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When She Doesn’t Want Sex – Interview with Belah Rose

This week, we’re excited to be joined by Belah Rose of the Delight Your Marriage podcast! She brings years of experience to the show and we discuss how men can properly respond when their wife doesn’t want sex. She works one on one with men and women to coach them on their marriage. If you would like to know if she can help you in your situation, fill out her form here for a clarity call and let her know I sent you!


Welcome to the love hove adventure podcast where we talk about the marriage relationship, intimacy and marriage, and how you can go deeper with your spouse. And today, we’re really fortunate that we have Bella rose on she is with the delight your marriage podcast. I’ve been on our show several times. And we’re just really excited to have her on the love of imager podcast. Welcome, Bella.

Oh, thanks so much, Keelie and Austin, I am honored and excited. This is gonna be a fantastic conversation.

I know. So tell us a little bit about your podcast, because it’s been around forever.

I think in internet terms, it does feel like forever. Everywhere else. It’s like that.

Classic on the internet.

Yeah, in 2015 I wrote my book in 2014 to let your husband and then I started the podcast 2015 to let your marriage, and yes Keelie and I go way back and loved having her on. And yeah, so now delight in your marriage. I started coaching us shortly after I started the podcast around marriage and intimacy. And now we are actually running programs for husbands and programs for wives separately, to really train and teach husbands how to love their wife well, and the way that she receives love and teach wives how to love their husband well, and the way that he receives love and a heck of a lot of that is around intimacy. But a lot of that is also, especially for husbands is teaching them why is your wife not interested in sexual intimacy, what is blocking her? Because it’s hard to know, no one comes out of the womb understanding the other sex. And and especially if they didn’t have good role models, such as their parents, and obviously in the world. We don’t have great role models for that. So I’m thrilled. The podcast is so fun. We’re now in the top 1% Or I think point 5% most popular in the world. So it really doesn’t. It’s just Yeah, and we’ve got heard in 180 countries and yeah, it’s just amazing. So I am I am just I pinch myself every day. It’s just so fun.

I know. And we’ve listened to your podcast for a long time. But I don’t even know how we initially connected but I do remember you brought me on to talk specifically about orgasms. And this podcast and post and stuff like I mean, it is what got me kind of like known in the sex world. Do you know like, Hey, she’s the one who talks about workouts? Who can say that their claim to fame?

is amazing. Yes, definitely an episode to listen to.

Was that? Was it a two-parter? Or was it I think it was like I had so much to say she’s like, alright, let’s make this.

I think I remember there being part one, and part two.

Yeah, it was pretty good. And we were living in North Carolina at the time. And we’ve probably lived in five different places since then. So we’ve recorded in a lot of closets. Yes.

Oh, my goodness. So yeah, I love what you are doing with your programs. Now, I know that a lot of my audience really loves to go to your webinars, and they get a lot of value from that. So I’d really love to, you know, kind of like pick your brain about some of the things that would keep a wife from engaging with her husband sexually. Because one, obviously he doesn’t know. And honestly, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this yourself. But I think sometimes the wife doesn’t know either. Like she really doesn’t know like, why don’t I want to have sex with him? I don’t know. So give us some, you know, some things that you’re seeing and, and educating your people with?

Yes, absolutely. I mean, first of all, if you’re listening to this, I just want to commend you. You’re so on the right track. There are so many men who don’t seek out answers. They don’t do this kind of work. They’re not like what can I do to change it? They just kind of point the finger and so for a husband to be here listening to this to seek How can I change? How can I invite this? How can I make this a space where she would want to make love because you don’t just want her to show up? You don’t just want the duty sex. You don’t just want her to feel compelled because you’ve had so many direct conversations that she feels like, you know, you’re gonna go cheat on her if not, you know, that’s not what you want. As a husband, you really want her to desire it, not only desire it with you but also desire with herself for herself, to engage and have sexual intimacy be something that’s on her mind and a joy for her and something she’s looking forward to. So, again, I just want to commend you, dear husband, you’re in the right spot. I’m just so thrilled that we get to spend some time with you here. So here’s let me just start out with a framework I always teach is what we call the intimacy framework. And it’s this idea of just trying to dumb it down super simple of what do women crave and desire to feel filled up in their marriage? And what do men desire to feel filled up in their marriage, and so 511 Five Love Languages are great, I think they’re important. But I would actually say that the intimacy framework goes beneath that because I think God designed men and women very differently to be complete complements of a whole, you know, I really love the original. I guess it’s Hebrew. Is it Adam and Eve, it’s the when it says, I’ll make you help meet the actual word is, as our Connect duo and the help pieces actually, God is. So helper in that phrase is actually in the Old Testament 16 times. And I think it’s three of them, describe women. And the rest of them are describing God’s coming as a savior for the people of Israel. Like we’re not talking about an assistant, the wife is the assistant to the husband, we’re talking about, she has a vital role in his life to be who God wants him to be. And connect dough is an absolute complement. That’s the point of it. It’s, it’s an equal part of a hole. And so the just the point of it is that husbands and wives are supposed to be and they were designed to be complementing each other and fully equal in that so equal, but unique. That is not what I meant to go into. But I did. There we are honest and good groundwork.

