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I’ve been thinking about sexual loneliness in marriage.
Some people are surprised that I would know anything about sexual loneliness, but occasionally I do, mostly because my drive is higher than my husband’s.
It’s not a matter of one of us being right or wrong, but more so just a dynamic we have to navigate (sounds like all of marriage, when you think about it).
For this post, I’m not talking about sexual abandonment in marriage.
When I think of sexual abandonment, I envision months (and sometimes years) of ongoing sexual refusal — with no effort from the refusing spouse to address the sexual desert. Many marriages experience this heartbreaking reality. For an insightful post on that, check out 5 Costs of Sexually Refusing Your Spouse.
But what if you are occasionally sexually lonely? You crave the emotional and physical closeness of sexual intimacy, but your spouse doesn’t equally hunger for the same thing (at least not to the degree you do).
Yes, striving for compromise on frequency is wise. But anyone who is married knows full well that compromise may quell the battle and bring peace, but it doesn’t always make the sadness subside, at least not immediately.
Below are 5 tips that have worked for me when I am sexually lonely. You may find them helpful as well.
It sounds so elementary, but thank God there are only 24 hours in a day. His mercies are fresh every morning, and when we are disappointed or discouraged over relatively minor things in our marriage, it’s good to keep it all in perspective.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. But time does give us space and perspective. You can’t die on the side of every mountain. You just can’t.
Marriage is hard ground in that it is an arena where two individuals continually have to figure out how to do life together. And truth be told, some couples are better at this than others. But there’s no sense getting caught up in wishing your spouse was like someone else’s.
A better approach?
When you are discouraged and sexually lonely, think of reasons you are grateful for your spouse. The reasons may be big things like being a steady provider or small things like remembering to throw dirty clothes in a basket. In nearly all marriages, if you asked the husband and wife to list some things they appreciate about their spouse, they could indeed do it.
So instead of getting caught up in what you perceive as your spouse’s shortcomings, dedicate some mental energy to remembering something positive about them.
Studies show that women ruminate way more than men, but I imagine men do their fair share, too. Ruminating is when you play a scenario over and over in your mind. It is especially damaging when we do this with a negative experience, where our mind becomes a stage for an endless amount of “he said” and “she said” and “I wish I would have said.”
This is all just wasted energy that tends to magnify our discouragement rather than minimize it.
And from a spiritual standpoint, negative ruminating is a huge foothold for Satan. It just is. His go-to destruction method is division, and nowhere does the enemy want more division than in a covenant relationship God designed.
So grow in your discernment. Become quicker at catching yourself when you start ruminating about your sexual loneliness. Refuse to replay all those negative tapes rolling through your head.
What is something simple and healthy you can do that will make yourself feel better? Can you peruse a bookstore and buy a book you want? What about grabbing a good cup of coffee? Or go on a long walk? Just getting out in nature can do wonders for our perspective and sense of wellbeing.
Maybe take a nap. Or spend a little time on a hobby you like. When I feel sexually lonely, it helps me to practice a little self-nourishment.
When all is said and done, no one is going to understand your pain and loneliness like the Lord. I know this sounds like a trite Christian-ey thing to say, but my heart is to share what has comforted me in my sexual loneliness.
God has comforted me. His Word reminds me He is close to the brokenhearted. He is a safe place to land and lean into when I feel discouraged or disappointed. Dig into the scriptures and ask Him to meet you at your point of loneliness.
Even in marriages where there is fairly healthy sexual intimacy, it is unlikely the sex drives are going to be perfectly aligned. Some sexual loneliness is bound to creep in at some point for one or both spouses.
Don’t let sexual loneliness derail you, but rather find healthy ways to navigate and cope.
For more reading, cruise through my list of past posts.
Copyright 2019, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.