You're a woman feeling rejected. Part of you believes it shouldn't bother you so much, but it does. You thought things would be different being married. Every now and then it's really good. In those moments he makes you feel so cherished and special. Why can't he do that all the time? But those good moments are few and far between. Am I always going to feel unimportant and lonely?
It's one thing when people "out there" turn you down, discredit you, or don't acknowledge the gifts you have to offer. But it's so much worse when the person who promised to "love, honor, and cherish 'till death do us part" gives you the cold shoulder. I hear from so many women about what it feels like when their husband shows no interest in intimacy or closeness:
- "I'm tired of feeling worthless, unattractive and inadequate when he says he doesn't need sex."
- "I need to feel important to him. He just doesn't care anymore."
- "Whenever we have sex it's all about him. I want him to desire me."
- "It seems he would rather do just about anything than spend time with me."
There's the woman who saved herself sexually for marriage and now feels hopeless when her husband doesn't respond to the gift of her body she longs to give him. And the woman who cries into her pillow when her husband immediately turns over and goes to sleep after sex. And the woman who feels nothing she does is enough to get her husband to want to please her physically or emotionally.
For some of these women, sex would be great. Women have hormones and physical urges too. But that's not really the point. For some of these women, physical intimacy does happen often enough, but they end up feeling used just for someone else's pleasure. Sex isn't really the issue. But if the inner connection with your husband isn't happening, nothing else goes well.
Whether you want sex more often or less often than your husband, what most women desire in their innermost heart looks more like this:
- To be seen, known and understood
- To be sincerely wanted by someone who knows you
- To feel special, cherished, important
- To be No. 1 to someone
- To have someone care about you more than they care about anything or anyone else
- To feel as though you're good enough—both in your body and in your soul
But what if you're not getting that from your husband? What if you're feeling lonely, rejected and undesirable even though your husband is a "good" man in most other ways?
There are lots of things you could do. You could whine, complain and be miserable. You could nag and manipulate and cajole your husband to do what you want. You could give up on your marriage and go looking elsewhere for satisfaction. But you already know those things won't really get you what you need. So here's another solution.
5 Actions to Take if You Feel Rejected
First, let me make clear that I'm assuming you and your husband are both people of good will. If your marriage is affected by abuse, addiction or abandonment, you need a different kind of help than what I'm suggesting here. But if your husband is basically a good man, here are some things you can do:
- Be clear about what you want and need. Is it the physical release of sex? Or is it something else? Spend some time in your own heart trying to clarify your true desires. Maybe it's a need for closeness, or safety, or being wanted or feeling important. Maybe it's to know that he's truly there and that he cares about you more than anyone else. The clearer you can become about what you want, the more likely you are to find it. If you're not sure about this, The 5 Love Languages may help you figure things out.
- Help your husband help you. Most men love to successfully solve problems, to fix things. You already know that nagging or complaining doesn't work. Instead, try showing him what he can do to be your hero. Try something like, "Honey, I feel lonely when we don't spend time together. Can we take a weekend and ... ?" Or, "I miss how often we used to kiss, hug and—you know. I'd love to feel close to you again like that. Can I make an appointment for you with the doctor to get checked out?" There's no guarantee he'll respond as you wish, but he's much more likely to do so than if you complain.
- Look for and appreciate the good things he does. If you want more of something from your husband, praise him any time he does something in that direction. He'll feel successful, and he'll want to do more of it. By consciously looking for the good things, you'll probably notice more of them yourself, and your own attitude may well improve. Try looking at things from his perspective. Notice the small (or large) things he does that shows he cares. Voice your appreciation, and both of you will be happier.
- Take responsibility for yourself. You may not like to hear it, girlfriend, but no one—not even your husband—can make you feel any certain way. If you're feeling lonely, hurt, unattractive, inadequate or undesirable, it's because you're choosing to believe a bunch of negative messages about yourself and feeding those feelings. And because it's your choice, you also have the power to believe different things. That doesn't mean you need to accept dangerous or abusive behavior. But regardless of how your husband or anyone else treats you, you can decide what you want to believe about yourself.
- Feed your own soul. Some of your needs will be met by your husband, and any marriage can become better as both partners learn to love each other increasingly well. But some of your needs will not be met by your husband even if he's perfect. Ultimately, God is the only one who can make you feel truly worthy, important, safe, special and beautiful. Nourish your heart and mind well, and you'll find more peace and satisfaction than you ever could relying on one other human being.
Feeling rejected, lonely or hurt? You get to choose your response. Life isn't guaranteed to be easy, but you can choose a way of thinking and behaving that will result in knowing love, peace and joy on the inside. And that heart-experience will leak out and affect your outward circumstances also.
Your Turn: What do you do when you feel rejected by your husband? What would you tell your best friend if she felt the same way? Leave a comment below.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com.
This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.
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