Many husbands and wives are the walking dead. They are just going through the motions of life – just surviving in their marriages. They are not truly happy and they are very malnourished in their marital relationship.
When you first met your spouse, you were on a mission to win them over. You were a nurturing dynamo. You succeeded at showing them that you were the very best choice. That’s it – they chose you – you, over all others. Vows are exchanged and you are on this journey together – pure bliss. There is mutual satisfaction in almost every area of the marriage relationship. But slowly things begin to change. Children, careers, aging parents and household responsibilities begin to drain energy from both individuals. The first aspect of marriage that begins to suffer is usually sexual intimacy. This is vitally important because this intimacy is the glue that holds these two people together. Over time, she shifts her energies from him to the children or perhaps her career. He feels ignored and begins to go into survival mode and becomes entranced by career and hobbies or worse. They are both running on empty. Suddenly, attractive tank filling wonder person enters the picture. This person is caring, thoughtful and interesting. They’re usually not a predator. Most likely they are just a genuinely nice person but because you left your spouse vulnerable with an empty tank, they really notice this person. This scenario can now go in a few different directions. An affair can occur or one spouse can leave looking for fulfillment because they now see with clarity that their marriage is void of what it first offered. The best option of course is to get help and get to work on your marriage.
Talk to your spouse and in a non-accusing way, communicate to them that you value them and your marriage but that you both need help. Get help from a trusted biblical counselor or seek out a mentor couple that can help while the two of you journey back to marital health. I once heard it said that if you will stay in a bad marriage and work on it, in five years you won’t recognize your marriage. Some of you may have to do the work alone. It is very hard but I encourage you to try. Do the right thing consistently and see what God will do with your spouse. You may witness a miracle.
If any of this seems familiar to you, I would like to encourage you to get back to the business of nurturing your spouse. Romance them in the way that you did when you were dating. There is a direct correlation between husbands serving their wives which can relieve her of some energy drains. Wives should then use that recovered energy to serve your husband especially sexually. Also, remember that children will grow and move away, parents will pass away and careers turn to retirement. Where will you be as a couple?
I hope that you will stay in and fight for your marriage. The rewards of a healthy marriage are worth all of the work that you put into it.
Have you ever been with a couple that does everything together? That can be a lot of pressure on a relationship.
My husband and I are best friends. We finish each others’ sentences. We often find that we were thinking about the same random thing at the same time. We even start singing the same song simultaneously right out of the blue. Can I tell you a secret? I like it when he goes and does stuff on his own or with a buddy. I love it when he takes the kids out and I have the entire house to myself.
Spending some time apart relieves the pressure on the relationship. Developing some separate interests makes us more interesting people. Doing a few things alone or with a trustworthy friend develops a deeper appreciation for your spouse.
Don’t be afraid that you are losing them if they express a need for separate time. Make your reunion inviting and pleasant and they will look forward to coming back.
Have you ever tried fighting with someone when you’re holding their hand? It’s pretty close to impossible.
Do you and your spouse have a particular area in your marriage that always seems to lead to disagreement or even fighting? For me and my husband, it is finances. You see, we view money very differently. I’m a saver and he is a spender. Over our many years of marriage, we have come closer to center and that has been very helpful but we still differ somewhat in our money attitudes.
Recently, we needed to make a very large purchase. This happens to be the type of purchase that can bring out feelings of ecstasy in a spender. I could see my husband beginning to succumb to the internal pressures that he was feeling. He was getting caught up in his purchase high. On the other hand, I was starting to feel anxiety. I knew that this decision had the potential to divide us but I didn’t want to cave for the sake of peace. I knew that we needed to make our decision based on reality and not on feelings.
The salesperson presented us with our options. We asked him for privacy while we sat and discussed. I slipped my hand into my husbands and we began weighing our decision. There was never even a moment of tension between us. This is an amazing victory in our marriage and I believe that holding hands was the key.
Try this one simple thing – hold hands more. Hold hands at the table when you are discussing your day, hold hands in the car when you are on your way to some mundane appointment, hold hands in bed and pray together.
As husband and wife, we are joined spiritually when we are married but holding hands helps to keep us joined physically through all of the ups and downs of life.
I can see that your spouse really gets your goat sometimes. I know, you’re thinking that Madeline is actually sitting behind her crystal ball. Oh come on, I’m a Christian – I don’t really have a crystal ball.
Culture tells us that we must stand up for ourselves – look out for number one. This is the opposite of what God tells us to do. We are to put others first. How do we put our spouse first? Sometimes we actually just disengage. Sometimes we must choose to overlook and even look the other way.
Now darrrling, I tell you a little story. Please enter my parlor and I will look into my crystal ball (read this hearing my deep gypsy voice with my multi-colored skirt and off the shoulder blouse). Now, let’s get back to the story. You are coming home from a long journey. Your husband who has never shown an interest in packing suddenly believes that he must teach you. He is tense and strung high (she doesn’t know her English very well). He is dreading the long journey that lies ahead. Wait. I see a struggle ahead. Darrrling, you must quickly remove him from the room where you will then be able to pack in peaceful solitude. That’ll be twenty bucks.
