Each week, Joe Beam is answering questions submitted by Heartlight.org subscribers based on his counselor's experience, academic research, and heart for people as a minister. You can submit your questions to ask@joebeam.com.


My husband and I had a great sex life until he had a heart attack. Now he seems to have no interest. Does a heart attack do that? If he would just hug me or something — I don't have to have sex — just to let me know he still loves me, I think I would feel better. What is your advice?

Though the Bible speaks often of the brevity of life (Job 7:6-7;  Job 9:25-26;  Job 14:1;  Psalm 78:39;  Psalm 90:9;  Psalm 103:15-16; and many others), most of us don't think of our own deaths until we face its possibility through disease, injury, age, or the death of someone similar to or loved by us. Thinking of our deaths may cause us to feel sadness or fear. It may lead us to consider the next life, whether there is one, and what it will be like (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). For some it leads to a type of giving up, because life seems so frail.

Some heart attack survivors worry that sexual activity may induce another heart attack. The best way to work through that fear is medical and emotional counseling for both of you. What concerns me more is that he stopped signs of intimacy such as hugging. That may mean that he is depressed. Ask him to take an online "test" that measures the likelihood of depression. If he is, he needs medication until he overcomes this. A doctor should evaluate that.

In the meantime, gently show him affection in a nonsexual way. Hug him often. Snuggle next to him on the sofa. Cuddle as you sleep. Sometimes just hold him (Song 2:6). Remind him occasionally of the things you find wonderful about him (Song 5:10-16). Don't allow his distance to make you distant as well. Give him the gentle reassurance that comes only from a loving spouse.

Have Bible reading time together. Choose passages that speak of God's Spirit, the abundant life (John 10:10), and glory to come (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). Be sure to pray together every day, openly sharing your heart before God in the hearing of your mate. When he does the same, his emotional healing will come.

If you have a question about love and relationships, send them to me at ask@JoeBeam.com. I'll answer 1 or 2 questions each week, using my counselor's experience, academic research, and a deep respect for God's Word.

Don't allow his distance to make you distant as well.

And if your marriage is in trouble, we can help. Go to http://www.JoeBeam.com. Our success rate, even if one partner comes reluctantly, is three out of four marriages.

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