Most spouses at some point inevitably face distractions and/or hindrances to sexual and physical attraction in marriage. I’ve encountered this at various points in my marriage too, but every single time it’s had little to do with how physically or sexually attractive my mate was in that particular moment. #disillusionment
I think this is true in most marriages, even though it might not feel or seem that way when you’re in the middle of that disillusionment. But that’s exactly what it is—an illusion that has disrupted, distorted and even corrupted your feelings for your mate.
My list below includes 6 reasons why this occurs. I’ve also included examples beneath each reason to more specifically point to where these issues might originate from in your particular marriage and life. Read the list while considering if these factors are cropping up in your own marriage.
Checklist and Checkup for Your Marriage …
1. Unresolved Marital Conflicts
- Disagree on who fulfills certain roles and/or how often.
- Can’t agree on how to approach your child’s care.
- Don’t agree on how often to have sex.
- Disagree on money or other important family matters.
- Can’t agree on certain boundaries in marriage.
- Don’t feel as if your mate meets certain needs.
- Constant environment of tension, dissatisfaction and conflict in marriage.
This is one of the reasons I, at times, lost my sense of attraction to my husband. This blog, after all, is called “Messy Marriage” for a reason—because the early days of my marriage were very conflicted and messy. We hardly missed a day when an argument didn’t erupt over some trivial or, less often, monumental issue.
I can say first hand that it’s very hard to feel loving and attracted toward your mate when you are angry with him (or her)! Can you relate?
[bctt tweet=”Lingering anger is a real attraction-killer in marriage. #resolveconflict #donotletitfester” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
If the contention in your marriage continues for any length of time, then this might be the culprit for losing your attraction to your mate.
The good news is that there’s an obvious and immediate way you can deal with this problem in your marriage. Pursue peace by relying on God’s peace and mercy.
“So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another.” Romans 14:19 (NET)
And often the best place to start is by finding and restoring God’s peace within your own heart and mind. So, do this before you point out your mate’s wrongs and faults …
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
2. Unresolved Wounds/Issues Unrelated to Your Spouse
- Hormone-driven issues like pregnancy, post-pregnancy, menopause, low testosterone, etc.
- Painful intercourse
- Chronic illnesses—both physical and mental
- Distorted body image
- Past sexual abuse(s)
- Sexual distortion(s), often modeled or taught by family-of-origin or by other authority figures
- Emotional abuse by, or estrangement from, one or both of your parents
- Fear of intimacy—whether emotional or physical
- Loss of, in particular, a child (but can be related to the loss of any close family member)
- Spiritual warfare
Reason #2 is one that has really messed with my head in many different ways. I’ve encountered hormone issues that have thrown me off kilter at various times. Spiritual warfare often factored in. And my mother’s distorted views of sex and body image corrupted my own thinking as well.
In fact, I’m certain I was impacted by the five years that my parents abstained from sex right after my father’s mother died when I was only 16. I didn’t know my parents weren’t having sex until my older sister revealed that fact much later in my life. But I’m convinced that I felt it intuitively—letting it go further to shape the way I viewed sex early on in my marriage.
3. Unforgiving Attitude (Toward Mate and/or Mate Toward You)
- Allow unresolved conflicts to infect your heart with lingering anger and bitterness.
- Certain offenses by your mate continue even after being confronted.
- Sexual abuses and/or unfaithfulness have been or continue to be committed against you by your mate.
- Allow yourself to habitually ruminate on your spouse’s bad points or past indiscretions.
This one relates directly to the first reason—unresolved conflicts. But we don’t have to let conflicts remain unresolved, nor are we helpless victims in keeping bitterness from forming. I would say, however, that this was the predicament I found myself in, due to the way I handled those unresolved conflicts.
At first, I didn’t quite know how to forgive my spouse. I also didn’t recognize the corrupting power of negative rumination about my spouse on my heart. It felt, at the time, like this was a good release valve for my frustrations and disappoints, when it was actually chaining me to my own anger and sin.
If you haven’t received or read my Forgive U ebook that’s a gift for subscribing to MM, then I hope you’ll subscribe today (see the form below or in sidebar). My book will walk you through the various myths, truths and steps of forgiveness that were and are so vital to me and the healing of my marriage today.
