Satisfying Our Husband’s Need for Intimacy
About the Guest
If you’re not meeting your husband’s need for sexual intimacy, then both of you are missing out. Author Rhonda Stoppe says wives need to affirm their husbands with words and actions, in and out of the bedroom.
Satisfying Our Husband’s Need for Intimacy
Bob: Is your husband starved for physical intimacy? Rhonda Stoppe says, “Why is that?”
Rhonda: Why do we make our husbands apologize for wanting to have sex with us? God created them with this need. They want their wives to want them in the marriage bed. They want to be pursued / they want to be honored and respected. As a woman understands that, she gives herself this incredible gift. In fact, my husband Steve—he said, “In my experience, as a pastor and a biblical counselor, men whose wives pursue them, sexually, are deeply in love with their wives.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, September 15th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey; and I'm Bob Lepine. What are some of the important and vital ways that a wife can affirm, and respect, and love her husband? We’ll talk more about that with Rhonda Stoppe today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I know that if we were to go to our listeners and we were to ask them the question: “If you could change one thing about your spouse?” it wouldn’t matter whether the listener is in a marriage where they are struggling or in a marriage where they are doing great. I’m pretty sure every wife listening would say: “You know, I love my husband—he’s great / he’s a wonderful man—but there is this one thing.” I don’t know what the one thing is; but I’m guessing every wife has a little list she carries around in her head that says: “For him to be perfect, he’d just need to do these few things.”
Dennis: You think Mary Ann’s got—
Bob: Let’s not ask her; okay? Because I don’t want—
Dennis: I was thinking about calling her right now.
Bob: No; you don’t want to do that. Trust me. [Laughter] You know that.
Dennis: Well, we have a guest with us who is going to talk about this subject of expectations. Rhonda Stoppe joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back.
Rhonda: Thank you.
Dennis: Thanks for journeying all the way from Northern California, where your husband pastors a church and you all live on a ranch that now has power. [Laughter]
Rhonda: Yes; and they brought power in with helicopters—I mean, power poles and wires. That was: “Kill the fatted calf today, kids. We have power.” [Laughter]
Dennis: I think—I think: “How long did that time last when you didn’t have power?”
Rhonda: It was two years.
Dennis: Two years.
Rhonda: Yes; I bought a butane curling iron back in the ‘80s that saved my marriage—I’m sure. [Laughter]
Dennis: I’m sure it did. [Laughter] I think that two-year stint probably qualified you for writing the book, If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy.
Bob: Yes; I have to think that not many of our listeners have gone two years without electrical power in their marriage, but you know what? There are probably a lot of listeners who have gone for an extended period of time with something going on in their marriage that has created a strain or some stress.
In fact, one of the reasons we encourage couples to get away for a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway is just to inject a little romance and a little fun back into their marriage relationship; because marriage can be hard.
There can be things that grind us down, and to have a getaway weekend can bring some fresh energy back into a marriage relationship.
Let me just quickly mention, Dennis, that this is the last opportunity our listeners have to sign up for an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway this fall and save
50 percent on the regular registration fee. If they get in touch with us today, or over the weekend—you register for yourself / your spouse comes free. You save 50 percent off the regular registration fee and you get a great weekend in the process. So, take advantage of this offer. Use the promo code: “SAVE50” when you sign up. That’s SAVE5-0. You can sign up, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call to register at 1-800-FL-TODAY. If you have any questions, go online to FamilyLifeToday.com / see if you can find the answers there. Or just call us: 1-800-FL-TODAY.
We’ll answer any questions we can and get you registered for an upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. Maybe we can help husbands and wives deal with some of these expectations that all of us bring into the marriage relationship.
Dennis: Let’s talk about the myths that women have—back to Bob’s point about expectations. Are there some myths that women have you think that need to be exposed? Just, flat-out, say: “You know what? Here are the myths…” Just tick them off one after another and comment quickly.
Bob: And don’t you think every wife does have a little list she carries around with her of things that: "I love my husband to death; but if he’d do this, and this, and this.” It’s always there; isn’t it?
