church?  You would think Christian women would set the bar high for being kind and gentle and extremely respectful of their husband and his “flaws,” guarding him and protecting him from strangers’ misjudgment.  I could always tell, even as a young girl, that these women were very sure they were “right” and “good” even though it was pretty obvious they were gossiping and slandering their husbands to strangers on the radio.

The good callers were the ones who were humble, and who listened to Dr. Laura’s advice and allowed her to call them out if what they were doing was wrong.  Like the woman who penned this letter above ❤  She’s taken Dr. Laura’s advice to have LOTS of sex with her husband, and to not only do it because of duty, but to do it enthusiastically and with a good heart towards him!

It’s my very favorite part of the life we share, and I think it’s his, too.”

Yes!  I’ve told my man this many times 😀

Let’s look at her tips for having a better sex life:

  • NEVER go to bed with clothes on (lol… yea that does work!)
  • Focus on good things about your husband throughout the day – things you like about him as a man, and things that made you attracted to him in the first place
  • Don’t just have sex  more, have MORE FUN SEX.  Don’t just give him “duty sex” (bleh) but actually enjoy giving him sex

I actually think there are different “kinds” of sex (no I’m not talking about sex positions – Eek!).  I mean there can be different motivations for having sex.  One of my favorite motivations to give my husband sex is being thankful for him and for everything he does for us as a family.

I call it “Gratitude Sex!”

It’s when you’re so thankful that your husband provides for you, is such a good father to your kids, and is so good in a myriad of little ways, that you just want to knock his socks off with really good (grateful) sex!

I think husbands are often taken for granted.  They’re expected to work hard and expected to do the dirty jobs around the house… but do we as wives really thank them enough?

Is it so bad to thank them with our bodies?

In my experience, it’s more than good 😀

Stephanie

Boyfriend Isn’t Ready to Get Engaged?

Sometimes I get awesome emails from young female readers about their relationship issues, and letting me know what they our younger generation is facing when it comes to dating problems.

This is not one of those emails. (Psyche!) 😛

This is a question posed from a site that I used to be an active commentator on in helping with marriage conflict and counseling, Enotalone.com.  It’s a great question, and hopefully it will help any of you out there reading this that are interested in what you should do, or if you’re ever in this position.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years. I’m in my late 20’s and he’s in his early 30’s. My boyfriend’s company recently offered him a position in one of their locations in India. The position comes with a rather large increase in salary and a new title. It’s a great opportunity for him but it’s in a different country and he doesn’t know how long they will want him there for. It will be at least a year but it could very well be longer.

He’s asked me to move there with him. I’m lucky that I can work remotely from anywhere so that isn’t a huge problem. It’ll be a hassle but it can work. But moving there will mean living in a place where I won’t know a single person, I don’t know the language or customs or anything. I don’t know what I will do with my house here or my car or anything. i feel like I would be giving up a lot. I’m ready to get married and start a family. At my age, I think this is perfectly reasonable.

However, I do want to be with him and I am considering it. But my problem is, I want us to at least be engaged before I make such a big change for him and for us. I don’t think that’s asking for too much. I feel like if I’m willing to change my entire life, then i want some kind of commitment from him. Being engaged doesn’t mean we get married immediately but it shows that he’s serious about us and I really want that commitment first.

but he isn’t ready to get engaged. He says that he doesn’t feel like we’re there yet in our relationship.

What should I do? Is this the end of our relationship?”

***

Ok, so this is actually a really great question, and if you’re a reader and feel like you have some advice to chip in, by all means PLEASE do so 🙂  The more the merrier I think, especially with issues like this.

The problem with relationships in this post-feminist age is that people go into them without being clear about their specific end goals.  Obviously, this young woman is wanting marriage and a family, and in my opinion, this is in her best interest and great for her.  It’s not clear if this woman is a Christian, if they’re cohabitating (living in sin), but even if she is/isn’t, getting married young and starting her family is God’s design for her.  Many women find their happiness and fulfillment in this godly role, even if it isn’t for everyone to pursue (those who have the gift of singleness).

However, for men, marriage has become something that’s risky to enter.  We are now seeing increasing numbers of men in the 20-35 age range who are turning their backs on marriage, due to the lack of assurance that their future wife will even desire to meet their needs (two of the main ones being respect and sex), as well as all the financial and emotional risk of divorce if their wife initiates one.  Men are caught in a strange predicament of having to commit their everything to one woman, only to then feel trapped in a sexless marriage, or be constantly disrespected by their wives and undermined as the godly leader of their home.  The risk of losing everything, all their financial success, their business success, their children and the rights to see them if she falsely accuses him so that she gains sole custody, are on him and him alone.  Most women (especially young ones) have no idea how to comprehend all this and see from a man’s point of view, how dangerous and unappealing marriage is starting to look.

Women (even Christian women) are initiating more divorces than men, and many times, for reasons that are unbiblical and merely based on their unhappiness or discontentment in their marriage.  There are many things that simply don’t warrant divorce,  but could be worked through, or (gasp) even suffered through together.  I know in our current times, it’s politically incorrect to even suggest that marriage should be expected to be at times hard or difficult.  And to be clear, I’m not speaking about cases of infidelity or abuse, where the wife needs to divorce in order to keep herself or any children safe.  It’s just honest to look at what our society has created now, though, and admit that it’s no longer in a single man’s best interest to get married, unless he’s certain he’s found the best woman out there for him who won’t destroy their family.

So now we come to her dilemma.  My answer would be that she needs to move on from this relationship.  She either isn’t the woman he truly wants to commit to, or he doesn’t truly want to commit to anyone at this time (or even possibly ever).  It may be that he just wants a lifetime partner to cohabitate with, and is not interested in the legal ramifications of marriage.  Since their end goals are so opposite, she needs to be spending her time elsewhere, looking for a partner who is ready and interested in marrying her.  She needs to count her past 3 years in this relationship as wasted time, and choose more wisely next time based on the man’s specific end goals.  It may sound offensive to call this “wasted time,” however time is each person’s most precious commodity that they have, and with her desire to get married and have children, it is of the most importance that she have a sober view of how critical it is that she not get herself into another disappointing relationship where she is less likely to achieve her end goals.

Another thing I would advise any woman in her position, is that she should also be making herself into the best woman that they can be, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mindfully.  Reading books to broaden her mind, the classics, getting into her best shape physically so that she’s at her most attractive, wearing clothes that accentuate her shape, wearing her hair and makeup in tasteful and feminine ways… all these things are important if she’s interested in finding a husband.  ❤

Good luck!

Dragonfly

A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom

My Dear Wormwood,

I was thrilled to hear you have been making progress with the mother.  You have a good lead, from what I hear.  She’s feels over-worked, unappreciated, and discouraged?  I’m so glad to hear it.  If you tread carefully, this can be a great opportunity.  With the kids waking her up every hour last night, we already have an advantage.  A tired Mom makes for a more emotional Mom, and an emotional Mom is a vulnerable one.

