by Doug Weiss
Every man wants to have a healthy sex life. He wants to express his love and affection to his wife and receive her captivating gift of sexuality. There are few things more invigorating to a man than a great sex life that is harmonious. Yet honestly many men are not aware of some of the threats that could rob him and his wife of this healthy sex life.
In this article I am going to walk you through identifying seven major threats to your sex life along with ideas to avoid or eliminate them from your marriage.
1) Fatigue: It might sound odd to start with fatigue as threat because you might be thinking; “Me, I’m never too tired for sex.” Some guys are even willing to be woken up out of a deep sleep by their wives to have sex. So what’s fatigue got to do with it? Obviously I’m not talking about men here, but I am talking about many of your wives. She has probably worked all day, dealt with the kids, cooked, cleaned up, worked on homework and put the kids to bed. The last thing on her exhausted spirit, soul and body is a wild night of sex! She is more than likely thinking about serenity and sleep.
You can see how the evenings of these two people could very likely collide. Here’s a practical idea. You put the children to bed most nights. If your wife does this along with everything else it will probably exhaust her. If you put them to bed you could still muster up the energy for sex. If you do this regularly, she can gain her serenity and rest so she will be able to be more available to be a lover.
2) Feelings: If you are not actively sharing your feelings with your wife, you choke off emotional intimacy. If she is not feeling emotionally close to you, she won’t get turned on by you. Your heart turns on her hot button. If you don’t express your feelings or listen to her feelings daily, you are stifling your sex life. This is a huge threat that if you really worked at and were proactive about, it would keep the oil going in her engine.
Here’s what you can do: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a Feelings Exercise you do with your wife. You initiate this every day for the next few months and see what happens. You will have to be intentional and consistent with it. If you share your feelings only when you want sex it won’t work. You have to be consistent regardless of the mood of your marriage. I have personally been doing this for more than 21 years and it keep smy wife Lisa and I emotionally connected.
3) Praying: Yes, sex and praying are connected. If you are not regularly praying with your wife, you are sabotaging your sex life. Guaranteed. God made sex as a spiritual, emotional and physical connection. If you are not spiritually connected outside the bedroom, you won’t be spiritually connected inside it either. This lack of spiritual or emotional connection makes sex feel empty for women. In fact, you might be conditioning her to not enjoy sex because all you are offering is your body, which is only one third of what she needs to feel connected during sex.
On a practical note, pray with your wife daily. Pray to God to help you connect with your wife during sex so she is getting her needs met. Also, during sex, keep your eyes open and look into her eyes and that will radically improve your intimacy during sex.
4) Serving: You have all heard that doing the dishes is foreplay for women. Although I’ve never heard an actual story where this is factually based, it does impact her heart. If she feels that you are her helpmate around the house, it builds respect and she sees you in a positive light. If you only serve her the days you want sex, she will think of you as manipulative and won’t respect you. However, if on a daily basis you pick up toys, do the dishes, fold laundry, pick up the kids and do random acts of kindness that speak to her, she will feel closer to you. This makes the transition to sex much easier than if she is resenting you for watching television while she does everything.
Practically speaking, commit the first hour when you come home to total service. See what needs to get done and get right on it. You don’t need to be told to set the table, check laundry or work on homework. Get right in gear so she is really happy to see her hero walk through the door.
5) Pornography: This is the biggest threat to your sex life. Most men have used pornography and masturbated, gluing us to images hundreds and thousands of times over. If you are dabbling in sexual fantasy or pornography, you are creating a dual sexual neuropathway: one pathway to the porn, and the other to your wife. You are setting yourself up so she can’t satisfy you because of your own dual conditioning. This is your battle. What or who you choose to protect will reveal what you really love.
Your first step out is getting honest. If you bring your behaviour to the light it can heal. However, if you choose to keep it a secret you will continue to be sick. So I encourage you to get accountable, block the porn on your computer, if need be, attend a Freedom Group (Christian support group for Sex Addicts). I have been free personally for more than 21 years and my sex life keeps getting better, so I know this process really works.
6) Lying: This is an absolute plan to fail sexually. You might not believe this, but after 20 years of counselling women, I believe what they tell me. They can’t handle lying! It seems they really don’t understand why their husbands would lie to someone they love. The lies are usually about money, their whereabouts, other relationships, pornography, masturbation, what he told somebody or if he did what he said he would do.
Lying is like a bolt of electricity hitting her heart. She feels hurt, offended, disrespected and unprotected. She knows her husband is not perfect, but when he lies it’s as if he would rather sacrifice her than to be honest about his flaws. Also, many wives count lies from the time the lie first occurred until she is told the truth. So if that’s a week, several years or a decade, in her mind her husband has been a liar that whole time. So don’t expect immediate congratulations on becoming honest.
Practically speaking, part of being honest is telling her when you make mistakes, not giving misinformation or flat out lies. By the way, not telling the whole truth or letting her believe something that is not true is also lying. Remember the commandment, “Thou shalt not lie.” Yes it’s God’s idea to be honest with His favourite little girl—your wife.
7) Planning: Last but not least, you do need to plan for sex. If you are being emotionally and spiritually intimate and serving her she will feel that she is married to a man. If this is the case, you could consider making a sexual agreement.
If you are not doing these things then forget it. An agreement won’t work either. You’re not mature enough and you have doomed yourself to beg for sex until you tackle some of what we have talked about. If you’re mature and your wife is as well, you can make an agreement on frequency per week and manage it. Some couples like rotating weeks or splitting the week so both people are actively initiating. All areas in marriage, including sex, need to be discussed and must have at least some level of agreement to help maintain a healthy marriage.
There you go, the seven threats to a healthy marriage along with solutions to address them. Happy trails.
Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. is executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center and author of Intimacy: A 100 Day Guide to Lasting Relationships. www.drdougweiss.com
The article above was featured in the May 2009 issue of SEVEN magazine.