When I was writing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex I conducted longer interviews with some men, asking them some open-ended questions about marriage (the men were all together; it wasn’t a one-on-one situation). And what absolutely floored me was how much pain they expressed because their wives rejected them sexually. It really convicted me of doing similar things with my husband, especially early in our marriage, but also when I got stressed or tired. To most men, sex is a measure of love. It really hurts when we say no.
Now, if your husband is usually the one who says no, I have a series of posts on men’s lower libido here that will likely apply to you more today. But for those of us who are the lower-libido spouse in marriage, I’d like you to read this email from a man that I recently received with an open mind. Ask yourself: Could my husband have written this?
It has been a while since I wrote. It has been a while since I have even been on your site. Not for lack of interest in what you have to say, in fact, I am on board with nearly everything you have to say. It has been so long simply because I just kind of gave up hope that my marriage would turn into what it once was and what I believe it should be. Reading stuff about it only made me more depressed.
It was maybe a year ago or so that I just kind of stopped trying to make it better with my actions. I stopped reading blogs, books, etc on building a better marriage/sex life because my wife wasn’t putting in the same effort, or any effort for that matter. She feels that everything is fine and I just expect too much. Regardless of her thought on that, fact of the matter is, I feel rejected, alone and depressed at the state of our marriage. Even knowing that, she feels I am wrong.
Well since then, we decided to have another child. I love her to the ends of the earth, just as I do our first child. Silly me though, I thought that having another baby would help bring us back together (not why we had the baby), but that was just a false hope. Now my wife is becoming depressed, not post postpartum, but depressed because she feels that she cant give enough to both children, she feels she is neglecting our oldest. So now, not only did I feel completely left out before, but my wife is being pulled in more directions than ever before and has zero time for me. I don’t know if that is selfish or not. I really am just trying to let her be, help out with the kids as much as possible, etc, but it just feels hopeless. She has been mad at me for doing things on the weekends, hobbies and what not, and not spending the entire weekend helping her. She is a stay at home mom and is able to see her other stay at home mom friends on a daily basis, family on a daily basis, etc. But the moment I want to do something of my own with my friends, I am the bad guy.
I understand that taking care of 2 children is more than a full time job, way more work. But just the same, I have an almost 2 hour commute each way, 9 hours at the office (1 hour lunch in which I go to the gym every day to try to stay in shape for my wife), so it’s not like my alone time each day is spent on me…Anyways…I hope I am not coming across as a selfish jerk of a husband. I love my wife…and all I want to do is for her to love me as she used to. If I am not mistaken, the marriage relationship is supposed to come before the parent/child relationship. Not in a neglecting manner, but one in which the kids notice the love mommy and daddy have for each other and see that is their priority in life, giving the kids a sense of security and protection in the home. Oh well…it is what it is.
Do you feel his pain?
Of course if we were to ask his wife for her side of the story, we’d likely hear her pain, too. But I’m not sure that’s helpful. She tells her husband he’s wrong to feel that there’s something missing in their marriage. But his feelings do count, even if her feelings are different. Please, ladies, don’t dismiss your husband’s feelings.
And she’s pouring herself into her kids, which is natural, but often counter-productive. Once you’re parents, your marriage matters more, not less, because other people are counting on you. You can’t be a good mom if you’re not also a good wife.
If you think your husband could have written that, take a moment and feel his pain. Absorb it. And then, please, talk to him about it and make some decisions to change and put your husband’s needs first. This man loves his wife, and wants his marriage to thrive. Shouldn’t we want the same thing? If your husband is feeling distant, your marriage will never thrive. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong; it’s about how to connect again. He matters. Don’t leave him out there hanging. Talk to him, consider him, and tangibly care about him. You’ll end up far happier in the long run–and so will he.
Marriage isn't supposed to be blah! Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.