Many promises, few results

Low or no sex drive?
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Many promises, few results

Postby repor » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:18 pm

I'm new here (been lurking for a while but wasn't ever sure I wanted to start talking, which has obviously changed); we've been married almost 10 years, have two young children, and I would say we deal with most of the common pressures that adults see in everyday life. Apologies for the long post.

Straight to the point, sex has been a bit of a roller coaster since the first time, on our wedding night (neither had any prior sexual experience). She experienced typical discomfort but together we figured out how to take that out of the picture. Initially it was just frustrating in the down periods, but by now it's built to the point where I find myself at times dreading spending the rest of my life with someone who doesn't prioritize or even seem to need sex. We've had many conversations about it from different angles, some have seemed to help and some have just fizzled. The helpful ones usually end with each of us having something we've resolved to do to improve things. Sometimes they're directly sexual things, sometimes they address other parts of our relationship. But the common thread through nearly all of these is that she'll commit or promise to change something, try it maybe a few times, and give it up without explanation.

I freely admit that I'm far from perfect and have failed to follow through on my side sometimes, but with most I have really worked to, at the least, give it a fighting chance. But there's a difference between that and giving up nearly every time. And every time we go through it, I feel less optimistic that we'll see real improvement. And that just puts a damper on anything that does happen.

I feel badly about complaining, because we do have sex sometimes, we know something that works, we both orgasm each time if we want to (she sometimes even gets 4 or 5 if she chooses), and she's occasionally said she even likes sex. She never says she regrets having done it. From another perspective, we have sex maybe once or twice a month if I don't push her on it (not just initiate, convince/persuade or sometimes beg); we follow the same pattern every time, with little to no variety; her orgasms only occur by hand or toy, other attempts are cut off because they're "uncomfortable"; and saying she likes sex usually only occurs after I've cautiously requested feedback. I would love to be in an approximately every-other-day pattern but I'm happy with the idea of once or twice a week, which lately seems like more of a dream than an idea.

I've come to understand that being intimate with my wife is by far among the most effective things for replenishing my feelings of being loved. That's a deeply-rooted trait of mine. I've known the biochemistry behind this for a long time, but it took a bit to see it in me. I've tried to share this with her kindly in a non-confrontational way, but it seems to have had no effect. I'm typically turned down with one of three excuses: "I'm tired", "I'm too busy", or "I don't feel good". I don't want to be greedy or selfish, but I also don't see anything wrong with having reasonable preferences or needs.

Knowing this I've tried to give more of myself to help her with tasks so she's less busy and stressed, and get up with the kids at night so she can sleep. Most of that help is rejected. And for the cherry on top I'm later told that I don't do enough to help with all the work that needs to be done at home. We essentially live like roommates who take care of some kids and kiss each other.

Most recently, it had been a while since we had last been together, and she was expecting a busy time coming up, but there was at least an evening or two between that we could have taken advantage of since we knew the calendar was full. I tried to express that I really didn't want to put sex off, that it was really important to me to be with her and I wanted to make it a priority. The evening came and she chose to initiate another conversation about how I don't help enough, right when that window of possibility was opening. And then it's too late to start anything, and an "oh, by the way" apology as she's getting ready for bed and tells me how it's going to happen on one of these upcoming days that are supposed to be too busy, as if that's somehow believable. It hurts that she knew how strongly I felt and knew the restrictions facing us, and still chose to spend an hour telling me how I'm not good enough in something else.

What kills me is she's all I want. This matter aside, I have trouble imagining life without her. I feel like such a sucker every time I tell her she can try again. As much as the idea of getting out is appealing on rare occasions, I wouldn't be able to do it. I structure my life so that I can keep her a priority, though the efforts aren't reciprocated. Yet again, I feel stupid taking her promises even though history says she won't follow through. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do about it.
Last edited by repor on Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Many promises, few results

Postby SeekingChange » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:45 pm

Welcome to posting!

If you haven't done this, do.... pray for God to open her eyes to understanding the differences between you (or men) and herself. Pray that her heart be pierced where conviction is needed. Of course, pray those prayers for yourself as well.

