Withholding Intimacy in Marriage

grafHave you fallen into the trap of withholding physical intimacy from your spouse when things aren’t going your way? Do you ever use it as a bargaining tool or as a punishment? This is destructive to the relationship in so many ways.

Sex can bring a couple together, both physically and emotionally, like no other act on earth. When each partner participates with love, with a desire to share with the other person, and with the intent to make it a meaningful experience, it can be an amazing balm to the relationship. The husband and wife both feel more peaceful and relaxed, more secure in their marriage, and even more confident at work and in social settings. But when sex is used inappropriately, it becomes a stumbling block in the marriage that must be overcome.

Of course, there are times when it’s completely appropriate to refuse to be intimate. If you’re ill, if you’ve been mistreated, if you’re exhausted from your day, if you’ve got a pressing deadline—you don’t have to drop everything to be intimate, and no one should make that requirement of you. But it should never be used as a punishment or as a reward. You should not bargain with your spouse for sexual favors in exchange for household jobs or accomplishments at work or for any other thing. They should not feel as though they have to “earn” it from you. This sets up a system of false currency and turns an act which should be loving and meaningful to both partners into an arrangement that smacks of emotional blackmail.

If your physical relationship is such that you have fallen into this trap, I encourage you to step away from this damaging behavior. Do what you can to see intimacy in a new light. Perhaps you could find some books on the subject that will speak your language and help you gain new perspectives. You might find that speaking to a counselor would be helpful. It might be as simple as having a heart-to-heart with your spouse. Whatever it takes, I encourage you to do it so your physical relationship can become, emotionally, all that it was meant to become.

Related Blogs:

When Intimacy Isn’t a Good Idea

Every Body is Different

The Language of Intimacy