Could This Wife’s Story Be Yours?

I recently received an email from a woman expressing her deep regret about not addressing the sexual intimacy struggles in her marriage sooner.

She has given me permission to share her story, with the hope that it will help other wives realize the deep significance of sex.

Her experiences reflect those of many wives who struggle with sex — whether it be because of past sexual abuse, misconceptions about sex, shame, and/or physical challenges with hormone levels.

I pray you would read her words with a tender and aware heart.

It took courage for her to be so vulnerable in sharing this…

“We have been married for 27 years. I regrettably am one who would reject my husband night after night and did not realize the impact it was having on him.

We have known each other since we were 12, high school sweethearts, married at 20, kids by 23 and it went from there. My husband is a good man, with a good heart, who has always taken care of me and our 2 daughters.

When we dated, I was interested in him and making out and wanted him.

Once we were married, it changed. I’m not sure why.

Actually I have a lot of theories. I was the one who was messed up on my perception of sex – thinking it was bad or something you don’t talk about. It was embarrassing to me for some reason. My mom tried talking to me and I would just cry and cry and tell her I do not want to talk about this.

I did have some really early bad experiences when I was very young, like 4 yrs old. Older cousins who would do bad things they shouldn’t have been doing. That’s my theory on my mixed emotions and thoughts on sex. I actually thought, “Now that I’m married, everybody knows I’m having sex.” I remember thinking this and feeling bad. How stupid!

I also started birth control about 2 or 3 months before I was married. I’ve read that birth control can affect hormone levels in some women, causing low sexual desire. I’m not sure if that was it or part of it, along with my misinformed, misconstrued attitude regarding sex.

After we had our girls, I was so terrified they would hear us having sex and think something. I know now how ridiculous this sounds and is.

I was always thinking about other things, mind constantly working, not being able to relax. I was a huge worrier. Not good. My husband, from the inception of our marriage had to practically beg me for sex.

I was interested and felt sexual before marriage. What happened to me?!

As life went along, I didn’t think I needed help. I thought I was normal and that our marriage was normal.

I always heard the man wants it and the woman doesn’t. “Honey, I’ve got a headache!” Just hearing jokes about this and thinking it was normal. It was far from normal.

I always tried to have relations with my husband at least every 2 weeks and I tried not to let it go over that. Sometimes it did; sometimes it was more. I would try to make an effort to do better. This tormented my husband.

Literally tormented him.

He did not understand why I didn’t love him or want him. LOVE HIM – this is the way he felt loved. I didn’t know or see it as that.

This was my husband’s number one need. He prayed to God, “Why doesn’t she love me? What can I do to make her want me and love me?”

For years this went on. I did not realize the pain I was inflicting on him. Severe pain and agony.

I knew he wanted more sex, but I thought it was just a physical need men have. I was so wrong. It was so much more than that to him!

I should have been more attentive and cared more to realize this was a real problem. If I had realized this, our lives would have been almost perfect. We have been blessed with 2 wonderful daughters and have lived a very comfortable, secure life.

Little did I know I was killing my husband a little at a time over the years and driving him further and further away from me. He deserved so much more from me!

Fast forward 24 yrs into our marriage and the unthinkable happened.

A woman showed interest in my husband – my wonderful, handsome husband. She made him feel good about himself and showed interest in him and gave him some badly needed attention that I should have been giving him at home!

I truly understand how and why this happened and how he was so very vulnerable to her. So we have gone through some very trying times. We are still together, but we are still struggling.

This December it will be 3 years that I was aware something wasn’t right. This was devastating to our family, even my husband. He is a very moral, ethical man who always gave great advice to friends and co-workers.

No one, not even my husband, thought he would ever do this. If this happened to us, it can happen to anyone.

I am writing to you because I want to be able to help any young woman out there who could learn, educate themselves, get help and avoid the most painful thing you can endure — other than illness or worse happening to your children.

After I found out what was going on, I jumped up and did a 360 on trying to seek help and change myself.”

She shared how she read books, visited marriage websites and went to her doctor to have her hormone levels checked.  Her doctor, unfortunately, did not hear the seriousness of her concern.  She switched doctors and did find that her low testosterone levels could be remedied through a hormonal cream.

The cream has worked wonders for me — I mean wonders. I have desire like I did when I was a teenager. I had forgotten what it felt like to have instant arousal. 

