Y’all, I’ve been agonizing over today’s post. I’ve spent hours thinking, researching, writing, and revising the next post to answer this question: “What Can I Do About My Sexless Marriage?” I have a draft of the post, but as I sat here trying to finish it up, I felt this overwhelming sense that it’s not ready — that I can’t click Publish for that post just yet.
The question I’ve been asking myself all week long is How do I write a post that helps sexless marriages?
Look, I have ideas and specific tips. But I feel the weight of this subject on me, knowing how spouses in sexless marriages feel so beaten down. And throwing out suggestions on how to address sexual refusal, and then having the refused spouse try them and fail yet again, isn’t helpful! That could result in dashing all hopes that things could change.
And yet, I know for many of you, they can change.
How do I know?
Because that’s my story. Not specifically with sexual refusal, but in the whole realm of sex. I am a different person in my viewpoint about sex than I was thirty years ago.
It’s also the story of my marriage, that was once so bad I couldn’t see how it could ever be whole or happy again. And yet, God revived that too. Things changed.
In fact, it’s the whole story of God: That He is a God of new beginnings, of reconciliation, of hope. Ezekiel 11:19-20 puts it this way:
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”
I had a heart of stone at one point. Now, if you’d asked me at the time, I would have said my heart was just fine, thank you very much. But looking back, I can see the work God did in me. So I know people can change, relationships can change, life can change — all for the better.
I want to give you that hope. Real hope.
But I don’t feel like the post I originally planned to put up today is ready. I need more time to pull it all together and present something that can genuinely help your struggling marriage. God has, for whatever reason, given me this platform to minister to marriages, wives in particular, in the arena of sexuality, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.
I’ll be back next week with that post. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for your marriage. Maybe you could pray that God will give me the right words for your marriage too.
And if you’re wondering why I don’t just spend more time today or tomorrow working on the post, I’m getting on the road in about an hour to go visit my son at college. So that’s just not possible right now. I haven’t seen my older son in almost two months, so he’s my priority this weekend. Many blessings, y’all!
25 thoughts on “Q&A with J: How Do I Write a Post that Helps Sexless Marriages?”
Have a wonderful visit with your son. Safe travels to and from.
I don’t believe there is any thing you can say, because unless the spouse with the stony heart reads your blog post and is convicted by the Spirit of their sin nothing will ever change. I have read about every blog post written by most every one writing on the subject in the past four years and have tried about every suggestion except packing up and leaving. The church has been of little help as none of the pastors I sought help from ever sought to talk to my wife. Only the counselor from our denominational counseling service has ever talked to her and that was once because my wife refused to attend any further sessions. I expect in 6 months to mark our 38th year of marriage the way the previous 37 were marked, as another year without sexual intimacy. At 60 years of age I have pretty much run out of hope.
I feel the heartbreak in your response. And yet, I pray for an awakening. Blessings.
I appreciate your heart for your ministry. While this isn’t a problem I have, I can imagine the pain. And I’m so glad you take it so seriously!!
Thanks , hope is definitely needed in sexless situations and I too believe in change from a heart of stone to flesh thanks for the encouragement
J, I hear your struggle. It would be nice to have a formula that would foolproof and help everyone equally. But I have found that everyone is an exception to the rule, and everyone needs individual attention and help, especially with this thorny problem of sexual refusal.
And I realize also that if you give some specific suggestions and they are tried and failed, then that just exacerbates the problem.
So, I will pray that you find the words for us all to be guided by.
Keep us the good work, you have been a help to me and so many others.
I hope you have a safe trip and a good visit with your son. I believe that God brought me to your sight and knowing that you have been part of a sexless marriage should give hope to those of us still living through it.
Thanks for such an awesome blog and all of the encouragement you have been to so many of us. Many tired times I was tempted to say no to sex I but I choose to say YES! because of the many posts I’ve read here and remembering that sex is worth it for both of us, even when I don’t always feel in the mood at first. (yay nursing and babies;)
Praying God will give you wisdom!
Oh, this makes me smile so much! It is difficult at times to prioritize sexual intimacy, but worth it in the long run. (And usually in the short run too…ah, pleasure!)
