Bread or tomatoes?

A few nights ago my husband I were lying in bed falling asleep when he suddenly said, “You know, sex in marriage, for me, is like tomatoes on sandwiches.”
My mouth literally fell open there in the dark.

See, here is the thing. I consider myself a sort of amateur foodie. I like to eat it, I like to make it, I like to read about it, I like to savor it. I will almost always go the extra step in making my food go from just okay to amazing. My husband enjoys good food too, but not enough to go out of his way to make something amazing. Like tomatoes, for instance. He really, really enjoys them on his sandwich. But not enough to do the work of getting them out of the fridge and slicing them to put on his sandwich. If they are sitting there sliced he will always get them. Or if I am making a sandwich and ask him if he wants tomatoes, he will always say yes. But if there are no tomatoes on his sandwich, he is okay. He can still enjoy it.

As I lay in bed I felt like a huge lightbulb had gone off. I finally understood exactly how he approaches our marriage bed. I began to laugh. “Babe”, I said, “Sex for me like the bread. Without the bread, it’s not a sandwich.”
I am pretty sure his mouth fell open then.

Because here is the deal. I think he thought that sex was like tomatoes to me, too. I like them enough to always want them on my sandwich, and I will always do the work to get them and slice them. I don’t understand how he can eat a sandwich without them if they are available. But the truth is that sex to me is NOT like a tomato. Because a sandwich without a tomato is still a sandwich. But marriage without sex? Not marriage. 

It was such a helpful conversation. I realized that he does enjoy sex when it is offered and available, but feels like our marriage can still be acceptable without it (not completely without it, but just not as often as me). He realized that sex for me is crucial to our marriage – as in, if we aren’t having it often, I struggle to feel married.

Being a “spicy wife” in a culture that screams out I am abnormal is so challenging. And it’s challenging for my husband too. But, thank God, we are learning after almost seven years of marriage how to finally start communicating about it. So what about you? How do you see sex?

Praying today that God gives you and yours the perfect way to communicate so you can see through each other’s eyes.

Annabel

21 thoughts on “Bread or tomatoes?

  1. Marriage without sex….not marriage. Wow- I had to pause at that statement! As a high drive wife it definitely feels that way–it often feels like we are only roommates. I am a ‘bread’ woman.
    Praying for you. Your words and thoughts are appreciated.

  2. I am thankful for your blog. I am happy for you that you and your husband seem to be communicating better and this situation is drawing you closer to God. I ask for your prayers for my husband and me as I am definitely the higher-drive spouse and now we are also dealing with his ED. I am having a very difficult time right now, struggling with depression, feeling like a failure, does he really love me? Do I not excite him any more? Am I not enough? Will he cheat? Will God ever heal my hurts, my heart? How do we even communicate when emotions are so raw? We aren’t. We are both silent and hurting. I pray God will give me the strength (again) to be the one to open up and start “the talk”. I am just so tired of this rollercoaster, I want off, but I will not give up on my marriage. I know it’s the devil shoving the wedge between us and wanting us to fail and destroy our witness for Christ. God wins in the end. I will have hope again, Christ does not fail me.

    • Verysad,

      My husband has never struggled with ED, but we have definitely spent many seasons where our sex was practically zero and I am so, so sorry for the pain and questions it is causing you. I want to reach out and give you a big hug and invite you to coffee so we can cry together and pray for each other. I have, indeed, seen God working in what I consider miraculous ways in my marriage very recently. And I am praying especially for you today, that God would show up in yours. I pray for a bold and brave heart for you to communicate. I pray for wisdom and grace-filled words. I pray he would finally be able to HEAR YOU. To hear your heart towards him and your marriage bed.
      I couldn’t agree with what you said more – GOD WINS.

      Praying for hope to be the anchor of your soul,
      Annabel

  3. Hi! I found your blog through Hot, Holy and Humorous and love what I have read so far.
    My dilemma may be a little different than having a higher sex drive than my husband, but maybe not??

    My long messy life story very, very short…I was in an abusive marriage for twenty years and have been divorced for two years now. I got remarried last year at Thanksgiving (wow, almost one year now!) to an a very caring Christian man and now live in a healthy marriage which I only dreamed about. Our sex life is amazing also, which I honestly never had in my first marriage. I’ve always had a high libido and I could make love every single day to my husband.
    My husband says he feels that way too, but the situation we have is his odd work hours during the week. He is a logging truck driver and is up at 3:30am and in bed by 8pm. He is home on the weekends, but he also deals with ED because of blood pressure medication AND we also have my two teen sons from my first marriage living with us. I should also note, for the first 8 months of our marriage he worked a different job so got up later and went to bed later during the week, and our we made love on average 4 times weekly, if not more. Now I’m lucky if we make love 2 times weekly and usually on the weekends only. And it’s killing me.
    By the end of the week I’m starting to feel disconnected and just plain sad of the lack of intimacy or mainly sex. We are very affectionate and last night was a good example. He got home early and we enjoyed hanging out the whole evening until he went to bed. We always cuddle on the couch and touch, even if it’s just holding hands or his hand on my leg. We also got a little extra flirty and I thought maybe I could sneak away a little to go to bed with him, but when I made the comment “too bad it’s getting so late”, he just smiled and said yeah. Then he said he needed to go to bed and kissed me good night and asked if I was coming in soon. I told him I would come in right now unless he was going to sleep immediately to which he replied, “well not immediately, but probably in about 5 minutes.” 😦 I just felt crushed, but did not say anymore.

