Is Holding Men to a High Standard “Man-Bashing”?

by | Jan 25, 2023 | Men's Corner | 47 comments

Is it man bashing to hold men to higher standards
Merchandise is Here!

Shelia here!

My husband Keith wanted to come on here and talk about the remarks of “man-bashing” that have shown up in the comments recently.

Here he is!

Okay, since the “man bashing” charge has been levelled yet again, I guess I have to step in.

Honestly, this happens so regularly that I shouldn’t be shocked any more, but it still frustrates me. For anyone who needs to be brought up to speed, here’s a graphic Sheila posted a few weeks ago:

This graphic was part of a series that was highlighting how imbalanced the expectations are in the evangelical church for men and women (that was later turned into a post on double standards). While most of the comments were people trying to wrestle with this uncomfortable dynamic, she had a few commenters basically say: “No one teaches this. You’re just man bashing.”

No one is teaching this? What universe is he living in?

But let’s assume he is being serious. He’s basically saying Sheila is making a strawman argument, where you create a caricature of your opponent’s position and argue against that instead of the real position. But even if Sheila were creating a strawman (and I will show shortly that she is not), then what is the point in also saying she is man bashing?

If nobody actually teaches this, then how are men being bashed by saying this is wrong?

The only men being bashed are the ones who think that it IS reasonable to expect a woman to have sex even if they feel used, distant and like a sex toy.

And if those men don’t exist since nobody is teaching this, why be so offended?

But unfortunately – to our shame – we do teach pathetically low standards for what is expected out of men in the evangelical church.

Let me present Exhibit A: “Mary’s Story” from the book “Every Heart Restored”, written by Fred & Brenda Stoeker.

This book is part of the “Every Man” series, which includes 29 titles and has sold millions of copies. If this story teaches the things Sheila warned about in her post, then to say that “no one is teaching this” would be clearly false. Spoiler alert (and trigger warning) it does exactly that. Not only does it minimize the coercion of women into sex against their will, the entire chapter is an exercise in gaslighting women that selfish men are simply misunderstood and women who want to stand up for their own dignity are in fact the selfish ones.

The gaslighting starts in the first sentence.

The authors frankly tell us they share this story to show “how easily a woman can mislabel her husband’s intentions and decisions through biased female perspectives.” Do you get that? She is mislabeling his intentions because she is biased. Keep that in mind as we go through the story.

Mary felt like her husband, Greg, had no time at all for her. So she made a New Year’s vow to have sex with Greg whenever he wanted it. She was already “feeling used” in their sex life, but she was challenged by a book that said if she did this, her husband would want to spend more time with her. So she did it with the hope of improving their marriage. Instead, it ended up being “the worst, most degrading year of my life”. She documents how her decision resulted in Greg selfishly using her for an entire year as a “human toilet for semen”. At the end of the year, she explained this vow to Greg and said that she couldn’t do it anymore. Mary relates that Greg was angry that she “essentially set him up to, in his words, “rape me” daily for a whole year”. 

The description of the year is quite horrific.

Greg woke her up “every morning at 5:00 to roll me over and screw me”. He had “testosterone temper tantrums” if they “went four or five days without sex”. He pursued her when she went into the shower, “salivating for me to soap him up for a hand job”. The authors clearly recognize how horrible this is, saying they had “passionate discussion” before deciding to “leave her vivid and edgy language” in the telling of the story. Unfortunately, what follows after the telling of Mary’s story is arguably more hideous. The authors go on to dissect what we are to learn from this story, and nowhere do they actually call Greg to repentance for his bad behavior.

As I said, the authors started the chapter by telling us that women “mislabel” men’s intentions.

Well, let me speak as a person who is not afflicted by any pernicious “biased female perspectives”.

The most charitable label I could assign to Greg’s behavior is “selfish”. But astoundingly, nowhere do the authors really own that. Instead, they spend the entire rest of the chapter trying to explain that due to Greg’s “hardwiring”, his behavior was not his fault and we need to cut him some slack. Yes, they give some lip service to the idea that what Greg did was bad, but they immediately shift the focus away from that without any call to repentance and change. At one point, they glibly describe his behavior as “reprehensible”, but then in the same breath excuse it as coming from ignorance rather than heartlessness. Nowhere do they say Greg needs to change his view about sex, rebuild trust with his wife or in any way become a better man.

