Comment on Fascinating Womanhood and Marital Intimacy

Journey to Homemaker

A reader asked me in a comment if I knew the writer of Fascinating Womanhood was a Mormon. I'm glad she asked. I do know the writer is a Mormon. I am not. But I personally didn't notice much in the book that I considered to be religion-specific. (Unless I missed something!)

However there was one chapter in the book that I personally didn't agree with. That was the chapter on sex. She said that our bodies are our own, not our husbands. I disagree, based on my religious beliefs. I thought I would let my readers know this, although they may not agree with my beliefs, so they can be aware in case they read it.

My opinion on marital intimacy is that my body DOES belong to my husband as well as me, just as his body belongs both to him and me. We are united in Christ, and the two have become one. I believe that I do not have the right to deny my husband marital intimacy (Wait, read the whole thing before you freak out!) unless I have a serious reason, which I will address further below.

Marital intimacy is also referred to as "the marital debt", because it is a right of marriage and not a priviledge. It is a beautiful and sacred thing, not simply a reward to be trivialized and used for manipulation or withheld as punishment. This applies to both spouses, although I think it is especially important for wives to keep this in mind, because the husband's drive is naturally stronger than hers is. A woman finds happiness primarily through affection, whereas men find it primarily through intimacy. And when a woman feels love and affection from her husband, she is more likely to show her love through intimacy...and vice-versa, a man who is feeling loved through intimacy will be more likely to show his wife more love and affection. So if one spouse denies the other spouses needs, it starts a terrible cycle of witholding what the other spouse needs most, and can be very destructive.

As I said, there are times where I believe a spouse does have the right of refusal. For example, if feeling very ill, if it will adversely affect their health (such as in a particularly fragile pregnancy), if the spouse is being mistreated (truly mistreated, not just being made mad), etc. I'm sure there are many other examples, but those are what comes to mind. Being upset, being just tired (not completely physically exhausted), and wanting to manipulate your spouse are not serious reasons. Let's face it, as parents, aren't we ALWAYS tired?!

Now, if you aren't in the mood, you certainly have a right to let your husband know how you feel. There's nothing wrong with saying "honey, I'm really tired tonight, do you mind taking a raincheck?" If your husband is feeling "frustrated" and feels a strong need, he can always let you know. My husband knows I will always be there if he needs me...although he knows on those occassions that he won't be getting any "frills". Sometimes he feels bad asking again if he knows I'm not in the mood, but I'd rather he let me know than to get cranky. I don't know about you, but after a certain amount of days, my husband gets really cranky. He's not even aware of it, but I can count on my fingers how many days it's been and think "yep, I was right, it's been too long." I'm sure every man is different, but I try to make sure that he doesn't have to go that long. It makes us both happier in the long run.

These rules go both ways. There are times he lets me know he's too tired or not in the mood. I've found that as a woman, I often don't realize my own "needs" until after they've been met, and I chastise myself when I've allowed too much time to pass without intimacy with my husband, because it takes its toll on me too, I just don't realize it as easily as he does.

It surprises me to hear on Dr. Phil how many women there are out there witholding from their husbands...then they're mystified as to what's wrong with their marriage! Often it's because they had a baby and got so tired that they just stopped thinking about their husbands' needs. Sometimes it's because of stress in the marriage, and they are stubbornly holding out until the husband "shapes up". I'm sure the husbands are often in the dark about the whole thing! I mean, do these women want to be right, or do they want to be happy? Some of these poor men have gone a year, even multiple years, and the wives admit that they're "just not interested". Well heck, how about making a sacrifice once a week to show their husbands that they love them?

I thank God for my faith. Because of my beliefs, I think we have a much stronger marriage than most people. We've had some major struggles with things like money, etc. and a lot of couples break up over these things, or at least damage their marriage.

Anyway, this is just what I believe. I just wanted to post about it because I recommended the book, but that one particular section is not something that I personally believe will help a marriage. The rest of the book is great though, and has really helped motivate me as a wife and mother, and is improving our marriage. My husband is a fabulous husband and father, but even he is making improvements in himself because he is so appreciative of my own efforts to improve.

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