I’m grateful to have a guest post from Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo of One Extraordinary Marriage. The DiLorenzos are incredibly authentic in being real about their own ups and downs in marriage… and are generous enough to take what they’ve learned and speak hope to others. Be encouraged by what they offer today.
(Plus, they have a give-away, so keep reading…)
We want you to think back to a time when you and your spouse were on the same playing field sexually.
What was happening in your marriage at that time that got you to this place? How were you feeling about yourself? About your spouse?
Were you on vacation, away from the day-to-day distractions?
Unfortunately, life does happen and you sometimes lose that sexual high you were on with your spouse. You want to get back to that place, but you are finding it hard to do that. There’s a wall blocking the two of you from having the sexual intimacy you desire.
You want sex more and your spouse wants it less and less.
Here’s the thing. In many marriages, there is a high desire and a low desire spouse. In our society the husband has been pegged the high desire spouse, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not always that way.
There are many wives out there who are ready to jump between the sheets with husbands who have little to no energy to make love. This role reversal leaves many wives and husbands frustrated with the sexual intimacy they both once had and desire in their marriage again.
Three years ago after completing our 60 Days of Sex Challenge and our first of five “7 Days of Sex Challenge,” we knew who was high desire and who was low. We knew which one of us would initiate and which one would determine if sex was going to happen that day or not.
The high desire/initiating spouse feels selfish, frustrated, annoyed, and angry when what they perceive to be a fun experience is not happening. Always having to pursue time after time gets old and frankly the rejection that comes most of the time devalues your sense of self worth.
On the other hand, the low desire/non-initiating spouse has the power to decide if sex will happen or not. If you are the low desire spouse, you begin to feel resentful, manipulative, and down right frustrated with your spouse. If you wanted sex you would let them know. You typically only have sex to appease your spouse and, for the most part, the faster the better.
We know both sides of this story, as this was our marriage for more than 13 years.
Tony has always been the high desire spouse and Alisa the low desire spouse. The cycle of initiating and rejection got to the point that we would wonder why we even had to have sex.
Even though we had completed the 60 Days of Sex Challenge and the 7 Days of Sex Challenge, we still had not figured out how to best continue to grow in our sexual intimacy.
The high desire/low desire dilemma was still apparent in our marriage.
That changed one summer day as we sat listening to a couple share what we now call the Intimacy Lifestyle.
The Intimacy Lifestyle is about both of you initiating each week. It doesn’t matter if you are the high desire or low desire spouse.
The Intimacy Lifestyle is about both of you being servant lovers and stepping up and initiating sex in your marriage. There is so much to the Intimacy Lifestyle that we recorded an entire podcast, Scheduling Sex, on it.
Please don’t miss out on one of the most amazing ways that you can keep the passion, romance, and sex alive in your marriage while still honoring who is the high and who is the low desire spouse.
Are you ready to get that passion burning again? Then it is time to get started!
Pick up the 7 Days of Sex Challenge, complete it, and then start your Intimacy Lifestyle.
The DiLorenzos are giving away one ebook and one audio book of their “7 Days of Sex Challenge.” On Thursday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. (CST), I will choose two winners randomly from the commenters on this post between now and then. Simply make a comment about what spoke to you from this post. You can use an anonymous name, but be sure to give me a real email address (won’t print), so I can contact you if you win!
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.
31 thoughts on “Revitalizing Your Marriage, Sexually Speaking!”
Sounds good to me!
Servant lover…never heard that term/expression before.
I can definitely relate to some of the descriptions in this post – will definitely be checking out that podcast.
Intimacy lifestyle sounds great. I am very interested in that.
I never realised until now the possible feelings my husband must be experiencing due to being the “high desire spouse”. Rejection, frustration, anger, low self-worth. Thinking about it now, I have certainly seen the manifestations of these, but never made the connection. Thanks for opening my eyes a little!
I would consider myself the low desire spouse but I want my desire to grow!
Interesting. Sounds like they are advocating having each spouse initiate just one time a week? I’d love to read the book.
There will be a time period when our sex drives are the same. I never thought that was possible.
“We want you to think back to a time when you and your spouse were on the same playing field sexually.”
Never been there. No sex first 16months of marriage – then she wanted to get pregnant. Once she was (about 5 times), that was it for another 15 months. We average less than 5 times a year. I’ve given up.
For my marriage, lack of sex (2-3 times a month) has been the “elephant in the room” for more than 30 years. We both need improve our communication with each other but 30 years of bad habits are hard to break. Perhaps the 7 day challenge could help us…I would consider it a miracle if my wife would say yes to this challenge and I know God is a God of miracles.
