The sin of busyness?

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Know when to stop

One huge thing in the Why I say no to sex survey was a lack of time. Both men and women say no to sex because they’re too tired. Unless you have a new baby, being tired most of the time probably means you’re too busy. “Too busy” is an enemy of marriage, killing some outright and leaving others crippled, maimed, or dying.

I’m sure most of you are thinking “I wish someone would say this to my wife”. Good news: my wife does that often. Now the bad news: too busy isn’t just a female problem! Too busy is a way of life for Western culture, and it’s especially bad in the States. Even as we do too much, most of us feel guilty for not doing enough! This madness is doing horrible things to marriages, health, sanity, and our society as a whole. The question I have for you is this: Are you going to stand up and say “NO MORE!”? No matter what your bride does, are you ready to do what is right even though it is not what your culture expects of you?

I can’t point to a scripture saying busyness is sin, but the inevitable results of busyness are clearly contrary to the life God had called us to live. Being too busy, and especially being too busy all the time, is wrong. It’s also destructive. 

Agree? Disagree? Feel trapped? Sound off in the comments!

This is one of seven posts about busyness:

The sin of busyness? 
Too busy because too much is too important
Checkpoints
Playing “the kids” card
Employment and priorities 
Too busy for good sex 
When church/ministry makes you too busy

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27 Comments on “The sin of busyness?

  1. My bride says if our kids want to do a sport or activity we shouldn’t say no. I tell her that if it means we’re always running them somewhere with no downtime it’s too much. Her answer is “It’s for the kids, how can we say no”.

  2. God’s word instructs us to be good stewards of our time. Good stewardship seems to be a delicate balance between being too busy and being too lazy – whether it’s part of the time or all of the time.

    • Joe – Very well said.
      Martin Luther said that God’s truth is like a drunkard trying to ride a horse: prop him up on one side and he topples over on the other. It’s all about balance, and that balance is so difficult to find!

  3. Thank you. The kids thing is a great example. My wife’s extreme busyness has generally been in causes that I think are good. But when do you your church assignment 150%, but can only muster 10-15% for romance and sex, that is evil.

  4. Un-busy is hard for mom’s to understand. It’s a snowball effect, too. It starts small and keeps building. If you’re not aware, pretty soon you are just holding on for the ride because the schedule is so crammed. I was in the midst of the ‘sin of busy.’ But, I came to realize the best thing I could do for my kids was mentor a happy marriage and dote on their father. In the adult world, adults don’t have every whim satisfied. Kids don’t need their every whim satisfied either.

  5. My wife is so tired all the time. She works as a teacher and when she gets home she is still working, either grading papers or trying to work on something in regards to the education system standards. Its really frustrating to me. I feel real fourth rate to her. We’ve been married for 7 years and I’d say 5 years ago when she started working I really saw a change. We went from having sex the first 2 years 5x a week to maybe 3x a month. It got so bad that I started keeping track how much we were having sex per month a few years ago and literally we have decreased significantly in the last 5 years. I don’t know, I feel like she’s married to her job and sleeping. I really think she’s done with me. I don’t want to bring it up because in her last marriage her ex-husband only wanted sex and I don’t want to be compared to him. But I’m really feeling like I have no energy left. I tried to bring it up the other night because I had mentioned to her that I would like to have some intimate time together and she seemed to be on board because she smiled and winked but when we got to bed she was asleep right when she hit the pillow. I’m really stressed. This has been getting worse for the last 5 years and I’m to the point where I don’t know what I’m going to do.

    • Jonathon – Sounds like your wife has fallen for the superwoman lie. She is doing too much, and when we do too much some of what we are doing (or should be doing) does not get done well.

      You have unintentionally made it worse by putting up with it for five years. I’m sure you have let her know it was a problem, but the reality is she keeps doing it and pays no price. If she were sleeping around or getting drunk or shoplifting you probably would have done far more to try to precipitate a chance. By not doing that with the change in sex, you have communicated it’s not a big deal, you don’t like it, but you will put up with it. Changing that message now is not going to be easy. You can, but you will have to say it repeatedly to convince her you mean it.

  6. My wife told me: “I don’t like sex”. That was it. after 12 yrs of pretending she put a stop to any physical activity. She cant tell me why and refuses to do anything about it. Having a religious background means I have no avenue of release. I see more and more people with this problem. All the experts can do is give obviously stupid and selfish advice like: have an affair, do something to make her jealous, masturbate frequently, or even rape her. yep. expert advice. where the hell did we go wrong?!?!

