PODCAST: Reader Question Palooza!

by | Mar 5, 2020 | Podcasts | 31 comments

Podcast: Reader Questions!

UTIs, the Role of a Daughter, Crushes on a Married Man, and More!

I’m so far behind on reader questions that I decided this week to just answer a whole ton of them!

Connor, who edits my podcasts, had a midterm last night, and didn’t have a ton of time to edit this week. And editing when two of us are having a conversation is always trickier, so we decided to just have me on burning through a lot of questions. It’s kind of a fun one that goes all over the place, so I think you’ll enjoy it.

So listen in!

A list of all of the questions!

I’m not going to try to give you all of my answers to these questions or explain much today, because there are just too many! So you’ll have to listen in. But here were the questions I tackled:


My husband left me and our children a while ago. I got a legal separation from him. He has not done anything to try for divorce and he will talk to us once in a while. When he does see us he ends up trying to have sex with me. My problem is that I love my husband and still want him and I love sex. I am having such a hard time being without sex for so long! Would it be terribly wrong of me to have sex with the husband I love and want to return?
Is it okay to have sex with the man I'm separated from?

My husband and I have been married for over a decade, with several children. Recently, after a lot of obvious turmoil, he came out of the closet! He told me he’d been in the closet since childhood and that he’s realized he needs to be true to himself and that he needed to embrace his homosexuality. He wants a divorce & I agree.
However, I’m still relatively young! I know divorce is wrong unless the spouse is a cheater or an abuser or abandons the spouse and family, none of which are applicable to my marriage. He has never cheated on me and is not leaving me for another man. He’s been my best friend for years and I love him dearly.
Biblically, would I be sinning if I remarried? I don’t want to be an adulterer in God’s eyes by sinning and remarrying when my first husband is still alive and we didn’t divorce for any of the valid reasons given in the Bible. But I also don’t want to be single for the next possibly 40-50 years!
Can I remarry if my husband leaves me because he's gay?

I have had chronic UTI’s throughout my entire marriage, and by chronic I mean sometimes 1-2 a month. All of them happen after sex. These UTI’s have made me equate sex with pain, along with long bouts of antibiotics that wreak havoc on my body. Unsurprisingly, this has caused me to develop mild vaginismus, and a pretty strong aversion to

Despite doing all of the “right” things (pee before and after sex, cranberry juice, etc), I can never guarantee that I won’t get one from sex. I feel so hopeless and trapped, and I don’t know how I will ever overcome this.

Help! I get UTIs from sex and now I'm developing vaginismus

I do want to say one quick answer to this one: Please keep talking to doctors about this until you get an answer. It isn’t normal. Maybe even cut out most foods and then slowly introduce things, in case you’re triggering something. But also, check to see if it’s actually ONE UTI that has never been fully cured and keeps flaring up. But please–don’t put up with this. When you have something physically wrong and you don’t have an answer and it isn’t normal, beat down the paths to every doctor in your area until you get a solution, or at least an explanation of why it happens to you.

I was speaking with some friends of mine last month and the topic came up about the way things look downstairs after having children. Now, I don’t usually look at things down there, but when there seems to be an issue I pull out the mirror to check things out from time to time. The labia minora is all stretched out and it’s super dark down there. My friend and I were talking about how this can be very uncomfortable during sex, moving things about when things do go the right way. As if we as woman don’t have enough issues down there! Why wasn’t this in a what to expect book or something when I was having kids! For instance, my mother recently told me she had to get estrogen cream for down there due to tearing from thin skin, which happens sometimes when you get older. Ugh. Why didn’t I know about stuff like this? 

Changes to your vagina as you age?

I’m married and have always had so many dreams to travel and before my husband and I were ever married I expressed that to him. He has always been supportive and knows it’s a priority for me and not for himself
so he has no problem if I go on trips without him. We always discuss how long the trips will be and the budget and so on. He and I have no issues with it but I have a married friend ( who is also a Christian) who seems to always make passive aggressive comments about how me and my husband should be spending more time together. Again my husband and I have never had issues about this and communicate very openly with each other.

My question is more so out of curiosity.. is it normal for married couples to travel apart? Is there a point when it becomes an issue or when you think it isn’t okay or is unhealthy?

Is it weird for couples to travel apart?

I was wondering if at some point you could do a post or a podcast on covering theology? It started with the shepherding movement in the 1970s, and it was eventually renounced by those who started it as a flawed message, but
it still impacts the church. My dad believed heavily in this theology, and because of it I was brought up believing that because he was my spiritual covering, the authority over me ordained by God, I had to submit my will to him in everything. His will was God’s will in my life. Even after I had left home and was supporting myself. Only marriage would release me to the covering of another man. And only to a man that my dad approved of and in his a proper time.