I like the term “intimacy lifestyle”. And I like that idea too!
You are hitting the naiil on the head with the feeling of the high/low desire couple. I am the low desire spouse but have been working on that I now realize my spouses love language is physical touch and he appreciates my initiating sex. Looking forward to continue to improve
Hubby has never liked the idea of scheduling, it would take work to convince him it is the best way to go.
“keep the passion, romance, and sex alive in your marriage while still honoring who is the high and who is the low desire spouse.”
Sounds great to me!!
It is interesting about the low desire and high desire. I never thought about it that way.
Dang!! the relationship described sounds like mine. I am working very hard on initiating sex and clearing my mind so I can enjoy our moment. I take it one day at a time. Julie your blogs are very helpful. God is definetly speaking to me via your words:)
I recently found out that my husband had been neck deep in Internet porn, cyber sex, and meeting women from online for sex. This had been going on for several years and I was completely oblivious. I am the high-drive partner and he is the low-drive. After being turned down so many times for sex early in our marriage I quickly stopped initiating. Now after discovering his sexual sin, it is even that much harder for me to initiate sex with him. I am praying this book and lifestyle can help me/us overcome our fears and resignations which prevent us from fully enjoying each other sexually.
@Brooke… thank you for your courage to write. You may find some other resources that would benefit you and your husband on the below post.
Scroll to the comment section for suggestions on ministries/resources that are aimed at overcoming porn addiction, healing, etc.
There are marriages that have persevered, healed and overcome this horrible addiction. My heart and prayers go out to you and your husband…
I HAVE A QUESTION-IS IT POSSIBLE FOR BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE TO BE HD OR LD SIMULTANEOUSLY? I LOVE THE PHRASE-“INTIMACY LIFESTYLE”.
I am the HD and everything you said about the feelings of rejection hit close to home. I have heard “I would be ok never having sex again.” Those words have hurt more than anything I have ever heard. It not only broke my heart, but also my spirit.
Going to check out podcast today.
I really hesitate to say this here because my marriage bed life is SO different from so much of what I’ve been reading on these blogs although the result has been exactly the same. I’ve never read anything that reflects my experience other than the negative results and now my desire to correct it. “We want you to think back to a time when you and your spouse were on the same playing field sexually.” This has NEVER happened until the last year. Married young, the 1st year we had sex 3-5 times a day. But it was always just sex. After that first year, I cut it back to just daily as I felt really used. Went to sleep crying silently for years and years-and yes, I tried explaining to dh how unloved I felt-repeatedly. I got so I wouldn’t try different positions any more because it really had nothing to do w/me and it made me feel like I should get paid, if you know what I mean. After 10 years, I wanted it scheduled-2 days on, one day off. I really needed days where it wasn’t happening to me because that’s what it was. Happening to me. Now, my dh is very kind and good. Always has been. A fine husband. A wonderful provider. And he loves me. Just was very selfish in bed. After 25 years, I told him only 2x/week. And it stayed that way until this past year when I decided to really try to fix our horrible sex life (from my perspective). It had gotten to the point that I loved my husband, but I did not like him at all. I felt so totally used, unloved, like a failure although the rest of my/our life did not bear that out. I had COMPLETELY removed myself mentally from sex so I could let him ‘do it’ to me as he seemed content to do. He DID tell me that he really wished things were better, but he was also content to get what he could. Now, I understand that he probably had no idea what to do or where to start to fix things. I was afraid to fix things because all I could see that getting me was more sex which was NOT what I wanted! I had shut down anything remotely involving intimacy from my side so I didn’t always have to deal w/the hurt of getting nothing. Now, 30+ years into this,after years of praying over our bed, I realized God wanted me to just serve this man he had given me in bed as well as I did out of bed. And thus began the healing in my heart & soul and awakening of passion in BOTH of our lives. We’re back to daily, sometimes 2-3x and it’s SO good. Finally. Finally. So if there’s another someone out there that is dealing w/my backwards *too much pathetic*sex life, PLEASE be encouraged to know that prayer and a personal decision to step up again and be the Godly woman you are might be the answer to the question. It took me YEARS to submit to serving yet again when I felt I deserved to be served. God has such a sense of humor.
Oh my marriage needs this challenge. I am at my wits end.
i’m definitely going to listen to the podcast!