I do have a few tips.  First, aim your best efforts at her marriage.

As you know, we cannot do much with a unified marriage.  Luckily for us, a cranky and exhausted wife can do wonders to change that.  We must convince her that her husband is no longer the friend and ally she first married.  Instead, we must reveal every sin and selfish habit, especially drawing attention to his thoughtless actions (mal-intended or not) against her.

Sometimes it’s the less obvious things, things the husband doesn’t even realize, that we can use to offend her the most.  When he comes home from work and dumps his things on the counter nearest the door (instead of hanging his coat or putting away his keys), let her think of it as a direct assault on her work as a homekeeper.  When he treks mud in with his shoes, let her think it is because he does not love her.  Such extremes of thought may seem ridiculous to you or I, but to the exhausted mortal woman, it can seem possible.  Your goal is to make her think the husband does not notice, or even better, that he does not care about her efforts at home.

Secondly, do what you can to keep her focused on her troubles and pains.  Remind her how much her back aches, how draining the children were all day, and how many undone tasks still beckon her.  Do not let her wonder what difficulties her husband faced that day or whether his back might also be aching.  Valuing others above oneself is one of those silly, though strangely effective, tactics of the Enemy.  If she stops to make him a cup of coffee, the next thing you know she’ll be rubbing his shoulders and flirting with him on the couch.  It can progress out of your control if you’re not careful.

Along those lines, be sure the Mother starts to value productivity above everything else.  Have her wake up early and work non-stop until bedtime.  If the husband relaxes in the evening with an hour of computer gaming, be sure the wife notices the pile of unfolded laundry or unswept floors.  Do not let her grab a book and relax alongside her husband.  Diligence, often one of the Enemy’s virtues, when overdone can be used to our advantage as well.  Convince her that as long as there is a shred of work to be done (and there always is), no one should be resting.  Then, as she folds and sweeps and he sits, you can introduce the sweet bitterness of resentment.

A word of caution here.  Remember, the love of a husband can be dangerous to our cause.  If he senses her unhappiness, he may begin to help or (even worse) show her affection.  This is where previously planted seeds of resentment can be guided into full bloom.  Make her think that his displays of affection are because he “only wants one thing”.  Do not let her view his help with the dishes (or kisses or cuddling) as having pure motives.  If he shows his desire for her, convince her that she is being used, not loved.  As we both know, the ultimate Act of Marriage can bond them together in a way that can undo much hard work on our part.  Because of this, do not allow her to prioritize that Act on her mental to-do-list.  It is in our best interest to keep the wife busy, busy, busy and be sure she’s far too exhausted to consider it by the end of the evening.

Now, onto the children.  Lovely little opportunities for us, the children, especially the little ones.  We all know that children are a favorite tool of the Enemy.  He calls them Blessings and Gifts and calls parents to lay down their lives for them, just as his Son did.  Insane, I know.  We must convince her that the obnoxious little people she has charge of are not really worth her sacrifice.  When the Mother first dreamed of having children, she probably imagined large, innocent eyes and chubby, happy grins taking up the majority of her days.  Do your best to shatter those expectations.

Instead, draw attention to how much they take from her.  Let them take and take and take…  And need and need and need, until the Mother feels totally spent.  Let them start crying at the same time for the most irrational of reasons.  Let the noise bother her.  Let their bad behavior surprise her.  Do your best to make the day-to-day monotony of diaper changes, meals, and baths seem simultaneously overwhelming and beneath her.  Let her think of all the better, more important things she could be doing with her life, if only she didn’t have the children.

Don’t let her think about the future responsible, faithful adults she is raising.  Society changers, friends, workers, husbands or wives…  Don’t let her think of them as life-long companions who will love her, converse with her, and care for her in her old age.  Oh, and definitely don’t let her think about the grandchildren she might be able to see in their little grubby faces if she looked hard enough now.  No, no, no…  Thinking ahead to when her work bears fruit, as the Enemy calls it, is always a bad idea.  Keep words like ‘heritage’ or ‘legacy’ far away from the runny noses and jelly stains of the day to day.

If there is any last piece of advice I have for you, Wormwood, it is to keep the Mother looking to her husband or family for her fulfillment and comfort.  We know that the Enemy is always watching and willing to take the burdens of his children, but if we divert the Mother’s attention well enough, this fact can be forgotten.  Make her look to her husband for worth and affirmation.  Then, when he lets her down (as he is sure to do), she will be ours to torment.  Yes, the worst thing that could happen would be for her to turn to Him with her needs and inadequacies.  Once she realizes that the Enemy offers a peace that transcends her situation, our work could be utterly compromised.

Your Malevolent Uncle,

Screwtape

 

By Kelsey Shade, the beautiful, young wife and mother of three boys that blogs at Organizing Life with Littles!

Why is Attractiveness in Marriage Important?

Commenter Object of Contempt made a great observation about romance, passionate love, and attraction in marriage being interrelated:

I think, however, that it is part of the vows to do what you can to maintain passionate love. Being attractive is part of that. I also think it is possible to make yourself be in love with someone (having done it myself). There are limits, of course.Romance and passion are often dismissed in christian teaching about marriage, just like attractiveness and beauty are. I suspect this is partially the cause for the attractiveness issue.

His concern that Christian teachings throw out or dismiss the importance of romance & passion, or attractiveness & beauty in marriage are well-founded.  I’ve written before in Men Need an Attractive Wife, that:

Christianity sometimes overstates the importance of inner beauty, making outward care for the appearance to look like materialism and vanity. 

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain [or fleeting], but a woman who fears the Lord she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

If you take the time to really learn about the Proverbs 31 woman, she does not sound like a woman who let herself go after marriage.  She made beautiful clothes for her family using expensive dyes that were usually reserved for royalty or nobility.  She worked from early morning until late at night – and her husband sat with important men, bragging about her, do you think he would’ve bragged about her had she just let her appearance go?  Obviously, she cared about what her husband liked as far as her appearance and presentation.

Taking care of your appearance, exercising and making sure you look your best as a woman is not selfish, in fact, if you’re married, it’s selfish not to.”

Christians do tend to, like Object of Contempt pointed out, act like outer attractiveness is “optional,” and that inner beauty is the only thing that is righteous to work toward.  He wondered if there was any proof that taking care of attractiveness, especially for a woman, was important to God.

I’m so glad someone asked this question, and I’ll do my best to give my own opinion here, but I’d really love for other people who may be reading this who feel they have a greater understanding of this complicated issue to add their thoughts in the comments (please 🙂 ).  So without further ado, this is just one woman’s thoughts and advice, take it for what you will….

