Every now and then, I’ll ask my husband, “How can I be a better wife?”
Long ago, one of his answers to that question was “better meal planning,” because truth be told — I could eat a bowl of cereal for nearly every meal and call it good.
Not so much with my beloved.
He actually needs meals… you know, something with a main course and a few side dishes. Something that doesn’t typically come out of a box or on a little microwaveable tray that first requires you peel back plastic.
God bless him.
I’m glad I asked that question years ago, though, because it did inspire me to get better at meal planning. I mean, I won’t win “The Next Food Network Star,” but I rarely hear complaints about what I place in front of him.
As for sex, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to try that we haven’t already tried. He said he would give it some thought. (We already have fairly stellar communication and satisfaction in the bedroom, but it never hurts to ask).
My point is — What would your husband say if you asked him, “How do you feel about our sex life?”
In many marriages, it takes courage to ask such a question. Here’s why:
1. Sex is a private and sensitive issue.
Sex just isn’t a common topic of conversation — anywhere, let alone in the privacy of your home.
Many other aspects of marriage — finances, in-laws, vacations, home remodeling projects, parenting dilemmas, etc. — we openly discuss in our families, circle of friends, workplaces and churches. Countless marriage ministries are devoted to the overall general health of marriage.
But sex? Yeah, that’s not randomly coming up at the backyard barbecue.
In other words, we typically aren’t comfortable talking about sex because… well… we don’t talk about it very much in the course of everyday life.
2. It reveals our own shortcomings or those in our relationship.
If a wife (or husband for that matter) has been less than enthusiastic about nurturing sex, then bringing it up as a topic of conversation obviously sheds light on this.
Or, if a couple together has been negligent about their intimacy, talking about it can start to feel like a huge marital failure.
Not too many of us want to broach a conversation on something that is wrought with feelings of inadequacy, regret and pain.
3. We don’t want to know the answer.
Token questions really do nothing to feed our relationships — if anything, they starve our relationship even further.
Sometimes we are afraid to ask a vulnerable question, because we really don’t want to hear an answer that would then require us to change unhealthy patterns in our marriage.
Asking the question “How do you feel about our sex life?” implies that you are indeed interested in improving sexual intimacy with the man you married.
If you have no intention to take even baby steps toward improved sexual intimacy, then it is practically cruel to pose the question.
My guess is, though, you wouldn’t want to ask it as a token question.
The Upside of Asking “How Do You Feel About Our Sex Life?”
There are a lot of positives that can result from this one little question. For one, it can finally bring to center stage an issue that you have been pretending doesn’t matter.
Sex matters in your marriage.
You can rationalize all you want that “it’s no big deal” or he doesn’t “need” it or “we’ve gone so long without it,” but those are feeble attempts to downplay what I’m guessing you know to be truth — sex does matter.
God says it matters.
You stood at an altar and vowed that it matters.
The general consensus of the entire field of marriage counseling says it matters.
If you love your husband — and I’m assuming you do if you are still reading at this point — then I encourage you to ask him how he feels about sex in your marriage.
Ask the question in a tone of love.
Affirm to him that you really want him to share openly.
Listen some more.
Ask him to explain further about anything he has just shared.
If you have been careless with your sexual intimacy — if you have withheld your body from him on a regular basis — if you have been manipulative with sex or have used it to barter to get something you want — apologize. Genuinely ask for his forgiveness.
Then, ask, “How can we together make sex a greater priority?”
You love this man, right? Grown up marriage begs for courageous questions to be asked.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.
14 thoughts on “How Does Your Husband Really Feel About Your Sex Life? Ask Him.”
Good article. I sometimes think that a lot of wives including mine have a tendency to dismiss the necessity of a healthy sex life in the marriage. Oh there’s plenty of time to talk about the chores, the finances, and how to raise the children. But when it comes to sex somehow it gets dismissed as a lesser priority for discussion.
The smart wife realizes the importance of improving her marriage bed and takes steps to make it happen. To include discussing it without reservation.