Become a part of the movement

Join 40,00 others and let's change the evangelical conversation about sex

So don’t tell me “no one is teaching this”.

 And don’t tell me it is man bashing to say it needs to stop.

Accounts like Greg’s – where a man is basically taken off the hook for very selfish and un-Christlike behaviors – abound in evangelical teaching. It is not man bashing to point to those teachings and say, “No more!”
Some evangelical teachers have pushed women to give their husband’s sexual favors in the post -partum period. It is not man bashing to call that ridiculous and disgusting. And if you think it is, it is not man bashing of me to say that you have a distorted view of what it means to be a man.

It is not man bashing to say that we all need to listen more to the perspectives of women.

The authors of Every Heart Restored point out after sharing Mary’s story that “any woman’s heart is deeply stirred with sympathy for Mary”. Yes, as it should! That sounds like a horrible experience to live through. But why any woman’s heart? Should not men be equally sympathetic? Where is the call for men to similarly feel sympathy for this woman? It is nowhere to be found. Rather, they inexplicably go on to explain that instead we should all have sympathy for Greg, giving point by point rebuttals to any objections we might have to reframing the situation in this way. It is not man bashing to see through this and call it for what it is: DARVO

And it is not man bashing to acknowledge that Greg actually hurt Mary by what he did.

Mary recounts in painstaking detail how that year “mortally wounded her sexually”.

She mourns how “sex has now been separated from love in my mind”. But the authors do not acknowledge that pain or loss. They do say they can “understand why – from a female perspective – Greg’s unabated enthusiasm for frequent, almost mechanical sex makes him look like a selfish pig”, but their conclusion is that it is all just Greg’s “hardwiring” so it’s not his fault. Basically, Mary needs to realize that God just made men that way so Greg couldn’t help it.

It is not man bashing to say men can do better than that.

The irony is that I will likely be called a man basher by some for criticizing an “Every Man” series book.

But if you ask me, the idea that men are “hardwired” to sin and they can’t act like decent human beings unless their wives give them regular sex is beyond flawed.

It basically says that men are God’s mistakes that women need to clean up after.

And I think that is man bashing.

Is it man bashing to hold men to higher standards?

What do you think? Do you think the standards for men are so low that asking for more than the bare minimum counts as “man-bashing?” Let’s talk in the comments!

Keith Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Keith has been married to Sheila for over 30 years! They met while he was in pre-med at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He has served as Chief of Pediatrics in the Quinte Region, and has been the chair of undergraduate pediatric medical education at Queen's University, and participated in the Royal College examination board for new pediatricians. He is the co-author with Sheila of The Good Guy's Guide to Great Sex, and a new marriage book they're working on. An avid birder, he loves traveling with Sheila all over North America in their RV.

Related Posts

How Many Christian Men Are Sexually Safe Husbands?

How many Christian husbands see sex in a healthy way? We know that sexual sin, and porn use, and objectification of women are rampant. But it's not everywhere. So how many guys aren't affected by this? In February and March I'm posting several "number of the day"...

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

47 Comments

  1. Stefanie

    Sometimes I think some people live in a different universe. A lot of my church friends don’t see the problem. I’m wracking my head to come up with “why?” They’re like, “The church is great! What the church teaches about sex is God’s truth and I don’t see anything wrong with it, and it brought life and health to me and our marriage.”

    Here are my theories:
    1) Some haven’t encountered these messages? How could that be? Did they not listen to a single church teaching on sex?
    2) Maybe people in healthy marriages let the bad messages go right over their heads? They don’t land and take root?
    3) They’re in denial. I was told by my church friend at my bridal shower to “never say no.” That was her advice. I’ve listened to church friends discussing sex and say things like, “the Bible says don’t deprive” and give suggestions like wine for painful sex (not see a doctor, drink wine and push through).

    I think the hardest thing for me, for my faith, is to be gaslit by Christians.

    Reply
    • K.D.