 

From Object of Contempt:

“And among Christian blogs, then I find many more posts that make it all about the inner beauty, and tear it (outer beauty) all down. These posts quote Peter and sound more spiritual and biblical, but I think they distort the truth by focusing on one verse.
How would someone show that God thinks visual attractiveness is important? How would someone show that God thinks passionate love is important? Does a woman have a perspective that needs a particular approach for it to be heard?”

I answered his comment below, but would like to expand on some of these concepts now that I have time:

“It really is a balance, but it’s true that the issue is complex – what matters to God. On one hand, when it comes down to it, He loves people right where they are – and every person, no matter what they look like, matter to Him and has great personal value! If a Christian is living their life, and haven’t grown in a certain area, He still loves them and values them.

But on the other hand, God does want us to be growing spiritually and becoming more complete/mature people, and a part of spiritual growth that Christians tend to overlook is how they are taking care of themselves physically.

Making themselves attractive, enjoying that process, nourishing the passionate love and attraction in their marriage are all holy and spiritual pursuits! God wants us to have life and life abundantly – Scripture even states that the reason He died was so that we can have complete joy – joy in it’s completeness. It is very hard to have that kind of abundant life and complete joy when a woman isn’t taking care of her health and fitness, creating a passionate marriage, and flourishing in attraction between her and her mate.

So God does care about those things in the long run, but they are of lesser importance compared to a person’s salvation and having “inner beauty” – which is character and integrity.

Those things always matter more to God, because they are who a person really is, and beauty eventually fades.

In my opinion, real beauty goes beyond skin deep, and is easily seen in the way a woman radiates joy and beauty from within, which has the power to change her outer appearance and have people drawn to her.”

_____________________________________________________

A major part of spiritual growth that Christians tend to overlook is how they are presenting themselves physically, how they are taking care of the body that God gave them.  We are stewards of our body, and although God ultimately cares more about our salvation and character growth and integrity, He does expect us to take great care over the body we’ve been given so that we can effectively do His will in our life.  If we are running our bodies down, filling them up with too much food and not enough exercise, becoming overweight or underweight, we won’t have the physical or mental strength to do many of the spiritual tasks we’re called to do.  Even spiritual things require a well-rested, well-taken care of body, otherwise our emotions (due usually to exhaustion or over-extension) tend to take over and we react out of shortened tempers, grouchiness, and feeling horrible.  When a woman isn’t taking care of herself physically, it often has mental and spiritual ramifications that negatively affect her ability to minister to others God has put in her path, namely her husband and her children.

Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Part of “honoring God with our bodies,” is taking care of them, and presenting them well.

When a woman is married, taking care of her appearance is important because it’s usually important to her husband.  He was more than likely first attracted to her because of her appearance, not her personality… this isn’t to say that he didn’t come to appreciate her personality later on and love her more for it, but Christians throwing out the importance of her attractiveness in catching her husband is clearly short-sighted.  Most single women who find husbands give some thought and devotion to their outward beauty and attractiveness, so it makes sense that the tools they used to catch a husband, should also be used regularly in keeping their husband during their marriage.

What I would want to tell a woman who has set herself as Object of Contempt put it, “against being attractive,” is that this isn’t about trying to change her into someone she isn’t or has never been!  This is about a heart issue of wanting to pursue having a good marriage, caring about her husband’s visual needs of wanting to see her at her attractive, personal best, and doing what she should to create a romantic and passionate marriage!

A good guideline is to look at one’s wedding pictures, aside from normal aging, how far off are you from looking the way you did when you made your vows to do everything you could to make a marriage work?

We as women, usually take care of ourselves very well when single and as a result, we reap the benefits of our men lavishing their attention and romantic efforts on us.  A major part of marriage is learning to work together as a team, caring for each other’s needs, and understanding that our actions are forever now tied to the fate of another person – we are responsible for them to a certain extent, and should live our life caring about how our actions affect them in their own life.  If we clearly do not care about how attracted our husbands are to us, if we let ourselves go and demand he love us for “ourselves,” we are expecting him to feel the same romance and passion toward us as he did when we made efforts we aren’t making anymore.  Of course he may still love us deeply, but God created men to be extremely visual, and if we don’t look appealing to our husband, if our appearance is negatively impacting the level of attraction he feels for us, then something needs to be changed on our part.

Loving our husbands means we care deeply about what he needs.  

Sex and affection are critical to men, it is the way God’s designed them to be able to feel emotionally and spiritually close to us!

If we’ve let ourselves go and are no longer making any effort to be attractive to them or have a good sex life, or be affectionate with them, we are causing them to live in a state of emotional and spiritual torment.

This is serious, sisters, holding on to our “right” to be against being attractive for our husbands is selfish and only causes damage to our marriage, and damages the hearts of our husbands.  It’s putting up a stumbling block in his way to experiencing closeness and intimacy with us – emotionally, spiritually, as well as physically.  

It should remain obvious then, that if we care about our husband’s well-being, if we care about his needs and God-given desires, then we will also care about nourishing a passionate, romantic marriage, and staying attractive to our men.

 

Related: A Woman’s Attractiveness Reflects on Her Husband’s Appeal, Talent, and Ability

Men Need an Attractive Wife

Single Women: You Have the Power in Attracting a Man – Unleash It!

 

Men – Don’t Waste Your 20’s Misunderstanding Women & What They Want

When I wrote Single Women Don’t Waste Your 20’s in Casual Sex & Hookups, I was going off of a feeling I have gotten from many friends and acquaintances who feel as though that is what they did.  It started with just seeing examples in my family like my cousin’s experience that I described in that post, and expanded to friends who are older, and has expanded to friends my age that are just “waking up,” and realizing the decade that they’ve missed.

What I never thought of before, at least, not being aware of enough to write about it, was the fact that many men (especially Christian men), feel this same way.

They actually feel as though they missed out on an entire decade of understanding what women want, and as a result, are unhappily single in their 30’s and even into their 40’s.

Feminism told women that being promiscuous was fine.  That it wouldn’t have an effect on their emotions, their psyche, or their future marriage.  They could be as promiscuous as they wanted, and would still be valuable in the eyes of men.  Letting themselves be used, like a cheap whore, was suddenly very empowering.  The thought of a submissive wife that followed her husband’s lead was distasteful, meant that the woman was stunted in growth and maturity, and was labeled as the woman being a doormat or under oppression.  Even the church, to a great degree, has bought into this lie and feels uncomfortable really tackling the issue of wifely submission from a biblical standpoint.

But consider the message feminism sold to you men.

