Ask GBG / Marriage / Sex

Ask GBG: How To Handle Demands For Sex From An Unloving Husband


Ask and you shall receive….
Answering some questions from our readers today. :)

To men, sex is love, so this question doesn’t even make sense to most of them. This is normal, most marriages go through something like this. Don’t give up hope.

This is a woman who is hurting, needing love, wanting to know what to do with a husband who doesn’t know how to love her in a way she understands. Let me be clear about that, he is loving her, just not in a way she can understand. It is a young love, a little selfish, and self-centered, but it is love.

Step 1: Decide if he’s worth it I put this in here, not because I believe in divorce, I don’t. But because a decision needs to be made. Are you ready to do what it takes to fight for your marriage? Because the stuff I have listed below is not for wimps, and it’s not for half-committed women who want to whine about how awful their husbands are. It’s for the women who want to have their best marriage possible and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Is that you?

Step 2: You need to get your needs filled before you will be able to freely give love/sex to your husband. Since he is unable to fill them at the moment, you will need to find another place to get them filled. Here are some suggestions. (we will talk about how to get your husband to fill your needs later, but first we need to take care of you)
-Good friends
-time alone
-a hobby you love to do
-anything that makes you feel better about who you are as a person, that makes you receive attention and love from the people around you.

Step 3: Drop your expectations you have for him, drop every one of them. Yes, I know it’s not fair. But you are the woman, you are the relationship builder, the one in charge of nurturing your relationship. He is the provider and protector, it’s just how it is. Men are not as good at relationships as women, it’s how they are designed. Along with dropping your expectations, you drop any nagging or manipulation you may have been doing to get him to fill your expectations.

Step 4: Have sex anyway, the actions precede the feelings, and you should be filling strong and filled up by step 2. They say a mother and her baby fall in love not when the baby is smelling powdery sweet and smiling, but when the mother spends night after night walking her child because of an earache, or when the child needs feedings every two hours. The love grows because of the intense demand for action required by a mother to take care of the baby. Not having sex with your husband, tends to backfire as a strategy for wives, he will become more bitter and angry, instead of more loving. Don’t fall into the same trap that he has, love unselfishly, giving all of yourself to him. Unselfishly is hard.

Step 5: You figure out how to respect him. In order for him to listen to your feelings, to listen to how you need to be loved, to even care about trying to love you, he needs to respect you. And he won’t respect you until he knows you respect him first. Respect begets respect. Also dress nicely and do your hair, for some reason that gains respect among men too, and you want respect.

Step 6: Wait patiently, kindly, and quietly, and when he figures out how to love you, reward him like crazy in his love language. He may show his love in strange ways like mowing the lawn. Encourage him when he does that, and hint towards other things that will make you happy and make you feel loved. Most men want to please their wives, especially if they are getting lots of sex and respect. Patience is highly underestimated in our society, it takes patience to build trust. Hinting at your love expectations is better than demanding or being direct, because it allows him the opportunity to please you on his own. Which will do two good things, it will make you feel more loved (because he came up with it on his own) and it will make him more involved in the relationship (which will produce mature and selfless love on his part…see step 4)

Step 7: Results are not guaranteed, remember this, and find ways to fulfill your life so that you can be happy and purposeful, and not always focused on fixing him, or fixing your marriage. Joy is possible in any circumstances, find your joy. Husbands are not the definer of your worth as a woman; you are beautiful, you are worth loving, you are interesting, and talented.

I wish you the best of luck with your marriage…..and would also like to open up the comments to this question because there are many wise women here who have wonderful advice to give.

28 thoughts on “Ask GBG: How To Handle Demands For Sex From An Unloving Husband

  1. There is a lot wrong with this Jenny, principally found in points 2, 3 and 5.


    You need to get your needs filled before you will be able to freely give love/sex to your husband.

    You do realize that by this logic a husband cannot love his wife unless his needs are met, right? Except a large part of a man’s needs cannot be met by anyone except his wife (assuming he is keeping his vows, that is). All of which means that by this logic a man will never be able to freely love his wife unless he breaks his vows, or unless she actually freely gives of herself to him. Really, this whole idea of “you have to take care of yourself first” is… rubbish, to put it in polite terms. It encourages the worst sort of thinking and selfishness.


    But you are the woman, you are the relationship builder, the one in charge of nurturing your relationship. He is the provider and protector, it’s just how it is. Men are not as good at relationships as women, it’s how they are designed.

