I normally write to wives struggling with low sexual interest but today I’m veering off to speak to husbands.
My heart has been touched by recent emails I’ve received from men who are desperately in love with their wives and hurting. Their wives do not realize the importance of sexual intimacy. A few wives claim to want to increase sexual encounters, but are just not following through.
One loyal and loving husband asked, ‘How do I inspire her to restore her libido?’ A less genteel man may have asked, “How do I make her have more sex with me?”
If you’ve been married any amount of time, you know that you can’t make your spouse do anything. Well, maybe you can, but a begrudging attitude will emanate from your spouse and grow into full-blown resentment.
When my sexual interest was at its lowest, there was no sales pitch effective enough to compel me to jump in the sack. The most enthusiastic infomercial spokesperson could not budge my resolve. Honestly, it inspired the contrary. I dug my stubborn heels in further. Was this wrong of me? Yes. Stubbornness is part of my sinful human nature. It does not embody the ‘life of love’ mentioned in Ephesians 5:1.
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that,” Ephesians 5:1-2, the message.
or if you prefer the New International Version:
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV.
Low libido wives are not off the hook in considering how they can help grow their marriage bed. But, for today, husbands, here is a different tactic to ponder.
…He didn’t love in order to get something…..
Remember when you were dating? Your acts of generosity were gifts. Most likely, you didn’t ask for anything in return.
How do you inspire your wife’s desire? The answer to this is multi-faceted, just as complex as the woman you have married. However, it boils down to, “He didn’t love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of himself to us.”
The greatest change within my heart occurred as I saw my husband, Dave, making monumental changes within his. His change inspired my change because his change wasn’t done in order to get me in the sack. His change was, first, out of love for Christ, second, out of love for me.
In our particular situation, he squelched his anger and animosity in how he dealt with me. He caught his knee-jerk reactions and softened his responses. He also spoke vulnerably, yet honestly with me, about his need for sexual intimacy.
He didn’t make me change. It could not even be defined as enticement or persuasion. He profoundly influenced me. I re-evaluated my opinions of sex and other things because of what I was seeing in him.
You can profoundly influence your beautiful wife, too. She married you because what is inside of you is worthy of love and respect. Just remember, it’s easier to influence your wife when your attitude isn’t callous or grumpy, but loving and honest.
…but to give everything of himself to us.
Give everything of yourself to your wife, everything of your heart. For some men, this is more dear than their wallets. For some men, sharing of the heart is a near impossible task. But nothing is impossible with God!
My husband came from a household that exhibited limited emotions (some joy, mostly anger). So, in order for him to relate to me emotionally, it took painstaking work. He had to learn to define more subtle emotions. How could he be emotionally intimate with me if he didn’t understand the parameters?
It’s like sailing and not having the skills. What do you do when you want to learn a new skill? You practice.
Since Dave desperately wanted to sail into adventure with me, he spent hours perfecting the skills. He studied emotions from a list and tried to pinpoint when he felt a particular one. Then over coffee in the morning, he tells me how he’s feeling using emotion words.
The biology of the male brain makes it difficult to consider and verbalize emotions. Dave’s pain became tangible as he fully immersed in trying to connect with me emotionally. He sacrificed being emotionally comfortable in order to grow. I would compare it to me taking a calculus-based physics class.
I was awestruck when I realized he was tackling this overwhelming endeavor to better himself and become more Christ-like. Christ was a man who wasn’t afraid of emotions. But, he was still a man. Just because a man understands his emotions doesn’t make him less masculine. Understanding emotions doesn’t make a man into a woman! It makes a man better able to lead because he has deeper discernment.
My husband’s effort wasn’t a ploy to manipulate me into more sex. It was so my husband could become the best man he could be.
…love like that…
Husbands may wonder, “What’s the big deal about sharing my emotions?” Wives thrive on knowing you emotionally. It builds our trust.
Think of it as ‘emotional libido.’
Wives don’t necessarily need the physical aspect of sex-drive in order to engage. The heart-string connection is enough to inspire lovemaking. I raise my hand in testimony to this. When I feel conntected and heard by Dave, I’m feeling so loved that I want to love him in a way that speaks to him.
It won’t take long for emotional intimacy to reappear once you start thinking about it and trying to practice it.
Courageously sail into the adventure, husbands. Learn to navigate the seas of Christ’s extravagant love. You may just catch the fish of a lifetime called ‘emotional libido.’
Set aside quiet time to delve into God’s Word.
Pray more consistently with your wife, out loud.
Go out on a date with your wife, showing her preference and speaking lovingly.
Work on becoming emotionally intimate with your wife. Being emotionally intimate does not mean a big gripe session, either. It means laying aside the conflict and searching for a way to connect on a heart level with your wife.
Share and listen without judgment. You aren’t her father. She’s not your mom. Remember back to your dating days and how easy it was to share without trying to tell each other how you should feel.
Are there things she has asked of you that you don’t want to do? Consider the things she has talked about but you dismiss. Maybe you dismiss things that are important to her just like she dismisses things that are important to you.
Be brave in verbalizing your feelings, passionate or subtle, to your wife.
Just a small example of what emotional openness includes:
….letting her know when things are frustrating,
….when things make you satisfied,
….when circumstances are annoying,
….where you find contentment,
….how your wife makes you feel good and whole.
….here is an Emotions List if you have trouble identifying different emotions.
Different Types of Husbands.
Every marriage has different dynamics and every husband is different. Maybe emotional sharing without judgment isn’t a problem in your marriage. However, if you are experiencing a spark-less bedroom, can you pinpoint where you can become more Christ-like?
Or, perhaps, you need to surround your marriage with other healthy marriages? Do you have real-life marriage mentors?
Or, if you’re a passive husband with a more aggressive wife, check out these blogs written by husbands:
Here are other ways for men to connect with their wives: The Change She Would Like to See.
I don’t like to write about Dave’s experience. I wish, Dave, my husband (sometimes known as Mr. Muscle in my posts), could write to you of his transformation. However, he says business development is his gift and writing is mine. He considers what I write to be ‘our words.’
This post may sound like we are perfect. We’re not, never will be. We still get snippy and snarly with one another. We just know how to work through the blips now.
Book Recommendations for her: Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands by Gary Thomas.