Men were told by feminism that their masculinity was wrong, that manly behaviors were unnecessary to attract women.  Just be Yourself, your emo, socially inhibited, not-good-with-women self and that someonesomeday… would finally see your true worth!  But don’t bother improving yourself!  We don’t want to tell you that!  You don’t need to be macho… in fact, it’s oppression to tell you that (Emma Watson)!  You just wait, hangout with your geeky or nerdy friends and someday, God will drop a heavenly, gorgeous princess into your lap because you’ve been a good boy.  You’ve waited (and remained celibate) for SO long.  God will reward that.

It’s ok to show your more feminine nature, men – those behaviors of showing emotions, being more vulnerable and open are valuable for men to display!

In fact, the man who is truly sure of himself and acts more effeminate, is a REAL man (note the shaming language these women use when saying that word).  Homosexuality is even more preferable and popular than real masculinity.

We can clearly see that the lie feminism sold to women concerning their liberal sexuality not having any negative effects is wrong, but it’s trickier to pin down the lie that real masculinity isn’t what women desire.

But the result of these lies feminism sold to men was creating a male that women wouldn’t be attracted to, at least not viscerally attracted to.  Why does that visceral attraction matter?  Shouldn’t women be attracted to men for more than their sex appeal anyway?  Of course.  But what matters most to men in their marriage?  Respect, admiration, and sex.  Their sex life is pretty high up there in importance, so marrying a Christian wife who’s only barely attracted to them sexually is a recipe for years or decades of frustration, anger, and resentment.

There are many men who are waking up and either realizing they wasted their 20’s being too nice, too sweet, too supplicating to attract a woman to marry, or that they married someone who constantly undermines their authority, disrespects them anywhere she goes and to anyone who will listen, and would rather be doing anything than having sex with him.

These men feel angry when they wake up.  They feel like for most of their lives, that they were lied to, and you know… they were.  By well meaning mothers, by the girls that rejected them, and even by church leadership in telling them in words or through implied messages, to be something that was unattractive to women.  The Single Nice Christian Man… the one who is always rejected, or at the very least, has very few dates.  The one who is always told to “Just Be Yourself,” but constantly gets the feeling that it’s this being himself that is getting him rejected.

Every time he tries to approach a woman, he fails.  It begins an incredibly devastating cycle of desire for a girl he likes, hope that he might be able to get her if he does A-B-C-D, finding his hopes dashed because she’s obviously not attracted to him, feeling the pain of rejection, the feelings of hopelessness, the questions of “what is wrong with me?” or “will I ever be enough?”  And then he is brought back to the desire again when he sees another girl he would like to have a relationship with.

Christian men are especially at risk for this Cycle of Hopeless Dating (I’m terming this CHD).  I’ve written before on how Christianity seems to cripple their young single men, and while I still think some of those points were correct, I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is much more complex.

I talked about our Christian singles not understanding how to lead a woman (and getting mixed messages that their wives were really leading anyway), not understanding positive masculinity because they didn’t have any ritual or ceremony celebrating becoming a man, and I even touched on some important, albeit minor things that Nice Guys do wrong in relationships, but what I didn’t get down to was the real issue of why they are wasting so much time.

It’s because they just don’t understand women and what they really want from them as single Christian men.

It’s not that they are constantly told to be a certain way and it will all work out fine for them, it’s that they are told by the same women they want to attract who then go on to reject them!  They are constantly and from almost every angle, misled to believe that this is what Christian women want.

Christian women never say what it is they truly do want, because it’s not socially acceptable to place so much emphasis on traditional masculinity or key elements of sensuality.  She may say they want a man who vacuums.  She wants a man who shares the household chores and never makes her feel like she needs to be responsible for keeping the house a home (or tidy).  She wants a man who never challenges her on her beliefs or behavior.  A “servant leader” who isn’t really leading because he constantly asks her if it’s “ok?” on any and every topic he’s expected to make a decision.  He always defers to her, she has the final word because she’s really the one leading.

The problem is… Women don’t really want this… because they can’t respect this, and when they get (or worse, marry) a man like that, they disrespect him either in front of him, to him, or behind his back when talking to other women about his lack of ability or leadership.

Do you want a Christian wife who will put you down to her friends when you’re not around?  … Who will constantly make you the butt of her jokes? … Who will harp on you to take out the trash or do the dishes, but turn you down for sex every night of the week for months on end?  Or worse, give you duty sex where she just lays there because she resents having to do it with you?

Women like this have no concept of reciprocity (meeting his sexual needs) because they take advantage of the push-over men they married whom they don’t respect, much less honor.  It usually doesn’t even cross their minds that their husbands actually deserve something better than the treatment they’re giving them or showing them.  And men trapped in these marriages are at a loss as to what to do about it.

Most men honestly think their wives will repay his efforts, appreciate the work he puts into their marriage, be reciprocal when it comes to rewarding shared household tasks with passionate, loving affection and sex.  Most often not… in fact, a recent study has proven that men who shared equal household chores or did chores that were less “manly” had less passionate sex lives, and fewer sexual encounters with their wives.

A February paper in the American Sociological Review reported that married couples in which men take on a greater share of the dishes, laundry and other traditionally female chores had sex less often than average, which in this study was about five times a month. Yet couples in which men confined themselves largely to traditionally male chores such as yard work enjoyed sex more frequently than average. Taken to the extreme, men who performed all the traditionally female chores would have had sex 1.6 times less often than men who did none of them. The study authors, from the Juan March Institute in Madrid and the University of Washington, arrived at the correlation by crunching data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NFSH), which gathered survey information from 4,500 U.S. married couples. The researchers ruled out any kind of coercion on the part of the “manly” chore-performing husbands by looking at data from the same survey on sexual satisfaction: they found that women from households with more traditional divisions of labor felt no less happy with their sex lives than women in more gender-neutral ones.  …

Displays of masculinity may evoke feminine displays in women, which activates or intensifies sexual charge. Put the man on a rider mower, in other words, and boom—fireworks. Stand him at a sudsy sink, and it’s a probable no go.

Making your husband into your effeminate “partner” that has lost his masculinity is not, apparently, a turn on.  Equal partnership couples apparently have less sex overall.

Apparently, it was reported in the findings of a survey done by American motherhood website iVillage, that most women (including Christian wives) would rather be doing ANYTHING else than having sex with their husbands.  And when you’d rather be doing anything else… you start to find excuses to do anything else.

Here are some of their complaints and confessions about their lackluster sex lives:

Of the 2,000 women surveyed, more than 80 per cent described their sex lives as predictable.

Some 67 per cent said that the position was too repetitive, whilst 56 per cent said the time of day it happened was the same every time.

An alarming 45 per cent could only say at best they were ‘somewhat happy’ with their sex life and

62 per cent said they fantasise about having sex with somebody who is not their husband.

How many husbands live in marriages where their wife gives a constant barrage of excuses for not wanting to have sex with him?

Even when she does give you begrudging sex, keep in mind that by their own admission… 62% of these women are fantasizing about someone sexier than you.

