There is a video going around Facebook right now, titled “Married Sex During the Week”. It consists of a man suggestively rubbing his wifes back, while she, in impatience and disgust, makes excuse after excuse to dissuade him – I did a lot of laundry and I’m tired; I haven’t showered in three days, and I smell like a bag of onions; I don’t want to cuddle, because cuddling means your pants will come off and I will have to do things; Are you pouting? You’re pouting, aren’t you? – as the days of the week tick by.
Eventually, on Friday night, in exasperation she tells her husband that she can give him five minutes, so he has to be fast and just get it done.
The caption to the video? “How many can relate to this?” With laughing emojis.
Watching this struck a chord, and not a funny one. If this video really does feel familiar to you, you know as well as I do how not-funny it really is to want to share the ultimate intimacy with your spouse, and being told no. Or to be the one to say no.
I remember when this was the norm in my marriage – right down to the disgust and exasperation on my wife’s face. I remember asking for sex and being told no.
I remember feeling rejected and wondering what was wrong with her – and what was wrong with me. I would roll away from her, sometimes getting up and sleeping somewhere else.
And I remember when she would give in just to shut me up.
She didn’t trust me to cuddle, because I took it as an invitation for sex. We stopped cuddling.
She said “no” so often, I stopped trusting that she ever actually wanted to be intimate, and only did to make me stop asking. I stopped asking, refusing to be vulnerable.
Eventually, physical contact stopped altogether.
Hurt, anger, frustration, distrust. This is what sex was for us. For many, many years that was all we experienced when it came to sexual intimacy. We were disconnected, and unhappy.
I did. I chose to change how I showed up for, and with, my beloved wife, when it came to our sex life.
I chose to let go of my perceived “biological need”, and stopped expecting her to want to have sex every time I did.
I chose to make cuddling just that – nothing more, so I could learn to appreciate just having her close.
I chose to trust that Marianne always, always loves me, and always wants to be intimate. That her saying “no” only means that sex is not the form of intimacy she needs.
I chose to be unconditional. To allow Marianne to say “no”, and to stay present, stay emotionally, mentally, and physically engaged with her, so that I could show that it is HER I want – not her vagina and breasts. Not the sex. I want her.
I chose to be happy, no matter how she responded.
I made that decision over three years ago. It has been a journey. Months of conversations, listening to what she needs and wants, likes and dislikes, what makes her feel loved. I made mistakes.
There were times I became frustrated. There were times I still felt hurt and rejected. Earning her trust seemed an impossible task.
I kept going. I stayed true to my choice. I chose to believe I was doing the right thing and moving in the right direction, even when I made mistakes. Even on the days when it felt that my body would explode if I we didn’t have sex.
I chose to believe that Marianne is worth giving my trust, and worth waiting for, whether or not she reciprocates, however long it does or does not take.
And in that time, Marianne made her own choices. She had her own journey to travel. It took her longer than I thought, longer than I wanted, to begin trusting me again.
I waited. Patiently, lovingly, and staying true to myself and my commitment, until she was ready. I grew in love for her, and for myself. Day by day, I became the man she needed.
And every moment of the journey is worth it. Every heart ache. Every prayer. Every time I turned to the Lord for what I needed. Every moment of growth was worth it.
Every. Single. One.
And now, Marianne and I share the most passionate physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy, as often as either of us wants, because we have chosen a bottom line: We love each other. We honor each other. We are always connected in love. And we live in the way that makes it true, every single day.
Because in the end, sex is the RESULT of ultimate connection and intimacy, not the source. And in this kind of relationship, there is never a feeling of lack. Whether we have sex once a day or once a year, it is enough – because I want HER. Not sex.
Marianne, I am sorry for the time in our marriage when you couldn’t trust me. I am sorry for not trusting you.
Thank you for taking the time to let me back in.
I love you.