Tag Archives: not attracted to husband

How to Boost Romantic Chemistry in Your Marriage

On Monday, I started answering a reader question about what to do if you don’t find your husband attractive. The wife’s question went like this:

Recently I’ve realized that I’m not attracted to my husband. I don’t think I ever was. He’s a good looking guy, but not my type of good looking. . . . I feel [guilty] and shallow, for being so upset that I don’t feel SOMETHING when he walks in the door, or when I spot him in a crowd of people.

Do you have any advice for me?

I have to believe other wives are out there with similar stories. Maybe you wed your husband because he’s a great guy, a devoted Christian, a wonderful provider, or the sort of guy you figured you’d marry, but he didn’t give you that heady sensation we often expect with love. Or maybe you were once very attracted to your husband, but now, not so much.

Where are you supposed to go from here?! You’d like for the guy you share a bed with every night to give you a case of the yeah-baby! tingles.

Earlier this week, I covered three important perceptions you can work on to help increase your attraction to your husband. Today, let’s talk about “romantic chemistry.”

Romantic chemistry is called that for a reason: Actual body chemicals are involved in our attraction and connection to a romantic partner. We feel drawn to or aroused by someone who gets certain natural chemicals moving through our bodies. Numerous studies have looked into these chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins. When our partner is nearby and we experience these body chemicals, we feel bonded to that person.

If you don’t have that automatically, you can still foster the firing of those chemicals in your body when your husband is near. What can you actively do to get that “love potion” moving through your veins?

couple in lab + blog post title

Oxytocin. Often referred to as the “bonding chemical,” oxytocin is released when you experience deep embraces, nursing an infant, and sexual activity. It creates feelings of connection and attachment and love.

You can increase its presence by engaging in physical touch, like holding hands and sustained hugs of twenty seconds or more. It’s important to hang on to that touch long enough for your body to register the affection and respond with an oxytocin release. And yes, sexual encounters with your husband definitely impact the “bonding chemical” — with sex capable of producing an oxytocin rush for wives at three to five times the norm.

Dopamine. Dopamine is involved in the reward system of the brain — a chemical that provides good sensations when a particular activity is experienced. Matching the activity and the feel-good results, we learn to repeat that behavior again and again to get the same “high.” It’s what contributes to addictions, but it’s also what contributes to a continuing desire to be with someone you love.

Make use of that reward system and pair good sensations with your mate! When dopamine is combined with other chemicals in humans, including oxytocin, our happy-place feelings become attached to the individual who helped create them — our spouse. Watch a delightful romantic comedy together, have him give you a relaxing massage, or experience orgasm in his arms. Let dopamine fire away and get you “addicted” to love with your husband.

Testosterone. Research has shown that testosterone fuels sex drive in both men and women, and feeling “lovestruck” gives women a natural boost of testosterone. But don’t worry about the chicken-or-egg argument for what comes first; add a boost of testosterone and see if that doesn’t increase chemistry with your guy.

How can you naturally increase testosterone? LiveStrong has several ideas, among them:

  • eat plenty of protein
  • intake enough “good fats”
  • limit alcohol intake
  • take Vitamin C . . .

And have sex at least weekly, since longer periods of inactivity with your mate cause a drop in testosterone production.

Endorphins. Endorphins aren’t usually part of the heart-pounding attraction you experience when he walks into the room. Instead, these naturally occurring chemicals take longer to cultivate. But they’ve been compared to opiates in their ability to produce feelings of calm, stress-reduction, and general happiness. Endorphins are what cause the “runner’s high” (for you other people who keep running long enough to experience it).

How can you increase your “love opiates”? Certain foods stimulate the release of endorphins, including spicy foods and chocolate. Why not incorporate snuggling and snacking on endorphin-releasing nourishment? Smells can also trigger endorphins, particularly lavender and vanilla. You could burn vanilla-scented candles or place lavender-scented potpourri in your bedroom. Or go all out, grab some lavender-vanilla massage oil, and get to rubbing each other!

Exercise more, exercise together. Endorphins are released with steady exercise, and sharing those moments with your husband means you feel that “runner’s high” when he’s around — getting a double-whammy. Laugh! Oh yeah, research has shown that laughter triggers endorphins. So watch comedies together, share jokes and word play, flirt and giggle, even go to a Christian comedy show for date night. And, of course, sex releases endorphins. Have some of that with him.

Others chemicals are involved in chemistry and unleashed by spending enjoyable time with your spouse, engaging in physical touch, and keeping yourself healthy. And while it may seem like I’m skewing the results toward sex (writing as I do about married sex), honestly everywhere I turned to research the issue of romantic chemistry, sex with your mate triggered increases in the chemicals needed to feel connected, attached, loved. And some of these effects are only seen in those with long-term, committed relationships.

