I wrote about moving forward by taking Just One Step. Sounds simple, right? It is.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I honestly had no idea if my efforts would make any difference. There were weeks when my old habits kicked back in and it felt like I was starting over. It was just so darned hard so much of the time.

And as if it weren’t hard enough to retrain myself, my husband was a challenge, too. He was so busy seeing what he wanted, big picture, that he didn’t recognize any efforts at all. In fact, I think it was maybe a full year into the process when he said that it was nice I wasn’t picking fights about sex anymore (he finally noticed!), but gee, wouldn’t it be nice if you’d do xyz [insert sex act that’s one step up from vanilla] some day.

Seriously, dude? I’ve been working my butt off to retrain my brain how to repond to you and I still have to hear that it isn’t enough? Will it ever be enough? Will I ever be enough?

I gave up many times.

Husbands who are refused seem to think there’s just a switch we can flip and all of a sudden we will be sexually changed. Sometimes, this does happen. But for some of us, it is hard, hard work. It takes courage. It feels like failure as much as it feels like success.

So why keep going?

Because every successful effort makes deposits in the bank of marital intimacy. Sex bonds us. As I started to be more involved in bed, my husband and I both felt more bonded to each other. We still had fights about sex–but there was a huge difference. This time, all the bonding we’d been doing here and there made it easier for us to react with less anger and hurt. We were building up the baseline of our marriage, making it easier for us to cope together with issues that arose. Every success made the backsliding shorter and easier to deal with.

Changing was simple but not easy. This is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life,  and I know I still have a way to go. But sisters, while it isn’t easy, it does get easier. And it is completely worth the sweat and tears you will put into it.

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14 Thoughts on “Simple, Not Easy

  1. userdand on August 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm said:

    “I’ve been working my butt off to retrain my brain how to re(s)pond to you and I still have to hear that it isn’t enough? Will it ever be enough? Will I ever be enough?”

    As a man, I see that last question being what it is all about: Feeling adequate and appreciated. Am I right and can you or someone else expound upon that either way. I hear something similar from my wife when she is frustrated with meeting my sexual needs. “I don’t know what you want or how to please you.” She isn’t saying we don’t communicate as much as she is saying she doesn’t know if her supply can meet my demand. Can her inventory fill my orders? She may not be stocking the right items or want to. Id est: She may never be enough.

    Do you think this feeling of being inadequate or not up to the job is a result of socially ingrained factors or do you think the husband’s behavior is the primary driver. It seems some women feel men hold up media and pornography and the women in it as the standard they expect their wives to meet. “He won’t be happy if I don’t look like that, behave like that, do that sex act and in just that way, or orgasm and if I do with that intensity. If I can’t be her, he won’t be happy.” Thus they feel woefully inadequate. Why try when the bar is set to unrealistic standards. I certainly can’t perform like a porn star myself and I don’t expect her to.

    Men may or may not wish some of these things were so. I can’t speak for all men. I do know that my wife doesn’t play certain games very well, but I still enjoy playing them with her and don’t expect for her to be a pro at them, just to do the best she can and have fun playing them with me. Sex should be fun adult play too, not a competition.

    • @userdand I follow the comments section of this blog and I’ve seen all your comments. From a wife that is recovering from some of these issues I must say that ANY sex seemed like too much when I felt emotionally unconnected from my husband. I thought I could never be what he wanted because I was just broken and I told him this. At the time neither of us had any idea that there was help for this problem. We never spoke of sex outside the bedroom and never when it wasn’t a “right now” topic.

      I’m going to give you an observation from a spectator and I hope you can hear me without taking offense because I mean it with the best intentions 🙂

      You have obviously been reading a lot on this website and have been very complimentary of FW in your comments. If my husband was doing this it would be hard not to get jealous of the attention he paid to another women that appears to be everything my husband wants in wife. If your wife is still gatekeeping it’s likely she’s protecting herself. (I know it’s just a guess, but I think it’s usually the reason for gatekeeping) I wouldn’t feel very safe if my husband was reading so much about another women and writing to her so much.