    This is feminist propaganda, pure and simple. I know this is supposed to be a secular website, but you are a Christian Jenny. Tell me, where in Scripture is this particular point made? Just because a bunch of “relationship” books say it doesn’t make it true. This lie only encourages (yet again) the worst sort of thinking in women. It encourages them to try and take control of the marriage relationship- after all, they are better at relationships, so why shouldn’t they be the ones in control?


    In order for him to listen to your feelings, to listen to how you need to be loved, to even care about trying to love you, he needs to respect you.

    Wrong again. Men don’t need to “respect” women in order for them to love women. More feminist nonsense. You got part of this point right- men will have an easier time loving a woman who respects them. But respect is not something a man has to give or feel for a woman to love her. He needs a sense of loyalty and respect from her, but respect towards her never enters the equation. By puffing up respect you are encouraging women to do things that they think will get them respect- but that drives them towards masculine traits and attitudes, which will create the opposite effect. To love you he must see you as a feminine creature, not a masculine one. Seeking to be respected is masculine, not feminine, and so interferes with this.

    That’s all for now. More later if I get the time.

  2. Welcome Donalgraeme,

    in response to our disagreements..
    2. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. Before we were able to love back, while we were yet unworthy. We love Christ by sharing His love with others. Christ fills our needs, ALL our needs, then we are able to pour out our love onto others while they are still sinners, still undeserving of love. Relationships do not need to fulfill needs when one has Christ, yet we are still called to love/respect the other, fill their needs.

    3. Women are much more sensitive to the nuances of relationships than men are. Now leading, that’s an entirely different question. Men should be the leaders of the relationship. Women are the heart of the home (relationships), men are the head (decision makers).

    5. Contempt is the #1 marriage killer……the opposite of respect. (John Gottman) Without respect, she has no influence over him. No way to make him change. This is why Athol Kay’s MAP works so well for both sexes, it creates respect. Respect is the #1 thing you can do to improve a marriage. Men can love a woman without respecting her, but he won’t listen to her.

    • not that women are always better at relationships than men, we’re not. But I think the duty of keeping the family together falls in the hands of the women.

  3. No Jenny, Donal is right… there is a lot wrong with this. To add on to what all he said:

    For one thing, Scripture never says a word about husbands respecting their wives, which means wives don’t actually need it, contrary to what modern feminist women have successfully drilled into most womens’ minds. Respect is better translated as “reverence”, “to be in awe of”, or even “to look up to”. This isn’t *really* how you want him to see you is it? Do you want him looking up to you, or do you want to be able to look up to him? It’s simply not possible to have both. A woman needs love from her husband, not respect. And Scripture is very clear about this.

    Also, a woman doesn’t need to have her needs met before she is able to freely give to her husband. She merely needs to understand her role based on Scripture, and to understand that to refuse to give to him freely is a sin because it is rebelling against God’s commands. One of which is to not deny each other your conjugal rights.

    About #1… it’s not about deciding IF he’s worth it, it’s about deciding THAT he’s worth it. If you even have the conclusion of “he’s not worth it after all” as a possibility, then you’re asking for a world of trouble. You either have frivorce or misery in your future in that case. No… you need to know that you know that this man you married is absolutely worth it, if for no other reason, then at the very least because he chose you as the woman to spend the rest of his life with, which should bring a world of gratitude. The fact that you are his and he is yours should be reason enough to say “he is worth it”, end of story.

    And from what men have said, they don’t take hints well. They prefer for their women to stop playing with their minds and just be direct, while still being respectful.

    About #2… the only thing on that list that can truly fill your needs is Christ. Everything else should be deleted from the list. Not that those things are bad, because for the most part they aren’t. They just can’t fulfill you, or make you desire to have sex with someone if you don’t already want to.

    Almost all of #6 sounds wrong in some way. I’ve already mentioned the hinting vs direct part.

    • Our definition of respect is different, I’m talking about the kind of respect that means he cares enough to listen to and care about what his wife thinks. He doesn’t make fun of the words she says, he doesn’t roll his eyes when she speaks. He isn’t contemptuous. She has influence on his thoughts. What word would you use for that?

      Leaving a man is sometimes the right choice. I’m not going to make that call for another woman.

      Indirectness and hints works for women on many levels. It’s not manipulative because it’s just mentioning her likes. “Ooh, those flowers are so pretty” vs. “I would feel loved if you bought me those flowers” or “please buy me those flowers”. Directness is more manipulative than indirectness and it puts him on the spot where indirectness leaves the decision in his hands. it’s more submissive and respectful.

      #2 i agree, but I probably am not allowed to even put Christ on the list, kind of snuck him in.

      • @ Jenny,

        “What word would you use for that?” ….. Love.

        For a Christian woman, leaving her husband is never the right thing to do. God hates divorce, divorce makes you an adulterer, divorce is a sin. Period. It doesn’t matter how haaaappy you are or aren’t. If you’re going to write an article giving marital advice then this is exactly the kind of thing you should be telling people. Anything less is watering down the truth. If someone thinks she has “a way out” of an imperfect situation and she actually wants to take it, then she will be less motivated to do what it takes to make things better. If she knows that she is in it for better or for worse and doesn’t believe in getting out, then she will be very motivated to give it her all. If you want to tell the hard truth, the truth that’s not for wimps, then tell it like it really is.

        Men and women don’t process information the same. Hints may work on a woman, but not on a man. If you say “ooh those flowers are so pretty” he will hear that you think those flowers are so pretty, he will not hear that you would feel loved if he bought you those flowers. If you don’t believe me, ask any man. I’ve heard this very thing from a number of men. I’ve also heard many men say that they appreciate direct information, not hints (aka mind games). Obviously you don’t want to give him ultimatums by telling him he has to do such-and-such or you won’t believe he loves you. But having a real conversation about what you like/want/need is not a bad thing, so long as it’s done respectfully.

      • Leaving and divorce are not the same thing, sometimes it is best to leave a man.

        Agree to disagree on indirectness

      • @ Jenny,

        *sigh*… if a woman leaves a man that is her husband, there’s absolutely no difference between leaving him and divorcing him. The motive and condition of her heart is identical. It’s an issue of giving up, of breaking her vows, of walking away, of breaking unity. If there’s no God-approved reason to divorce your husband, then there’s also no God-approved reason to leave him. It’s not sinful to leave a man you aren’t married to since two haven’t become one, so in that case there are good reasons to leave a man if you know you can’t marry him for a good reason… but that doesn’t apply to this post because this involves sex, which no unmarried people should be having.

        If you don’t agree, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree here too.

      • there are plenty of Christ-approved reasons to leave a man. His soul is more important than the marriage. If a woman thinks leaving him might help him hit rock bottom, then it is in both of their best Christian interests for her to leave him. Unrepentance is the key here, if he is unrepentant, it is her duty not to enable his sin. Adultery, criminal activities, alcoholism, drugs, child abuse…. But most lines aren’t drawn that clearly. If he’s involved in lying and such, he probably knows how to play her too, so he may ask for forgiveness but keep repeating the crimes. Many abusers are very sorry, they say never again. But a woman needs to watch his actions, not his words, once she can’t trust him anymore.
        You are correct in saying that the motive of her heart is what matters, that is everything.

      • @ Jenny,

        If a woman is dealing with an unrepentant husband, she needs to live out 1 Peter 3. Now, if HE wants to leave HER, that’s one thing. But she can’t use his behavior as a reason to leave him if he wants to be with her, especially if she wants him to repent and live a Godly life (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). It specifically says in those verses to NOT leave him. I challenge you to find anything in Scripture that says it’s acceptable in God’s eyes for a wife to leave her husband for any reason.

        Also, no loving wife wants her husband to hit rock bottom. Yes his soul is more important than the marriage, but destroying his marriage won’t do a bit of good for his soul. If anything, it will give him reason to harden his heart, which Scripture fervently warns against doing. A hard heart is far less likely to seek God than the heart of a man who has a truly Godly wife that is living out the verses I mentioned a second ago.

      • 1 Peter 3 only applies if he is not a Christian, if he is a Christian, I would consider Matthew 18:15-17. Groomsmen make good witnesses because they vowed to support the marriage and hold accountable at the wedding.

        Also, whether he’s a Christian or not, an addict needs to be dealt with specifically towards their problems.

      • Yes Jenny, sinful behavior needs to be dealt with… and a wife can’t do her part to help him deal with it if she leaves him. Leaving is taking the easy way out. It’s cowardly.

        As for how a wife should go about helping him deal with it, I would say Deep Strength did a great job of explaining this with a post he did, explaining it from a Biblical perspective as well as a male perspective:

        It’s a long post, but if you get all the way through and read the comments also it is very VERY excellent advice all around. And one must be careful doing the verses in Matthew that you mentioned… it’s one thing to do this with a friend, it’s a bit different to do it to your husband. The reason for that is that if you go to other people (especially other men) about marital problems, it will always be seen as disrespectful to him, which will keep him from responding favorably.