  7. mudanis Yes this is a growing problem – for both men and women who have a spouse who is unwilling to have sex or to have it reasonably frequently.
    In part I blame the chruch for not teaching about this. We rightly tell people that adultery is sin, but we ignore what the Bible clearly says about saying no to sex with our spouse.
    We also fail to address with with couples before marriage.

  8. What do you say to parents of special needs kids? Saying, “Unless there is a new baby in the house” isn’t accurate. Sometimes there are actual legitimate reasons for stress and busyness. It’s exhausting, and most marriage blogs aren’t exactly helpful in that regard. “Just make time for each other” or “stop doing so much” isn’t always practical advice.

  9. Pingback: When a Wife Doesn't Want to Have Sex - Marriage Missions International : Marriage Missions International

  10. Been together 15years with my husband. We have five kids together, the oldest being 12 and the youngest 6. My husband is always working late or it seems making excuses to not come home because I need his help with the kids when he does. I also work full time. When he get’s home late: He wants sex. The moment I lay next to him after doing everything to get kids ready for next day of school…he immediately wants to touch me. I am tired, and I also feel it is all he wants from me. He does not want to talk, He does not want to help out as much with kids. He goes out a lot by himself, and I cannot because of no Baby sitter…..
    He is verbally abusive at times…He is always involving his mother in our marriage and family issues…
    I LOVE SEX!! But I don’t know what to do… My marriage is falling … I am scared …. Any advise???
    He thinks I don’t give him enough pleasure????? I do give him pleasure even when I really don’t feel it with him???

  11. So what DOES the husband do in this situation??
    I’ve been married a little over 20 years. Sex has gone from maybe once a week, to once a month, to every few months, to now every few years.

    When I met my wife I did not just fall in love because she was beautiful (she was and still is), but funny and we enjoyed doing the same things. Our first date was a hike up a mountain together where we looked at the stunning view of the valley below.

    While I had premarital sex with other partners, she did not believe in this and I respected that. Now I think that was a big mistake. While others point out the divorce rate for those who participate in premarital sex I would submit that it is higher because those who refrain from it are normally religious and stick with dead marriages due to biblical teachings.

    I gave up my career for my wife’s. I take care of the kids, cook and clean the dishes. I do everything I can to make sure she is not tired and care for her. I keep myself fit. I think I have been an attentive, caring lover. All has been for naught. There is NO physical contact between us unless I initiate it. If she does touch my I almost think something is wrong.

    She comes home and plops in front of the TV and stays there until she goes to bed. When I try to get her to walk the dog with me, go on a date, something, anything, I get nowhere. It’s been that way since almost day one of our marriage.

    I’ve gotten to where I go to bed later than her to avoid the frustration and anger I feel in bed. Several years ago I turned to pornography. Yes it was wrong, but I felt it was better than having an affair. Of course she discovered it, things got worse and I went through the humiliation of having people in church find out. I think in some ways it was a relief for her as she now had an excuse for denying sex.

    I know every time I hear of a man leaving his wife it is the same thing. The church members cluck about how evil the man was to run off with another woman. My thought? He was not getting cake at home so when he was offered some at a bakery he took it.

    Personally I get pretty upset with what I hear in church at times. I think if most in my church had their way there would only be 38 books in the old testament, not 39. Any guess which one they would cut? One guess- there is NEVER a bible discussion on it except at marriage seminars and it is very, very rarely quoted.

    So again, what does one do? This has gone on so long. I’ve obviously tried talking to her. She even admitted recently that she never really liked sex that much.

    I still love my wife and love how she looks. The thought of hurting her horrifies me and I try to keep reminding myself that we are taught to love our wives as Christ loved the church. He died for me, so I must endure. Our kids are teens and I am convoluted. I don’t want to leave for them, but they are old enough to see our marriage and I don’t like what they are learning from it. My parents did not have a marriage like this- I don’t want them to think this is how a marriage is suppose to be.

  12. So what DOES the husband do in this situation??
    I’ve been married a little over 20 years. Sex has gone from maybe once a week, to once a month, to every few months, to now every few years.

    When I met my wife I did not just fall in love because she was beautiful (she was and still is), but funny and we enjoyed doing the same things. Our first date was a hike up a mountain together where we looked at the stunning view of the valley below.

