Question for Readers: Sexual Purity in Marriage–how do you handle a reluctant spouse?


How have you handled the transition to living Leviticus 15’s marital purity regulations (or counseled others to handle the transition) when a spouse has been reluctant or even hostile to making the change? Please protect names/identities so that no one’s reputation is hurt through the discussion.

Would your advice change if the spouse was a nonbeliever verses a believer?

 Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at

I hope to write a post at some point that brings in the scriptures I feel address this issue, but I value your experience and want to start a discussion first. 

Please comment below or link to posts where you’ve addressed this issue. Thank you! 


3 thoughts on “Question for Readers: Sexual Purity in Marriage–how do you handle a reluctant spouse?

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  1. I personally would encourage the woman to do her very best. When she knows that it’s her time of separation then she should make the extra effort to set herself apart. If her husband is not on board there are little things she can do in order to help him feel comfortable. Like not making a big deal of it, and still being willing to touch. As in give a hug or a quick kiss. But nothing beyond that, and nothing that could stir up lust in her husband.

      1. Thank you for posting your thoughts, Chana. Peace in the home is so important, and a woman will have to make decisions about what she will do or not do, concede or not concede… This is part of what I struggle with as I think about it: if she makes a concession for the sake of peace, I wonder if it would be viewed as yielding the only firm footing she has. I think if a husband were to be mean about it (God forbid), he could say, “Well, you’re willing to hug me, but you’re not willing to ___[fill in whatever he wants but isn’t getting], so you’re just doing what you want!” I don’t know–is that crazy? It would be terrible. That’s an extreme, but in that kind of extreme, it might be easier to say “Hey, it’s not my line: it’s God’s line. Take it up with Him if you don’t like it.” Counterintuitive to imagine a hard stance as easier, but it’s something I’m musing about as I imagine this struggle in the home.

        Doing her best, though, and just knowing he’s not going to do his best–and like you said, not making a big deal about it when things go imperfectly–seems like a decent description of what a lot of people end up doing. So if he’s reluctant but not hostile, then it might be safe to concede ground or even work through it gradually with an adjustment period, maybe, increasing as he feels more comfortable?

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