Before we get married, we tend to think to ourselves, “Wow, once we are married, I’ll get to have sex with my guy any time I want! It will be AWESOME!”
There is often (but not always) a beautiful honeymoon period where both husband and wife are delighted in being together and enjoying sex together. It can be glorious. Sex is a beautiful gift of God to married couples. The ideal goal is for couples to have sex regularly and to both enjoy it together and for each to seek to be as available as possible to the other, to be compassionate, loving, selfless, and giving. Sex – the one flesh relationship – is intended by God to be a picture of the spiritual oneness of Christ and His bride, the church.
But what we usually don’t expect or plan for, is the reality that there are likely to be many times in marriage when sex doesn’t or can’t happen. It can be for a large variety of reasons, but almost all of us experience some times where at least one spouse:
- Has a major illness or injury.
- Has medical issues that make having sex very difficult – lower back problems, pregnancy, bedrest, recurrent yeast infections, STDs, PTSD, arthritis, etc…
- Suffers from sexual dysfunction or pain.
- Is in the hospital for a while.
- Is dealing with the needs of very sick young children who need almost constant care and attention.
- Is extremely depressed or spiritually oppressed and can’t function in life in general and loses interest in sex.
- Has a very different level of libido at the time.
- Takes a medication (certain anti-depressants, birth control pills, blood pressure pills, etc…) that interfere with libido and sexual function.
- Has a porn addiction that gets so severe that the spouse can’t function anymore sexually in marriage.
- Is suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse and can’t seem to get past the fear, shame, and horror he/she associates with sex.
- Is deployed or has to be gone with work for extended periods of time.
- Has a completely different work schedule and you are never in bed at the same time.
- Is so exhausted from working 70-80 hours per week that he/she has no energy left for sex.
- Doesn’t recognize the signals the other one gives to try to initiate sex.
- Has an affair.
- Had an affair and it is not wise or safe to have sex again yet.
- Decides to separate.
- Determines to divorce against the other’s will.
- Dies and the other is left alone.
Truthfully, as people age, things change sometimes. If you are not aware of this, let’s put it out there, ladies:
- Men tend to peak in their sexual performance and libido in their late teens or twenties.
- Women tend to peak in their sexual performance and libido in their mid thirties.
- With increasing age, men are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and prostate enlargement – all of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. It is not 100% of men. But it is an increasingly larger percentage of men over time.
- As women enter peri-menopause, we are likely to experience vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal tissue which can create pain with vaginal intercourse.
- As hormones begin to wane in older age, libido tends to decrease a lot. Some people do have sex into their 70s and 80s. That is awesome! But not everyone does or can. And that is okay, too.
So we are probably all going to face this issue at some point or another – probably not by choice. What can we do?
FROM A BELIEVING WIFE WHO HAS BEEN THERE:
Just like everything else in life that we have to face and let go of, if we are in a time where we have to be celibate, what will come up is our will in contrast to the will of God. That is always where the battle lies! When we can’t do, have, or be what we want, right now, that is what makes it so much harder to face and let go of it!
If we are in a time where we have to be celibate, it will come down to this: are we going to accept that this is God’s will for us right now? Or are we going to kick and fight against it, clinging to our own will in the matter, and seeking to make our will happen?
The reason it is so hard to do anything we don’t want to do is because we don’t want to do it!
We want something else, something other than God’s will at the moment! And that is the battle we all face in so many different things in life. But just as in this situation, the Lord is seeking to create in us the Spirit of Christ that lets go of all, empties all of self, that God may fill us up with His all! We have to let go of our own will in order to come into all that God is purposing!
The longer we cling to our own will and way in life, the more miserable, dry, and fleshly we become.
But the sooner we surrender to His will in any moment and season in our life, the sooner our heart is filled to overflowing with the peace, rest, and presence of God which FAR surpasses any fleeting sexual pleasure we may get by having our will instead of His!
He is seeking to make Christ Lord and our All-in-All when things in life do not go our way!! <3
FROM PEACEFUL WIFE
Here are some suggestions to prayerfully consider…
- Resent God.
- Focus on all that you are missing and how deprived you are.
- Allow resentment to develop toward your husband.
- Listen to Satan’s accusations against your husband.
- Feed your mind and heart with lots of marriage resources about sex if you can’t have sex at the time and reading about it upsets you.
- Read about how “normal men all want sex every day.” Not helpful. And not true.
- Freak out.
- Lash out at your husband in resentment or hatred.
- Tell him how “he is not a real man” if he won’t/can’t have sex with you, insult his manhood, or call him names.
- Look outside your marriage for sexual satisfaction (porn, raunchy novels, that guy that flirts with you at work, other women, etc…)
- Talk to another man about how deprived you feel sexually.
- Turn to the Lord in faith. Pour out your heart to Him.
- Claim His promises to you and stand on them. (Ie: Rom. 8:28-29 and James 1)
- Pray about the situation, invite God to heal your sex life and marriage. To work to accomplish His will and His good purposes to help you grow in your faith and in spiritual maturity.
- Guard your heart from other men and from sources of temptation in the media.
- Be willing to take care of any issues on your end so that you can be available to your husband.
- Share with your husband what you would like, if appropriate – if it is possible for him – but don’t try to force or pressure him.
- Respond with grace if he can’t or won’t have sex with you.
- Focus on all of the good things about your husband and marriage.
- Think about all the things you respect and enjoy about your husband.
- Be available to help your husband respectfully with any issues he may have that are contributing to the problem.
- Be his teammate.
- Continue to respect your husband and to honor his leadership appropriately.
- Enjoy affection with him if he is up for that.
- Enjoy spiritual intimacy if he is receptive.
- Starve your flesh by switching your thoughts from sex to the Lord, His Word, His love, His promises, and other things.
- You can seriously dramatically lower your sexual desire level, if necessary, simply by diverting your thoughts. Then if sex becomes available with your husband again later, you can begin thinking more about sex to increase your desire level. How much you think about sex can raise or lower your libido level a lot.
- Take your thoughts captive for Christ.
- Depend on Christ for the strength you need to walk in holiness and self-control, be Spirit-filled.
NOTE #1 – If you are getting older and there are severe medical issues going on, and neither of you are really interested in sex anymore, give yourself and your husband some grace. Marriage books and blogs talk about how “men want sex” and “a man’s greatest need is sex.” Well, that may be true sometimes in certain situations. But as we age, things can change. You may be able to enjoy simply being sensual together. If neither of you seriously desires sex, or one or both of you are no longer capable of having sex, it is okay to let that go and just enjoy each other in other ways. Don’t let marriage books or blogs and the generalities they share make you worry about your marriage if you have a particular situation and medically can’t have sex and are both truly content with that.
NOTE #2 – Reminder: Sexual refusal is not something either spouse should purposely do to the other. If your spouse is able to have sex but is purposely withholding, or you are able to have sex but are purposely withholding, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 addresses that. We are to be available to our spouses. Not to force them into sex or selfishly “take” sex. But each spouse is to be ready to freely and generously give to the other if it is possible.
If you have wisdom to share, you are welcome to share here. You can set up your name to be anonymous if you would like. And if you are struggling, you are also welcome to share and be encouraged here. 🙂
Placing My Higher Sexual Appetite Under God’s Control – a guest post
Encouragement for Military Wives Whose Husbands Are Deployed – a guest post
Nina Roesner’s e-course for wives in difficult marriages: “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”