        With that, I’m bowing out now. We’ve gotten way off topic.

      • I have read Deep Strength’s writing, it is always very good.
        This has been a good conversation. Iron sharpening iron. I admire your commitment to scripture and wish you well.

        May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

      • Yeah, DS has quite a gift with his writing, that’s for sure. A lot of good and much needed stuff written over there. Anyone reading this that hasn’t been to his blog would be wise to check it out.

        But anyways… yes this has been a good conversation, I agree. Even if we don’t always agree on the details, it has still been interesting. And thank you Jenny, I wish you all the best as well. :-)

  4. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my old friend Br’er Rabbit. Shoulda stayed in that briar patch. Now you dun got holda dat tar baby again. :D

  5. Hello Jenny,
    I think most men know the difference between sex and love, but they do expect their loving wives to don’t deny them their conjugal rights. It makes a husband feel closer to his wife… Sex is intimacy for a man.
    In my opinion, if you have to decide if your husband is worth fighting for, you have partially given up. Nobody is perfect and marriages are not perfect, so you have to know from the beginning that all sorts of problems are going to happen.
    Personally, I would only consider to question if my husband was worth it adultery was the problem.
    #2 As a christian, I believe Christ should always be number one on your list. Dedicate time everyday only for praying, studying the Scripture and thanking Him for everything in your life, even if you are not so happy at the moment.
    I understand some people may think it is selfish to try to find love from other sources besides your husband. But I see it differently: first, if you are a god fearing woman with a humble heart
    You’ll know that nothing can replace the love and attention of a husband. Second, I think making your husband the only source of happiness and love in your life is also very selfish.
    # 3 expectations are good for nothing… Instead have faith in your husband, understand him, respect him and be kind regardless.
    #4 be a good, loving wife regardless.
    #5 the bible doesn’t say anything about husbands respecting wives… But it says that a husband should honor his wife, love her and treat her with gentleness… Is that what you meant? :)
    Ps: I hope you understand me, my English is horrible.

    • Excellent advice Sra.A,
      I think you are right, honoring a wife is always a good thing to do. I’m running into problems with the word though because what is the path to honor? How does a wife get a husband to honor her? If he’s demanding sex, there is obviously a problem in this area for them. So no, I don’t like the word honor. It doesn’t mean enough. There is nothing actionable for her to do for the word honor. Honor means something different in our language today than what it did in biblical times. Which makes it rather useless for me as a writer. Honor means you are true to your loyalties, such as “he is an honorable man”. It also means to reward someone for a difficult achievement “we honor you today with this award”. Honor is not used for the way a man is to treat a woman in my language. Respect is the word used, everyone knows what respect means, it means to treat like a worthy human being. It does not mean higher than. I do not want a man to reward (honor) a woman, and I do not want him simply to be loyal to her. I want him to treat her like a worthy human being, and the definition of respect is much closer to that.

      respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

      honor: high respect; esteem.

      seems the dictionary doesn’t know what honor means either :)

      • Just figured out my problem with the word honor. Honor is a gift, respect can be earned. If we leave her with honor, then it’s hopeless. There’s nothing she can do.

      • Hola jenny!
        So I read my REA ( español) dictionary and it uses at least twice as many words to describe respect and honor :-)
        The interesting part is that the word respect comes from the Latin word respectus that means attention and consideration. I think that’s what this lady needs from her husband.
        Honor is describe as the moral quality that makes you fulfill your duties towards yourself and the others. That doesn’t depend on her so much.
        I really hope this lady finds a way to improve her marriage.

      • you have made me smile, and I apologize for putting so many words on you when English isn’t even your first language, I never would have guessed by your writing. Blessings to you today!

  6. I understand what you are getting at, Jenny. A wife does want her husband’s good regard – she wants his pride in her. This is often what builds wife’s self-confidence – it stems from his regard. An a confident wife is generally a competent (not perfect) wife, who seeks to learn and grow and expand – and she can do this with assurance, because she has her husband’s confidence in her.

    I’ve known my fair share of women whose husbands had no confidence in them (and in some cases it was well warranted), but you could always tell the ones who didn’t have it – just like you can see a couple and know right away that the wife has no respect for her husband. Sad couples in either cases.

    • I think you misunderstand my words. She doesn’t need his respect for her confidence, she needs it for influence. A man will not listen to a woman he doesn’t respect, and he won’t respect a woman who doesn’t first respect him. In order for him to change for her, he first needs to respect her.