Now I have so much more feeling…so much more desire. It’s unbelievable. I also have worked on my mind and educated myself and read the Bible and understood things in a whole new way.

I never looked at myself in the mirror naked, much less my husband. Never thought, “Hey, I can enjoy this too and it’s okay to enjoy it.”

The thing is, it may be too late.

My efforts may be way too late.

I love my husband as much or more than the day I married him. I have forgiven him – did right away. He’s a good man and you don’t come by this type of man everyday.

I am fighting to save our marriage, but I may have done irrevocable damage that cannot be fixed.

We are currently so confused and messed up, it’s not funny. My husband cannot get past the way I’ve treated him and right now he hasn’t forgiven me. We are really messed up in the bedroom right now. I started having sex with my husband every night when I found out something was wrong. I didn’t know there was another woman at the time.

I wanted to prove to him that I could change and that is how much I loved him. This made him really mad as time went on, because he was thinking, “All these years and now you can change?” He fell really hard for the other woman, so we are still dealing with many issues. 

There is so much to our story, but my main intention is to try and let any wife who is doing like I did to stop, get help, change your ways. Check into your testosterone levels. Change your way of thinking before its too late.

When I read the 5 Things You Must Know if You Are Denying Your Husband Sex, I just wanted to bawl.  I wish I had known years ago what I know now.”

Does anything in her story speak into your situation?

I recognize that each person’s situation is unique and that what works for one couple may not work for another.

I think, though, that her personal experience resonates with a theme that is present in many marriages where there are sexual struggles:

If you don’t intentionally address those sexual intimacy struggles, things can definitely go from bad to worse.

Whether your struggles with sex are caused by relationship issues, hormonal issues, past sexual abuse, misconceptions about sex, or a host of other reasons, do not delay.

Start now to do something.

Your marriage is worth peeling back the layers and seeking healing, solution and redemption.

I’m glad she shared her story, especially considering the pain involved.  If you were enlightened by her story, please comment and share that.

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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40 thoughts on “Could This Wife’s Story Be Yours?

  1. Greg says:

    This account is both disheartening but yet encouraging at the same time–that God is ministering through you to bring an awakening to the truth, and a genuine desire for healing and restoration. Praying that God will do just that in this situation!

    Julie, I just want to say again how much I appreciate your posts–your candor and heart for the truth–and the way God is using you to minister healing and restoration to intimacy even if/when things look bleak. I love it when this lost territory is reclaimed for Christ, and the beauty of sexual intimacy and relationships are restored! It gives hope and encouragement to keep waiting for that one day–it’s worth it!

    BTW, just a heads-up on a minor typo–the word “Subscribe” next to the check box at the end of your posts is misspelled: “Subscride to my newsletter”. 🙂

  2. JulieSibert says:

    Thanks Greg! Good catch on the typo too… my web company just added that recently so I will have them fix it.

    THANKS!!

  3. W says:

    Great post, Julie!

    I have to question, though, how many women who need to hear this message will actually read it.

    The premarital and post marital situations sound appallingly familiar!

    I’ll bring up this article on my wife’s browser. She MAY read it. Will it make her think? Will it make her feel pressured; or will it just bounce off the shield she’s erected over this area of our life for the past 37 years.

    Regardless, thanks for your transparency and the great work you are attempting!

  4. jet says:

    This post nearly made me cry. More importantly it left me with a question. I have seen three doctors for testosterone supplementation and they all refuse to give it to me even though my levels are low. Who did she see? (Hoping it’s within driving distance.)

  5. hubbyforher says:

    This should also be a wake-up call to the men to guard ourselvs as well. My wife and I were having some of these problems in our marriage for about 20 years, yet on the outside everything was perfect. Happy family, healthy kids, successful career, etc. But I was dying on the inside and was convinced that although I had married the love of my life, my wife had made a mistake, and that I was not “the one” for her.

    I raised the issue on multiple occasions, but my wife didn’t see this as a problem, at least the women she talked to sounded like we were typical. (Sadly, maybe we were/are). I was terrified that I was the perfect candidate for an affair. So I created boundaries so that it could never happen. I was scared that if some women made me feel special, I was a goner.