It was very hard to break away from this, and because I did, my parents hardly speak to me now. They see me as a wayward child, a prodigal and what I’ve done as utterly scandalous, a rebellious act against God. (I decided to marry the man I loved against their wishes). But I still love Jesus with all of my heart, and so does my husband, we’ve both just been so hurt and confused by this doctrine, as we spent two years trying to gain my parent’s approval together by submitting to it.

I was curious, with your experience and knowledge, what you would say about this doctrine as a whole? The primary book that houses the theology is called “Under Cover” by John Bevere. It mainly focuses on church mentor-mentee relationships, but it manifests in families as well (as mine is an example, and I have met several couples who went through the same thing that my husband and I did). I know you have spoken extensively about the dangers of wives submitting to their husbands in this authoritarian sense, but what about when it extends to daughters under their fathers? In my home, I was expected to submit to my dad in exactly the same manner that my mom was as his wife, and the passages of scripture about wives submitting to their husbands were also applied to me (regarding my dad). What is really, truly, the biblical role of a daughter? (I think I know, but it is so hard to make sense of my experiences, to be confident that I know what the truth is when the people who have meant the most to me tell me continuously that I am believing lies and going astray). My brothers did not have the same expectation over their heads (as Christ is the covering of man, but man the covering of woman), and I am the only daughter in my family, very alone in my experiences.

What is the biblical role of a daughter?

This question breaks my heart, and I got pretty passionate answering it–kind of like I did in this post on how your husband does not have to get you ready for Jesus. You may also enjoy these:

I feel so ashamed to even ask, but I’ve struggling with attraction to a married man in our church. I’m a pastor’s wife, happily married with a bunch of kids. Yet for whatever reason I’m attracted to this other man. I even have sexual dreams and just can’t make it go away. It’s been 5 years. The shame and struggle is real and it’s causing me all kinds of issues.

I haven’t said anything to anybody until this moment. I’d love some suggestions on how to deal with this. I won’t lie, if you tell me Step One is to share this with my husband… well that might be a tough sell at this point! He is wonderful and I just want this to go away. I want to be faithful even in my thoughts so any insight would be so appreciated. I’m so weary of this.

Help! I'm a pastor's wife attracted to a married man

An important question, and I actually wish I had answered this at more length, but I was worried the podcast was getting long. I answered this at more length in this post: How do I prevent an emotional affair?

Okay, that’s it for this week!

I’d love to know what you think about any of these questions. And if there’s a big discussion about one of them, I may turn that into a post for tomorrow!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Family Doc

    The woman with uti after sex may wish to use “Post coital antibiotics.” A dose of antibiotic you take only when you have sex.
    I advise all my new mothers how to do kegel’s and how to do perineal stretching at 6 weeks. We also talk about the importance to baby of the marital relationship and keeping it strong.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’ll make sure that the woman with UTIs sees your suggestion! Thank you!

      • Rebekah

        Also with regards to the lady with UTIs….could it possibly be the soap her husband uses? I discovered in the past year that antibacterial soap (Dial), which is his favorite, was causing major problems for me after sex. When he switched to a non-antibacterial soap, things improved immensely.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Great thoughts!

      • ASA

        I came out of that problem taking pro biotics
        My doctor gave me a specific sequence of different cocktails against Candida infection that I had in my intestine and was causing the UTI
        It worked! I’m OK now
        Thanks God
        Hope it can help

    • Michelle

      Also to the woman with the UTIs… I really feel for you. I had a similar situation, when I’d have an average of 2 UTIs per month. I finally found a doctor who discovered I had severe endometriosis, which 1) was causing the infections to be worse that 2) caused scar tissue to begin forming, making it even more painful. I eliminated sugar (and sugar-like products!), Which did help. But ultimately, they did a laser “ablation.” I’m not saying this to worry you, but know there are options. I’ve only had 1 UTI in the 5 years since.

    • AspenP

      I used to have chronic UTIs just like this woman for well over a year before we realized that it was coming from spermicide. It completely messed up my body. As soon as we stopped buying spermicide or condoms with spermicide my UTIs stopped. My OB said that it’s not a typical reaction, but for whatever reason my body didn’t like it.