4. Unguarded and Unfaithful Heart (Yours and/or Your Mate’s)
- Don’t see the importance of avoiding flirtation or lustful looks.
- Mentally compare your spouse to someone you feel would make a better spouse.
- Regularly fantasize about that other person.
- Pornography use and/or other sexual addictions
- Infidelity (past or present)
This reason often results from the corrupting influence of bitterness on our hearts. Several of the contributors, listed under this reason, can lead to a “Domino Effect”—tumbling one-by-one to set off a destructive chain-reaction.
I was guilty of letting attractions to other men occur in my mind at one point. Check out the post I wrote about that here. I let my bitterness convince me that I deserved a better mate. But that too is a lie, because there’s not a single human who won’t at some point disappoint, hurt or frustrate us. #flawedhumans #fallenworld
We also must remember how vulnerable we are to being attracted to someone other than our mate whenever our hearts have grown bitter and cold in marriage. Our hearts abhor a void and will do whatever it takes to fill it.
5. Live Too Independently from Spouse
- Grow accustomed to lack of sex and forget the joy and bond it creates.
- Out of busyness, you give precedence to the urgent rather than the important.
- Your kids and/or job fill the void that your spouse needs to fill.
This one is so common, especially in the childbearing and childrearing stages of marriage. Kids demand a lot from a couple, and it’s rare for a young couple to know how to navigate this demand very well. Boundaries are essential—not just between spouses, but also between spouses and their kids.
[bctt tweet=”Boundaries are essential in marriage—not just between spouses, but also between spouses and their kids. #keeplovealive” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
6. Live Independently from God
- Your emotions grow more distant and even colder toward God, which leads to distance in all your relationships.
- Your heart and mind are not convicted on a regular basis by God’s word and prayer, so you don’t live out what’s important in life and marriage.
- You’re more vulnerable to the temptations of the Evil One.
- You become less winsome and attractive to your mate because you rarely if ever reflect Christ.
This can be one of the biggest factors for losing not just your attraction to your mate, but for also losing your way in life. God is the anchor that keeps us steady in the waves of life and marriage (see Heb. 6:19-20).
And don’t forget the last listed contributor under this reason—you become less winsome and attractive to your mate. You might feel as if you can manage your own lack of desire and attraction, but beware, your mate may lose interest in YOU given time!
I’ve seen this happen more times than I can tell you in the lives of those I coach and minister to. When it occurs, it’s always so heartbreaking because the jilted spouse—who was once the disinterested spouse—suddenly recognizes what he/she has lost! Sadly, by then, it’s just too late! Their mates simply walk out the door with no turning back!
Don’t let that happen to you!
[bctt tweet=”Disinterested in your spouse? Don’t let it linger or your spouse may grow disinterested in YOU! #boomerangeffect” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Next week I’ll be sharing some practical ways to use Scripture to reinvigorate your attraction and desire for your mate. Yes! This really can work in profound and amazing ways! To read other posts in the Rekindling and Reclaiming Sex in Marriage series, click here.
Which of the six reasons have lessened your attraction in marriage in the past?
Are there any other reasons you can add to my list?
It’s still not too late to join my FB Bible Study!
I’m starting a private 6-week Facebook Bible Study that begins in just one week, April 1, 2018. In this study, we’re going to be focusing on the last three chapters of Hebrews 11 through 13. Each week, I will give you five days worth of devotional readings that will inspire you and can help you to discover how to glean the gems hidden in Scripture for yourself.
This Bible study method will also help you to remember and put a thought/action into practice each day, as well as giving you ways to pray about your insights from your reading. You can go at your own pace too, downloading the files at any time during the study.
If you’re interested, let me know in the comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend me at Beth Oster Steffaniak and then request to be added. Remember, this is a free, no-obligation opportunity. So I hope you’ll join me in pursuing the peace we can only find in our times with God!
One more thing before you go … please pray for me as I’ve fractured my left arm near the elbow. I’m grateful that I can still type, albeit awkwardly, but it’s quite the challenge to do a lot of tasks that require two free hands. So your prayers would be much appreciated!
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Dream Together Linkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Glimpses Linkup, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Grace and Truth, Grace Moments Linkup, Tune in Thursday, Moments of Hope, Faith and Friends, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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