Hungry

May 22, 2010

in the generous life

Imagine, if you will, a very hungry man.  He gets the occasional meal, but he is always hungry because what he gets is just not enough to fill his stomach.  He’s not going to be particularly picky about what he eats, and table manners, well, that’s tough because all he wants is something to fill that emptiness.

In many ways this is a picture of what most guys go through sexually.  They’re just not getting enough sexually and because of that they are over focused on getting more sex and they have “bad table manners” (they find it hard to even consider emotional or relational intimacy because they are so hungry for physical intimacy and release).  Guys have a physical push to be sexual and, I think, the emotional push to be intimate has a sexual edge for guys as well.

This is very frustrating for a wife when she is emotionally or relationally hungry and all her husband seems to want is sex.  You have opposing hungers and both spouses are finding it hard to give out of their emptiness.  Who gives first so that the other can “fill up” and have what it takes to give back?  Not an easy question.

I’m going to give my opinion here. It would be really nice if both spouses would just begin to give a little (it’s worth discussing if you think your husband will hear you).  However, in the real world this is a rarity. Someone usually has to suck it up and just begin to give regardless of how empty or hungry they feel.  IMO,  it is easier for women to be sexual more often (not faking it, but perhaps having sex for him) than it is for men to be emotionally and relationally intimate (it tends to feel and look really fake).  And, again my opinion, unless your spouse is a really wounded non-functional person, generosity tends to breed a return in generosity.  When you go out of your way to love and bless your spouse, it’s a very natural response to be generous and kind back.  At which point you both have the personal resources to give and receive more.  A win-win.

I read an article once about a gal who decided she would be available for sex everyday for her husband (she even initiated when he didn’t).  It felt a bit unnatural for her at first, but her husband very quickly blossomed under all that physical attention and soon began to see that he had emotional and relational hungers as well (which she was more than happy to address, having similar hungers).  This is a great example of someone who figured out that generously filling a spouse’s need was a smart move.

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.  Barbara Bush

Be generous!  Lori <><

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen May 22, 2010 at 2:20 am

Imagine a woman who is starving b/c her man isn’t interested in feeding her and doesn’t think there’s anything wrong. (married just 5 yrs and it’s been like this for the last 2 yrs):(

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Kirras May 22, 2010 at 2:46 am

This is a really tricky one! My husband and I have 2 kids and the youngest is just 3 1/2 months old. Second time around has been a bit more difficult to get back into the swing of things…I was doing my best at being generous sexually, even though I didnt particularly feel like it… One evening recently we had a frank discussion about our intimacey issues and I mentioned that I dont really feel like sex at all these days… This came as a big shock to my husband. He felt rejected and as though I had been lying to him. Men need more than just physical sex… Luckily my husband is very patient and understanding and I’m sure things will get back to normal as I seek to genuinely love and appreciate him in new ways (and he’s doing the same) as our family seasons change.

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Lesley May 22, 2010 at 5:08 am

We call this “maintenance sex”. It’s not always about feelings…sometimes it’s just about maintaining the man. We shoot for every other day.

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Kristi May 22, 2010 at 6:34 am

I discovered (after having failed miserably in the selfless dept. in a previous marriage) that giving myself lavishly to my husband was a way to not only make him feel like a king (his words) but also to turn sexual intimacy into something just as exciting for me (something that I want at least once a day!) rather than the “pawn” or “leveraging tool” (yes, i was *that* lost in my own sin) to demand what I wanted that it sometimes used to be for me before I walked with the Lord.

I would love to find out where you read the article referenced or get a link to it…

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joeann May 22, 2010 at 6:59 am

This reminds me of a vs. that the Lord showed me early in our marriage that goes along w this and can be applied sexually.

A sated (or satisfied) man loathes honey, But
to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet. Prov 27:7

When our husbands are not satisfied, the “bitter” things b/co more appealing or more of a temptation (i.e. provocative ads, women, etc) No excuse to sin, but it does hold true. If our husbands are satisfied, then deal less w/ temptation.

