My on-going journey to better wifehood is definitely more of an overgrown trail through the woods than a nice paved path along the beach.

Sometimes we get into a slump. With various life issues going on, my husband’s been pretty preoccupied lately. This affects his interest in sex. So Mr. “I Want You Every Day” from a few years ago occasionally turns into Mr. “Meh.” And sometimes, his slump is caused by something I’ve done. (I know. It’s hard to believe, but I do occasionally make mistakes.)

At those times, I not only am physically neglected, I feel emotionally left alone, too. And then I find myself remembering why it was I started refusing in the first place all those years ago. I need connection, and when I feel disconnected from him, everything starts to break down. And I can feel my walls going back up.

There are some days, then, when I have to work really hard to respond to his slump without putting up my walls again. That still feels like my default mode at times, and when I’m feeling emotionally shut off from my husband, it just starts a snowball rolling down the hill that gets bigger and bigger. By the same token, when I get into the stressed-out witchiness that used to accompany my refusal and gatekeeping, he starts to get surly and irritable.

I’ve learned something wonderful, though. The more we build our base level of physical and emotional intimacy (primarily, but not only, through sex), the easier it is to bounce back from these slumps. We know each other better. I know that when he is in a slump, I need to back off from sex a bit while still giving him physical affection (hugging, holding hands); he knows that when he’s coming out of a slump, what I most need is for him to talk to me about his feelings and just hold me.

We’re always going to have bumps and stumbles as we continue on this journey called marriage. Sometimes, we’re going to trip and hurt something. But the closer we grow, the more quickly the healing happens when we do stumble. And then we can hold hands again and continue on our married way.

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