I remember some very terrible advice I was given when I got married: “Whenever your husband is angry, he is usually tired, hungry, or horny.”
While there is some truth to these words (I mean who doesn’t get irritated when they are tired or hungry?) there are a lot more lies than truth here.
For one, it implies that sex is a NEED not a desire.
We talked about this in my last blog post Christian Sex, so I won’t get too into it here.
Essentially, sex is a God-given DESIRE and when done in the parameters laid out for us by God, it is meant to be an intimate time of connection between a husband and wife. It is not a chore or something to placate with.
Second, this advice suggests that one spouse is completely responsible for the other’s emotions.
I literally thought that whenever my husband was angry, I had to do something to fix the problem.
I thought I had to give him food, give him space to rest, or make myself available for sex every single time he got tense.
What kind of marriage is that? Getting to a point where one person’s emotions (and then actions) rest entirely on the other leads to nothing but trauma and resentment. Not to mention allowing that person to take no responsibility for their own actions and emotions.
I know the person that gave me this insight didn’t come up with it out of thin air. Rather she was taught this through years of a messed up narrative that implies men have specific needs and if those needs aren’t met, there will be trouble in the marriage.
What I failed to realize at the time is the person that thought this was true, also had an immensely difficult time with confrontation. In fact, she loves to “keep the peace”. But what I know now is that there is a time to stand up and allow your voice to be heard.
There is a time to feel seen, heard, and validated.
This brings us to another lie these words seem to breed: boundaries are nonexistent.
Now, don’t hear me wrong, I am in no way stating that wives shouldn’t care for their husbands and vice versa. What I am saying is that there is a difference in taking care of one another and taking responsibility for things that are not ours to own.
When my husband was addicted to pornography, he would say the reason he watched it was because I wasn’t giving him all he needs. Imagine, if you will, hearing that from the man you love while thinking it IS your responsibility to have enough sex so he does feel fulfilled otherwise not only will he continue using porn, but he will also be angry.
The bottom line is that men and women are not in control of one another’s actions or emotions. Both men and women are capable of taking responsibility for themselves, in all areas of life.
When I came to the realization that there were some things I was responsible for and some things my husband was responsible for, there was such freedom! Creating boundaries in our marriage has allowed us to know where we each end, thus allowing us freedom to love better.
God did not create us to enslave one another.
When we don’t have boundaries and allow each other to escape our own consequences of actions and emotions, we are enslaving one another.
God created us to have community with one another, to love one another, and to sharpen one another. When a man and wife are following the storyline that men can’t control themselves and women need to take on that responsibility for them, we are going against what marriage was made to be.
Marriage includes serving one another, yet sharpening each other so we don’t sin.
This sharpening can not happen when we think we need to hold the key to our spouse’s emotions and actions. So let’s set some boundaries, stop taking on things that aren’t ours to own, and remember that sex is a desire NOT a need.
If you have any questions about what we talked about in this post, please reach out to us through Office Hours and we will be sure to answer your questions!