Building Up Your Marriage

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By Rebecca Teti


Thursday: Marriage

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Struggling in your marriage? Have some relationship advice to share? Have a marriage success story to share? Have a man/woman question? This weekly thread is the place to do it.

Come on in and join the conversation!

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • My husband is initiating sex once per month lately. This does not seem very often to me, and I am starting to wonder if we need to have a conversation about WHY he is letting so much time elapse. I don't know how to have this conversation without sounding accusatory (we did have "internet issues" about two years ago). Back then, the only reason I found out the internet stuff was happening is because a priest gave a sermon about it at our church & afterwards I commented how that didn't apply to US... and there was this hideous awkward pause & then he confessed everything to me. So I never SAW anything on the computer, etc. Because of this, I go through times of feeling suspicious but not having any evidence. Now feels like one of those times. But I honestly have NOTHING that tells me he is doing anything he shouldn't. He just wants sex way less often. I am just asking other women out there how they would handle this.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 7:55 AM by anonymous

  • My husband and I are at odds about cleaning. He wants it to be "my job" (both indoor and outdoors, although he will mow but thats it. And I had to really twist his arm to get him to do the mowing.) I also do all the childCARE and he plays with the kids a little bit after work. I feel swamped and want to share some of this work! He complains about not being a "Mr. Mom" and not being good at "woman's work." He was raised by a single mom and always says, "My mom did it ALL, all by herself!" It ticks him off that I won't change our car's oil, too. I guess his mom probably did that herself, too. Anyways I need help helping my husband see that he's not being womanish by taking on some of these duties (whether its yard cleanup or house cleanup!) And having him appreciate me (instead of comparing me to his mom) would be nice, too.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 9:38 AM by unknown

  • Unknown, it might help if you can gently remind your husband that you and his mother are two different people, living in different times and places, with different skills, talents, and interests. Do you compare your husband with your father? (Stop if you do!!) Anyway, sometimes gently stating the obvious can clear the air, and sometimes quietly asking for help will get you what you need. Remember to use "I" phrases -- "I need help, I am unable to do this by myself" rather than "You never help me." Good luck and peace to you.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 11:16 AM by Anne in NC

  • Anon-if your gut instinct is telling you something is up, well, something is definitely up. Either way, you really need to have a sit down talk with him about this...a date night/nice dinner followed by telling him the raw truth about how you are feeling. Let him talk too & just listen. Letting him know that he is wanted/needed may be all that he needs, also don't discount an underlying med issue or stress at work.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 11:29 AM by Avk

  • Do you have any couple friends you could get together with? Do you play games? Do you have fun as a couple? What kinds of things did you do when you were dating? Let him known that you admire & have the utmost respect for his mother & can't imagine putting yourself in her shoes & how thankful you are for not having to be in her shoes. Also, say a few extra "thank yous" if he does something that you know he considers "women's work". Remember you are on the same team, especially in front of your kids.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 11:36 AM by Unknown

  • Oops. That one above was from me to Unknown..sorry.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 11:36 AM by Avk

  • Anonymous, I find that asking my husband about sex is the best way to find out what is going on. Sometimes it is something as simple as he is tired from working long hours. If you feel you are sending him the same signals that have worked in the past and your flirtations are not working, then pray about it and have a gentle conversation. Do not bring up the past, just ask if there is something that has changed and maybe he will open up and you can work on it together. Sometimes my husband also waits for me to initiate sex and it is a relief to him that I do.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 11:41 AM by unknown

  • Dear Anonymous, First, I'm sorry there was internet infidelity in your relationship. Any infidelity can be difficult to overcome. I haven't had the same experience but I know my husbands needs. If he isn't coming to me then I will go to him. I will put on some perfume, something nice under my clothes, and when he gets home from work I make a lot of eye contact - the kind that tells my man I desire him. The kind of look he should only receive from me. I linger with my welcome kiss, I rub his arms in a way that says I can't wait to have these arms hold me later. Let your feet touch under the table etc. Turn him on! Give everything to him when you are in the bedroom. Hold nothing back. If... if he is wandering a bit... FIGHT FOR HIM. TAKE BACK WHAT IS YOURS!! FIGHT WITH YOUR WHOLE BEING!! Everything you do, do out of love for him, out of love for your family and ask God to sanctify it. God bless you.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 11:44 AM by Barb

