How do you handle low expressiveness?

    I’d like to hear from those of you whose spouse is non-expressive or at least less expressive than you want.

    1. How do you cope?

    2. How do you feel about reading here on TMB what expressive men feel like when seeing their wife’s body? (Or wives about their husband’s body)

    3. What have you learned that could help others? 

    4. What ways have you found to help him/her to become more expressive and appreciative of your body?

    Both husbands and wives are welcome to answer. 

    Just for clarity, what you’re asking about here appears to be verbal expressions of fondness/appreciation for the spouse’s physical attributes? Is that correct?

    -Scott

    on November 25, 2020.

    Yes, that’s what I mean.

    on November 25, 2020.
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    8 Answer(s)

      Such a great thread! My Dh rarely expresses himself in any area. So much so that I honestly have no idea who he voted for in the 2016 Presidential election. It’s not easy.

      1. How do you cope?
      – Not well. It cheats me of fully knowing him, and that’s not good for any marriage. I sometimes think I’m married to a stranger. And that’s sad. He wasn’t like this when we were dating, and it’s hard to think that he has closed a part of himself off to me. We’ve discussed it, and it came up in our couples therapy after my breakdown. But he doesn’t like to talk about it. I’ve all but given up trying. He seems to have improved during the shutdown, however. We’ll see if it survives past that.

      2. How do you feel about reading here on TMB what expressive men feel like when seeing their wife’s body? (Or wives about their husband’s body)
      – I don’t like to compare my marriage with others. There are plenty of issues in any marriage. What may seem like perfection as written here might not be something I would happy with myself. Often, a man will say something here and I will wonder if my husband is thinking that about me without saying it. I prefer to think he is. I once had a trusted male co-worker tell me that even if my husband wasn’t saying that my body was attractive, he was certainly thinking it. That helped me a lot, getting a male perspective on how many men think. It allows me to construct an idea of my husband that may or may not be reality, but it’s closer to the truth than thinking that he’s a blank slate.

      3. What have you learned that could help others?
      – Look, your body is from God. It houses the Holy Spirit. Take care of it as the precious gift it is. Eat healthy, exercise, hydrate. What someone else thinks of your body does not matter. How you treat it does matter. Treat it well, and your self esteem will more than likely rise, with or without outside praise.

      4. What ways have you found to help him/her to become more expressive and appreciative of your body?
      – I have forgotten if I saw this idea here first, but over on Married Christian Sex he talks about presenting yourself for sex. If my husband is about to walk in the room and I know he’s hoping for sex, I’m working on being more deliberate about presenting myself in a sexier fashion. It’s setting myself up in a pose I know he’ll like. Nothing fancy, but it tends to elicit some kind of response, even if it’s just him sucking in his breath. Something little like that may be all I can hope for, and I’ll take it.

      Under the stars Answered on November 26, 2020.

      Excellent response.

      For those that aren’t familiar, here is the article @DG mentioned in #4: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/physical-techniques/how-to-present-your-body-to-your-husband-for-admiration/

      There’s also a similar article, but in the reverse direction, for ladies who are working on being more expressive towards their husbands: https://marriedchristiansex.com/blog/mental-techniques/how-to-admire-your-husbands-penis/

      -Scott

      on November 26, 2020.
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        1. How do you cope?

        I try to turn my focus to all of the many great qualities my DW has. I’m blessed beyond measure.

        2. How do you feel about reading here on TMB what expressive men feel like when seeing their wife’s body? (Or wives about their husband’s body)

        I have a mental wish list of things that if not careful I can become green with envy about when reading others experiences. Sometimes I just have to toughen up and turn away.

        3. What have you learned that could help others?

        When I catch myself feeling down about things lacking from DW I turn it around on myself. I have many faults and shortcomings and my lovely wife is very good about rarely pointing them out or doing so in a respectful way….most of the time. 😁

        4. What ways have you found to help him/her to become more expressive and appreciative of your body?

        Thru the first half of our marriage she got used to me being pretty quick to O and it actually made her feel good about herself. As I’ve aged however, there are times I need some “cheerleading” to get there. I’ve told her it helps greatly if she can up the volume on on any erotic talk or sounds. While nowhere near what I’d like, it’s definitely an improvement.