I’ve asked my husband this question…and he’s told me he wishes it were better. But now I don’t know what to do! He says it’s up to me to do something about it. He’s not comfortable telling me what he wants, so he says he’ll do what I want to do. I guess some would think it’s a nice problem to have, but it overwhelms me.
I purchased a sex toy, and he made a negative comment about it, so I didn’t try to use it with him. Now he’s put a moratorium on any sex for 4 weeks. I don’t know what to do on that “magical” day when we can make love again. Any thoughts?
Dear B… thank you for your comment.
My first reaction is that your husband is manipulative and insensitive. I have to say that up front, because from what you are sharing, much of this issue in your marriage is the result of his carelessness.
He says he wishes sex was better, but then he turns around and does things that sabotage intimacy and are hurtful. This breaks my heart.
While it is difficult in these circumstances, I encourage you to maintain a loving attitude and maturely express that you want the two of you together to work toward nurtured intimacy.
Meanwhile, I also encourage you to continue to seek the Lord and to find a safe female Christian counselor and/or female friends with whom you can share your frustration and disappointment.
I’m sorry for what you are going through… I’m sorry too that your husband doesn’t see what a treasure he has in his wife.
Thanks for responding…I was feeling hopeless. You are confirming a thought I’ve had for a while that a counselor is the next step.
Thank you too for your blog…I’ve learned a lot! I’m so glad to have found it. God bless you!
First, B, I know your situation sounds very serious so counseling may be in order. From my perspective let me tell you what I would like and it may be a bit fun and/or daring if your situation is agreeable: A survey. Come up with some questions (20 or so) that ask him to rate ideas that he thinks would improve the situation. Go to a free survey system like http://www.SurveyMonkey.com and build it there (it’s private and secure) and email it to him at work. Maybe tease it a bit, so that the label of the survey features your last name (e.g. if it’s Anderson, then add “The Anderson Sexual Attitudes Institute” or something along those lines). Or, type it up and sneak it into his things he carries to work so it’s offline.
Ask him what he would like, and with a survey you can start with the lens of the things you’d like to try or are willing to do or offer. Julie has quite a few articles that can feed ideas. Questions about sex and things leading up to it (especially). There’s an air of secrecy about this that, to me, is tantalizing: A husband expresses indirectly what he likes and anticipates those things coming to be. And that may take the edge off of some of the issues.
Second, Rorke and I are in the same boat, I think. I’m non-critical, non-confrontational, and patient but — I would be honored if my wife brought up sexuality and expressed desire to improve it. I know I’ve affected that negatively over the years though (what I thought was) innocent escalation (trying to turn a kind hug and sweet moment into, well, sex; etc.). I’ve had to learn how to touch, cuddle, express tenderness and affection to its own end, trusting sex will happen when she’s more willing and open. I want to understand her, and I hope she would be willing to understand me in this very important, God-given area of marriage.
So I’m open to suggestions on how to encourage her to have that conversation.
I would love to improve our love life.I am all for making love to my husband as often as he wants,the problem? For him it’s like once a week.truthfully that is not enough for me.There might be some underlying issues there but for me I associate how much he loves me by how often we do it.So when we do only get to it once a week I start feeling resentful,hurt,angry at him.I do try and be respectful of his work schedule,and not approach him about it when he’s worked a 12 hour day (for example) and there have been times when i’ve tried to be the one who gets things started and he just turns away from me to finish watching his movie.I’ve tried talking to him about it,but nothing ever comes of it.
So as much as I enjoy reading this blog and the generous wife,I get tired of all the “have more sex with your husband” suggestions.That isn’t my problem and I wish someone had answer to this particular problem 🙂
Thanks for letting me vent.
thank you for your comment Jen. I am so sorry for your situation. And I’m sorry too that your husband isn’t interested in talking more about intimacy, especially since you have tried.
I don’t have easy solutions. I know you feel especially alone in this as well, because so many of the resources out there are aimed at marriages where it is the husband who wants more sex.