    Then one night after watching “Bridges of Madison County” with my wife, I had a complete breakdown, and through tears all my frustrations came out. I told her that I felt like the husband (that you never see in the movie) who’s the reliable, steady guy who the wife feels trapped with. And I felt like she yearned for someone else that she would be sexually attracted to and that would make her feel alive.

    It was at that point that my wife understood that there was something really wrong with me, and where I was mentally and emotionally (as well as our relationship, at least sexually). We went to a Christian counselor together, and developed better communication in this area. It’s been a process, not a quick fix, but it’s been wonderful. I better understand her, and she better understands me.

    As husbands, we need to not let ourselves get to the point where we can be so vulnerable to another woman. We need to guard our hearts, and push our spouse to together get professional help, if needed. Our marriages are worth it. At least mine is, and I’m happy we did it.

  6. JulieSibert says:

    jet… I don’t believe she is local. What reasons do your doctors give for not wanting to prescribe supplements even if your levels are low?

    I know there are pros/cons to doing hormonal supplements. Not sure why one person is a candidate and someone else isn’t.

    I would continue to research the matter and not rule out even going to more doctors for more insights.

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

    God bless this woman for sharing her story! I will pray for their marriage. Neglecting your spouse’s needs for physical intimacy (whether husband or wife) can have a lasting negative impact on the person and the relationship.

    This is what you and I talk about a lot, right? How sex within marriage is not merely a physical need, but a physical manifestation of a deeper need for connection.

    Wonderful, wonderful post. Will definitely be sharing it!

  8. Ron says:

    Having been there and cheated I’ve man’dup to the fact it was my actions that caused my wife to leave. me. But I agree with what was stated. I cheated not because I didn’t love my wife, but I wanted to feel loved, wanted to have a physical relationship other than my hand. I didn’t care about these other woman other than to fill that need I had. With my new wife; I’ve made a commitment not to cheat and will keep it. But it’s interesting to note that she doesn’t understand my need for a physical relationship. And I even have explained it to her; that even if she was to just be with me while I pleasured myself; it would still be intimacy between us.

  9. kyle lassiter says:

    Jet, my wife went to multiple doctors, all female, and got no satisfaction with menopausal symptoms or anything else. She found a female nurse practitioner that specialized in women. That nurse practitioner did tests and then had a compounding pharmacy in Boulder, CO make the right mix of estrogen and testosterone and it did wonders for our marriage in many ways. My wife has since died of cancer, but I’ve sent approximately a dozen women to this nurse practitioner when this issue comes up. (This issue comes up with women because I’m a life coach that works primarily with professional Christian women in life transition, but personal issues so often mix into professional issues that I’ve had to address the issue of sexuality a number of times with clients.)

  10. UK Fred says:

    Julie, please thank your correspondent for her courage in telling her story.

    From the husbands I speak to, there are many wives both inside and outside the church who do not recognise their husband’s need for a sexual relationship, and who are then shocked by their husband having a physical affair. One non-Christian friend, whose eldest child had gone off to University confided that his wife would not have sex with him over an extended period but complained bitterly when he wanted to sleep in the bed vacated by his child because the younger children would notice that they were not sleeping together.

    I cannot remember who it was on The Marriage Bed put it thus: infidelity is both positive, not keeping sex between the spouses, and negative, denying the spouse. I can understand this viewpoint bt it appears that many wives do not.

  11. Pearl says:

    What a powerful story shared by this courageous sister. I hope her words reach the hearts of many wives who may not comprehend the tremendous need men have to be loved through sexual intimacy. May she help God in warning others how infidelity creeps in.

    I, too, will be sharing this incredible testimony.

  12. that guy says:

    I am a man in her shoes and dont wanna lose my wife of 7 months and bestfriend of 5yrs I learned alot from her story and am gonna start now to fix me for her.Thank You so much.

  13. Ellen says:

    I’m newer to your blog, and I absolutely appreciate all the tips, advices, and stories. I honestly feel as though because of these posts I have avoided a MAJOR faux-pas in my one year marriage. We were doing the once or twice a week thing and now well … Needless to say it countless! 😀 I never knew how important this aspect {sex} was so important. Please, if you can, let this subscriber of yours know that her story has given me strength and courage to keep it ALIVE in my bedroom. I pray that her joy and her husband’s will soon be restored as well.

