Going further into Peter's essay:
Doing that [loving your wife in sickness and in health] requires that you, the man, are able to love her, and love her truly, according to that promise, while abstaining. You have to say no to sexual intercourse, even when she wants it desperately, if you have, as a couple, decided to delay or indefinitely postpone another pregnancy.
This can be a challenge, especially when she wants to take a risk. It is of course a challenge when you want her in a sexual way and the timing is not right -- you have to learn not to pressure or pout. You have to learn to abstain in good cheer.
Oh but I can't do that! The urge is too strong!
Actually, I have been abstaining in good cheer. I haven't refused to take out the garbage or to change the baby's diaper. I'm at home nearly every evening. I don't sulk, I don't snipe at her, and I don't pressure her in the least. She has made her decision, and I respect it.
As for the urge, the urge is there, but I'm well trained in how to resist it. As I said in my initial post, we were both virgins on our wedding night, and we've never strayed. While some young men have the attitude that any woman is potentially sexually available to them -- an attitude that must be hard to shake when they finally get married -- I was inculcated with the idea that no woman was sexually available to me, except, some day when I'd be married, my wife. Assuming that there were 2,000,000,000 adult women in the world, even as a married man I still wouldn't be allowed to have sex with 1,999,999,999 of them. Adding one more (my wife) to that enormous number is not a major adjustment.
This was reinforced in church youth group and the campus Christian ministry. My closest friends were Christians, and they at least professed to live according to that precept. (If they didn't, they weren't bragging about it.) The girls I went on dates with were all chaste Christians, too, belonging to the same fellowships, and they lived by the same standard.
So I'm very comfortable with the idea that the women I work with, the women in Sunday School class at church, the women in my civic club, the women I am around for one reason or another, are nevertheless off limits, even if I am attracted to them and they are (improbably) attracted to me. Accordingly I maintain physical and emotional boundaries with these women. I don't flirt with them, I don't spend time alone with them, I don't confide in them, I don't fantasize about them, I don't get touchy-feely with them, and I steer clear of any emotional entanglements with them.
Therefore, it's not a stretch to treat as off-limits the woman I work most closely with and spend the most time around -- my wife. In fact it's easier in many ways, because while I see my coworkers only when they're wearing their public faces and attitudes, I see my wife not just at her best, but also when she's tired and cranky and not very pleasant to be around. (And of course she sees me when I'm least attractive, too.)
Indeed, abstaining only gets easier over time, as memories of the pleasures of sex fade, and we grow accustomed to not think of each other in a sexual way.
So the strength of the urge is not a problem, but I don't think my ability to control my urges communicates love to my wife. I think she reads it as indifference.
I also find myself applying the same boundaries to her that I have used since high school to avoid getting entangled inappropriately with other women. Sensual touching, passionate kisses, flirting, deep emotional sharing -- these hardly ever happen now, because (just as with a high school date) they would lead somewhere we can't go right now.
And to be crystal clear -- I do not think this is a good path we are on. I do not think it is a good thing for a husband and wife to lose their sexual attraction for each other.
I think the only thing that would communicate to her that I am devoted to her in a romantic way would be for me to get the vasectomy so that we can be sexually available to each other without a significant risk of pregnancy and the resulting medical risks she would face.