This is the second post in a three-part series by Greg Oliver. If you missed Part 1, CLICK HERE
A fast from sexual activity allows her to remove the pressure to perform sexually.
If a wife who has become aware of her husband’s sexual struggle has chosen to forgive him and stay in the relationship, she will often try to make sure she’s available to her husband sexually, even when she feels no safety in the relationship or desire to be sexual with her husband. This is unnecessary and unhealthy pressure that doesn’t belong in the marriage. A fast gives her the break she needs to stop trying to “take care of him.”
A sexual fast acknowledges her equality in the relationship and helps her find her individuality.
A lot of Christians balk at this idea. Men are quick to run to 1 Corinthians and use it to bludgeon their wives into sexual submission, but many women also use Scripture to perpetuate a belief that their feelings and role in the marriage simply do not matter. Yet in Ephesians and 1 Corinthians we don’t read anything that communicates an inequality among husbands and wives. The submission discussed is much easier for a wife to joyfully do when it’s done in response to a husband who is being biblically obedient to love her sacrificially. This kind of love extends to his being unselfish in his pursuit of sex. A fast gives the wife an opportunity to learn to express when she does not feel prepared or secure to be sexual with her husband, and to believe that this expression is her right as an equal in the relationship.
A sexual fast exposes roots of control and gives opportunities to trust God’s sanctification process in her husband.
The process of a wife finding her equality is usually not pretty or perfect, and often it will expose her desire to control things in the relationship. Control can manifest in her using sex to make sure her husband is OK and won’t betray her again; or it can show up when she refuses sex to punish him or allow for her own selfishness. Taking sex off the table for a season will allow a wife to hear from the Holy Spirit as He exposes these roots of control and begins a work in helping her to trust Him. As she does, she can begin to let go of her desire to control and can approach sex from a much healthier place.
A sexual fast provides opportunity for her to enjoy and even anticipate sex.
A lot of husbands feel like their wives never want sex. A lot of women feel like their husbands never give them a chance to build up a desire. This speaks to the fundamental difference between most men and women. Like it or not, in most cases a man is going to want sex much more often than his wife. Some women have never been allowed-or have never allowed themselves-to go without sex long enough for their own desires and cravings to show up. A time of fasting can give her the opportunity to discover that she is a sexual being after all; and it can be very encouraging for her husband as he sees that the desire he’s doubted existed in her is in fact there.
Part three of this series will be posted soon.