Although your husband may appear to have lost interest in you, in reality he may be hesitant to pursue you sexually because you’ve made a habit of avoiding or rejecting his intimate advances in the past. A man’s sense of manhood, his self-worth, is closely tied with his sexuality. When we desire our husband, respond to his touch, it makes him feel loved and gives him strength. It gives him the courage to rise up on our behalf, to be our knight who loves and protects us. But each rejection, like a knife, pierces his confidence and self-worth, until he’s too wounded to keep pursuing.
This was true for Stacey’s husband, even though her attitude toward sex and her husband were changing. She was open to sex, hoping, waiting for him to pursue her because although she was ready, she was still afraid. She needed her husband to help her through this, to make it safe for her. But he was afraid too. Her previous rejections had left a wound that time had yet to heal. And so he waited, for her to come to him. But the pressure to pursue paralyzed Stacey. Sex was still a fragile thing for her. Being responsive would prove challenging enough, having to pursue was beyond her reach.
Maybe this is your story, and now you and your husband are more like roommates than soulmates. Pray and ask God to show you the wounds you’ve caused your husband by rejecting him for so long. Then, ask your husband how it feels when you say no to sex, over and over. Maybe his anger, indifference, or absence is more about feeling unloved than just being in a bad mood. Or maybe that’s what’s behind his being overly critical, demanding, and unkind. I’m not saying that these behaviors are acceptable. I just know that when I don’t feel loved or appreciated I can become like this.
Knowing the health of Stacey’s marriage, and the support her husband gave her in this healing journey, I suggested that they reverse the roles. I recommended that she give her husband permission to pursue her sexually, with the promise that she would respond willingly and not reject him. And I suggested a reasonable goal of two times a week. Stacey was relieved at this arrangement, and her husband agreed. When I asked her recently how things were going, she said much better, though they have more work to do. Healing wounds, restoring intimacy, and reversing old patterns takes time.
You may want to tell your husband something similar if he has stopped pursuing you. With one caution. I hesitate to suggest this if your husband would use it to his advantage rather than as an opportunity to help you heal. Keep in mind that there are other reasons that your husband may have lost interest in you sexually, including:
- If he’s had sexual abuse in his past
- If his levels of testosterone are low
- If he’s being unfaithful
- If he’s addicted to pornography
Pray that God will give you insight into the reason. Ask your husband about what is impacting his desire for sex with you. If you discern his lack of desire is due to your previous rejections, talk together and set a maximum number of times a week that would be comfortable for you, with the understanding that anything beyond that you have permission to refuse. Knowing up front will minimize his feelings of rejection. It’s a win-win. The pressure for both is gone; he’s happier; you’re gradually healing, and the sex is bonding you closer and closer. Before long you may forget about your limit altogether.