    • Learning A New

      To the lady with the UTI issues. We had the same until my GP treated my husband and I together for 10 days with a high dose antibiotic. Turned out he was carrying the bug although he had no symptoms!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire


      • Korynn Pace

        I started getting UTI’s after I turned 40. Even though I always urinated after sex, I still managed to get a UTI at least once a month. Most of the time I could get rid of them on my own but every few months I’d have one bad enough to need antibiotics. Three months ago, after a particularly painful UTI that landed me in a weekend urgent care, I started taking d-mannose capsules daily and I haven’t a UTI since.

  2. Nathan

    Duty as a daughter…
    I’ve never heard of the Shepherding Movement, but many cultures have the “rule” that a woman is under the COMPLETE authority of her nearest male relative (husband, father, brother, etc.)
    The attitude here is similar to the woman from an earlier thread. Her pastor quoted some rule, she asked “where in the bible is that”, and she was told that she was sinning by not following church rules.
    In both of these cases, something is being substituted for God. Yes, we should honor and listen to our parents. Yes, we should support our church (assuming it’s not toxic), but we all of us (men and women) submit only to God (or, in the case of marriage, we submit to each other, but that’s part of submission to God).
    Our parents are not God. The church elders are not God. Only God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God.

  3. feelinglost

    The last one is my biggest fear, both ways. I have been struggling with an attraction to one of my coworkers that I have to work close with and I hate it. Makes me feel guilty. One reason is that it’s not very sexual it’s more Like emotional and that feels almost worse. I have been sexually attracted to women and just treated it as a lust problem so I kind of now what strategies to use. But when it’s mostly emotional it’s frustratin. I don’t want to feel or think these things. I am praying about it because I can’t get away from the situation.
    I also would die if I knew my wife has a crush. My anxiety would take over and it would spiral. So I honestly don’t want to know if my wife has a crush. I prefer that she shows me love and deal with it. I mean of course if boundaries are being crossed. And I think that’s important with this question. To not cross boundaries. Not talk to much. Never be alone and never talk about intimate stuff. I am thankful for my coworker because she keeps everything professional. I don’t think I have ever had a conversation that is not work related with her. And that’s good. And that’s how I want to keep it. So as long as my wife doesn’t cross lines, know that it’s wrong and actively tries to stop it and continues to show me love, then I don’t want to know. It would crush me.

  4. lavender lady

    With regards to the lady with recurring UTI’s: is it possible her husband is transferring bacteria to her? Has he stepped up his hygiene prior to sex? My experience has been that if my husband has a sweet snack before intimacy, if he doesn’t thoroughly scrub his hands & brush teeth/rinse his mouth, I will end up with a yeast infection.

  5. Blessed Wife

    My heart really goes out to the pastor’s wife!
    I think a first step, (which she’s probably already taken) is to increase engagement with her own husband and family, focusing especially on the positives. In other words, look in the direction you want to grow and go.
    I might mention to my husband that I felt “distancing” and wanted to pull closer to him, but I don’t think I would go further than that. At least, it would be, for me, an absolute last resort. I can see a whole lot of potential problems with telling a husband who is also pastor of a church any version of, “Honey, I really love you and want us to stay married, but I’ve had a huge attraction for Steve for the last five years.”
    Step 2 would be, engage with “Steve” only (ONLY) in the context of his family. It surrounds both of you with natural safeguards and chaperons. Also, it frames Steve as a real person in the context of his real life, not a hot fantasy you can take in isolation and obsess over. It will show him as either a happily married man devoted to his own family (if he’s an innocent man unaware of your feelings), or a liar and two-faced manipulator that you really don’t want to be with (if he’s flirting with you and trying to encourage you to stray).
    If you have prayerfully been doing the above for 5 years and nothing has changed, that is one heck of a thorn in the flesh! So I encourage you to remember that God’s grace is sufficient for you! He loves you, and is glorified every time you choose right over wrong, faithfulness over unfaithfulness, His Word over what your heart (deceitful above all things!) tells you it wants. Look to God, then to your husband and how they delight you, and I truly believe you will lose sight of the deferred hopes, guilt and shame of “Steve”. I will pray for you!