Rhonda: There’s always something: “I would be happy if my husband would change,” “I’ll respect him when he earns my respect,” “I’m falling out of love with him,” “Our kids would obey if he were a better father,” “I’d be happier married to someone else.”
Dennis: You’re going too fast. [Laughter]
Rhonda: “He would love me more if I were prettier,” “All he wants is sex,” “More money equals less stress,” “Every couple fights,”—there are eight steps to making peace in the book.
“Our marriage would be better if bad things would stop happening,” “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and “Happily ever after is a fairy tale,”
Dennis: Which of these do you think is the largest, maybe top two or three, that you see most women struggling with today?
Rhonda: First of all, we were talking about mentors and finding older women in your life. I tell a lot of stories. There’s a story in If My Husband… about a woman name Vi. I attached myself to her at a pastor’s wife conference, because she loved being a pastor’s wife. I wanted to be mentored by women that love that. Vi tells the story of how [she] and Curt met when they were in college. They were married for 45 years. When he was diagnosed with cancer, at age 68—on the last day of his life, he was laying on the couch next to Vi. He opened his eyes and said, “Vi, am I dying?” Vi said, “Yes, Curt; you’re dying.” Then she mustered up as much joy as she could and she said: “But Curt, you’re going to see Jesus today. What’s the first thing you’re going to say to Jesus when you see Him today?!”
Vi said Curt closed his eyes and then he got a big smile on his face. He looked at her—he said, “I’m going to thank Him for giving me you.” I think that’s the wives that we want to be. Vi said they didn’t have a perfect marriage. There were years they had to struggle and work through things; but in the end: “I want to thank God for giving me you,”—what a thing / what an honor for Curt to say that to Vi before he passed away. I think that’s the goal of our marriages.
When Steve and I got married in the ‘80s, I had this big, white hat—veil thing—that was ridiculous; but it was the ‘80s / don’t judge me. I knew the wife I was going to be—I knew the cheerleader / the confidant. Then as life got in the way—and life gets busy and we just stop working on the relationship—I knew I needed help. We talked how I reached out to older women that poured into me as they mentored me.
One of the things that I think, as a biblical counselor—my husband and I deal with a lot of couples—is the issue of sex, especially in the Christian community.
There [are] just so many Christian couples that are not meeting together in the marriage bed—wives that are raising great kids—they’re homeschooling / they’re taking their kids to soccer. They’re doing all of the important things to raise these amazing children. They’ll say—I speak all over the country—women will say: “My husband understands this season of our life. It’s just something that we’re not coming together, and he understands.”
If women would step back to really understand what husbands [want] when they want to have sex with them. A lot of times, I’ll explain to wives: “Imagine if your husband came home, for two weeks, every day and said: ‘I’ve used all my words. Don’t talk to me,’ and sits down in front of the TV with the remote and just ignores you for two weeks. You would feel rejected, alone, isolated, lonely,” because that’s, for most women, the way God designed us to connect, emotionally, with this person that we’re in covenant with.
Wives think our husbands are like us. So, we think: “We’re having conversations.” But how about this—when your husband says: “Okay; talk. I’m listening. You want to have a conversation. Okay; talk,” you’re like: “No; no. I want you to talk to me / talk with me,” you know?
In the same way, God put in our husbands a longing to connect with us in the marriage bed. So, my question to wives is: “Why do we make our husbands apologize for wanting to have sex with us?” God created them with this need. Men struggle with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. They want their wives to want them in the marriage bed. They’re not wanting—just like if your husband says: “Okay; talk...”—it’s like: “Okay; it’s Tuesday. Let’s do that thing we do.” They [want] to be pursued / they [want] to be honored and respected.
As a woman understands that, she gives herself this incredible gift. In fact, my husband Steve wrote, from a husband’s perspective, at the end of each chapter—as a husband, as a biblical counselor, as a pastor. One of the quotes that he wrote in Chapter 7—“All He Wants Is Sex When You Long for Romance”—he said: “In my experience as a pastor and a biblical counselor, men whose wives pursue them, sexually, are deeply in love with their wives.” I don’t think that wives understand the gift they give themselves when they pursue their husbands in the marriage bed.