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Michelle May 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

This is very timely as my husband and I are dealing with these competing hungers. We tried me giving selflessly but not speaking frankly about my own needs. This led to me feeling resentful and him acting more selfishly. We then tried talking frankly and trying to work through it with a quid pro quo attitude. No longer blind sided but both of us just felt entitled and abandoned. Now we are talking honestly and openly about our problems and needs. I have chosen to give myself to him selflessly as long as we continue to be honest and open. In return I’m finding him to be more giving. It is slow, but it is progress.

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Cheri May 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

I would never have believed it until I experienced it for myself, but men actually do not have much of an ability to be emotional or intimate UNLESS their physical sexual needs are being met. They can try and try and try, but it is as if something isn’t switched on.

Most women don’t understand this and expect the man to be emotional first, not understanding it is nearly impossible. Sex tells the husband he is loved. When he feels loved, THEN he is interested in being emotional.

And all the urgency and begging? Once the husband realizes and can trust that he will be getting regular sex, he calms down. Something else most women don’t understand. It is irksome on the “who will start” question, but the gift waiting for the woman is incredible. I recommend she go first.

One reason marriage retreats are so successful for women is that for a few days, all focus is on the couple and sex almost always is involved. By the end of the retreat, the husband is feeling very loved and starts to easily emote and be intimate with his woman. Connect the dots!

If we are in monogamous relationships, but refuse to fulfill our husbands needs, just what do we expect him to do? A happy man is a devoted man. Here’s to renewed marriages!!

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Moda May 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Any suggestions for the wife of a “spouse [who] is a really wounded non-functional person”?

I have tried focusing on this theme in the past- yet my husband didn’t see my sexuality as satisfying enough. He still acted distant, or (if I initiated) denied me sex/intimacy because I wasn’t “a turn-on” or I “must be ovulating”. I persisted, still without results- I became resentful and apathetic towards the whole process.

I love this man and want our relationship to improve. I have no clue how to reach out to him.

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elimae May 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm

i have been married for a little less than 3 years and i have experienced this many times. my husband has some drive issues. he gets all stressed out and won’t have sex with me for days or weeks. we have also had lots of life changing events. we had 2 children in 20 months and have completely started our lives over twice. so, needless to say we have gone through a lot.

i always want to have sex, but i get turned down so many times, it is very hurtful when the man you love and have vowed to spend the rest of your life with rejects you. for me, the worst part is, because he turns me down so often, when he is finally ready i oblige because it has been so long.

i shared this with him and it has gotten better, but i still have some issues with body image and self esteem. it really stinks to have gained 100 pounds since we got married. anyway, he loves me and that is all that matters.

i pray that all of us are happily married and sexually fulfilled in those marriages.
prayer will definitely change things. just believe and receive the blessing of the Heavenly father.

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Stephanie May 23, 2010 at 4:35 am

My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years, and the marriage has almost always been rocky. One of our biggest obstacles is our hungers, and it hasn’t been until this year that I’ve started understanding his needs. As much as it doesn’t always make sense to my brain (or my heart), my husband needs to have certain needs fulfilled before he can literally switch his brain over to my needs. When he’s hungry for food, sleep, sex, whatever, he cannot make himself focus on my needs.

Does that make me his slave? No. God made woman to help the man, and man to love and protect the woman. What man would want to love a hornet that only stings and buzzes around his head annoyingly?

I also believe that women are made with enough strength to put aside their own needs for a time to fulfill their role as wife and serve their husband. The world sees that attitude as one of weakness, but they also see Christ’s sacrifice as a weakness. We know differently. :) And just as Jesus rose again, God will lift us up with His love and also work in our husbands’ hearts to show love that we need.

And as Cheri said, a happy man is a devoted man. And a devoted man can definitely make a woman happy! :)

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Carmen May 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Speaking from a hungry spouse’s view. If one spouse cooks for the other but does not cook for a while, the other spouse can go out and eat. The spouse that does the yard work does not do it for a while, the other spouse can get pay a yard person to do it. Etc, Etc., Etc. But when a spouse is neglected sexually, they cannot go out and get somesex outside of the marriage. You have named this topic correctly. Just like eating, sex is a basic need also. Going without food causes a person to get desperate. The longer without food, the worse it gets. Sometimes they will do things they would

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Michelle May 24, 2010 at 4:10 am

Moda- I have dear friends that went through what you described. They went to the Joe Beam weekend marriage seminar and have been doing well for several years. When anyone, spouse, friend or stranger, is wounded and non-functioning they need to seek the help of someone trained for such issues. Whether it be in your church, in a doctor’s office or a weekend retreat professional help is necessary. When that person’s wounds effect a marriage and a family both spouses need to get that help. I will be praying for you.

