It started off as a nice Saturday, right? Doing yard work together, going for a walk, and even a sitter scheduled for the evening. But then it seemed to go south fast with an argument about paying off the credit card versus taking a vacation at the lake. You want to get your finances under control and she wants to spend time as a family away at your favorite getaway spot. You think she spends money too frivolously and she says you work too much and don’t value relationships over the budget. For now, you agree to disagree but you’re both steaming.
But guys, you’re eventually ready to cool off and mend the relationship. What better way to make up than to spend a little intimate time together, right? Just one little problem, though: physical intimacy is the farthest thing from her mind. What’s the deal?
Why She Doesn’t Want To Be Intimate
For a woman, physical intimacy isn’t usually the solution to a problem, but rather, evidence that the problem has been resolved. In fact, rather than bridging the gap of emotional distance, it can actually make the problem worse. While physical intimacy helps a man to feel close to his wife, women are just the opposite. Women have to feel close in order to want to be intimate.
Through researching my book For Women Only, I began to understand that physical intimacy plays a huge role in how men feel about themselves. But when my husband Jeff and I surveyed thousands of women for our book For Men Only, we found that a woman’s desire is directly tied into the way her husband treats her. Her body’s ability to respond to you physically is tied to how she feels about you emotionally.
In other words, if your wife is feeling distanced from you emotionally—if you haven’t been talking much, or if you two are at odds due to an argument—her body probably won’t be able to respond to you. So even though you may greatly desire closeness—even if, say, harsh words were spoken between you—her physical response switch might be turned to “off”.
Feeling and building everyday closeness with your wife is a must, but exactly what does that entail?
You Can Help Reestablish Closeness
We women need to feel pursued and loved outside the bedroom just as a guy needs to feel physically desired by his wife inside the bedroom. Guys, physical intimacy starts in her heart, so your focus really needs to be on filling her emotional bank account. Think about what you did while you were dating that made her think you were irresistible. It wasn’t just about arranging the big candlelight dinners, was it? I’m guessing you invited her over to watch a movie, cuddle on the couch, and share some popcorn. Maybe you wrote her a little note from time to time telling her you were thinking about her. Or when you disagreed about something, you took the time to really listen to each other and hear each other’s heart behind the conflict. Why not do that now?
She still needs to know that you are smitten with her and that you value her thoughts and feelings, so pursue her and help her feel close to you outside of physically intimate moments. She wants to feel as though you are best friends, that you can talk about anything, and that there are no secrets between you. All of these things help her feel close to you and help her mentally prepare to be physically intimate.
Now, just a quick warning: don’t let physical intimacy be your main intention for creating this day-to-day closeness—your wife will see right through this. Instead, remember to be attentive even when intimacy isn’t an option. Sometimes, hug her just to hug her!
So even though you may be craving physical closeness after an intense talk or an argument, keep in mind that your wife needs to have some emotional recuperation time. Attend to your wife’s heart by pursuing her outside of the bedroom and I’ll bet you’ll be delighted by her reaction!
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Shaunti Feldhahn loves sharing eye-opening information that helps people thrive in life and relationships. She herself started out with a Harvard graduate degree and Wall Street credentials but no clue about life. After an unexpected shift into relationship research for average people like her, she now is a popular speaker and author of best-selling books about men, women and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her latest book, Find Rest: A Women’s Devotional for Lasting Peace in Busy Life, focuses on a journey to rest even with life’s constant demands.
Visit www.shaunti.com for more.