by Patsy Rae Dawson ~
"Can sexless marriages be turned around?" Radio host Belinda Christine wanted to know the answer when she interviewed me Monday, May 16, 2016.
Listen to Belinda and I discuss the following questions on the replay below:
- What constitutes a sexless marriage?
- What about senior citizens and sexless marriages? (AARP 1999 and 2005 surveys)
- How often do sexless marriages occur?
- What are clustered love sins?
- What are the 3 types of sexual deprivers?
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 lists 19 universal characteristics of sexless marriages--we covered the first 10.
- What are the 3 kinds of self-masturbation?
A couple of days after the program, an epiphany occurred to me. Then a week later, a second more powerful epiphany fell into place.
Scroll down past the replay to read the two epiphanies.
I discussed with Belinda how 2 Timothy 3:1-5 applies to Types 2 and 3 sexless marriages. The passage begins with “For men will be….” “Men” comes from the Greek anthropoi and refers to both genders—male and female. Thus, the list of clustered love sins in 2 Timothy describes both men and women. Although the description of the growth of sin applies to all kinds of sin, we’re making the application to sexual deprivers.
If you're unfamiliar with my teaching regarding Types 1, 2, and 3 clustered love sins, please listen to the podcast above. Or you can read my article “3 Types of Sexless Marriages in the Bible” for more information.
The Clustered Love Sins Are Listed in Escalating Order
A couple days after the radio program an epiphany fell into place as I realized the clustered love sins are listed in escalating order. The sins against the mate increase in intensity from upsetting to outright evilness.
Sex and Money Go Hand in Hand in Sexless Marriages
She said, “Sex and money go hand in hand. It’s the one thing you share with your mate that you aren’t sharing with anybody else. At least you should not be. So if you can’t get that right, that’s something that’s going to have a major, major impact on your relationship. Because if you’re not happy in the bedroom that’s going to impact the dinner table, your mood throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month, throughout the years.”
I responded, “Money problems, money abuses are actually one of the characteristics of sexless marriages. There’s usually money problems in regard to selfishness and stinginess. There is hoarding that goes on where they love things that money can buy more than they love people. So money and sex are intimately related in a person’s thinking and the way they treat their mate.”
Belinda said, “That’s not surprising to me at all.”
Later in the program, I reviewed the first 10 of the 19 clustered love sins in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. From Belinda’s comment earlier, it caught my attention that #2 was lovers of money.
“Lovers of Money” Moves Up From Last Place to #2
Before the radio program, I would never have listed “lovers of money” as part of the foundation of clustered love sins. Dr. Douglas Weiss introduced me to the concept that some people are addicted to withholding emotional and sexual love from their mates in his book Intimacy Anorexia. He says money problems are rare and lists it last in his group of 10 characteristics.
I disagree with Dr. Weiss. I see selfishness with money and loving things more than people in nearly every Type 2 and 3 sexless marriage. Many times the love-starved mate also hoards collections of things to replace the missing love in the relationship. We visualize hoarders in filthy houses so full you can hardly walk through the rooms. But many hoarders display their collections attractively and enjoy showing them off. We don’t recognize that such collections may be the prized possessions of love-starved hoarders.
When couples enjoy a robust, loving sexual relationship, selfishness with money and hoarding are rare. A couple may not manage their credit cards well and make unwise buying decisions. But selfishness, hoarding, and compulsive spending are unusual in sexually loving marriage.
The Escalating Order Exposes Clustered Love Sins as a Deadly Cancer
As a cluster, the love sins support and feed each other so that they’re continually growing and multiplying. Like a deadly cancer, the bulk of these characteristics thrive unseen eating away at the heart of the sexual depriver. Eventually the tumor becomes so large and evil it can’t be ignored.
Types 1, 2, and 3 sexless marriages correspond to the stages of cancer. Just as some cancers are very aggressive and hard to cure, Type 3 sexless marriages have crossed into the final stage 3 cancer. Thus, the sooner these clustered love sins are exposed and removed, the greater the chances of saving both the marriage and the soul of Types 2 and 3 hardcore career sexual deprivers. Please review my article “3 Types of Sexless Marriages in the Bible” to see the accuracy of the stages of cancer metaphor.
Lovers of Themselves and Money Dominate the Remaining Sins
About a week later, a second epiphany occurred to me that makes the escalating order easier to see. Basically, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 begins with what the sexual depriver loves more than the mate and children. As the clustered love sins escalate, the hardcore career sexual depriver loses all ability to love good men (including the mate and children) and God while pretending to be a Christian. Here’s the second epiphany:
The Clustered Love Sins Begin and End With What the Depriver Loves
When I started a word study of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 by looking the words up in an interlinear translation alongside the Greek scriptures, I noticed the repetition of a compound word. Five times (2 at the beginning and 3 at the end) Paul used a compound of philos combined with a noun to show what the sinner loves more than his or her family.
