I am hoping to shed a little light on a very difficult subject in many Christian marriages – spiritual intimacy.
Let me see if I can explain why your wife may seem to be so demanding about wanting you to pray with her and so upset if you don’t pray with her. Her approach may seem disrespectful to you, and her methods may turn you off – so what is going on with her?
Most women think of spiritual intimacy as being the most powerful and deepest form of intimacy in marriage – deeper than sex. In fact, we are wired so that spiritual and emotional intimacy (but especially spiritual intimacy) often prepares us for physical intimacy. For our husband to pray with us – for most of us – is the height of sexy in our minds! This is what we expected marriage to be all about – intimacy and connection on THREE levels: spiritual, emotional and sexual.
When we don’t have spiritual and emotional intimacy – having physical intimacy can make us feel “cheap” or “dirty” or “objectified.” We are not made to have sexual intimacy apart from emotional and spiritual intimacy. We just don’t work well that way!
We SHOULD be giving you sexual intimacy even when we don’t feel like it, even when we don’t feel “connected” emotionally and spiritually to you – as per God’s command to us in scripture. Wives, let’s not purposely deprive our husbands in this area! That is a sin against God.
IF THERE IS SIN IN YOUR LIFE – IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO RESPECT YOU THE WAY YOU WANT and NEED TO BE RESPECTED
I know you aren’t perfect. I know that we aren’t either! Submission and respect are EXTREMELY counter-cultural and counter-intuitive to women. Anything you can do to get sin under the control of the Holy Spirit in your life is going to really boost our ability to respect and follow you as a spiritual leader. We SHOULD be giving you proper respect and submission unless you are asking us to sin or condone sin. Wives, let’s follow our husbands’ leadership and give them respect regardless of our feelings or our husbands’ behavior! Obviously, the less sin in each spouse – the healthier the marriage will be. We are each accountable to God for our own behavior and sin – regardless of our spouse’s behavior and sin.
Submission is SCARY when we are submitting to our perfect Jesus. Imagine how terrifying it is to think about submitting to a sinful man – especially if it seems like that man might be selfish and not looking out for my best interests. The closer you can be to Christ, the easier it is for me to submit to you and trust you as my husband. I am commanded by God to submit and respect as to the Lord – so unless my husband is asking me to sin – I must cooperate and respect him or I am sinning against God.
I know that many of you are paralyzed by pornography addictions, visual temptations, lust, drug/alcohol addictions, idolatry (greed, materialism, desiring power or fame), sports, tv watching, computers/technology, and any number of other issues that have you trapped by the enemy and unable to fight the battle in God’s kingdom.
I pray that God might break through every stronghold of Satan in your life, precious husband! Because we need your leadership in your home, and in the church and in your place of business.
No one is standing in your place in your family to stand in the gap and protect them from the onslaught of what Satan is doing to destroy your wife and family if you aren’t there in God’s power.
I pray for conviction and release from any sin that has you bound and for you to be made whole and cleansed by the blood of Christ so that you can be the godly leader He designed you to be! And I pray for the cooperation and respect of your wife for your G0d-given spiritual authority in the marriage.
The weight of spiritual authority and leadership is too heavy for us as wives. It crushes us – we can’t carry it. You were designed to carry that weight, and we can’t do your God-given job well at all.
I am counting on you, men of God! THIS generation MUST repent and live for Christ wholeheartedly or our families and nation will be lost. There is a HUGE war going on. And right now, we are losing the fight. WE DESPERATELY NEED YOU!!!!! I know you can do this by God’s Spirit! And I can’t wait to see all that God desires to do through you and to be there to see Jesus tell you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
OUR METHODS MAY BE AWFUL
We may be very controlling, angry, hateful, disrespectful and critical about your spiritual leadership and about wanting you to pray with us. We may be refusing you sex because you aren’t connecting with us spiritually and emotionally. And let me apologize for those of us who are doing this to you! That is wrong of us – we should not be approaching you in such a disrespectful way. We do need to repent of our own sin. And we should not be judging the way you pray. Some of us have MUCH room for improvement.
