What do you do if you are in a loveless marriage? Your husband is great in most every way OR your husband tolerates you and lives with you and provides for you but in either case, there is no or very little physical intimacy in your marriage. I have come across this several times over the years of counseling and discipling women, and whichever side of the equation you are on it is painful.

Some women live in marriages with little to no physical intimacy but they have otherwise very loving relationships. This can be for a variety of reasons, just to name a few:

  • Illness- either person has an illness that wipes out the sexual drive
  • Inability to perform- one of you is simply physically unable due to injury, surgery, or other legitimate issue
  • Disinterest- you love each other deeply, but there is just not interest. It seems to take more effort than it is worth.
  • Tiredness- work and children leave you and him exhausted at the end of the day.

Other women have no intimacy in their marriage because their husband is not interested in them physically any more. Some possible reasons for this could be:

  • Wife has become physically unattractive. Now, listen ladies; men are visually stimulated. If you have become unkempt in your appearance and have let yourself go physically it could be a part of the problem.
  • Poor hygiene. If your husband doesn’t smell nice, or has bad breath or unbrushed teeth how appealing is that to you? It works in reverse too!
  • Husband may be involved in pornography or other sexual sin. Sometimes when men are involved in illicit sexual behavior their desire for their wife decreases because he knows you just won’t do what he would like you to do in bed. His mind is filled with what he has taken in with his eyes and there is no godly woman in the world who would measure up to that in reality.
  • Husband may have a physical issue that he is unwilling or embarrassed to discuss with you. Diabetes and prostate issues in particular are killers of a man’s sexual drive for varying reasons.

And possibly:

  • The relationship is so strained and difficult that he cannot imagine being that vulnerable with you so he does not initiate and rebuffs your attempts to interest him in sex.

Whatever the reason is, the reality is that a wife can be living in a marriage where she desires intimacy and it is absent. We must address this issue in our increasingly libertine age.

First, some basics from our authority, the Word of God:

But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (NASB)

Paul tells husbands and wives to fulfill their marital obligation to each other to help maintain purity in the relationship. This is to keep us from immorality in thought and deed.

It is a myth that women are not interested in intimacy, and while there are certainly exceptions most women are hungry for their husbands loving touch. We all hear about the dangers of what can happen when intimacy is withheld from a husband. We are warned about the possibility of him straying to pornography or even another woman. But what about when intimacy is withheld from a wife? My counseling ministry reveals that it creates issues for the woman too.

Women are not exempt from the temptation to stray. In our feelings-based culture we are hearing all the time that our “needs” must be met, and so women seem to have less problems with making that happen now than they did 40 years ago.

But what about the woman who is not straying, who is tempted in every way to be unfaithful through self-gratification or even through an extra-marital affair but remains steadfast in her commitment to her husband in the midst of a loveless marriage? How do you deal with the feelings of hurt and rejection that come with the territory?

This is what I wish to address over the next few days. Stay tuned!

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