DISCLAIMER: This thread is not about extreme situations where abuse is present but is about normal marital conflict and marriages that include two sinners.
Somethings I’ve been reading recently got me thinking about the phenomenon of the “awakened sexual refuser” or the “former sexual refuser”. Recently I’ve also noticed another phenomenon of what I call the “rationalizing sexual refuser”. These refusers want to share what they seem to feel are justifications, excuses and rationalizations regarding sexual refusal. They’re very different from reformed sexual refusers who are quick to recognize how their actions have crushed their spouse’s spirits with their refusal. The rationalizing refuser is quick to justify the spirit crushing behavior of refusal because the rationalizing refuser had also had their spirit crushed.
Now, I don’t want to completely discount the feelings of these rationalizing sexual refusers as I am quite certain their stories are true. However, so are the stories of the refused that have spent years or decades trying to do anything and everything they can to convince their refusing spouse of their love and devotion to them only to have their sexual advances rebuffed at every stage.
I’ve said many times before that Ephesians 4 has done more for my marriage than Ephesians 5 ever did.
Ephesians 4:25-32 (NIV)
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
It seems to me that hard truths spoken in love, grace and forgiveness is the correct response to sin, not using that sin to justify, excuse and rationalize more sin, and, yes, this goes both ways.
Continuing to justify, excuse and rationalization the behavior of sexual refusal as a valid response to how they felt would seem to suggest that while they are acting differently their hearts haven’t embraced the ideal set forth in the scripture above.
Can you be a repentant and continue to justify, excuse and rationalize the sin?