to the wife who is too tired for sex…a story of hope

As I’ve spent this year talking to women about the power of married sex, I’ve realized one common denominator for nearly all of us: exhaustion.

So this post, written to the wife who is just too tired, too overwhelmed to think about sex, is also reminder to myself of the things I know, but quickly forget.  And it’s an invitation to you, friend, to experience more in your marriage.


To the wife who is too tired for sex…

I get it. I really do. I’m one of you. The crazy pace of life with four kids around my knees naturally doesn’t lend itself to a ton of sexual energy, or energy in general, most days. I know about deadlines and commitments and over commitments. I know about going to grad school while having 3 little babies. I get all the church activities, new work projects, and old work projects that seem to linger indefinitely. I know about slow traffic, slow grocery store lines with antsy kids, and the long hours of lonely days when you’re new in town and feel like you’re doing it all by yourself. I know about dark circles under the eyes (so dark my daughter recently asked my why I have purple eyes), the throw-up in the car seat for the third time this winter, the broken plates from little “helpers” helping, the clothes and toys equally distributed all over the floor in every room of the house. I know about the runny noses, the whiny cries, the scary calls to the dr for sick kids in the night and my own endless need for more.sleep.

But sweet friends, can we have real talk here?

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Often in church we emphasize that wives should “meet their husband’s needs”. And I’m fine with that. I even wrote about why I love my husband’s sex drive.

Except when we miss the whole point. The point that sex is not about one person, but about two people in a marriage living connected.  

It’s about oneness of body that leads to oneness of heart.

And that sort of oneness and connection is a need for both a husband and a wife.

Recently I spoke at a mom’s group and a few weeks later, a woman (mother of a newborn and toddler) who heard me speak came up to me and said,

“Francie! My life has changed. Literally. Your talk changed my life, and my marriage.”

(let’s be clear- it wasn’t ME that changed her life at all – it was the truth of the message – God’s message.)

I was standing there with mouth hanging open, half-way stunned. People don’t usually follow up with me with such vulnerability after I talk about sex. I was honestly hoping she wasn’t joking at my expense. But then she went on to say…

“After hearing you talk about the power of consistent sex in marriage, my husband and I started having sex more often, and our marriage is completely transformed. Something in the way we related to each other changed after we started having consistent sex. His attention is care-filled and his love is tangible throughout the day. He offers to help and be present in ways that he didn’t before. And I find that I am more gracious towards him. We are more connected than ever.”

With two tiny kiddos, she’s exhausted, we all know that. But you know what else? She and her husband decided that while they used to rarely have sex, they are drawn to each other almost daily for sex – out of an overflow of connection.

Not duty. Not guilt. Not burdensome shoulds.

But connection.

I suggest that quite possibly, with some thought and some intentional planning, there is the opportunity for more unity, connection and tenderness in your marriage than you may have expected. And in the tired moments (I’m sure he’s tired too), there’s really nothing sweeter than sharing that tender sense of unity and connection. It sure beats living as roommates as you zone out on your iPhones in bed. See this post about switching gears from tired mom to hot wife for some practical ideas.

Being tired is real. In some seasons it’s almost debilitating (mother of newborn, give yourself tons of GRACE). But in the long run, I don’t want my sense of exhaustion to dominate my marriage. Instead, I want to remember on those tired days, when sex feels like a burden, that it’s really the other way around.

Sex is a blessing, not a burden.

Sex is a reconnecter, when the exhaustion leaves you feeling disconnected.

Sex is God’s gift, and it’s very, very good.

It’s my prayer for you, and for me, that even in the tired seasons of life, we can say just like my friend above, “our connection is better than ever”.

That’s all for now, friends. May heaven’s best invade your marriage today.

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(Note this, if there are serious hurts in your marriage that stem from sexual addiction, pornography, homosexuality, abuse or infidelity, these are big issues that cause deep wounds. Please find a spiritual leader you trust and seek professional counsel. Forgiveness in these cases is vital, but it’s also important to experience deeper levels of healing and wise counsel. You don’t have to walk alone. You are valuable, and so worth it.)