“How do they help their spouse learn new things too?”
The title question was asked in an answer over on the Responsive Desire thread. There was some interest in pursuing it as a separate thread, so I’ve started this thread to discuss it.
Essentially the question is how does one get a LrD and/or responsive-desire spouse to learn the new things that one reading TMB, other similar sites, or books has learned. Marriage is two sided, and only one side learning and trying to employ new knowledge gives limited results. This is especially true for this specific topic, as many LrD/responsive spouses do not think about sex nearly as much as their HrD/spontaneous counterparts!
So, any suggestions or examples for your MB? I’ll add our own below.
I’m not so sure this is always a LrD problem. I can tell you that I have exceeded my husband in knowldege of the sexual realm, since my time at TMB. In essence, I have the brains, he has the power (desire). 😉
My husband doesn’t like to read, he doesn’t feel he has the time to participate in things like this or read blogs. But he does enjoy conversing with me and he desires to hear me talk (for those who don’t know, I am the quieter one in our relationship.) If I want my husband to know something or to think about it, I have to tell him about it…aka talk. Wow, that seems so simple 😉
When talking, there are several approaches….
1) I just share what I have read, whether it’s from a book, article, blog post, or someone’s situation.
2) I send him a link to a particularly good blog post I would like him to read, and then I ask him about it and what his thoughts are.
3) This is a tip, especially talking to your wives,… make it relational. Bring a personal account or story into it, seeking out her advice or opinion on the issue this “person” is facing, rather than confronting her with facts and making it “her problem”. It’s always easier to think and discuss “others’ issues” then feeling like we are being attacked and so we must put up defenses. It’s a roundabout way to get into her mind and to make her think.
4) We have always been willing to disagree and challenge each others beliefs or comments, usually without taking personal affront to it. I think if this as “reasoning together”, as the Bible says. Keep the mindset that “this isn’t personal”, go in to learn also, not just “teach” or “dictate”.
5) Make this a lifestyle, not a one-time event. We should always have on-going topics or situations we are discussing. Make marriage/relationships/sexuality one of those things.
When something is taboo to talk about, because it’s something one or both have never really talked about it, it’s always hardest in the beginning. You have to push through those awkward and uncomfortable feelings, and be intentional and stay committed at sticking in there. The more one speaks, or the more one hears (if the spouse won’t speak) the more comfortable they will get with the words, with the concepts and the issue, eventually that will create more of an openness. That fight through the discomfort is worth it.
Just one more thought or point…. in many marriages the husband holds a commodity his wife desires. (Kind of like a wife holding the commodity of the other side of the sexual relationship.) In my case, I also hold this commodity. The wife is often wanting to connect emotionally through words and emotion. If a husband is willing to open up personally and share what he has read and what he is thinking, that will go over better than shoving her a stack of books or a list of blogs to read. There’s no emotional connection with a book… for most of us. 😉 Use your commodity to help her learn.
“He does listen when I tell him something and has made the comment that after I learn something, I can just tell him what to do. He is not completly unwilling to learn. But seriously. That line of thinking hurts me. Am i not worth the effort? At the end of a LM session he’s not the one still left wanting and so I think its easier for him to brush it off.”
Totally agree with this. This is what makes responsive desire seem not as good. It doesn’t leave one feeling fulfilled when you have to come up with everything on your own.
On the positive side my wife has responded to direct compliments. For example I have praised her efforts at OS on me. I think she enjoys feeling like she’s good at it, maybe even helps fire up that responsive desire a bit. 🙂
Another positive is that after directly explaining how sex makes me feel loved and more connected and how the opposite is true when it’s not happening she stepped up. We now have sex two to three times a week.
In our marriage, I am the one that studies and researches. However, its just over 2.5 years since I found TMB. I really didn’t do any researching on sex and marriage before that, except for a couple books, which I felt were less than helpful. DH and I each read a sex manual before marriage, but thats all we had until I came here. We had sex down pat and didn’t have any problems in the physical department. We were both raised pretty conservative, and thats how our sex was too, I guess!