      I was lectured by a friend that I shouldn’t ever say no to my husband and her advice was in response to my comment on premarital counseling wherein our pastor told me that in marriage, my voice mattered and I should tell my spouse no to things. His examples were over time spent with one side of the family over the other, etc., not sex necessarily, but she took it and ran to the topic of sex. She told me turning down my husband’s desire for sex would damage his masculinity. That I would damage our relationship if I didn’t always say yes.

      Thank God I married a good man and was strong enough to ignore her advice.

      Reply
      • Anonymous305

        As if feeling used and dehumanized doesn’t damage the relationship 🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️.

        Reply
    • Keith R Gregoire

      A lot of it is number 3.
      I know because I lived it (as I have posted about before).
      For men there are immediate and tangible gains to believing the things taught in evangelical circles
      And there’s a lot of subconscious pressure to not see a problem when the current situation is to your benefit.
      But I thank God that He opened my eyes and I learned how to be better.
      Jesus said the way to find you life is to lose it.
      That applies to both men and women.
      I think the next generation of Christian men will do so much better than mine if we can just teach them well from the beginning

      Reply
      • Stefanie

        Oooh, Keith. That’s one of my trigger scriptures. I died to myself every time I stepped into the bedroom with my husband. But I didn’t find life. I only found death. The death of my sexuality. The death of my marriage. We’re on the verge of divorce; we’ll see what happens. My kids might grow up in a broken home. Me and my kids might be thrown into poverty if my marriage ends. We have spent well into the thousands of dollars on therapy. And regardless of whether I divorce or not, I can pretty much guarantee my kids are going to need therapy themselves.

        That verse brings up a lot.

        Reply
        • Nessie

          This is part of what makes me so sad… that we have “trigger scriptures.” That words spoken by Jesus have become a trigger for some of us is so incredibly sad. If there are people that cannot muster enough empathy to hear others’ pain like that and be moved by it, then of course they are going to cry, “Man-bashing, MAN-BASHING!” Because they do not have eyes to see or ears to hear, and their hearts are hard.

          I think it almost as sad that many of these men have been conditioned to respond so hatefully at the mention of certain verses or the calling out of these bad behaviors. They have access to great strength (God’s) but have been bamboozled into believing they don’t need His strength, and THAT seems even worse than man-bashing. The devil has certainly been busy, and so many of the worst offenders don’t realize how great a tool each has become in his hands.

          Reply
          • Mara R

            Nessie, this had come up a few times and I so agree.
            I remember being in a forum where a woman said that just the word “Submit” triggered her into full on panic attacks.

            She was somewhere filling out paper work and it asked her to submit the paperwork a certain way. She had to leave the office/agency/where ever, and go outside and breath. And I think it took her days to be able to get that simple paperwork done due to how she had been abused by that word.

            And this is why these false teachers must be publicly confronted and stopped. They are making the Word of Life into death for the souls of women.

    • Stefanie

      I just realized that second point sounds a lot like Jesus’ parable of the 4 soils. I guess I just had soil that was receptive to toxic teaching. How I wish I had had a hard heart and let the birds come and eat the seeds of those toxic messages.

      Jesus needs to write a new parable of the 4 soils, except opposite.

      Reply
  2. Luke

    I can understand the original commenters statement that no one is teaching these things. I would have said the same thing ten years ago, despite being in a large church denomination that has had many issues around sex come to light.

    I had even read a bunch of the books that you rightly criticize here, and honestly the only one that struck me as off back then was every man’s battle.

    Maybe because I’m a history geek (I think Greg is too if I remember right), but I am ok with the title of every man’s battle. I do think every man (and woman) has to figure out how to handle sexuality. But a battle is a fixed time and place. Even horribly long battles don’t last for ever, unlike the teachings in that book.

    Reply
    • Luke

      I said Greg was a history buff. that was the jerk in the story I meant Keith Gregorio. My bad. Is there a way to edit comments?

      Reply
      • Keith R Gregoire

        Yes, you remember (or figured out) correctly that I am a history buff. Though I don’t think I know enough about the subject to have earned the term “geek” yet #lifegoals. 🙂

        Reply
  3. Angharad

    I guess if generations of men have been raised to believe that they can blame their own poor behaviour on the women around them, then any suggestion that this is not right is going to feel ‘unfair’ to them. And maybe they think if they shout loudly enough about ‘man bashing’, everyone will listen to them and sympathise, and won’t notice that what the ‘man bashers’ are actually saying is very positive towards men (except those men who wish to be able to continue to blame others for their own failings)

    Reply
    • Nathan

      Yes. When something is presented in a slanted form for so long, then the balanced view is itself considered perverted. Happens in other areas, too.