That was fun. I don’t really know what the going rate is for gypsy fortune telling these days. I digress. The point of this silliness is two-fold. Number one – sometimes you’ve really got to remove the fuel from the potential explosion. Number two – you always need to add a little humor – always. Most situations in marriage do not and I repeat do not require confrontation. Most situations require survival to live another marriage day.
We need to overlook more in most of our relationships. Very seldom will you regret overlooking. In fact, I cannot recall ever regretting when I chose to overlook.
Our culture tells us that we need to build our self-esteem and love ourselves more. Our culture believes that most of our societal problems stem from a lack of self-love.
I believe that we love ourselves plenty. Most of us do not neglect our own needs or desires. Too much self-focus can begin a pattern that will continually lead you to disappointment.
Do you find yourself preoccupied with your comforts or what other people might think of you? Do you regularly find yourself disappointed in others? Very likely, you are too self-focused and have too much self-love.
Thankfully, there is a very simple solution. Get involved in helping others and turn your love outward.
Last time, I talked about a husband’s need for regular sex with his wife. I believe that the issue of sex in marriage is the issue in our marital relationship that can be the biggest divide between man and wife. Therefore, it requires intentional attention, don’t you think?
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Kevin Leman says that women need a reason to have sex and men only need a place to have sex. For a woman, sex leans more toward the emotional side of her. So, let’s start right in the brain. How about trying the following things and change the way your feminine brain feels about sex.
>Start thinking about sex more.
>Start thinking about sex as a positive, fun experience.
>Now, think about sex some more.
>When your husband becomes aroused by the sight of you, enjoy it. It is a compliment, you know.
>Find things that you love about your body and focus on them.
>When he wants to touch you, let him. If he is too grabby, just gently guide him in what you like.
>Flirt with him. Try taking yourself back to the woman you were before the children came along.
>Thoroughly enjoy sex. Yes, thoroughly enjoy it and let him know that you do.
As woman, a lot of us need to turn our switch on. That is how we work. Sex in marriage is not dirty. It is beautiful. Sex in marriage is not just another job to perform and check off your list. It is something for you to enjoy too. If your brain needs a little sexy, then use the above suggestions and get your switch flipped.
Most men get married thinking that they are going to have a lot of sex. In the beginning of marriage, most men do have a lot of sex but then as the newness wears off and all of the burdens of living life begin to squeeze the couple, sex is usually where the cut-backs begin.
When sex becomes infrequent in marriage, a husband might feel as though he has been ripped off. Think about it, he is more than willing to go out into the world every day to fight for you and the children. He will protect your family even if it means giving up his own life. He will conquer the most opposing foe. He takes on all of this willingly but somewhere in his mind, he is thinking that there is a payoff. For most men, the payoff is a satisfying sex life with his wife.
If a wife is not taking this aspect of marriage seriously, she is basically committing contract fraud. If you have a husband who seems angry or distant, examine whether or not his sexual needs have been a priority to you. No wife wants to be a cheat or a fraud but how would you feel if your husband did the minimum to provide for your household? Wouldn’t you feel that he is cheating you and the children?
Men were created in a way that makes them need regular sex with the one woman that they chose. When we reject our husband’s sexuality, we are rejecting the Creators design. There is a Proverb that says “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”.
Watch for Part II where I am hoping to give you practical solutions for this problem.
The man in your life wants you. He wants you in ways that you may not understand. He most likely is either unable to communicate it to you or he might even feel afraid to. It is possible that he has tried to communicate it in the past but has given up. Ouch.
Men are largely misunderstood by women. Women are misunderstood by men but this post isn’t about that. I would like to give you a list of some of the ways that your man might be feeling lonely for you even though you are in the same house, room and bed.
>He wants you to be as sweet to him as you are to everyone else.
>He wants you to pay as much attention to him as you do to the children.
>He wants you to let him touch you and caress you. He likes that extra flesh on you.
>He wants you to come and sit on his lap.
>He wants you to take care of yourself.
>He wants you to take time to look and smell pretty and special for him.
>He wants you to tease and flirt with him.
>He wants you to light up when you see him and smile at him.
>He wants you to stop working and be with him.
>He wants you to look at him in his eyes when you speak to each other.
>He wants you to receive his complement graciously
>He wants you to enjoy sex and let him know that you are enjoying it.
>He wants you to let him know that he is awesome at stuff.
Go ahead – you can do it. Take a couple of these and put them into action right away.
I am the first to admit that sometimes I just don’t feel like doing the right thing. Maybe my husband has hurt me in the past or maybe he is doing something right now that is making my life difficult. Let me be blunt, you simply must respect your husband, even when he doesn’t make it easy to do so.
This falls under the two wrongs don’t make a right situation. When our spouse is being ugly and we add our ugliness to the mix, well that’s a lot of ugly. Wouldn’t it be better to add a lot of sweet to the bitter? Very few human beings will respond in a negative way to kindness and grace. It doesn’t matter whether or not they deserve your kindness and grace. Do it because it is the right thing to do.
There is a Proverb that says “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. I have definitely experienced both ends of this Proverb. When I make the choice to do the right thing, I am always blessed.