Lack of a physical relationship between a married couple


#1

I've read advice given here to unmarried couples who are being tempted into getting too physical with each other that they should get married. For example some have advised, "Get married if you are ready for this level of physical intimacy", and, "Saint Paul tells us that it is better to get married than to enter this kind of sinful behavior".

But what if I am already married. What if one of the reasons we got married was because the temptation to get physical with each other was getting too strong. But now my wife has not been interested in making love with me for such a very long time that I just simply can't handle forever living celibate because of the way my wife feels. If I sin (give into masturbation - I honestly do think of her when I do this) I have confessed the sin to my wife and she not only sees it as unfaithfulness but gets mad at me doing that instead of making love to her (even though she will not consent to making love with me) and blames me for saying that it is her fault. So I continue doing the best I can both to remain celibate (because my wife has no desire to be physical with me) and repent if and when I fall (even though my wife can't forgive me when this happens).

Is getting a divorce the answer to my problem? I don't want to make this into a blame game. I love my wife and I don't really want any of this to be her fault. I would prefer that I take 100% of the blame and my wife be totally blameless. I'm the one who is weak not my wife. She can handle celibacy but I cannot.

Lately, I saw someone else with the intention of cheating on my wife (something I have never considered doing before). I did it because I hated myself because I believe that things aren't working out with my wife and I because of me - that it is all my fault, and I hate myself because of it. So I did it to hurt ME. But when it came right down to it I was not able to go all the way with it. I was with this other woman trying to do with her physical things that I should only do with my wife, but as I tried I could only think of my wife and how I don't love this woman, I only love my wife. And I was not able, because of these thoughts, to go all the way with this woman and so I stopped it and I ended it. I went far enough that it was a grave sin, but I did in fact not go all the way.

My wife and I were about to go to see a marriage counselor again (we have seen some before). But I confessed this last major sin to my wife and now it looks like the marriage counseling is off. She thinks that this is further proof that I really don't love her. I can't tell her anything otherwise, because I am to her just a lair.

So what do I do? If I was still single the advice of St Paul would be that if you can't contain yourself you should get married. But I'm not single. And my wife emotionally needs me to be totally faithful to her and I have tried the best that I could, but I can't handle it because it means celibacy for years. I have learned that my needs are really emotional. The physical without the emotional does nothing for me. I'm sure my wife has the same type of emotional needs too. But for whatever reason I am failing at this and sin keeps knocking on the door.

So what do I do? Should I divorce (get an annulment), then after a few years find someone else and get married again? I absolutely know for a fact that I could never love another woman as deeply as I loved my wife. In my heart she will always be the ONLY one for me. But, to avoid sin, I could learn to love another woman some day and if I'm lucky we might not have such problems caring for each other. If this all happens then I might be able to get closer to God and serve Him better. Is this the only answer? Is this even an answer?


#2

My husband and I have the same problem. I know how your wife feels…

Is there something physically wrong with her? Is the physical act painful for her? Is she on any medication that inhibits libido as part of its side effects. You may want to check with a doctor. (I am on antidepressants–seratonins—it inhibits sexual desire.)

Is she tired? Stressed out? Do you have any children? (Especially if you have kids, please do everything to stay married. It could also explain her tiredness. I have only one child, work from home, do most of the cooking and cleaning and my husband wonders why I don’t want to make love!)

I personally feel more at ease and open to the physical side of marital love when we are away for a weekend, even just a night—I relax a lot more, no household things to worry about for a day or two.

As you know, there is no pill for this, and my libido has waned with age. (I am 46.) I wish my husband understood a lot of this. It is out of the question to be off the antidepressants because it’s a heckuva lot better than being suicidal!

I hope you two can work it out—I’m happy you are still hanging in there. I will pray for both of you…


#3

I agree with the above, but also you yourself have a lot of work to do in earning her trust again because of your previous actions. She probably feels hurt and those actions probably only continued to divide you too both emotionally and physically. I think the best thing for you is to try to get to a place like here:
retrouvaille.org/

Also, you need to grow together in prayer life. The answer is not thinking about seeing if you can find an annulment. Unless you have a true reason for your marriage being invalid, do not just think because the marriage is tough means it is invalid. Only Christ can heal the wounds that you both have. Ultimately, prayer, mortification, and offering up your corsses will help, plus discussions with your wife about why your love life is where it is at and where you can find a happy medium (but first the other healing will have to take place first before moving on with that aspect).
Prayers for you both and remember your vows to be faithful in good times and bad. God remains faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to Him. Love your wife as Christ loves us, his Church.


#4

Your wife needs to meet your needs. Compromise is part of love. I think that it is cold hearted that she gets upset when you masturbate to be honest and she gets upset because you blame it on her...IT is her fault.


#5

Your wife needs the counsel of a holy priest. She is failing you and she is failing in the vows she made before God. She needs to see a doctor and or a psychologist.

You also need the counsel of a holy priest, because masterbation and adultery are not answers. You need to learn to *control **your sexual impulses. The state of your marriage is *not an excuse to sin. You need to master these impulses.


#6

[quote="bingbang, post:4, topic:210843"]
Your wife needs to meet your needs. Compromise is part of love. I think that it is cold hearted that she gets upset when you masturbate to be honest and she gets upset because you blame it on her...IT is her fault.

[/quote]

The problems of the OP are not the fault of one or the other, but of both. The wife can't be blamed for his adultery, that was his choice. They are need of council and discussion and compromise.

-Prophecy


#7

I cannot imagine placing the kinds of demands upon you that you tell us your wife places upon you. It is a sin to withhold sexual relations from your spouse, and it is not a surprise that has led you into temptation to sin sexually. Why does she not demonstrate any compassion to you? Is there another problem in your relationship that makes her not want to be that vulnerable and intimate with you? Maybe I am getting the wrong impression from your post, but my heart just breaks for you. Spouses have an obligation to each other to honor each other's needs and do our best to meet those needs. Your body belongs to your wife and your wife's body belongs to you.

As a woman, her natural sexual role should siimply be to allow you to love her. She only need to be willing to be responsive to your affection and your attention. What might be stopping her from doing that for you? Is there sexual trauma or abuse in her past that was never resolved and is now inhibiting her ability to respond?
I know you are so sorry that you fell into temptation. I hope you have already gone to confession and received absolution. I think if you and she could speak to the priest together, just to open the door of communication, it might make her open to the idea of retrovaille and to marital counseling. It almost sounds as if this sexuality issue needs to be talked about briefly, and then taken off the table for a while so that you can address the deeper problems and start courting her again.

I really do feel for you. I cannot imagine living through what you are living through right now. It would really break me down. Please do get counseling for yourself, even if your wife is not yet ready.


#8

[quote="doanli, post:2, topic:210843"]
Is there something physically wrong with her? Is the physical act painful for her? Is she on any medication that inhibits libido as part of its side effects. You may want to check with a doctor. (I am on antidepressants--seratonins---it inhibits sexual desire.)

Is she tired? Stressed out? Do you have any children?

[/quote]

Yes to all of that. The child is not hers by birth, but they have been like a true mother & son and they love each other as such.

You know that so much is said about the physical needs. But the physical needs follow the emotional needs! If my wife and I could just lay next to each other and tell each other how much we cared & loved each other and we then just cuddled, that would be "sex" for me and I would not be tempted to sin. But she says that she loves me but she thinks she knows that I don't love her and no matter what I do to try to prove to her otherwise I am to her just a lair, then if I sin than I feel much worse because she says that proves I never loved her.

It must be all my fault but I don't have what it takes to make it right. I know that my wife can be happy and serve God with Joy in her heart if she is alone - unmarried. I know her and I know this would be so. I also know that I have a long track record of not being able to live with her in a way that complements her joy in the Lord. I have tried and I have failed, I simply cannot do it. If we divorce we will both be sad when it happens, but I am certain that her sadness will be short lived and she will find much Joy in the Lord without me there. I, of course, will be sad for a very long time. But at least I might have a chance down the road a ways for something that the Lord may help me find to bring back the Joy of the Lord for me too some day.

I bet there really isn't any Catholic answer to my question. No Catholic is going to be willing to say that divorce is an answer. For a Catholic there is no such thing as divorce, so when divorce happens anyway and it is followed up by an annulment Catholics will just say there never was a marriage, as this is what we are supposed to believe. But confessing such beliefs doesn't solve anything. Even though my wife says I don't really love her I probably love her too much. I have gotten so depressed over the fact that I cannot bring my wife Joy and fulfill her needs (if I could I think she could fulfill my needs too) that I have come close to suicide.

I apologize perhaps I should not have started this type of a thread. I started it thinking that there may not be a Catholic answer. I hoped someone could prove me wrong. Maybe it was a sin to ask a question if there is no answer to that question. Please, can anyone prove me wrong and tell me the answer? What can I do to make things right and avoid sin and serve God and not hurt my wife anymore?


#9

John,
You are in deep despair right now, but I think you still understand that divorce is not the godly answer. It is the answer that the world has provided to us because we have hardened our hearts. When thinking about the ‘Catholic’ answer, we should actually be thinking about and talking about what Jesus’ answer would be. He answered the question of divorce very clearly. What God hath joined together, let not man tear asunder. Divorce will only allow for a legal separation of assets; it will not heal broken hearts. Meditate upon Christ’s passion. Look what Love led Christ to do for us, for his BRIDE, the Church. The authority that a husband has in the marriage relationship is demonstrated by what Jesus did for the Church. You, as the husband, have the authority and the responsibility to ‘lay down your life’ for you wife. How might this play out? You must put the needs of your wife first. She is ill and exhausted and is distrustful of you. You must address her needs. You said it yourself, that if you could meet her needs, then she could easily meet your own. This is absolutely how it should be. Cherish her, love her, meet her needs. Be a man she can trust. Do whatever your priest or counselour advise you to do to demonstrate your trustworthiness. Ask your wife what she needs to be able to trust you. She may be hesitant to tell you at first, or afraid of being vulnerable enough to allow you to prove to her, but keep trying.
You want an end to the pain, I understand. But the pain will not end if the marriage breaks apart. It is a lie the world tells when we are told that divorce will allow for healing. My mother and father, my in-laws, my brother and my sister are ALL divorced. They are not able to hide their pain. It seeps out continually, causing them to repeatedly break down into tears during visits or phone calls with me. The brave face they put on for the rest of the world takes such a herculean effort that when they are alone or with trusted confidantes, they just break down, even many years after their divorces. They are so bitter. It is so heartbreaking. Don’t choose this life for yourself. Don’t quit on your marriage. You can do this, through Christ. Allow Jesus to lead you and strengthen you.


#10

Please John VIII, go talk to a good priest or find a Catholic (or at least a Christian) therapist. And pray a lot.

I love my husband very much too despite not wanting to have sex and I cannot pretend with him---he knows when it's forced and it might as well be a "no" for him.

I show him love in other ways---your wife should work a lot more to show you affection.

I wondered too if she had any abuse in her past?

I know that I am not a lot of a touchy feely, hugging, type of person despite coming from an Italian family. :) I have had to work on it---maybe your wife has the same cross too?


#11

It is not a sin, in her case, at least not a major sin. She has alot of physical problems and may not even be healthy enough for going all the way with sex. It would be enough for me if she just communicated how she would if she could and that she loves me and knows that I love her. But she believes that some of her physical problems are my fault. Because of me not getting her to the hospital sooner (as she thinks I could have got her there faster than the ambulance could) the doctors might have fixed one of her issues that happen about a year ago by attending to it sooner. She seems to love me at one moment and then the next moment she finds some reason why I’m horrible. For a long time most everything she accused me of was unfounded, but after a long time I got discouraged and I started making some of her accusations true. I have never tried to cheat on her ever before. I don’t want it to just keep slowly getting worse. But I am worn out and I have no answers.

All this is true. But she can’t, and I can’t. She blames herself and I blame myself most of the time. Sometimes we also blame each other. But we have both tried the best we know how to try and niether of us can do it.

She doesn’t want to do retrovaille, but we have seen marital counseling and she had counseled with our deacon and I with the priest. I don’t know why it has been so hard to make it work but it has and I feel powerless to keep it from slowly getting worse and worse. I love her too much to let this all happen to her. We were separated and I saw that she is so much happier living single. Maybe the loving selfless thing for me to do is just get out of her way so at lest one of us can have the Joy of the Lord in our life.

I am seeing a counselor too.
[/quote]


#12

If your wife cannot/ will not get help and continues to refuse you, your marriage would easily be declared invalid by the Church. One partner cannot refuse the other forever-- then it's not really a marriage. I'd also recommend that you let her know how you're feeling and maybe get her a book that explains how important the physical parts of the relationship are to men. I remember being a young married woman who just didn't know how different his drive was from mine. I would often refuse him simply because I was "too tired." After I read a few books on marriage, a light bulb went off. I realized that being tired is no excuse when he's a starving man and I'm the buffet. LOL


#13

First off, your frankness and honesty is refreshing in a sense, and I commend you for it. Too many people fool themselves these days, but I don’t see that here. And I think posting this here is alright, it never hurts to gets things off your chest.

I’m in the position of Doanli’s husband, actually. My wife is on anti-depressants, and they sure do a number on her libido (but it sure as hell is better than the alternative!!). What makes our situation interesting is our age; we’re both under 30, so there’s a real chance things could get worse (or better) in that area. So at this point there’s a disconnect between us, and a compromise needs to be made. I can’t expect her to always say “yes” for my requests for sex. Stress, being tired, lots of work, her medication, still having depressive episodes, misc. etc. all have an impact on things which I need to be aware of. I also have to understand that my libido and what goes through my mind can be unrealistic; if we had sex every time I wanted to we’d have 2737398 kids at this point.

At the same time, she needs to be receptive to the fact that she, for the health of the marriage, needs to say yes every so often (and that she will probably enjoy it despite initially thinking otherwise). But, she also needs to understand that she doesn’t have to say yes to please me (because lets face it; I’m your typical under-30 year old guy) every time.

So we talk about it and try to understand each other. Compromise and communication, every marriage needs it. It wasn’t easy at the start of our marriage; our first year was very hard in that I totally wasn’t understanding at all. It caused a lot of damage to our relationship, which took time to repair. We’re very blessed that we are at where we are at (as is evidenced by us expecting our first child).

Divorce (or separation) will not address your issue of “needs”. A divorce won’t help your needs at all, because unless an annulment (and this is by no means a sure thing) happens you can’t get re-married, which means you’re still unable to fulfill the needs in a moral fashion. It’d be good for your wife if she can remain celibate, but you’d be forced to be celibate too.

Of course, a “Catholic” answer is to pray and seek counseling. Which to your credit you are doing. And please, PELASE continue to at the very least seek person counsel.


#14

[quote="lovemyboys, post:12, topic:210843"]
After I read a few books on marriage, a light bulb went off. I realized that being tired is no excuse when he's a starving man and I'm the buffet. LOL

[/quote]

:D:D:D
It is eye-opening to realize that we wives are the tasty morsels to our starving husbands! It is that kind of attitude adjustment that oftentimes makes all the difference in how a wife views marital relations with her desperate-for-her husband.


#15

On the subject of women (in general) having libido problems, I'd like to put it out there that the birth control pill is a notorious libido killer. I've often wondered how many divorces started because those pills ruined the wife's libido and made her kind of asexual and unhappy with everything the way they made me. Going off those pills changed my life (and my husband's life). Once I read a study where researchers gave female chimpanzees bcps. The females became uninterested in mating and the males started going crazy. I'll try to find the link...


#16

Not married here but I feel your wife is the one sinning not you. Will pray for your family though.


#17

I say this right now, i would never deny my husband. Well, if i did it sure as heck wouldn’t be alot. I’d probably randomly ask him if he uhh… could do something to me haha.

Of course i’d return the favor. I dont understand why its just ‘sex’. Why cant she go down on you? Honestly? then she wont be in pain, and she wont have to receive anything. Just cuddle with her, let her know you love her and start making your hand reach places. you never know what will happen then :wink:

Im only trying to help. She could just use her hand for you. I know this sounds graphic, and im not trying to let it be, im just trying to give you options. Why is she feeling the need to be celibate?
is she actually TRYING to be celibate or is she just that way because of her conditions?


#18

[quote="BlueShadow123, post:17, topic:210843"]
I say this right now, i would never deny my husband. Well, if i did it sure as heck wouldn't be alot. I'd probably randomly ask him if he uhh.. could do something to me haha.

Of course i'd return the favor. I dont understand why its just 'sex'. Why cant she go down on you? Honestly? then she wont be in pain, and she wont have to receive anything. Just cuddle with her, let her know you love her and start making your hand reach places. you never know what will happen then ;)

Im only trying to help. She could just use her hand for you. I know this sounds graphic, and im not trying to let it be, im just trying to give you options. Why is she feeling the need to be celibate?
is she actually TRYING to be celibate or is she just that way because of her conditions?

[/quote]

BlueShadow123 -
Perhaps you are unaware, but the things that you are advising the OP to try with his wife are things that Catholics have been educated about being sinful. Spouses are not permitted to substitute fellatio or mutual masturbation for natural vaginal intercourse. I understand that non-Catholics have usually not been taught these things within their denominations, but Catholic teaching is very clear. Sexual encounters must have vaginal intercourse as their natural end, and the husband may not ask his wife to bring him to climax in any other way. This doesn't exclude enjoyable kissing and touching along the way, however. Also, the arrangement you are suggesting could possibly make the wife feel used and unloved. That is exactly what the OP is trying to guard against, because it is so distressing to him that his wife doesn't believe that he loves her.


#19

I think this is a classic case of bait and switch. She acted one way before marriage and completely different after marriage. She probably led you to believe there would be sex after marriage because she wanted you for other reasons (money, security, just not to be alone...pick one).

If I were you I would civilly divorce her and submit a request for a declaration of nullity from your diocese's marriage tribunal, based on fraud and on her intention to never honor her marital obligations, which was probably present at the time of the wedding.


#20

And if you don’t get that declaration, you’re stuck with a civil divorce and you can’t re-marry, which means you’re still not having your “needs” met.

Just saying :slight_smile:


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