If there are activities you always hoped could be a part of your marriage bed, but your spouse has a short list of what they will allow, how do you reconcile? Do you only do what the limiting spouse is okay with?
That sounds fine, but the partner placing all the limitations always gets what they want, and the other can feel like their wishes don’t matter. Please share your experiences.
There are some interesting terms and descriptions in the previous posts. Limited partnership, where one partner limits what is allowed in the marriage bed rings true in my life. Being a pleaser, keeping peace, also is true in my life. To me, when one truly gives one’s self to your loving spouse, your total body is open to your spouse.
As the non-controlling partner, I hear what you are saying Hungry. I would agree with the observations of those above citing the need to understand the background of what brought my DW to this objectionable place. For my part I do not take this issue lightly. The items below are some of the list that I have used to deal with this in our marriage.
- I have made this issue a priority in prayer in a number of ways.
- I have carefully explored her controlling past, bringing it around to a discussion for understanding and for judgment.
- I have accentuated the enjoyment of what she does approve with gratitude and praise. I have focused on what I have and not what I do not.
- I have stretched her permissible by adding color commentary, i.e. private talk some call dirty, passionate talk, detailed sexually explicit praise for what she does do.
- I have bought her specific books in the general listing of books, i.e. don’t just by books on sex but include business, theology, relationships, marriage building, family, etc.;
- I have added toys that expand the permissible way of doing things.
- I make it know to her daily of my physical need for her through the week.
- I remind her of her sexual prowess over me. This includes her beauty, her sexual attraction for me. I reminder her of her incredible sexual make up as Solomon did in describing his wife the Shulamite.
There are other things on the short list I am not thinking of. But then there is always the reminder to her that I have not abandoned my bucket list of desires for things that are outside of her comfort zone. She won’t get there if I don’t reminder her.
In each relationship, I would want to know what kind of communication has happened around these activities. Are there assumptions being made? If a spouse takes one negative initial reaction, makes assumptions, and then never addresses it again, they could be missing out on things.
As the one who was on the other side, I can say my husband made assumptions and believed he knew me well, when in reality, he was way off. Because as a “pleaser”, “keeping the peace” was his number one priority, he was never willing to bring up or address any topics he thought would cause conflict. Plus, he was missing the other relational issues staring him in the face. He/we missed out on a lot.
Many partnerships are like that. Yes, they are “limited” partnerships because one member is frequently limiting things. Unless there is a change of heart and a determination to be open to do what the other partner wants, the controlling partner will continue to do what they feel is best for the relationship or not go beyond what they are willing to offer. Taking greater responsibility for the benefit of their partner and for their marriage, is an investment that is more than they are prepared to make. It seems like a liability to them.
Of course, in business partnerships, negotiations can take place. And if things don’t please one or the other, the partnership is terminated.
Negotiations haven’t gone well in our relationship. Even efforts to work out a compromise were often difficult. Rather we have focused on spending time in prayer. Secondly, we increased communication with the goal of greater mutual understanding. After some time, frank discussion of both expectations and growth goals became a reality. That is when we made progress. But a willingness to change and be loving (giving) were crucial factors.
It’s important to remember that in most cases, the reluctant spouse in the situation you describe is not trying to control YOU, they’re simply trying to control their own experience. A truly controlling spouse is one who tries to make the other conform to their own wishes or ideals.
In fact, in some cases, if one spouse is pressuring for a certain thing and the other resists, the resistant spouse is simply pushing back against the spouse who is actually attempting to be controlling. (Not all cases are like this, sometimes the spouse is merely asking or requesting.)
If your spouse refuses to do something you want, and then you think of them or even label them as being a controlling spouse, that will only lead to increased bitterness and resentment. There are better ways to think and communicate and reach a place where both spouses can be satisfied.
Everything in our marriage bed that each of us desire is accepted. Some are more enjoyable for the spouse desiring an activity. The two things that Mrs. Oldbear is challenged to indulge in with me are fellatio and anal sex. The former due to a gag response that she can’t control (wishes that she didn’t have to deal with it) and the latter because it’s unbearably uncomfortable. We have plenty of options to choose from, so we’re both quite happy. Specifically, ‘control’ by one or the other is something we don’t and won’t engage in our relationship.
There are a few things that I’ve always wanted in the bedroom. But I’ve all but given up hope on ever seeing them come to fruition. Marriage should be built on compromise. Some say compromise is meeting in the middle, but when that happens, neither party gets what they want. For me, compromise should be doing it your way this time, and my way the next. Ideally, with openness, both end of loving the other way as much as their own, then it no longer has to be a trade-off. My wife’s idea of compromise is; you do what I want this time, and every time, and I’m SOL for what I want.