    While I had premarital sex with other partners, she did not believe in this and I respected that. Now I think that was a big mistake. While others point out the divorce rate for those who participate in premarital sex I would submit that it is higher because those who refrain from it are normally religious and stick with dead marriages due to biblical teachings.

    I gave up my career for my wife’s. I take care of the kids, cook and clean the dishes. I do everything I can to make sure she is not tired and care for her. I keep myself fit. I think I have been an attentive, caring lover. All has been for naught. There is NO physical contact between us unless I initiate it. If she does touch my I almost think something is wrong.

    She comes home and plops in front of the TV and stays there until she goes to bed. When I try to get her to walk the dog with me, go on a date, something, anything, I get nowhere. It’s been that way since almost day one of our marriage.

    I’ve gotten to where I go to bed later than her to avoid the frustration and anger I feel in bed. Several years ago I turned to pornography. Yes it was wrong, but I felt it was better than having an affair. Of course she discovered it, things got worse and I went through the humiliation of having people in church find out. I think in some ways it was a relief for her as she now had an excuse for denying sex.

    I know every time I hear of a man leaving his wife it is the same thing. The church members cluck about how evil the man was to run off with another woman. My thought? He was not getting cake at home so when he was offered some at a bakery he took it.

    Personally I get pretty upset with what I hear in church at times. I think if most in my church had their way there would only be 38 books in the old testament, not 39. Any guess which one they would cut? One guess- there is NEVER a bible discussion on it except at marriage seminars and it is very, very rarely quoted.

    So again, what does one do? This has gone on so long. I’ve obviously tried talking to her. She even admitted recently that she never really liked sex that much.

    I still love my wife and love how she looks. The thought of hurting her horrifies me and I try to keep reminding myself that we are taught to love our wives as Christ loved the church. He died for me, so I must endure. Our kids are teens and I am convoluted. I don’t want to leave for them, but they are old enough to see our marriage and I don’t like what they are learning from it. My parents did not have a marriage like this- I don’t want them to think this is how a marriage is suppose to be.

  13. FRD60 The chruch certainly has major fault in this, and I am the first to discuss that. Family is also a huge factor – what we learn first we learn best.
    After 20 years I doubt there is much hope she will change. Yes I’ve seen it, but it is exceptionally rare and it seems to be about the woman, not anything done by her husband or others. Must of us are unwilling to look at certain sins without ourself, and the longer we go, the less likely we are to confront our sins. Living in a church culture that allows or even supports ignoring our sins makes it even worse.
    As to premarital sex, it does not work as you think. We’ve talked to plenty of couples who have all kinds of sex before marriage, then it was as if a switch were flipped when they said “I do”. Premarital sex is not a predictor of what sex will be like after marriage.

  14. jraghuvir If there is no physical reason for her lack of drive there is likely a mental/emotional reason. Those can be overcome, but she has to want to work on it.
    It is exceptionally rare for a couple to have a solid long-term marriage without a decent sex life. I’m not going to say it never happens, but I’ve never seen it where both are happy and they still connect well as a couple. Sex is far more than physical pleasure and it is a necessary part of a healthy marriage. If your wife can understand that, perhaps she will be motivated to work on sex for the sake of the marriage.

  15. I married to my wife for 3years now. Fist few month was something like 1x month more when we tryed for a baby but after my son was born we ended having sex one every 6-8 month only. She always complain when I make advances. When I return home after busy work im tired yet I see andd asked she is all fine not really tired but asoon as I make a advance on her then she is tired and got a migraine. I dont know what else to do. This is putting alot of strain on our marriage life. I feel we should be having more sex per week for the few years we are married now. She also still want a nother child but at this point I dont think our marriage will make it if a second child is there. Then shell find more excuses not to have sex. Im at a lost with my marriage.

  16. migraine man The longer you continue in the status quo the harder it will be to change.
    I doubt she is happy with the current situation, but for her the issue may not be about sex. You need to find out what is not as she would like it. Do whatever is right and reasonable for you to do, then help her do what she needs to do to change what she does not like. Then make a bigger deal about changing your sex life.
    Work on what she’s unhappy about first, then it’s your turn.

  17. migraine man The longer you continue in the status quo the harder it will be to change.
    I doubt she is happy with the current situation, but for her the issue may not be about sex. You need to find out what is not as she would like it. Do whatever is right and reasonable for you to do, then help her do what she needs to do to change what she does not like. Then make a bigger deal about changing your sex life.
    Work on what she’s unhappy about first, then it’s your turn.