      Reply
  4. Nathan

    Holding one gender to a higher standard while excusing the other is bashing, but that’s what many of these authors do, not this site.

    This site mainly calls for us all to follow a high standard, and that the needs of men and women are equal. If that’s bashing, then humanity is in big trouble.

    Reply
  5. Jo R

    So, men should not be held to any standards, because they’re already like Jesus in the one essential: maleness? There’s no growth in Christlikeness that’s required, since men already are Christlike enough in simply being male? No need to show increasing fruit of the Spirit? No need to follow Christ’s Golden Rule?

    I’ll bet many of these men insist they’re head of their homes like Jesus is head of the church, because Ephesians 5. I think a few wives ought to ask the following question: “Since you’re taking on the role of Christ around here, what would you prefer tonight, celibacy or crucifixion?” 🤔

    Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      LOL to your last sentence. Brilliant.

      Reply
      • Jo R

        Aw, thanks, Jane! 😊

        (I have funny thoughts during insomnia.)

        Reply
    • Christina

      That last line is priceless. I wish that I had come up with it!

      Reply
  6. recoverymode

    -It has taken being exposed to proper teaching to be able to recognize just how bad and harmful some of the well touted books are (L&R, EMB, etc.). My wife and I read L&R years ago, and even went through the DVD series, and nothing blatantly stuck out to us as being super harmful. The one thing that already seemed off at the time was the big distinction between men needing respect and women needing love. We kind of both thought that part was off already back then (like over a decade ago). I’m a man, and this massive need for “respect” was just never a thing for me. We both felt that both partners need these things.
    -Definitely has taken education and learning to fully see and understand WHY these types of books are so harmful, especially to women — the who notion of feeling under pressure/coercion in relation to sex, and how that then can quickly get away from being something intimate, mutual and life giving to the relationship.
    -I think Keith/Luke/Nathan are correct — when something kind of benefits you in some way, it’s hard to see the negative parts.
    -So thankful yet again for all the hard work you are doing in this space. We have learned so much, and have implemented so much. It has been such a difference maker in our marriage. We were at a point where my wife could have/would have written off sex for life because of the pain and trauma surrounding it (caused by childhood emotional trauma, compounded by sexual issues I brought into our marriage via porn, obligation message, etc.) — a soup of toxicity. We both individually owned our stuff, did counselling (separately and together), took sex off the table for an undefined amount of time (ended up being like 2 years, with very infrequent encounters during that time — sometimes months). Worked on the relationship, building back trust and emotional intimacy. We both feel we are mostly out of it now and the relationship is so amazing (including the sex). So much of this was possible by being exposed to proper teaching on this subject by Bare Marriage and other healthy resources, along with God’s grace.
    -Final thought — so yes, to the uninitiated, things on this blog can appear to be “man-bashing” at first glance, because of the focus and frequency can often be directed at men. Initially I also thought the tone and amount of focus and bashing on books like L&R was a bit over the top, but once you actually start seeing it through a proper lens you realize it’s justified. To those that continue to think this site is all about man-bashing, I would recommend keeping an open mind and know that Bare Marriage team is sex-positive, and the aim/desire is for healthy sexuality. I can emphatically say that what I have learned and put into practice here has been life giving and our relationship is the best and healthiest it has ever been, so I am very grateful.

    Reply
    • Jo R

      Like 1,000,000,000 times

      Reply
    • Bonnie

      The toxic soup you refer to is my current situation…my husband uses the fact that I’m now unwilling to have sex unless I can say “yes” gladly against me. He tells me that he never did anything to me that I wasn’t ok with. It’s true that I may have agreed to what he wanted, at the time. Now that I can see how I shortchanged both of us, I can’t put myself there anymore. It’s a heartbreaking place in my life.

      Reply
  7. Codec

    I wonder sometimes if people have become so suspicious of others that anything that could be perceived as a threat is viewed as a threat.

