Choosing to bend

There it is again. The argument. It used to be the same one, but these days it can be almost anything.
We both grow grumpy. And grumpy turns into silent. Silent looks like backs turned in bed – sleep a long ways off.

My feelings are hurt. We don’t see life the same way. And hurt feelings make me stiff. I began to recount the many grievances I hold. I remember that thing he did a few days ago. I had forgotten it, but now I remember. I count up how many days its been since we’ve had sex. I start to say those dangerous “always” and “never” words. My heart grows colder. My soul whispers “No, not me. I will not be the one to give.”
Growing soft is so difficult to do. My pride, my hurt, my self-righteous anger get in the way. The distance between us in that bed, a distance my hand could so easily reach across, grows miles wide.

How to bend in such a moment? How to be the one to curl my body, soft, around his and whisper the words of reconciliation?
We are in that season, the one where leaves are falling off and we see so starkly that beneath the green we really are very different. What brought us together, anyway? How could we not know how much there was to divide? It seems that every day brings a new topic we do not see eye-to-eye on. As spring blooms around us, as days grow warm and long, our hearts grow stiff and cold.
I look at the children we have made together – their sweet smiles and curl-locked hair exploring the world with wonder and delight. Will this be the last hold that draws us together? In years to come, as they chase their dreams, will I find myself living with a stranger?

The rigors of life – the bills, the long work hours, the never-ending laundry and dishes that pile high. This is the stuff our life is made of now. Our children are young – they require so much work. Diligent work. Repetitive work. Who has the time to find a common ground? We have been married long enough to have changed. But are our changes bringing us closer? Or further apart?

So here we are.
Different opinions.
Different interests.
Different sex drives.

So much different. What is the same?

And my back is still stiff. And I rehearse all of these things in my head – all of these questions loom large, like a mountain, ominous and frightening.And yet…
The mountain is mostly of my own making. I see the bare branches and forget that it is just a season. I have forgotten that we both crave sunshine, need air, bud green.

You’ve seen it, haven’t you? The flower that has been beaten down by the rain? And yet, when the sun comes out, it finds its life and strength again. And that flower lifts up it’s face and grows tall again. I want to be like that.
I want the ability to bend and sway – I want the softness that is true strength.

Help me.
I whisper into the darkness.

And I choose to bend. I choose to curl my body around his. To take his hand. To say “I am sorry”, or “I was being petty”, or “I am with you”.
What do you choose to do today?

A

 

23 thoughts on “Choosing to bend

  1. Thank you. This is where I am today. This season of bleakness and dryness and nothingness in my marriage. Being so perfectly loved by my God and so thoughtlessly ignored by my husband. Feeling like I am starved to death for affection, appreciation, some form of pursuit or consideration that tells me my husband cares if I am happy or not. But he doesn’t, and he hasn’t and possibly he never will. Yet, if I want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, I have to keep loving, keep giving, keep breaking down the walls that are so easily built up. I have to keep turning my cheek for another wound (not physically, but emotionally) and then asking the strength to forgive each time I am hurt. Truthfully, this week my Lord had to pull me kicking and screaming into that place of softness again. The bitterness threatens to drive a wedge right into my own soul if He would not break open the hard ground of my spirit Himself. Besides, how can I say no to my King? He is truly the One who loves me perfectly. I have to assume that my husband would love me like Jesus if he were capable of it. And I know in my heart that I do not love my husband at all like I love Jesus.

    I think of Jesus looking over Jerusalem, heartbroken with the longing to gather His people to Himself … but they would not come. And I know He understands exactly how I feel. Heartbroken. But He loved them anyway. In His power and strength I will do the same in my marriage.

    • Rereading this I feel I am putting my husband in such an awful light. I do love him as much as I am able, and I believe he loves me as much as he is able. We are both broken and both grew up without a real picture of what love even is … especially the kind of love Jesus gives. It just hurts so much sometimes to lack physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy. I didn’t mean to “bash” him. Just hurting here and not really seeing the end of this season any time soon. Hoping and praying for God’s intervention.

      • You’re very honest, and it’s clear you love your Lord and your husband. From one who knows, yes, trust that God is using your moment-by-moment submission and forgiveness to be a great testimony to your husband and children, and that God will bring you through this rough season with even more empathy and grace. Others are watching you, so let me encourage you to keep your eyes focused UP and our Savior will carry you through. Blessings today!

      • Chrisi, your post just breaks my heart. I am going to pray that God would intervene in your relationship with your husband and that He (the One who created and gifted us with sexual intimacy) will heal your marriage. And I don’t think you are husband-bashing! If we didn’t love and desire our husbands we wouldn’t feel rejected and hurt when our needs aren’t met. Stay strong in the Lord. I will stand with you, praying and believing God will do a mighty work in your life and hold you in His arms as you go through this difficult time.

