What should I do when my wife won't be sexually intimate?
My first suggestion is to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your wife as to why she desires not to engage in the marital act. Perhaps she experiences physical pain, something that a competent doctor or physical therapist could address.
Perhaps your wife feels neglected by you in some way. If so, ask whether there is anything you could do to help improve your marriage. Tell her you want to be the best husband you can be, laying down your life for her as Jesus Christ did for the Church (see Eph. 5:25). In so doing, tell her that you pledge to show your love for her in non-sexual ways and that you welcome any suggestions regarding ways she would prefer. And let her know you won’t be expecting immediate “conjugal payback” but that perhaps you could discuss the issue of sexual intimacy in a month or two.
As time goes on, continue to look for non-conjugal ways you can show your love for your wife, and invite her to pray with you each day as a married couple, if you’re doing so at present, or ways you can deepen that experience, if you already are. As the Ven. Fr. Patrick Peyton used to say, “The family that prays together stays together.”
Further, perhaps going to a good marriage counselor would be helpful. Don’t feel ashamed to do so. Every couple can benefit from helpful input periodically, whether it’s from their parish pastor, a good friend, or even a good Catholic therapist. To find a Catholic good therapist in your area, or perhaps to speak to one by phone, contact Dr. Gregory Popcak and his team at the Pastoral Solutions Institute and/or visit CatholicTherapist.com.
Finally, seek the Lord’s help to carry your cross, especially in the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation. Over time, and with various aids, we hope and pray your situation improves. In any event, God will be faithful in helping your carry your cross fruitfully (see 2 Cor. 12:8-10; John 14:27).