    Think about it. You have a lot of young people who have been in bad relationships right? Well imagine that that person becomes bitter. They ask what went wrong and somebody comes by with an answer. They tell them that the odds are stacked and that people conspire against you. You begin to see enemies everywhere. A tribalism develops and those who may have a point may be seen as intruders who wish to smear your tribe and weaken you.

    Reply
  8. Suzanne

    I just read Mary’s Story, its posted for free online and it was worse than I imagined reading the little blurb above. It was her fault she didn’t help him to be a better man and husband, her fault for feeling used, her fault for his testosterone temper tantrums once he gets sex daily he has withdrawals like an addict and needs the orgasm chemicals, her fault for him rolling her over while she slept because late night and early morning orgasms is every married mans dream, her fault for not giving him grace and understanding because he is hardwired to be a selfish lover who uses another’s body and its her job to guide him properly because he can’t make himself not be a selfish pig of a man child.

    I got angrier and angrier the more I read it.

    Christianity loves to give men a free pass to be horrible and to crown them king of the house and ruler of the family while they behave like monsters. They then tell the woman, who is considered lower than a man, the submissive, to make sure he is sexual satisficed, to teach him how to not be a selfish lover but also to give him sex on demand, to keep him from sexually sinning, to quietly and gently bring up things he is doing that are hurting the family but not to nag or bring it up again even if no change happens. Gee big surprise women are fleeing the church.

    Men are so much better than this, men can be good people who treat others with love, respect and kindness. We need to hold men to a higher standard because they are able to meet that standard with ease if we only stop telling them their wiring is to be a selfish abusive person who can’t control themselves.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      It has been my experience every single time someone at Bare Marriage summarizes some awful section from an Evangelical book– I go to the source and it’s actually WORSE when I read the entire passage in context.

      The team has to shorten and paraphrase for space and legal reasons. For anyone who thinks they did aa disservice to the author, go look! I can guarantee what you’ll find is actually worse. Some of these books are so repulsive I’ve written to the publisher.

      Reply
  9. Phil

    I had this conversation with my wife this past weekend. It went like this: I have some women that I go to for spiritual direction. Why? I wasn’t given the proper information growing up on not only to deliver the message don’t degrade women, but also how to stand up for women. Aka how to help your fellow “man”. Woman/man. So if I don’t talk to women to get their perspective then how else am I supposed to get the message? Hence I hang out HERE as one of those major resources to get women’s perspective. Now this is just for me but I will tell you that I dont fare well in hostile environments. I will stand up for myself and I will lash out. <—- that last part is maybe even not so healthy. The point is this. I WOULD CERTAINLY NOT BE HANGING AROUND HERE IF I FELT LIKE I WAS BEING BASHED! MY JESUS TELLS ME TO STAND UP FOR HIM. THAT MEANS IF SOMEONE/WOMEN/HIM ARE BEING HARMED I STAND UP FOR THEM! Galatians 6:2. Hmm.. we just had that lesson.

    Reply
    • Sue R

      Wonderful, Phil — as usual! And thank you.

      Reply
  10. Jen

    One of the most profoundly damaging aspects of teachings like Every Man’s Battle, and the like, is the image it gives of Jesus. We could run in many directions with this thought, but I’m thinking right now about how a husband is supposed to love his wife like Christ loves the Church. These selfish teachings are straight up blasphemy. When we are told that men cannot control themselves, so women must bridge that gap, AND GOD’S OKAY WITH THAT, how are women supposed to understand God? As an abuser — as someone who wants them to be used. What horrible harm. This is millstone territory.

    Reply
    • Codec

      Imagine being a male porn addict and telling them that God himself wired him that way. There is so much wrong here.

      Reply
  11. Codec

    As a recovering addict the idea that my attempts to get rid of porn using filters and going to therapy is antithetical to a hardwiring makes me confused. How can I be morally culpable for something I have no control over?

    I do not think it is bashing to tell people that they can do more. That they can seek to understand their voices, acknowledge their subconscious and integrate it in a healthy way, that there is hope.