We deeply desire spiritual intimacy with you. We have a HUGE drive to “connect” with you and we are spiritually empty, frustrated and depressed when it looks to us like prayer or spiritual things aren’t a priority for you in our marriage – even if our own behavior is the reason you don’t want to pray with us. We probably don’t understand what we have done that is so offensive. Many women are extremely blind to their pride, disrespect and controlling nature.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WON’T PRAY WITH US
We get REALLY depressed. We get anxious. We are fearful. We want your spiritual closeness, prayer, Bible reading, talking about deep spiritual things and we feel restless and discontent because we know that what we want is a good thing and we can’t understand why on earth our husband wouldn’t want to connect with us like this? The only thing that makes sense to us is, “Well, he must not love me. If he loved me, he would pray with me.” or “He must not love God. If he loved God, he would pray with me.” And then we make assumptions about your motives that are probably not true – but that is what appears to be true from our perspective.
We DEEPLY long for your spiritual leadership. I totally realize that we mess up many times and try to force you to lead in a certain way. I know we sabotage ourselves unknowingly and can be so blind to our own pride. That is wrong of us and we are sinning against God when we do this! Our culture has taught us that disrespect is normal. Most of us have NO IDEA what respecting our husband means or how to give up control in our marriages. Many of us have a LOT of work to do on our being good followers and learning to cooperate with your leadership. Many of us have a LOT of work to do on repenting of our own pride and trying to take over and many of us have been disobeying God’s Word for us as wives.
One of the reasons we have in our minds to justify why we should take over, or try to take over, is that we think you aren’t leading if you don’t pray with us, read the Bible with us and talk with us about spiritual things. That is still not an excuse, wives! We are to follow our husbands, we are not to take over ourselves. Many of us have unrealistic expectations about what a godly spiritual leader even means. Sometimes our expectations are much more than what the Bible includes in its definition of a godly husband. We as women need to scrutinize our expectations and make sure we are not adding things to scripture. We SHOULD be patient and wait and not try to pressure you. We SHOULD let you lead in your own way. Many of us do not understand that or are too impatient.
When we are experiencing spiritual frustration – it is a very similar pain and ache as sexual frustration. Just like you long to connect with us sexually – often (possibly every day), we long to connect with you spiritually – often (preferably every day).
PRAYING WITH US OPENS EVERY PATHWAY OF INTIMACY
The path to a woman’s body and desire is often through her soul and her heart. When she knows that you care about her feelings, and she feels heard – and she knows that you care about her soul, and she feels protected and prayed for (whose husband’s motives are out of genuine love and devotion to God) and safe – she will be the most open to you physically.
I believe that God gave men and women different priorities for intimacy so that all of them would be covered and represented and none would go ignored or neglected.
Your wife’s desire to connect spiritually and emotionally with you is a GOOD thing. I would even say, it is a godly desire. I pray that you might be able to look past her clumsy attempts to connect and see her heart – her longing to be close to you, to know your heart, to know your soul.
If she has been disrespectful, hateful, controlling or untrustworthy – you may need to gently, softly, patiently and humbly address those things so that she can repent and you can trust her to open up to her spiritually. I understand why men shield their hearts and souls from women who hurt them. I really can’t blame them – but we need your spiritual strength! Please don’t leave us to fend for ourselves! Please don’t allow us to continue in our sin. Thank you for gently rebuking us and showing us that we are in sin and that we are hurting you and our spiritual connection with you when we disrespect you and try to control you.
We need you to be the strong spiritual hero in our marriage – the picture of Christ’s selfless love! We need your wisdom, your insights, your leadership, your godly direction, your vision, your prayers, your words and your involvement desperately. And we need to follow your God-given leadership. I have many posts for wives about how to respect their husbands and cooperate with their leadership on www.peacefulwife.com
Thank you for your committment to Christ, your committment to the covenant of marriage and for your committment to us.
I pray You might intervene and build the spiritual, emotional and sexual intimacy, oneness and unity in every marriage of every person who reads this blog. I pray for Your healing, for Your wisdom for both husband and wife, for Your Spirit to empower us all, and for Jesus Christ to be glorified and the gospel to be held in high honor because of the godliness of our marriages.
In the Name and power of Christ,