What do I think of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s book published by Kregel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
One night, a husband went to see his wife who was in bed waiting for them to go to sleep. He came carrying a glass of water and an advil.
Wife: What are those for?
Husband: It’s for your headache.
Wife: I don’t have a headache.
You see, you don’t have to be an expert in the sexes to know that men really want a lot of sex. If you asked your average husband how much sex he’d like to have, chances are you’d get some variation of “More” and chances are it doesn’t depend on how much sex he is getting. Take a husband who’s even having sex every day and see if he’d be thrilled if he got to have sex twice every day. Would he really say “Nah. I’m cool.”
Meanwhile, on the other side, the wife is often thinking “Exactly how much sex do you want?” or “We just did it last night!” She can wonder how it is in a Christian marriage that this good Christian man she married suddenly became a bundle of hormones that only thinks about sex. What happened?
Enter Sheila Wray Gregoire. She’s the woman behind the blog To Love, Honor, and Vacuum and she has written a book to help ladies understand the importance of having sex with their husbands and to help put them in the mood more often.
With that, every husband I know is sure to want to join me in nominating her for sainthood.
Now why is it that I as a man am reading this? Because I think it’s important for a man to understand the female mind. You see, for we men, it just doesn’t often make sense. We do something together. It makes us feel really awesome at the end. We end up validated and affirmed and if it doesn’t happen, we end up feeling miserable and that we don’t matter, and to top it all off, it’s absolutely free. We don’t have to spend any money. All we do is give each other time. If a woman knows it makes her husband so tremendously happy and has so many benefits, why not?
While I read trying to get inside a woman’s mind, I understand very well that Sheila has got inside a man’s mind. That’s really important. What women so often don’t realize is that they have a key to their man’s confidence and masculinity. A man can’t be expected to act confident and brave outside the bedroom if he’s treated as less than a man inside the bedroom. The bedroom really dominates in the man’s mind. His identity can often rest there.
For instance, in my area of Christian apologetics, before I got married, I was always a bit timid with my approach. What if someone shows me up someday? What happens to my identity then? In the midst of this, I got married and before too long, I realized that fear was not really bothering me so much. It took some time and then I figured out why. By getting to be sexual with my wife, I was getting that affirmation that I needed from her. My identity to the rest of the world didn’t matter so much if my wife saw me as the man that she desires. Please understand this women trying to understand your man. THIS IS HUGE!
In fact, one of the first tips that Sheila gives a wife is to realize her husband is an alien. When we say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, there’s a lot of truth to that. Reality is that women are likely not going to change the libido of their husbands. Sheila says that a man could have a temperature of 104 degrees and a rash and it wouldn’t change the task at hand. There’s a lot of truth to that. Yes. I’ve even been ready to go when having the flu before.
Unfortunately, what happens is mixed messages. A man makes a suggestion to his wife on how he’d like to spend the evening. The woman feels like all she is good to him for is sex and she’s just an object. She says no. The man then feels like he no longer pleases his wife or turns her on. He feels rejected as a man. Note that neither side is likely intending to send the message, but both sides get the wrong message.
For a man, what he’s really asking every time is “Do you desire me? Do you want me? Am I still your man?” He wants to know he’s worth pursuing on his own. In fact, this is why men often don’t want to be the initiator. It’s a whole lot more fun when the wives initiate.
The truth is also, most women wish they could reciprocate more often. We men need to realize that many times, a wife doesn’t like saying no. Sheila tells us on location 124 of the Kindle book that there are two solutions then. You either raise your desire or you make your husbands want it less. (And with the latter, she asks that you please stop laughing so hard.)
Sheila also says she doesn’t want you to do this out of a task. Don’t make it be “Well I guess I have to do this.” Let it be fun. Think about what benefits can await when you get there. It won’t happen overnight, it will take time, but if you do want it, you will eventually get there. You could put an extra zing into your marriage with this.
Sheila also rightly points out that a man really does have a biological need. Once a man has been sexually active with a woman, his body does start to form a need for that. In fact, if he goes without any physical release for a time, it will hurt. It will actually physically hurt him. His body was designed for at least somewhat regular intercourse.
