Wifey Wednesday: A Valentine’s Day He’ll Love

3 ways to Romance Your Husband this Valentine's Day!It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can comment or link up your own posts below! Today I want to give you 3 different ways to romance your husband this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day. It’s thought of as a woman’s holiday. The guy is supposed to get the flowers and the chocolates and woo her. But let’s face it, ladies: our husbands deserve to be romanced, too!

Now, maybe you don’t really do Valentine’s Day. I’ve heard some people say, “it’s just a commercial holiday to get people to spend money”, and I totally agree. It is based on commercialism. But at the same time, our marriages can always stand a little more expressions of love, and taking the one day a year when you’re supposed to say “I love you” and actually putting a little effort into showing him that doesn’t seem outrageous to me. And it doesn’t have to cost money, either!

You can make a great dinner that he’ll love. You can make a list of all the things you love about him. You can give HIM a massage for a change!

So today I thought I’d share some big picture ideas for Valentine’s Day, and then ask you all to brainstorm with me and share in the comments what you are planning on doing to make your husband feel loved.

Let’s look at the different approaches:

1. The Masculine Approach

One woman read my column last week about how we women think that we’re the only ones who are romantic, but that’s often because we think HE should understand US, but we don’t bother to understand HIM. She took it to heart and answered in the comments that she bought her husband tickets to a hockey game for Valentine’s Day! She doesn’t like hockey, but she’ll go with him because she loves him.

I like that idea: getting him something that he’d love, and then going with him. Maybe you buy his and hers fishing poles. Or maybe just the ‘hers’ with a note promising to go with him (note: some guys actually like time on their own, so make sure you wouldn’t be intruding on his solitary time!).

To me, the key to Valentine’s Day is to buy something that will ENHANCE YOUR RELATIONSHIP, not just a gift. This isn’t Christmas. So buy something you can do together.

If money is an issue, why not plan a day together doing things he’d like, and then give him the itinerary? Maybe you pack a picnic lunch, and then you go hiking for the day. Maybe you plan to play tennis at one of the public tennis courts this spring. Try to think of something he’d actually like to do.

2. The Love Approach

Or, you could focus on showing him how much you love him. Make a list of “99 Things I Love About You”. Write out a prayer that you pray for him to become mighty in God.

Plan a treasure hunt throughout your house where you hide hearts, and on each you write something else you love about him. (I did this when we were dating!)

Make him an amazing dinner of all the foods he’d love, and tell  him this is “his night”.

3. The Sex Approach

Or, you can always go for sex. That’s many men’s main request anyway. Buy some new lingerie, or, if you don’t want to spend money, give him an invitation to a lingerie fashion show after the kids are in bed, and show him what you already own but don’t wear very much.

Give him a timer all wrapped up with a bow, and tell him to set the timer for twenty minutes. In those twenty minutes he’s not allowed to move, but you’re going to make him feel wonderful.

31DaysCoverBuy him the 31 Days to Great Sex –a book of challenges to work through together that will get you talking, flirting, and exploring.

So there are some ideas–some cost money, but others don’t have to. The main idea is to let him know: I love you. I think about you. I’m glad I’m married to you. I want you to feel special.

What else can you do? Let me know in the comments, and then other women reading this can figure out some ideas for their wives!

Stocking Stuffer CouponsAnd husbands, if you’re reading this, one thing your wife would love is just coupons to sleep in on a Saturday, for a date night of her choice, to look after the kids one afternoon, etc. When I asked women on Facebook, what’s your favourite gift to receive?, that’s what they said! And I have some downloadable ones here.

Christian Marriage Advice

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Or what are you planning for Valentine’s Day? Link up a marriage post in the linky below by pasting the URL. And remember to link back here so people can read other great marriage posts!

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  1. I’ve never been a good gift giver. It’s just not my thing and I am incredibly cheap. There. I said it! But, I do understand the importance of giving gifts. It costs the giver something and for me that’s a good thing. This year, I am giving my husband the gift of supporting a dream. He is a musician and would LOVE a new guitar. Being that finances have been really tight the past few years I have not made an effort to really support that dream. That changes now. I am giving him an envelope with the first cash gift towards his dream guitar. It will still take some time to get enough in it to actually buy the guitar but I want him to know that it is a good dream and we can make it work.

