Q&A: Difficulty Showing Affection

“I have been with my fiancé for two years. I love him very much, but have a difficult time showing it. He is a great man. Has great integrity, treats me well. He is my best friend. He has also done a lot for me and I have supported him in his time of need. I can’t imagine my life without him. However, his needs are frequently the last things that I think about. I often feel pressured to hug or kiss him, in part because he makes such a big deal when I don’t. When I do hug or kiss him he thinks it is because he lectured me into it, when really I just felt like doing it. I have become increasingly affectionate, however, he feel that I have been lectured into being so. That may be the case, but I really just want to now. He has lots of issues surrounding things that happened in his childhood, most seriously being made to feel inadequate and having a mom very much like me. I just know that I love him and need to work on showing that, getting him to believe the genuineness of it and getting him to stop making references to my past relationships.  I rarely question whether or not I love him or that we are meant to be together until he starts to point out my shortcomings when it come to showing him that I care. I don’t like that.  I don’t like the confusion. He’s a great man. I understand that and I don’t want to let him go.”

It sounds like you two need to work on your communication skills.  You could easily look into some pre-marital counseling to help with that.  I’m not sure about where you live, but here it’s the norm to receive counseling before you get married, to help iron out many different issues (some of which you mentioned).  I think that you two would benefit greatly from talking to someone prior to marriage.  They will help you two dialogue about key issues that are affecting your relationship.

On a side note, at one point in my marriage I was the less affectionate one.  I, too, felt pressured to hug/kiss my husband and sometimes would even cringe when he would touch me.  Talk about a shot to my husband’s ego (and heart)! 😦   He wanted me to feel cherished and loved when he touched me, not to resist him.  It was a sad time in our marriage, and I was reacting that way because I was hurt & angry and holding on to something that had happened in my past, although I didn’t realize it at the time.  My husband confronted me and basically told me that he couldn’t go on any longer like we were.  We had a VERY LONG TALK and got everything out in the open, and in the end I agreed to try to work on my responses to his touch and being affectionate… and he agreed to be patient with me and let me try to work through it in my own time schedule.

After a month or so he remarked to me casually that he could tell that I was actively trying to make a change and that he appreciated it.  That’s all that was said.  After a couple more months he told me that he noticed I was freely giving him more hugs/kisses out of the blue and that it made him feel so good…and he thanked me for it.  A couple more months went by and by this time he was approaching me with hugs & kisses and I wasn’t cringing or pushing him away any more.  I had worked through my issues (that he knew about, because remember we had talked) on my own timetable without pressure from him.  And now here we are years later and I’m still so very affectionate with him!

I told you that only to let you know that I’ve had a similar situation and came through it stronger.  You and your fiancé can as well if you are willing to communicate honestly about what your issues are and are willing to give each other the space and/or encouragement you need to work through them.  This is definitely something that can grow larger and interfere with your marriage in the future, so you really need to focus on coming together with a plan for how you will work through this now. I’ll pray for you two, that you are able to work through this together and come out stronger on the other side.

Weekly poll #43: How do you feel about the messiness of sex?

Monday’s Mission #97

Your mission this week is to take some time to pray for the other marriages represented in the readership of our blog. Some are thriving and some are suffering, but no matter what we all need more of God’s presence in our marriages. More grace. More peace. More compassion. More faith. More unfailing love. Please take some time to ask the Lord to bless the marriages represented here and to work out everything that is happening for His glory.

Q&A: Painful Intercourse

My husband and I have been married for 5years and have two boys ages 4 and 1. We have never had a great sex life in the sense of intercourse. We have made do with oral sex for the majority of our marriage. Reason being, sex is painful for me. Still, after 5 years. We’ve tried everything I can think of and still nothing helps. We’ve tried more foreplay, more lubrication, less lubrication, more frequency(sex every day), less frequency (every other day…every week etc…), I’ve asked a dr. and they showed me a muscle I could try to relax, but still that hasn’t helped. I still hurt when we have sex, I have never once enjoyed sex, not in the slightest, it is painful the whole time and I don’t know what else to try.

I should mention that both of my sons were c-sections because my dr. told me my pelvis was too small to deliver them. So I have not had a vaginal birth, which after I got pregnant with my 1st I was hoping that would help my problem with how tight I am.

What else can we do?? I don’t know what the problem is, I’ve tried relaxing, we’ve tried different positions, it’s just so tight and it stings with almost every lubrication we’ve tried, and it feels dry no matter how much lubrication we use.

We invited Lauren Jorden to respond to this question and her response is below.

What you are describing is called Dyspareunia – which means, painful intercourse.  You may also have some involuntary muscle spasms, which can in some cases make intercourse impossible.  When intercourse is impossible, we call that Vaginismus.  There is treatment for this very frustrating problem.  Usually a combination of sex therapy – where you would talk with someone specifically trained to look at any thoughts, feelings or anything traumatic in your past, which could be contributing to the problem.  The other part of treatment would be to work with a Physical Therapist who is specifically trained in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.  In Dallas, the Dallas Center for Women’s Sexual Wellness is a wonderful resource for women who need the Physical Therapy.  It is important to address both the mind and the body part of the problem for the best recovery.  So there is hope!  Unfortunately, some ob/gyns are not familiar with this problem at all, and do not know how to help their patients in this area.