She also says on location 181 that a man sees a curvaceous woman and he doesn’t notice her intellect first. Yes. This is true. Women. Just imagine being on a diet for instance and walking through the dessert section at the store or the chocolate section. Got that image in your mind? Okay. That’s exactly what we go through every single day in society.
Maybe your husband works from home. Doesn’t matter. If he’s on Facebook, he sees it. If he’s surfing the net, he sees it. If he watches a TV show, he sees it. Heck. I see it just when I watch game shows that I love to watch. I can’t avoid it. It’s everywhere. So picture it from this way. We are surrounded by women all day long. We tell ourselves no to these women all day long. We avoid looking with our eyes all day long. The end of the day comes and there is the one woman we can say yes to who we desire to be with. Then comes back the word “No.” To picture that, again, think of the dessert section or the chocolate section. Think of depriving yourself for weeks and then it comes the time that you have said you will get a treat and asking your husband if he’ll get it for you and he says “No.”
Ladies. You are our treat. You are our prize. You are what we love. When my wife goes to see her counselor, I come along too. Once she was stunned when I said that if you took me to see the Mona Lisa, the Niagara Falls, the Taj Mahal, the city of Jerusalem, or any great wonder of the world or of art that man has made, that I say they would all pale greatly in comparison to the joy I get at seeing my wife’s body.
I really don’t think that’s stunning. I think most husbands would say the exact same thing.
She says on location 196 that men need to feel respected and appreciated. They don’t need to feel nagged. Sex can overcome a lot of this. To change what Peter says, sex covers over a multitude of sins. Sex is the way we feel the most loved and it is the way we feel the most respected.
Sheila also wants to remind women that this can work for them, though it should not be used that way. A man who wants sex will feel more attentive. If he doesn’t think he has a shot, chances are he won’t bother. Men will tend to go where the respect is. If they think they get more respect from work than they do from their wives, they’ll go to work more. A man will spend longer hours at the office if he thinks he’ll be respected there. Make him think he has sex waiting for him at home and see what happens.
In fact, some women when seeing counselors and complaining that their husbands never do anything around the house have been told something. “Seduce him for two weeks and see what happens.” Many times, it’s amazing the change that comes over them. Give the man the sex before anything else, and you will start to see a new man. A man will not see himself as much of a man unless he’s getting sex from his wife more often. (Note in all these cases, I am talking about married men.)
Now comes another point. The man also wants the wife to want him. Don’t just go through the motions. Want him. Be active. Treat getting to be with him as a privilege. This is for you also after all. As Sheila says later, God gave women a clitoris for a reason.
Now I’ve spoken a lot to the women, but I want to make something else clear for the men. Sheila ends each chapter with a section for the men, except for the last chapter, which I did find confusing in that aspect. She wants you to know that she is on your side here and it’s wise words for we men to follow.
Going back to the women, Sheila says your marriage will not be all that it could be without healthy sex. You are missing out. Sex isn’t just meant to be a friendship. Most everything else you want in life, you can get from other relationships. It is only in marriage that sex takes place. That is what makes it unique and that uniqueness needs to be highlighted.
With this, it is best to focus on the giving. Too many wives can say “Well I might want to have more sex with him if he’d do XYZ.” Well no. That’s using sex as a weapon. There is nothing Biblical that says “Wives, respect your husbands if he does XYZ.” No. It’s just respect. (And by the way, there is information in there on the strong cases of pornography and abuse. In this case, your goal is to heal your husband over a substantial issue and/or protect your own safety in a place where you’re reasonably in danger.)
She also says you can help your husband in holiness with this. If he has an affair, that’s his own fault, but you can help remove the temptation by good sex with him. You can also better enable his mind to focus on other things. Many women can complain the only affection they get from their husbands is sexual affection. That can be because he wants it so badly that if he gets close to you that’s all he thinks about. Give him regular sexual affection and regular non-sexual affection will be easier because he can rest assured it’s coming soon.
In fact, she talks about a nurse who said that unless you’re driving down the highway, when he asks say yes. The time you spend arguing about it will be longer than the time you would have spent just doing it. You’ll make your husband happy and avoid an argument. Think that’s worth it?