    Reply
    • Phil

      Codec your comment reminds me of the conversation that happened here over 6 years ago that got me involved in the comments here. The question was is sex addiction a disease? I had been struggling with that message as a guy 14 years into recovery for sex addiction. It is strange how that very message helped me in my recovery yet held me back. There have been many of those types of messages that I received through the 12 steps. What I have discovered is it is very similar to churches. The correct message is written but the people who deliver the message deliver it in a way it was not intended. They often focus on pg 85 in the Big Book where it says we are never cured. The problem? That statement is placed in step 11 which is 5 steps after step 6 where the desire has been completely removed! You know what we are not cured of? Our character defects. That we are left to work on the rest of our lives as we help others. Again, Galatians 6:2. It took me 20 years in recovery to break that code. This revelation is merely a month old for me. That message that I am broken and can’t be fixed held me back. We can do better! We can get better! What I think Sheila and Dr Lindenbach 🤣 are working on is an alternative solution. Not just for sex addiction but a crap load of other issues. Just my gut instinct….

      Reply
      • Codec

        I agree.

        Reply
    • Nessie

      Mara R,
      That was great, and fwiw I love your ALMOST acronym. 🙂
      I’ve struggled reading the Bible for several years now bc of spiritual abuse but am slowly reaching a safer feeling around it. I love reading your thoughts, especially on the Songs- they don’t feel like a threat nor a taunt of what I will never have when I read your insights.
      This has been such a healing community for me (excepting a few comments now and then). So grateful.

      Reply
      • Mara R

        Thanks Nessie.

        Keith in blog post above: ” Should not men be equally sympathetic? Where is the call for men to similarly feel sympathy for this woman? ”

        There are certain words that shut down the conversation so we hesitate to use them.
        Keith here is exposing how men have shut down their hearts to women.
        It is as though men writing these things love themselves and by extension other men. But their hearts are cold and hard towards women. They don’t love women. They love themselves and love covers a multitude of sin. Their love for men over women covers Greg’s sins beyond reason. And their lack of love for women makes Mary the sinner in this story when she clearly isn’t. Keith is right to call it DARVO. This lack of love can also be call misogyny. But that’s one of those conversation shut down words. So I appreciate Keith not using that word, but displaying his love for women and the lack of love of the EMB guys without using that word. And I appreciate the rest of our Brothers In Love doing the same. They are working to figure out what it means to apply the Golden Rule to women rather than DARVOing them as the Evangelical, marriage/sex teacher/authors teach them to do.

        Reply
    • Laura

      Mara R.

      I love, love, love your blog and your ALMOST acronym!

      Reply
  12. Nathan

    A few years ago, I would have agreed that “nobody is teaching this”. Then I saw books where “Christian” authors talk about women as “penis homes”, and tell women to act like porn stars and send nude pics of themselves to their husbands.

    Reply
    • Codec

      The “Penis Home” thing is so unbelievably crude that I honestly have a hard time thinking it was not said by some kind of seducer.

      Reply
      • Mara R

        Codec, that’s a Mark Driscoll trolling on a church forum as William Wallace II back in Seattle thing, back before the fall of Mars Hill Church. I don’t think that has appeared in any books that I know of. Yes, it is disgusting, but it is IMHO the slippery slope that EMB and L&R takes the pornified brain that is trying to sanctify or justify itself.

        Reply
        • Laura

          I think I saw a short Youtube clip where Driscoll called women “penis homes.” I think the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast had an audio clip of him saying that.

          Reply
  13. Anonymous305

    I wish my husband would be offended by the low standards, but he’s not. I wish he was offended by the marriage counselor who blamed everything on me, but he wasn’t.

    I wish he would just make sense. He said he agreed with TGSR, then complained that I didn’t understand his needs. I accused him of wanting obligation sex, but he was surprised because he’d been wanting me to get out of the obligation mindset for a long time, yet I had no idea why I was supposed to know that he didn’t want me to feel obligated while he was so needy. Later, I asked how I was supposed to know that he felt bad for me when he was talking so much about his needs, but he interpreted the question as rejection of his whole person and stopped talking to me. I wonder if I was wrong to break his heart like that, but I also hope he leaves me so I can be free.