Total tangent, but if your wife listening, and you’re like, I’m almost about to get checked out. I just want you to hear your wife, I’m on your side, too. You deserve to be treated well, right. Okay, here’s the intimacy framework, to feel filled up, a husband needs to feel respected, admired, and wholehearted in sexual intimacy in his marriage. We’ll talk just a bit about that in just a moment. But let me talk about what wives need, in terms of this intimacy framework to feel filled up, is to feel safe to feel known and wholeheartedly cherished. And so let me if I can, I’ll just go straight into kind of what that does that work with that, and that would be awesome. Okay, so for the husband’s respect, that’s, um, you know, when a husband and wife were dating, that was, she never told them what to do. She didn’t like, go clean your room, like go to the dishes, like, don’t do this, do that. I mean, she wouldn’t order him around or mother him or say, you know, eat, you’re not eating enough greens, like eat your greens. And yet, women, once they become wives, they’re like, oh, I’m responsible to make him do what I want him to do. And we don’t realize that’s complete disrespect, right. Because I have done that for a very long time. I was like, of course, I’m respecting him. Now go do this, what I want you to do. So that’s the respect. The admired piece is, is a different element, I would say is like, he also wants a cheerleader, he kind of wants to be that quarterback, and he wants you to be on the sidelines, like, yeah, you can do it you’re doing and like him that she sees his strengths that she sees how God has created him to be in the world and help him to see what even he doesn’t see in himself. And it’s so easy for us as wives to look at our husbands and be like, well, he needs to work on this, and this and this. And he has this failing and that and she’s critical and all these things. But that harms him in ways that she can’t tell. And so often husbands have this like steel, steel face, and they’re like, you know, she’s reaming him out. And he’s just like, complete nothing on his face. And she thinks he doesn’t hear her. So she continues and because I’ve been in that place, I understand that it really does hurt. And, you know, men in my programs, they talk to me through tears of how hurtful those sorts of things are. So then, the last thing that of course, we’re going to talk about is wholehearted sexual intimacy. So again, he doesn’t just want her to show up. He does want frequency, but he doesn’t want it half-hearted. He doesn’t want just her body that feels that’s not making love. That’s a compulsion. And so he wants her to be excited about it. He wants the variety. He wants the fierceness and so that’s the whole-hearted piece that I think a lot of people leave out of like, go have sex with your husband. It’s like no, like, be there because you want to be there and enjoy yourself and how I’d like, for me, if I wasn’t married, I wouldn’t have that strong of a desire. But because I chose to be married, my desire is higher because I choose it. Choose a lifestyle that makes me want to make love. And so yeah, that’s the husband part. Should I move to the wives part or?

Okay, no, I mean, well, I was just going to say that I think sometimes for men, our wives towards men, I think it makes it more difficult for her to be like really sexually active with him if she thinks that he’s not like, responsible. If she feels like she does have to continually ride his bike over something. And that’s, I’m not saying that. Guys or wives don’t need some kick in the pants. But I can definitely see how feeling like she doesn’t hear him would be like a real problem. But him shutting down because he’s not a child. Do you know? Definitely, a big dynamic going on there.