        On the floor Answered on November 26, 2020.
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          My husband is non-expressive about my physical appearance, and has been for the past two decades.

          1. How do you cope?

          Sometimes I don’t. 🙂

          Sometimes I try to tell myself that perhaps he’s just not expressive, and this kind of thing might not come naturally to him…. and so I should just not expect him to do/say anything. There are days when this helps me to cope, and many more days when this does not help at all.

          More recently, I have tried to let the desire die – the desire for him to notice me and occasionally express that I please him visually. There are times when I feel like I am succeeding in letting that desire die, and I do think that I am making progress overall, but it’s not dead yet.

          2. How do you feel about reading here on TMB what expressive men feel like when seeing their wife’s body?

          I feel like I want that kind of reaction, and I feel like it will probably never be my reality.

          Most of the time, when I read those things on TMB, I feel sad, unattractive, invisible (to my husband), and less than adequate. Occasionally, throw in a few tears, and some desperation, especially if I have recently put in special effort to try and look beautiful to him (or really, just to be noticed) and have received the usual non-response.

          Sometimes I feel stupid for having tried to get a response from him. I think that I should have realised by now that I just don’t have what these other women have – they can elicit a huge response over and over, but I can’t – so I read things here on TMB and feel silly that I keep trying.

          3. What have you learned that could help others?

          Not sure if I have learned anything that can help others because I’m still struggling with this myself. I haven’t overcome it yet. Maybe I will eventually.

          I have tried to learn to die to myself. To seek other positives. It’s a hard fight, especially when reading so many Christian marriage resources that talk about men expressing delight in their wife’s appearance. The message that gets shouted over and over to wives is: “Believe him when he tells you that you’re beautiful!!!”. It seems taken for granted that the husband is expressing his appreciation of his wife’s appearance. We women are told that we only need to believe it and it will build up our confidence, and it will help us combat the relentless messages from society that tell us how much we don’t measure up physically. I would love to have my husband build me up in that way. Instead, I just have all the negative messages thrown at me by society. It cuts deep.

          It’s also hard to think that other women are being told that they are beautiful, and they reject the message. I don’t know if they realise how precious that message is. It feels unfair that some women get that precious message regularly, and they reject it. I would treasure that message, but I don’t get to receive it. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to hear that message regularly from my husband.

          4. What ways have you found to help him to become more expressive and appreciative of your body?

          I tried discussing it with him, more than once. I tried to explain how awful it is to grow up in a society that tells you every single day that you are NOT attractive and you don’t measure up. I said that if I heard some positive messages from him, it would really help to build me up and help me to be confident in my body. He said he understood, and I hoped that things would change after the discussions. But here we are, still in the same situation. 🙁

          I don’t know if he will ever start doing anything like that regularly. I know some will say that I probably can’t expect him to do things that don’t come naturally to him. Maybe that’s right. I find it hard to accept that conclusion, because I can look at many things that did NOT come naturally to me – especially things related to the marriage bed – and I purposed to change that, and I DID. I didn’t naturally initiate, I wasn’t naturally interested in making time for sex regularly, I didn’t naturally think to be creative in the bedroom and lead us into trying new things. Even outside of the bedroom, I purposely decided to do things that I naturally wouldn’t think to do – all because I learned that they were a blessing to him. I have made quite a few radical changes. I know it can be done, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. The more you do things, the more likely they will become natural to you. So I find it hard to just accept that he may not naturally be inclined to be expressive, and therefore I should be ok with that.