        • Jill, thank you so much for your reply and most of all for your prayers. I am having a hard time staying focused on Jesus in this area of my life. It is not only sexual intimacy, but intimacy of any kind that I am so grieved for in my marriage. But I know my God is helping me to stand and so I need to cling to Him. It helps tremendously to have Sisters standing with me before His throne of mercy. Thank you again so much.

          • Chrisi,
            I am grieving along with you. The Lord is bringing you to mind constantly and I am praying and believing God for a complete turnaround in your marriage. I can tell you have a sweet spirit…I am so sad you are hurting. It is a privilege to pray for you and all the other sisters in Christ that I encounter through this wonderful blog.

  2. I could have written this post–just not as beautifully. Oh how easy it is to give into Satan’s pride-filled lies–so subtlety coated with my FEELINGS of hurt, rejection, aloneness…the “if onlys.” I compare. Why does “so-and-so”, who’s not as attractive as I am, talk about her husband who is “constantly hounding her” for sex?

    It’s in the bending that we find grace. When I choose to bend, God works. My Savior bent–oh how He bent–for me.

  3. Oh my goodness, Annabel!

    I had such a Rough time last night. I am positively buzzing and dh is snoring. I LOVE Love love taking him to new heights. I have been reading good clean not visual Christian marriage blogs and books, etc to learn how to do that and he is very appreciative and tells me so. And I ask him All.The. Time. for feedback and what he wants, etc.

    Granted, I have much more time than he does to do a lot of that.

    I feel that he doesn’t care so much about an orgasm for me. He is lazy in bed. If he can’t reach or touch from where he is, nothing different happens. And I am the disabled one, doing face plants into the bed as I move around to please him. And I am one of those spicy wives for whom an orgasm is important. Oh God, do I ever sound self-righteous!!

    It’s hard when he falls asleep right away. I know that’s a guy thing. I speak of ‘when” I have an orgasm to him but I can’t do it on my own. Well, I don’t want to, put it that way.

    I feel selfish. But I also feel hurt. Tears are close.

    Not sure what to do or pray. Or what say to him, if anything.

    I love taking him to new heights, I really do. I just wish he would make more effort towards doing the same for me.

    Our bed has now been a marriage bed for about 2 months after a mostly sexless 20 years. I am trying to be patient. I am giving and giving, and I don;t want to overwhelm him with my needs, but it is so hard.

    Thank you for this post Annabel. I will not stop giving. I will not get grumpy and silent and stiff backed. I need to continue to show him, so he trusts that I am a changed wife and I will love him all I can.

    But oh my, what if he never changes? God pls strengthen me.

    • My marriage has been a very sexless one for nearly 20 years as well. I could have written much of your post, Anonymous. I could count on one hand the number of times we’ve been intimate during some of our years. I began to believe that perhaps I have it all wrong. Christian marriage is about becoming more like Christ–oh, well, sex isn’t about being like Christ, so I should smother these desires. Our society is so very overfocused on sex–that must be what’s wrong with me. I’m trying to be like our corrupt society. Keep busy with all the responsibilities of life and I won’t think about “that.” But then there are the times my desire rises above my responsibilities. Oh no. I can’t approach my husband about it. He’s not approaching me about it. I am to submit and he’s not asking for submission there, no ma’am. Wow–this isn’t the way I anticipated having to submit based on all the advice I’d received and the bothered complaints from my girlfriends about their husbands.

      Then, oh the nights I have cried, wanting so much for my husband to desire me, because deep down, I know we’re supposed to enjoy a physical connection. I realize he has, again, fallen asleep and I haven’t dared express my desire for him for fear of being rejected.

      In recent talks I’ve decided to have with him, I think I’m beginning to see that he is as much, if not more, afraid of being rejected by me. So there we are–in a stand off. Walls of pride keeping us from each other. Then I remember that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Deep breath. Obey. Trust God. But my heart aches the same sentiment of your last line.

      • Oh, fettered2him, I feel and pray for you. I was the one rejecting him for so long! God changed my heart and I have been doing all the initiating for these past 2 months since our bed became a marriage bed again. I do not fear rejection if I initiate. I fear that if I don’t initiate, he won’t and that would be rejection. I want to be pursued. I need to be grateful for how far we have come and now keep praying and trusting God.

  4. These are my thought and feelings…frequently. I feel like giving up. I’ve emailed him numerous articles and sermons about the importance of sex in a Christian marriage. We have even spoken about it in counseling with our pastors. How do I NOT feel like it’s “me” or take it personal? I’ve always been the one to bend and go back to him…but now I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m tired of the rejection an my feelings being hurt, yet I know what I must do as a wife. Your blog has been an encouragement to me….though sometimes I pray that God will just take away my sex drive!

  5. Annabel! This is so beautiy written. It completely exposes so many of our hearts.

    I know you always mention how you can be proud, petty, grumpy, or etc…but I think you are the MOST bravest, strong, courageous, marriage-fighting women I know. Don’t stop being more like Christ, because this troublesome experience in your life is what’s shaping you into him. Our hearts and prayers are with you. You’re not alone!!