    ~grateful
    Ellen

  14. portia says:

    yes,this wife’s story is exactly mine.i dont know whats happened to me.i used to enjoy sex when we were dating a lot,but now i dont know what changed.this really upsets him and we are a young couple.he really gets angry.sometimes i tell myself that tonight im not going to refuse,but when he starts touching me,i get angry,bored,i block my feelings,but when i want to do it i do it,but most of the time i refuse.thanks for this information.

  15. Amy says:

    Did I write this? I could have, word for word, except for the testosterone issue.
    My issue was in my head, and in the fact that intimacy needs to take place outside the bedroom. We have learned and healed and grown into a better marriage than we ever have.
    To the writer — my husband took MONTHS to figure out that I meant it when I made advances physically. Once God shook me up and opened my eyes, I was on the job, doing what I should have all along.
    Not only did I have wrong attitudes and perceptions, I allowed my husband’s behaviors to determine how I treated him.
    He is now 100% on board, the other woman (an emotional affair, which is hard to overcome in a very different way) got her walking papers, and we have improved in every area: emotional, physical, spiritual and mental.
    Keep praying, talk with your husband and encourage him to take the necessary steps to healing with you. It takes a lot of time and work, but you can do it.

  16. Remorseful refusing wife says:

    I am the refusing wife in the story. I just wanted to thank all of you for the encouragement and kind words. I wish each one of you a successful, happy, loving relationship. Thanks so much I appreciate the prayers.

  17. landschooner says:

    “I knew he wanted more sex, but I thought it was just a physical need men have. I was so wrong. It was so much more than that to him!”

    I know this isnt the main point of the article, and I DO agree that it IS more than physical (for many men it IS the main way that they receive love) but lets just say it IS “just” a physical need. why does that minimize it? My need for food is just physical, but I think its pretty important. So is my need for oxygen. And if you couple that with it being your spouse that denies that physical need……..?

    LS

  18. Lisa E. says:

    This is heartbreaking! It is so true though… It really can happen to ANYONE. We cannot pray enough over our marriages!

  19. grace says:

    I understand completely with what she went through. I am actually going through the same problem. Not that I always deny my husband sexually – but I don’t have the desire of intimacy the same way my husband does. Our high drive and low drive sexually is creating so big of a gap that it’s so hard to meet in the middle. When I do come to him to serve him in the intimacy area, he wants me just more than doing the act of sex, but being involve emotionally & physically. At the beginning of our marriage – I didn’t understand the connection that men achieves emotional connection with their wives through having intimacy with their wife. We do have sex but not regular enough, not intense enough for my husband to feel close to me … even our wedding night and honeymoon was disaster and he got very disappointed .. fast forward 6 yrs later, he met somebody and had an affair. Through some counseling and help, I took him back and we tried to make things works – now, 2 yrs later … he decided all those 2 yrs weren’t not going to take us to the place where he wants in our marriage, in the satisfaction of intimacy and emotional connections. I don’t deny him sex but apparently even not having enough desire for my husband can be a marriage killer. We have a little boy and now I am not sure what is going to happen to our precious boy ..

    To Amy: we are in the same situation .. how did you do it while you’re struggling, especially with the affair? I feel alone sometimes in this struggles — you see counselors enough where situation doesn’t changed except getting more discouraged and lost.

    TOohubbyforher: my husband in the same situation with you. I just wish there is somebody that he can talk to that had similar situation and already conquered this struggle we are in – to be in the other ‘better’ side – he lost hope in us and ready to throw the towel after 8 yrs.

  20. Sean says:

    I am so glad this article was posted! I hope there are some women who heed this. Unfortunately, most women just like to belittle men and don’t care about them at all as long as they have a house, a nice car, and plenty of money. Sorry to sound bitter but after almost 3 years of forced celibacy, I don’t have much sympathy for this woman.

  21. Dan says:

    This is like reading our marriage story. Is there a way someone could send this to my wife. She would never take it seriuosly if it came from me.

  22. david says:

    I agree with dan I wish someone could send this to my wife of19 yr maybe she would read it and give it some thought.I have tried many times to discuss this with her, only to have her dismiss the whole thing,with( Im just not Interested).If she knew it came from me she would not read it and be very angry that I would discuss this with anyone else .julie thanks for relating this ladys delima may god bless her and soften the husbands heart to forgive,I would love to have an opportunity to forgive my wife.