      • Hey Jenny & everybody.
        I haven’t been keeping up with GBG in a while, but I sure am happy to see y’all still here.

        I’m _obviously_ just jumping in here, but I just don’t feel a woman NEEDS respect, to do her wifely duties. (besides the thing about me Not believing that respect has to be earned… but rather a respect is something we’re supposed to do , while it also serves our husbands (& by that it helps our marriages) , but I feel that it’s almost Iike it’s a gift of our respectful actions for them from us – from a wife to a husband… However, according to the bible, from what I’ve learned, respecting our husband is just simply a necessary imperative for us, quite like submitting to them and following them under their leadership, as them being the head of us, and we the neck.

        I can’t find where God says women need respect, as wives, nor as women of any age. It does talk about us needing some other things from our husbands (protection, provisions, love) & yet He does tell wives to respect your husbands (God didn’t allow any no ifs, ands, or buts about that respect thing for wives either).
        I don’t think God left it sort of one sided without a reason. He KNEW we would have trouble with this… throughout time. Which is probably why he gave us each specific & different instructions – husbands and wives.

        On honor, as an honorable man, that’s an adjective describing a noun. When God says for husbands to honor your wives, it’s being used as a verb. It’s quite different, regardless of the times or the lingo. We can’t go changing the bible to fit our modern times, or lingo, it’s still the same one we have to go by.

        I can’t find it anywhere saying otherwise, re: respect. Please help me understand if I’m mistaken.
        So, until then, I’m lead to believe that it’s not a part of our husbands’ roles in our marriages for them to respect us wives. Whether WE feel that we need to be respected, or are, or not, or whatever many other feelings we may be having, we still have wifely duties to fulfill, regardless and they are spelled out for us, even if our husbands are not following God’s word.

        I hope the lady you’re trying to help will pray for guidance in her actions. I can’t remember where it is, but somewhere we’re taught = the wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband does. I try to remember this & follow it, when I’m having sex issues, as a Christian wife.

        Here’s some verses that I always love perusing that others might _hopefully_ find insightful in some parts of this discussion… whether Christian, or not. (I am Chrisitan, my husband is not, anymore, for now – I keep praying.) There are many more, verses, of course, but this is just a few to get going.

        I’ve have trouble with this stuff, too, a lot… even still after studying and reading and praying and gathering with other supportive women and learning, still quite lot – bad habits are hard to break & well, it’s sin at work deep inside – so, at a very low moment, I really started digging into the bible because my husband & I were getting into too many fights, more & more, where we were feeling in a real bad way about our marriage and all we were trying wasn’t working well) a few yrs ago… So, I started trying to study & learn more about different dynamics that could work and I knew I’d learned stuff that had been helpful at one time, of which I strayed away & let myself be misguided by too many feminists…. as a very young adult … often getting confused & then here comes the self-guilt trippin & my obvious need of repenting, and I just get blown away at becoming [at least a wee bit] more awakened to the details of simply our natural, biological roles as feminine wives and traditional roles as Christian wives, being the same, in my belief. It’s so amazing how well it can & will all work within marriage between a man and woman, becoming one flesh, when we follow it correctly. But, gosh, it sure can sometimes be a darn harder thing to do IRL (espec. during PMS) than it looks when reading it so straight forwardly… and God knew it would be.

        (no particular order… just how I had them in my notepad)
        Ephesians 5:22-33
        I Corinthians 13:4-8
        I Corinthians 11:3
        Titus 2:3-5
        Galatians 5:7-26
        Romans 12

        🎆Happy Independance Day!🇺🇸

  7. A little late but I am glad I made you smile! I try my best with English, if the others understand what I mean then I feel like I have achieved my goal :-)
    I hope you had a great 4th of July.
    God bless you and your family.

  8. I agree with Jenny that we must first decide that our husband and marriage is worth fighting for.
    Simply because if we do not have that FIRMLY planted, we will not go into the next phase of working to do everything in our power to make it work.
    What is the point if we don’t come to a decisive place in our heart that we are ‘going to make this work”?

    On the point of “respect”. I understood where Jenny is coming from.
    Every relationship must be based on respect in the most basic way.
    Understanding that women want to be love and men want to be respected is also “basic” and I feel many of the responses in opposition to the “respect” bullet point are just hair-splitting.
    Not that hair splitting isn’t necessary and I admire those who do the splitting.
    I just wanted to say that I understood Jenny’s post from a place in my heart.
    I have been married 30 years and have been in a place to experience all of this and actually DO all of this.
    I have just found this site and love it!
    Thank you!

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