If you don’t live in Dallas, you could still call the Dallas Center to ask for a referral in your area.  Their number is 214-818-5300. Good luck.

Lauren Jordan, LCSW
Certified Sex Therapist

Daytime Dates

For us, it’s hard getting a sitter for our kids.  Both sets of grandparents live out of town, although we do use them from time to time.  We don’t have other extended family members nearby and we just don’t feel right leaving them with the neighbors.  While we do ship the kids off to grandma’s house to spend the night every couple of months, we sometimes feel like we need some quality time together in between those times.  We have found something that works perfectly for us… DAYTIME DATES!

Both of our children are in school now.  That makes daytime dates possible for us.  We pick a day that we want to spend together and my husband takes a vacation day for that date.  Then we don’t tell the kids!  We wake up acting all normal on the morning of said date, and put the kids on the bus for school as if nothing is up.  Then, as soon as they are gone we have the entire day together…until the bus brings them back home that afternoon.  We know that we have from 7:45am until 3:15pm to fit in whatever we can!

Morning sex is always a possibility, and we don’t have to be quiet.  Then we can leisurely get dressed and go out to breakfast together or go to a coffee shop.  From there we usually set our sights on shopping for something that we need, like clothes for the kids or something for the house, or even just a grocery store trip together without the kids!  Sometimes we just window-shop and stroll hand in hand in a nearby mall checking out what’s going on.  On a couple of these dates we have been known to get intimate in the dressing rooms! 😆

There are so many possibilities though.  You can go to a park and swing together (like we did when we were dating), you can go bowling, you can play tennis or go to the batting cages, or you can go see a matinee!  You could grocery shop and come home and cook lunch together or you could find a nice restaurant for lunch.  You could take a walk or rake the leaves together, all the while having fun with each other.  The important thing here is just being together and having your focus be on each other.

We have been having one or two daytime dates per month, and it’s really been so good for our relationship.  I so enjoy the time that I get to spend with my husband, and it helps me to relieve stress and be in a better mood when my kids get off that bus in the afternoon.  So everyone wins!

I know that for some of you this idea may be impossible right now.  We weren’t able to do it when our kids were little.  We had to wait until they were both in school, and me being a stay-at-home-mom helps too.  But think about it and see if there is any way that you could make it work for your situation at all.   Even a HALF a day may work for you and your spouse.  Just remember that there is no rule that says your “dates” with your husband have all got to be at night!

If you are able to work out having a daytime date with your husband, leave us a comment and let us know how it went!

Weekly poll #42: Breast self exams

Monday’s Mission #96

Your mission this week is to ask your husband what it is that you do that is most sexy to him. This isn’t about what he would like you to do, but what you already do. It’s good to get feedback on how we present ourselves to our husbands. We may not be aware of how our choices or behaviors entice our husbands so it’s good to get some communication happening about that. Then, when he has told you what he finds sexy about you, try to be intentional about doing that more often.

Q&A: Intercultural Marriages

Any advice for intercultural marriages?

My fiance and I grew up in different countries or cultures.

Someone emailed in this question and I wanted to take the time to respond to it. I would really appreciate ladies who have first hand experience offering their perspective in the comment section. I do not personally relate to this question, but having said that I have still learned a few things that I would offer as a jumping off point for this discussion.

Of my friends who are in intercultural marriages, from what I observe in their relationships, they do not have a whole lot more struggle than any of the rest of us. The need for effective communication is incredibly important no matter what a couple’s backgrounds are. In addition to that, success in marriage requires respect and maturity, and that applies whether or not a couple has been raised in the same culture.

Having said that, if a couple’s backgrounds are highly diverse, the adjustment towards intimacy may be a little more complicated. What is primarily important is that there is unity on important life issues such as faith and child rearing. If the couple is mutually committed to a healthy marriage, they can work through whatever differences they have. I don’t believe that cultural differences are any more insurmountable than other things. My husband was raised in a very different family than I was and we have had to learn to communicate well with each other, but my friend who married a man from Kenya man has had to learn the same thing. It’s not impossible when the couple is mature and approaches the relationship with a high commitment to loving each other well.

So basically I believe that if you are marrying a man who shares your faith and you approach your marriage focused on respecting each other and employ good communication skills, you are going to have a very successful marriage.

Weekly poll #41: What month were you married in?

Monday’s Mission #95

Your mission this week is to invite your husband to read a book together. There certainly are a lot of fantastic books available which discuss sex from a Christian worldview, but you aren’t limited to that. I am going to invite my husband to read a book with me about how to live a life with honor towards others. Discussing new ideas that are brought into your marriage through a book is a really great way to connect on a different level with your husband. If your husband doesn’t have a big interest in reading pick a good book and then share some of the highlights aloud with him. Or just find an article in a magazine that is really good and share that with him.

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