Praying for your fatigue to fade. As the mother of teenagers, I can tell you it really does get better. You won’t be as physically tired later. (Now emotionally… Well, you’ll deal with that then. 😉 )
You know what I love about the verse you shared, Ezekiel 11:19-20? It uses the pronoun ‘they’ and ‘them.’ I’d always considered this verse in terms of the personal gift of God removing MY heart of stone and giving ME a heart of flesh, receiving the new spirit He has given ME. But what I see literally right now is that this verse is absolutely about marriage restoration, restoration in the family of God, relationships! Right now, I’m believing God in restoring my marriage post-divorce. I’m so grateful to you for typing out this verse and preaching the hope of God. Thank you and have a great time with your son!
It’s fascinating how you read a verse over and over, and then one day something new just grabs you about it. I’d never thought about that pronoun. How fascinating! Love this.
Being in a sexless marriage can feel like being imprisoned in a palace.Genesis 40 :15
“I am stuck here and don’ t deserve it.” But wherever he went as mentioned multiple times the Lord was with him.So we too can thrive no matter what we call our prison when we truly take heart and know that the Lord is with us. Joes faithfulness paid off not only getting out of jail
but truly having many more happy endings than he could have dreamed of at the time stuck in a palace with 2 other men the king was not pleased with.
Hope you have a lovely time with your family this weekend.
I am praying that the Lord gives you wisdom and helps you find the right words of encouragement and information for those hurting in sexless marriages.
Your ministry is such a blessing to so many hurting, broken people. Thank you so much for not shying away from the difficult issues, and always offering hope and encouragement. Your faith in the goodness of God really Shi Es through.
It gets doubly tough when the refusing wife was sexually abused as a child. She refuses to deal with that issue, refuses to have sex and refuses to work on the problem. I went to counseling, she refused to go. The counselor told me to have an affair and seemed shock when I said that wasn’t an option.
Oh my goodness! How heartbreaking. You may need someone to intervene. I wonder if there’s a trusted woman mentor who could assist. I don’t know. But the status quo isn’t acceptable, not just because your marriage isn’t getting sex (which is certainly not good) but also because she isn’t healing. Praying for you and your wife.
I hope you RAN out of that counsellors office! What a completely irresponsible piece of advice! I know it must be so difficult to be in your marriage right now, but I am praying for you and your wife. Praying that God will give you the strength needed to be a loving support for your wife while she deals with these issues, and praying that God will give your wife the courage to face this issue. I pray that both of you will find your comfort in each other and the Lord during this difficult season.
J, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and even taken notes in preparing that email you requested from any who have overcome sexlessness in marriage. I’ve been on both sides of it, a deeply fulfilled, blessed man, ravished by my wife as much as vice versa – and so dry in this area that I’ve wondered what I’m even doing here. As a man, I know. It’s interesting you’ve nicknamed your husband Spock, because times like this feel like the Vulcan ‘Ponn Farr’, which I’m sure you’ve seen on Star Trek. But I can truly say we’ve overcome.
Here’s the problem I find in sharing it: Just when I think I have a handle that can help others, and prepare to share it, something changes. Maybe for better, maybe for worse, but it changes. Does this happen to you? Either way, I’ll keep praying, and taking notes. For what it’s worth, I’ve found this site helpful since stumbling on it, and I did. Helpful, yes, and humorous too.
All the best to your son and on your visit too!
Are there any sites one can visit where refusing spouses are allowed to express their truths?
It would be nice to hear what life is like for the spouse who has shut down.
They have to be feeling something, or perhaps don’t want to feel something, that causes them to withdraw from sexual sharing.
It would be nice to hear what sexual intimacy feels like for them.
It would be nice to hear their pain.
It would be nice to hear their fears.
Maybe then, things would make more sense.
Does anyone know of any blogs or websites where refusing spouses can go and speak their truth without the fear of judgement or chastisement?
Maybe if they had a place to express their feelings, it would help them get in tune with what is going on with their side of the sexual relationship. Sometimes getting it out is enlightening and healing in and of itself.
