a healthy marriage
I’m not sure where to put this, or how to word it. After reading through several posts on here It has me looking more inward.
I’m reading through the love dare again to look more at my wife, and less at my needs or feelings. Here leaves some issues. When I ask how can I be better, she often says she doesn’t know.
I feel for years I have lead the charge sexually, with trying to spice it up, initiative, techniques etc. I am thinking she doesn’t really care about all of that. Which makes lm hard. We also have a frequency issue.
I think what I have done is to check out. While I am also working on lust issues,and trying to make her my soul source of gratifictaion, the desire to do that and lead the charge just leaves me in neutral.
I’m asking the father to love her better, to be a better husband but I feel a tug of war in these issues, to surrender but also feel like a part of you is dying. Also working on my perspective. Today we celebrate 18 years together.
Not sure what I’m expecting, but it’s good to share here and get thoughts of people who might be in similar positions. We have talked about these things often, so I am feeling if I can truly change, and love in a biblical form it will get better. At least in perspective.
Congrats on 18 years!
I had the same problem in my first marriage of my then wife saying nothing. I knew I wasn’t perfect and I let it rest with my wife when she said that (I had an annual ritual at the end of the year to foster personal and relational growth) but I continued to try and improve me with books, podcasts, studies, etc. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t let it rest. Apathy in a relationship is the beginning of the end. I would have pursued professional counseling earlier that what I did. Unfortunately, she stopped at some point investing in the relationship and being honest with me about herself and my then wife (now ex) wasn’t honest and left emotionally and finally left physically with someone else…and when confronted about her behavior, rather than change, she filed for divorce and left almost 17 yrs of marriage and 19 yrs of ministry together.
Now I would respond, “Well, we know I’m not perfect so that’s not true so how can I serve you better? What is one thing I can do which will fill your love bucket? What is something I can do which will communicate how special & cherished you are?
This morning I read again something like the following statement, which if you’re in a mediocre to unhealthy marriage with a lacking sex life, may seem hard to believe, but then again, it also may be quite easy. Here is goes:
“Good sex is a small part of healthy marriages but a lack of sex is a huge issue for couples in many unhealthy and dysfunctional marriages.”
Another statement I’ve heard said is, “Sex can be the glue that bonds and keeps a couple together in difficult times”.
I would be in complete agreement with both of those statements and would submit that it’s because of the trust, intimate communications, vulnerability and honesty that is developed which allows for great sex to develop and blossom. It’s not the technique or the partners “assets”, it’s the loving act of serving each other emotionally and physically. I believe when a couple can figure out a way to co-create and acceptable solution to serve each other in the bedroom, then they can figure out a whole lot of life together outside of it because service and generosity abound between them.
The question then becomes, how do we figure out a way to invest in each other to become emotionally healthy and physically and spiritually generous? If there is a spouse who is not desiring that, how can I communicate that and help encourage us to not be in an adversarial relationship inside or outside the bedroom? How to do unpack years of dysfunction, mistrust, disrespect for each other?
I read another quote that stopped me in my tracts, “A disrespected man will eventually become disrespectful and not worth respecting”. WOAH!!! Have you seen it happen? And what happens with our wives? Men, how are we treating our wives? If we continue our behavior, what will they become? Are we cherishing them? Are we praising their inner character and nurturing them? OR….are we creating selfish, self-serving marriages so that we’ll just eat each other alive over the course of 20, 30, 40, 50 years? Men, are we drawing out and cultivating our wives inner beauty or are our wondering eyes & minds, tearing our spouse’s self-esteem down as they compare themselves to who or what we’re setting our eyes & minds on? Wives, are you creating memories and mental pics and experiences that your husbands will never forget?
Summing up, I don’t believe healthy marriages are created by learning better sex techniques. I believe they are cultivated by two people taking a journey together to become whole in Christ and committing to serve Him and each other. Healthy sex flows from healthy connected hearts and connecting hearts leads better marriages which lead to better sex.
BTDT, for almost 30 years now. I know that doesn’t give you much hope. But let me say that there is in fact hope. I’ve fought the fight for 27 years actually. But for about the first 20, I fought it unwisely and often foolishly. Some will say the first problem is viewing it as a fight to win. I don’t disagree totally. But some points do come down to one fighting for the the relationship. The key is getting both of you fighting on the same side for the same thing. Sometimes you gotta stand up for yourself. Other times you need to concede some ground. The last five or so have been quite a bit better as I have changed my behavior. Still working on it though. It can be a moving target.
You’ll see lots of opinions here. Some good, some maybe not so good. But all can be beneficial if you take the time to see the bigger picture. What you describe is fairly common. Tim describes one struggle very well. A lot of that struggle is within ourselves as higher drive pursuers. The lower drive withdrawer just can’t see things the same way. It’s not that they want to hurt the other, they just don’t understand where they’re coming from. No more than we can understand them fully. But we can try to empathize. What is often missing is the LD has trouble trying to truly empathize. It’s hard to make yourself want to do something you just don’t want to do. I’ve thought about this in a non-sexual context and it makes more sense to me. I can empathize and understand my wife not wanting to go to the hardware store with me. I can see how she doesn’t consider that a fun thing. That’s fine. I can do it just fine without her and still enjoy it. But when she wants me to go fabric shopping with her, AND expects me to engage and enjoy it!?? That’s ain’t easy and I’m probably not going to do well at it. That’s from MY perspective. How do the same situations look from hers?
BUT – maybe I can go, and maybe I can find some camo pattern I like and discuss how I’d like some pants made from it or whatever. Just another way to look at this classic conundrum of marriage. Sex is much more important than fabric or hardware.
Both should seek to show generosity and grace. Either should be willing to expose selfishness when it becomes either habitual or egregious. Don’t succumb to the traps of bitterness and resentment. Say something before you feel yourself going down that road. It’s a difficult return.
Welcome to TMB! Thanks for sharing.
Sounds like you have considerable understanding of your own situation. That is good. In addition you say, “We have talked about these things often, so I am feeling if I can truly change, and love in a biblical form it will get better.”
I agree that by pursuing the Father and seeking change in your own life as you say and to love in a biblical way, you are likely to see good fruit in our marriage and MB. Does your DW read on TMB? Might she be interested in learning here with us?
No she does not, years ago I told her about the site. Thats part of the probelm, if I bring it up techniques sites etc then she might get defensive or say it’snever enough for me. I have tried to be more encouraging, as a whole with her but it doesn’t seem to take. I know I am not perfect but we do have a disconnect in this area.
the thing I am grappling with is how to truly surrender my needs, wants, pursue her and feel good about it rather than just being like ok marriage would be easier without sex.
I think you are describing a marriage journey that is very typical with a LD, responsive only, inhibited spouse. There are certainly other characterics, but these seem to be the most common. The issue is that it is very hard to love fully and express that love when we do not feel fully loved in return. I just want to say I get it.
We don’t have the frequency issue, but I often struggle with the same issues you describe. My wife is generous and willing but knowing just about everything she does sexually is just for me leaves the HD/touch spouse with a lack of confidence at best and feeling unloved at it’s worst. It’s an ongoing mental battle not to give into feelings of apathy towards the romantic side of marriage.