Help me understand DW
When my wife is busy\stressed, I know sex drops to the bottom of her list. I understand that. It makes sense.
What I struggle with is that I feel like when she’s stressed I also drop to the bottom of her list. I try and communicate that I’m struggling and desiring her, but it doesn’t seem to get through. I’m not asking for a drawn out session, but for her to take 5 minutes and pleasure me. I fight to make sure she’s fed with passive affection (snuggling and conversation). But she just doesn’t seem to find energy for active affection which feeds me (kissing and pleasuring).
She doesn’t seem to notice much that I’m struggling. That hurts. I feel unnoticed and unimportant.
Is this personality based? I’m a pretty strong empath and sense people’s emotions but she doesn’t? Is that a male female thing? Is it me reading too much in to it?
When I have brought it up in the past, it just burdened her more with feelings of ‘I’m not good enough and I can never do enough for him’. I haven’t tried communicating again since we have been a little more healed.
I know in the end my job is to die to self and serve her. Yes and amen. I acknowledge I probably just need to get over myself. But if there is a way I can better understand my amazing wife and better address this I’d like to.
I completely identify with your wife. We women are multitaskers, not just in our actions but also in our minds. Most of us are physically incapable of compartmentalizing tasks the way men do. Our brain makeup is quite different in that regard. We wear as many hats as men do, we just wear them all at the same time, so to speak. For example, a quick scan of my thoughts tells me that I am thinking about 7 things even as I write this.
So when you ask for 5 minutes, she’s completely thrown off because you just added one more thing to the 5-10 things she literally is thinking about at the same time. And if it’s unexpected, it’s tough to deal with that.
Plus, she ‘s probably wondering if that 5 minutes is really going to be 20 or 30. And if she acquiesces, it’s not like those 7 things are going to go away. She’s still going to be thinking about them while she’s pleasuring you. And very likely wondering if she’s going to have time for them. That’s not relaxing for her.
Where you come in as a husband is to work with her on getting to prioritize. I still have moments like you describe, but they are a lot less frequent when I have my priorities straight. Mine are: God, self, husband, children, work at varying degrees, and my hobby at varying degrees. Sometimes one of the lower priorities temporarily rises, but I try to be intentional about keeping them in their place. This allows me to say, “Work can wait. Dh is more important right now.”
I can’t always shut my mind off when I’m with him, but I’m better at it than I was a year ago.
@ Dove – thank you. Your words ring so true. I really do know those things in my head. I do. My heart just has trouble listening to what my mind already knows. And I am hoping that we are finally beginning to get to a healthy enough place where we can discuss again with better results.
And yes – she is totally fed by passive intimacy (cuddling & conversation). And I think she unintentionally assumes those feeds me as well (though I have told her otherwise). She really doesn’t grasp what a big deal the active intimacy is for me. She hasn’t yet internalized how much it affects me. However, (and this is me reminding myself again) this is a chance to practice self control, die to self, and serve my beautiful amazing wife till Christ changes her heart on this.
On my end, a practical change is that I need to simply stop asking her what she’s thinking about during intimacy. 😀 It only hurts my heart and raises guilty feelings in her.
And I have mentioned the scheduling to her in the past and she was amicable – it may be time to revisit that.
Thank you for your wise words. I look forward to hearing any more of your thoughts.
Hey man, every woman’s different, but you might prayerfully consider going deeper and seeing if you can locate the roots of your wife’s stress. If those areas can be located and ministered to — whether that’s something involving talking things out. Praying together, helping organize her schedule so she can get more rest, or if necessary getting professional therapy or treatment for her, it might have longer lasting positive effects not only in your sex life but in your wife’s life overall, than simply trying to deal with the lack of sex itself. I don’t know you and your wife personally so my advice may not be for you. But it’s something you might consider. Woman are amazing creatures, and in my experience they often stress about a lot of things, feel burdened about old conflicts, traumatic memories, and the like. When the stress becomes chronic, so can the lower sex drive. So oftentimes, if they are able to start finding relief in those areas, their lives can improve holistically.
And don’t give up with the hugs and gentleness. It can do wonders. Praying God grants you the desires of your heart and builds up your marriage and intimacy with your wife.
I don’t know if this helps at all, but I totally identify with your DW. For me, my eyes were instantly opened when I came to the old TMB. It was like scales fell off and I started making conscious choices and decisions. But, thats something she may have to decide for herself. I don’t know what would have happened or how it would have gone, if my DH had come here and started reading first, and /or tried to tell me what he was learning. But, when I was in your wife’s shoes, I did much agonizing and praying and despairing and losing sleep at night, because I honestly didn’t know what to do. If I had, I would have done it. But, I needed direction and TMB is where I stumbled upon it.
My wife is the same way, when she is busy or stressed, sex is the last thing on her mind. If my wife has 10 things on her list, sex is never more than a 3, mostly an 8 and sometimes number 10. My wife used to work at a job that was very busy during the holiday season, we had zero sex from Thanksgiving to after New’s Year. It was not easy and I wasn’t happy about it, but there was nothing I could do either.