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Annalea May 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

This was an interesting post and the many comments it received and, as a wife, made me wonder….weren’t our husbands meeting our emotional needs before we married them? Isn’t this one of the reasons we said ‘yes’ when they proposed, this kind of sweet pursuit? Ladies, let’s just all acknowledge right now that this was a big turn on for us. And if we were sexually active with them before we married them, did we give them sex first without there being an emotional draw/connection? I don’t think so.

So why do we settle for the absence of being emotionally pursued after the vows are said and take on the role of initiator in the bedroom so that our hearts will be cherished in return? In my opinion, this is like Cinderella placing the glass slipper on Prince Charming. Totally backwards. Ick!

Now, I’m not saying that a wife should never initiate with her husband, not at all. I’m saying that she shouldn’t feel that she has to in order to get what she needs. God calls a husband to go first in the marriage by loving his wife as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her. This is unconditional love. This is a husband dying to himself in order for his bride to live and to be cherished and nurtured (holy and without blemish, spot or wrinkle). This is what enables her to be giving in her sexuality toward her husband.

The bottom line is that a husband met his wife’s emotional needs while they were dating, there’s no excuse for him not to do it in marriage.

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The Generous Wife May 25, 2010 at 11:43 am

I do understand what you are saying, but I don’t think that the husband always has to go first and always has to fix things. Women are capable adults and able to invest in the marriage relationship to its good. Because I talk to gals, I encourage the gals to do what they can, and IMO it is easier for gals to start. I don’t think it’s impossible for the guys to start it back up, but I do think it’s harder for them, given their design. So if you can do something, why wouldn’t you?

One of the principles that I tend to run on, is that I try not to ask someone else to do something that I am not willing to do myself. I ask my husband to fix things that I cannot. I ask my husband to fix things that are easier for him to fix … and I’m willing to respond in kind. If he can’t do it or I can do it easier, why wouldn’t I put myself out there to fix things. That is generosity. That is love, the kind that sacrifices.
Lori <

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Annalea May 26, 2010 at 9:53 am

You’re absolutely right Lori, women are immensely capable and often invest in the relationship for it’s good.

In our marriage ministry, we talk with a lot of wives who’ve been doing what they can for years, literally, and they’re emotionally depleted because their husbands rarely fill their emotional cups. Your husband gets it. My husband gets it. Still, there are many who don’t and we talk with them too. Interestingly enough, many wives would be thrilled with acknowledgment of their beauty, their husband’s love for them (and I don’t mean just a quick ‘Love you!’ as he’s headed out the door to work) and some verbal appreciation for all she does for him and their family. Every man is capable of doing this and should be and if he does it then it’s “Hellooooh…let’s make love tonight!” from his wife.

As I said before, most men were capable of it in the dating process and we got married because we dated. I respectfully disagree that this is something he can’t do (or continue to do it) after the vows are said. Now, will it help him along if he and his wife are making love on a regular basis? Definitely! But if she feels that she, for the most part, has to give him sex to get his love, that precious act becomes a frustrating chore which makes her feel…cheap.

Two of the worse things a husband can do to his wife is to only kiss her when he wants to be intimate with her or to ignore her in that way completely. I’ve lived on both sides of that coin and it’s devastating. If a man is a believer, then he’s called to represent Christ to his wife and to live with her in an understanding way. In a working marriage, the two carry the marriage together. In one that isn’t working, it’s usually being carried by one and that one is usually the wife. After a while, that burden becomes back breaking.

I know I may sound a bit doom and gloom, yet this is the reality of many marriages, even marriages in the church which contributes to the high divorce rate.

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