I have been thinking that I have really not given much advice here about how to resolve a sexless marriage. So if you are in a sexless marriage, I am going to tell you what I think you should do.
1. What if I am refused on the wedding night?
There is a James Dobson book where he suggests that instead of actually having sex on the wedding night, that a new couple should just try hugging and holding each other all night, and wait for another night to try sex for the first time. This is complete bullshit. No one should ever suggest this, implement this, or accept this.
Typically, a young girl will spend thousands of dollars on a dress, a venue, a cake, and all kinds of things getting ready for a wedding. She and her mother or other family member will spend months thinking about and planning every single detail of the wedding. Yet, many young girls actually expend no time or effort thinking or considering what SHOULD happen on the wedding night. SEX should happen on the wedding night. Period. End of story.
Assuming that the couple has abstained from sex before the wedding, the young groom has a reasonable expectation that he will be having sex on his wedding night. Yes, it is true that there are some young men who will not expect sex that night, but they are the exceptions, not the rule. It is the same for the both spouses. His bride should be able to expect to have sex on her wedding night. It is just as wrong for him to refuse his bride.
So what if the bride or groom makes the conscious decision to refuse to have sex at the first opportunity? That new spouse has just told the other spouse that he/she DOES NOT LOVE HIM/HER!!! Sex is a reasonable expectation in marriage. If your spouse refuses sex with you at the first opportunity, then he/she DOES NOT LOVE YOU!!! At this point, you have a decision to make. This issue is not going to improve.
In my opinion, if your spouse refuses you on the wedding night, you should immediately pack your things and get away from him/her. Go to a lawyer and have the marriage annulled. You will save yourself years of heartache. If you want to give him/her another chance during the honeymoon, go ahead, but I doubt if things will get better. Yes, I know this is harsh, but refusing sex on the wedding night should NEVER happen!! Did I say NEVER? I meant NEVER, EVER, EVER!!!
2. What if I am refused before I have children or a house/mortgage?
If the sex begins dropping off quickly, this should be a huge red flag. Most couples should have sex often, really often, a minimum of 3 times a week. If this is not happening, there is something wrong. But the truth is if you are not having sex as much as you want or need, your spouse should want to come to an agreement.
First, you should bring up the subject. Tell your spouse in a very nice way that you are not having sex as much as you would like, and see what he/she says. A normal spouse will be concerned and want to resolve the problem. However, if he/she does not, that is a very clear message that your spouse does not love you. About 15 years ago, I told my refusing cheater that it would be nice if we could have sex 3 times a week. She said, in a very disgusted voice, “You can just forget about that!”
If your spouse is that openly antagonistic to your concerns, your next step is clear. If you don’t have kids or a house, there is nothing to hold you to that refusing cheater. Also, if your spouse does not improve, your next step is just as clear. Anyone who will not try to resolve sexual problems in a marriage does NOT want to be married. In either case, it is time for a divorce. Find a lawyer, and file for divorce. With no kids, you will never have to see your refusing cheater ever again.
3. What if I have kids and/or a house?
This is the situation where many refused spouses find themselves. They are sexually unfulfilled, yet they have a mortgage on a home, or even worse, they have children with the refusing cheater. This is a very very difficult situation. At this point the refused spouse has realized that the refusing cheater is NOT going to change, but the refused spouse now has kids who need parenting, or a mortgage that must be paid.
First of all, you may have a house but no kids. In this case, it will not be easy to get a divorce, but it is very feasible. Tell you spouse you need sex on a regular basis or the marriage is over. I would suggest giving him/her a reasonable amount of time, but no more than one year. If he/she does not change, hire an attorney, sell the house, and get a divorce. It won’t be easy, but it can be done and you will be done with your refusing cheater.
But what if you have kids with your refusing cheater? So what is the solution here? Well, it is very complicated. Again, you should tell the refusing cheater that you are not satisfied with sex in the marriage, and you want things to change. Then allow a reasonable time for a change, but no more than one year. Then if the refusing cheater does not change, you can take the next step.
The refused spouse really has to choose between living in a sexless marriage or getting a divorce. Of course, there is the option of an open marriage, but a person who is selfish enough to refuse sex to his or her spouse is certainly not going to allow you to seek fulfillment elsewhere. So you have to be celibate or divorce.
Can you live in celibacy forever? Maybe. Unfortunately, if you deny your sexuality for a long time, you are going to be affected. We are all sexual creatures, so denying that part of yourself is not going to be good in the long term. You can do it, but you will certainly be changed. So if that is the route you choose, I hope it works out for you.
As for divorcing with minor children, this will be hard. Raising kids is really hard when there are two parents who get along, but raising kids when the parents are divorced is even harder, but it can be done.
But still, you have a choice. You can divorce while the kids are still at home, or you can wait until they are grown.
As for waiting, I can tell you that it is hell waiting until the kids are grown. Denying your sexuality for years while they grow up will really affect you in a negative way. Your self esteem will really suffer, and you will definitely lose part of yourself. But you will provide a somewhat stable home for your children, and you will develop a huge amount of patience. And when you do divorce, your children and your spouse will be really surprised.
But if you divorce while they are young, you will be disrupting the lives of your children quite a bit. You can prepare for a custody battle, and it will cost more than you can imagine. When it is done, your refusing cheater will probably use the kids against you, and he/she will still fight you over many assorted subjects. However, you will have some youth left, and you will have a chance to remarry.
So what is the answer? There is no clear answer. In my case, I waited until the kids were grown, and I tried even more until my refusing cheater made it clear that she was never going to change. There were positives and negatives about this, and there is no way to know what would have happened if I had divorced sooner.
Just think, all of this heartache might have been avoided if some preacher had just made it a point to talk about the sin and devastation of sexual refusal in marriage.