    Megan@DoNotDisturb recently posted…13 Realities of Married Sex: #10 Sex is FreeingMy Profile

  2. Hi Sheila!
    I just purchased 31 Days yesterday ~ it is my V-day gift to hubby ~ we’re both excited to get started on the challenges! I was wondering if my purchase qualifies for the 2 free intimacy e-books? I didn’t get a link to them in my confirmation email. Thanks!

  3. I love your suggestions – great post with lots of fun thoughts. And Oh, My – I SO agree that the husbands need/deserve to be romanced! You’ve hit an uncomfortable spot in me because I’m surrounded by these ladies who are kvetching about perceived inadequacies of their husband to “do” valentines well… and yet seem perplexed when I ask them what THEY are doing for their husbands! My hubby and I celebrate our “love” event on February 21st (long story – not relevant), and we have fun trying to “one up” each other!
    Lori recently posted…A Culture of Kindness in your MarriageMy Profile

  4. Hi Sheila,

    Great to have discovered your blog!

    I’m all for celebrating love and romance throughout the year so we don’t tend to limit ourselves to this one date. I do feel however it acts as a nice reminder to think about love especially if you’ve let your communication slip.

    As to presents we’ve had some great experiences by booking trips away. It allows us to ensure we get a nice weekend away, just the two of us, to really just have fun together. There are so many discount deals flying around that there’s always something affordable and, so long as it’s somewhere new for us, we don’t mind if it’s camping, a motel or a 5 star palace – just so long as we can explore the town/area/region together. You often have the most fun in the most unlikely settings.

    My secret this year is the postcard hunt around the house. I’ve printed picture postcards of all the best places we’ve been together and have written anecdotes of when we visited, the funniest/most romantic moments and how I remember him best on that occasion (cursing as he changed a tire in the rain on the way there, tripping on a step and hoping I hadn’t noticed, cuddling at the top of our hill climb looking out at the valley below). Each one is already stashed in a book, cd or dvd case which relates to the previous postcard so he has to work out where the next one is hidden. Should be fun.

    Hope you guys have a great time whatever you have planned
    Grace Pamer recently posted…Valentine’s Day Marriage Proposals – Say ‘Yes’ to Romance; ‘No’ to CheesinessMy Profile

  5. I super agree with this post. I would love some advice, though. My husband, first of all, is awesome. He just rocks. But he rarely will express things he wants, and I really get stuck trying to come up with something he’d like. I want to be able to bless him, but he really doesn’t seem to want any particular thing, and I don’t know how to get good ideas for activities, or things, or even particular sexual experiences — mostly, he is just happy to be with me. Which is really fabulous, so I feel a bit whiney. 😀 Long story short, I want to do something special for him, don’t get much feedback from his side — any ideas for ways to get better and figuring out what would make him feel special? Thanks!
    Bethany recently posted…Laundry DetergentMy Profile

    • Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday, and I have a knack for doing and getting things my husband loves, so I hope I can help a little bit….

      Is he silly, like my husband? This past Christmas, I was walking through the shop and found tons of hilarious toys/silly things. I just stocked up and gave him a couple of very large gift bags full of things like glasses with eyeballs that are falling off on springs, and a whoopie cushion, and a squishy, stretchy ball that’s fun to play with, and a set of nerf guns, and sticky hands attached to a sticky string that, when you throw them at things, they….um, stick; among other things. He kept saying, “How did you know?!” I said, I know you! He says that every time I give him something, and I always respond the same way. I know him.

      He got into the habit of collecting football cards, so one year I bought him several packs of football cards, which he was very excited about. There were other gifts too – I bought him a Bible in a translation that I knew he would like, because all we had was King James and New King James and he hated them. He loved the translation I bought for him, and it has a really nice, attractive cover in his favorite color (brown, with a tan stripe in the middle), and cover is a nice, soft, durable material. One year I bought us Fireproof and the Love Dare books. Once I bought him a football and we’ve had many good times tossing it around. I have finally gotten to the point where I can catch it sometimes, and occasionally have a good throw, but usually it’s pretty hilarious when I try to throw or catch it.

      One year I bought him a really cool airplane model, and paints and glue and paintbrushes and so on, because we had gone into that hobby store awhile back and he was all excited telling me how he loved putting together and painting models. There was also a giant remote control tarantula (I mean, giant) that I got for him, because when we went in he really wanted to get it, but we just didn’t have the money at the time. He took it to work and scared the heck out of everyone.

