Words cannot adequately describe my emotions when I realized I needed to work on sex.
Some of these emotions were due to my newfound awareness of how deeply our sexual disconnection had hurt my husband. I felt a heavy burden of guilt for having caused him so much pain. My heart hurt for him. I felt like I had completely failed at marriage and being a wife.
Swamped by Emotion
Most of my emotions, however, were related to what I was facing in making changes regarding sex.
- I knew I would be reliving my failure every time I did anything to work on sex.
- I had to accept feeling unloved for the rest of our lives. I wanted him to love me more than he wanted sex. I had to give up on that dream. Once he got his way, he wouldn’t even need to try with me anymore.
- I hated my body. I was too heavy and stretch-marky. Surely he would realize at some point how unattractive I was. I preferred quick sex in the dark. My unattractiveness would stay hidden, and he wouldn’t have enough time to see how unappealing I was.
- I felt angry that I was choosing to become a doormat. I was caving in, doing something I hated because I was supposed to. Why shouldn’t my husband have to suffer, too? Why should he be the only one to get what he wants?
- I was bitter and miserable because I knew I would have to work hard just to do something I didn’t even want to do.
I saw a lot of difficulty and sorrow ahead of me, with no hope for any good returns for me. The most positive emotion I could identify was that I felt resigned.
I felt like I was in an emotional swamp, flooded and overgrown, filled with unpleasantness and danger lurking just below the surface.
In the Swamp
My recent post about intentionally appealing to your husband’s visual nature was an odd post for me to write. For the most part, it was fun. I did a quick internet search for ideas and pulled others out of my head. I even tried some of them out for Big Guy to make sure they would work.
Yet . . . lurking beneath the surface of fun was the memory of those long-held habits, thoughts, and emotions.
Even as I wrote what I thought was a fun and sexy list of ideas, I was aware that for some women, the thought of doing even one item on that list would be overwhelming. I know what thoughts I once would have had: If I do that, he’ll expect sex. Or he’ll think that I want sex. He’ll see me in a way I’ve worked hard to avoid. He’ll expect me to do it again some time. I’m just not that kind of woman.
I’ve been in touch with several women recently who are bogged down in that same emotional swamp I recall so well. They acknowledge that sex is a problem. They admit that they aren’t doing a good job of being wives. They can’t imagine the possibility of enjoying sex. They feel the overwhelming unfairness of having to be the one to change who they are in their marriages.
These women have been so much in my heart the past few days. That swamp is far enough in my past that only in rare moments does it threaten to pull me back down. I am in a marriage that is on solid ground now. But I carry memories of that swamp. I know how slow-moving the water can be. And I know how hard it is to take those earliest steps out.
If the thought of working on sex leaves you feeling mired down in a morass of emotions, it can be hard to face the actual steps necessary to work on sex. When you feel overwhelmed, heavy-hearted, angry, and bitter, and maybe a little guilty, it is hard to know what your first step should be—not to mention actually taking that step.It can be hard to face the actual steps necessary to work on sex. Click To Tweet
So you sit, feeling resigned to the fact that you should make some changes in sex but unable and maybe a little unwilling to actually do anything.
That emotional swamp is not a pleasant place to be, is it?
Leaving the Swamp
If you find yourself in an emotional swamp as you think about changing your sex life, the thought of taking even a small step might be too much.
Make your first step something that has nothing to do with sex. Let it be something that helps your heart.
- Make a point to smile at your husband at least once a day.
- Use a loving tone of voice in speaking to your husband.
- Pray every day for God to heal both your hearts in your marriage.
Three simple ideas, and none of them are about sex.Make your first step something that has nothing to do with sex. Click To Tweet
If you aren’t yet ready to take a sexual step, could you try one of these?
My very first small step was this: I stopped rolling my eyes when my husband hinted at or asked for sex. It was sort of sex-related, but it was one very small step.
Choose one of these non-sexual steps. Do it long enough for it to become a habit and to become comfortable and confident doing it. (For me, this took around six weeks.)
On Solid Ground
The treasure at the end of the journey to change sex isn’t to be able to have sex easily. It is to have a healthy and joyous marriage in which you and your husband feel intimately connected. Sex is one part of this, but it is not the grand prize. Full intimacy is the grand prize.
The journey to this treasure begins with one step.
If you are too overwhelmed to take a sexual step, take a non-sexual step. A step is a step is a step. With another step, and another, and another after that, you can find yourself out of the swamp and on your way to a marriage on solid ground.
Photo credit photojock a Morguefile.com