Two Words That Could Change the Course of Sex in Your Marriage

I’ve written before about two words I tell husbands over and over and two words higher-drive spouses need to hear. While I think those words are important, there are two other words that many marriages need. If you’re unhappy with the sexual intimacy in your marriage, I truly believe they could change the course of sex in your marriage.

And the two words are: I’m sorry.

Couple in bed, facing away from each other + blog post title

When marriages face problems and challenges in their physical intimacy, there is often a storehouse of hurt in one or both spouses. Even if the issues are external or involve sexual baggage brought into the marriage, when our husbands react poorly to what’s going on, we can feel rejected, attacked, abandoned, or misused. Our hurt feelings are harbored in our hearts and weigh us down.

Logically, we might know we should act differently to resolve our issues. Our husbands may know that as well. But we’re both steeped in personal pain that extends beyond whatever’s going on today. He asks for sex, and she’s reminded of all the times he ignored her emotions and pursued his own pleasure. She rejects his advance, and he feels the burden of all the previous refusals. He wants her to wear revealing lingerie, and she feels the pang of his previous porn use. And on and on.

It could be something large or small, but we feel these slights. And oftentimes, we don’t recognize the hurt we’ve caused our spouse with our words and actions. Maybe it was something we did or said that came across in a way we didn’t even intend.

But the hurt is there, it’s real, and it’s affecting sexual intimacy. Or really, just intimacy in your marriage.

What needs to happen? So many marriages need to start with those two words: I’m sorry.

  • I’m sorry I used porn/erotica.
  • I’m sorry I overlooked your sexual needs.
  • I’m sorry I demanded acts you weren’t comfortable with.
  • I’m sorry I assumed you didn’t love me emotionally when you pursued me physically.
  • I’m sorry I stopped touching you to avoid sex.
  • I’m sorry I pressured you and didn’t wait for our wedding night.
  • I’m sorry I didn’t listen.
  • I’m sorry I yelled.

How many of you in your marriages are longing to hear those two simple words from your spouse? I’m sorry.

Of course, that wouldn’t solve everything, but a genuine apology could change the course of your sexual intimacy — demonstrate that your spouse loves and respects you, renew hope for something better, begin to heal wounds long festering in your heart.

What if your spouse needs to hear those words from you?

Let’s face it: Plenty of us are reading this post and thinking, “This is exactly what my husband needs to do — apologize to me!” After all, if he’s 90% of the problem . . .

But I encourage to think about that. Even assuming he is 90% of the problem, you likely didn’t handle something well. You have your own issues that have hampered progress. Perhaps you even enabled his behavior in some way, not pursuing what was good but what was easy.

Almost everyone has some blame they should own up to. And it may be more than you’ve admitted to yourself, or to him.

Step away from the marital bedroom, sit down for a heart-to-heart conversation, and apologize for whatever you’ve done that has muddied the waters of your physical intimacy. It may be the two words your spouse craves, and it could set a new course for sexual intimacy in your marriage.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

8 thoughts on “Two Words That Could Change the Course of Sex in Your Marriage

  1. G

    And who remembers what the actual cause of most disagreements anyway? Okay, my wife does, but anyway, most of the time it doesn’t matter who apologizes and for what. It’s like adding oil to a dying motor; the motor doesn’t care where the oil comes from, it just needs it to keep operating. Besides, I usually get lucky by saying “I’m sorry” even when I wasn’t the source of the issue. Just keep the motor running as smoothly as possible.

  2. Ham

    How true! Sex, whether wonderful or awful, doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It happens within the context of the overall marital relationship. How often do we husbands trivialize our wives needs for simple non-sexual affection, affirmation and attention and then resent them for not being enthusiastic lovers when, in reality they are love-starved? Many of us, myself included, have a lot to answer for, and the “I’m sorry” can be a good start. It doesn’t make a husband less of a man to admit he’s made mistakes and even tears of repentance ; rather, it makes him a bigger man!

  3. Jenny

    It’s difficult to get defensive at an apology, although sometimes trust needs to be built too, and that requires patience. Sometimes a simple date night can break down many barriers.

  4. Dan & Linda Wilson

    This is a really wonderful article- simple, yet of true significance. Being willing to apologize, and actually doing it from time to time, is a great way to enhance every aspect of marriage. We have never been sorry that we said, “I’m sorry.” Linda and I liked this so much we immediately shared it on our Facebook page. Bless you!

  5. edl

    Actually, one I’d love to hear — I’m sorry I slept with so many other people.

    I didn’t have a problem with it when we were dating because I thought I mattered, but after we got married and I found out he wasn’t that into me physically, it became a real problem. And I know he doesn’t regret anyone before me. It leaves me feeling a little … abandoned? It hurts to know that he cherishes all of that desire that he had with other people.

    1. J Post author

      Ooh, that does hurt. I’m so sorry, edl. Some people have the view that the past is past, and they expected to have sex with others before meeting The One, and they just don’t get it. Blessings.

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