As women, we long to be pursued. We were made that way. It’s natural for us, then, as wives to want our husbands to continue to pursue us – long after our honeymoon.

So why doesn’t he come after you the way he used to?

I used to think the reason my husband wasn’t actively pursuing me was just a matter of growing complacent in marriage. He knows I’m here, he knows I’m available to him, so after awhile, it’s just no big deal. Then one day I decided I must be doing – or not doing – something that is making him lose interest in me.

Hugh denied that there was a problem. No, he hadn’t lost interest in me. No, it wasn’t the extra weight I’d gained since my “too-skinny-anyway” days when I’d met him (my rationalization for midlife weight gain). No, it wasn’t that his eyes or heart had been lured away by another “mistress” (like work, or sleep, or a new hobby). For the most part, he said he was often just too drained of emotional and physical energy when he came home from his stressful job to think about anything other than sleep.

One of the ways we can wound our marriage – and our husbands – is to generalize a situation we’re going through and compare it to everyone else. If we read statistics in women’s magazines that the average couple has sex once or twice a week and it doesn’t happen that often in our homes, we can become concerned and wonder what’s wrong with our husbands or us on weeks when we aren’t meeting that “quota” and thus being representative of the national average.

We need to stop comparing our husbands to everyone else and start looking at who he is and all that makes up his life – the  number of hours he works,  his health habits, what he eats, the amount of sleep he gets, whether or not he exercises, the pressures he faces, the projects he’s working on,  and add to those factors his age, his medical history, any medications he is taking, and his physiological makeup, and you have one man with about a billion reasons for why he might be not meeting the “national average” when it comes to how much he is – or is not – pursuing you, sexually. In other words, don’t take it personally.

Sometimes, your husband’s lack of motivation to pursue you might come down to his fear of rejection. Perhaps he’s been burned. If you’ve ever brushed off his advances (and who of us hasn’t when we have children to take care of, work to finish, deadlines to complete, dinner to cook, laundry to fold, or just a million other things on our mind?), then he has already experienced the risk and resulting  humiliation of you telling him “no.” And that may be why he refuses to take that risk again. He may figure “I’ve initiated so many times, I’m not going to anymore. If she’s interested, she’ll come after me for a change.”

As much as a woman can feel hurt when she experiences rejection by her husband, a man can feel that wound even more intensely. 

Author and marriage expert Dennis Rainey says: “Most men find initiating the sex act one of the riskiest ventures he could ever make. Why? Each time he initiates sex, he risks rejection.”  Rainey goes on to say “When a man is rejected often enough, he typically internalizes his anger, his hurt, and his disappointment until such time when the rejection drives him to one of several reactions – none of them are good. Either he will give up on the relationship, he will seek alternative sexual outlets such as pornography, or he might compromise his wedding vows by pursuing female affirmation elsewhere.”

 Can you see how very important you are when it comes to your husband’s need to feel affirmed as a man, sexually? It isn’t a desire or need based on selfishness. It is a normal desire and need. He was created that way. Rainey continues:  “Your husband’s sexuality is so much a part of who he is that it affects virtually every part of his life. The wise woman understands that her man longs to be needed sexually by her. If you really want to get to the bottom line for men, and you really want to express love to your husband in a powerful way, just express to your husband that you need him sexually.”