Source: Photo by Shutterstock. Used by permission.
Want great sex? Here’s something you probably overlooked. And no, it’s probably not more personal hygiene. Read on.
It was just a blog or two ago that I was discussing vicious cycles in marriage. Vicious cycles in marriage usually result when a spouse attempts to ameliorate a problem which results in the problem only getting worse which, in turn, causes the other spouse to try even harder, ad nauseum and ad divorceum.
Today’s topic involves the vicious cycle of love and respect. Love and respect are two crucial elements in every marriage. Both husband and wife should love and respect one another. However, in most cases, husbands seem to require more expressions of respect than wives do and wives seem to require more expressions of love than their husbands do. This may indeed be due to the fact that husbands in actuality don’t love wives the way they need to be loved and wives really don’t respect their husbands the way they need to be respected.
This can turn into an ugly vicious cycle. If, for example, a husband does not express adequately his love for his wife, she will disrespect him. The more she disrespects him, the less he will express love in the way she needs it and so on and so forth. Husbands will often shut down and become less communicative and his wife will lose her sexual feelings for him. If this cycle continues, it will lead both parties to believe that have married the wrong people which, in turn, can lead to divorce.
The Respect – Love vicious cycle is common today. Greg and Melissa typify this problem:
Melissa and Greg had been struggling in their marriage for about three years when they decided to seek marriage counseling. Though they had several problems, the main one appeared to center around their sex life which was basically nonexistent. Upon further questioning, the couple revealed that neither one of them wanted sex. Melissa felt that Greg was cold and distant and far too critical of her. Greg, on the other hand, felt that Melissa did not appreciate his hard work (Craig was a plumber who had recently began his own business) and was far too sarcastic to her.
“He just seems so distant”, she said. “He never wants to talk to me anymore. We used to stay up all night when we were first married. He would tell me about everything from his childhood, his friends and his family. I loved how he sought my input and my counsel as well as my company. He would bring me my favorite ice cream if I wasn’t feeling well and would rub my feet for me when I was tired. Emotionally, he was’ there’ for me if you know what I mean.”
“Who wants to talk to you anymore anyway”, Greg said. I come home you barely say hello and you complain constantly about my job making me work long hours. I’m the one who makes the money right? I put the roof over your head in the groceries on the table. You’re just so nasty all of the time. You have absolutely zero respect for me and all I do for us. I spent the entire weekend fixing our leaky roof and all you did was complain.”
“I didn’t sign up for a loveless marriage, Greg”, Melissa said. If all you want to do is work, why don’t you just do that. There will never be time never time for us.”
“I do love you, Melissa. I just can’t live with you. What happened the last time I approach to for sex? Zero. You were too tired for the thousandth time. I had even bought you flowers and put on some music. I’m sick of trying.”
“I can’t just hop in bed with you. I am not a sex bot”, Melissa said.
As is true with most vicious cycles, either party can begin to fix things. I began with Greg. I asked him what he needs to do in order to make his wife feel loved. He was a little surprised by that question and had to admit that he really didn’t know. He felt he tried everything. Melissa took the opportunity to explain to him that what upsets her the most is when he does not consider her to his plans. She told him that he makes all the plans regarding himself but never considers how his plans affects her. For example, when he works on weekends, it leaves all of the home care and child care on her. She would have to make all decisions regarding the family while he was away at work often unavailable even on the phone. It was the burden on her shoulders to make these decisions that upset her the most and made her feel most lonely and unloved. She felt he should consider this before accepting extra work. He had a hard time accepting the fact that this one little thing would be all it would take to turn his marriage around yet he agreed anyway.
Melissa asked Greg what she needed to do to make them feel respected. Greg wasn’t a big talker; especially about his feelings, but he was able to communicate the fact that he did not like her accusatory tone of voice; especially in front of the children. Also that she did not seem to appreciate all of the extras that she seemed to enjoy as a result of his working overtime. Melissa also admitted that in the past she felt that his requests for respect were simply requests to massage his male ego but that she would try anyway.
As is usually the case, when both parties work together the rewards comes rather quickly. The couple had sex twice that week and Greg rescheduled some weekend work so they could go away. It is important to notice here that the sexual difficulties did not have to be addressed head on as sexual issues are usually the result of other problems and once those problems are fixed, good sex follows. This is usually the case with problems of a sexual nature.
What does this mean for your marriage? Wives, you need to ask your husbands just how they need to be respected; it’s often different for everybody so don’t just assume you know. You might be making the mistake of offering him respect in a way that you would like rather than what he would like. And husbands, you need to step up your game on loving your wives. Believe them when they tell you they need more love. Take some responsibility for many things that go on outside of work. Don’t just help out with the household routines; but rather assume responsibility for them by being concerned about them enough for you to begin a dialogue with your wife on just what should be done and how to go about doing it. One woman told her husband that the biggest act of love he could do for her was to take out the garbage!
And finally, don’t forget that it takes two people to create a vicious cycle. The good news and that is that one person can stop it. Make that one person you and you will feel more empowered in your relationship.
And all of God’s blessings to you and your marriage!