On Monday I tackled the hard question – is my husband’s lower drive my fault? I talked about some of the ways that we as wives can hinder or mute our husband’s sex drive, and issued a challenge for all of us to check our hearts to see if we need to repent and change.
Today I want to talk about the things that can be affecting your husband’s lower drive that have nothing to do with you.
To give the same caveat I gave on Monday, here are a few important things to note. First, a lower sexual drive isn’t necessarily a problem. The problem comes when mismatched drives leads to miscommunication, hurt and a lack of oneness. Of course, if you have found and are reading this blog then it probably means you are in a scenario where this is true.
I also want to caution you that marriage is not like Newton’s 3rd law of physics – “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. We don’t get to keep score in our marriages, and we don’t get to say to our spouse “I am loving you, so you must love me back.” We follow Christ, love our spouse and fight for our marriages because it is right, and because marriage is holy. Not because our spouse will become the perfect person, or even change one iota.
So, on those notes, here are a few things that might be affecting your husband’s lower drive that have nothing to do with you:
1. Exhaustion and/or stress
Well, okay, this one might have something to do with you if you are doing any of the things I talked about on Monday. But it also might be due to circumstances completely outside of your control. Maybe he is working long hours, or his boss is putting a lot of pressure on him. Maybe the weight of responsibility to care for his household is incredibly heavy right now. For some men, these weights might cause them to seek out their spouse sexually because it brings joy and relief. For others, the sexual part of marriage may tend to feel like another place where they have to “impress” or “perform”. Or perhaps the thought of trying to stay awake another 15 minutes might feel overwhelming. As a wife, you have so much power in these moments. Help make your home a place of rest and retreat. If you see your husband needs sleep, then sacrifice your evenings of “getting stuff done while the kids are asleep” to head to bed with him. Give him the gift of a few nights of solid sleep, and when he isn’t looking at you through haze-filled eyes, serve him by pursuing him sexually. Be the best help you can. Do the chores he usually does. Find practical ways to take some things off his plate, if you can. And do it with joy, not a grumbling spirit.
Above all, pray for him, daily. Be the warrior who fights alongside him. Pray for those situations in which he feels overwhelmed. Pray that he would see Christ in each day, and see the strength that he has been given to accomplish each task.
2. Feelings of failure/inadequacy/loneliness/depression
Sometimes, the situations I described in #1 can become chronic. When that happens your husband might start to struggle with feelings of failure or inadequacy. He may retreat into a place of loneliness. He may even struggle with depression (diagnosed or not). When this happens, the sexual drive is often very affected. As women we understand this. Even as a “spicy” wife, there are days where I can compare myself to those perfectly air-brushed-non-existant magazine women and feel inadequate. And at that moment I struggle with “lights-on, all-out, let’s-go-for-it” sex. Imagine that feeling compounded into multiple days and it isn’t hard to see where your husband may have a lower drive.
First, let me encourage you to go read the suggestions I made under #1. Prayer being the most important. Second, encourage your husband to seek council. A trusted pastor or friend, a counselor, or perhaps even a physician can be good places to receive wise words that, in all honesty, he may not have the ability to hear from you. He may even need medical help for a season to help combat depression.
Your husband may struggle with an addiction. It could be to drugs, or alcohol, or pornography. Any addiction can lead to a decreased sexual drive, but pornography is probably the most harmful to a person’s sexual drive. Any addiction is always on a sliding scale. He may be bravely struggling against it, but losing the battle. He may be on the slippery slope, but still in the “shallow waters”. He may be fully plunged in and unable to see past it. Whatever the case, it is hurtful and devastating. There is nothing to say to a wife who is in these heart-breaking situations except that I grieve and weep for you and with you. How I wish I could embrace you and hold you as you cry, offer you a box of Kleenex and sit in “sackcloth and ashes” with you today.
But I can pray for you. And here is my prayer – may you see with the compassionate eyes of Christ. Your husband is not a monster. He is a broken, wounded man who has bought into a lie and is finding a way to fill the cracks in his soul. One of the best resources I have found to help you see into his heart is a wonderful book called “Surfing for God“. If you are in an addiction scenario (or perhaps you struggle with an addiction yourself) – run, don’t walk, and get this book TODAY. It will shed light and hope in your soul and help you to see your husband with new eyes.
I am also praying that you find Godly counsel. Even if your husband will not receive it, you need it. Find a trusted person (hopefully a woman) that you can pour your soul out to. If you really don’t have a single person you can trust, you are welcome to email me. I am not a licensed counselor, nor am I am pastor, but I am a woman who loves Christ and will be honored to hear your story and stand with you.
Your husband may suffer from low testosterone. Testosterone is a challenging thing because the range of “normal” is so incredibly wide. I urge you to find a doctor who will listen to your story and be willing to consider what age your husband is in comparison to his levels. Here is an interesting study on what some average levels were in men of various ages. This isn’t a large study, by any means, but it is perhaps a starting point for a conversation with your doctor. Also, this writer rants a little about doctors, and while I am not a big fan of his tone, I do agree that you need a doctor who is willing to to listen to your story. A low testosterone level will not only affect his libido, but his energy levels and outlook on life. Testosterone supplements helped him regain a healthier and happier lifestyle along with an increased sexual drive. A quick word of caution, however. When I first began to try and find help with my own marriage bed it seemed that everyone I encountered said, “Oh your husband probably has low testosterone.” He got tested. He is well above the normal range for his age (or any age, for that matter). So just because your husband has a lower drive, it doesn’t necessarily mean he has low testosterone. But it is an easy one to check off the list because all it requires is a simple blood test and then you can move on.
5. His Creator
Your husband may have a lower sexual drive than you simply because he was made that way by God. As you seek to become the wife God has called you to be, and as you pray through the various circumstances regarding your husband’s sex drive, you may come to realize that this is simply the way he is made. Your very first priority here is to begin to accept your husband as he is. To thank God for him. To go low, stop keeping score, and pursue him sexually. Just because your husband has a lower drive than you doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy sex more often than he might think to initiate it. So initiate it!
Purpose in your heart not to despise the man God has given you, and to work together towards oneness in your marriage bed. Ask God to give you the right words and the right timing to talk to him about your higher sexual drive and the needs you have. Pray that his heart would be soft and willing to hear you and serve you. God put you with this man for a reason – and I can tell you what that reason is. He wants you to look more like Christ. So work out your salvation in all things, and thank God for giving your husband to you.
One last note. Pray for your husbands, ladies. You have a Father who knows him perfectly. God knows where he is lacking, where he is weak, where he is deceived, where he needs help. And as you pray, the Holy Spirit inside of you, who has the ability to search the heart of God, can begin to reveal to your heart where to pray for your husband (I Cor. 2: 10-12). You can get insight into his heart on how to encourage him and serve him. You may realize, through prayer, that your husband is suffering from something in the first four points. If that happens, you now have the ability to pray specifically for him, and to get counsel and wisdom about how to approach it. You can now move into a scenario where you are a team, fighting together, rather than warring against one another. Prayer is powerful ladies.
And so I am praying for you today. Praying specifically for the women who have graciously shared their stories with me. Praying for those of you who are here in deep pain and hurt from your marriages. Praying for healing, redemption, restoration. Praying that when your tears fall, you would feel the arms of Grace wrap around you and hold you. Praying that God would bring friendship, counsel, wisdom and laughter into your lives. Pray for me today too, dear friends. Pray that I would have the wisdom to see into the challenges in my own heart and to grow in obedience.
Humbled to walk with you,
P.S. Anything I have missed that you would like to add? Would love to hear from you.