Healthy, Emotional, Touchy-Feely Love for One’s Family
From previous word studies, I recognized that Paul used a similar compound of philos twice in Titus 2:3-4. There he told the young preacher Titus to instruct the older women to teach young women how to love their husbands and children.
This is such an important passage for women that I discuss it in detail in God’s
People Appreciate Marriage. Phileo love is a healthy, emotional, touchy-feely love. We
see this when Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss. Kiss if a form of phileo.
Notice the two compound words describing a woman’s healthy, emotional, touchy-feely love for her husband and children:
- "Love their husbands" comes from philos plus the object of the woman's love— Aner, which refers to men only. It does not include women (Thayer 653).
- "Love their children" comes from philos plus the object of the woman's love—teknon. It means “loving one’s offspring" (Thayer 655).
The Beginning of Sexless Marriages: Narcissistic Love of Self and Money
Unhealthy love for one’s family begins in 2 Timothy 3:2 with two words:
- “Lovers of themselves” comes from philos plus the object of their love—antos, which means "loving one’s self; too intent on one’s own interests, selfish 2 Tim. iii.2” (Thayer 653).
- “Lovers of money” comes from philos plus the object of their love—argnros, which means “loving money, avaricious: Lk. Xvi. 14; 2 Tim. iii.2” (Thayer 653).
Types 2 and 3 sexual deprivers have a philos, or emotional, touch-feely love for themselves and money. That’s more a literal description of their involvement with themselves than a pun. This is easily seen in the common addiction of self-masturbation by both male and female sexual deprivers. I discuss the three types of self-masturbation on the radio program.
The End of Sexless Marriages: Narcissistic Love of Pleasure Instead of Family and God
The clustered love sins list starts with what the sexual depriver philos or loves the most—one’s self and money. It ends in 2 Timothy 3:3-4 with the same compound use of philos to reveal the depriver’s growing hatred for the family. Likewise, the sexual sinner loves pleasure rather than God.
- “Haters of good” comes from the prefix á (meaning “no” [Thayer 89]) added to philos plus the object of their hate—agathos. It refers to “not loving goodness and good men” (Thayer 2, 89, 653).
- “Lovers of pleasure” comes from philos plus the object of their love—edone, which means “loving pleasure” (Thayer 654).
- “Not lovers of God” comes from “rather than” (mallon e) before philos plus the object of their love—theos which refers to “loving God” (Thayer, 654).
This list starts with an unhealthy touchy-feely, emotional love for one’s self and money. It ends with hatred for good and good people including good mates who just want a normal, robust sexual relationship with the object of their love.
The Middle of Sexless Marriages: The Growth of Hatred for One’s Family
It takes tremendous energy to hide unloving, unfaithful sexual thoughts and activities from a mate who continually pushes for a loving relationship. As the marriage ages, the sexless spouse becomes emotionally worn out. The depriver may claim medical and age-related conditions to stop all approaches for married sex. That doesn’t mean the sexless husband or wife has stopped pursuing their love for personal pleasure. It only means they’ve succeeded in getting the loving mate to quit complaining about a lack of emotional and sexual love.
When the deprivers no longer need to deceive their mate to avoid the distraction of forced sexual contact, they give themselves even more to their love of personal sexual pleasure. As this happens, hatred for the good mate escalates, i.e., they hate good and good spouses.
Sin never stagnates. It always grows. This is especially true with sexless marriages. In every long-term sexless marriage that ended in divorce where I have personal knowledge, every one of the sexless spouses grew to hate their mate. Their hatred grew to the point that the loving mate became aware of it. But because of ignorance of how sin grows, the loving mate was often baffled by what was happening in the marriage. It wasn’t until the mate discovered evidence of sexual betrayal and unfaithfulness (often dating back to the courtship) that the lack of sex, open hatred, and ridicule began to make sense.
#1-8 Upsetting, Unloving Clustered Love Sins
Because of our ignorance of the way of sin, we often don’t recognize sin in our families of origin and in our marriage, or maybe even in ourselves. We may be annoyed and upset by the immaturity and lack of love and consideration in our spouse. We make excuses and think this is just the way our spouse was raised. Or it’s just the way they are. Or they just had a bad day. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Consequently, not realizing we’re dealing with sin that destroys love, it’s easy to cut a lot of slack that allows the sin to grow unchecked. I discussed this first group of sins on the radio program.
