Little Irritations are Killing Your Sex Life

So I was cruising through my favorite bloggers and came across this post by Lori Byerly titled Irritations and Peeves with Collars.

Fabulous post by the way.

Short and to the point, and chock full of wisdom.

Essentially, Lori points out the importance of having awareness of what irritates your spouse — and doing what you can to alleviate those irritations.

I know that irritation flows both ways in marriage.

Honestly, I think marriage is one of the hardest gigs around. Bar none, if you want one of the most refining experiences of your life, it is marriage.

(Parenting would be either a close second or a tie for first).  And whatever is third wouldn’t even be a contender.

If you agree with me that marriage is hard, simply say “amen sister” silently to yourself right now.

Because sexual intimacy is part of marriage, it stands to reason that it isn’t going to always be a smooth experience either.

We women are indeed like cooked spaghetti. If you’ve heard the “men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti” analogy, you immediately know what I mean.  If you haven’t heard it, here’s the brief explanation:

Everything for a guy has its own “box” in his mind.

Marriage. Work. Sports. Sex. Kids. Lawn mowing. And so forth.

And rarely do the contents of one box spill over into another.

Apparently, they have a “nothing” box too, which my Beloved confirmed is true.  The nothing box is essentially that — they go there to think about nothing. (The waffle is full of little individual “boxes” so that’s where the waffle comes in).

Everything for a gal is intermingled (like cooked spaghetti).

If we have an argument with our husband, this spills over into how we feel about the rest of our day. If we had a great time with our kids at the beach, this may impact how we feel about life in general.

When we are planning the 1st grader’s class party, we simultaneously are sorting the details necessary to pull off the neighborhood potluck.

Sexually speaking, it’s the reason why a woman can make love to her husband and think of a million other unrelated details at the same time.  And a man can make love to his wife… and think about absolutely nothing else but sex.  The argument you had earlier? Makes no difference to him if you are willing to get naked when bedtime rolls around.

When it comes to marriage and to sex, is it any wonder that a husband and wife sometimes aren’t on the same page?

(Okay, I was being generous with the word sometimes.  Maybe for a lot of us, it would be more accurate to use the word often).

So, back to Lori’s point about trying to have awareness of our spouse.

Mind you, this is hard work too, because you have to really pay attention to the nuances of your spouse and your relationship — and there are no guarantees he will do the same.

BUT — and this is huge — when we take the time to do this, the payoff is amazing.

The more we can approach our spouse (verbally and non-verbally) with a posture of compassion and understanding, the more likely it is that the Lord will indeed give us eyes to see and ears to hear the essential information that could revolutionize our marriage.

My husband’s idiosyncrasies get on my nerves at times.

But hey, I’m no saint.

And with each passing day, I’m learning what it means to live out “one flesh” — what it means to extend grace, to be intentional, to ease the burdens of the man I love.

The guy you sit across from at dinner and crawl into bed with each night? He isn’t just a roommate.  He’s the man you married.  And part of marriage is sex.

So could more awareness on your part actually help soften you to him?

And if you are softened to him, could this help make sex more appealing — maybe even, dare I say, downright sacred and enjoyable?

I gotta give a shout out to Lori Byerly for spurring my thinking on this one.

I value her opinion. And I value yours.

So get the dialogue going.  Throw your comments into the comment section.

Share this post with married people you care about.

And be on the look out today for ways you can better know your spouse.

14 thoughts on “Little Irritations are Killing Your Sex Life

  1. HMT says:

    This is a great post. I have to mention that as a husband, I believe this (waffle / spaghetti analogy) to be true. Men are pretty one track. My wife can just sit down, just so, in a short skirt, and I am into the sex track. (or box.) It doesn’t matter what’s been on my plate for the day, and really, it doesn’t matter what’s on her plate that day. I want her.

    But I have learned that it doesn’t always happen. I understand that about my dear wife. I think it is a matter of trying to understand how her day went, and then, try to help her, but NOT just so you can make love that day or evening.

    Reciprocity from my wife would be appreciated too, so that she knows something has kindled my desire, and that I would like to spend some time with her in bed.

    If it has been a really bad day, and she just can’t get into it, I love it when she says, “You know, I really just can’t get up for making love tonight, but I promise tomorrow we can.” That’s really important.