So, now I feel filled with info, ideas, etc. But, how to relay it all to DH without him feeling inadequate? I really was astounded when I first found this site, and I spent hours reading. Our sex life was about as routine as brushing teeth and only a bit more exciting. Honestly, we had no idea that the marriage bed could be a playground for adults!
So thats where we are at. I royally rocked our little boat after reading here. It seems to have settled out by now. But is there a way to gracefully pass on knowledge or does the boat have to be rocked? I learned a new dance and DH didn’t have much choice, but to learn a new one as well!
DH knows I am on here. I share little things here and there. But somehow, I think I am not a good teacher! He is a quiet person and guess what, I talk a lot! I don’t want to nag him and I would love it if he came up with some ideas of his own.
It takes the joy out of it if every step I tell him what to do! Than I feel like I am controlling our sex. But on the other hand, he can’t suggest anything if he doesn’t know. He doesn’t read or research or study. I did ask if I could subscribe him to TGH, and he agreed. He gets it, but doesn’t always get it read. I don’t bother sending him articles as he doesn’t get them read.
So, I am still hoping for a way to more gracefully teach, instead of suggesting things. I also have enough determination for both of us, and I do tend to keep on until I succeed. I don’t want to be the leader in our marriage, but maybe in the sex department its a bit different?!
So I feel that our case is a bit unique and may not help others, but I’ll give it a go. I’ll also state that I don’t know if there was any single “magic bullet” that did it for us. I do apologize in advance for those who have read part of our story in case this is redundant. However, maybe this will make up for never doing an “intro” here, and honestly this will read more like that than anything.
General background: We had been married just shy of 12 yr. Had four kids, with the youngest being just a few months old. I had a secret long-time porn problem. While I had told DW shortly after we started dating that I’d had a porn issue before dating, she didn’t know that I’d resumed it about 8 months into our marriage while on business trips. I also started viewing it some at home after our first was born (3 yr into our marriage). We’d had a good sex life early in our marriage, but it really went south after our second was conceived before our 6th anniversary, and my porn use increased with said decrease.
Specific lead up: We ran into a big problem after our 4th was born–Zelda was touched out. She literally recoiled at any touch from me, even really basic things. I was already depressed from some extreme issues at my work, and this just added to it. It finally dawned on me when our 4th was about 4 months old in the form of a question–“Why would my DW want to have sex with me? I’m a porn-using scumbag that has checked out and doesn’t put her first.” This was a huge wakeup call for me, and the magnitude of my sin hit me hard.
First wave of improvement: I really upped my game and started being the husband I should have been the whole time. The majority of this came in the form of non-sexual intimacy, as I realized that was a huge thing I was craving. Part of my improvement was “drinking from the fire hose” of the online married-Christian-sex community. Tons of blog reading and such. It honestly took me a while to find the community, and I had to wade through a lot of secular junk out there. With my improvement came improved verbal communication with Zelda, and she slowly became more open to talking about it. It was clear that she did not like her feelings of repulsion from my touch. She told me how she “wanted to want to”, but couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t happen. She even had this finger illustration showing her mind and her desire…it was cool. Shortly after that, I read about responsive desire and specifically the “want to want to” quote, and absolutely shared it with her. This really got us feeling better. For those curious on the “how” here, I often read articles to her while she was showering or while we were in bed getting ready to sleep.
Porn confession: The weight of my hidden sin, though I’d stayed away from it for weeks, finally fully dawned on me, and so I outed myself to DW. It crushed her of course, but she showed quite a bit of grace as she educated herself on how prevalent this problem is. Although it took some time, we ended up being closer because of this and further improved our communication. I honestly think the porn incident showed her just how powerful my spontaneous drive can be.
TMB and the joint account: Those with good memories might remember that this account was initially just “Scott”. I’d told Zelda about my activity here and even discussed a few threads with her. However, she didn’t grasp how deep my involvement was. One specific thing was that I was PM’ing a female poster here and developing a good rapport with her. I then found out something about said female (nothing sinister!) that needed to be communicated to Zelda. She was really caught off guard about it, and I let her read all the PM’s. She didn’t take it well (I had overshared a few things). However, she went on her own and read some of my public activity here, specifically the Wife Not Turned On By Me thread. I think with that (sort of involuntary) sharing with her, she really got to see my heart in a way she hadn’t previously. It really opened up our communication in a new way that even the porn confession hadn’t. So TMB had a profound impact on my marriage, just not at all in the way I had planned! Currently, I still do most of the reading and all the posting here. However, I read threads and responses/discussion to her almost daily, and it helps us work through things. Oh, and talking about sex so much really seems to help get her in the mood (pay attention men)!
