Rick and Jean live full lives with two active kids involved in sports. Rick wished their schedule made more time for intimacy with Jean, but she rarely seemed to be in the mood. He longed for the passion they used to enjoy earlier in their marriage. Rick tried everything to fix the problem, such as initiating sex, backing off for a while, expressing affection in non-physical ways, and making time alone for the two of them. But, nothing was working, and Jean’s “headache” seemed to be permanent. He wondered if their love life as he knew it was over.
What to Say:
Rick: Honey, can we talk alone for a minute?
Jean: Is something the matter?
Rick: I love you, but I feel disconnected from you because we don’t have sex very often. I wish we had sex more than once every month or two. Sometimes, I feel like you wouldn’t care if we never have sex again. Am I right?
Jean: I really don’t want it to be this way, but you’re right. My level of desire is really low. I haven’t lost my attraction to you, but I don’t really feel like being touched.
Rick: What about my needs? I watch you give so much love and energy to other things in our life, but you don’t seem to have anything left for me. If the truth be told, sometimes I’m jealous of our kids and your job because of the love and attention you give them.
Jean: I’m sorry. I know I was more passionate years ago. I’m committed to our love not growing cold, but I’m stuck. How can I make myself want something that honestly feels pretty low on my priority list?
Rick: Let’s keep talking about it. I really don’t want “mercy sex.” But, I want to find a way to rekindle your desire. Do you remember when things were better when we took that great trip last year? Let’s find a way to get out of town again.
Why This Works:
Rick stops guessing about the problem and addresses the question directly with to Jean. It’s normal for men to view sex is an invaluable means of de-stressing and connecting with their spouse. When life feels difficult or overwhelming, many men look to sex as the one thing that is going right. And, when life is wonderful, men view sex as a way to celebrate. Some women don’t realize that their husbands are wired this way. So, dodging the issue of low desire won’t solve the problem. It’s best to talk openly and offer solutions. Look back over your relationship and consider what places or activities helped fuel the passion in your past.
What Doesn’t Work:
Don’t give up on the pursuit of better intimacy. Couples who give up usually find that their sex lives dwindle to obligatory romance only on their anniversary. Some wives forget that sex is not optional in a husband’s mind. It’s right up there on the list with eating and breathing. Can a husband survive without sex? Yes, but it’s no fun.
Try This Activity:
Sex is a barometer of happiness in marriage. Keep working to make intimacy a top priority. Sit down with your calendars and schedule sex as an unbreakable appointment. Some couples use a code word for sex in their calendars. Be creative and come up with something funny, such as “Take car for maintenance” or “Physical checkup.”
If your wife still struggles to “get in the mood,” consider asking her to talk with her doctor. Low sexual desire (LSD) is a common medical condition that can be treated. Most doctors start with a thyroid test (TSH). If they report thyroid levels on the low side but still normal, do further research to assess the medical test results or consider talking with a marriage counselor.