    • Doug

      I think the first thing everyone should remember, is that being attracted to someone is not an emotional affair. An emotional affair is when one or both parties share an intimate part of themselves with the other. Even that by itself, however, does not define an emotional affair. That could describe nothing more than a good, healthy friendship, tho if it is with a member of the opposite sex, it probably gets very close to crossing some lines. I have two such opposite sex friends that I correspond with regularly, and there is no blurring or crossing of the lines. I don’t want to say that they are necessary to me, or to them, but they are beneficial to me in the sense that our friendships are built around our marriages, and supporting each other in our individual marriages. I can honestly say that I have never had a romantic or sexual thought towards either one of them, and I can also say that because of the nature of our friendships, The reverse is also true. They are family, and in a very real sense, they are the sisters I never had.
      During some of the worst seasons of my marriage, I did have an affair, and it started out as an emotional affair. I know only too well what that is, and where it is borne. The first danger sign is to want something other than what you already have, and the best way to combat that is to seek contentment where you are, and to go to outright war with discontent, whether that means adjusting expectations, or tackling obstacles in your marriage head on. I have done a great deal of, and I credit a lot of that to the two friends I mentioned. Their wisdom and insight has been a huge part of that.
      I do feel bad for the Pastors wife who is struggling, but I would counsel her that being attracted to someone or something is not a sin, and it is certainly not an affair. I would counsel her tho, that entertaining thoughts of that attraction and fantasizing about the man starts running headlong into what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:28.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I agree completely, Doug. I do think you need to be very careful about not entertaining those thoughts, but it is not an emotional affair.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, Blessed Wife.
      I also want to say, though, that just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t spending a lot of time with your husband. I know lots of people who get caught up in attraction for someone else, and assume that this means that something was lacking in their marriage. Sometimes it really isn’t. Sometimes it is, sure. But not always. So I’d agree with your advice: keep spending tons of time together, and limit interactions with “Steve.” But it could be that their marriage is good. And then don’t double guess yourself and assume that there’s something wrong when there isn’t.

      • Blessed Wife

        She says her marriage is good, and I believe her.
        However, she’s clearly in a lot of emotional turmoil over this crush, and her pain tugged at my heart! So I gave her what seemed to me to be the best way out of it. I took her description to be of an unknown, unrequited crush, rather than an emotional affair; however, 5 years of guilt, shame and self-torment seems excessive for a casual passing attraction.
        If she reads my comment, I hope she understands I’m not accusing or condemning her at all, or trying to preach at her. I just want her to be free of her suffering over this situation.


    The lady who has “recurring UTI” may in fact have a condition called interstitial cystitis. I visited a gazillion doctors before getting a correct diagnosis. I even got the old standby “pat pat on the shoulder, sweetie, have you considered that this is all in your head?…I may or may not have said the word “bomb”…. If she can get to a good urologist and get diagnosed, there is help. There is an IC website support group as well that helped me know that I wasn’t alone in this nightmare.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, Ellen! And I just want to reiterate–as I have several times here–do what Ellen did! Keep seeing a gazillion doctors if you need to. When something isn’t normal (whatever it is), get some answers. Or at least get assurance that if there aren’t any answers, there truly aren’t any and why.

  7. Jane Eyre

    ” He and I have no issues with it but I have a married friend ( who is also a Christian) who seems to always make passive aggressive comments about how me and my husband should be spending more time together.”
    People need to keep out of your marriage, especially when it’s passive aggressive. If someone thinks that there is an actual issue, and has the status in your life to say something (hint: very, very few people do), then they should say something directly, once. Direct. Once.
    My suggestion is that you tell this person to keep their nose out of your marriage. “Thank you for your concern, but we are running our marriage in a way that works for us. Going forward, please focus your energies on your own marriage.”

    • Bethany

      My mom had been making passive comments for the first several months of our marriage. I think she was afraid for me, and how I was adjusting to marriage. All the comments were about cherishing and appreciation for my husband. Good things but I wasn’t neglecting them. I would’ve appreciated straight up honesty. Now that we’ve been married happily for almost 2 years, she seems satisfied with how we are. He has definitely been a rock!

  8. Ali

    My heart goes out to the woman with the chronic UTIs SO very much. I used to have this exact problem as well, and I found an amazing urologist who told me that about 5% of the women in the world have a genetic difference that makes their bodies unable to fight off the bacteria that cause UTIs. (And this made a ton of sense to me because my mom and grandma also have the same problem!) He prescribed an antibiotic called macrobid (the generic is called nitrofurantoin), and he told me to take one pill after sex. Just one. I haven’t had a single UTI since then. I cannot overstate how completely it changed my life. It also does not interfere with birth control pills, which was very important for us in the early years of our marriage. I would strongly urge her to ask about this! Best wishes and prayers to her for a solution that will help her as much as the antibiotic has helped me!

    • Ali

      I also wanted to add to the above comment that when I say I haven’t had a UTI since starting the one antibiotic pill post-sex, that was 13 years ago! Thanks for addressing this topic and all the others, Sheila!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love this! I’ll make sure she sees the answer.