          I will add that I acknowledge that I might be being too superficial – wanting him to be pleased with my physical appearance. Perhaps I should only be looking at non-physical characteristics, and stop wanting to be pleasing to him physically. That’s a hard call, I think. There does seem to be some kind of in-built desire in most females to be physically pleasing to their husband. It seems to be a pretty universal desire among women. Not to be attractive to all men, but just to be attractive to that one special man that I married. To feel like I am something special to him. That he gets pleasure from looking at me, in the same way so many other women provide visual pleasure to their husband. If I am focusing too much on the physical, then there’s probably billions of other women who have some adjusting to do as well. 🙂

          California King Answered on November 25, 2020.

          I had to quit telling myself that it was all my fault and that I was ugly and undesirable. I know that I’m not. Why? Because I have heard from other people. I get compliments on my hair, my eyes, my intellect. Also, it’s hurtful to my DH because he believes that I am beautiful, sexy, smart, hardworking, etc. Even though he rarely affirms me, it hurts him when I am derogatory about my own self. He never, ever has said a nasty word about my body, either. And I mean never! So, that’s something to hold onto, as well.

          on November 25, 2020.

          @MQ,  thank you for being vulnerable and sharing a part of your journey with us.  It seems easier for me to look at someone else’s marriage and to give advice.  I want to encourage you.  As you said, you have made some radical and significant changes in your marriage to bless your DH and you are to be commended for that.  It seems so simple what you have asked for in return and I pray your husband will soon give you what you long for. It’s been said we can’t change others, but you have changed yourself.  Bravo!

          on November 25, 2020.

          @Brynna – Thanks for adding your thoughts. I can see from what you wrote that our situations are a little different (I’d prefer not to elaborate specifically), but I appreciate you sharing your experience. Thank you. 🙂

          on November 26, 2020.

          @Golden Goose – Thanks for your encouragement, although I’m not praying that my husband will give me what I desire. I need to let that die.

          on November 26, 2020.
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            My DH is non expressive in general, and not very observant. I would love to hear Words of Affirmation from him since that’s his LL, but I rarely do. I don’t know if he doesn’t ever think about it, or its too difficult or if he ramps up his loving by more Acts of Service.

            1. I cope better than I used to. I know how much he really does love me. I have also started asking him questions. Questions like ‘what do you like about my body’, ‘did you notice my new dress’, ‘did you notice I just threw my arms around you and I was naked’, ‘did you notice that I’m not wearing underwear’, etc. I sit down in his lap when he is in his office and ask if he knows I’m there, haha. Or I ask how he likes my hair. I also accept that I might be smothered in love by his Acts of Service. He may not comment on my body, but he will adjust my bath water just right. He will also fill my water bottle and bring it to the bedroom so I don’t have to go back and get it. So, why should I complain just because I would rather he tell me how much he likes my body? Makes me feel rather selfish sometimes. But, OTOH, sometimes I think if he is getting enough sex, I would like to be getting enough of what I like, too. Also, he acts totally surprised when I ask him if he loves me and wonders why I ever ask such a dumb question. I just tell him I haven’t heard him say it for 2 months or however long it’s been. To his credit, I think it’s improved a bit. Twice in the last few months he has complimented me on a new dress.

            2. It used to bother me more. However, the more I read and the more I think about it, I realize that DH loves me no less than expressive people love their spouses. The list could go on and on, how DH shows me love. It’s just in a different area. I am the most taken care of wife that I know of. Lol, no pampered princess, though. I do my own work. But, I still wish to hear compliments once in awhile.

            3. I have no words of advice for anyone. But, it’s nice to know there are other marriages like ours. I guess I would say accept whole heartedly the areas your spouse shows you love. It might be different then what you expect. But, I have never questioned his love for me, because somehow he manages to convey that, and appreciation for my body without saying it.