Turns out “have more sex” is a pretty good prescription for your marriage! No wonder I keep saying it. *smile*

Sources: Love Chemicals and Chemistry of Love – About EducationThe chemistry of love: Oxytocin may drive monogamy in relationships – Los Angeles TimesThe Chemicals Between Us: Chemistry in Romance – Heroes and Heartbreakers.comHow to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally in Women – LiveStrong.comCupid’s chemistry – Royal Society of Chemistry; The science of love: I get a kick out of you, The Economist; How to Supercharge Your Sex Drive – HuffPost Women8 Ways to Naturally Increase Endorphins – Reader’s Digest12 Ways To Release The Happy Hormones “Endorphins” – Good Relaxation

What If You Don’t Find Your Husband Attractive

I received an excellent question from a reader about what to do if you don’t find your husband attractive. She writes:

Recently I’ve realized that I’m not attracted to my husband. I don’t think I ever was. He’s a good looking guy, but not my type of good looking. . . . I feel [guilty] and shallow, for being so upset that I don’t feel SOMETHING when he walks in the door, or when I spot him in a crowd of people.

Do you have any advice for me?

I guarantee this wife is not the only one who feels like this — missing the attraction and “chemistry” they expected to have with the man they married.

Perhaps you wed your husband for other reasons: that he was a good man, a solid Christian, a great provider, or the sort of guy you envisioned yourself marrying. Maybe you even expected the fireworks to spark after you said the I Do’s. But the vows have been repeated, the honeymoon has passed, your wedded life has begun — and this guy still doesn’t curl your pretty toes.

What do you do?

Man looking at woman, and woman giving him an expression of rejection + blog post title

This will be a two-parter. Let’s first talk about how you can change your view of your husband and romantic chemistry.

1. Reflect on what’s great about your husband. You appreciate and enjoy what you’re grateful for. Case in point: Sometimes I wish I could do the splits, but I have never in my entire life been able to achieve that level of flexibility. But hey, I was born with a birth defect of my hips that would have caused me to be an invalid 100 years earlier. So I’m super-grateful I can walk, jump, dance, and run. In light of that, who cares about the splits? I’m too thankful for what I have to get upset about what I don’t have.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Maybe you could apply that kind of positive thinking to your husband, and pray to see your husband the way God does.

If you married a good guy, reflect often on what’s so great about him! Even start a gratitude journal listing 1-3 things each day that make you happy to be married to your man. By reflecting on the type of guy you do have instead of the type of guy you think you want, you might discover your husband’s type is pretty darn awesome after all. And it won’t simply be a head-thing, but rather feelings of gratefulness and happiness will build inside you at the thought of him.

Make sure to list your husband’s good physical characteristics, since that’s where you’re struggling. You may not feel attracted to them right away, but when you begin to keep track and notice what’s truly handsome about your guy, you’ll begin to appreciate it in a new way. After some time, you may find that looking into his eyes or seeing that cute dimple or watching him flex his manly muscles really does give you a little thrill.

Bonus: Keep the journal and refer to it in future years if/when you go through a tough season in life. It will give you perspective.

2. Express your positive thoughts to your husband. We have this prevalent idea that we must think and believe and feel something before we express it, but in fact the Bible, psychology, and common sense teach us otherwise. You can impact how you think, believe, and feel by doing something regularly. Yes, it’s the “fake it ’til you make it” concept. And it works.

If you compliment someone again and again and watch them light up in response to your positive words, you’ll reinforce that behavior for both of you. I’m not saying you should lie about your thoughts or feelings — simply find something positive and uplifting to say. Focus on an attractive trait of your husband and comment on it. Rinse and repeat. Often.

Read through the Song of Songs for inspiration on how married lovers can describe the beauty of their mate. For instance, not everything in this passage from Song of Songs 5 is the wife’s personal declaration of her husband being her type (only verses 10 and 16). Most of it is an inventory of objectively interesting and beautiful characteristics, expressed in positive ways.

10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
    outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
    his hair is wavy
    and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
    by the water streams,
washed in milk,
    mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
    yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
    dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
    set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
    decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
    set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
    choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
    he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
    daughters of Jerusalem.

Train yourself to focus on his handsome qualities. Over time, you may find your mind and heart responding to what your mouth has expressed.

Bonus: You’ll foster his feelings of confidence and encourage him to look and be attractive to you.

3. Rethink romance. I could do a whole series on this one, but suffice it to say that the world — and oftentimes Christians — espouse that a successful marriage and satisfying intimacy requires having romantic chemistry, falling in love, feeling like he’s your soul mate, being sexually compatible. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the view expressed in the Bible.

I’m thrilled we live in a culture where I can choose my husband, a man I loved before I said “I do,” but I’ve looked into this one again and again . . . and marriages in the Bible happened for a number of reasons — chemistry, love, family connection, alliances, physical provision. God’s Word asserts that, regardless of how you got started, you can have a holy and happy marriage! Because a good marriage involves living out godly principles. Imagine your husband loving you exactly the way 1 Corinthians 13 describes; wouldn’t that feel awesome? Start acting loving in your marriage, and the object of your affection may become a pretty attractive target.

The truth is some people seem to fall in love at first sight, others in the course of their courtship, and others after the nuptials. I have no doubt that some couples who experience arranged marriages or poor starts fall into deep love and develop real chemistry over time. I encourage you to rethink the notion that you must feel all those tingles right now. You can get there. Ask God for His divine help. He wants the best for you — including a sexy and satisfying relationship with your husband.

Bonus: You’ll know that if you ever “fall out of love,” you can rekindle those feelings again!

Next time I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of romantic “chemistry.” Before I go, let me leave you with a lyrics video of a beautiful song about how your “type” can change when you fall in love with your spouse.