  9. Emmy

    To the pastor’s wife: would it help you to think about this other man as your very own brother? If he is a Christian, he actually is your brother. And if he is not, he might become one.
    This did help me a lot when I was in a somewhat similar situation. It has helped me ever since. I’m not afraid any more to realize if a guy is a nice person or good looking or attractive. My brother is a very cool person and nice to look at and very attractive too, and I very much like being around him. I certainly can say love him, only not “that way” but in a totally different way. I trust that all who have siblings that are dear to them understand what I mean. A brother or a sister is a very special person and you may feel connected to them like to no one else. Still you would not call it a “crush”.
    Also, liking someone does not mean you need to “have” him! Just like when you see a beautiful house or a beautiful horse or a very nice car or a lovely garden and you realize it is lovely, that does not mean you are “lusting” to have it. Really, about 50 percent of the people on Earth are of the opposite sex, and many of them are attractive. They are beautiful people God has made. One of them is made especially for you. The others are for someone else. That does not mean it is wrong to appreciate them in their own right and realize they are attractive. You can love them as much as you like as long as you love them as your brother, or your sister.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, Emmy!

  10. unmowngrass

    I don’t usually listen to the podcasts, just because I never really listen to podcasts in general, but I listened to this one because of the daughter question (I still think about the daughter question from the previous one that you mentioned, but I evidently didn’t listen to that one either because I had a completely different response to it than you did — in short, what’s the harm in doing it the Dad’s way, moving to Mexico and living in the neighbourhood for a couple of years, providing Dad is willing to agree in advance to a time frame in which he would give his blessing to a man of good character…).
    And I wind up in a bit of an odd situation, in that what I want to believe (everything you said), and what I actually do believe, are a bit different. And I can’t really defend my position logically, not yet, nor even fully articulate it… but suffice to say that I think there is something in this covering thing, provided it isn’t taken too far. Of course husbands, fathers and pastors are human and can sin or lack understanding/insight in their advice, and they absolutely don’t overrule the Holy Spirit or the bible, but at the same time, in a light way, isn’t it also kind of true? Don’t we have earthly fathers at all in order to point us towards what our heavenly father is like? And isn’t part of that also learning about how to submit to someone who loves us? Even when we don’t always know the reason? That’s what seems true from observation, I think, although it’s a blurred image. I also don’t have a Christian uncle, or any other older relatives, who are actively spurring me on in my faith (male or female), or ever have done really, so I can almost see the edge of the jigsaw piece by the gaps it’s left in my life and trying to see what it is that’s actually missing…
    Either way, I will still be giving this such a lot of thought…
    And thanks for the great food for thought!

  11. Bettina

    Regarding the UTI: I am using a diaphragm for contraception. And I have suffered from recurrent UTI’s and yeast infections for a long time. I had itching and often a yeast Infection the days after intercourse bc the spermicide that is used to kill sperm (with the diaphragm ) also kills some necessary, healthy bacteria in the vagina and yeast can take over.
    An Urologist that I saw for UTI told me that the UTI comes from bacteria that goes up your urethra, the bacterium gets there during intercourse which is totally normal. He told me I should always go and pee after intercourse and the urine will wash all bacteria out immediately. Since I am doing that I have not had a single UTI. It was such a huge relief!!! (He also told me bacteria can get up the urethra when you use a handheld shower and you happen to hold it in a bad angle. )
    The solution to heal an abnormal vaginal climate (vaginal flora) comes from a gynecologist. I apologize if it sounds gross, but I wanted to share it bc it has done wonders for me: In order to get back to a healthy vaginal climate after I take the diaphragm with the spermicide out about 8 hrs after sex) I pour a bit of regular Joghurt (without sugar or additives!) into a cup and roll a tampon in there that I insert. Any doctor will tell you that a healthy vagina is filled with the same bacteria that is contained in Joghurt. You can look it up. Haven’t had a single yeast infection or uncomfortable feeling since! By the way the exact same bacteria lives in your colon. Eat white, regular Joghurt when you have to take Antibiotics and the Flora in your colon will be reinstated much faster which means you will be healthy and your normal self much faster. Antibiotics destroy the healthy bacteria in your colon and they can also mess with your vaginal flora. I wanted to share it bc it helped me so much.

  12. Bettina

    Meant to add: I am aware that yeast infections aren’t your problem, just felt like adding it bc it’s common and can be caused by frequent oral Antibiotics.


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