Sounds like to me the woman has practiced emotional and physical neglect in the marriage for so long that he is starved for attention. He needs to be respectful of her especially in public, but the underlying facts of what has been stated is that she is questioning her commitment to the marriage. Once they work thru that issue then they need to set boundaries for touch. Just my 2 cents from having walked the path...
When this happens the love is dead. Someone killed it. Ever here the words, happy wife happy life? If a man wants to be able to touch his wife from the day he marries her till the day he dies he’d better treat her every day like it was their first date. Only a woman who detest her husband cringes at his touch. I know, I’m one of them. I did not choose wisely. I married a narcissistt and a bully.
A respectful reply to the entry titled Dr. . . . As I read your comments, my feeling is that you are saying that it's alright for her to abuse him through her neglect, but he's not allowed to be hurt or insulted. You, Dr, are very wrong. You are encouraging and enabling her abuse of him. Is it better for him to go sit by himself and lick his wounds, or should he take out his frustration in a divorce court or by taking out his anger through violence towards his wife, which I assure you, he wants to do? This man is literally choosing the better path by separating himself from the situation until he can be civil to the woman who trapped him in a loveless marriage. Believe me, I know. The only thing he can do and retain a position in God's kingdom as a righteous priesthood bearer is to walk away until he can control himself. Yes, it's wrong to grope your wife in public, even if she wants you to; it should be done in private! And, it should be mutually desired. That's why in my original comment I emphasized counceling as a couple.
I originally wrote what turned out to be a very long and detailed response. I'll be short(er). I am a husband that has had to learn to accept 'no'. No, you can not hold my hand right now. No you can't kiss me. It is disheartening when a husband feels that he has no say in that part of his life. I had to learn that for my wife, touching her knee in public was 'groping'. She also found it ok to grope me but I wasn't allowed to respond equally. Its been a long 20 years. I went into the marriage knowing that she had abuse issues from when she was a child. Neither of us realized how much it would affect our lives, or how randomly it would appear. One day is fine, the next, we were back to square one.
The short answer is that NO, means NO. regardless. Step away and respect the choice. There better be communication that follows though. Have both parties sat down and talked about what they expect in their intimacy? Do they both share the same understanding and expectations? Or is the husband ignoring her completely? If the husband is unwilling or unable to accept her feelings, then some deep prayer needs to go into the value of the marriage. But marriage is a two-way street. Each party needs to be willing to work together to find a happy medium.
Most of you are missing something very important. This wife is not objecting to intimacy at home, but sexualized touching in public. That, and his total withdrawal of communication when she objects to being embarrassed in public. He is being manipulative and vengeful, and needs some counseling (with his wife.)
@kirk Isn't "dangling the carrot of communication" exactly what the husband is doing here by not talking to her for days if she rejects his advances? I certainly don't think one gender has the corner on manipulation. I think giving or withholding sex should never be used as a tool in marriage by either party, but I also don't think giving or withholding conversation should ever be used and it seems like that is what the man was doing here.
Intimacy is a beautiful part of marriage. It sounds like the wife had past experience with sexual abuse or the husband has not handled the marriage act right, because this is not something she should dread, but something she should look forward to. I've been married for 21 years and intimacy is one of my best blessings.
Not true for everyone, but in "general"...the most painful part of marriage for a man deals with his basic need...the physical relationship with his wife. There is so much pain and loneliness and rejection and frustration...all exacerbated by a wife that consciously or subconsciously to any degree uses this knowledge to manipulate or proactively design ways to avoid providing. On the flip side I see a wife dealing with pain, loneliness and rejection and frustration because her husband can't or won't communicate the way she likes, or acknowledge her feelings, etc. I hate to think about the pain both partners have to deal with. But only the woman takes a mans basic need to her advantage. No man tries to manipulate by holding the carrot of communication in front of his wife. Most men don't think of ways to avoid or come up with plans on how to keep their wives from obtaining their basic need. I agree most men are Apes and need to learn how to talk and share feelings with their wife, but that is a learning thing not an avoidance thing as it is on the part of the wife.
Talk about blaming the victim. This is sexual assault. She should say something to him and respect his wife enough to not fondle her at every turn. "A kiss is not a contract" comes to mind. Marriage doesn't give anyone ownership of the other partner. Is he touching her private parts for himself or uplift the marriage. Sounds like he is objectifying her. When she states she is scared to hold hands it is likely that each time they are alone and hold hands he comes on to her and pushes for more and more until she gives in. Anyone that is blaming her or congratulating him for sticking with her needs or quoting the Bible as to why what he is doing is ok is accmplice. Don't let him touch you if you don't want to. He can talk to her but pulling away being distant if he doesn't get what he wants is emotional abuse. God loves you, values you, and wants what is best. If it is this bad get help via counseling.
