WARNING, LADIES: This post is a big-time trigger alert for some of you. If the thought of issue causes too much distress, and you are not emotionally/spiritually ready to read about it – please, please just skip it for now and focus on your identity in Christ and spiritual healing for yourself.
I am going to share one wife’s story and how she believes God has led her to handle this painful issue. This may be a blessing to you if you are in a similar situation AND if you are emotionally and spiritually strong enough in Christ to face this thing head on. God may show you a different way to approach this issue and that is totally fine. 🙂 My prayer is that each wife will be sensitive to how God may desire her to handle her own marriage issues for His glory by His Spirit’s power. But the main point is that there is hope in Christ and that He can give us the power to face the fiery trials in our lives.
Sometimes women just have a lot of insecurities about themselves, their body image, and their husbands – and can’t receive the truth that their husbands truly ARE attracted to them. That is a difficult, painful, and frustrating situation for husbands and wives in that situation that is addressed in more detail by a husband here.
Other times husbands just feel so disrespected and controlled, that they lose their attraction to their wives because of this. This happens quite often, from what I can tell. Eventually, when a wife begins to learn to respect and honor her husband, the attraction often comes back in time.
Sometimes husbands face their own issues of medical problems with impotence, side effects from medications, stress, depression, shame (for some things that may be sinful and some that may not be sinful), porn addiction, or other things that impact their libido that don’t have much to do with their wives. Or maybe they just have a naturally low libido. There are men who only desire sex once a week or even every 2 weeks or so – and it isn’t because they don’t desire their wives, they just have a low appetite.
But some husbands truly are no longer attracted to their wives physically and there aren’t any other issues going on. What an incredibly painful situation that is for both husband and wife. No wife ever wants to feel that her husband has no desire for her body. I am sure that most husbands feel awful about this, as well – and, if they are remotely good-willed, which many husbands are.
- I think this may be one of the top fears many wives have in marriage. What can we do if we find ourselves in this situation? What would please God? What would bless our marriages? How do we maintain our own spiritual strength?
I’m thankful that a friend of mine is willing to share the wisdom God has given to her as she has had to navigate this issue in recent years in her own marriage. Perhaps it may provide some encouragement for other wives, as well.
FROM A DEAR 50-SOMETHING SISTER IN CHRIST
There is nothing like knowing that your husband is not physically attracted to you.
Maybe it’s because you don’t fit into the “dream girl” vision he has in his mind or maybe it’s because you have let yourself go. In other words, there are some things that are in your control and others that are not. Right or wrong, this is where he is at and if you want to be a blessing to him, there are things you can do to help the situation.
I felt like I had failed my husband as a wife because I was not able to provide the “eye candy” so many men crave.
I spent some time mourning when I realized I would never receive that look from him that says, “you’re beautiful.” I also experienced feelings of defeat when I realized I cannot compare with pretty women he encounters personally on a daily basis and via the media. Included with that was an apprehension to “woo” him, as I didn’t feel I had the ability to do so successfully.
My natural inclination is to want to withdraw from my husband because it seemingly appears to be a safe way to handle the issue. I constantly strive to fight against this attitude because it is not in the best interest of our relationship and would only serve to doom the marriage.
1 Corinthians 7:5 says I am not to deprive myself from my husband so I choose to focus on being open to providing opportunities to be with him as often as the need arises.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
- What you can control – weight, clothing, hygiene, your attitude, your spiritual growth, your obedience to God
- What you cannot control – certain physical features, his perception, his sin, his obedience to God
Regarding the things you can control:
- Are you overweight? Create new eating habits. Work out.
- Do you tend to lounge around the house in your pajamas with unbrushed hair and teeth, no deodorant and unshaved legs? Get dressed every day. Use general hygiene. Shave those legs.
- Hey, even consider putting on a little makeup to accentuate your features.
For those things you cannot control:
- You need to accept that and not own his attitude. This is between him and the Lord and is no reflection on you as a person.
- A bad attitude toward him will only increase the distance that is already there.
- This doesn’t give you license to pull away from him.
It is natural to feel ill will toward him and to withdraw from him. I know you feel hurt, but you need to fight any urges to build animosity with him or to pull away from him. You need to continue to pursue a close relationship with him. This is what you are called to do as a wife. It is part of being his “helpmeet”.
It is important for you to continue to engage with him.
- Flirt (if he is receptive)
- Offer kisses
- Seek to be around him
- Respect the good in him and the fact that he is your husband
- Honor him
Keep in mind that all this has to occur without any level of expectation, though, on your part. The goal is to bless him, not coerce him into acting lovingly towards you.
I suppose I am in a healthy spot, spiritually, so dealing with this hasn’t been as hard as it may be if I wasn’t in a good place spiritually – probably because I do find my security, acceptance, and fulfillment in Christ. We all have things we deal with in life and this is where I’m at. But the main point is that I have been able to look at things through the eyes of Christ – which has given me the wisdom and power I need to attempt to handle my husband’s current feelings with grace.
I think it can be a good thing to try to look attractive for your husband – within reason, of course. The best reason for us to seek to be healthy and to take good care of our bodies, in my view, is so that we are being good stewards of the bodies God has given to us. (It is possible to make our appearance, being thin, beauty, etc… into idols – so we do have to be careful not to make external beauty the most important thing.)
We can cut out sugar, junk food, fried things, and unhealthy foods – exchanging those things for water, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean meats so that we are taking the best care of our bodies. We can focus on exercising 30 minutes/day or so. If you don’t have time to exercise – your husband may be willing for you to cut back your work hours or he may be willing to watch the children so that you can have some time to do this. He may even enjoy working out with you. Might be fun! If you have medical issues that are impacting your weight or your ability to lose weight, please speak to your doctor.
If food is an idol for you, and you turn to it for comfort – that is something to deal with before God. Christ is our greatest source of comfort, fulfillment, purpose, and identity – not food, not marriage, our husband, or anything or anyone else.
Something I did was grow my hair back out because Greg loves it long. I had cut it so short earlier in our marriage in total disregard for his preferences. But as I began to walk this road to become a godly wife, I realized that I needed to be be willing to consider my husband’s feelings, too, about how he liked my hair, how I dressed, etc… and not just my own preferences.
We can own our own attitude and be open, safe, calm, peaceful, respectful, warm, and even fun. 🙂 We can get rid of any sin in our own lives and develop that feminine beauty that God cherishes so much – that gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear. We can study godly femininity and seek to become the women God calls us to be.
BEAUTIFUL FOR ME:
For wives in very difficult, painful marriages, checkout Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”
She Has the Stronger Sex Drive – Shaunti Feldman’s site, a 3 part series
The story of Leah in the Old Testament – Jacob was not attracted to her, and yet, God noticed her situation and richly blessed her.