Wake up, single men, that means that the majority of women out there are not that attracted to the man they chose to marry.  They’d rather do house work (something women really hate to do) than spend any amount of time engaging in sex or affection with him.  When housework ranks above sex with her husband, you know something is terribly, horrifyingly wrong.

*

This is the condition of Christian marriages today, not all of course, but in teaching Christian men how to *not* be masculine, how to *not* attract the women who will actually want to have healthy sex lives with them, we are robbing them of their God-given natures, and plans for their lives to be lived fulfilled.  Sexually fulfilled.  Because a married man does not feel fulfilled if he is not sexually fulfilled by his wife.

Let’s really ponder that.

It is rare to find a man who is really leading his family, who’s wife is whole-heartedly submitting to his headship and authority.  Let’s make it not so rare.

A Sexless 40 Year Marriage

I received a comment from a man named Nathan a couple of nights ago on my post, The Ignorant Sexless Wife.  In the comment, he brings up many issues that can come from a wife rejecting her husband repeatedly and forcing him to live in a technical sexless marriage.

Any thoughts on his suggestions of what this kind of marriage creates (or may create) is welcome, especially regarding his thoughts on “Mama’s Girls.”

From commenter Nathan,

“Having lived in a marriage for over 40 years like the one the writer describes I can attest to the damage it will do not only to him but most likely to his kids as well. If this woman continues treating him this way he will almost certainly find himself taking some of his resentment and frustration out on the kids rather than her.

He could easily find himself locked in a battle with the kids for control and respect. Since she obviously has little or no respect for him she will most likely undermine his authority with the kids and he will almost certainly loose that battle as well.

Waiting for the kids to get older all the while hoping things will get better will prove to be more wasted time.

A woman like this will almost never change because she will never allow herself to see or believe anything she does is wrong. The reality is that his best bet would be to find a really good Divorce Attorney and cut his losses while he is still young enough to heal and have a chance at a decent life. Looking back, it is advice I wish I had followed 40 years ago when my wife gave me the cold shoulder on our wedding night claiming it was too late and she was too tired!

Dragonfly, you are definitely right about men more accurately reporting their sex life of lack there of. You cited “Spreadsheet Guy” in your example. I began a similar thing within a few years of our marriage to counter my wife’s insistence that I was “wrong”, “making it up” and we had sex more than I claimed. When I began “keeping score” what I found was that things were much worse that even I thought. I used one of those little bank calendars and a series of small symbols to indicate what happened on a particular day.

What I found was that I got 17 to 30 outright rejections before she would “allow” anything. Keep in mind this was within the first 5 years of marriage! Time hasn’t changed a thing. Today is 9/3/2015, the last time I got so much as even a kiss from this woman was on 7/25/2015. The last time before that was on 6/25/2015.

See a pattern here?

Here is another topic you may want to explore in another blog; Mama’s Girls. I have read many articles over the years about “Mama’s Boys” and how destructive that twisted, codependent relationship can be to a marriage. I can’t recall ever seeing an article discussing how equally destructive it can be when it’s the wife that’s tied to her manipulative, controlling, domineering, mothers apron strings. I wonder how many of the women like the one in this article also fit the bill for being a “Mama’s Girl” and “Her” husband was just a convenient father and ATM card for “Her” kids, “Her” house and “Her” perfect, planned life?””

All For One & One For All

lawrenceschiller

Recently I had a man who is in charge of the psyche department in my husband’s line of work, ask me personally what I thought would help couples to survive the kind of stress that is put on marriages when the men (or women) go through their intensive training academy.  He said that often the amount of damage that is incurred to the marriage during that period of time is so intense, that even once the men are out and on the street, the “surprises” of that first year or so afterwards are still inflicting pain long after the supposedly painful period is over.  By the time the academy training is over, so much hurt and resentment has typically built up, their marriages often don’t survive much longer, or limp along in pain.

He asked me how his team could help wives of officers in particular, to be able to cope with their husbands’ stresses, changes in behavior or attitude – if I had any ideas about how to help or what would practically help them.  Our marriage and another (where the wife is a chaplain) are two of the best one’s he’s seen personally.  While this made me feel pretty great, I’m under no delusion that we are somehow better, in fact if anything, the great amount of pain and stresses we’d already experienced from outside stresses in our marriage has been what has made us different in my opinion.  Not that we somehow “get it” and others don’t, its that we’ve been through enough that we’d already be divorced by now if we hadn’t been forced to have “gotten it” already.

We talked about some implementable ideas, group talks or presentations that could be done or that I’d be interested in doing, and I told him how a lot of it boils down to helping the wives understand the bigger picture, a broader perspective.  I told him that I believe things come in seasons.  There are simply different seasons in life – even though it may feel like a particular season of pain or suffering will never pass, the truth is that it inevitably will, and that one mental shift in attitude can change one’s entire perspective on pain and suffering in life.  Understanding and having the maturity to foresee beyond your particular circumstances at the moment, the capability to visualize your life, who you want to be, your marriage in 5 or 10 years, is an ability that I learned a long time ago.

Another thing I’ve noticed in marriages, and he generally agreed, was that resentments, anger, and bitterness will only continue to build up if the couple is stuck in a cyclical way of thinking that the other is purposefully hurting them or out to get them.  When my husband was in the academy, it was the most stressful time in his life to date.  His instructors were cruel and mean, even bordering on (at times in my opinion) sadistic in causing the men and women extra stress.  Their one goal was to beat them down until they failed or gave up and walked away.  They frequently said that they wanted their worst day to be at the academy, and they made good on their promise.  The few that remained at the end of the 7 1/2 months were the ones who fought for their position and honor.

Being a supportive wife during this time, while also a mother to a toddler and a full-time working woman was a juggling act to say the least.  My husband was gone… his physical body came home at night to rest and sleep, but mentally and emotionally he was just gone.  He was under the greatest amount of psychological stress he’d ever endured at that point in his life, and I was his only wife – the only one there to ensure he had all he needed resource-wise to make it through.  I would get up early at 5am, spend time with God, make breakfasts, pack lunches, get my son ready for his daycare school, then take him to school, spend all day at work, pick my son up from his school, care for him alone in the evenings, make dinner, greet my exhausted and mentally drained husband, then he’d put our son to bed, and we’d relax or study together.   Allowing him to go through this season with grace was ultimately what helped him the most, instead of nagging him, complaining about his exhaustion, lack of help with our child, the household chores, etc.  Giving him grace during this time when both of us were feeling the stress on our marriage, while keeping the perspective that it was only a season kept things calm for awhile.