      You know your husband. My guy never tells me what he wants (with the exception of his birthday, which is the one time of the year that he can get a new video game) because he wants to be surprised, but you just….know. Know his hobbies. Go shopping together at a supermarket (not everyone likes Wal-Mart, but that’s a good place to go because they have everything) and just walk around the store – let him lead the way and notice what he looks at and gravitates towards, notice what he seems interested in and what he makes comments on. Go to places like the Dollar Tree and see what draws his interest. Know his sense of humor. Know if he likes to play (i.e., the nerf guns). I always get him a silly card, and a serious card. I write notes in both. In the serious card last time, I thanked him for all that he does, said that I notice it and I appreciate all of those things (I listed them), and it made him feel so special. He didn’t say it, but the look on his face, the little smile, the look in his eyes….his eyes are very expressive. The silly cards often involve fart jokes. Men will always think farts are funny, it seems, no matter how old they are. His love language is acts of service, so I clean and cook his favorite foods (which is difficult for me because I don’t like cooking and I don’t like cleaning!!) and of course give him a scratch and a massage. He gets those from me regularly, but this year it will be extra special because……

      I bought edible body spray that tastes like and smells like berries. It’s very yummy. I also bought edible massage lotion that tastes like berries. I got them both half off at the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale, but I believe they still have them out.

      I always used to get special lingerie for special occasions, but finally realized it was more for me because he prefers me naked – so this year I’m going to surprise him and wear nothing under my clothes! Except for the edible spray. 😉 It will be different for us. Or I might do a strip tease again – I did that once and he really liked it (of course).

      Try having sex in a different place, in a different position, and maybe even act out some fantasies. We really wanted to do a pirate thing this year but couldn’t afford costumes!

      This year I got him a super cool gift that he’ll love (a World War I Infantry Journal), because he was in the military for awhile, and gets really excited about things like that; and also I got him (us) Sheila’s 31 Days book. He’s actually the cook of the family, so he’s going to cook Indian food this year. Yum!

      If he likes the outdoors – I like the fishing idea, and similar things. Maybe get camping gear. I know my guy wants us to go camping really soon – I wish I had been able to afford stuff for that.

      Again, you know your husband. He doesn’t have to tell you – just keep your eyes and ears open and really pay attention to him, and you’ll know what to get him.
      Jenny recently posted…Valentine’s Day!My Profile

      • Jenny, I love your response! It really warms my heart. Thank you for sharing.

        “You know your husband.” Isn’t that what this is all about? Buying a gift just to buy a gift is meaningless. I agree that we should pay attention to our spouses and see what is most important to him/her and gives them joy.

      • Thank you so much for the input, Jenny! It really is true that paying good attention to knowing my husband is key here. I still feel a bit like I’m not managing to do it though, and that makes me sad.

        • Also, I the practical suggestion of shopping together is an excellent one. Thanks.

        • Oh, don’t feel sad! A marriage is a journey, and a learning experience. We have had many problems to work through – we’re still working through a lot of issues. Gifts and playtime are the easy parts of our relationship! :) Also, if your husband doesn’t open up much, it’s very difficult to know his mind. But if you can pick up on some non-verbal cues – if you want a few more days to do this, you could suggest celebrating Valentine’s Day over the weekend instead of tomorrow, since tomorrow is a weekday. And then take him “grocery shopping” at a supermarket, and suggest walking around the store just to check stuff out. We always have fun walking around stores together, and it really is a great way to find out gift ideas.
          Jenny recently posted…Valentine’s Day!My Profile

  6. Sheila, I have never looked at Valentines day gifts like this before – “buy something that will ENHANCE YOUR RELATIONSHIP, not just a gift”

    I’ve already done my gift shopping for him. And sadly it’s more of ‘gifts’ than something that enhances our “awesome two-some” :)

    Now I know where to put more emphasis! Thanks Sheila
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…Protect Your Marriage: Keep Boundaries with the Opposite SexMy Profile

  7. workinprogress says:

    I plan to leave little valentine cards for him to find throughout the day, stickers on his lunchbox, steering wheel, commuter cup, a couple little cheezy gifts. Then I’m going to hide little heart stickers on myself and tell him that if he can find them all, he gets a prize 😉 I want him to be reminded all day how much I love and appreciate him! (And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m hoping that by being faced with Valentine stuff all day long, he can’t possibly “forget” to stop by the store and grab some flowers)