    So weird though that the other day, reading about making physical intimacy a priority, I thought about the idea of making our bedroom a special place. I asked her about the placement of the furniture, and if we could rearrange. She said she was fine with it, to go ahead. Long story short, I moved things around, and she WAS NOT happy about my changes. She said something like, “Why did you want to move furniture around?” I made the mistake of saying, “I thought it might be fun to make a change, that it might give us a new, fresh outlook sexually.” (Something like that.)

    Her reply was something like, “I’m sorry I’m not enough for you.”

    Huh? What? I don’t get it, but I’m still working on making my bedroom a fun, enjoyable place to sleep and make love. I guess I’m still trying to get a dialogue going, one that doesn’t cause more issues than it solves.

  2. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) says:

    I love this post, Julie! (And I really liked Lori’s post as well.) As I read, I thought about how this is why things that seem utterly insignificant to a husband can have a big impact on a wife’s ability to engage fully in sex. Is the bedroom messy? She’s thinking about that. Is your child completely asleep and unable to hear? She’s thinking about that. Are you noticing her extra five pounds? She’s thinking about that. Did her best friend really mean it when the friend said at lunch that her blouse didn’t quite match the skirt and the friend wants to go shopping at the outlet mall three hours away and buy that cute sweater the friend saw and maybe while there they could find something for her at that time? She’s thinking about that. I know it seems crazy to guys, but it takes a real focus and ability to let go for women to enjoy sex and experience climax. Okay, maybe you’re inspiring a blog post for me here. Hmmm. Keep up the great advice on marriage and sexuality!

  3. JRDallas says:

    I just heard it again…

    “I’m sorry I’m not enough for you”.

    I saw a similar comment from someone else and I have heard it myself. Do women really think that a man’s need for adventure, variety, passion, visual stimulation or whatever is saying that she is not good enough?

  4. anonymous says:

    @hmt- i don’t know your circumstances in particular but i know in my own case i put alot of thought into exactly where i want to put the furniture and why.. whether it’s to make getting in and out of bed easier make more room for the vacuum, make it where my husband doesn’t stub his toes on the dresser in the middle of the night and honestly if my husband wanted to move stuff around and didn’t enlist my help and opinions on where stuff should go i might be offended i shouldn’t be b/c i’m sure he would just be doing what he thought best but still it would annoy me b/c i put so much effort into making the house an easy place for him and our family to get around in and as he only spends a few hours off of work at home he wouldn’t know how things really work in the household.. then if he added in any inclination that what we do in bed wasn’t exciting enough or that he wanted something new i might (being imperfect as i am) feel hurt and unattractive, not capable… as the post brought out which i am really inclined to agree with women are like spaghetti everything that we do from being excited about a new sweater, how the house is arranged and how our husbands feel about us as wierd as it may seem really is all together in our minds.. nothing is off limits.. my husband liked a song and played it for me and i almost cried b/c the song was about someone elses relationship and i thought he was using the song to tell me something about ours.. nothing of that sort was going on but that’s still what went on in my head.
    i’m also not saying that you shouldn’t talk to your wife about wanting to excite things sexually but maybe you could ask her more directly what she thinks might help b/c i’m not so sure how moving furniture is going to help lol. hope it works out for you 🙂

    i have enjoyed both of these posts too 🙂

  5. Doris says:

    Hi Julie,

    The spaghetti-waffle analogy goes right to the point. This is how we think and this is how we have to make the best of our marriages. My hubby constructed a special and larger box in his waffle-mind, the bunny-box. This is where he digests all my spaghetti-thoughts.

    I loved him at first sight. We married fast (and young) and many were suspicious how long our “hasty” marriage would last. It’s past 20 years and counting ( 🙂 ), with my love for him at even greater superlatives. To me, above him is only the Lord, below him are our four kids, then the rest of the world. However, I see that he loves me more than I love him. It’s this mutual love going beyond us that keeps us together on the rough seas of marriage. He told me that first I’m his friend and only second I’m his wife, then (third) the mother of his children. We’re friends in love and this goes beyond social standards or stereotypes.