I know it probably doesn’t help a ton, but I pray you find some reassurance in knowing that God sees your heart and He grieves right along with you.
I encourage you to continue to try various ways to bring up the topic with your husband (does he understand the depth of your pain and that you feel rejected?) Also, I encourage you to be genuinely grateful for the times you do make love… once a week is not as much as you would like, but it is more frequent than is happening in many marriages. Also, I encourage you to keep praying that God would reveal ways to both you and your husband as to how you can nurture more intimacy.
I’m glad you stopped by to vent. Like I said… I am sad I don’t have more answers, but I think it is good that you are seeking resources like this blog, the Generous Wife site and others.
husband could care less about my sex life. Married 40 plus years and 30 without sex or intimacy.He is more interested in his shop and old cars than me. He decided years ago that sex and intimacy was boring, unfufilling, and a total waste of time. He also stated that there weren’t going to be any kids by him. I could do what ever I wanted to do. He also built an apartment down stairs, then moved down there. We hardly see each other or even talk to each other. He is so distant from me that his next project is to finish a garage/work shop in a seperate building so he doesn’t have to park his car next to mine. I know this isn’t my problem but at first I was depressed, and emotionaly ruined. But my doctor and her associates got me through most of my problems. I leave him alone , and associate myself with my hobbies and friends.
Amy… I’m so saddened by your husband’s carelessness with his marriage. I know this provides little comfort, but your husband will have to answer to God, the author of marriage.
You are wise to have sought help and encouragement to help you navigate. So wise.
Just testing this out.
I have just been married roughly three years and our sex life has dwindled to next to nothing.sometimes we make love just once(one round of sex) in three weeks.its driving me crazy.I haVe asked him repeatedly if my adding weight due to childbirth(we have two kids) affects him and he claims it doesn’t.most times he spends his time playing his playstation.we now sleep in different rooms cos he said the bed is not big enough for us and the kids.I want to end the marriage as I am really depressed but I stay on because of my kids.I have to masturbate often to relieve myself and I feel dirty afterwards.I need help
Hello onyx… thank you for your comment and your honesty.
My first suggestion is to get your kids out of your bed. I know this is hard for many families, especially if a pattern has been set that it’s okay for the little ones to sleep in mom and dad’s bed. But for the health of your marriage, you need some part of your space that is sacred ground… just about you and your husband. The marriage bed definitely should be reserved for the two of you.
What we always told our kids is that if the door was open, they could come in and sleep on the floor next to the bed. If they would climb in our bed, we would firmly put them back in their own rooms. May take a few weeks to set this healthier pattern in place, but in the long run it is so worth it. (Of course, I realize there are exceptions if a kid is really sick, etc., but the general rule of the house should be that mom and dad’s bed is sacred ground.)
I encourage you too, to be more specific with your husband about the issue of sexual intimacy. Possibly say, “I know our sex life has really fallen by the wayside. I want that to look different in our marriage. How can we together work toward more nurtured intimacy?”
Your husband may be dealing with his own issues and struggles and/or may have medical conditions that are affecting his sex drive. Sometimes it can be difficult for a man to express his own concerns that his sex drive has weakened, so I encourage you to reassure him and create safety within conversation so he knows he can be real with you. You may even have to say, “Whatever it is that we are struggling with, I know that together we can work through it.”
If he is open, suggest counseling. If not, I would encourage you to go yourself to find good coping skills and ways to navigate. If he asks why you are going, simply say that you want to do all you can to have the healthiest marriage possible. Show him how committed you are to that process and that you are not hesitant to reach out for support.
I feel sad about your situation, but I don’t want you to lose hope either… or to resign yourself to a marriage void of intimacy. Prayerfully lay your marriage before the Lord and ask for His wisdom as to how you can strengthen this vital relationship.
Have to say that this is one of the most impressive article i have read within the last days. I really enjoyed reading not only this one post, but other post as well. You have a very interesting and original way of writing and i absolutely agree with most of your points of view. Although, I always admit that there can be and other opinion and i respect them.
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