  8. I’m going to decorate a mug with a list of “Things I love about you” written on it in paint pens. I hope it turns out. :) I’m also making him an apple pie, because that’s one of his favorites, and he decided we needed a little getaway this weekend, so we’re not even leaving town but staying at a hotel for two nights. I’m excited for two days, just us, with few distractions–time to be together, play games, talk, and…ahem…do other things. 😉
    Jaimie recently posted…Saved by Grace. This is what matters.My Profile

  9. Sheila, I love the treasure hunt – my parents always did that for my siblings and me when we were kids. So much fun!
    Jenny recently posted…Valentine’s Day!My Profile

  10. Your suggestions are fantastic! I love the idea of leaving little love notes around the house for him to find. That’s so fun! I’ll be taking my hubby to Top Golf and he’s allowed to laugh at how bad I’ll be! lol He’s been leaving me cards and little fun gifts for me to find in our bedroom all last week and this week so he definitely deserves for us to do something I know he likes. I think I’ll like it too just because we’ll be doing it together. :)
    Sarah @ The Biblical Family Blog recently posted…What is Love?My Profile

  11. So fun! I love Valentine’s Day! Thanks for the ideas.
    Megan G. recently posted…adoptedMy Profile

  12. What happens when he continues to say that it is just another day? He even scheduled a 2nd shift clinical for Valentine’s Day! Not thrilled with that. :(

    • I would suggest just showing your love to him. Don’t sit around and waiting for him to do something for you on Valentine’s Day. Be more intentional about showing your love towards him and do something just to show your love for him. If it’s just another day to him maybe talk to him and see if you can plan a get away or romantic night some other time. Set something up to look forward to.

  13. I’m buying my man a massage for V-day! We both had our very first massages on our Honeymoon. So amazing!! He’s been wanting another ever since. Well, now he’s going to get one!! :-)

  14. My husband and I are not big on gifts. The past 6 months have been pretty stressful so I decided we needed a grown up weekend (the first since our oldest was born, 3 years ago). I arranged for his parents to take the kids is weekend and we are staying at a hotel, going to a nice kid-free dinner and going to a comedy club (one of his favorite things to do!). Because it was a little more expensive, this was our Christmas gift to each other and spending some quality time together is our Valentine to each other. We have been looking forward to this weekend for a while and I think the anticipation will make it that much more enjoyable.

  15. Great advice and ideas! I have to admit that I have been guilty in the past of sitting around and waiting for him to do something for me on Valentine’s Day. This year I am working to be more intentional and do something that will bless him too.
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy recently posted…Encouraging Words – Get Up and Move!My Profile

  16. Heather Harkins says:

    Heard about this blog in Bible study, excited to read it!

  17. Here’s what I did last year. It was a HUGE hit and involved spending zero money. :-)

    I washed our bedsheets, made our bed, fluffed up our pillows, turned down the covers, put some…um…fun items in the middle of the bed along with a handwritten note in bold red marker, snapped a picture of it all with my cell phone, and texted it to my husband. He came home from work absolutely giddy!
    Melissa recently posted…Stuff I’m Going To Do This YearMy Profile

  18. My Valentines gift is a combination of a lot of great ideas I’ve seen here and at other blogs. But one of the things I’m going to get him is something he loves – tickets to the movies. And then we’ll be more motivated to make a date night together! Thanks for always stirring the “hot pot of love,” Sheila! Hope your Valentines Day sizzles!

  19. I’m super excited for Valentines day. Not just because I know my hubby got me some books off my Amazon wish list, but because I have fun things planned for him. I’m getting him cakebites from a local bakery, which he absolutely loves. Then I’m going to decorate his car with hearts while he’s at work and put Hersheys kisses all over inside the car with a note that says ” Just a reminder that I still kiss the ground you walk on” (I did something similar the first 2 years we were married, but haven’t for about 5 years). And then I’m making him heart shaped meatloaf. He loves it.
    For some it’s about a hubby showing his love, for me it’s a time to show my hubby I love him!