  18. I have a question. I’m married for 13 years now. I’m still extremely attracted to my wife but she doesn’t want to have sex frequently anymore. 1 or 2 times a month if i’m lucky. I tried to talk to her numerous times and she always states that she likes sex but she doesn’t feel like having it – not in the mood. I asked if i can do/change something to increase her desire but she always states that everything is great but she is not in the mood. It is becoming extremely frustrating to me because she never seems to be in the mood when i want to have sex but i always have to say yes when she finally gets in the mood. Sex is becoming a topic of stress and tension instead of connection and intimacy. We also now don’t try anything “different”. It is always the same sex.

  19. nhusband  I would say you need to work to get her to understand how big a problem this is for you. If she understands she will hopefully be willing to work on it. If she understands and is unwilling, then your problem is not sexual, it’s about selfishness.

  20. themarriagebed she definitely understands. We had long talks but she always goes back to “i’m not in the mood”. She keeps saying there is nothing she can do. For me it is very strange because i would think that if you like something you would want to do it more not less. Especially if you know that it will create issues in the relationship.

  21. nhusband themarriagebed  She may have guilt over it. Some women feel bad about enjoying sex because of bad teaching in their past. Others feel they don’t deserve to do things they enjoy, which is more about low self-image.

  22. The Bible does talk about the sin of busyness. Look at all of the do not’s for Sunday. The reason why we do not on Sunday things we do on other days is so we have enough time to focus on Activities that make Sunday the Sabbath. And by so doing the Sabbath becomes a delight.

  23. I have been married almost twelve years. It pains me to say that I feel the way so many other husband’s on this site do. I am married to a woman who I love more than anything, but leaves me feeling unloved, unappreciated, and undesired. My wife never initiates sex and usually rejects me four out of every fifth time I ask and only agrees to “make me happy”. The sad part is I usually feel worse with the way she accepts because she is unenthusiastic and looks at it as a chore.

    I work hard to provide a great life to my wife and three kids and always buy nice things and presents for her and get her everything she asks for when we can afford it. I take the family on great trips to Disney every year and at least one other place to give us opportunities to spend time as a family and build wonderful memories. I actually do all the cooking and help around the house with a lot of the cleaning. I am very handy so I take care of a lot of the projects around the house to save money from having to hire people. I don’t work too much that I am not home, it is actually quite the contrary as I get home early to watch the kids while my wife finishes work and always have dinner on the table for the family when she finishes and even clean up when we are done eating. I watch the kids often enough for her to go out with her girlfriends and put the to bed myself so she can go have fun.

    I am not over weight and keep myself in pretty good shape. Other than the fact that I lost my hair at an early age, I believe that I am reasonably attractive. I try to be a very generous lover making sure my wife gets a pleasure before intercourse because she cannot finish otherwise. Often she gives constant excuses as to why we can’t make love such as she is tired, her stomach hurts (she has stomach problems but constantly eats and drinks things that affect it), or just doesn’t want to. When we do actually make love, she rarely returns the favor of oral sex and I always do all the work.

    I have talked to her countless times as to how she makes me feel and it gets better for a couple weeks but always reverts right back. Often I feel like a dope and that my wife is using me for all I do because she doesn’t really love me anymore. She never is affectionate to me on her own in other ways besides sex either. Never comes up to me and compliments me, or hug and love on me, or tell me she appreciates things that I do. Never says thank you. Gets mad if I work too long on a project on the weekends instead of being happy I am doing the job unlike other wife’s husband’s.

    What am I to do? Is this really the marriage I have to look forward to for the rest of our lives? I am barely thirty five years old and I get depressed thinking about how it will look another ten years from now. I always told myself I don’t ever want to be with someone who doesn’t love or appreciate me but I can’t imagine my life without her and she is a great mother to our kids and I would never want to hurt them by having them grow up without us together. Am I a fool and being used? Am I being ridiculous for feeling the way that I do? I am so confused.

    • @Dominic – Assuming it is all as you see it, I would say your wife is rather selfish or rather broken – or a combination of both. You can do things to precipitate change, but you can’t force change, it is ultimately about her free will.
      I’ve seen ultimatums work in such a situation, but I’ve also seen the same end a marriage, so it’s risk at best.

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