Some women have a problem with sexual abuse in their past. I really recommend if that’s you, get Sheila’s book. She has some advice on how to cross over that hurdle. Some of you have dealt with rejection. She also has something on that.
Sheila also correctly points out that God made sex. It was His idea. Again, we come back to the clitoris. He made this just so women could enjoy sexual pleasure. There’s no other purpose I know of certainly for this part of the body. There’s even a book of the Bible, the Song of Songs, dedicated to sex. Let’s cut the stuff about how it’s a metaphor for God and Israel or Christ and the church. Maybe on some level it is, but first and foremost, it’s a book about sex. God’s not ashamed of it. Neither should we be.
It’s also important to Sheila that you not place burdens on it. Don’t have it be “If you buy me something I really want, we’ll have sex.” That can get the man thinking that he himself is not enough. Don’t let sex be conditional. Let it be something that you do just because you want him.
Sheila also has an excellent suggestion on how our society opposes men. Think about how we have removed competition and encouraged people to be “nice.” Now of course, I’m not saying that men should be jerks, but have you seen how men talk to each other? Men get together and insult each other constantly and you know what? We’re best friends as a result of it! My own wife is just mystified as to how my friends and I can interact with each other. “That’s mean.” Yeah. We do it anyway. It’s in fact the way we bond. Men are the ones who in fact usually bond by roughhousing. That makes no sense to women.
Men are also competitive to a fault. I remember sitting around with some guys where I worked once and talking about painful experiences we’ve had in life on a physical level. Before too long, I realized each man was trying to top the other one. That’s what we do! (I think I won since I have had major back surgery.)
Men are told we need to not be aggressive and we need to have empathy. That goes against so much of what beats in the heart of a man. A man is a go-getter by nature and a man thrives on competition. Our society though panders to more feminine attributes. On top of that, we’re told we’re not to see women as sex objects, despite the fact that women can often wear clothes that accentuate their curves profoundly and wear their pants around their hips.
The odd thing is most women don’t even realize they’re doing this. They just want an outfit that feels good on them. Many a pastor even can have a hard time preaching a sermon because there’s a woman in the front row wearing a low-cut blouse and she doesn’t even realize what a source of temptation she is. I remember a man at a church once saying how he couldn’t really think about what a woman was saying once because her skirt was just so short.
You see women, your physical appearance does matter. Now I would be superficial if I said it’s everything, but I would be wrong if I said it was nothing. We are not Gnostics. You have a body for a reason. How you treat that body is also a gift to your husband. In fact, one of the great motivators I have had to treat my own body better is being married. I want my wife to get the best of me. Strive to give your husband the best of you.
Sheila also says wives need to initiate. If a wife doesn’t do that, then her husband will always feel like a child at the candy store begging for candy. Your no may be just a no, but not to him. It’s a huge rejection. Again, it is hard for him to feel like a man you believe in outside of the bedroom, if he doesn’t think you’re the man he believes in inside the bedroom. Sheila has a wonderful quote from a husband I want to quote in full.
The most important part of making love, particularly for the men, is that it is not about us getting pleasure, but rather the high we achieve by giving pleasure to our wives. It is our way of giving love, but when it is apparent that the person receiving our love is only there to “please” us, then it becomes rejection of us personally.
This deserves to be written in gold. Women may find it hard to believe, but the greatest pleasure a man gets is out of knowing he is a source of pleasure to his wife. The constant saying of no tells us we are not a source of pleasure. It is a rejection.
One more comment from Sheila is worth pointing out. She says as well that sex gets better the more you have it. I am convinced in my own life that this is true. This month Allie and I celebrate six years together. I enjoy this area a lot more now than I did then. I am convinced I’ll say the same five years from now.
Does this mean that change will happen overnight if you desire it? No. If you’re a woman who wants to improve your sex life and you buy this book and read it, it doesn’t mean you’ll get over all the hurdles in a day, but it does mean you’re on the path and if you let your husband know you’re on your path, you can be assured he’ll go to bed that night celebrating and looking forward to the future.
Did Sheila get inside the mind of a man? I think so. Now it’s time for the wives to get inside their husbands’ heads and the husbands to get inside their wives’.