Yeah, absolutely. No, I completely agree with you. And I think even moving over to kind of the wife section of what she needs to feel fulfilled in her marriage is that safety piece, the first piece of this, which to your point, Keelie is like, that is going to take care of her. Right. You know, we’re not gonna do the dishes for me, Kenny does other things. Can you remember to do this? Yeah, I totally understand that. If not really feeling sooner than you know, the big things don’t matter, either. You’re not going to catch her in this. You’re not going to catch her in that. So yeah, so the safety, I really focus on a lot of emotional safety. So yeah, physical safety is kind of a, hopefully, a given hopefully. Yeah, so. But emotional safety is what a lot of times men miss. And a lot of times it’s described as security, which guests if you know that that’s helpful to have, you know, financial security, that is helpful. But I actually mean safety in that you care about her heart, you care about her emotions, you ask her how she’s feeling, and you care when she responds. And when she’s emotional, because God gave her wonderful emotions. God gave men wonderful emotions, too, just to be clear, but I happen to cry more than he does just happen to. And when he gives me that space, and he asks me, what’s going on how I’m feeling? how I’m doing? what’s at the core of what’s my heart going through? Like, that’s the sexiest thing ever. Right? What do you want? And ideally, I would say that this, though, can be difficult for guys to listen, to because they want to fix it. Not that I don’t want to fix things, too, I am definitely a fixer. But if you start pouring out your heart to you, your wife starts pouring out her heart to you and you start trying to fix it. That’s not exactly building emotional intimacy, it’s just you take on a role of like a counselor or something like that. It’s not really that was something that was a real struggle for me, for a lot of years was to just hear what she’s saying, instead of diagnosing what she’s saying, and trying to troubleshoot it and, and whatever, because I hear her hurting, right? I want her to not hurt anymore. So I’m like, let’s make sure you’ve never hurt ever again. And it’s like, that’s not really what this conversation was. And I’m a pretty independent woman. So I’m not super great at taking the advice. So that call obviously causes a lot of friction.

There’s that dynamic Welcome to the love of adventure podcast, where Austin and Keelie just be like, here it is.

Yeah, learning to do that. And not only do I have a tendency to focus on, you know, my failures, my negatives. So if something’s going wrong, I have a tendency to say, internally, what did I do wrong? How did I, you know, how do I make sure that I don’t do that again, or find myself in that situation again? And so being a very helpful husband, you know, you want to help your wife grow as a person and be like, your wife comes to you. And she’s like, this terrible thing happened to me today. And I’m like, and what did you do wrong? And that’s like, not helpful, is definitely not, you know, making me feel excited about sex later on.

Especially when you don’t just come right out and say, did you have any part in the bad thing that happened to you? You just say, Well, I mean, did you do this and that sounds accusatory. So yeah, it’s, you know, sometimes just be quiet and listen, and maybe you don’t need a fix right now. Maybe, just maybe just listen, that’s very difficult.

I think Is that what you’re saying? The safety is like building an emotional connection where I feel like I can safely share my emotions and feelings without my husband, an overreacting to the situation like about what the other people did and how you think he hates them? Or, you know, accusing you of not doing something? That’s what you’re talking about with safety here, right?

Yeah, I, I think yes, absolutely. And it’s, um, it’s really this not being judged, you know, because there’s a being accepted for who you are feeling free to be who you are in your marriage. I mean, that’s just like, it’s a dream, you walk into your home, and it’s like vacation like, like, isn’t that what we want?

It’s a dream. And it’s incredibly difficult to achieve. It’s incredibly difficult on both parts, both the person that is hearing and the person that is saying something, it can be really challenging to be like, I am going to be completely honest at this point, and hope that you don’t hate me as a result. Right? That’s and that I don’t, is there a shortcut to that? Can we solve this real quick?

I mean, it took us, at least a decade to get to the point.

We didn’t discover a way to fix it other than just live together and slug it out for years. Like we’re starting to figure that out. Now slug it out that made it sound that put it in different context maritally fighting the fight together. Right. That’s when but yeah, that building that over time, just, it just works. You just got to do it. I don’t know, a shortcut to it.

Yeah, I think and I think it’s also a discipline of the heart of like, you know, how does Jesus see my spouse? You know, does he see them, you know, with the eyes of forgiveness of, he’s clean before Jesus like, and my role in his life is to attract him towards Jesus through loving him well, like, if that’s my heart towards my husband, it’s a very different picture, then I’m going to push him and force him and make him into, I think he should be. And it’s like, no, he’s, he’s got the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is going to do his job and convict my job is just to love this man Well, and help him to be all that God wants him to be. And what is loving him well look like, respect, admire wholehearted sexual intimacy? It’s just what fills him up. And love makes him loved well, and so for the wife to feel safe. You know, that’s the same thing the being pushed and forced and the direct. You didn’t do this. You should do this. Like, honestly, even sending this podcast episode. Sorry, Keelie. Is it okay? If I say this, like her this podcast episode may or may not be helpful. Pray about it first.

Sometimes people do that. They’ll be like, Um, can you answer this question? And then they’ll be like, I show my spouse this. And you know, and sometimes it’s good. And sometimes it’s bad. It’s only ever good if the spouse said, Could you please ask her how I can fill in the blank and she’s too nervous to ask or ask me herself. It almost never goes well, the other way.