  20. I’m so excited about tomorrow. I’ve bought 2 new nighties (one to use tomorrow and another to use on the weekend). I saved money from Christmas and bought us a weekend trip to the mountains as a surprise, complete with a Jacuzzi, fireplace, kitchen for making his favorite meal, and use of the hotel’s indoor pool. I plan to share the news with him tomorrow night after dinner (We’re eating out at his favorite pizza place!). I so enjoy loving on my husband, making him feel special, and letting him know how much I appreciate him. Great post, Sheila!
    Hannah Williams recently posted…Romance Your Man “His” WayMy Profile

  21. WOW It’s exciting to see so many women taking seriously our role as encourager & lover to the men God’s given us!
    Personally I’m not into it. for myself I mean. I’ve bought into the lie that because it’s a commercialized holiday… yea:/
    SO this year I asked the Lord to help me truly minister LOVE to my hubby and not get all caught up in the romance etc. As a result I have found myself becoming focused on “the romance” as well! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!
    Step 1. I flooded facebook w/ quotes about love & marriage, mentioning my love for hubby in each one.
    *im a really private person and he NEEEEEDS validation SO this was a big sacrifice for me and has totally paid off; he’s been loving it!
    Step 2. I purchsed a new VERY tiny “play-wear” and SUPER INEXPENSIVE to be clear 😉
    and today am going to lay it out on the bed and take a picture of it to text to him..
    Step 3. I bought 31 days to great sex e.book last night and e.mailed it to him immediately!)
    Step 4. I am working on booking a few students in my daughters college show choir to show up at the training he’s doing tomorrow and serenade him! …which just happens to be at my little guys’ school, so they will also be there to witness the moment;)) I’m hoooooping it will work; still waiting to hear back from the director!
    Step 5. Finally, I want to get sushi (from the grocery store..super inexpensive!) and make him a cheesecake, and set up at his office w/ candlelight & a sexy little card game I found (cost like 2.49) the whole nine… with a movie ready from redbox BECAUSE he has been working literally 17-20 hours a day AND even when he gets home by midnight it may take him another couple of hours to fall a sleep!!!
    UGGGGH is right!!! SOOOO needless to say, if he wants to move from cheesecake to popcorn & a movie instead of other… pursuits;D… Well, the “very tiny play-wear” i bought will certainly keep for his next day off… whenever that happens! lol
    In the end, after all, the goal is making sure he knows howwwww much i love and appreciate my hardworking man!))

  22. Love these ideas!! We get so caught up in thinking it’s all about us. Thanks for the great reminder!! We shared a post from our resident GYN about sex today. Hopefully these practical tips will help some women.
    Jessica W recently posted…Help Doctor, I Have No Sex Drive: Part 1My Profile

  23. Husband chiming in here. Great post, Sheila!

    I recently wrote a post encouraging wives to do just what you are suggesting – turn this Valentine’s Day around and romance him instead. BUT make sure to romance him in guy-terms! Men and women tend to define romance very differently! I give three key components for loving your man his way.
    scott recently posted…Wives Only Wednesday – Turn This Valentine’s Day AroundMy Profile

  24. I made him “The Game of Love” from East Coast Creative: http://www.eastcoastcreativeblog.com/2013/01/best-valentines-day-gift-ever-take-two.html?m=1

    I made the original “board game” version. He was quite surprised by it and definitely enjoyed playing :)

  25. I am taking the day off from work, making him pot roast for dinner (his choice), then from 12 noon to 8 pm I will do whatever he wishes- spend time in bed being intimate, giving him a massage, cuddling with him on the couch while watching a program he chooses

  26. Well, Im working 3rd shift and hubby dear is working 2nd shift. I bought him a gift already. A Fleece Pittsburgh Penguins(NHL Hockey) jacket for spring. And a card. He says he’ll have my gift for me tomorrow when I wake up in the afternoon, around 4:30pm as we have parent teacher conferences at my son’s school tomorrow evening.

  27. This post makes me think of a DIY project I recently saw:

    You take a cheap bedsheet (like a clearance one) and use fabric/permanent markers to turn it into a game board. He rolls dice and whichever square he lands on is the next activity and all activities are limited to 90 seconds. It seems like a good Valentine’s gift because it can be cheap, shows you put thought into it, is something he’d love and is fun for both of you.

    Here’s the link:

  28. ButterflyWings says:

    Hmmm…. my hubby doesn’t like any activities that can be done together. He is just an obsessive computer game addict. I try to find out what games he likes, but he always buys what he wants as soon as it comes out so it doesn’t help me there.