They had uniform inspections everyday, their uniforms had to be ironed and starched to perfection, a piece of lint was enough to get them punished brutally as a group, so to help him, I would iron his uniforms every night.  It was here that our marriage started to experience turbulence.  Since I’d volunteered to help him with his strict uniform expectations, I would do it at my leisure… which meant sometimes the night before, sometimes the morning of, I always made sure I was done with them by the time he needed them at 5:30am.  But due to the immense stress of being late – they threatened to fire men and women who were late, and they were serious – he grew to resent my lackadaisical approach to his freshly pressed uniforms.

I’d never seen this side of my husband, angry, demanding, even shifting into a blaming attitude – we had some heated fights where we both accused each other of being unreasonable.  He actually thought I was trying to make him fail and told me so.  I thought he was being insanely unappreciative and controlling, and thoroughly enjoyed threatening him with doing his own uniforms on top of everything else he had to do.  We had one big fight about it, and in the middle of fighting I suddenly understood what was happening.  He felt too much pressure and was terrified of being late and getting fired when I waited to do his uniforms in the morning.  For him, the fact that I refused to do them at night when he preferred they’d get done, meant that I didn’t love or care about him.  I asked him if this was what really was bothering him, and he admitted that it was.  He wanted me to do them the night before so that he didn’t have to watch me doing them when he passed by in the morning and have that anxiety that I might not finish in time (even though I always did).  Merely watching me do them was stressful enough to cause him extra anxiety – anxiety that he didn’t need on top of everything else.  I realized that loving him meant helping him to feel the least stress possible, he was already undergoing severe psychological stress – why add to it when I could actually alleviate the problem easily.

We sat down and talked like mature adults do who want to work together… and figured out what would solve the problem.  I conceded to do his uniforms at night because I loved him and didn’t want him to feel extra anxiety in the morning, and he continued to love and cherish me at night to ease my own anxieties of feeling like a single parent – we were in it together, and for the long haul of it.  A major shift for both of us was realizing that the other was not trying to cause pain, but that we weren’t communicating effectively or lovingly in our actions towards each other.

Yes, communicating with our actions.  In his mind, he was already sacrificing everything… his physical and mental strength for our family, and still coming home to try to help me with our son.  He was giving literally all he had to give and more at the end of the day.  Him asking me to do his uniforms at night and my actions – brushing him off and refusing to just because I knew I could get them done in the morning – were unloving to him because it caused him extra stress.  My meeting his request with an unloving action – doing his uniforms in the morning when he was trying to be calm before leaving – had him returning with unloving actions until we were fighting like cats and dogs.

Breaking the cycle was me realizing what was really bothering him, realizing that my attitude needed to be loving him in the way that he wanted and appreciated – not in the way I thought he should want or appreciate.

Unloving means it’s all about me, for me, and on my time.  Loving is all for one, and one for all.

The Ignorant Sexless Wife

you changed

“My wife (26) and I (26) have been married for 2.5 years and known each other for close to 4. Our daughter just turned 15 months.

After the birth of our daughter, my wife was reluctant to have sex for a while because she delivered vaginally. Her OB said she was good to go after 3 weeks or so, but we waited for a couple months to make sure she was comfortable. I initiated and we had good sex, and she mentioned how long it’s been and how she missed it. Then, after that one time, my advanced started getting rejected, you know, standard stuff. After a couple months of it, I started talking to her about it, how sex was important to me for emotional connection etc., and she said it was important to her, too, but she wasn’t in the mood and wanted some time. We talked about her mind and body, but she said she wasn’t depressed, and she’s not breastfeeding or on birth control. So basically, everything was fine and perfect and she just wanted more time.

Fast forward a few months, I successfully got laid (sounds a bit sad, no?) one more time, and a few weeks later we found out she’s pregnant. (We took the necessary precautions.) She was excited about it, and I, too, because we planned on having two kids not too far apart in age. Of course, sex stayed at zero as she was feeling sick most of the time. A couple months into the pregnancy, she suffered a miscarriage that required an emergency D&C procedure. I took 4 weeks off work to be with my family and didn’t try anything sexual for around 3 months. Then, it was back to getting rejected, more talks with me suggesting counseling etc., telling her I was missing the connection and was drifting away. She kept saying she’s fine and doesn’t need help, it’s just the way it’s supposed to be after marriage and kids, I should be putting our daughter first, she’s tired, I told her I feel like we’re best platonic friends, roommates,

I, while sobbing, told her I was feeling dead inside.

Her suggestion was that I should just watch porn and jack off, and warned that if I were to see someone else she’d take our daughter and run.

We had sex once this year.

I know that taking care of a toddler is tough, as I used to work from home 100% and helped out. We also have help from my mother, who gets along quite well with our daughter and my wife, whenever we need her. However, my wife says she just doesn’t have the energy for me. I also suggested many times that the baby sleeps in her own room instead of with us, but that got shot down.

I’ve also readhttps://www.reddit.com/r/DeadBedrooms/comments/2julkr/attn_hl_men_with_ll_wivesgirlfriends_and_newborn/ and I’m trying to be understanding, but it’s been really, really tough.

Lately, I stopped initiating because I was tired of getting shut down.

I feel less inclined to cuddle and kiss, which we did quite a bit of even when we weren’t having sex. I’ve been feeling my self esteem go down the drain. I just want to feel desired and sexy.

I used to think it’s weak and lame to want validation from others, but shit this sucks. I’m trying to convince myself that I should give it until the baby turns 3 or 4, but apparently sex isn’t really that important to my wife so I’m not sure if things will change.

I’m now spending time among here, r/adultery/, and r/seduction, I’m pretty sure I know where this is headed.

Perhaps I should just tell her straight up I’m gonna start meeting other people? Should I talk to a lawyer first?” (Emphasis mine)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

I came across this anonymous note written by Young Handsome Dad in Deadbedroom, found here, at dead bedrooms reddit.  Before you judge him for looking into meeting other people, let’s look at all the basic facts he’s laid out about his situation.  I wish I could say this was a unique situation, but unfortunately, its actually common.

People tend to think that after marriage and children, your sex life starts to suck or completely disappears.  That it is ok for one partner to simply not desire sex anymore.  That you should accept living out your life in a so-called, “Dead Bedroom.”

Sex does not have to stop after you have a baby, this I know because I’ve lived it.  If a wife loves her husband, is attracted to her husband, and understands the dynamics of a working marriage, she will still want to have sex even when the couple has an infant.  I remember right after I had our second boy this past Christmas, 2 weeks later I already wanted to have another of my husband’s babies!  It shocked me because I hated being pregnant.  It humored my husband because he flat out refused – it was never our plan to have any baby that close together – (its actually part of why we have a puppy!), but I honestly wanted him to get me pregnant again… that soon after giving birth, I already wanted another baby with him.

I was so in love with our life, our new baby, with him as the man he is.  This is how a good marriage should be.  The spouses should love each other, should want to be together, to be intimate together.  There should not be a constant rejection of one spouse’s advances.