Yeah, it’s really tough. But when you love your spouse, well, what I see over and over again, and by God’s grace, you know, a lot of men and Keelie Thank you always for promoting my stuff. And guys come through your stuff. is, you know, men will have gone literally, I’m just thinking of one off the top of my head 38 years sexless. So that’s, you know, one time a year generally. And he would, or I think it’s under 10. But for him, it was zero to four for 38 years. And he did the program. After six months, she started initiating, which she had never done in their whole marriage. And then after, did I say, so three months, I think it was three months, she started initiating six months, she decided out of her own initiation that they should make love weekly. Wow, good for her think another three months, then she joined the women’s program. Now get this. She did not know he did the program for six months. Well, good for him that he didn’t use that program at like, obviously, he was listening to what you said. Right? Obviously.

Right. And he didn’t the thing that I love like there are so many men that come to the program without their wives knowing the reason I love that is because she never feels pressured. She just never like, Oh, he’s just doing this for sex. It’s not real. It’s not just something

I’ve wondered about is, you know, how do you combat that tendency of like, well, I’m going to go take this class and it’s going to fix my life.

Right? Right. Well, the nice thing is, I don’t mind if men come into the program like that better after three months, right? You drill it into them that this is not about fixing their wife, this is about fixing them. Because the nice thing is men a lot of times are motivated by sex. They’re motivated enough that if I get to talk to them, I’m like fruits of the Spirit, fruits of the Spirit. When you look and smell like Jesus, she’s gonna be interested. Right? You’ve got to change your heart. Do you know? Yes, you might start that way. Because, yes, sex fills him up. It’s a love that he feels loved through sex. It’s not just an oh, I have a higher drive. No, this is intrinsic to who he is. Jesus was very clear. In Matthew 19. He talked about, well, you can be a unit by the way you were made, or a unit because you give up sex for the kingdom of God. Or, or it’s a gift, you were given the gift of essential celibacy. But Jesus’ assumption there is if you’re married, you’re having sex like, right? It’s either a gift or it’s not Paul basically makes that clear as well. Like it’s either your gift that you’re able to be celibate, or you chose marriage, because you were interested in sex and so, right. It just fills him up. So I don’t want to ever shame men for having desire because they should not be they weren’t designed to have desire porn did not makeup sex. That style of sex, I call that masculine or fear sex. Because often that’s what men are interested in. They were again, designed that way I kind of call feminine or passionate sex more of like Song of Solomon’s like romantic, slow meditative may or may not end an orgasm. Like that’s kind of that style. But it’s if we can honor and love each other, we can love each other styles and learn to do that. Right. All right, I go into the next one. No, that tells us the other things that women need, so that our men can start understanding that a little bit?

Yes. So known, known, I mean, I think every wife wants to feel like she is the only one he has. Right? Absolutely.

She wants to be the one he dreams about. She wants to be the one he thinks of him, she wants to be the one that he knows her likes, dislikes, passions, desires, hates dis, you know, all of that. She wants him to know. And she wants him to care about those things. And she wants him to act in a way that it matters to him, not because she’s told him plenty of times and all this but like it actually matters. And it informs what gifts he gives her and it informs what choices he makes. And it informs what gifts he sends her just to be silly because he knows her personality and her humor. Right? That’s what we want. We want the No, here’s the question. What if he’s like, Well, I don’t, I’m not interested in what she has to say, I don’t really care about those things. It doesn’t matter. You married her. That’s your choice, right? I’m amazed, utterly amazed at the number of like, even dating couples, where you’ll ask the guy like, well tell us something about her or what she likes or whatever. And they can’t tell you anything. And I’m like, alright, well, this isn’t a relationship. Sorry. But I mean, I even saw people that I knew couple-wise, and the guys just it seemed like, they just didn’t understand their wives like you get to know the wife, you’re like, do you even know her at all? You know, like, how do you not know the way you just said is going to trigger her? I’m sorry. Like, I know that. And I’m not married to her and hasn’t? Like, how do you not know? And I think the main thing is that you know, a lot of men, especially in our generation have been raised on porn, they have not witnessed good role models, there are so many men who they just don’t understand these things. And just like so many women that don’t understand these things, we’re dealing with two individuals who have never been trained on how to be married. And we expect them to do well in a marriage. It’s just like, right? Of course not. You are completely different humans. So, and designed that way, designed to be very, very, very different. So anyway, I just want to encourage a husband to listen like, you can figure this out. Just start studying your wife get a little note on your phone, and just start writing out when she says Oh, did I lose you?

Do we pause it?

Okay, we had a little bit of a hiccup there. I’m not sure how much of that got cut off. Bella, do you remember where you were?

