What do you do when healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage takes a dive because of an unexpected crisis? Asking for a friend.
Okay, not asking for a friend.
I’m describing my life right now, so I figured it would be a good topic to tackle. For the past several months, my husband and I have been dealing with two extended family situations that are beyond draining. Fortunately, one of those has drifted to the peripheral and is barely sapping an ounce of our attention. Thank God. But the other situation? So draining.
I cannot even describe how exasperating it has been. And I can’t really go into the details of it either, so you’re just going to have to take my word on this. It has brought major upheaval into our lives.
And our sexual intimacy has suffered big time.
Not only do we not have the physical or time reserve to devote much to connecting sexually, I am not overly confident we have much emotional reserve either. With each passing day, we grow less and less inspired to resuscitate that aspect of our marriage.
Maybe you can relate. Something has jarred your otherwise healthy sexual oneness and there’s little you can do about it.
Could be a health or behavior crisis with one your kids. Maybe it’s your own health crisis. Or maybe it’s an extended family member expecting something from you, and you’re trying to help, but the boundaries have become blurry. Possibly it’s a work demand that entails you or your spouse or both of you putting in long exasperating hours. Or maybe it’s a big project, like a home build or renovation, and your mind is going in a million different directions. Ot it could be a financial crisis that has become almost unmanageable.
There are countless scenarios that can shatter a married couple’s sexual intimacy.
As of late, I’ve wanted to just run away. Or sleep for 18 hours a day. Or lock myself in my home office. But alas, I’m a grown-up. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m a responsible adult. I can’t do any of those things, because it would mean seriously bailing. And I’m not one to bail. I’m actually quite good in a crisis.
So the tips I would offer you are the ones I have recently mustered the strength to offer myself:
1. Lean on God
The Lord is my go-to right now—the One I know without a doubt I can rely on. In no way do I want to downplay the role of my friends, because they’ve been remarkable, too. Such an encouraging and steadfast group of friends I have. But what I have discovered is that even if they aren’t sick of hearing about my situation, I’m kind of sick of talking about it.
But not to God. The more I talk to Him about it, the more I feel His presence. He gets that this place my husband and I are in is super hard. It kind of took me awhile to lean on God more with what we are facing, but I am grateful I decided to keep pressing in.
Throughout the strains of the day, I ask Him to stick close and help me. He has been faithful, even if I don’t always know what to pray and even if my circumstances have yet to change. If you are in a hard place that is wreaking havoc on the intimate connection you and your spouse typically enjoy, I encourage you to lean more on God.
2. Take the long view
I don’t know about your strenuous challenge that is killing your sexual intimacy, but I am fairly certain ours will not go on for years. It may go on for months, though. Lots of married couples can relate to what it is like to have a temporary burden or inconvenience dropped in the middle of their otherwise functioning marriage.
So there’s something to be said for taking a long view and trusting whatever this struggle is at the moment, it is not going to take up permanent residence in your life. At least that’s my hope for you—that this challenge eventually will subside. Try to take the long view.
3. Be content with small affections
Try as best as you can as husband and wife to still offer up small affections. Grand sexual gestures probably will be few and far between, so small affections will have to suffice. My husband and I hugged the other day. That was nice.
If you can find the energy and desire to make love, then do that too, even if it is not as frequent as you would prefer. We did make love recently, but it had been a long while. And I suspect a lot of time could pass before we get to have sex again.
So until then, I’m striving to be content with small affections… to appreciate them as tiny little compartments, rather than draping on them a bunch of hopes and expectations, as if they are signs of passionate sex up ahead. I don’t think they are signs. But nonetheless, small affections have value in crisis.
So there you have it… three ways to brave the storm when your otherwise healthy sexual intimacy takes a dive because of crisis. What other insights would you offer?
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.