            4. See #1. I have started asking him questions in order to get him to tell me how he feels about my body. If I hug him and he doesn’t hug me back, I suggest to put his arms around me. Many men would probably not like that, but he is easy going enough he doesn’t mind. Lol if I kiss him and it’s a feeble kiss I get back, I suggest to try that again. He usually does, with a laugh. If I’m gone for the day, I sometimes ask if he missed me. He always has! Also, I have told him how much I love sleeping in his arms. I usually slept there after sex. Now, basically every night he quietly puts out his arm for me to cuddle in. And that is his arm that has caused him a lot of pain. I just try and stimulate his thinking a bit. Again, why should I grumble because he doesn’t outright admire my body?

            Under the stars Answered on November 25, 2020.
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              Very interesting topic and good questions, Brynna!

              1. How do you cope?  It seems your situation is more pronounced than mine. I guess I hold on to what DW has said and keep echoing it in my head. Or other times, I indirectly (sometimes out rightly) ask her what she thinks of certain things. She is ok with. She just doesn’t express her opinions that much. Or feels she has already done so. I tend to notice subtle changes, things that are new, etc. So, I comment a lot on how she looks. And, I guess, that’s better it happens that way than the reverse, as I personally believe one way for a man to love his DW is to flood her with affirmative words.

              2. How do you feel about reading here on TMB what expressive men feel like when seeing their wife’s body? (Or wives about their husband’s body)  For the most part I’m happy that it is happening and am thankful for the good marriages that are out there.

              3. What have you learned that could help others? Personality and LL play a big part in this. If your spouse isn’t much into “words of affirmation” it probably won’t come naturally for them to be expressive about how you look, how well you’ve just served them sexually, or what they think of your various body parts, etc. I picked this lady and she picked me! So, look for other positives. However, I have come to understand and believe that being more expressive or more fluent and frequent with compliments, can be learned! In fact, it should be learned!

              4. What ways have you found to help him/her to become more expressive and appreciative of your body? Like I said, I offer lots of words of affirmation. I ask indirect questions to get her to say more. I have also explained to her how meaningful her expressiveness is. Lastly, when we are making love, I make sure I’m being very expressive toward her, what she does, how she looks, what I like about her body, etc. It tends to rub off on her and come back to me too 🙂

              Under the stars Answered on November 25, 2020.
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                I assume you mean expressiveness in the marriage bed.  If not, perhaps, you could clarify.  I will be following this thread closely because I find we have the same problem at least as it pertains to sexual intimacy.  I supposed one solution is to be blunt and ask specific questions you want answers to.  The problem here is  my DW just shuts down or turns the guilt / issue back on me.  It hurts to get rejected time and time again.  Pretty soon, the hurt tells me just to leave it alone.

                Fell out of ... Answered on November 25, 2020.

                Yes, I mean in the marriage bed, and I suppose in marriage in general. I suppose if you are expressive in one area, you will be expressive in others, though I could be wrong.

                on November 25, 2020.

                Unfortunately no.  Not in my marriage.  DW and I can chatter nonstop about many topics but when it comes to “that topic” not so much on her end and therefore consequently on my end.  I’d like to amend my answer LOL.  I have no problem expressing my appreciation for my DW body and do so a lot.  The issue is she either does not believe I am sincere (due to lack of this earlier in our marriage) or she doesn’t currently have the highest self esteem..  I do see glimpses of this changing, however.

                on November 25, 2020.
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                  Interesting thought. A little bit of cross-shoe fit going on.

                  Under the stars Answered on November 25, 2020.
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                    1. How do you cope?
                    Quietly. In regards to physical, sounds strange but I also take a little time naked in front of a mirror, turning and looking, affirming to myself that I look nice and have good physical qualities.

                    2. How do you feel about reading here on TMB what expressive men feel like when seeing their wife’s body? (Or wives about their husband’s body)
                    It’s hard. But after processing any feelings of disappointment and maybe jealousy that come up, it turns productive in the sense that I want that in my marriage.

                    3. What have you learned that could help others?
                    See below

                    4. What ways have you found to help him/her to become more expressive and appreciative of your body?
                    I told him that his verbal acknowledgment of my body fills a self-worth need for me, and put in that light, he has tried to improve.

                    Fell out of ... Answered on November 28, 2020.
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