      If your wife reads with you, then maybe she will be helped by FW’s story, but if she’s not doing this with you it could be hurtful to her if she knows or when she finds out.

      There are some very intimate issues discussed here and I think we need to be careful to consider our spouses feelings when share so much with a person of the opposite sex.

      Maybe, I way off in left field with the second part of my comment and if so I apologize in advance.

      • Trixie1466, thank you for saying this.

        “You have obviously been reading a lot on this website and have been very complimentary of FW in your comments. If my husband was doing this it would be hard not to get jealous of the attention he paid to another women that appears to be everything my husband wants in wife. If your wife is still gatekeeping it’s likely she’s protecting herself. (I know it’s just a guess, but I think it’s usually the reason for gatekeeping) I wouldn’t feel very safe if my husband was reading so much about another women and writing to her so much.”

        I will reply to this here, and then it will probably become a post on its own.

        There are several things in here that are important. I am concerned sometimes about what restricted husbands take away from some of my posts. It’s good for men to say, “Understanding what you’ve gone through gives me better insight into my wife and hope that things can change.” This is a recognition of a wife’s challenges. It isn’t good to say, “I wish my wife were more like you.” That’s coveting. But in between those two is a huge gray area where the lines sometimes are hard to determine.

        I have been concerned at times how a man’s wife might perceive his comments on my blog posts. I have occasionally edited or un-approved some comments. This ministry is for wives, and if a husband’s comments could interfere with his wife benefitting from this ministry, it’s a problem. As much as I have undergone a complete sexual transformation, my husband doesn’t have a perfect wife–but if all a woman hears from her husband is that she needs to change sexually, seeing that he has been reading (even aside from commenting on) a blog where a woman is talking about her sexual transformation can cause deep damage.

        I am even more concerned about how other wives perceive comments from husbands on this blog. On one hand, comments from husbands can give powerful testimony of their pain. The thing that convicted me that I was wrong was reading through the pain of refused husbands. This is the reason I have let many comments stand, and it is why I allow comments from husbands. Seeing my husband’s pain through the words of others was what finally got through to me.

        However, I also know that if I had seen those same comments from a man who I had any idea might possibly be my own husband, I would have been devastated and furious—and deeply hurt. I would have thought, “There he goes again, always after sex. Now he’s trying to recruit other people to think I’m wrong. That’s going to backfire on him.” And I would have wondered how he could share his heart so easily on a public forum (even though no one really knew it was him) when all I got was his sexual frustration and never his heart or the emotional connection I needed. Why does he have to air my dirty laundry?
        I also don’t want to drown the voices of women here. This ministry is for women. When a post receives many comments from men, it can begin to silence women who might be at a point in their journey when they are still seeking the words or the courage to say, “Me, too. How can I do this?’

        A woman who has been sexually restrictive can be pushed away by the voices of men who sound no different than their own husbands. I would not want to comment if I thought my questions or hesitation would be challenged by other men.

        • userdand on August 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm said:

          I have some questions and concerns but I’m waiting until you and Trixie have read my reply to her since it may clear up some issues and I don’t plow the same field.

      • userdand on August 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm said:

        I have read both some of FW’s posts and some of my replies. Some not because I am censoring or selectively reading, but because it happens that she is there when I am composing so I read from that post with my comments and perhaps one or two before. I will admit to trying not to read something I think will hurt her from the standpoint that telling the absolute truth all the time can be hurtful and cruel. My wife doesn’t need to hear me say she’s overweight or not as sexually active as I would like. She is aware of all that and we have talk about it and another mention between us would serve no purpose. If I do mention that or something like it on this blog or any other, it is because it is part a statement of facts within an issue I am looking into.

        I take no offense in your cautioning me. Within that cautionary advice was the kind of information I am looking for for a blog I may do and for my relationship. She may be jealous of my blogging is something to be alert and cautious about. You are doing what I hoped would be done here. When Chris said women respond to men’s questions here. I was encouraged to continue commenting here. I am not looking for someone to “poor baby” me and hold my hand and tell me how my wife doesn’t understand me and she does. I am also NOT looking for a woman to attach herself to me because I “get” or “understand” her. She can go experience transference with her therapist.