  23. Jojo says:

    Hi Julie , this letter so speaks to me , it’s unbelievable just how much ! And would love the advise if fellow readers . I have big problem with a lack of intimacy and realize that is affecting my marriage . I grew up in an Indian culture where sex talk was taboo . I love sex with my husband but feel embarrassed to disclose my desire. My husband has no inhibitions and so we don’t seem to share the same views on the subject . The thing is he does not ask or even try , whilst I believe it is him who should come to me and entice me …
    Also to add to this , I am starting menopause rather early which is a big obstacle where libido is concerned and also our marriage has suffered a great blow when my husband faced a life threatening illness six years ago , that lasted almost four years! As a family we are still trying to pick the pieces. He is taking life dependency medication which I believe might have affected is libido too . This has all resulted in a Sex Absent marriage … We are not in a position to pay for advise either as he cannot find work since his illness . The article was of great help to me, knowing I am not alone, but how does one overcome this many obstacles and whilst trying to keep a family afloat. I think we are both under a very long lasting emotional stress .. It’s almost impossible to think about intimacy when there is so much going on ….

    Desperate Working Wife and mother

  24. JulieSibert says:

    @Jojo… thank you for your comment. You and your family have faced a great deal of stress, so it is no wonder that sexual intimacy has taken a hit.

    I would start with having an open discussion with your husband about your desire that the two of you work on this area of your relationship. I realize this may take a lot of courage to initiate a conversation like this, but it may lead to at least some steps in a healthier direction.

    Also, the more you and your husband can carve out even small amounts of time on a regular basis just to spend time enjoying each other’s company, the better. When a friendship is nurtured, this often equips us to be more vulnerable and to nurture other areas of our relationship as well.

    Even if actual sexual intercourse isn’t as possible as it was when you were younger or before your husband’s health conditions, you still can enjoy each other’s touch and closeness.

    I hope some of this is helpful…

  25. WH says:

    @HubbyForHer: I’m overjoyed that you forced the issue on your spouse, that you have some resolution. Your wife did what most wives do (no offense here…) – she let her selfishness deflect your well-intended requests for intimacy go unheeded.

    Instead of telling Christian men to “guard” their marriages, I propose an alternative: force the issue IMMEDIATELY. Again, I admire your approach and am glad you have some closure…HOWEVER, what if you had made your crisis point within the first year the issue arose? Think of all the tender intimacy you might have had…there is a point where patience can be a detriment by becoming avoidance. All too often wives need that “push” sooner than later.

    What I recommend is for the refused spouse to NOT wait years (sometimes decades!) to have it out with their spouse. By the time you wait that long, you could be old, bitter and have had an affair. Resolving such issues before they become explosions is the key to a lifetime of marriage bliss, at least in my humble opinion.

  26. WH says:

    I must reiterate something about the heartbreaking story on this post. While the husband was clearly making his needs known, I also hold him responsible to some degree. HE let his needs go unmet until a good man was in a terrible position. Beyond polite requests and prayer, at some point he was satisfied with the status quo – and a bad one – to the point where he forced himself into a corner. His natural, God-given sex drive eventually overwhelmed him because he failed to take action and take it EARLY. I cannot emphasize enough that an ultimatum early in this process would have been far preferable than an affair and the husband now questioning the future of his marriage.

  27. Ed Hillsman says:

    This story sounds like my wife and I right now. I too am tired of asking or waiting on her to innate sex between us. This has been going for a number of years and I have been at the end of my rope for a very long time. She is always tired or sleepy. just now she got undressed and went to bed without saying goodnight or even think about giving me a hug or a kiss. So frustrated.

  28. WH says:

    @Ed: it’s intervention time for you. If you don’t put the brakes on NOW, you’ll be right where you are 10 years from now. Or more likely watching porn or having an affair. Wives cannot be married to males and drop sexual activity! Your end of the marriage is dying, and her end may already be dead (at least she’s behaving like that). You have nothing to lose at this point. Tell her what changes need to occur between you, with sex the first and foremost indicator of change. Those changes need to happen or you need to bring the relationship to its ultimate conclusion, sooner than later. You’re already at your own emotional departure, all that can happen from now on are good things. Tell her that you two start acting like two married people OR you can start acting like two roommates, but that you aren’t living with someone you’re not married to.