  6. A friend of mine whom I deeply respect suggested tonight that I completely stop initiating and wait for him to pursue me. She is a spicy wife and she said that is slowly changing in her marriage and her ld husband is starting to pursue her although she suffers waiting.. Will my dh then maybe be more aware of my needs once he is (prayerfully) pursuing me? Who knows? She said men are made to pursue and women to be pursued, which I think I believe to be true.

    Then I read online about wives initiating, times together for just her/just him to discover and explore, etc. I feel torn. What about how men seem to love (from all the blogs and books I have read) when their wives initiate and are enthusiastic? (Right now I almost always initiate and I am very enthusiastic)

    Again, what if he doesn’t start to pursue me? I am so torn. Does the Bible speak about wives initiating? In Song of Songs maybe?

    I am so confused as what best to do for our marriage.

    • Ask God whether or not you need to back off. My hubby wants me to initiate and take charge, but if I do too much, he shuts down. Go figure that one out. So now I ask God. Do I need to pursue him or do I need to back off and let him pursue me? It changes week to week.

  7. Thank you for your transparency. Any time couples face challenges, those seasons can feel never ending. A season of winter doesn’t last forever. It morphs into renewal and fresh starts.

  8. I was recently very upset with hubby and I had to pray hard for God to tell me what to do and give me the strength to do what He expected of me…to bend. I give so much and often feel I get so little in return that it gets very easy to put up a wall and very hard to bend…again and again and again. But the thing that gets me to bend is remembering that Jesus bends ALL THE TIME. It is impossible for me to love Jesus as much as He loves me. Even so, I don’t give him all of me. I don’t remember to pray or read the Bible or worship Him and that’s like a husband not giving of himself to his wife (or vice versa). And yet, He bends. He loves. He gives despite not getting His due benevolence in return. And as a Christian, I am supposed to be Christ like, right? So I bend. And it hurts. And I cry silently to myself and to the Lord. But in the end, when I pour myself out, someone gets filled. Someone gets blessed and the Lord always refills me somehow. That’s so much better than the alternative of utter emptiness.

  9. Please pray for me. I am feeling hopeless in my marriage. I feel unloved, not desired at all, rejected, ignored, taken for granted. I am angry, honestly I am very, very angry, again. I am not even sure how to pray for my husband anymore. The sadness is deep, my heart is broken.

  10. You have no idea how excited I was to find your blog, for the first time in 12 years I did not feel like I was harboring a sinful heart in this area. The attraction that I feel for my husband in our marrige bed can range from the slow steady burning ‘I appreciate & respect you’ encounter to the full on hot almost animalistic ‘were gonna need a license if we want to do that again in this county’ encounter. My husband’s drive has always been less than my own with him being content once a month, myself more like once a week. But we always agreed to disagree and steal the chances that we had. then about 3 years ago our lives entered what I refer to as ‘the Job experiment’. my husband was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis that was already advanced enough that he could not work at his current job, 3 months later through a strange set of circumstances, I was unexpectedly put in hospital for 5 weeks. an infection in my right arm that we were unaware of had me fighting for my life for a week in the ICU, after multiple surgeries and finger amputations, they finally let us go home 5 weeks later. I am erxactly a year and a half out on my own recovery and I am afraid it will take my family much longer to heal. about a year ago due to all the medications I was on, I was turned from mother to monster for my six children and husband. I am very ashamed to admit that I closely resembled the scripture that speaks of the evil one roaming around searching whom he may devour. I am very grateful that few people who love me decided to do are n intervention and confront me about my terrible behavior. when we looked up the side effects of all the medicine I was tak ing (13 total) it was very easy for all of us to see why I had becomes terrible person. now I am about 8 months off all meds and trying desperately to heal the pain that I have caused my dear loved ones.
    I am afraid that my husbad and I no loger have a physical relationship, he cannot even tolerate any amount of affection from me, even if I go to put my arm around him in our bed at night, he will push it away and roll over with his back toward me. he refuses to join me when I ask if we could possibly seek professional help, health insurance pays 100 percent, however he is not comfortable talking to a stranger. even amongst all of the pain the Lord has blessed us, my husband did finally agree for us too seek the counsel of our pastor and has assumed the leading role in our family as far as making sure we are at church every Sunday morning. he himself had not gone to church in years when the children and I continued to attend, now he is there every week, we just returned from our first family bible camp experience and plan to attend next year as well. although my husband and I have made some great spiritual progress, definitely an answered prayer, any intimacy between us remains dormant. I still greatly desire the love of my husband and desperately miss the closeness that our physical bond brought us, but through your blog I have learned to leave him alone and give it to God. If my hunch is correct, the Job experiment, we are in for some wonderful days ahead! what I need now is prayer along with any advice you can give on how to keep my extrovert from bullying his introvert while I wait on the Lord!
    many thanks for your honesty about such a sensitive subject, I look forward to using your blog to apply God’s Word towards the healing of our family!
    In Christs Love, sending prayers your way

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