    I tried taking him out for a romantic dinner and all he did was grumble about the price (the dinner was cheap and cost little more than the flowers that he bought even though I had said earlier in the day I hate flowers and don’t even want to be bought flowers).

    And when it comes to sex, he begrudgingly did it (our once a week attempt) and then just rolled over and went to sleep.

    I’ve tried everything and he just ignores me or speaks nastily to me. I don’t understand why he does this – we’ve only been married 4 months, I’ve only been living here one month, and yet he constantly verbally and emotionally abuses me. I keep trying to be loving, to find some way to reach through to the kind person he used to be before we got married but I don’t know what to do anymore.

    We went to counselling a week ago, but he picked the counsellor and all he does is undermine me to the counsellor, makes me out to be a monster and the counsellor can’t see through his act. Even when he openly admits he lies to me and hides things from me, she says very little and it gets swept under the carpet.

    I don’t know what to do anymore. He is just constantly nasty and selfish and putting me down no matter how nice I try to be, and even the counsellor didn’t help, just dismissing his abusive actions as just a personality type. Even trying to treat him to a nice valentines day just sees him grumbling about it.

    • Beautiful lady, I know how you feel. I’m currently not living with my husband – and actually have been in a state of not living with him off and on for the majority of our marriage – because of abuse.

      I know the emotional abuse of being ignored for days and weeks on end. Just….completely ignored. Of not even being allowed to step foot outside the bedroom, while he didn’t set foot inside it unless it was to yell at me. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. And then when he wasn’t ignoring me, he was screaming and cursing at me.

      We had a few good moments here and there that gave me hope, only to be crushed down again.

      Date after date after date canceled. At the times I wasn’t living with him, I sometimes wouldn’t see him for weeks at a time. He wouldn’t answer his phone when I called most of the time, and again, when he did answer it was an onslaught of verbal abuse.

      And then….there is the physical abuse. If you’ve only been married four months and he’s already verbally and emotionally abusive towards you, get a safety plan now and don’t tell him about it. Find a shelter for abused women nearby that you can call if you need help immediately. The police won’t help – I called them twice when I was being threatened with a knife and he had hit my leg with a full water bottle (It left a dark bruise but I didn’t realize it at the time so I didn’t show it to the police), and he manipulated the hell out of them and they told me if I called them again they would arrest me. It sounds like your husband is good at manipulation too, with the counselor. Find a shelter with people who won’t be manipulated because the people working there were in your situation. Shelters like that will give you lodging and food and toiletries, they’ll help you find a job and be able to become independent from the abuser, which is one reason most of us stay – because we’re dependent on them. (Also because we love them and hope beyond hope for change and to be loved in return.) And they make sure to make us dependent on them. Have that number as the first number on your speed dial. Keep a luggage bag packed of clean underwear, a few clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and travel sized toiletries. Have that bag in an easy-to-grab place. Try as hard as you can to always be able to reach the front door, or don’t be afraid of breaking a window if you have to. Just PROTECT YOURSELF first. Emotional and verbal abuse comes first, then threats come with the verbal abuse, and then the physical violence will happen. He’ll claim the threats are empty, but they’re not. I have been choked, I have had my head slammed against the wall over and over….you get the idea. And he has threatened my life. But it was mainly emotional and verbal.

      I feel so much for you that you don’t have people to help you, ButterflyWings. I do have my family – they have helped me move out more times than I can count. It is a double edged sword, though, because for example the last time – right before Thanksgiving last November – he knocked me over and screamed in my face, then took MY CAR to the liquor store….I called everyone besides my brothers or parents because it was so embarrassing, but for some reason no one had their phones turned on, so I finally had to call Mom and I said, “Mommy I’m so ashamed but he’s being violent and I have to get out of here, and he took my car and I don’t know when he’s going to get back, I’m trying to pack but I don’t know what I’m doing and he has my car and I need help!!!!” This was before I had the shelter’s number. They live (and now I live) half an hour away, but she got my brother to be the strong arms and they came racing here, keeping me on the phone the entire time so when he came back he knew I was on the phone and he wouldn’t try anything. Although he did start the manipulation right away, tried to convince them I was crazy and psychotic (just like with the police), they didn’t bite like most people do, so he started screaming and cursing at them too. He screamed and cursed at my family, the family that always rescues me and is getting tired of rescuing me. Tired of hearing my excuses for his behavior, tired of me always going back to him. We got everything I own (with the exception of furniture and that sort of thing) into boxes – funny thing, for the past two weeks before that I had been calling around trying to find a women’s shelter that would take me (because things were being worse and worse and I felt it leading to something), and never got a call back (again, I didn’t have the abuse shelter’s number yet – when I called them recently just to talk, they called me back immediately), and finally decided to just prepare myself to live in my car because I was too ashamed to go back to my parents again. So I bought a variety of boxes, mostly big boxes, and toiletry stuff, and so on.

