1/8/21 – QOTD
I do not want to discourage any on TMB from having kids in any way, shape or form. We need more and more Christian parents having and raising kids than ever before in our fallen world. But, I will submit to you, unfortunately, for our marriage, things got put on hold as we raised our four kids during the season of life when they were ages 1, 3, 5, and 7 and for several years thereafter. All and I mean all of our energy was put into those kids. Being tired and busy can take its toll on sexual intimacy, at least in our lives it did. We were still having sex but I think you get the point here. Our youngest is now 20 and we’re nearly empty nesters near retirement and wow, what a difference to be able to focus on ourselves, our marriage and to have the energy to do so. And, to finally be able to do some of the things i.e. travel we put aside to raise our children. Its an exciting time for us.
The other thing I would add is when I truly began to cherish DW and to truly listen to her and to genuinely respect her and to shower her with words of affirmation (her love language), that is when our marriage turned from a so-so marriage to something we both could be proud of. And, yet, we / I strive for something even more remarkable on a daily basis.
I’d like to add one more but I didn’t want it to overtake my other comments so I am adding it separately. I know I sound like a broken record here. You all know what I am about to write…..But, scheduling, regular sex was another game changer for the direction of our marriage. Without this happening, I believe, there were would be lots of frustration, misunderstanding and conflict over this issue.
I guess my answer would have to be the experiences I had with men from childhood on. I learned they were hard to please, they could do as they pleased, they could be almost tyrannical, sex was for them, they were always right, and women were ‘less than’ and mostly there to keep men happy. Add to that the bullying I endured at school from the guys, another bad experience after marriage, with one of DH’s relatives, and 10 years ago one more even worse experience with some who should have been fatherly, but were the opposite. I was badly turned off at men and my trust was completely shattered. I took some of it out on DH, unfortunately. Even though DH is NOTHING like what I knew men to be, I kept waiting for the bomb to drop.
But, God sent an angel in the form of a man about 10 years ago. Kind, fatherly, someone who loves me like his own daughter and tells me I am very special to them, stepped into our lives. He helped pick up the pieces. It was just too bad that he was the first good experience I had with men, other than my own DH. But I could never properly grasp that DH was not like some of the men I knew.
Enter TMB. I was extremely surprised to start reading what the men here had written, they actually had feelings and they actually appreciated women. I realized that DH felt the same way, when I asked him. I felt very bad for how I had felt about him and taken it out on him. I also started seeing the men in our circle of friends, in a different way. They actually had feelings and cared about the women in their lives. Now, I’ll venture to say they are quite different than what I had formerly had experience with. But, I still saw them through my earlier lenses, so I did not think any more of them than the previous men that I knew.
So, a heartfelt thanks to the men here for writing about your feelings and probably without knowing, have helped this poor lady out. You will never know how much I have learned from you all.
What hasn’t impacted the direction of our marriages? Sometimes these questions would take a book, or at least a chapter in a book, to answer them in full.
- Our parents’ marriages and the examples they were, and our response to them. My dad was domineering, so “no man will tell me what to do”. And his dad was passive, so it was “normal” for the wife to be in control.
- Bad communication and response. There was a very specific incident that led to 8 years of sexual refusal.
- Wrong priorities is life…. work, other family, hobbies, ministry, etc
- Hormones’ (lowT)
- A dark time in life that God used to break me and to turn my heart back towards my husband.
- A friend I met in a Bible study who made it obvious she loved her husband and loved sex, and stirred in me a desire for something more.
- A few different books and studies that God used to bring healing and to fan a change in me.
- Finding and going through a 90 day process laid out in “I Don’t Want a Divorce: a 90 Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage.”
- Coming across a certain blog, the Holy Spirit’s conviction through that, and finding TMB and other resources.
- I know this will sound weird, but an EA (and my husband would agree.)
- Having others who have a healthy marriage and sex life being an example, that gives me a place to aim for our future.
For me (& DW):
- poor physical standards while dating before our first marriages led, er, make that drove DW & I, to setting physical boundaries and not crossing them before we married this time. SO WORTH IT!!! We knew that if we crossed them it would have meant the end of our relationship and respect of each other and ourselves, end of our employment and of our witness to our children.
- failed first marriages and working on our healing individually before meeting helped us set a good foundation for our marriage and a better understanding of the communication and honesty it takes for true intimacy. We each learned a lot about ourselves as well as what men/women think like and their needs
- Listening to the Sexy Marriage Radio podcast the past 15 months has definitely impacted our relationship, not just sexually but some of the things we’ve learned has changed how we relate to each other, our struggle points and even how we understand and relate to DW’s family and history.
- our preengagement counseling and reading some of the books before we got engaged like THE SMART STEPFAMILY, THE SMART STEPMARRIAGE and after engagement, some books which helped us set sexpectations for our honeymoon…as well as marriage.
- Positive role models in my parents and a healthy marriage
- Being to shy to date until I was 20
- Having a HD
- Finding out that Christians wrote about sex and marriage!
- Loving to learn and reading books on marriage
- Determining that I’d stay with DW even if she didn’t change
- Finding TMB
- DW’s awakening
- Friendships on TMB
Very deep question.
Having children definitely changed the direction of our marriage, as it probably does most marriages. Until kids, we had very few constraints (on our time, where we could go, etc.) Suddenly when the first child comes along just leaving the house becomes a major undertaking (do we have enough diapers, food, spare clothes, etc.). And that, of course, is just the beginning. Each age brings new challenges, tasks. In short, family life necessarily is dominated by the children’s needs. Of course, all the hard work and stress is accompanied by lots of fun, and I think that being a father has helped me to become a more selfless lover of my wife. We just launched our oldest child (he got a job about three hours from us), and I am feeling very weird that he will no longer be a regular member of our dinner table.
From a sexual perspective, DW learning how to O really impacted the intimate dimension of our marriage. The key was DW agreeing to try a vibrator, followed by finding one that actually worked. We went through many, many kinds before discovering that the wand-style vibrators work best for her. And not just any wand, but the one made by Body Wand that seems to produce the kind of deep, rumbly vibrations that DW prefers. Also, similar to GG, scheduling sex was also very critical to improving our sex life
I find it interesting how many people mention children as impacting their marriage when it seems the definition we’re using for impact is “change the direction of”. For us, we assumed from before we married that we would have children; it was part of the package. It never occurred to us NOT to. So infertility was a huge detour and when we finally had our DD, it felt like finally finding the interstate again after being on a dinky little road so long you are just sure you are lost and will never arrive at your destination!
Other than that, I’d be hard pressed to make a short, coherent list.
Re: children changing direction of marriages
Personally, because we were in the thicket of sexual refusal during our conceiving years (I know ironic), they weren’t the reason our sex lives/marriage drastically changed, they are the reason we had sex at all. BUT, with gained knowledge since then, between pregnancies and nursing, there wasn’t much time in there where my hormones probably weren’t negatively affecting my libido, which likely amplified the situation….and that’s not taking into account the sheer exhaustion that comes with having babies, toddlers, or having 4 kids at the age of 5 and under. Sex life….what sex life?