We get a lot of emails from married individuals and couples who get along with each other just fine, but don’t have the awesome sex life they long for. What can you do if your marriage has entered the dreaded “friend zone”?
This video from Charlie Houpert at Charisma on Command is primarily focused on single people who are trying to escape the friend zone with a person they’re attracted to, but the principles in the video are also applicable inside a marriage. The main difference for married couples is, of course, that “just move on” isn’t an option — but on the plus side, it’s very likely that the couple already has some level of mutual attraction!
After the video I will offer some thoughts on each of the main points.
Point 1: Take responsibility — you put yourself in the friend zone when you aren’t transparent with your feelings.
This point is really the most important and we’ve written it before: be specific and explicit about what you want. Your spouse can’t read your mind, and you can’t read theirs. You have to use actual words to express your desires. If you don’t say what you want, your spouse is very likely to think that you are satisfied and everything is great. Or maybe your spouse has unspoken desires too!
Point 2: The most reliable way to escape the friend zone is to focus on bettering yourself.
Rather than begging for more attention, make yourself more attractive. We’ve written posts like:
- Make Yourself More Interesting Than the Internet
- “It’s Important To Stay Skinny For My Husband”
- Husbandly Hygiene
- Do You Even Lift?
- Basic Male Fashion, Including a List of Clothes to Buy
In addition to the things above, if you want more and better sex then you should invest time into making sex with you more fun for your spouse: enthusiasm and responsiveness can go a long way. (Yes, your spouse can and should work to make sex more fun for you also, but that’s less under your control.)
Point 3: Steady your nerves so you can be transparent with as much confidence as possible.
You’ve got to be bold! Pray. Be humble. Be direct.
Point 3a: Clearly imagine the worst case scenario of “going for it”.
What’s the worst that can happen? Most likely the worst outcome is that your spouse will be uninterested or noncommittal, either towards your specific request or your general desire for a closer sexual relationship. That would be disappointing, but at least you’d know where you stand.
The biggest fear is that your spouse will react with contempt, disgust, or rejection. Ouch. But you can probably set up the conversation in a way to avoid that reaction, which we describe in How To Talk With Your Spouse About Sex. In What Does Your Spouse REALLY Want Sexually? we write about the importance of “saying yes” and being open to your spouse’s requests, which is critical if you’re the spouse who is being approached.
Point 3b: Spell out what “not going for it” is costing you.
Sometimes we’re afraid of saying something, but we lose sight of the fact that saying nothing also has consequences. Do you want to live out the rest of your life wishing that you had said something decades ago? We have received emails from couples who have been married for 30+ years and are only now learning how to communicate about sex and build the awesome sex life God intends for them. They could have been having great sex that whole time, but they didn’t go for it.
Don’t let time slip away.
Point 3c: Avoiding rejection actually lowers your self-esteem, whereas facing your fear increases your self-esteem.
You can praise God and feel good about yourself no matter how the conversation goes. When you act in faith, your faith grows. Each time you talk with your spouse about sex it gets easier and more comfortable.
Point 4: Reveal your feelings without being needy.
This is about how you close out the conversation.
“I love you, and I want to have a great sex life with you. I will do what it takes to be a great lover and to bring you pleasure. Let’s take our sex life to the next level together. What do you say?”
And then just listen and accept the response you get. If your spouse is on board, then awesome! If your spouse is hesitant, then reaffirm your love and keep working on yourself. If your spouse rejects you, bring your tears to God.