    This is why I can easily feminize him with my spaghetti thoughts — and I don’t like him in those moments. And this is why he masculinize me with his down-the-box crazy mind — maybe more than I could ever “spaghetti” him…

    Once I told him that I don’t like when he’s thinking like a woman and asked if he likes me when I think and behave like a man. He unexpectedly answered that YES, he not only likes me more but he LOVES me like mad because he feels his best friend in me. Very odd man-box-mind thinking (friend-box here), what can I say? The spaghetti-thoughts haunt me every day, so I share my insecurities (this is what spaghetti does in my mind) with my best friend. He takes the time (always) to listen, or to pretend listening while multitasking (as he tells me if I ask). Then, sooner or later, he will hit back with warm words and a solution, which usually ends up to be consumed in bed.

    Thank you, Julie, for yet another excellent article.

  6. Gregory Donner says:

    Actually, this raises a very good question–how do women manage to enjoy and fully engage in sexual intimacy with their husbands when there are so many other thoughts vying for their focus and attention? It seems like this would be a never-ending battle for them?

  7. Lori says:

    “I’m sorry I’m not enough for you.”

    Actually guys this is a very big struggle for a lot of women. The images in our culture added to our normal insecurity add up to big self doubt (in and out of the bedroom).

    Analogies help (create one that will capture her interests and understanding). For example: My husband loves to travel with me. It doesn’t matter where as long as he is with me. He loves me. He loves variety in travel. The same can be said about sex. The variety is fun, but it’s the “with me” part that says “I’m enough” and that he loves me.

  8. Lori says:

    I encourage women to simplify their lives and be intentional about sex (which means building thought habits). It’s a challenge, but it can be done.

  9. TDP says:

    Going off of what Lori and HMT said, I think a lot of the reason I say “I’m sorry I’m not good enough” is the fact that I see all these other good looking women and think to myself that i am not good enough for my husbands and that he could deserve someone better. I definitely believe that those thoughts do not come from God, but from the one who is trying to pull families apart, Satan. This has been a huge struggle for me and my relationship with my husband.

    I also have noticed for me, in order for me to not have a bazillion things running through my head during sex is to talk to my husband about what has been going on. Clearing my mind (telling myself I can’t do anything about it right this second) helps. It wouldn’t hurt to try it.

    Also, Mark Gungor (laugh your way to a better marriage) has done a video about the difference between men and women’s brains (boxes and wires), which is really funny.

  10. Jen says:

    HMT- Let your wife read your comments. It might clear up some confussion. “I’m not good enough” Translates, I didn’t meet a need you have and I feel guilty. At least for women I know. You stepped on her toes. The home usually is the womans domain. While yes, you did ask if you could rearrange when you later gave your reason and did it yourself you made her arrangements and her work seem unvaluable. You may have gotten farther had you upfront said “I’d like to spice things up a bit can we rearrange the room together?” Gettting her imput as to what would help get her in the mood too!
    This applies to everything. While yes we complain that you don’t help with chores, often when you pick up and do it we feel like we failed in some way. Even deeper the cut when looking at other women. Whether oogling her in the mall or watching porn. You give us the message that we are not meeting your expectations and are not please you enough.
    Yes, we still want help but we want you to help with us not take over.
    In short when you hear “I’m not good enough!” is more a reflection of a failure we feel. We need your reassureance that you are not looking else where for fulfilment. That we are not failing you in someway. Most of us are more than willing to work with you to find solutions!

  11. Dave & Kari says:


    I just recently found your website, and I really love it. My fiancé and I just recently got engaged and we started our own blog where we share our insights and we learn as much as we can before getting married. I will definitely be reading more of your wisdom!! Thank you so much.

    I hope you don’t mind if we refer to you in the future!


  12. Kate @One Flesh Marriage says:

    Love this, Julie! But then I love all of what you write! Both you and Lori! I believe you have expanded on a huge point. We learn so much, if we are willing and use that knowledge to, as you said extend grace and flesh out our “one flesh”. In years past I allowed these aspects of my hubby’s personality to drive me up a wall. Know I have learned to see God’s hand in them, even if a select few are still a struggle for me at times. The nothing box honestly makes me laugh, only because I am a woman. But it is true for my hubby as well and I am in awe of being able to think of nothing. You bring up some great points and challenges! 🙂

  13. Pingback: Love Links! | One Flesh Marriage

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