By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Married life can come with a lot of highs and lows.
As life brings us new responsibilities, children, and all kinds of other stressors our connection to one another can suffer. One sign of a disconnected marriage is a sexless one.
Our sex life can wax and wane over time but for us to remain feeling close we have to commit to regularly having sex. One major “red flag” for married couples is too much time passing between your sexual interactions.
1 Corinthians 7:5 instructs us not to withhold sex from one another in marriage unless you have agreed to abstain for a set time frame for the purpose of prayer and fasting. Why does Paul give this seemingly very personal advice? Because he knew that sex is a vital part of keeping our marriages alive.
The Bible explains that sex is a good gift that God has given us to enjoy.
The reality is God is not a prude. He created sex and much of the Bible celebrates it as a meaningful act of love. Proverbs 5:18-19 is one of many verses of the bible (along with the entire book of Song of Songs) that celebrates sexuality in marriage.
There is some mystery that lies in the power of this act that is hard to understand but scripture makes it clear that intimacy and sexuality go hand and hand.
Sex is an important part of his design for married life.
What Causes Sex to Evaporate from Marriages?
Sex can go to the wayside when you feel aren’t feeling loved and appreciated by your spouse.
If you are familiar with the five love languages, then you have probably already heard how important words of affirmation are for healthy relationships.
The book of Song of Songs it’s packed full of steamy dialogue between the couple that the text is all about. Pay attention closely to their story and you’ll notice that before there is any physical intimacy between the two (which does occur in this scandalous book of the Bible) there was a lot of complementary and flirtatious talk between the two of them.
In this story, the Bible paints a picture of what the road to intimacy should look like. Intimacy begins with dialogue. If you aren’t talking then there is a good chance you aren’t connecting in the bedroom either.
Busyness and exhaustion can easily steal all the joy from your sex life! My husband, not too long ago, asked me what would make me more enthusiastic about our sex life. My joking but half-serious response was that we’d have to pass along our three kids to someone else.
If you are sleep-deprived with young kids or overburdened at work in many cases sex is the easiest task to take off your plate.
Typically for women, we need to have the ability to relax before we are able to truly enjoy sex. Relaxation is not easy when your body and mind are spent by the end of the day!
Sex can easily become one more item on your already too long to-do list. Yet, passing too often can be dangerous to our marriages. Sexual intimacy needs to be a priority in order to keep a healthy marriage.
A sexless marriage also can be a sign of a marriage in crisis. Beyond exhaustion and lack of connection, many other more painful breaks in a relationship can steal its intimacy.
Broken trust, infidelity, continual marital strife all can zap our willingness to be sexually available to our partners. When sex is no longer a part of the picture, we should be calling in all the help we can get because it’s a signal that relationship disaster is currently unfolding between you and your spouse.
When we aren’t connecting sexually we open more ways for the enemy of our soul to tempt us to stray in our commitments to our spouses.
Sex is a need for most adults. If that need goes unmet for too long our willpower is tested and temptation to betray the trust of our spouse arises.
Sexual temptation lies in wait everywhere all we have to do is open our browser and sin can lure us in. All too often we hear the stories of how once innocent friendships become affairs because a marriage’s sex life had been neglected for too long.
How Do We Talk about Our Sexless Marriage with Our Spouse?
Honestly, I am so bad about this. When my husband asks me about sex and I often look at him cluelessly with blushing red cheeks.
I grew up in the era where talking about sex was not something I was taught to be comfortable with. Bringing up sex with your partner can feel awkward--but it is such an important conversation to have especially if it’s about the lack of sex happening between you.
If you have just fallen out of the habit of having intercourse due to young kids or other life commitments, then awkwardly make a point to start doing it again!
Bring your desire to connect sexually to your spouse and chances are they will be feeling the same way. Then commit to making sex apart of your routine again.
It may feel just as strange as the first time but it is like riding a bike. With time and practice, you will get the hang of it again.
More sex leads to more connection and conversation. Most women need conversation to have good sex and most men need sex to show up enthusiastically to have conversation.
Just get the ball rolling again and you both will reap the benefits!
If you are no longer having sex due to bigger issues that you are grappling with as a couple, it’s time to take action. It’s important not to let more time pass before addressing the “elephant in the room.”
A great first step is to invite the help of a Christian counselor. Having the accountability of a trusted and unbiased third person in your marriage is huge when trying to repair broken spaces in your relationship.
If your spouse won’t agree to talk to a counselor, it is okay to take the first step towards healing your relationship. The Bible says in Proverbs 11:14 that in an abundance of counsel there is safety.
Let your spouse know that you are going to consult a trusted pastor, wise mentor that will encourage you to fight for your marriage, or start seeing a Christian marriage counselor on your own.
Navigating a disconnected relationship with grace is straight up hard. Bringing up potential feelings of loneliness or expressing your sexual and emotional needs to your partner all the while showing them the love of Christ can be difficult to say the least.
Having others who can pray for you and equip you with wise marriage building strategies can infuse your marriage with the encouragement it desperately needs.
It’s with the added support of trusted supporters along with prayer that you can find passion for one another again. Once you seek God’s wisdom then start unpacking a conversation about what has happened to your sex life.
Rebuilding the brokenness that leads to a void of passion in a marriage takes real effort.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says,” Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Getting rid of the bitterness that grows between a man and wife when they start to feel unseen, unwanted, and unloved by their spouse takes inviting the Holy Spirit into our relationship in a new way.
It means choosing kindness and forgiveness when our instinct is to be angry and withdrawn. It won’t happen without intentional effort put into rebuilding a healthy connection with your partner.
How to Cope with a Sexless Marriage
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” God cares about what you care about.
He gave you a spouse to love and grow with over a lifetime. He cares about your sex life!
Don’t carry the burden of your fractured relationship on your own, bring it to Jesus. Isaiah 26:3 promises that he will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are on Him! God will give you the peace you need to walk through this.
Meditate on the “love chapter” or 1 Corinthians 13. This passage is read very commonly at weddings because it is a powerful picture of what true love should look like.
We all need help to love with God’s sort of love and in fact the Bible lets us know none of us can even begin to love others well without Him!
Take time focusing on each aspect of what it means to love your spouse. Love is patient. How can you be more patient with your spouse? Love is kind. Have your words and interactions been lacking in kindness? And on the list goes.
While sex is vital to a thriving marriage, it is not the only way we can express love to our mate. Start finding new and other ways to show that you care and with time healing between you is possible.
Particularly, if trust has been broken between you then time tested acts of sacrificial love are one of the best ways to build back the lost trust in your relationship.
2 Corinthians 12:9 encourages us with the words: God’s grace is sufficient to meet all our needs. We may feel discouraged by a spouse that we feel is no longer meeting our needs but with Jesus we have hope.
Hope not only that He can repair broken things. Hope that says even if our needs continue to be neglected by those around us, His grace is enough for us.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Vitezslav Vylicil
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for the Daily Bible Devotions App, she has work published with Her View from Home, also for the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her blog or follow her on Instagram.