    I guess I hate saying too much to him because I know he works long hours and I’m so very grateful for how he provides for us and it allows me to stay home. I have tried to gently tell him that I miss making love more like we used to and he agrees, and I even told him a week ago that maybe we need to try at least once during the week for me to go to bed earlier with him so we can make love. He agreed, but then like last night when I let him know I was wanting to, he just seemed oblivious to it.
    It makes me feel rejected and as I said, I start seeing a change in myself by the end of the week emotionally. I find myself kind of pulling away from him and not being as talkative.
    And I honestly wonder if he is happy with not making love so much.
    I know I need to talk to him more about it, because I do not want it to build up and me become resentful, just not sure how to it in a way that makes it seem like I’m complaining.

    • Aimee,

      Thanks so much for your response! I wanted you to know, first, that I lifted you and your husband up in prayer today. I am so sorry for the pain you have experienced in your first marriage & I rejoice with you that you have found a man who you are safe with! I will pray you have the strength to continue communicating with your husband. I think that you & your husband’s sex drive might be more similar without stresses, it seems like his job takes a lot of his energy. Not sure if you had the chance to read “Go low”, yet, but I think you are in place where you are the initiator of sex. With my own marriage, I have noticed that dropping hints never works. I need to tell him in very clear words, “I need to have sex with you tonight. Do you think we could plan on going to bed 20 minutes early?”

      Praying that you guys find a new normal that allows you to both be satisfied and happy. Your comments have given me some great thoughts about future posts, too, so thanks so much!

      Annabel

      • Thank you for the response. I will read Go Low and hope to read more of your blog in the next few days. And yes, I am having to be the initiator of sex and to be honest I think that is part of my problem. I want to be pursued and have him take me by the hand and lead me to the bedroom! LOL And of course, with being the initiator there is that fear of rejection, which I do get, even though it’s never in a harsh way.
        My husband loves me dearly and I know that with all my heart, so that’s why when I start feeling sad and hurt I try to focus back on what is true…that he loves me and his work hours make him extremely tired and it’s not me.

        I agree that dropping hints do not typically work…actually I discovered over a week ago that one night when my husband was getting ready to go to bed he was hoping to make love, but instead of telling me out right he simply asked if I was coming to bed soon and I said in a while. I’ve told him before that I cannot go to sleep at 8pm, it’s too early for me, so when he asked me that night I had no way of knowing he was actually asking to make love! I told him the next day that I would have come to bed early with him that night, but he needs to come out and tell me what he is wanting, not beat around the bush. 😉

        I may steal your line about needing to have sex tonight and see what happens. 🙂

        Thank you.

    • Aimee,

      So happy for you that you are in a happy healthier marriage now.

      I can relate to your husband’s long hours. My husband leaves for work at 12.10 am and is not back home until 4.30 pm 5 days/week. Sat/Sun he often works the same but is home by 10 am.. He works so hard! I don;t know how he does it and I am hoping and praying it changes soon. When he is home, he NEEDS his downtime watching movies. What we do…when he goes to bed at 6 pm, if at all possible, I go with him. He’s told me that he wants me to go to bed with him. So I do, if at all possible. Sometimes there is a quickie just for him, sometimes not. And then almost every night, I go to bed ~10.30 pm and wake him up for sex again. Last night he was too tired, and that is hard, but he is still loving. He lets me know ahead of time if he does not want me to wake him up. But if we have sex, he sleeps better afterwards and I am getting my emotional needs met. (we are working on my physical needs re: orgasm)

      …Lisa

      • Hi Lisa,
        It’s hard for me to go to bed when he does during the week, because my two teen boys live with us and it’s kind of awkward to say at 7pm, I’m going to be now guys, see you tomorrow. LOL I did one time go in early with my husband and told my boys I was going to take a shower and would be right back out…I did take a shower, but got a little loving in too. 😉

        One night my hubby woke up when I came to bed around 10:30pm to make love to me…he knew it had been a long time and I was in need of some loving. It was great, but isn’t the norm when he is getting up so early. And it takes me what feels like forever to orgasm so then I was feeling guilty for taking too long that night. Yes, I can go without, but to be honest, I do not feel as fulfilled if I don’t and knowing it will be a long time in between I guess makes me want to even more, kwim?
        I know I need to pray for peace about not needing to orgasm every time, but honestly, it makes me feel empty after our lovemaking if I don’t. He sleeps soundly and I just lay trying to get to sleep.
        Don’t get me wrong…my husband is wonderful to me and tries hard to make sure I do orgasm each and every time, but once in a while I just throw the towel in and tell him not to worry about it.