Yes, she has a right to limit how/when/where her husband touches her, but that doesn't make any choice she makes about that the right choice. She made a covenant in marriage to give herself to him, and as it says in 1Cor7:4-5 "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency".
There is no crueler fraud than to bind a man to yourself in marriage, then unilaterally refuse him the intimacy of marriage with no consideration of his feelings. What she is doing is hurtful and damaging to the marriage.
I am not saying that she should let him do as he pleases and just put up with it suffering in silence. He does have an obligation to respect her feelings, but she has an obligation to learn how to overcome these negative feelings and live up to the covenant she made. What is behind her reaction? Unresolved conflicts in the marriage? A flawed perspective on sexuality and spirituality? Past trauma or abuse? She needs to look inside at where these feelings originate and talk with him about it and overcome it together.
I know someone in this same situation as you.
Just sad for you, and for him.
I commend you both for your sacrificing and integrity-- and refusing to divorce your wives.
May you have many compensatory blessings.
My feelings would be hurt too with this kind of rejection. I hope people aren't reading this and automatically thinking this man is a predator or domineer; I've really got my doubts. Her feelings are still legit, but can't hold hands, cause he might want to be intimate? I really can't see a solution here that will work for both. I also have to assume she never initiates touching him intimately, i.e. slap on the butt, etc. One way affection that is resented will lead to divorce. She can feel justified with her sympathizers here, but she's going to have big problems in any marriage where she feels trapped that intimacy might be looming after affection is displayed.
I agree that woman AND men have the right to not be touched in a way we don't like. But as a man whose wife has not allowed herself to be touched IN ANY WAY for 20 years, I wonder about the part of the story we aren't being told. There is more to this story than what we are told in this short article. This couple needs marriage counseling. She needs him to understand what she likes and what she doesn't like. She needs to understand his needs to show affection and a BETTER WAY to do so. There is supposed to be touching in marriage. Is there a time that this woman allows touching? Is it all on her terms, or does he have any say at all? Is this an issue where she is using the situation to control the marriage? Is there any compromise? I have a feeling there is more to her story that needs counseling and resolution -- and they need counseling together in a situation where they will "hear" each other's heart. Having not been touched or allowed to touch for 20 years under the guise of "my body, my right", although my body had darn well be doing she orders whether I like it or not, I smell a great need for professional help in this article.
Being in a counseling profession myself, I find the advice in the column always sound. I imagine the letters are edited for length and privacy, meaning there may be more to the story than we know. While she may have some issues to work on as well, I hear this was addressed. I firmly believe we have a good sense of when we are being used for someone else's needs, without consideration of our own, unless it's been 'burned' out of us through childhood and/adult abuse. Repeatedly being ignored regarding unwanted sexual touch by someone who should be trustworthy can lead to cringing even during holding hands. Can no one relate to being made to hug old aunt Mabel, or uncle Harry, when it felt icky?
I see that women give the appearance that they want sexual intimacy before marriage and then after they have "caught" their man, they show their true feelings and do not want sexual intimacy- they only want to be told how beautiful they are, how they are super, they love gifts, etc. They show more love to their children than they do their husbands.
Not even hand-holding? If that is taken as "let's do more" then understandable negative reaction. But aversion to simple hand-holding in public or private sounds like a deeper problem. Ditto for "makes me cringe".
The answer is good and certainly correct in terms of people setting their personal space. But the answer completely ignores the greater issue here -- which is why she is uncomfortable with intimacy. Yes, she gets to choose; but, she should be choosing to enjoy this attention and seeking help in finding out why she doesn't.
I agree with the first commenter about this. when I read what the lady was saying...it sounded to me like...she isn't into intimacy with her spouse and what he is feeling is rejection from her. I have felt that way with my husband because every touch meant sex to him and sometimes women just want to be cuddled. some men have a problem with that they think every touch means sex. so if it can happen a good discussion needs to take place without hurting anyones feelings.
It seems to me that her very last sentence is very telling. If she cringes because she sees all his touches leading to something sexual, then he can't win even if he listens and heeds her desires to not be touched in public. She needs counseling on the deeper level of her fear of sexual intimacy. The law of Chastity is not only what we not do, but inherently includes our obligations to meet and share one another's reasonable and respectful sexual needs in marriage. When we find ways to serve one another with and through intimacy, the relationship blossoms and becomes mutually satisfying and we can truly become "one flesh".
This response, while containing valid principles, causes me to pause. If the husband had requested guidance, his perspective likely would have been very different and thus the response may also have been very different.
May I add that this lady should also be clear, in her own mind and when she explains it to her husband, why she doesn't like being touched under such circumstances. Whether it's the assumption of ownership or the inappropriateness of time and place he needs to understand. She also needs to be honest with herself and ask herself if she has a problem with intimacy as this reaction can often be an indicator that someone is not comfortable with the marital relationship. If so, then this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
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