When I read testimonies in Dead Bedrooms like this, I wonder if the husband understands how much his wife is to blame for their unhappiness or bad marriage.  Does she understand how cruel she is to constantly reject him?

Does she know that he’s giving up on happiness in life because of her dead weight pulling him down?

Does she know that she’s killing her husband’s self-esteem?

Does she know that she does not care about one of his deepest needs that can only be met by her and her alone?

Does she know that she’s abusing her husband, slowly killing him inside?

Does she know that he’s trying to convince himself to hold out until the child is 3 or 4 years old – something utterly ridiculous and incredulous, just so that he can save his marriage?

Does she know that her refusing to have sex with him is like him refusing to speak to her (communication is as essential to women as sex is to men)?

Does she really care that he “was sobbing” when he’s been trying to get her to understand how he feels?

The short answer?  Women like this unfortunately miss all these signs, they actually don’t care – until its too late and he’s either cheated or divorced her for someone else.

The Good or Bad Seductress

mirandakerr

“Do you believe that women can rape men? Or that men can experience regret rape, often when it results in children they didn’t want. Or when the woman wanted to get pregnant before divorcing the man?

This is what a seductress does. Not the innocent initiating (sex) you are referring to. Let’s make a distinction between the two. It is a difference in motive: yours is well-intentioned, the seductress’ is not.”

So… apparently the discussion about seduction has gotten to the point where women are now asserting that it is morally wrong to “seduce” or to play the seductress to your husband.  Seduction, even inside of a marriage, is a no-go zone… it’s “fake,”  it’s “manipulation,”  it’s “deceptive.”

While I do acknowledge that there are women (and men) who use seduction in a detrimental manner – to destroy innocence, to advance at work, or to even steal another’s spouse – to think that a wife can’t play the role of seductress to her husband in a loving, intimate marriage, is a stubborn and senseless view coming from suffocating religious legalism.

But first, let’s take a look at the anatomy of why seduction works in the first place with men:

Men, even the most confident man, have the deepest need to feel desired – they want to feel like their wife (the most important woman in their life) desires them with a raw, passionate desire.

How a woman shows her man that she desires him is by pursuing him.  Romancing her husband, taking the time doing the little things that are above and beyond what the typical wife cares to do, all in order to show that she’s thinking about him, and loves him deeply.

Pursuing him sexually, is where seduction comes into play.

How does one pursue their husband seductively?

Seduction takes forethought.  It takes a little bit of planning.  A wife shows her husband that she loves him enough in order to think and devise ways to get him into bed early – or to let him know that she is craving him that night.

Is there a difference between simply initiating sex with your husband and “seducing” him into sex that night?

Yes, there really is.  Initiating sex with your husband (without using any seduction) is like a wife saying, “So, do you want to have sex tonight?”  No man would usually turn that down (especially in a good marriage), however, a woman has the power to use her beauty (and womanly seduction) to increase a man’s desire by the way she initiates sex.

Instead of coming right out and talking about having sex that night, a wife using seduction will put on perfume, or any scent her husband likes her wearing (body spray or even clean soap scent).  She will do her hair (the way he likes it), fix her makeup if its come off after a long day, put on some fresh lipstick, any amount of primping to make herself feel beautiful.

She will wear lingerie, allowing the seductive fragments to accent her body, or a beautiful vintage corset, to inflame her breasts and increase her cleavage to her husband’s visual delight.  Only he gets to see her in such revealing and tempting clothing, and putting it on is solely for his joy and delight in seeing her this way.  Putting it on is an attempt at seducing him into bed with her.

She may choose to seduce him by wearing nothing at all, and simply meet him at the door naked when he’s come home after the kids are asleep, and say in a seductive voice that she’s been waiting for him (and she has).  The soft glow of her naked body, her subtle curves are themselves, by God’s design, seductive.

A wife can use almost anything, a romantic dinner meal, her husband’s favorite beer or wine, reading to her husband a chapter from his favorite book in her unique voice as they lie in bed together, use a poem, a song, or even soft music in the background as a kind of foreplay designed to seduce him.  Her ability to allure him is only stifled by her inability to think outside the box and use her God-given creativity.

Is there ever a Time a Woman Pursued a Man in the Bible?

Yes!!!  I absolutely love the story of Ruth and Boaz.  I thought about doing a whole post on it, because it is quite an in-depth story.  He is older (Naomi, the mother-in-law remembers him from her time), a mature man.  A man who for some reason, had money but never married.  I may be wrong, but I do not think he was the most handsome man, nor was he some kind of suave alpha male – if either of these things were true, he would have had a wife by this time in his life, especially in the advent of arranged marriages.  Him not being married at this point in his life is a strange thing.

I think Boaz effectively represents the basic, possibly beta (at least in regards to women), male example in the Bible.  His mother was the prostitute from Jericho, Rahab, a foreign woman.  The Jews were extremely racist, and held a very cruel despise towards foreign women that stemmed from watching King Solomon’s demise when he was seduced by (hundreds of) them.  Perhaps he was never quite accepted, perhaps he always felt like an outsider or maybe other jewish families preferred their daughters not marry into his “mixed” family.

Enter Ruth.  She is kind, loving, loyal, full of deep inner beauty…  she receives his oversight and care, even his attractive attempt of authority in protecting her presence in his field because he noticed her.  He noticed her.  So romantic.  Even though she was foreigner, someone the Jews would not be allowed to let cross the threshold into their house at that time, he heard about her love and devotion to Naomi, and saw to it that he watched over her well-being.

But something kept him from pursuing her.

You can be sure it wasn’t for lack of attraction to her, for when she pursues him, he is so pleased he cannot contain his happiness that she would love him.  It is the sweetest, most beautiful story of a female using her womanly (albeit very subtle) techniques of seduction to help a man who for whatever reason, was not confident enough to claim her for himself right away.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter Arousing Adam in the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge:

Ruth, as you’ll remember, is the daughter-in-law of a Jewish woman named Naomi.  Both women have lost their husbands and are in a pretty bad way; they have no man looking out for them, their financial status is below poverty line, and they are vulnerable in many other ways as well.  Things begin to look up when Ruth catches the eye of a wealthy single man named Boaz.  Boaz is a good man, this we know.  He offers her some protection and some food.  But Boaz is not giving Ruth what she really needs – a ring.

So what does Ruth do?  She seduces him. Here’s the scene: The men have been working dawn till dusk to bring in the barley harvest; they’ve just finished and now it’s party time.  Ruth takes a bubble bath and puts on a knockout dress; then she waits for the right moment.  That moment happens to be late in the evening after Boaz has had a little too much to drink: “When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits…” (Ruth 3:7).  “Good spirits” is in there for the more conservative readers.  The man is drunk, which is evident from what he does next: pass out.  “… he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile” (3:7).  What happens next is simply scandalous; the verse continues, “Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.”

