Hello Everyone, I hope this article finds you well. This week we have a great article by Scott Hendrickson. He writes this article specifically for men, on how to handle the common and frustrating situation when your wife says, "not tonight." Scott helps address the emotional side of the situation and gives some insight on what is going on in her mind as well. Here is what Scott has to say:

For men only...all ladies please leave the room (or this blog article). Alright guys, how many of you have initiated sex with your wife and been thwarted by her "not tonight honey" repeatedly? Sometimes it appears to be an unmerciful, rejecting "no!" Other times it seems to be a repeating headache that only happens (or so it seems) when you are in the mood. Nonetheless, the message of "no" seems way too common with your sexual advances. It looks like the majority of you have your hands raised...I'm sorry ladies, you have to leave please.

Now that you see so many hands up guys you can at least know you are not alone--not that it helps much. It is not uncommon for marriages to have periods (long periods) where one spouse, usually the wife, is not interested in sex. I have some thoughts for you on how to deal with this.

Understand Your Anger

Anger is a natural product of rejection, disappointment or entitlement. I'm saying it is normal to be angry but what you do in your anger will be either destructive to your marriage or helpful.

Look at rejection for a moment. There are sometimes when you are absolutely being rejected but there are other times when she says "no" that it really isn't about you. She has little to no desire for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

She's stressed out
When your wife is overworked, over busy or over obligated in some other way, sex becomes just another demand; another task she is obligated to do. Stress absolutely will shut her down and it is not because she is rejecting you. Try to lower your expectations for now and assist in any way you can and as competently as you can.

Be careful of your motives here. If it is because you just want more sex, you will set yourself up to be rejected because she will likely feel discounted (with her anger). Help her because you love her. This can lead to an improved relationship because her trust of you will grow.

She doesn't feel attractive let alone sexy.
It is important to most women to feel good about themselves. Perhaps she's heavier than she wants to be or basically doesn't accept herself. If this is the case, your wife will not want you to see her naked or be too close to her physically.

Find ways to communicate to your wife your appreciation for her beauty--inside and out. Of course tell her she looks beautiful today but also comment on her beautiful values and brains and creativity and work ethic and loyalty and...whatever else is uniquely attractive about your wife. If most of your comments are about breast size, legs and other typically sexually attracting body parts, you will once again find yourself in a position of rejection. She won't feel beautiful but rather checked out. Balance is a key here.

She's worried
If your wife is worried about money, one of the kids, a parent, or someone else of significance, the car, safety, a job interview or something else, she is likely not going to be open to your advances.

The best thing here is twofold: empathize with her so she knows you are partnered with her and understand her fears AND encourage her in her faith by being willing to pray together and gently reassure her of God's faithfulness and character. You yourself can simply commit to growing in your faith and that adds to her sense of security. You might even look for a Godly spiritual mentor to instruct you.

She isn't healthy.
All you can do here is gently encourage a doctor’s visit and commit to being healthy with her.

Another aspect of your anger is entitlement. When you are entitled, every "no" leads to more frustration and more anger. You will read 'news stories' that say you should be having sex 3-4 times a week and think your marriage is broken because sex is so rare for you these days. You might quote 1Corinthians 7 "do not deprive each other..." and believe you should have access to her body anytime you desire.

It is important to bring yourself back to reality--your reality. It doesn't really matter what you read or hear if currently your wife's libido isn't too active right now. If she has sex with you because you guilted her or shamed her or just plain pestered her until she gave in, she will begin to resent you and her resentment will be connected with sex...with you. Rejection will be more of her routine with you. Entitlement will damage your sexual relationship.

Manage your beliefs

Our culture is playing Jedi mind tricks with men about sex these days. Having a pure mind and heart has never been more challenging. When I head to the office this morning, I will hear several commercials calling into question my sexuality at fifty plus years of age. My size, my stamina, my wife's desire...and these will be doctors promoting the need to go to their clinic. I'm not listening to Howard Stern guys. It's just my local music station (hits from the 70's, 80's and 90's). I was watching the news and twice the cialis commercial aired. Virtually every show I watch with my wife has the Victoria's Secret commercials running.

Our society says sex is THE number one need for men and if we don't 'get some' often enough something is wrong. Do you see how that could lead to a belief there must be something wrong with you if you aren't active enough? Beware of this world sex view. It will lead to more rejection and certainly trick you into a sense of entitlement.

Another belief I see frequently with husbands is the idea that if you eliminate all of your wife's objections and do everything the books say to do then she will be more interested in sex and most likely you will at least hit the global average number of times per week (insert tongue in cheek). I have had men admit to me how they became the ultimate appeasers in order that their wife would just say yes to sex. This kind of belief system will lead to resentment on your part if you believe your wife is not responding to you enough. You are far better off in developing a mutual relationship with your wife. One where you both have the freedom to say yes and no to each other and respect each other's yes and no.

I know I am not offering anything that will cure your lack of sex. What I am offering is perspective and refining what you believe with regards to sex. Yes, sex is important but if your relationship with your wife is more important, you will gain greater friendship with her, more freedom with her and better sex with her (notice I didn't say 'more' sex with her). More importantly, you will be less angry and frustrated.

By: Scott Hendrickson, LCPC