#9 The Sexless Spouse Thrives Without Natural Affection
The Type 2 and 3 spouse who withholds emotional and sexual love from their mate has reached the “without natural affection” stage. They usually come complete with the previous 8 clustered love sins already installed and working. All 9 of these clustered love sins often appear on the honeymoon, within the first few months, or after a set number of children are conceived.
#10 Irreconcilable Joins Without Natural Affection
“Irreconcilable” means “1. without a treaty or covenant; of things not mutually agreed upon; 2. that cannot be persuaded to enter into a covenant, implacable…. Joined with ‘without natural affection’ in Ro. i.31 and 2 Tim. iii.3” (Thayer 81).
I ask people how long they’ve been fighting over a dead bedroom? Months? Years? Or decades? Does it get better for a little while only to go back to the way it was? Only it really doesn’t go back to the way it was. Sin always grows. It always gets worse. Left unchecked, the sinner just gets more clever in hiding the sin or in stubbornly defending it.
The sexual defrauders will eventually harden their heart to the point that no one can reason with them. They are on a path to marital hopelessness. Thus, Jude 22-23 says for Type 3 hardcore career sexual deprivers, “Have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”
#11-17 Clustered Love Sins Turn Evil
As the marriage progresses, the clustered love sins begin expanding with evil characteristics just as cancer moves into more deadly stages. These hyper sins may take years or decades to fully develop. Or the marriage may move through them at an alarming rate.
This is just a sample of how the clustered love sins following “without natural affection” turn deliberately evil:
- “Malicious gossips”—They run their mate down to others so that if they are ever exposed, they can claim to be the victim and heap all the blame on the mate. Malicious gossips often spread weasel-word lies to the elders, preachers, and other religious workers. The twist the mate's words and truth to his or her family.
- “Without self-control” is the Greek diaboloi, which is sometimes translated “devil.” A sexless marriage partner is not adultery proof. Just the contrary. As the marriage ages, they often become bolder in pursuing their love of personal sexual pleasure.
- “Brutal” means “not tame, savage, fierce” (Thayer 45). Growing narcissism leads to a lack of empathy with others. Dr. Douglas Weiss says in Intimacy Anorexia that deprivers are addicted to withholding emotional and sexual love. Causing the mate to suffer is their recreational drug of choice.
- “Reckless” means “a betrayer, traitor” (Thayer 538). This same word is used in Luke 6:16 where it says Judas became a traitor. Remember, Judas controlled the purse and pilfered community funds (John 12:6). The love of money in the second characteristic turns into this same betrayal of the mate. For example, community funds are used to pay for secret sexual addictions and to hoard in hidden financial accounts. They are also reckless in the pursuit of their own pleasure.
An Evil Boney Finger Reaches Up From the Grave
The following stories show the depth to which a sexless spouse’s hatred often grows toward the mate. These examples reflect how lovers of money try to take it with them when they die:
- One man changed his will to put all the funds into a trust. He forced his wife to live just above the poverty level after his death.
- A dying husband called his insurance agent to the hospital and decreased his life insurance. His wife found souvenirs from his many affairs in a suitcase under his bed at home.
- Another husband secretly disinherited his wife and children with instructions for his homosexual lover to evict them from their home upon his death. Fortunately, his wife learned about the will and his affair. She immediately changed her will and divorced him--the two things he was trying to avoid.
These examples aren’t as rare as we might assume.
Avoid Men and Women Like These
Paul concluded this list of how sin grows from a narcissistic love of self and money:
2 Timothy 3:5: “Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.”
“Such men as these” is a gender neutral pronoun referring to the men and women described above (Thayer 466).
“Avoid” means “to turn one’s self away from, to shun, avoid” (Thayer 69).
Such People Pretend to Be Christians
Such men and women hid out in churches in Paul's time. And they're still hiding among naive Christians who assume everyone has a good heart like they do. They specialize in politicking elders, deacons, and preachers. Many perfect their appearance of godliness by becoming active workers in the congregation. They camouflage and justify their sexless marriages and mistreatment of their children with malicious gossip. They insulate themselves well against the mate trying to get help to turn their loveless marriage into a truly blessed relationship.
God Wants Us to Love and Enjoy Passionate Sex
Paul’s conclusion makes it clear God doesn’t trap anyone in unloving sexless marriages. He provides many ways of escape. Whether you’re in a Type 1, 2, or 3 marriage determines how you must fight the sin in your home.
Barbara Roberts goes into detail about the principle of separation as it applies to 2 Timothy 3:1-5 in her book Not Under Bondage, Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery & Desertion (29). I highly recommend it for a detailed study of divorce.
Patsy Rae Dawson coaches clients who have tried almost everything to save their sexless marriage without much success. She uses a comprehensive survey to help clients get to the core issues in their sexless marriage so they can make healthy decisions for themselves and their children.