How Will Our Marriage Survive Without Intimacy?

07 June, 2017
Q As-Salamu 'Alaykum. I have been married to a good man for a year. My problem is that ever since we got married, we have been unable to do what married people do. At the beginning of our marriage, we kept trying, but as the process failed, my husband lost interest in me. Whatever I did, we haven’t tried it anymore. I try to convince him to try again, but he shows little interest. He went to a doctor prior to our marriage and everything was all right with him. We are both very attracted to each other, but I'm worried this failure will affect our relationship and he will hate me and completely lose interest in me. The problem is that it is very difficult for him to come with me to a doctor to discuss this issue. I cannot ask him to do that as it is not something easy to discuss with others face to face. What should I do?


In this counseling answer:

Intimacy in a marriage begins on the level of communication, understanding, consideration, and compassion. Understanding and implementing these essential ingredients will help the marriage work – both emotionally and physically.

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh my sister, 

We are sorry to hear about the circumstances that surround you pertaining to your problem. It is not evident as to why he went to see a doctor before marriage, but regardless, the solution exists between the two of you. The one thing that you are not doing is communicating.

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Communication is an essential key, especially more so during the early years of marriage. It is only through communicating with each other that you can learn about one another. One not only discovers what one spouse finds funny, enjoyable, boring, stressful, but one also finds about what one’s spouse is interested in, what their perception of a problem is, their weaknesses and strengths, the depth of their emotions, and their dreams.

Reading between the lines, little discovery is being made about each other including what makes the other feel intimate.

Intimacy begins on the level of communication, understanding, consideration, and compassion. These essential ingredients demonstrate how intimacy first begins emotionally and psychologically. These essential ingredients are the foundation of trust. With trust, the feeling of intimacy becomes self-assured and willing to give some more.

„And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Qur’an, 30:21)

The emotional center of the brain is the amygdala which is responsible for feeling aroused. Researchers have found that people in love release a higher level of dopamine. It triggers the hormone testosterone which, in turn, increases physical attraction to one’s spouse.

For men, this brain activity integrates with a visual stimulus which Islamically makes a lot of sense when it comes to how Muslim women should behave and dress in mixed company, and even why women should pray behind men!

For women, this activity in the brain relates to memory and what has taken place before.

Helen Fisher’s team at Rutgers University scanned the brains of couples who were newly in love while they gazed at photos of their sweethearts. Activity soars in the brain’s reward system. About the result, Fisher says, in “fierce energy, concentrated motivation to attain a reward and feelings of elation, even mania, are the core feelings of romantic love. Other areas linked with negative emotions and assessing other people’s intentions switched off. Romantic love also included activation of the hypothalamus where the sex hormone testosterone is produced. Lust, the sexual part of love, is unsurprisingly switched on in romantic love.” (Scientific America)

Neuroscience has found that:

Higher levels of testosterone and estrogen are present when one feels lust

Levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin increase when attracted

What makes one feel romantic physically is not necessarily the same as what makes one feel romantic emotionally. The influencing factor is one’s personality. For example, because your husband is not attracted to you physically, it does not mean that he is not attracted to you in other ways. This couples with the possibility that the reason your husband does not respond or react the way in which you would like is that he feels that he has failed as a man and as a husband, and does not want to be reminded as such.

Some people are more sensitive to having these essential ingredients than others. The husband is more open to the wife and vice versa with both respecting and sharing in each other’s needs, aspirations, and time.

These ingredients are:

Mutual trust


Acceptance: the unconditional approval in a relationship. No one is perfect.

Open communication: the ability to discuss anything with your spouse.

Caring: the genuine concern for your spouse’s well-being. If you do things you know hurt your spouse, you cannot have healthy intimacy.

Apologies are the remedy for mistakes that spouses inevitably make. Recognizing mistakes, taking responsibility for them, expressing remorse for any hurt caused, and making a commitment to change the hurtful behavior are all essential to mend the relationship after a mistake.

Forgiveness is the process of letting go of anger, desire for revenge, and obsessive thinking about times your spouse has hurt you. It includes giving your spouse permission to have weaknesses, make mistakes, and change.

Appropriate boundaries are the limits you place on a relationship. The limits can be created individually or as a couple. These limits include saying “no” when your spouse asks you to do something that goes against your values or is more than you can handle.

Friendship: the ingredient that lines a loving relationship. True friendship means that you will be there for one another and is the boat that takes you through rough times.

Maybe, these qualities are more important to your husband right now in order that the both of you can find a bridge towards each other. It will help him feel less defensive about his fears, know that he can trust you with his feelings, and make less an issue of physical intimacy so that you can accept him as a man, your husband, a friend, with his weaknesses. Besides, who knows whether they are weaknesses in this regard or if he is just a more compassionate man and essential ingredient for a husband who is a friend, a brother, and a father

Just make regular du’aa’ for him and be patient and loving!


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.