I know it's frustrating and I now realize how hurtful these misunderstandings can be. From what you have shared, it wouldn't seem like your wife has ill-will towards you, it sounds more like ignorance (not meant in a bad way). It sounds like she just doesn't understand you and your needs because it is so different from her own personal experience. That's where I was. It didn't matter what my husband tried to communicate. It didn't matter what I heard from others, because it was so different from "my truth" or my own "personal experience", it seemed "false" to me, so it was easy for me to dismiss their claims.

It was an act of God that opened my eyes and gave me an understanding that I had never had. He used a blog, but it was the Holy Spirit that pierced my heart. We were 18 1/2 years into our marriage. Don't give up. Keep persevering. Make sure you keep walking by the Spirit and that you have a willing and surrendered heart and life to where the Spirit may be convicting you in your own life. Keep praying with hope, that Christ is at work in your wife and in your marriage.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: Many promises, few results

Postby tjw » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:05 am

I've come to understand that being intimate with my wife is by far among the most effective things for replenishing my feelings of being loved. That's a deeply-rooted trait of mine.

Yes, sir. That's a deeply-rooted trait we all (men) have, it seems. My DW is very good medicine for me :)

SeekingChange is giving you the real skinny on it. The "secret" (which is not a secret, but effectively hides from us men) is in learning what our wife's deeply-rooted trait is, and being medicine for her.

I'm trying to do that more these days. Granted, it may or may not result in more sex for me, however, I will get to the end of my road knowing that I
did all that I understood to bring Jesus into our marriage.

It didn't matter what I heard from others, because it was so different from "my truth" or my own "personal experience", it seemed "false" to me, so it was easy for me to dismiss their claims.

Dr. Phil so correctly says that we all have a "personal truth", and that our lives reflect it. The very salvation process of the Lord Jesus Christ is based upon changing our "personal truth" to HIS truth. It is not something accomplished by a "sinner's prayer" (although that may be the beginning of it), but through time, and practice as we continue to follow and espouse Him as our chief good.

As SeekingChange said, the misunderstandings are indeed hurtful. And I agree that in my case and in yours, this doesn't come from any "ill-will" on the part of our wives.

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Re: Many promises, few results

Postby repor » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:44 am

Been meaning to respond for days, but this week has really gotten away from me...

Thank you, I do try to remember that I know better than to get caught up in thinking, "I've already put so much prayer into this and nothing happened, I don't see the point," though it's certainly tempting at times. I know it's His timeline that really matters, but I do get awfully attached to my own.

We talked a couple nights ago about the most recent rejection which I mentioned. She initially said she didn't remember I was really hoping for some "us time" but then said she actually did remember but thought she wouldn't take so long. I asked if anything would have happened and hot awkward silence. She thought it could wait until after the busy-ness passed and it wouldn't matter (?) though that is specifically what I had told her I wanted to avoid - using almost those exact words. I have trouble understanding how I could speak so plainly and she still managed to get something so different from it.

I did learn that my wife is apparently highly sensitive to how her cooking is received, which I was definitely not aware of. (If you knew her personality you would understand how unexpected this really is...) Useful information, for certain. And of course now that I know I can actually be respectful of that and cut out something that interferes with her happiness.

I tried to explain again what sex is for me, but I really don't know how successful it was. She says she's not the same way, and I still have trouble processing the idea that she doesn't see value in trying to figure out if there's something to be said for seeing if that's worth trying to change. It's not like it's a fixed, inborn quality. I don't want to force her into anything, but it seems like if you do actually like something to begin with, and someone you care about really loves that thing, maybe you'd be interested in seeing if there's something more to it. I worry that just accepting that she's less interested is the same as giving up. And I really don't want to give this up.

And there was that ever-present discussion about frequency. I've really come to dislike that whole thing. I hate agreeing on "once a week" for two reasons. First, it feels like it precludes the possibility of anything more. Why pay attention to whether you might feel interested if you've already filled your quota? But second, it makes everything feel scheduled. If you have much going on in your life, you have a few times to pick from and soon it feels scheduled and predictable. How do I know she's interested if we both know it's going to happen and she has plenty of time to work herself up to it? The mind can endure some pretty unpleasant things if it has enough time to prepare.

She asked if I feel rejected personally whenever she says no to sex. Of course, the answer was a firm yes. The question surprised me, coming from her -- thus far she has only focused on how what I say doesn't fit her reality.

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