  • Dear Anonymous - I think that it is telling that you brought up the "internet issues" while discussing your concerns. Perhaps it is not what is causing your husband's lack of interest in sex, but you should not ignore gut feelings. I like what one response said about some husbands waiting for their wives to initiate. Maybe that is what is going on. Regardless, you should have a conversation with him. I am not sure what "internet problems" you experienced, but if it was por.nogr.aphy, then you definitely should not ignore your gut. It was revealed to me that my husband was looking at por.nog.raphy on the computer/movies/magazines, etc. very early in our marriage. I was upset, but it seemed to go away. Unfortunately, it did not. I found out a couple years ago that he was addicted to it. I am not saying that this is what is happening in your situation, but I share this just so you can be aware that addictions to it are very real. Medical research has shown that the brain response to it is as strong or stronger than that to C.oca.ine. If you do end up seeking marital counseling and/or counseling for yourself or him (if there is a problem), then make sure it is with someone who has experience with treating s.ex addictions. These websites can also help: http://reclaimsexualhealth.com/ and http://www.dads.org/catholic_porn_help.asp . Lastly, if that is the problem, please know that you are not alone. For anyone else out there who is also struggling with this problem in their marriage, know that there is help. It takes a lot of work on both spouse's parts, but there can be healing. God bless you and prayers for your guidance. -JT

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 12:09 PM by JT

  • I appreciate the replies. I just want to add that my husband has strongly told me he NEVER wants me to initiate sex, so he would not find this appealing. The few times I did (when we were first married) he killed my overtures by calling them "pathetic" and "mood killers." Needless to say, I NEVER try anymore, haha! He even pulls away if I try to do a long kiss when he gets home, etc. HE wants to be the one to initiate long kisses when HE wants. At this point in our marriage (5 years in) it takes a lot on my part to touch him at all (unless initiated by him). Basically, I don't. And I don't mean for this to sound too weird. He's a great guy. He just likes to be in charge and that include initiating. So that's why I don't really know what to do when he stops initiating! I'm used to sitting around waiting. But not this long. Talking is going to be hard to do, as previous conversations (initiating by him, of course) have been all about how he likes sex to be his domain. Bleh. :(

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 12:17 PM by anonymous

  • Oh, gosh. Just after I typed that, I realized it is all sounding very porn-like. He has always liked to be in charge of the sex area. All of it. And just have me respond when he wants. Like an internet site he can just pull up whenever he wants. Oh great. Why did I not make that connection before? Yuck. I see an ugly conversation coming up. Whether there's porn going ALSO or not, he shouldn't be so much the "boss" in the sex realm. Why did it take me 5 years for this to click? Please pray for us.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 12:21 PM by anonymous

  • Praying for you anonymous

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 1:04 PM by Lisa

  • Praying for you, anonymous! Unknown, I remember you posting about some of these frustrations before. Might counseling help since he seems unable to move on from his childhood home to his new here-and-now family? Or, if not, Anne in NC had some good suggestions. Also, might you be able to (gently) point out that, while you admire his mom for doing such a great job on her own with him, does he think that the single-mom household he was raised with is the ideal? And, if not, then what *should* things have been like if his dad had been in the picture? Sure, single parents take on the "jobs" that should be shared equally and many of them do very well. But rarely does anyone think that that is the way things "should" be or that, if the other spouse were present, nothing at all would be different except having another person watching while the not-technically-single parent keeps on single-parenting. Anyway, talking about what he would have expected to see his dad do might give him a different perspective. Would he have been happy to have a dad treat his mom the way dh treats you?

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 3:54 PM by Anna

  • Unknown, just had to throw out another thought: did he have responsibilities to help around the house as he got old enough or did his mom keep doing it all? We've all seen the martyr-complex type of person who won't let anyone else help shoulder the weight of the world; was his mom that type at all, so he never had anyone expect (or teach) him to help out? I also remember meeting one mother and son at a conference: she was a single mom who had been abused and had a hugely negative view of all men (and need for all women to be viewed as perfect - b/c otherwise abuse would be women's fault). I don't know if she got anything from that week, but for her son (age 18 or 19), it was clearly the first time he had heard anything positive about being male (this was a Theology of the Body class). Could something similar have been the case for dh? That maybe there wasn't anything good to being a guy, so there's clearly nothing useful or good that he could do (not that you convey that, but if that's the mindset he was ingrained with, it's hard to shake, especially if it's not conscious). Also, affirmation is what kids look to their dads for - and since he didn't get that, or any role modeling or teaching of "here's this guy thing that I'm passing on to you," he's afraid of not being competent at those "guy things" and so he just passes them on to you as "woman's work" that he has no business being competent at? I mean, it's not like oil changes and mowing are exactly considered "woman's work" in our society, so it makes me wonder if some family-of-origin insecurities are the underlying problem.

    Posted on Mar 7th, 2013 at 8:48 PM by Anna