I appreciate both wives today sharing their stories about this difficult topic. So thankful for all that God is doing in our midst! Whether I am the higher drive spouse or the lower drive spouse at the time – God calls me to learn to be more selfless, giving, patient, respectful, and understanding. He can use the variations in libido in a marriage to help each spouse learn to be content in Him alone and to learn to seek to please Him far above anything or anyone else. This is an area where we must all learn to die to self. When we do, there are great blessings in store for us spiritually, and maybe even healing sexually for the marriage.
(Note – this post is not written for wives who are being sexually abused or physically abused. If that is your situation, or if you are dealing with active drug/alcohol addictions or unrepentant adultery, please seek godly, experienced, trusted help one-on-one. If you or your husband are struggling with porn, please check out the links to resources at the bottom of the post.)
FROM A SISTER IN CHRIST WHO IS BEGINNING TO TAKE SERIOUS STEPS ON THIS JOURNEY:
So the other day I wrote a really long comment about part of my journey, but it was lost along the way. The funny thing is, writing about it helped me to work through some of my feelings. I am going to try to remember the jist of what I wrote, because I think it was definitely a lightbulb moment for me.
Of course, my journey has been a little different, but we all have different journeys.
A LIGHT BULB MOMENT
I get a devotional in my inbox each day from Dr. Charles Stanley. This one was about controlling our appetites. And what he said really jumped out at me. Now, I don’t have too much trouble controlling my appetite for food (says the girl who is sitting here eating jellybeans as she types this!) 🙂 But I do have trouble with my appetite for intimacy with my husband. See, I am in the awkward position of having the higher sex drive in our relationship, and that has tortured me for a long time.
(Note from Peacefulwife – this is actually pretty common for a wife to be higher drive, especially as couples enter into their 30s/40s and beyond. It isn’t that unusual at all, especially, it seems, if the wife is the stronger personality and the husband is more passive.)
As you know, I have struggled greatly with his lower libido. I have allowed our situation to make me feel uglier, unappreciated, and completely worthless as a wife and a woman. Finally, recently, I have begun to see and understand my worth in Christ, and that helps a great deal. So often I need to refocus. Like, daily. But here is what jumped out at me from the devotion:
“Human appetites, in themselves, are not sinful. In fact, they’re God-given. However, because of our fleshly weaknesses, they need to be controlled. When our appetites rule us, we’re in trouble.”
You see, my appetite for intimacy with my husband has been ruling me.
I’ve been allowing my desire for my husband and the imbalance in our libidos to consume me, and to control my thoughts and waste my time. For so long, I prayed that God would take away my desires for my husband, but He has not. I think He may be using our situation to grow me. To grow us. Granted, our situation isn’t the typical one, but so what?
For me, it’s not about the “release” (I really hate that word). It’s about the connection with my husband, and my husband only. He is happy to connect once a week, which is far, far, far too little for my taste. As anyone who has struggled with this issue knows, the spouse with the lower libido has all the control and that can be incredibly frustrating and can feel demeaning.
I have allowed my frustrations to control my thoughts and emotions, and for my thoughts to control me. I have allowed my fretting over this to monopolize my time. I think me being stuck here has been pleasing to Satan, because it has seriously limited my time with God.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
So I finally realized, my desire for my husband is not a bad thing. It is not the curse I was beginning to think it was. It is a God-given appetite and it is good. However, I need to learn to control my appetite. The problem here isn’t my husband’s lower desire, but perhaps it is my out-of-control appetite. (From Peacefulwife – most couples do not have the exact same level of desire all of the time. One is not wrong, necessarily. The most important thing is how we handle the difference in desire levels.)
So just this week I’ve begun working on things I’ve been procrastinating about, like cleaning the storage room. I have been neglecting my duties because I have been wallowing in self-pity. I’ve been wasting so much time being hyper-focused on this issue.
I’ve decided to stop praying for God to take away my desire for my husband. I am going to try to squash my appetite when it gets too intense, just like I have learned to squash cravings for junk food. I need to redirect myself.
Honestly, I’m not sure if this is totally what I’m supposed to be learning about this, but it sure feels like a step in the right direction. And it sure beats feeling ugly and worthless all of the time. And my husband has been much more relaxed and happier the past couple days. I guess he can sense my more pleasant demeanor.
I know he doesn’t like it when I feel so badly about myself, and he has even shared that he feels really badly that he makes me feel so badly. He doesn’t actually make me feel badly on purpose, it’s like a side effect. But in order to bless him, I need to learn to control my feelings, and my thoughts especially when they head in a negative direction. I might make this sound easy, but trust me – for me it is not easy! But I’m going to try. And I’ll fail. And I’ll try again. 🙂
FROM ANOTHER WIFE WHO HAD A HIGHER DRIVE:
I was the more dominant personality and my husband was more passive earlier in our marriage. My attempts to control extended to our physical intimacy, too, unfortunately. My husband was working extremely long hours at a very physically demanding job and was completely exhausted most evenings, not even getting to bed until midnight or 1am – which didn’t help matters, of course. (He was not addicted to porn.)
I’m so thankful for what God has shown me about being a more peaceful wife. What eventually worked for my own sanity and to bless my husband was for me to back off, give him more space, grace, and time instead of expecting intimacy every night. I learned to be patient and to be content in Christ no matter what my husband was or was not doing – to stop using the number of times per week/month we had intimacy as a measure of my husband’s love for me or as a measure of my security like this blog talks about.
I learned to really respect him, to accept that his libido was lower than mine in this season (rather than assume “he must not love me” as I had done earlier), to honor him, and to be more selfless. I stopped verbally pressuring him (which I had been doing just about every day) and began to enjoy whatever attention and affection he did give to me. I sought to be joyfully receptive to any advances by him but God also helped me see I needed to not to hold any bitterness or resentment against my husband on the days or even weeks when he was too tired.
I learned to focus on good things and to set down my expectations and stop focusing on self, but rather focus on allowing Christ to change me. I learned that I had been really selfish in so many ways (not just in this area) and that my particular husband was emotionally wounded from my approach in the marriage and needed time to heal. He also needed a break from his extremely demanding work schedule.
Now I can be content with lots of intimacy with my husband or with no intimacy. In the power of Christ, I can be content in all circumstances through Him who gives me strength! (Phil. 4:12-13)
For us, over the course of several months, as I gave my husband more space and time and as I learned to respect and honor him – his libido began to increase again. His work schedule also improved dramatically which has been a great help and now we both enjoy intimacy often and it is a blessing to both of us again.
FOR THOSE WIVES WITH A HIGHER DRIVE:
She Has the Stronger Sex Drive – Shaunti Feldhahn’s site
Oneness in Marriage- Not Too Close, but Not Too Far Away (not being enmeshed or codependent or having husband as an idol)
FOR THOSE WIVES WITH A LOWER LIBIDO:
FOR WIVES WHOSE HUSBANDS ARE INVOLVED IN PORN OR WHO ARE INVOLVED IN PORN THEMSELVES: