Why Isn't Sex With My Spouse Satisfying?

Updated: Oct 5

Break Down Barriers to a Wholesome, God-Honoring Sex Life

In the last post, I wrote about God’s design for sexual intimacy. Sex is a gift from God intended for pleasure, unity, and purity. All good things, right?

Then why isn’t sex always the soul-satisfying, God-honoring act He designed it to be?

Why is it that sometimes we default to “going through the motions” or look for cheap substitutes to fulfill our desires?

What stands in the way of the passionate, longed-for sex that expresses pleasure, unity, and love for our spouse?

Barrier #1: Substitutions
Absence of the good, presence of the bad

Absence of the good

Let me explain.

How often do we substitute intimate opportunities with our spouse with time spent watching Netflix, scrolling social media, or following favorite sports teams? We ignore what God asks us to do for our marriage and instead invest time and energy on inconsequential hobbies that aren’t bad, but certainly won’t fuel our marriage needs.

We deny that this substitute is a conscious decision and play it off as passive, but it’s not. Our schedules reflect our priorities; our actions speak louder than our words of intention.

Solution?

  • Ask yourself: what things have I made too important that are preventing our intimacy from being a priority?

  • Take this list to your spouse and humbly ask them: What things have I made too important that are preventing intimacy from being a priority?

  • Allow them to add to the list

While this won’t be an easy conversation to initiate, trust that God will do immeasurably more than we could imagine when we submit to Him and do what He asks (see Ephesians 3:20).

Presence of the bad

There are obvious other substitutions:

  • Pornography

  • Self-pleasure

  • Emotional affairs

  • Physical affairs

  • Attention and approval-seeking

Some people think doing these won’t hurt their marriage. THEY ARE WRONG. These are not passive acts; they are choices that are killing their marriage, and they need to STOP.

Solution?

If you are indulging in cheap substitutions, you need to confess- first to God, then to your spouse. Seek forgiveness. Do not listen to Satan’s whispering lie: “If you confess this to your spouse, your marriage will be over.” The enemy wants to isolate us; he wants us to hide in our sin- away from our spouse. Yes, your sin will have consequences, but God can bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3), and that includes in your marriage’s sex life.

God give us the directive to be sexually united with our spouse because He knows the threat of temptation is real (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)!

Be truthful and honest with each other. Be obedient to God’s Word (even if your spouse is not).

Barrier #2: Ignoring what is broken

This is the BIGGEST source of intimacy problems in marriage. Often, it’s division caused by disagreement about finances, parenting, or each other’s priorities; the list can be long. Remember, sex is not an isolated issue, the foundational blocks that build a marriage all have an impact on intimacy with our spouse.

Too many people (men, especially) see a conversation about repentance as a distraction from the most urgent issue: sex. We want to sweep the “little” issues under the rug and pretend they’re not affecting our marriage… or our sex life. But over time, the rug can’t cover the mounds of dirt we’ve tried to hide underneath. We need to clean it up. We need to see God’s bigger picture!

Solution?

We’re called to seek reconciliation, (even if our spouse doesn’t offer forgiveness), then walk beside them, loving and forgiving even when it hurts.
  • Invest in your spouse even when your emotions scream not to!

  • When we withhold grace and watch our spouse fail, we create a cycle of skepticism and tension. But when we’re generous and extend forgiveness, the cycle of anticipation and encouragement, which leads to unity, begins.

  • Run to God every day. He will sustain you. We cannot generously give love and grace to our undeserving spouse without spending time with our Savior.

  • Extend a generous grace that comes from the depths of experience. While worldly forgiveness may be a heartless “sorry”, God-honoring forgiveness requires a Biblical understanding of how Christ has forgiven us and extending that forgiveness to someone else (our spouse).

After all, Jesus does not say, “Enough is enough!” cutting us off and giving us the silent treatment. He never says, “I just need to get away for a while” and take a weekend sabbatical.

He NEVER loses patience, never gives up hope, never boasts in His purity, never holds our sin over our head.

He ALWAYS opens His arms of love, always forgives, always accepts us back when we’ve gone astray, and always desires a relationship with us.

Do you know Him in that way?

Does your spouse?

Barrier #3: Misunderstanding God’s design for sex

As we learned in Let’s Talk About Sex, God gave sex as a gift inside of marriage. Too often, Christians get confused by the world’s message that “sex is all about me and my pleasure.”

We put our own purpose for sex ahead of God’s purpose.

We desire the fruit (the physical act) of the gift more than the unified marriage that produces the good fruit.

God’s design is for the pleasure of sexual intimacy with our spouse to be a biproduct of the unity He intends.

Solution?

When we aren’t unified physically like God intended, things in our marriage feel out of sync quickly. We need to have an accurate pulse on our intimacy at all times; we can’t just ignore the issues and hope they go away on their own.

They won’t.

Days, weeks, months, God forbid years can pass by while we go through the motions of our daily lives, missing the wonderful gift God has given us.

  • Know God’s Word and His design for sexual intimacy (re-read the last post, listen to the V2K broadcast on the topic)

  • Seek UNITY with our spouse emotionally and spiritually, not just physically. Make unity a priority- plan date nights, pray together, turn off the TV and play a game while you enjoy each other’s conversation and company.


Vow to change: an encouraging call to action

Do you want to break down the barriers standing between your marriage and a God-honoring sex life? Contrary to what our culture would tell you, it’s going to take some work.

  • Give generously to your spouse; know what they need to feel most loved, make a list of 5 things you will generously give to them this week!

  • Confess any outstanding sin and seek forgiveness, stop sweeping it under the rug

  • Extend forgiveness, support, and accountability, knowing where you can be more attentive- in watching (looking out for) AND in giving

  • Recall the golden rule from Luke 6:31- Do to others as you would have them do to you. Ask yourself often: Is the way I’m treating my spouse the way I want to be treated?

  • Don’t keep score. “You didn’t do this, so now you don’t get that.” A performance-based, points-system relationship will never bring victory to you, your spouse, or your marriage.

  • Keep your accountability partner in the loop with any sexual struggles your marriage is facing so he/she can pray and help hold you accountable.

Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, the precedence of boundless love has been set within our marriage.

Ephesians 5:2 says, Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave Himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins.

He showed us a no-holds back, no-off-limits love.

He asks us to do the same for our spouse.

So, go now…. Ask God to help you break down the barriers and with His Biblical boundaries. There’s lots of fun to be had when husband and wife are both in pursuit of a wholesome, God-honoring sex life.


Check it out

Wow- you’ve made it this far in the Hurting Marriage series… congratulations! Hopefully, you’ve done the hard work, allowing God to heal, restore, and transform your marriage. But it doesn’t end here.

A God-honoring marriage will leave a lasting impact on future generations!

Read See the Big Picture? to find out more about leaving a lasting spiritual legacy.


Listen to the corresponding podcast:

How to Help a Hurting Marriage: Intimacy (Part 12):: [Episode 104]


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