“I’ve been touched all day. The kids have been nursing on me and hanging on me,” “I’ve had my momma hat on all day. I can’t even change gears.” What speaks romance at one season of our life may not speak romance at a different season. But if we don’t tell our husbands—the Bible calls them to live with us according to knowledge—wives, we’re like: “Well if he don’t know, I’m not going to tell him.” He doesn’t know. I need to teach this man what romance looks like now.
When Steve and I were dating, he’d bring me flowers. He’d drive across town and bring me flowers on his lunch hour and have to get back to work. I would say, “Oh, how romantic.” When I was a stay-at-home mom, and we were on a tight budget, he’d bring me flowers from the florist; and I said one day, “Oh, how expensive!” I pulled the rug out from under him. Here was the one thing that I had told him, all those years, spoke romance to me; and now, in a fell swoop, I was saying, “You can’t afford to romance me anymore”; and that doesn’t cut it. If we don’t help our husbands understand: “This is what I need from you at this season of my life,” how are they going to know?
They come in and put the Gerbera daisies on the kitchen counter and sit down and watch TV—to stay out of your way til you get dinner made—and you’re going to whop him upside the head with the Gerbera daisies. They don’t understand why those don’t speak romance to you anymore. But if you’re not willing to say—not in the heat of it, yelling at him—but later say, “I need from you this…”—whatever that thing might be.
Dennis: Barbara has been speaking on the subject of wives respecting their husbands in areas of sexual pleasure in marriage over the past few years and has seen an increase in the number of women, who have come to her, who basically want to be done with sex—as in, they’ve given up: “That was for a time. The time is done. I’m done.” How would you speak to a woman, who is listening to us right now, who has come to that conclusion?—either, pragmatically, by ignoring the area and paying no attention to it; or as an act of her will, going: “You know what? I really am done with that.”
Rhonda: I’d say: “You’re sinning against your husband.” I’d say that: “If your husband decided he was done talking to you and said: ‘You know what? I’ve heard every word that woman has to say. I am done,’ how would that make you feel? You would feel not valued / you would feel not accepted. In the same way, when you say, ‘I’m done,’ to your husband, you’re saying: ‘I don’t value you; I don’t accept you; I don’t need that from you.’”
When I speak on this topic, I’ll get a lot of emails from women that will say: “That’s the thing my husband and I fight about the most—is that I just don’t want to. I don’t want to hurt anymore, but I really just don’t want to.” The Bible calls us to serve one another. That is the thing that—it’s a ministry that God has given to wives—a ministry to pursue their husbands in a way that is going to fill this need in them to make them feel—it’s their overall wellbeing of life that’s ministered to.
A lot of times, what happens in the marriage bed is the time spent is so quick. And wives—they’re a simmering kettle—they take a long time to get to a place where they’re actually going to enjoy the act in the marriage bed; but they’re in a hurry—they’re tired / they have to get up with the baby at four. So, it becomes a series of just quickies. It’s all about: “How can I just help the husband enjoy it?” It becomes a physical need they think they’re meeting for him.
I think, instead of realizing those are valuable for a season, but you have to take times to steal away / go away for the weekend, realizing / even respecting your husband to say: “You’re more important to me than even those little people that are sucking the life out of me.” [Laughter]
Dennis: What would you say to the woman who’s lost her interest?
Rhonda: It’s time to step back and to just really evaluate: “Is this something that I’m going to disobey God’s command to me, as a wife, to minister to my husband in this way?”; because it is a ministry. The marriage bed is a way that God wants us to minister to our husband. If we’re choosing to not do that, we’re refusing to do what God’s called us to do.
Dennis: I would say—I’ll just add to that—if there has been a loss / a total loss of interest, and you’ve given in to it, I think it’s worth saying, you know: “Time out.
“Let’s go have a conversation with a third party.” Maybe it is a mature couple in your church or wise counselors, who can coach you two, as a couple, and help you unpack how you ended up getting to that point. Or maybe it’s a counselor. Or maybe it’s a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, where you get away and you look at your whole relationship together, as a couple, and allow FamilyLife to speak into the relationship, practically, with the biblical blueprints for how you build a relationship and communicate. In the process of that, you may uncover some of the reasons why there is such a lack of interest.