@Peach. I know how trite this sounds, but please don’t take her mental wanderings personally. It doesn’t mean she loves you less or thinks that you’re not worthy of focus. Very likely, she can’t help it when she does that. It’s a bit of a joke among women, actually. I’ve seen cartoons depicting a husband and wife under the covers. Hubby’s thought bubble is sex. Wife has several thought bubbles, and sex is there, but it’s clearly an afterthought.
Things run through women’s minds like flypaper catches flies. I can seriously be ML, and bam! Impeachment hearing is now in my head. There is nothing less sexy than that. It takes concerted effort to push those unwanted thoughts out. I didn’t even realize this was happening to me until I was hospitalized for the mental health crisis. They guide you to examine these aspects of yourself. And by the way, women’s difficulty in focusing on only one thing is a reason why more of us have depression than men.
The fact that she takes the time to cuddle with you is a positive. She does want the time with you. I suspect that her love needs are met by that, and she may think that yours are, as well. Where men don’t understand women’s multitasking, women I think don’t understand men’s need for sex. And by the time you make it into the bedroom, she’s probably so tired that she just craves sleep.
I feel like you might benefit from scheduling sex time. If she knows it’s coming, she can mentally prepare for it and allot time for it. This might seem unromantic or unfeeling to you. But there are women, including me, who sometimes need to do that just because it’s the only way we can give the gift of sex to our husbands. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, to completely misuse a verse.
I’ve got other ideas, but the Nyquil is starting to kick in on this cold, so I’m going to sign off for now. Just know that your issue is common, and it’s definitely workable.
Yeah, I’d stop asking her what she’s thinking during sex. She can’t help it, and you likely don’t want to hear it. Total mood killer.
Apart from scheduling, I’d recommend talking with her about doing something that allows her to be calmer. You’re clearly worried about her stress levels. Stress definitely isn’t healthy. While the multitasking facet of women is God-given and is necessary for many reasons, we can take it too far. We need to learn to how to relax, and many of us just don’t know how. I think it would be beneficial for you to talk with her about it. For me, a bubble bath and a book works. The mindfulness forms of meditation have also worked. The latter has taught me to turn the prefrontal cortex of my brain off for a while. That’s the part that’s designed to notice things. It’s hard to shut it down. But learning how leads to better relaxation. Tons of YouTube videos are out there on mundfulness. You could even do one together. The practice seems very weird at first because the prefrontal cortex fights it. But it’s worth it in the end because it allows you to relax at will.
I also recommend getting away somewhere, even if it’s just for a night. Removing her from her normal environment will allow her to bring her focus more on your marriage. My husband and I always do better if we can manage to do this once or twice a year.
My DW (Zelda) and I talked about this thread extensively last night and watched it evolve a bit in real time. Zelda definitely identifies with DoveGrey, Brynna, and your DW. Three things come to mind:
- The quick “5-min HJ” doesn’t sound very intimate to my DW. To her, she thinks if it was common at all she might end up feeling used.
- You say “…yet she still turns me down regularly…” I wonder, how do you initiate? Do you just say something like “Would you like to give me a HJ?” When asked a direct question like this, Zelda says that truthfully the answer is no, even if its for mutually pleasurable sex. Because honestly, she’s not yet in the mood when it’s sprung like that (especially if it’s a long day and we’re about to sleep). However, we’ve had much better success with the question “Are you willing to be aroused?” Obviously, that’s for mutual sex, but I’m thinking that an increase in mutual sex would lessen your need/desire for one-sided things like quick HJ’s. Also, some women like no direct words and just slow increases in affectionate touches in the direction of sex…have you tried that at the tail end of the snuggling/cuddling times (or if she’s going to be tired, earlier in the session)?
- When you ask “what she’s thinking about during intimacy” are you asking the question during the act, or is it that you ask her afterwards what she had been thinking during it? Those are hugely different, and asking her while making love might be a recipe for disaster.
Is she actually turning thoughts over in her head (“Okay, I didn’t get the towels washed today, so I need to do that tomorrow, but it’s going to be sunny so I need to do a load to hang on the line first since towels can go in the dryer, oh, and I forgot to take that one sweater back to the store today. Shoot! Now I have to make another trip! But I guess that’s okay because I ran out of peanut butter when I packed DD’s lunch this morning so I can get some when I go back…”) or are thought pictures just flying past her eye like a bunch of different scenes from old movies and she’s not even really focusing on any of them because they are moving so fast, but they just keep putting pictures in her head? The first type might be addressed with willful focusing on being present in the moment, prioritizing, maybe even dumping her thoughts on paper before engaging with you so that her mind is freed to concentrate on you. The second is much more frustrating (for me at least) and difficult to control. Coloring (either an adult coloring book and pretty markers or just a plain kids coloring book and crayons with both work) is a great way to turn off the part of the brain that does that.
I have noticed that you have done several questions trying to understand your wife. I am wanting to get a better understanding and feel of your marriage dynamic. Can you share with us what your personality types are (i.e. Meyers Briggs)? If you don’t know any kind of typing, can you describe what the two of you are like? Not counting sex, what would you say are your top few contentions in your marriage? Is there any conflict around your work or time management? I am seeing that you seem to be sensitive to others, do you believe you struggle with “people pleasing”? I have learned with my husband, that often times when someone has a great love for others (strength) that they often struggle with a “fear of man” (weakness). Does that personally sound familiar to you at all?