I encourage you to read the blogs of Bonny’s OysterBed7 and Chris’s The Forgiven Wife. They talk about their own stories with some good insight there.
The Marriage Bed also has a forum in which people post various stories. But in all honesty, while I follow the blogs of Paul and Lori Byerly, hosts of The Marriage Bed, I personally find forums discombobulating, so I haven’t perused the site fully. Someone else may have a suggestion here.
Well, since J mentioned it. If you’re brave you could read some of the #metoo stories. I’m not a fan of social media hashtag campaigns. But I belie e the point here is that we ALL have them. Even people like me who has been very sheltered and protected growing, up have 3 (that I vividly recall). Seeing that and trying to imagine what that feels like as a young girl (men start this as soon as you start looking like a woman, which for me was 12. I had a man try and hit on me while swimming with my dad at 12 years old. Let that sink in for a bit) might help you understand why women may feel less than positive about sex. Sheila, from to love honor and vacuum also shares how she overcame significant sexual struggles early in her marriage.
You could check out the XY code, women sometimes share their struggles in the comments.
Good point. And I’ve also written a post about how a wife’s past experiences affect her in this regard: Your Wife Has Been Sexually Harassed
Thank you ladies for your suggestions. I will check out the sites.
Yes alchemist, my assumption is Every girl has a story.
I posted once that:
age 11, I was sexually molested by my cousin
age 12, my best friend was raped by a mutual friend….she re-lived the whole thing by telling me hours after it happened and showing me the dried semen on her sheets. She never told her Mother.
age 15, I was walking home from school down a lonely mountain road. Out of the trees came a man fully naked. I turned and ran as fast as I could back to town. Found the police. I’d never seen a penis before.
age 18, I had to ride the bus to work. I passed a set of apartments and saw a man sitting on the front steps. He walked over to his car, followed me a while, then pulled over to the curb, opened the passenger door and motioned me in. I ran the other direction and lost him going through back yards and such. Two weeks later he showed up at my work as I got off, pulled up, and offered me a ride home. He had been stalking me, following the bus, finding where I worked, knew my work hours, and probably where I lived. I moved in with my Mother for a while.
The response I got on that post was from a guy. You know what he said?
“Those things were in the past. You need to find a way to get over them. You have a husband who has sexual needs you have to take care of.”
Well, I had gotten over the trauma of those events but not the lesson that men don’t always have good intentions. This guy taught me that my experiences and feelings don’t matter.
It’s my husband’s sexual needs that are more important. Wrong lesson to learn.
Anyway, yes, I don’t see how a girl’s undesired/unpleasant/traumatic sexual experiences won’t taint her feelings toward sex. It’s got to affect her somehow. If nothing else, they make a poor first impression.
That’s a terrible response. I suspect it came from a good place of this guy wanting you to have a healthier marriage, but yeah, that’s not helpful! Let me reword it my way: “Those things are in your past, but they understandably affect how you view the present. You need to find a way to work through them and find healing. You have a God who wants your marriage to thrive in every area, including sexual intimacy — who wants you to experience the beauty and pleasure of sex in marriage as He intended.” I don’t know what that healing looks like, but I pray you can pursue it, for your own sake.
My heart breaks with those stories. It makes me think of John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Satan wants to taint sexuality and make it this horrible thing, but God wants to redeem it. Not so your husband can get his climax [rolling my eyes here], but so that you both can have the life God desires in your marriage — to the full. Blessings!
I’m amazed by your story. Our marriage is really struggling and I try to keep having [sex] since I’ve heard it helps. But now I just cry after every time cause being that intimate with someone who isn’t intimate any other way is demoralizing. It gives me stress just thinking about it. My throat, stomach and chest tighten up and I have to do calm see breathing just to get through it without a panic attack.
You really need to talk this out with someone. While I constantly promote sexual intimacy in marriage, I’ve also constantly made that the case that you are not your spouse’s sex toy. Sex in marriage should be mutually satisfying, not one person using another. If it feels like that, you need to address it. I’m saying a prayer for you, but I also hope you have a mentor friend or counselor available to talk to about your specific situation.
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