Bob: Would you say a wife, who just says, “I don’t have the interest,”—should she just fake interest?
Rhonda: I don’t know that she should fake interest, but I think asking the Lord to give her the heart to minister to her husband’s need in this way.
If you understood how deeply, to the core of his being, you are ministering to your husband, it’s something different than just saying, “This is a physical urge that he has.” I think that is something you [have] to step back and ask God: “Give me mercy. Give me compassion for this vulnerability that God has given to this man. Make me love him enough to meet this need that he has.” The intimacy in the marriage bed is a sign of our covenant that we made with one another.
Bob: Well, and again, I’m imagining a wife who would say: “Okay; I have tried to be faithful in this area. Here’s my experience. We come together. I try to get romantically involved. Five minutes later, he’s rolled over. He’s asleep, and I’m aching with loneliness and feeling used. And you want me to sign up for that again, three days from now?”
Rhonda: It’s interesting the conversations that spouses won’t have with each other about that.
A wife won’t necessarily say that—she’ll want him to read it, but he’s sound asleep. Instead of helping each understand where they’re coming from—as much as you ache for her to fill this need for you in the marriage bed, she needs affirming words. She needs to have you hold her. She needs to have you encourage her in a way that says—not just “I love you,”—but “I’m in love with you.” I think an outside person is a very valuable resource. The Bible calls us not to forsake this area of marriage so that we don’t give place to the devil.
We have to talk about pornography, because that is a huge detriment to the marriage relationship. Whether the man is finding his satisfaction outside of the marriage bed at his computer screen—the wife knows about it / the wife is resentful—the wife doesn’t look like those airbrushed people in those pictures; she doesn’t even want him to look at her. Unfortunately, that’s a huge thing that’s in the marriage that has to be dealt with.
Bob: You know, the subject we’ve been talking about this week: If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy and the need for older women to be involved in pouring into the lives of younger women—I’ve been thinking about something that Elisabeth Elliott said. I think it was in the interview / the first interview we had with her—maybe I heard her say it outside of the studio—but she talked about an ink pen in a husband’s white shirt. She said: “A husband might put an ink pen in his shirt that leaks; and at the bottom of that pocket there is this blue stain.” Now, she said: “How much of that shirt is white and clean? Ninety-nine percent of it looks great, but where does your eye continually go? To the one percent that’s the stain—that’s the smear / the blot.” She said: “A lot of wives are like that in marriage. They’re married to somebody who is a good man, but their eye continues to go to the blot.
“They can’t escape it. Every time they look up, that’s all they can see.” She said: “You’ve got to pull back. You’ve got to remember that what’s true is that there is a lot of good. Think on those things, as Philippians 4 tells you to do, rather than just laser focus on the one flaw that has popped up on that shirt.”
Rhonda: The Bible says we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities of darkness. Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy the godly marriages. He wants to destroy our children. He wants to take from this generation that security and foundation of these marriages. Your kids will never be more secure than if they see mom and dad in love with each other. Your marriage is a light that shines brightly to a generation that longs to believe that there is hope. Christ is our hope.
I just have to say—we’ve talked all week about all of this. I know the wife I would be if older women had not spoken this truth in my life. I know the wife I would have been /
I know the mom I would have been had I not pressed into loving Christ with all my heart—if I had not asked God: “Search me; know my heart; try my wicked ways. I want to repent. I want to be above reproach in any way possible.” Am I the perfect wife? No; I’m a little bit crazy, but I know that the grace of God has given me adoration for my husband / adoration for my children. I know if God can do in my heart and in my life, as a wife, what He has done, He can do it in anyone’s life. There is hope.
It seems like we’re spiritualizing it all, because of all the Scripture that we’ve used—and there is a lot of practical details in If My Husband…—but it is a spiritual thing; because it’s God, and my husband, and me. As God knits our hearts together, as in
1 Corinthians 13, we believe the best about each other. That’s true love—is believing the best about the other, not staring at that one blue stain on that shirt. I certainly want my husband to do that for me.
