Having reached the age of six months, it was time for that dreaded day, the Day of Neutering and Spaying for the pups.
If Professor Diggers could talk, he would assure you that he is, in fact, dying inside…this cone.
All he NEEDS in order to be happy, he would explain, is for his humans to listen when he says:
“Humans, I’m not happy in this cone. Here’s why. Let’s change it.”
Alas, Professor Diggers is not alone. After her spaying surgery, Miss Ruby developed a hernia and had to have a second surgery a few days later to repair it. She has to spend 10-14 days in her kennel except for when we walk her outside to go to the bathroom:
She lets us know by doing her high-pitched Shiba Inu scream at top volume that she is lit-er-al-ly dying inside her kennel while the Professor is out of his.
And truly, I believe the pups are unhappy and feel like they are dying. What they don’t understand is that we placed that cone on Professor Diggers not to harm him – despite how truly miserable it makes him – but to help him. His persistent licking and biting at his stitches was preventing healing that needed to occur; if he will obey us – stop trying to tear off his cone, stop biting at his stitches – he will be freed in due time. And we placed Miss Ruby in her kennel because she was tearing around the house at top speed, jumping over furniture, and ripping open the suture site. Eventually she will be freed, but when is not her decision to make because she lacks the wisdom that we possess.
For someone who is in a marriage where there is little emotional intimacy or perhaps little physical intimacy, the suffering is real. It feels terrible, and a lack of intimacy in marriage does not reflect the one-flesh union God designed marriage to be.
Let me address the sisters here, and leave the brothers to someone else.
You are not literally dying if your marriage lacks intimacy. A woman does not NEED emotional intimacy in order to honor her wedding vows. Never – not even once – does the Bible say that if there is no emotional intimacy, it is permissible to divorce your spouse. Rather, this is what the Bible says:
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband (1 Cor 7:10)
Does that mean a woman without marital intimacy is not suffering? Of course it doesn’t. She IS suffering. Just like Christ suffered upon the cross of Calvary, the same Christ who said:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
What does following Him entail? It involves obeying him even when we are suffering emotionally. Do you think Jesus cannot understand what it is to obey God while suffering?
And being found in human form, [Christ] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
You are not being asked to die physically (and if you are in physical danger, then physical separation is probably reasonable), as Christ was, but you are being asked to be obedient to Him while suffering emotionally.
Sometimes life involves suffering. If women are so strong, can we not then endure the heartache of an emotionally-unsatisfying marriage and obey God’s direct command not to divorce or even to threaten to divorce?
We can. And here is one reason why we should:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
The words “light and momentary troubles” were penned by St. Paul, a man whose troubles included being beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, going hungry, and eventually being martyred. A lack of emotional intimacy in marriage is very painful, but under direction from God, St. Paul penned the letters to the Corinthians explaining that the sufferings in this world are light and momentary compared to the eternal glory we receive for obeying God even when it’s hard as hell.
Sisters, I don’t write this as someone who cannot empathize. Trust me, I can.
If your husband rejects you or ignores you, it’s okay to feel hurt. It’s okay to tell him how you feel. You might also try asking him if there is some particular reason why he doesn’t want to connect with you emotionally. But there may not be any reason other that his own sin. So be it.
You don’t have to (threaten to) divorce him. Fix your gaze on God instead and understand that while a marriage that lacks intimacy does not please Him, your obedience to Him despite feeling so alone DOES please Him. Obeying God means not divorcing, not threatening to divorce, and treating your husband with respect regardless of how you feel.
Instead of griping at a hard-hearted husband, pray for him instead. God can and will do miraculous things when we ask Him, and things may change. But even if your husband stays hard-hearted toward you, pray for him anyway, every day for years if need be, and ask God to fill your emotional needs, just like a widow asks God to meet her physical needs. He can and He will:
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 John 3:22)
You may not understand why God commands you to remain in a marriage that does not reflect how He designed marriage to be. But just like I have wisdom my dogs lack, God has wisdom that we lack, and He uses our obedience to transform us more and more into His Son’s likeness. He can bring good for us out of an unhappy situation:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
We women can honor our wedding vows and treat our husbands with respect out of obedience to God, regardless of what our husbands may or may not be doing. And if we want to please God, we must obey Him.