Maarried Sex games and struggles
Ever seem like you are both playing a complicated game where you don’t know the rules – and if you did they would be changed?
I’m reading this book “Sex Without Stress” by Jessa Zimmerman. Subtitled “A couple’s guide to overcoming disappointment, avoidance and pressure.”
WOW – if she can only deliver what she promises (the author that is). I haven’t gotten halfway yet and a lot of what she writes I have known and learned in our 25+ years together and all the effort and study I’ve put forth so far. But one thing she writes in the introductory material was fascinating and much different that what many have tired to pass along. She basically said (paraphrase) that “if you have been together for an extended time, then you DO know each other and you can read each other. Admit it and deal with it.”
That was refreshing. She is right in my estimation. My spouse and I do know each other, and we spend a lot of time trying to second guess each other. And it almost always ends in a stressful, pressured or disappointing way. So I haven’t gotten to the part where she offers ways to fix it, but I still have high hopes.
I think there are some areas where spouses have different kinds of knowledge about one another. For example, a low drive spouse may ‘know’ that their spouse wants sex more frequently than they do, but it is difficult for them to experience what their higher drive spouse experiences when they do not receive as much sex as they desire. The same applies in the other direction; it is hard for a high drive spouse to imagine why the lower drive spouse does not want the pleasure of an orgasm as frequently as they do. In my experience, early in our marriage DW and I quickly discovered and freely admitted that each of us had different appetites and expectations for sex, it was the ‘how to deal with it’ part that took us some time to figure out. For us, the solution to this issue has been a willingness to discuss it openly, frequently, and of course to make compromises in terms of what kinds of sexual activity we will engage in, at what frequency. It also takes prayer, patience, and in my case as the DH, remembering that Paul tells husbands they must love their wives as Christ loves the church. This thought always grounds me when I tend to get impatient, frustrated, etc.
I take her statement to mean that sometimes I am attempting to analyze why DH does something or what he’s thinking or feeling under certain circumstances, when if I would stop and think, and be honest with myself, I might already know the answer and just not like it or wish for a different one. Maybe I wonder why he’s not as flirty as he used to be and come up with all these theories about the fire growing cold, or his desire waning, or him having repressed anger at me, when really–and i know this if I admit it–it’s just that we’re always busy and I don’t flirt with him either. (This is not a thing for us anymore; DH is wonderfully flirtatious and works hard to make me feel loved and appreciated.) But those things can happen, a little like making a mountain out of a mole hill or making a big deal out of someone else’s motives because we don’t want to admit our own contribution to the problem.
Or sometimes it might be something he has actually told me about before, and I have (consciously or unconsciously) dismissed it as unimportant. Maybe I insist he take me for a “night on the town” kind of date where we drive into a nearby city and go dancing, then wonder what he’s thinking when he doesn’t seem as into me as I hoped for our romantic date. But I know, if I think about it, that he hates traffic, hates crowds, doesn’t feel like he can dance, hates getting dressed up, and dislikes “frou frou” food. Well of course he’s not going to be floating on clouds of romance and arousal, no matter how much I fantasize about that kind of date. (Again, this is a made-up example. If DH sees this, I’m NOT hinting for that kind of date!!)
Even when we love someone inside and out, we still occasionally try to change them. I took the quoted statement to mean “recognize that you might be trying to change them, STOP IT!, and move on.” Whether she meant it that way or not, that’s how I’m taking it and intend to be mindful of this advice.
The author does hint early on that there will be avenues of change forthcoming. I just haven’t gotten to the meat of that yet.
Her statement, as far as I can tell, was targeted somewhere between what Duchess and Olorin said. But then she goes into an in-depth self-study exercise which exposes actually how little many know about themselves. It is designed to help one eventually unpack the baggage that skews our perceptions. I think it is also designed to help understand that we each are toting our own load of crap, thus grace should be dispensed liberally. We should spend more time looking at ourselves before we look at our spouse negatively.
One thing I have learned, perception is reality – until one chooses to look past our “perception”.