I have a lot of email sitting in my inbox that I still hope to address in one way or another. But whenever I hear people’s stories, there are some general answers that fit a lot of specific scenarios.
So today I’m covering broad responses that apply to a lot of situations. Ask yourself if any of these might apply to you.
1. Adjust your expectations.
You expected to have sex every day, but your spouse only wants it every two weeks. You thought your husband would be eager to have sex, but it turns out he’s the lower drive spouse. You anticipated your spouse understanding how your drive would diminish when you had kids, but they still seem you to think you can keep up the old schedule.
And so you’re disappointed, angry, or feeling lost. I understand all of that, and I’m not saying you should settle! I firmly believe that your marriage deserves an active, satisfying sex life. Which is what the Bible says as well.
But you do need to recognize that whatever you thought was going to happen, it didn’t. And so you are where you are. And that’s the point from which you need to make progress.
A lot of getting started is simply recognizing from where you’re beginning. Adjust your expectations, let go of the frustration, and get on the same team with your spouse to improve your intimacy in all areas.
2. Read and research more.
You just found my blog, and I’m thrilled that you did! So you shot off a question at once, and I can answer it. But I also have over 800 posts about all kinds of topics, which you can search to find answers for your question.
The beauty of living right now is that we have so much information at our fingertips, but we have to be willing to look for it. I’m happy to answer questions when I can, but realistically I simply cannot answer them all. Which means that if you’re struggling with something, you need to look around for answers on my blog, other blogs, books, and resources that I point you to.
3. Connect with others.
Do you have friends or mentors whose marriages are admirable? Oftentimes, they have answers you can tap into. I know it can be awkward to bring something up in conversation, but you might be surprised how welcoming people are.
In fact, one of the best things I’ve learned in the course of my ministry is that the old ladies at church are the least judgmental about what I do. They’ve been around long enough to know that dealing with sexual intimacy issues is a worthwhile endeavor. Once you’ve reached about 70 years old, apparently, there’s not much that can shock you anymore. You might be surprised who could mentor you.
4. Get professional help.
I am not a physician, or a psychologist, or a sex therapist, or even a licensed counselor. I have a master’s degree in counseling, but I never got the opportunity to attain the license. Instead, I consider myself a teacher and adviser.
But while I have learned a lot, and truly enjoy doing research on these topics, professionals can possess specialty knowledge I don’t have. And if they’re local, they can personally see you, assess your specific situation, and deliver tailored advice.
If you’re having sexual problems, start with a visit to the doctor to check your physiology. If you’re struggling with your faith due to sexual intimacy, talk to a well-informed and wise pastor. If there are relational problems in your marriage, find a qualified therapist or lay counselor. And if you don’t have resources where you are locally, some counselors will now work with you online.
5. Talk to your spouse about how you feel.
Many times, I receive an email where someone expresses their discontent with what’s going on in their sex life, but their spouse doesn’t really understand how they feel. That could be because the person hasn’t even discussed the issue with their mate, or it could be that they’ve spoken about it in a way that the message did not come across.
Many times I think that if one spouse only knew how important an issue was, then they would do something about it. For instance, someone reading this is so close to walking out the door because of a sexless marriage, and their spouse really cannot comprehend that. They just don’t grasp how emotionally painful that rejection has been.
You have to talk to your spouse about what what’s going on, and if they won’t listen, then you need to look into why. You may need a professional mediator with a counselor, you may have set up a situation where you are talking but not listening, or you may have expressed yourself in ways that are difficult or even confusing for your spouse to hear. Find a way to have that important conversation — or rather, conversations — in a positive way. (See also How to Talk about Sexual Problems with Your Spouse.)
And there are a few messages I get for which the actual answer is this: stop being a jerk. Some of you qualify for Kevin A. Thomson’s great post titled “I Wouldn’t Sleep with You Either.”
Yes, truly. Some of you have such unrealistic demands, such selfish behavior, such anger and resentment — I’m not shocked at all that you’re not getting laid. Because no one wants to sleep with that.
I hate to say it so bluntly, but that’s just the truth. And as I say it, I realize the people who really are jerks probably won’t agree with what I said anyway, because they’re too selfish to see it. Alas, that’s how it goes. But at least I told it like it is.
I don’t know where you land, but many of your situations really are in those generalized responses. Rather than letting your frustration rule this moment, try to breathe easy, think clearly, and pray about where God wants to direct you. What is the next, or first, step you can take to improve sexual intimacy in your marriage?