Our conversations about our marriage were quiet and heart-wrenching. Although Big Guy has a big voice and isn’t afraid to use it, when he was vulnerable and shared his heart, he spoke softly.
It was the quietness that got to me. I could hear his quiet voice much more clearly than I could hear his pain-infused volume.
“I just want to make love with you. How can I help you be more interested in sex?” “Why don’t you like sex like you used to?” His questions were honest and sincere.
I didn’t know how to answer him. Sometimes I didn’t truly know the answer myself. Other times I knew the answer but didn’t know how to speak through my own pain:
- You emotionally abandoned me and don’t even care at the pain I’ve experienced.
- I am stressed out from work and the kids and all the housework and you expect me to drop what I’m doing when it’s 10:30 and I still have four other things on my to-do list for the day.
- I feel invisible to you. I don’t think you see what I experience or who I truly am.
- I am overwhelmed by life.
- You tell me you love me in a vague and general way. The only time you ever tell me something specific you love about me is when it relates to sex.
- You never share your heart with me unless it is about sex. I am desperate to be more to you.
And out loud I would say, “I don’t know.” “I guess I don’t have much of a sex drive.” “I don’t feel good.”
I either spoke a truth that he did not hear or I spoke words that were my unsuccessful attempt to get at the truth.
The conversations would sometimes lead to fights and other times lead to sex. Either way, they led to me lying in tears while I cried myself to sleep in my loneliness.
I felt especially alone after we’d had a difficult conversation about our marriage. I didn’t know what to. I didn’t even know what the problem truly was. What I did know was that our marriage wasn’t working right.
When I feel like life is completely falling apart, I try to find a way to restore a sense of order in my mind. Sometimes this means that I write out my feelings in rhyme. The rhythm of the words and the control of the rhyme give me great comfort. After some of our painful conversations, it meant that I pulled out a pen and started scribbling words down.
I cleaned out a box today and ran cross something that pulled me right back into the pain of the past. It was one of the things I’d written after a conversation that did not result in sex. I can still see the tear stains on the page.
I am sharing it here because I want you to see where I once was in my marriage. If you push aside the bad poetry and attempted rhyme, you may be able to see the heart hurt I was experiencing in my marriage.
I’m lying in bed beside you
And you don’t look my way.
I’m crying on your shoulder
And you don’t know what to say.
“What’s wrong? What’s the matter?”
But do you really care?
So I roll over
And lie still beside you.
I can’t bring myself to share.
You lie there and wonder
What to do. I hear a sigh.
I don’t want you to be uncomfortable,
So I wipe my face dry.
What in the world is wrong with us?
We’re close enough to touch
But we’re so far away.
We don’t let ourselves be touched,
Lying by each other.
You don’t say, “I care.”
Crying and sighing, I won’t dare to share.
So for a while we’ll wander
In this very common play.
We’ll touch but stay untouched
Until some day, some way
One of us finds the courage
To show the soul, nearly bare—
For it isn’t until one takes the risk
That the other truly wants to care.
It is hard for me to read these words now. They carry me right back to the sorrow I was feeling at that time. (See The Sorrow of a Refusing Wife.)
I thought our marriage would never, ever get better. I thought I would be lying next to my husband without real intimacy for years.
We would lie next to each other, side by side, barely touching in body or heart. I ached for our future. Big Guy did, too, I suppose.
When I wrote so long ago, I was on the verge of losing all hope for our marriage.
This past weekend was one filled with much intimacy in our marriage.
We had a lovely dinner with good friends. We did things that speak love to the other. The sex was fun and loving. The conversations were illuminating and laughter-filled.
We had a normal weekend filled with normal life things. It was a weekend of nothing special—except that our marriage has become special.
I woke up in the middle of the night to find my husband’s arms wrapped around me and my hands holding his arms. We were entwined together.
It’s how we sleep now. (See Why Sleeping Together Is Awesome.)
Once I thought we would forever be lying side by side, parallel but never really together.
Once, when he spoke softly, I would lie there feeling alone for hours. His whisper was a loud reminder of the lack of intimacy.
Now, in the quiet of the night, the interweaving of our bodies loudly speaks a proclamation of the bone-deep and heart-deep intimacy that has grown in our marriage.
Do the words I wrote years ago resonate with you in some way?
I want you to know, sister, that it can get so much better.