My wife of one year and I are constantly working to keep the romance and sex alive in our marriage. This includes always communicating with each other to see where we are emotionally as well as where we are on the tiredness scale from work and other commitments. I try to fill her up with what she needs to feel loved and appreciated. We appreciate the work yoi do to help is understand each other. Thank You.
How does a Christian couple revitalize their marriage, sexually speaking, when one spouse (my wife) has decided that sex is a chore, much like doing the dishes or taking out the trash but of way lower priority and frequency, maybe more like vacuuming behind the refrigerator?
How does one revitalize a marriage when one spouse has decided at age 30-something that sex is “for the young” and not us?
How does one revitalize a marriage when we have had deep heartfelt communication on the issue, with me explaining how important and meaningful sex is to a man, with me explaining the Christian point of view, with her listening and understanding yet having no intention of doing “the chore” any more than she has to?
How does one revitalize a marriage when one spouse (guess who) has now gone from sleeping with the kids (because they wake up at night, until age 7!) to now sleeping in the guest bedroom so she can conveniently dodge any requests for intimacy?
How does one revitalize a marriage when one spouse (her) enjoys sex and climaxes every time and usually multiple times, but she can totally live without it and hasn’t initiated it in since the previous decade?
How does one revitalize a marriage when I am the sole provider, earning enough so that she does not have to work if she doesn’t want to (and she does not), when I take care of my share of household chores, when I adjust my work schedule to spend time with the kids, when I take time off to care for sick kids or when she is sick, when I am ready to do anything in the world that she asks – yet sex is seen by her as the lowest priority “chore” that you can easily postpone until next month or the month after that without consequence?
How does one revitalize the marriage when we can schedule a single engagement of sex on our calendar 12 months in advance and that appointment will still be broken?
How does one revitalize a marriage when one spouse would never accept taking any medications or hormone replacement therapy (if needed) because it’s unnatural? And who is not comfortable opening up to any outsiders such as a counselor?
How does one revitalize a marriage when their options are: 1) accept having very infrequent and increasingly infrequent sex, or 2) being un-Christian?
It’s terrific to read the stories of couples with great intimacy and such closeness, but it doesn’t help me other than to make me think I married the wrong woman or should have just remained single and had steady girlfriends. It really pains me to say that because I love my wife very much, but my love for her is starting to become more like the love you have for a family member such as a sibling and completely missing the type of love you should have for your wife.
I can hire people to cook and to clean, but there is only one person in the world with whom I’m allowed to be intimate according to God’s law, and that is the one person who has the power, the will, and the resources to deny me until I am ready to give up completely.
After 15 years of the downward spiral I am about ready to call it quits. I’ve experimented with talking about it, not talking about it, praying, not praying, getting upset and emotional, and totally tuning out and expressing no emotions whatsoever. But the journey toward a sexless marriage continues full steam ahead.
I wish I had listened to the men in my life who had warned me, long before I got married, that marriage would be the beginning and the end of sex for me. Stupidly, I refused to believe them and was sure that wasn’t going to be me.
Now I can share that same wisdom with the younger lads. If you want a fulfilling sex life, don’t get married. If you want to get married, you can leave your desire for sex at the altar because you are finished. Take your pick.
@Want2Revitalize! Thank you for taking the time to comment. My heart breaks over what you are experiencing in your marriage… not only does it break for your particular situation, but also because I get many emails like yours from other frustrated husbands facing the same frustrating and depressing circumstances.
If you have made every attempt to communicate to your wife the deep pain you feel about this, I would encourage you to seek Christian counsel. Your wife is sinning by withholding sex (1 Corinthians 7 is clear that spouses are not to withhold sex from each other when there is no reasonable reason for withholding like severe injury, illness, etc).
If you wonder if you have clearly communicated to her how you feel, I would suggest writing her a letter. That gives you time to clearly express with love, yet firmness, the seriousness of this situation. It also gives her space to process. The goal would be that this would be a springboard into more face-to-face dialogue about what it means to nurture all forms of intimacy in your marriage, including sexual, emotional, spiritual.
At the minimum, I would encourage you to find 2-3 other Christian men who will pray with you. They may have wives who then could approach your wife as sisters in Christ seeking to hold her accountable.
I know all this sounds drastic, but some of these steps may be what opens her eyes.
If she is open to it, you may also share with her that you have been on my site and that she may find information here that would be helpful.
Thank you for your kind and quick response, and especially for your advice. Your site has been incredibly helpful for me in understanding the situation I’m in, and I pray your advice will help us get to a better place.
I am going to write the heartfelt letter. I think it’s a great idea because talking about it has simply been ineffective. My taking the time to put it in writing, thoughtfully, lovingly and firmly, may get her to realize that I am very close to the point of no return. I’m going to start with this.
