Husband frustrated that wife doesn't want sex

“I’m definitely not getting enough L.U.S.T. – Love, Understanding, Sex, and Trust.”

(This is a post specifically written for husbands. For wives, we’ve got one for you too.)

That sad and somewhat crude comment came from a respected spiritual leader, and I knew right then that his marriage was in trouble. I can only hope he and his wife got some professional help while they still could.

I’ve heard from husbands of my patients, blog readers, radio listeners, and others about how frustrated and even angry a man can become when repeatedly rejected sexually. My husband told me about a former friend of his whose marriage was destroyed over this issue. And I remember sitting with a classmate and his wife, watching him boil inside with embarrassment and powerlessness over his wife’s emotional and physical distance.

As a woman, I could copy the social correctness and start blaming men for being insensitive and single-minded (sexually, that is). But that’s often not the case. First of all, I believe God made you the way you are. And if some in the Christian church have led you to believe you are spiritually defective because of your sexual drives, I apologize on their behalf. God needs you to be strong, virile, masculine! (More on that another time.)

But as a woman, I want to give you the inside story on how to get more of what you want and need – WITHIN  your marriage only, of course. Your wife is completely responsible for her behavior: if she is behaving badly, that’s her problem.

But rather than feeling sorry for yourself, or looking outside your marriage for satisfaction, here are five questions to consider, and some practical things you may do, that have a good chance of improving the sexual connection between you and your wife.

What YOU Can Do

1. Does she feel loved by you?

The Number One love need for women is unconditional love, just like it is for men. This is not an excuse for you to blame yourself, but it’s an important question to consider. Many women will only be able to engage sexually if the emotional temperature between you is warm. She is likely to have a much harder time than you do in putting “unfinished business” in your relationship aside to be sexual right now.

Your part: be sure she knows you love her unconditionally, using HER love language. If there are conflicts, take the initiative to start working through them together. Focus on optimizing your relationship as a whole.

2. Are physical problems affecting her sexually?

Women go through numerous hormonal changes during different life stages, some of which significantly affect her sexuality. Other medical problems or medication side effects can also affect her this way. A woman’s sexual response is usually more complicated than a man’s, and it’s worth getting a doctor to evaluate for any underlying physical problems that may be affecting her.

Your part: encourage her to see a physician. Offer to go with her: she may or may not want you to.

3. Is she too distracted, worried, depressed, or tired?

If work, children, worry, finances, or caring for aging parents is wearing her out, it may be difficult for your wife to find the mental and physical energy to connect with you sexually, even if she wants to. It may be harder for her to put down those worries than it is for you.

Your part: at a time when she can listen, let your wife know how much you miss intimacy with her. Creatively find a way to relieve some of her burdens: YOU arrange for a housekeeper or babysitter, or take over some of her “chores” temporarily.

4. Is she indulging her sexual desires elsewhere?

OUCH!!! That’s not a possibility any man wants to think about, but it can be a reality. Men may try to ignore the possibility of pornography, but women struggle with these problems also. And some women, even Christian women, do cheat.

Your part: be honest if you suspect your wife is looking elsewhere for sex. Get some help for yourself, and make a conscious choice about what to do about it.

5. Are you romancing your wife?

Foreplay doesn’t start when you crawl into bed at night: it starts with all the little things you do and say all day. A woman needs to feel desired, thought about, cherished, and cared for. She will sense if you only want her for her body, or if you truly care about HER. And caring for her unselfishly is no more than God asks of you. (Ephesians 5:25)

Your part: Stretch yourself and find a way to romance your wife. You were creative when you dated her: do it again! You may be surprised at her response.

Remember, you cannot control your wife. A healthy marriage, including healthy sexuality, is a matter for both husband and wife to continually work on. She is completely responsible for her behavior. This is only focusing on what YOU can do.

But you don’t need to remain powerless and frustrated. See yourself as seeking the key to your wife’s heart, and stay on your knees. Know that God understands your heart. He knows what it’s like to feel lonely and rejected. And it’s just possible that He can use you to be the catalyst in bringing healing and stronger connection in your marriage, sexually and otherwise.

Your Turn: How does your wife’s emotional and physical distance affect you? What can you do as a husband to help bring the two of you closer together? Leave a comment below.

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Are You Talking About Sex?

If all you are saying is “Why aren’t you giving me sex?” you’re missing out on the biggest key to intimacy; communication.

Our Guide to Healthy Communication in Marriage provides some powerful and practical keys to talking about what’s hard to talk about, including intimacy. Following this guide is certain to help your wife want to come closer to you.

And the bonus material you’ll receive immediately when you purchase the book includes tip sheets on talking about specific difficult topics. One of them is Talking About Sex.



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