A wife’s loss of libido (desire for sex) may involve medical issues requiring the efforts of a medically trained professional or more severe relational issues arising from troubled relationships, present or past abuse. There may be other circumstances requiring objective intervention by someone outside of the relationship.
However, in many instances, a healthy drive can be regained and promoted by the dutiful efforts of a loving husband. that’s you, dude!
We recommend some basic practical approaches to both spouses helping dear wife regain her desire for sex.
Wife is tired. Let’s lighten the load. The business of life can creep up on us and we forget that some burdens are compulsory and others are voluntary. She must identify the voluntary tasks and defer or release them as soon as possible. These are the areas of responsibility that can be managed by others or not done at all. Examples of such tasks are involvement in certain school related functions if she is a mother. While participating in such functions is worthy and beneficial to the children, care should be given to balance the load with the other areas of her life. Perhaps wearing fewer ‘hats’ in the Booster Club or letting another mom coordinate team snacks this year may be just the break she needs. Dear husband may also find benefits in being more careful to attend to small but necessary tasks routinely. While dear wife washes the after-dinner dishes, dear husband may direct the kids in picking up behind themselves and readying them for bed, checking homework or giving dear wife a nice massage in the quiet of the evening…with no strings attached.
Wife is timid. Some wives are uncertain, even after years of marriage, what the sexual expectations and boundaries are. The answer here is communication. It is a great relief to have unanswered questions answered AND unknown expectations…finally known. Relief itself can restore a measure of sex drive. A timid wife may find it difficult to initiate dialog about sex. She most often will not be able to express her dislikes or preferences for fear it may offend dear husband. It is helpful if dear husband, recognizing her reluctance, compassionately and transparently initiates the dialog with a view to comforting her and clarifying what he desires and that he desires to please her. In a way that only he can, he must draw from her what it is that pleases her. It may be helpful to develop a questionnaire that both complete on their own. Both spouses subsequently come together to compare and discuss the answers.
Wife has poor body/self image. A national (perhaps global) tragedy is the self deprecating view women have of themselves. I don’t have the space to discuss the destructive sexualization offered by our media nor the utter lack of teaching the essence of true sexual beauty in our homes and places of worship. In the context of this conversation, a husband’s transparent affection for his wife is paramount in the fight against her poor image of herself. He must be the strongest advocate for all of her best virtues and features and sincere (but balanced) in his expressions of attraction and appreciation. However, the harder work is for dear wife to discover the root cause of such destructive poor self-assessment. The reality is that many women suffer from poor body image as a result of past sexual and relational trauma. Counseling may be necessary to help work through some issues. Significant weight gain is also a killer of sexual desire. Not only does gaining weight threaten to physiologically affect libido, looking in the mirror can be some wives’ worst nightmare. There’s a reason she will only make love with the lights off! Weight gain can be managed by a commitment to correcting diet and exercise. She may consult with her doctor on a regiment that best suits her goals for losing weight. Many women report still ‘feeling’ overweight even when substantial weight loss occurs. In such cases, there is a degree of psychological trauma that needs to be addressed.
Wife is ashamed. Past sexual relationships may leave a spouse with a strong sense of guilt…feeling like ‘used goods’ and unworthy of pure love. She may have participated in group sex situations, infidelity, compulsive masturbation, been promiscuous or committed sex acts she now views as lewd. Making love to her husband may cause regression into negative emotions associated with those past events. We are not trained counselors and stop short of making too specific recommendations as each situation may be different and require a different approach. As a matter of our faith and experience we do know, however, that ‘that which grows in dark cannot survive the light’. The secrecy of such torment perpetuates the torment. We also comfortable in saying that the strength of marriage is the acceptance that all of our pasts hold some measure of darkness and that the marriage bond can weather such things just fine when the love is full and commitment true. She must attend to releasing herself from her past. In doing so, dear husband does not become victim to it…in the present.