Dennis: None of us want to spend the rest of our life with someone who is looking and transfixed on the blots, on the mistakes, on the errors that we continue to make.
Bob: Because they are there; right?
Dennis: They are there. I think the thing that we’ve talked about all this week—that needs to be highlighted here—is kind of like there’s an unseen audience, here, who needs to be exhorted and called into action—and that’s older women. You’ve said it multiple times this week, Rhonda—you’ve said, “If there hadn’t been an older woman in my life that I could lean into for advice / for counsel…”
To the older women, I just want you to hear what you’re supposed to do—this is Titus, Chapter 2—it says: “They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Now, that’s pretty straight forward.
Rhonda: It is.
Dennis: That’s a good assignment for some older women, who are listening to our broadcast right now: “Why not take upon yourself the mantle of beginning to mentor two, three, maybe more; but just a couple of younger women who are starting out their marriage and who need some good exhortations and reminders of the truths, back to the Scriptures.”
By the way, we’re not talking about a list of “How to’s.” We’re talking about: “How do you, spiritually, be grounded as a woman?”—and for that matter—“…as a husband in a marriage?”because—if you don’t have a relationship with Christ, and you’re not attempting to love Him with all your heart, and you’re not surrendering to Him—you’re going to find this thing called Christian marriage very difficult, if not impossible.
Bob: This could be as easy or simple as this—a woman listening today thinks about one, or two, or three younger women she knows.
She calls them and says: “I was listening to this program on the radio talking about expectations of husbands and you’d be happier if your husband would change. I thought, ‘I should probably get a copy of that book and read it for myself,’ and then I thought, “Why don’t I get a couple of copies and let’s just go through it together?” You’d be surprised at how many younger women you know—
Dennis: I think you’re right Bob.
Bob: —would love that opportunity.
Bob: If you’d give them the invitation, they would be at your doorstep.
Dennis: There are more of those young women waiting for an older woman to give them that opportunity. The reason is because the older women are not stepping into the battle.
Rhonda: They’re collecting seashells by the seashore. The women my age—I’m 55 years old—and they’re either onto their next marriage or they’re onto their next thing: “It’s me time now.” I meet women, wherever I go, that say, “There are no older women in my life.” I get asked, on a regular basis, if I would mentor them—which I mentor my daughters, daughters-in-law, and the women in my church—
—I try to direct them.
That’s why I wrote this book as a personal mentor. In the back of each chapter is a “Thinking It Through and Living It Out” section that you can answer. For women that are my age, it’s scary to put yourself out there to mentor younger women; but to have a resource like this and say, “Let’s read the chapter and then meet together, and we’ll go over the “Thinking It Through and Living It Out.”
Bob: It is not that hard—that’s the point.
Bob: Of course, we’ve got copies of your book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Listeners can go online to get a copy if they’d like. The website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Call if you want to order by phone: 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Now, I’ll tell you what’s a great idea—for an older women to go to a younger woman and say, “Why don’t the four of us—your husband, my husband, you and me—why don’t we all go to a Weekend to Remember getaway together?” Invite a younger couple to go along with you and, together, you can enjoy the weekend.
Maybe have some time where all four of you are getting together; but also, some time where you’re just together as a couple. It’s a great way for you to invest in the lives of younger couples and to invest in your own marriage at the same time.
This weekend is the last weekend that you can take advantage of the special offer we’ve been making for FamilyLife Today listeners. If you’d like to attend an upcoming getaway this fall, you register today, or tomorrow, or Sunday and you can save
50 percent off the regular registration fee. Use the promo code: “SAVE50”—SAVE5-0. Type that in on the registration form or mention the special offer you heard about on the radio when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to register over the phone. If you have any questions, look, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call and we will answer any questions you might have. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com; and our phone number is 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-FL-TODAY. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming Weekend to Remember marriage getaways this fall.
And with that, we’re wrapped up for this week. Thanks for being with us. I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend.
And I hope you can join us back on Monday. Lauren Chandler is going to be with us. She is the wife of Pastor Matt Chandler from The Village Church in Dallas. She’s got a book out called Steadfast Love. We’re going to talk about some of the themes from that book with her on Monday. I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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