  29. Chip says:

    This sounds too much like my marriage story, just no affair yet. Sadly, the only people reading this all too common and familiar story are the people who are the ones suffering from this sexual neglect. No, not neglect, I mean abuse! How do we get this into the hands, hearts and minds of the spouse that needs it ????

  30. Wife of this post says:

    I am the wife in the story and I wanted to comment on WH’s comments on addressing intimacy issues immediately.

    This is the best advise I think that can be given. My husband told me how angry he was and is at himself because he didn’t address the issue seriously, urgently, sternly and a longggg time ago. For the husband or wife that is suffering from being denied intimacy the passing comments and one liners do not get the message through. You have to convey the seriousness of the matter and the severity and urgency of the situation. My husband never talked to me like that until it was to late. He had started the Affair, but I didn’t know that at the time. I did know the severity and seriousness in his tone and that our marriage was in deep trouble and I had to start reforming, learning and loving my husband the way I truly loved him. I stood to loose him and our family and he conveyed it where I got the message loud and clear this time.

    To update my situation we are still together, but actually still struggling. If I had understood him sooner I could have saved our family from this terrible situation. Our marriage could have been wonderful if only I had been sensitive and shown the actual abundance of love and admiration I had for my husband. I am still praying that we can and will have that wonderful relationship that he desired and that I so desire now.

    We are still dealing with many issues. There are many, many obstacles to work through and forgiveness issues still. I have forgiven him, but he still has not forgiven me. He’s not decided to move on at this point and is still working with the woman. This is very hard on me to the point that I am still very depressed and down. I crave his love now, tables have been turned and the feelings for another are involved, not just the 2 of us. Please, if this is your story too, work this out before 3 become involved in your marriage. It is so much easier to work it out when it is just the two of you.

    God Bless each of you that struggle with this issue. I hope he will guide you to the marriage and intimate relationship you are meant to have.

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  32. George says:

    Just came across this post 2/14/14
    To the Wife of this post & others who added input:

    Thanks for sharing your story. As Michael Card
    says: “God never wastes your pain.” I would clarify that God is not the source got the pain– but can use it to bring healing to any and all. (Selfishness is–and all of us are infected with this. There us s remedy though)

    Press press together with Jesus-allowing Him to bring healing truths. Find a way to get and keep professional input plus quality lay input like from thus great resource and ones Julie teams up’

    Then get / keep close to healthy same gender friends or healthy couple who can help your husband and you forgive yourselves and then other.

    Don’t be content with a distorted picture of the real God Whom is able to bring healthy forgiveness that can restore what the locust gave eaten often on this dude if His 2nd Appearing.

    Checkout resources that can assist like : HisPeace.org. / Healing of the Gospel (Derrick Flood) / God Shaped Brain Tim Jennings MD

    Praying for all.

    Thanks for trusting us with your pain,

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  35. Sean says:

    #wife of this post.
    Don’t know if you are still reading, but I want to thank you again. Unfortunately, my wife refused to change, so I moved out. It was really hard, but she specifically told me that if I was going to be married to her, I had to be ok with never having sex again. I can’t accept that.

  36. Barry hill says:

    Similar situation with my wife. Sex was fine dating but she was young an lack maturity an so did I. Was pregnant when got married an had 3 wonderful kids. We would have sex an she seem to enjoy but never showed or expressed interest in me But she wanted the attention. Things wasn’t improving an me asking an telling her I needed more. After 35yrs of marriage I showed up with prostate cancer. Was trying to regain erection I was doing varies methods including porn. She offer very little support. I was caught with porn an she wanted me to get counciling. I went but during that time we talk some an she did some research an discover that she had fought in the relationship of not being attentived to my needs. (Past years just got to feeling she was doing her biblical dutie). I struggle with my manhood an being a provider for her (see she had relationship with another guy before I met her an I thought I was competing with him since she was not responding to me). She has made a complete turn around in her relations to me an we have done a lot of very personal talking. Took me about 7 month to really see she was sincere but still got some anger about loosing past years. Now lost several other thing since the cancer an having radiation. I personally feel better about myself She has told me that she got to believing sex was dirty an I was correct that she was doing her married duty. But all change an I do love her.

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