Oh, yes. Oh, yes, I’m ready. All right. Oh yeah, I mean, I just want to encourage the gentleman listening, if you feel like you’re too far gone, you know, you feel like you were, like I said, raised on porn. How in the world does a woman really work? No, it doesn’t work that way. But all you need to do, let me give you a very, very practical thing. Use a note on your phone, and open it up. And when she says something along the lines of like, Oh, that looks really cool. I like that. Write it down, write it down, and slowly get those things where she’s like I was I hate blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And you just get this curious, like a detective mindset on like, okay, what are her likes? What are her dislikes? What does she hate? What, what? What is her favorite type whether it’s jewelry or clothing, shoes or whatever? Not that you would necessarily pick out her shoes.

By the way. Take this same idea. I like this of just sort of like taking notes. Like it’s, you know, like, you’re back in algebra. You know, take notes on your wife. I used to jokingly say, Keelie is my favorite subject, and I get to study or for the rest of my life. Take that. And guys protip is just a quick practical thing. If she ever, ever says I sure would like one of those. Put it in that note app, because Mother’s Day is coming birthday is a kind of Christmas has come in. And if she ever mentions it, The tricky thing is she can’t buy it in the meantime. Yeah, that’s Kelly’s problem. Because I sure would like this. And I’m like Mother’s Day, isn’t it? I get it. Right. I just have to assume that she won’t buy it in the next four weeks. And then I can pull this off. But yeah, I love the idea of you’re talking about, you know, wives want to be known. And yeah, a man like guys, take notes, that’s fine. Write things down. You know, make mental notes, snapshots, whatever you got to do, and refer back to those things. Because was it? I think it was Tim Hawkins who used to have a bit about how he memorized his wife’s Starbucks drink. And it blew her mind. Because he ordered it in the drive-thru one day. Little things like that are helpful. It is the little things often that are exactly right. And so often men want to woosh in with the big, whatever big purchase of a car or something and like that much points as the little thing. Like you got just as many points that are going to fade in a week. So so just like you can just do consistent little things. That’s what makes her feel safe. Like, that’s when these like two categories meld together, like and wholeheartedly cherished, actually, to be quite honest. But like they start melding together, like when she knows you’re consistent, you’re consistently thinking about her, you consistently want to surprise her, that’s when she like relaxes in. I really loved it. I’m really, really held in this relationship. And so yeah, that goes into the wholeheartedly cherish. So. That’s the romance. That’s why we women are guilty pleasure is chick flicks, you know. Sorry, but it is. Um,

see everybody talks about how porn destroyed men’s understanding of sex. Nobody ever talks about romcoms destroying women’s understanding of romance. Nobody ever brings that one.

Well, I mean, I don’t know, watch some chick flicks, but I watched my parents, you know, and that was like, kind of like my standard of romance. And, you know, it was? Yeah, definitely never once had to chase her through an airport.

Oh, yeah. He’s never chased me anywhere.

There’s still time, Austin, they’re still picking me up either. just not gonna happen. He does it sometimes it’s not fun or romantic. And I’m like, how are they doing this to the movies? How’s anybody like this? How does that’s where no one comes in? That’s where the known Kaylee’s different than the rest of them.

I’m different from Touch me not.

Yes, but romcoms really do give some good ideas. So I’m not a huge fan. We’ve we’re definitely superhero movies in this family but very normal, I guess. But my Yeah, the point is that will give you a lot of ideas but she wants to be wholeheartedly chair she wants to be again the one on your mind. She wants surprises. She wants dates, but the reason it’s wholehearted is that you need to want to be there. Right? He needs to be wholehearted. Right. It’s different than you taking her to a fancy restaurant and you’re just like on your phone distracted by your data. Okay, physically, she may be filled. She may have eaten her food, but emotionally it’s not fulfilling. And now let me a metaphor that for wholehearted sexual intimacy. Physically. He may have shown up for you. But if she wasn’t there and engaged and enjoying and pursuing and maybe even fierce, um, it’s not going to be fulfilling for him. So if we can just translate that into, you want to cherish her because you want to, you want to be that man for her that that challenge is all of us. So, again, with how what, how do you get motivated to do all this stuff for your wife? First of all, you got to forgive her. You can’t do this out of an empty tank of you’re carrying on all these rocks of hurts and wounds in the past, you’re coming to your her wife, fully exhausted, and like, I’ve done all these things for you, why aren’t you giving me what I need? That’s never going to work, are never going to be motivated by this. And that’s why you know, we who follow Jesus, like, he models it, you have to forgive first. And then you do first you die to yourself, and you love it first, without expectation. And then you just let God do what he only he can do.

Check out more of our resources, including show notes, at Love Hope Adventure.

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