Dear Too Tired,
Hi! I am happily married to a great man for the past 13 years. We both love Jesus, but we bicker all the time. Our fights are mostly about how often we have sex. I am a working mother with 4 children. I am dedicated to cooking healthy meals for my growing family, I like to keep a tidy house and we are very active in our church. The problem is after a long day, which is almost every day, I am too tired for sex. I often turn down my husband’s advances; I see hurt all over his face. I want to be a good wife- but I need sleep or I will die! Help me please- what should I do?
Too Tired for Sex
Dear Too Tired,
Oh, sweet friend, I can totally empathize with your situation. “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.” You want to desire your spouse, please him sexually, and meet his needs but you have nothing left at the end of each day. I have slept walked in your shoes before, so I think you have asked your question to the right person.
I only had three children, not four, but I managed to have them in 37 months. Whew- I understand your brand of tired. There was a season in our marriage when my husband and I faced this exact same struggle. I know how bleak the situation can feel some days. I remember climbing into bed- hoping for rest, 6-7 hours of glorious sleep and my husband would turn into “Mr. Octopus Hands.” 😂You immediately think oh no, mister, if “one more person tries to touch me today- they will draw back a nub.” Not really, but closer to the truth than we’d like to admit, huh?
Thankfully I received great advice from a few fellow Christian sisters years ago that helped me better prioritize my time. I am happy to pass on some of this collective wisdom today! So, go grab a cup of coffee, prop your feet up and keep reading.
My hope is to encourage you today. I want to describe how to love your husband well and the importance of honoring his desires for you and your tired body!
But first, congratulations on being happily married for 13 year! That in today’s culture is a big accomplishment. Also thank you for taking responsibility for the problem in the bedroom and not blaming your lack of sexual interest on the fact that your husband doesn’t help enough around the house, refuses to lower the toilet seat, has forgotten your birthday three years running or has gained 20 pounds since you wed. When we own the responsibility for what is going on in the marriage, we are half way to victory.
My advice fits nicely into two categories: practical and spiritual; I pray you find them both helpful.
You must have an honest discussion with your husband about your sex life. This happens best the morning after a night of intimacy so that he can concentrate and not be absorbed with his own needs. The morning after conversation will happen best while over a cup of coffee. Hopefully you can find at least 30 minutes before the kids start typically stirring, maybe meet your husband on the back porch and then discuss what is going well and not so well in the bedroom. If the conversation turns into a “blame fest” pull the plug and ask for a few minutes that night to finish the conversation after the kids go to bed. In order to mutually agree, you will need clear heads, kind words and loving hearts or something hurtful will be said that one or both of you will regret. The goal of this conversation is to mutually agree on what is a reasonable frequency of sex in your present state of “out-numbered by kiddo” chaos. Your number may be low and his number way in the stars, but with compromise and kind caring words that confirm your love for him, I believe two Christians can find a common ground that pleases both.
I suggest this conversation/negotiation is something you do every 6 months or so. As your kids get less demanding, the number should flex and vice versa. No season of life last forever. Being a mom is a temp job, while the covenant you made with your husband in front of God on your wedding day- is forever. (For more details on negotiation strategies that will strengthen your marriage please read the mini-post: “The Art of Negotiation in Marriage.)
Sister, you may have to lower your standards. You work and have 4 children- your plate is very full. It is time to reexamine your life and decide how to eliminate “lesser” items off your list. So what if your house is not perfectly cleaned and/or the meal is not Pinterest worthy! In the words of Elsa from FROZEN “let it go!” Good-bye recipes with more than 5 ingredients for a season! I guarantee if you serve your husband a crock pot meal or even take out and still have some energy left at the end of the night to play a little“sheet music” you will get no complaints from him.
Think outside the box, I believe you are a creative lady. Remember, what we desire, we always make room for. We sacrifice stuff to make the important stuff happen. My husband and yours are the important things in life, worth some sacrifice. Let’s make sure our lifestyle reflects that feeling. We cannot kill our self for 3 days helping with a school project with our 4th grader and then leave nothing in the energy tank for our husband. Think about it. We cannot stretch the days, no matter how hard we try, but we can prioritize what we put in them!
Invest in yourself. Stay healthy and fit. I am a woman and I know how our heads think. We are less likely to be interested in sex if we do not feel good about our looks. I’m not talking an over the top obsession, just healthy, firm-ish thighs, flatter tummies and body parts that are in approximately the right place on the body if you catch my “mad at gravity” drift. Take care of yourself, sister. You, and fitness, are also worth a place on the weekly schedule.
God designed sex. God’s plan from the beginning was for sex to be beautiful and fulfilling. Sin messed that up. Many of us come into marriage with baggage filled with past sexual sin, misimpressions of sex, doubts and fears. Don’t believe me- read the book of Song of Solomon and see for yourself. God intended for sex to be great. Matt Chandler wrote a book “The Mingling of Souls” that does a beautiful job of walking though the Song of Solomon, taking some creative liberty granted, but applying the book to every season of marriage. It is a great read and may be something you and your spouse could read together as an adult bedtime story 😊. But remember sex is God’s idea and He has no bad ideas. Allow yourself to enjoy and eagerly anticipate this gift.
Your Body is no longer your own. It is clear in the New Testament, that Jesus came to elevate the role of women. He spoke of marriage in a way that suggested that women were not property. Paul pens letters to the church through the anointing that suggests when a couple marries- neither male nor female has sole possession of his body. But rather, that your husband owns your body and you his. (1 Corinthians 7:4) That sounds like a loss of control, but actually it is a beautiful gift. Women in the old testament would have given anything to be treated with this type of sexual equality, only in a sin filled world would women read those verses and find them insulting. Don’t fall into the independence trap, we are made to be in community. And marriage is designed to be the best possible community- enjoy it, don’t fight it!
Reasons for abstaining from sex. There are reasons given for abstaining from sex, but I’m sorry my sister, being too tired is not one of them. 1 Corinthians 7:5 states that you may abstain if you and your spouse mutually agree and, this is a big “and,” use that season to devote yourself to prayer. But it also quickly warns don’t do this too often or you may fall into temptation.
Consider my suggestions. Pray about your heart and ask God to make your desires line up with your love for your husband. Simplify your life. Make time for your husband. The bottom line, my friend, is, you don’t have to have sex with your husband- YOU GET TO!
Stay washed in the Word and keep reading the blog, friend!
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.