The whole reason this blog is in existence is because Dave and I survived over a decade of mismatched sex drives. I say, “Survived!” because at times it felt like a war.
What’s a mismatched sex drive? Basically, one spouse wants to make love with a whole lot more frequency than the other.
Why does a marriage end up with a mismatch? If you’ve read my writing much at all you know that, “Why?” is my favorite. (Can you imagine what I was like as a toddler? Yeah, my parents were saints!)
In this instance, the why isn’t as important. The why can hold a myriad of reasons, mine did. I was lugging around pre-marital sexual baggage (shame/guilt/he only wants me for my body), our relationship sucked, and I had been buying into the myth that sex, even within marriage, wasn’t spiritual. Other why’s can include SSRI anti-depressants, hormonal birth control, and other physical, emotional/relational issues, and spiritual problems like pornography and infidelity.
The why isn’t as important as knowing what is true about marriage. The truth is God designed sex to be a part of marriage. I’ve said it before, if you’re married, celibacy is not your spiritual gift.
In reality, during the course of your marriage you’ll spend just a small fraction of time ‘gettin’ busy.’ It’s an incredibly influential fraction of time.
It’s such an influential fraction of time that the enemy’s favorite weapon of marriage destruction is sexual warfare. One strategy of sexual warfare is to keep spouses stuck on their why so they will never stop to consider what their marriage looks like from the other side of the bed.
If you are in a marriage with mismatched sex drives, stop for a moment and think back to your newlywed days. I can boldly state that the vast majority of you were enjoying fun sex with your incredibly spicey spouse romping with Song of Solomon abandon. And then things changed, your why happened and now you are both, both, miserable. You’re both miserable because this lack of sex is a vacuum and it’s sucking all the goodness out of your marriage. Rejection, bitterness, unforgiveness take the place of light hearts, unassuming banter, and helpfulness.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to stay miserable. Your marriage can move into a whole, holy, and happy place. (Disclaimer #1 – this article assumes you are married to a good-willed spouse and are not in an emotionally destructive marriage. Disclaimer #2 – I know that some dispute the necessity of a happy marriage, only a holy marriage. As I see it, moving toward holiness = moving toward happiness. If our will is aligned with God’s isn’t there peace and delight in that?)
You probably want a list of things to do and a list of things to not do to make your sex drives match again. I can’t do that exactly because every marriage is different. I will tell you the one thing that is common to every marriage that reconciles. The secret is compassion.
We know from 2 Corinthians 3:18 that the Holy Spirit is at work within to help mold us into the character of Christ:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Was there anyone more compassionate than Jesus? I’m confident if you allow the Holy Spirit, he will help you find compassion.
Compassion sets the knee gently down from your knee-jerk reaction so you can consider your spouse’s behavior from a different vantage point. Compassion helped me see that my smart alec husband was hurting and lashing out. He saw that my aloof nature was in response to our lack of emotional connection.
How many times have you been told you can’t change your spouse? But, we still try. The true answer to real change in your marriage is asking God to give you the compassionate heart of Jesus.
Compassion means you cleanse your life of sin. Lay your secret sin down for the good of your marriage.
Compassion overshadows feelings of resentment and bitterness.
Compassion helps you see how to love your spouse in the way that speaks loudest to them.
I finally took my husband’s view on sexual intimacy seriously. His emotional needs are wrapped up in sexual intimacy. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but if that’s the way he felt about sexual intimacy, I would believe him. (I eventually found there is biochemical evidence supporting that he bonds with me through sexual intercourse and orgasm. See my post, “Why Sex?”)
And then, a crazy thing happened. In the process of trying to align our sex drives, I started contemplating all my whys. With God’s Word, prayer, the Holy Spirit, and some psychological/relationship education, I overcame them.
In an atmosphere of compassion, your why can become a catalyst to figuring out how to help yourself become whole, holy, and happy, too. You work toward finding peace with your baggage, health for your body, spiritual maturity to overcome beliefs that are wrong about sex and all of a sudden, you are not quite the same wife (or husband!) you were. You have deeper understanding and a clearer head.
Mismatched sex drives do not have to be a permanent condition. However, BOTH spouses have work to do. Whether you are the low drive spouse or the high drive spouse, start by intentionally radiating Christ-like compassion and figuring out your part of the why in your mismatched marriage.
Practical Tools for Marriage with Mismatched Sex Drives
Learning to meet in the bedroom consistently:
13 Ways My Husband Influenced My Sex Drive – Are you doing any of these?
First time visiting? Welcome!
You may want to start by reading, “Why Sex?”
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