There is no possible reading of this passage that is “safe” or “nice.”  This is seduction pure and simple – and God holds it up for all women to follow when He not only gives Ruth her own book in the Bible but also names her in the genealogy.  Yes, there are folks that’ll try to tell you that it’s perfectly common for a beautiful single woman “in that culture” to approach a single man (who’s had too much to drink) in the middle of the night with no one else around (the far side of the grain pile) and tuck herself under the covers.  They’re the same folks who’ll tell you that the Song of Solomon is nothing more than a “theological metaphor referring to Christ and his bride.”  Ask ’em what they do with passages like “Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.  I said ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit'” (Song 7:7-8).  That’s a Bible study, right?

No, I do not think Ruth and Boaz had sex that night; I not think anything inappropriate happened at all.  But this is no fellowship potluck, either.  I’m telling you that the church has really crippled women when it tells them that their beauty is in vain, and they are at their feminine best when they are”serving others.”  A woman is at her best when she is being a woman.  

Boaz needs a little help getting going and Ruth has some options.  She can badger him:  All you do is work, work, work.  Why won’t you stand up and be a man?  She can whine about it: Boaz, pleeease hurry up and marry me.  She can emasculate him: I thought you were a real man; I guess I was wrong.  Or she can use all she is as a woman to get him to use all he’s got as a man.

She can arouse, inspire, energize… seduce him.  Ask your man what he’d prefer.

Is there a Bad Seductress?

I would have to say that the number one threat to marriages, especially Christian marriages, is porn use.  And the Porn Star that the husband imagines having sex with, is a good example of a “bad seductress.”  She, herself, is not bad, but the husband being seduced by her in his imagination (instead of his wife) is what is detrimental to the marriage.  Most men who use porn are either doing it because they’re single (and don’t have a good outlet otherwise), are not getting enough frequent (and fulfilling sex), or are meeting a need their wife is not (or cannot) meet for them somehow.

A man who is fulfilled in his marriage completely, by his wife alone, by a wife who is able to meet his sexual needs, does not allow himself to be seduced by porn (or addicted to porn – where he can’t help but use it because he feels a strong temptation to).  God did not design marriage so that a husband fulfilled by his wife would still feel the desire to be seduced by porn.

I asked my husband what the deal really is with porn, his take on why a husband would still use it when married with a willing wife, and he came up with a great explanation.  In his words, everything about porn is seductive.  There are apparently a million different scenarios out there, all about a man or woman seducing the other into a sex act that is shown explicitly.  Old men seducing teenagers, women seducing married men, the babysitter seducing the husband, the teen seducing a married man, a female cougar seducing a younger man, and much more.  It is rarely a fantasy of the wife seducing her husband in a marriage the way God intended for it to be.  Porn is driven (mostly used) by men who are in an unfulfilled sexual situation (either single or married), otherwise they would be having their sexual needs met by their wife.  It makes sense that married men using porn would not be using it to see a wife seducing a husband.  They already have a wife (that is more than likely not able to seduce them for whatever reason, be it a stifling religious conviction, or a Madonna/Whore complex), and the husband instead is going to the porn actress, to imagine having sex with her, to meet a different need that his wife is not meeting.

Why Would a Wife Feel Bad When Seducing Her Husband?

Many different religious sects or churches impart a feeling that sex is only “pure” or “right” if it is done or in a certain specific context or manner.  I knew a girl that was getting married, and for her lingerie shower, she explicitly put on the invitations that she didn’t want to receive anything “too racy.”  

Racy::  risque, suggestive, naughty, sexy, spicy, ribald, indecent, immodest, dirty, raunchy

A wife who feels this way, that certain kinds of lingerie are too naughty for her, will more than likely have problems with feeling comfortable pursuing her husband seductively – it may feel fake to her, indecent, or too sexy or out of character for her to have fun with.

Would a Husband Ever Feel Uncomfortable With His Wife Seducing Him?

Men who have a sexual hangup called the Madonna/Whore complex often do have a huge issue with their wife behaving in any manner other than pure and angelic.  These men sadly undermine their marriage by purposefully picking a wife who is often extremely modest or religious, very feminine or motherly, and then proceed to have a marriage where they (the husband) is not sexually fulfilled by his wife.  His wife is his “Madonna,” his sweet, beautiful, caring, gentle, or even angelic being that he picked to be a good dutiful wife, and a wonderful mother to his children.

But men with this sexual disorder have a problem.  They have their Madonna, they even have sex with her (some have it to lesser or greater degrees however depending on how extreme the problem is), but they feel an intense draw to have a deeper sexual need met – and they only feel comfortable having it met by the Whore.  Men like this often struggle with porn their entire lives unless they work out their sexual issues in therapy because porn is the only outlet that meets this “Whore” need that also does the least damage to their marriage.  Some, however, graduate from porn to using prostitutes, but all are driven by this need to view their wives as pure, and only sexual in a certain light and context, thus they feel drawn to the “bad seductress.”  It makes them feel uncomfortable to see their wife (their Madonna) acting seductively towards them, because they did not pick her for that, and she is stepping outside of the role he picked her to play.  To them, there can be no “good seductress,” because to be seductive, is to be too sexy, risque, naughty, or raunchy.  They don’t want to defile their wife, but they are more than happy to imagine having sex with the porn star who wears lots of makeup, wild lingerie, does virtually any sexual act, and has dyed hair or fake breasts.  This is the kind of woman he feels comfortable defiling, not his pure, religious, good wife.

The wife is the real victim here in our opinion, because she often does not feel enough for her husband, and sadly, he ensured that she would never be by picking her to only fulfill half of his desires.  Every time he uses porn and enjoys imagining having sex with a woman who represents (in every way imaginable) the opposite of his wife, she feels more and more defeated.  A couple who finds themselves in this predicament need to seek counseling immediately so that their marriage is not continually undermined by the husband’s sexual hangup.

God designed the wife to be a complete package for her husband, a mix of the angelic, feminine qualities, a good mother and loyal wife, but also with the allure of the sexual vixen who (only for her husband) can feel freedom in being the good seductress.

 

UPDATED:

I might need to clarify: I’m not saying that men should not ever be attracted to other women, that they are somehow undermining their wife and marriage this way. This is not what the post is saying at all. Men will always be attracted to beautiful women, or feel strong temptation to lust after a woman if she’s barely clothed or naked and suddenly in his path! That is men’s natural design, but that is completely different from pursuing and allowing himself to be seduced by porn (continually) in a marriage.  A porn addiction is not the same as feeling tempted – all men feel tempted, but not all men have a stronghold of addiction of failing to break free of that sexual bondage while in a marriage.

Sexual temptation (baring a satanic stronghold in a man’s life) will usually be a lot less, however, if a wife is loving him passionately and fulfilling him sexually.