So, sorry that I don’t have a magic bullet, as we just kind of stumbled into our current mode of operation through a combination of my sin and other mistakes. Guess we opted to make lemonade from the lemons! 🙂
ETA: even though I highlighted some “quantum leaps” of improved communication, I really want to point out that this has been a slow but steady process most of the time. Partly because Zelda doesn’t think about sex all the time, she has been much slower to incorporate some of the changes we have made. I just don’t think she processes sex things quite like I do. That is completely okay and I am very happy!
Like Seeking I don’t think this is necessarily a lower/higher drive issue. Dh and I have flipped back and forth and back again over the years as to who has the higher drive, but even in seasons where I had the lower drive I was still the one reading about ways to improve, ideas for new positions, solutions etc. both elsewhere and on this site. (Dh knows about my involvement here and has my login information and has very occasionally even read some threads if the computer is left open to a page).
He’s just not the type to really research things or do a lot of of information seeking (unless its about cars lol). I on the other hand am very much a researcher/overthinker/curious about new things. So for us I think its more personality rather than drive that has each of us searching for new things or not.
I will say that dh is open to anything I share and usually up for trying new things. Dh not much of a talker in general (I am very much a verbal processor and talk easily 10 times as much as he does) but he does listen to what I have to say and often implement new ideas I’ve read about/heard. There was once a generous husband article I read talking about the ways a strand of pearls could be used to enhance foreplay and I mentioned it in passing to dh as an idea that sounded interesting to me. A few weeks later he presented me with a strand of pearls (cultured not real) for us to try out togeher. So I think for me being respectful of his personality and not expecting him to operate like I do and seek information out but also being willing to share what I do find that interests me (instead of silently wishing that he’d figure things out or look for new ideas on his own) has helped us.
I believe what seekingChange said is a big part of personal AND relational growth, emotionally connecting with your spouse with what you’ve read or heard. Emotional intimacy supercharges physical intimacy because it builds trust. Trust is critical to empty oneself and be completely naked and vulnerable.
Wife & I share links of podcasts & articles regularly, spiritual, relational, and sexual. We did this before marriage as a part of our relationship practice, and I believe this is part of our success so far because no topic is off limits and she gets to hear my heart, which is emotional connection for her….and that can get her “fired” up.
We were dreaming together about life, future ministry, what God is doing/wants to do last night while traveling back from a game. We finished, prayed and had to finish driving separately the rest of the way home. Talked to the kids some and finally crawled into bed, talked a little bit more and wife wanted to make love again, after we’d had an encounter for me that morning.
I think it is difficult to get a low drive spouse to learn new things. My wife is very low drive and has little interest in reading anything to do with sex or sexual relationship, needs and wants. I have read a ton over the years and if I find something really good, I will get her to look at it. Bought her sex books before and she either never read them or didn’t finish them. If there is no interest in anything, it is hard to develop it, not impossible, but difficult and frustrating!
Wanting to improve our MB, was mainly my selfish desire. DH seems to be content or at least says he is. So, I am the one who has been looking for Christian resources. I have bought a few books and also spoke to him about this site. I had hoped he would be interested enough to look at the site and read the books. The last book I started he made a statement that I took as though he was hurt by me reading material on how to improve our MB activities, so I shelved to book so he wouldn’t be hurt by me reading it. If he wanted to fix the roof or car, he’d be right on it. Learning how to fix it, reading article or watching a video. I believe he thinks this doesn’t need fixing so has taken no initiative to learn anything about it. He does listen when I tell him something and has made the comment that after I learn something, I can just tell him what to do. He is not completly unwilling to learn. But seriously. That line of thinking hurts me. Am i not worth the effort? At the end of a LM session he’s not the one still left wanting and so I think its easier for him to brush it off.