        I am complimentary of FW not because she is everything my wife isn’t (which, by the way, ISN”T the case), but because she seems to have figured out, attempted, evaluated and changed corrective behaviors and attitudes in an astonishingly successful pattern and without the help of a therapist. I have only read the slightest bit into April so far though. When I read the mistakes her husband makes, I say “Yep. I would have fouled up and done that too.” So I am learning exactly what I came for. What do couples need to know to effectively grow their relationships without expecting the other to change. Some things will always be very male and some very female. Know what they are and how those behaviors and values function can only encourage understanding which can’t hurt.

        Feel free to keep an eye on me and advise as necessary. Like I said, that’s why I’m here and FW’s aren’t the only opinions I seek. If you feel the need to ad balance, jump right in there.

        • @Userdand “I will admit to trying not to read something I think will hurt her from the standpoint that telling the absolute truth all the time can be hurtful and cruel. My wife doesn’t need to hear me say she’s overweight or not as sexually active as I would like. She is aware of all that and we have talk about it and another mention between us would serve no purpose. If I do mention that or something like it on this blog or any other, it is because it is part a statement of facts within an issue I am looking into”

          Those words would have ripped my heart out if my husband had written them about me without discussing it with me first. Your wife is not likely to be as matter of fact about things as you. While she may very well be aware of her own weight and sexual activity level that doesn’t mean she would want it discussed with strangers. I imagine some might think it’s fair game since she’s not fixed the problem and that perhaps it would be motivating, but I think it would do the exact opposite.

          I hope that you have your wife’s blessing in starting your own blog because your marriage belongs to her as well. I’m not sure why I have the impression she’s not fully aware of what’s going on with your blog, but that’s the sense I have. Again, if I’m wrong please forgive.

          I understand that blogging can be therapeutic, but I am concerned about the possible damage to your marriage if your wife is not fully informed and supportive of you sharing information about your marriage with the world. Even if you think you’re anonymous, the cyber world is getting smaller by the day and people figure things out.

          I have shared some pretty personal stuff on marriage blogs about my past and our marriage because we both believe the fact that we are re-married is a blessing from God and a testamony of how loving and faithful He is. That makes it worth my own personal shame being shared with others. But it was my choice to share. I would have been devastated had my husband told other people what I did without asking me first.

          Thanks for your time. I didn’t mean to make it this long.

        • Those words would have hurt me a great deal as well.

          Be mindful of the fact that blogging for therapy is very different from blogging for ministry. As I was working through the Respect Dare process, most of my writing was journaling. While it certainly was therapeutic for me, the purpose of doing this journaling publicly was to encourage women in understanding that growth can be messy, painful, non-linear, and hard. There is much value in knowing that someone else understands how it feels. Although I blog about my marriage, I don’t blog for my marriage.

          I have my husband’s support for this blog. I check with him before revealing things that might be hurtful to him or that would reveal things about him or our marriage that he is uncomfortable sharing.

          It is good to read many blogs as part of learning how to grow and how to understand your wife–but even if she will never, ever know the comments are yours, saying that she is overweight hurts your own heart and it potentially hurts hers. I’m overweight, and honestly, seeing that hurts mine heart a little, too. I am leaving it in because it is instructive and because it was posted before I announced that I will be moderating more heavily now.

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  5. hopefulhusband on February 8, 2014 at 6:57 pm said:

    I’ve recommended this blog to my wife in the past. I’m sure she came by but never stuck with it.

    I’ve selected some links and given to her. My prayer is that we both begin and sustain this journey.

    Is there a similar blog written for men specifically that you can recommend Chris?

    Thanks

    • I know of several Christian marriage blogs written primarily for men. Are you looking for something specific for men trying to cope with the intimate relationships with their wives, or for something to help you grow as a husband?

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