Either things will get better, they will remain the same, or they will get worse. I’m not expecting to grow tulips in the dessert, but even a modicum of improvement would encourage me to hang on. I’ll give her some time to process, as you suggest, and will not create any pressure at all. I’ve been living for quite some time in emptiness, so I have learned to be patient.
This is a turning point. Hopefully we can solve this. If not I am prepared to sever my emotional attachment for my own psychological well being, and will commit to being a reliable roommate who cleans the dishes and pays the rent and utility bills on time, and who puts on the act of being a happy and fulfilled husband in front of our kids. I can live with my needs coming last, but it’s the absence of hope that would scare me the most.
Thanks again for your kind words of support.
one thing that is hard in marriage is understanding how wives feel after making love. If the experience is intense –with multiple climaxes on her part–why is she angry the next day? I feel so close to her, want to be close, want to talk to her (both about the experience and other things). She wants to push me away. Is this normal?
Well, over a period of three days I reflected, prayed, and penned a very heartfelt letter to express my feelings. I wrote and rewrote it, spending hours and hours picking exactly the right words to convey my sentiment in a loving way. She read it and was at first very defensive. But over about 5 hours of deep, heartfelt communication, she told me she understood how I felt and recognized that she had been neglecting her relationship with me.
She said that she now realized she had allowed my needs to sink to the very bottom. We cried together, reaffirmed our love for each other, and talked about the 15 years we’ve spent and that we would both say “I do” all over again. We both recognized and admitted that our relationship had suffered and was heading for disaster if we continued on the previous path. I told her how badly it hurt when she denies me, and that I need to be intimate to give me energy to give back to her. She said she wouldn’t deny my like that again. It was the best communication and understanding we have had in a very long time, and I was convinced we had reached a turning point. I was so happy.
That was the high point.
In the days that followed there was a real loving and warm atmosphere in our house. We hugged and shared some really nice time together. But gradually, as each day passed, I could feel and see the distance growing and the negative patterns reemerging.
Three weeks later we are right back where we were before. I asked if we could spend some quality time together while kids were at school, when I had a free day, and she had nothing on her calendar. Her answer… silence. My second suggestion was brushed off and she simply gave me the “I’m not interested, go away” routine. As a third try I changed it up, from “hey, would you like to have some intimacy” to “hey, would you like me to just give you a back rub, or have me take you on a lunch date no strings attached since we have nothing going on today?” and her answer was ‘naa.’
What’s really disappointing is that I had suggested something last weekend. She was too busy, so she said “let’s do it one day this week.” Well, when the day actually comes, and there is truly no convenient excuse to offer, she flat out denies me which turns her promises into a lies. I asked her if she remembers what she said last weekend and she says “no”, which she knows is also a lie.
So all of my effort and emotional pleas to my beloved wife appear to have been a complete and utter waste. All the emotion, all the energy poured out represented just a futile attempt at reconciliation and revitalization. I am so disappointed. I’m not even angry at this point. I’m just drained and empty. I gave my all in our last communication and I don’t really have much left.
I need to have an intimate relationship with my wife. My wife needs to have a non-intimate relationship with me. So what are my Christian options?
I can’t imagine any good ones. Whatever I do, the Lord will be displeased with me and I’m sure I will be punished either by having to endure this non-intimate committed relationship for the rest of my life, or suffer the devastation that would be caused if I should stray.
Thanks for your advice, Julie. It was good advice. But in our case it didn’t work out. I guess you can’t grow tulips in the desert.
@Want2Revitalize!… I’m saddened to hear about your experience, especially after it seemed like there was a real turning point.
If I were you, I would suggest marriage counseling. If she refuses, I would encourage you to go on your own… not only to get the insights of a Christian trained in counseling, but also to demonstrate to your wife that you will do as much as you can to save the marriage.
I know there are no guarantees, but at least you would know that you have tried all you can try.
Thanks Julie. I’m not at all impressed with counseling. The only people I know who have been through marriage counseling can also give me the names of their divorce lawyers. I’ve worked with psychologists and “counselors” over many years, professionally, and I have seen a lot more harm than good ever come from interactions with them.
Maybe I could catch a lucky break talking to a marriage counselor, but my luck these days has not been too good and I think you know what I mean by that.
I have not given up and will continue trying, but I am dangerously close to the breaking point that I am envisioning taking my chances with life on my own.
Thank you for your blog. Hopefully my ruination will be of help to others.