      And sex – sex was rare for years, to the point of there were about three years where he would only have sex with me roughly once every six weeks. Sometimes that would stretch out to eight weeks. He got mad at me for initiating.

      He too picks out his video games. He also wanted excessive alone time.

      He was very depressed, and became an alcoholic, which only made things a thousand times worse. It doesn’t excuse it, but it explains a lot of it. Something else that explains it is that…..he was horribly emotionally, physically, verbally, and sexually abused as a child.

      You have been married four months. I don’t know how long you were together before that. I didn’t find out entirely about his childhood until very recently – after nearly a decade. I have lived and died by his smiles and frowns during that time. He recently admitted to me that he sometimes treats me and talks to me like his mother used to treat him and talk to him. And the sexual abuse – of course that derails anyone’s ability to have a healthy sex life or to even be able to be intimate. I don’t know if that’s the case in your marriage, and if it is you may have no idea yet….and if it is and you ask him about it, chances are he’ll deny it. Because I suspected for years and asked him about it several times and he always denied it. It came out little pieces at a time.

      I feel like I’ve filled this reply with my story rather than encouragement, but I’m trying to assure you that you’re not alone, many people are in this situation, many people know how you feel. There are people who can help. Go to a counselor, a different counselor, by yourself, and ask about a women’s abuse shelter. Get the number. That’s where I got the number. Keep seeing a counselor individually if possible.

      Right now things are better between me and my husband, but I’m not living with him. I spend the night a few nights a week, but he knows I won’t move back in with him until he stops drinking completely and has actively participated in the pursuit of recovery for….as long as it takes. It may be a very long time before I live with him again, but I’m not going to put myself in a situation where my life is at risk any more.

      I published several posts in my blog that I started in the middle of last year, that I had reverted to draft, about the pain in our marriage. There were things I didn’t write about – for example, after last November I didn’t touch the blog for quite awhile. There’s quite a bit in there from the last honeymoon phase (in the cycle of violence) because I was naive enough to think it was lasting change. There are also recent posts about my recent discovery of his use of porn, and so on.

      I want to encourage you that it can get better, IF your husband honestly seeks help. It sounds like he’s not to that point yet. My husband didn’t get to that point until very recently – sometimes I wonder if he’s actually to that point even now, although things have improved a lot…..is it another honeymoon phase? Is he still lying to me about some things? I can’t be sure. In the end, it’s your decision as to whether or not you’ll stay, and it’s his decision as to whether or not he’ll change, but I again encourage you – set up a safety plan now. Take every precaution to make sure that you’re safe. Verbal and emotional abuse always leads to physical abuse at some point, and unlike what people say….physical abuse is worse than verbal or emotional abuse. I’ve experienced all three, mainly severe verbal and emotional abuse, but physical abuse is worse. It’s intertwined, actually, with emotional abuse, and verbal abuse plays a role in it as well, so I suppose it’s the culmination of all three – only in the case of physical abuse, your body, your face, and your very life are at risk. It’s terrifying. utterly terrifying. I can’t explain to anyone, only those who have experienced it can understand. So – SAFETY FIRST!!! Don’t put it off, like I did. Set up a safety plan. Don’t believe that the threats are empty words. Take them seriously.

      I hold you in my heart and my prayers, my sister. Hold fast to your faith, hold tightly to God. It is possible for your husband, for you, for your marriage to be healed, but be smart about it. Realize that it’s not going to happen until he recognizes what he’s doing and is willing to change it, and recognize that you can’t change him, and that you can’t help him unless he wants help. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

      Btw, I too live with chronic illness that is exacerbated by stress.

      I don’t know exactly what advice to give because I’m still working through it myself. I cling desperately to the good times, and persevere through the bad. But I am praying for you, and you are not alone.
      Jenny recently posted…reminiscing about last nightMy Profile

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