    Reply
    • Mara R

      Anonymous, it breaks my heart to read the confusing state you are in. And I would like someone else to respond to you than me who can give better advice.
      But being divorced from a needy man myself, I get that. And the only advice that I have is to find a better counselor for yourself and one for him that won’t feed into the obligation sex message. It appears that a lot is going on here and that you husband lacks some self-awareness that he isn’t going to get over without help. Like I said, my advice is lacking. I hope another comes here and gives better.

      Reply
    • Stefanie

      You didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes husbands don’t react well when you start setting boundaries. My husband also verbally agrees with TGSR, but similarly has a hard time with what it means to be a safe man. Stand your ground. Start following channels like The Christian Sexpert and MendingMe on Instagram to help give you the mental fortitude to push back against your husband’s pressure.
      I don’t know if you need to hear this, but you’re not crazy. Your husband is acting like a child who was told they can’t have all the ice cream they want (because the church had told him he could). He’s in a relationship with a real person, not a blowup doll, and he needs to be a safe, healthy person. Whether you leave him or not is up to you. But I wouldn’t bring kids into this situation, assuming you don’t have kids yet. And you have to decide how long you’re willing to wait for him to get his act together, IF he will ever get his act together. Also, if you attend church, be prepared for spiritual pressure and gaslighting.

      Also, therapy for you like Mara said.

      Reply
    • Nessie

      “I wonder if I was wrong to break his heart like that…”
      I hope you see that your heart is just as valuable as his, and if him being told truth breaks anything, I think it likely his ego received more damage than his heart (I’m not insinuating he is heartless). Perhaps this pain he is feeling will bring about repentance, understanding, and empathy, but that certainly isn’t there yet if he is refusing to talk to you. Please understand your own worth though- it sounds like your own heart has been breaking for a long time. I hope you can find a healthy counselor for your healing.

      Reply
  14. Amy Joy

    Thank you thank you thank you! I am crying because this was me. The girl in this situation was me. I thought men were hardwired and I had to give and give rarely receiving in return. I needed to ask hours in advance if he wanted time together.(could not call it love making and if I called it sex he got angry). He would go back and forth not being sure then say no he was too tired, I would start falling asleep and he would be shaking me yelling my name to wake me up because he changed his mind. Then upset because I wasn’t into it. When I was interested he was not able to perform. Nine months ago I left him for his manipulative abuse of me and I pursued a divorce. Since then I have learned I was sexually abused. I really needed to read this article by a man. Thank you for writing this. Please this needs to go out there and become open this article needs to land in every pastors or staffs hand and throughout the church. Jesus was not hard wired. He was mens example

    Reply
    • Anonymous305

      ☹️❤️☹️, that’s worse than my situation. So glad you’re getting free!!

      Reply
  15. Lucy

    In my first marriage, I started out by agreeing to sex whenever he wanted it despite the fact that it was painful for me and I never once experienced an orgasm. As the marriage went on, he cared more for porn than he did for me and it became abusive, so I avoided it when I could and tolerated it on occasion because I was “supposed to.” I honestly thought I was the problem, that I just wasn’t good at sex, etc. He used me for his own release with no regard to what I needed or wanted. There was no mutual love in those relations. He only loved himself and his own pleasure.

    Fast forward to now – I am very happily married to someone who loves me well. He finds joy in bringing me pleasure and intimacy has never been the least bit painful. I not only enjoy it, but I long for it and I initiate it too. It’s amazing the difference when you are deeply loved and cherished.

    Reply
  16. JC

    I found Mary’s story online and read it and Fred’s comments afterwards… I could not finish reading Fred’s comments… I think Fred needs to go review the fruit of the spirit a couple times because one of them is “self control” and it’s obvious Greg had none. I don’t care how “hardwired” guys are supposed to be for sex, three times a day every day for a year is excessive. I’m pretty sure Greg is missing a couple fruits of the spirit in that story and Fred is essentially enabling and defending the fact that Greg is NOT acting like a Christian and furthermore shouldn’t be expected to!

    I’m sorry, but nobody who claims to be a Christian writing to Christians should defend or dismiss any behavior about anything that is less than Christian. Especially when it comes to Christian to Christian relationships and doubly so with marriage.

    It’s why I appreciate what you all are doing here – calling Christian spouses to act Christ-like to each other.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *