Question: My husband doesn’t find me attractive anymore and he says that I’ve let myself go. I know I gained weight with my pregnancies, and my hair is going grey. But my husband is getting out of shape and older, too, and I don’t complain! Why won’t he show me more love and affection? It shouldn’t be all about him.
Answer: Especially when a couple has been married for a while, their desire for each other can ebb and flow. But it’s healthy for spouses to want intimacy with one another. God wants us to rejoice in one another and make a gift of ourselves to one another. Our marriage should resemble the Song of Songs; we should feel “faint with love” (2:5). You and your husband probably felt that way on your wedding day. The question is how to recapture those feelings.
If you think your husband might find you more attractive if you dyed your hair, why not go for it? Treating yourself with a trip to the beauty salon is fun for a lot of women. Your husband can help by watching the kids while you go and not complaining about the cost.
You don’t have to become a high-maintenance fashionista. Just show him he matters by making the effort, and you’ll probably get a great response. As blogger Matt Archbold said in his recent CatholicMatch post, men want a spouse who cares about her appearance:
Men are often accused of being superficial and visual. That’s because it’s sort of true. Men do appreciate a woman’s looks. But here’s the thing: we find the vast majority of women attractive. I’m not kidding, the vast majority. So yeah, we care about looks but we pretty much think you’re all great. [Still,] It’s true. We want a woman who cares about how she looks….
Nobody will look young forever. It’s important for spouses to try to accept the natural results of aging with compassion. But it’s also important to take care of our bodies for our own sakes. We want to stay healthy and strong for ourselves as well as for our spouses and our children who depend on us.
Most people over 30 are less physically active than they used to be, and inactivity brings a lot of health problems with it. You and your husband would both benefit from exercising together. An easy way to begin is to take a walk around the block every night after dinner or a longer walk on the weekend.
Regular exercise also fights fatigue and boosts energy, which is great for enhancing the libido! Couples today are so busy and stressed out from the multiple demands of work and child-rearing that it’s hard to find the energy to feel romantic or sexy. Your husband may lack desire simply because he’s tired. Or there might be a medical cause like low testosterone or depression.
Not taking time to nurture the couple connection can also make the spark go out in a relationship. A tried and true solution is to plan hot date nights once a month or once a week at a place you both enjoy. Reconnecting on a level that doesn’t involve the house or the kids can rekindle feelings of tenderness and togetherness.
Praying together will also help reestablish the spiritual bonds you formed when you were joined as one on the altar. Invite God’s love into your marriage and ask that you can see each other as God sees you. Ask God what his will is for your relationship. And rely on prayer to help you both remember that your marriage is a spiritually permanent commitment meant to outlast temporary difficulties.
We welcome your comments. And please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question or idea for a future column!
Copyright 2015 Dr. Manuel and Karee Santos.