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Are You Struggling in a Marriage Without Intimacy?

A marriage without intimacy isn’t a fulfilling relationship, and it’s not what you expected when you got married. Here are a few ways to cope with the problem of no intimacy in marriage.

One of the most important things to remember when you’re struggling to increase marriage intimacy is that you need to stay focused on your spouse. This means you should not become emotionally involved or develop close, intimate friendships with members of the opposite sex. Connecting emotionally with someone outside your marriage will further increase the lack of intimacy you already feel.

“Keeping members of the opposite sex out of your intimate way is crucial to the success of marriage,” writes Gary Neuman in Emotional Infidelity: How to Avoid It. “In today’s world, it takes focus and planning.”


Everything about marriage takes focus and planning! The healthiest, happiest marriages take the most work. But, a lack of intimacy in your relationship isn’t a sign your marriage is over. It’s just a sign your relationship needs some TLC (tender loving care – and if you didn’t know that, then you definitely need more intimacy in your life!).

How to Increase Intimacy in Your Marriage

Not experiencing intimacy in your marriage isn’t a problem that can be easily fixed, but the solution depends on you and your spouse. There are so many factors to consider: how long your intimacy problems have been going on, what caused or exacerbated the disconnection, who is involved in your marriage, what solutions you’ve tried in the past.

Get specific about your intimacy concerns

Are you unhappy with your physical intimacy or your emotional intimacy? They are intertwined; in some marriages, a lack of emotional intimacy leads to a lack of physical intimacy. For other couples, it’s the other way around (eg, a lack of physical intimacy creates problems with emotional intimacy in marriage). If you have no intimacy in your marriage at all, you may have trouble figuring out what the “biggest” problem is.

If you feel like you don’t know your husband, read 5 Secrets Husbands Keep From Wives.

Don’t expect to change your spouse

The most important thing to remember is that you can’t do anything about your spouse. You can only work on changing yourself. Think about your attitude toward your marriage, your expectations, your plans, your disappointments. I don’t know if you’re being unrealistic or demanding – only you can answer that. If you can’t see your motivations clearly (and most of us can’t!), it might help to talk to a counselor.

Own your feelings

If there is no intimacy in marriage, you may be thinking things such as “He never listens when I talk…” or “She doesn’t understand me…” However, your partner isn’t responsible for making you feel happy, fulfilled, or successful. It’s your job as an adult married person to get in touch with your feelings, and own them. This means that if you feel misunderstood, for example, you don’t blame your spouse.  You take responsibility for your feelings, and you work on ways to process them within your marriage relationship.

Learn how your partner feels loved

To create intimacy in marriage, learn the delicate balance between nurturing and loving your partner, and taking care of yourself. To learn how your partner gives and receives love, read Examples of the Five Love Languages. It’s possible that your problems with intimacy in marriage are related to a simple lack of understanding of how you both give and receive love.

Take responsibility for your health

You can’t change your partner, but you can change yourself! Don’t use “he won’t go to counseling” as an excuse not to deal with no intimacy in marriage. Instead, go to counseling on your own. Get healthy, strong, and independent. Learn how to see yourself as a whole person, without depending on your spouse for validation or connection. The healthier and happier you are, the more you will contribute to your marriage.

I welcome your thoughts on no intimacy in marriage below. I can’t offer relationship advice – as I said, there are no simple answers or quick fixes! Successful marriages take work – but a happy, connected, intimate relationship is worth the time and effort.


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3 thoughts on “Are You Struggling in a Marriage Without Intimacy?”

  1. I have been married for 21 years, the last 13 without intimacy. It was my fault. My wife is a hairdresser and gave up fulltime work in a salon when our first child was born. By the time our children were 7 and 4 we were in a routine of me going to work during the day, my wife entertaining the children during the day (and taking them to and from school), and when I was home, she going out in the evening to cut hair for private clients. Most evenings she wouldn’t get back until 10:30-11pm. By the time we’d had a sit-down, caught up on the TV it would be getting late. She would head for bed and I would walk our dog (I would never have walked him earlier in the evening and left two children asleep in the house!). By the time I got into bed, quite understandably, my wife would be in the land of nod! I could see this would be a phase in our lives and was prepared to wait for our lives to become less hectic as the children got older. However, I’m a red-blooded man and need regular sexual relief, not just for my mental wellbeing but because I leak fluids when my testicles become too full! I’m ashamed to say I turned to pornography (while she was out). Inevitably, she came home earlier than expected one evening and caught me. That was 13 years ago. To this day she will not discuss the matter (other than to say you watched those women) and when I plucked up the courage to ask her to discuss it last year, she threatened to leave home! Our children are 20 and 17 now. The eldest is at uni and the other at home – it would crush them if I left. The practicalities of leaving are just too complicated that I’ve resigned myself to carry on living a celibate life. It’s so sad. I love and fancy my wife as much today as I did the day we got married. It consumes me every minute of every day. I expect it will finish me off early too because I feel so depressed about it. I just wish my wife would re-open the case and give me a second chance. I take comfort from knowing I am not alone in such a marriage, but I also find it depressing that there are so many wives who report their husbands not wanting to be intimate with them! What is wrong with us all?

  2. Have you tried talking to a marriage counselor or coach about the lack of intimacy in your marriage? That’s where I’d start.

    It sounds like you and your wife haven’t had any intimacy in your marriage for 24 years. That’s a long time! What brought it on? If you say “I don’t know”, then I’m not sure even the smartest most insightful marriage counselor could help you. If you don’t know what’s going on in your relationship, it’s awfully hard for an outsider to figure it out – even a professional therapist.

    I have so many questions for you! What steps have you taken to deal with this lack of intimacy in the past? What would your life say about your relationship? Why have you stayed in this marriage this long? What keeps you connected to your wife?

    Maybe the first step to reconnecting with your wife is going to marriage counseling together, and talking about the questions the counselor asks about your relationship. What do you think?

  3. Hi
    I am 57 years old and have been married for 33 years. The last time my wife and I made love was 24 years ago, and even then I could feel she was mentally uncomfortable about it. We have tried 13 times in the last 24 years to make love but each time I could feel her pulling away or finding reasons not to carry on. Lately when we do talk vaguely about sex she says its me who is the problem. I have resigned myself to being celebite because there is simply no other way to handle this. Her default button when we do try and talk about it is what a bad man I am and what a failure I am. What do I do

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