        So, usually there isn’t much happening during the week for us and luckily he does not work on the weekends. But then we usually only make love on Saturday mornings or that night and that is it. He has told me that it’s just too soon for him to make love only a day after we last did, so a norm is about every three to four days and since it usually doesn’t happen during the week that means pretty much once on the weekend. ;(

        I’m struggling with this and have tried to just stuff down my desire, but honestly what I really miss is just the closeness, the intimacy, the hugging and kissing. I’m working on it and yes, we have talked about my higher need for sexual intimacy, and he does his best at trying to meet my need but his hours don’t make it easy. And I feel guilty for asking more of him when he works so hard already.

        Thanks for the reply. 🙂

  4. I love that you were able to have that heart to heart talk without having to place blame on each other for what was lacking in your sex life. I agree with you that marriage without sex is no marriage. I write about sex issues on my blog as well, but I am not bold enough to focus on it all the time. Of course, I would fear saying the same thing all the time.

  5. I am so grateful that I have found this blog. I can so relate to the topic. Thank you very much. It comforts me to know that I am not alone in this.

  6. This brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I feel so strange being “the spicy wife”. I’m glad I’m not alone. My husband doesn’t get it…perhaps this metaphor will make sense to him.

  7. An excellent post!! The thing that stand out to me is how this analogy gets at the importance (and maybe even necessity) of sex in marriage. Whenever I read a post like this, I am reminded of all those discussions from my teenage/single years that went something like, “sex should never be barometer of love.” or “anyone who says ‘if you love me you will have sex with me’ is a jerk and should be dumped immediately” or all of the other ways that we try to separate sex and love for our teens/singles. I believe that these kind of “true love doesn’t need or have anything to do with sex” messages are part of what led to my own sexless marriage. When sex began to dry up, I was afraid that it would be wrong or insensitive of me to actively pursue my wife sexually, because I had come into marriage with the idea that sex was not necessary if you really loved someone. It has taken me several years of sexlessness to realize the kind of thing you are saying here. Sex is an important part of marriage, sex is part of how we express love (and each person may assign a different level of importance, and how we navigate those differences could be a key factor in whether a marriage is good or not, happy or not, or even whether the couple separates/divorces.
    This could be a good concept to share with singles and engaged couples so they can understand that, even though we want them to abstain from sexuality until they are married, sex is an important part of staying in love after marriage.

  8. Great analogy!! I think my husband would describe it the same. When we go for several days I become grouchier. I don’t ‘feel’ as married or in love, it seems to mess with my head. It may be selfish, but I’ve begun accept that it is part of my biology. I try hard not to abuse anyone and pray for God to help me when I start feeling that way. My husband is a wonderful man and after 12 yrs we communicate well and he works hard to meet my needs AND desires. I’m just so grateful that I learned to accept myself and my husband for how God made each of us. I wouldn’t trade quantity for the high quality I receive. Although somedays I might tell you different. ;). Tomatoes AND bread both taste so good in love!

    • Yes and yes to all that you said. I am so glad to hear stories of marriages where the couples are working it out!! What hope it gives to everyone reading your words, so thank you for sharing.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I was floored when I read your post. My husband and I have been married for 10 years and reading your story was like looking into a mirror. I have struggled with guilt, feeling honestly ashamed that my drive is higher than his. Even to the point of feeling dirty and that something HAD to be wrong with me for desiring my husband more than he does me. He has battled depression and this has been something we have strained to work through, as it SO greatly affects our intimacy. I have cried out to the Lord so many times in the moments of feeling rejected and alone…wondering if this too was something that the Lord really did care about. I felt guilty for even feeling like I needed to pray about it. Thank you for being so open about a topic that is honestly not shared about in churches right now. I have always been too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. I honestly thought this was something that no one else faced in their marriage bed. My hubby read this post last night and it opened a FLOOD door for us to communicate and talk. I guess I felt the freedom after reading your post…that my feelings in this area aren’t dirty or wrong!!! In fact, for the first time I am realizing I can embrace it!!! I am so thankful that I have a husband who has a heart to hear. As he tackles his depression he is willing to also tackle and face my needs too. I really feel so blessed. This has transformed our marriage bed. Thank you again. Reading your story was an answer to 10 years of a young wife’s prayers. Please keep sharing your journey. It is reaching so many

    • Thank you for your encouragement & I am so happy to read that you & your husband are communicating! I know the toll depression can have on a relationship, so I am rejoicing with you both that you are seeking help & working towards oneness.

      Grace to you.

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