Could you be emotionally abusing your husband?

I am blessed to have a husband who easily forgives and forgets. He doesn’t remember our difficult years as being quite as challenging as I remember them. Occasionally he says our situation wasn’t really that bad.

He may not remember his own anguish or the resignation in his voice when he said, “I guess I have to accept that I am going to spend the rest of my life in a sexless marriage.”

But I remember. And I remember what I did to add to his anguish. Read More →

How can you respond if your husband reacts negatively when you say no to sex?

Big Guy would approach me for sex. My response was usually some variation of no—rolling my eyes, listing all the things I need to get done first, or just saying the word “no.”

Quite often, after my negative response I would start to think about the possibility of sex. I wonder why I don’t think about sex like he does? I like sex well enough once we’re doing it. Hmm. I suppose that if I could just wrap up this stuff I’m working on, I might be able to do it. I just need some transition time. If he would come ask me again right this minute, I might be able to manage a yes. Where is he, anyway? For a guy who seems to want sex so much, shouldn’t he be here with me, spending time with me and helping me?
Read More →

Is it possible to heal from having your feelings dismissed in your marriage?


About fifteen years ago, our marriage began to sink to a new level of disconnection. Although several factors contributed to my disconnecting from my husband, the one that stands out the most is that my attempts to express my feelings to my husband were rejected.

When I needed to talk with my husband about things that were unrelated to him, it was okay for me to share my feelings. He would listen to me.

However, when it came to feelings about anything that involved him, things didn’t go so well. I needed him to hear me and to recognize my hurt. I needed him to hold me and tell me he loved me. Instead, he told me he didn’t want to hear about it. He told me why I shouldn’t feel the way I did. He told me the conversation was over. He told me to get over it. Read More →

How do you respond when men give voice to their hurt about the sexual intimacy in their marriages?

When we gaze at a lake on a sunny day or at a lazy slow river, it’s easy to forget the overwhelming power that exists in water.

During the Great Flood of 1993, we lived in the St. Louis area. We often went out exploring the area on weekends. We watched for weeks as the water rose, creeping higher and deeper into communities along the Mississippi River.

The flood waters slowly soaked the ground completely, to the point that it could absorb no more. People who lived in flood zones carried special belongings to upper floors in their homes to keep them dry. They filled sandbags and arranged them in an attempt to keep the water away.

The water continued to rise, flooding homes and businesses as the river banks could no longer hold the volume of water. Read More →

Complacency keeps you mired in the pain of the past. Choose to move forward and seek healing.

Note: See Lessons from a Wife’s Heart for an introduction to this post.

For many years in my marriage, I had a hurting heart—some because of my own baggage and some because of my husband’s words and actions.

Feeling hurt was no fun—but it was familiar. I avoided any work on my own healing, afraid of what I would find—evidence that my husband and I were completely incompatible, proof that I was screwed up more than I thought, or a clear sense that I was the reason for our marriage problems.

I didn’t want to identify the true source of the hurt, and I suspected that the process of healing whatever it was would require more than I had to give. Read More →

Prepare to deal with the hurt in your heart.

How can a wife heal her hurting heart?

My years of resistance to intimacy, sexual and otherwise, were built on a foundation of my own baggage. Rather than helping to dismantle that bad foundation, Big Guy’s words and actions piled on even more stuff that I had to deal with.

Because I wasn’t aware that my baggage was  anything other than just the way things were, all I could see was what my husband did. I was hurting, and as far as I could tell, it was Big Guy’s fault. Read More →

How can you move past minor emotional hurt in order to restore sexual intimacy?

When my relationship with Big Guy is good, sex can be easy. If we’ve connected in ways that are meaningful to me, if he’s given me a glimpse into his heart, or if we’ve just shared a positive experience, sex can flow naturally from that and I’m all on board.

Sometimes, though, our relationship has hiccups. Sex isn’t so easy then. Read More →

How can you maintain sexual intimacy when you're dealing with pain?

Sexual intimacy doesn’t just serve to provide us with orgasms in our marriage. It also helps us to feel united as a couple. It builds our overall intimacy. It helps to bond us. This can especially be the case for many men as they experience the rush of the bonding hormone oxytocin that occurs at orgasm.

When our marriages are deprived of sexual intimacy, our marriages can hurt–even when that deprivation comes out of necessity due to a medical condition. Read More →

"I was stuck reliving one hurt over and over again until I figured out how to let it go. "

When we’d been married about ten years, we had a season in life in which I needed an extra dose of Big Guy’s emotional support and he didn’t provide it. (I wrote about some of it here.)

My attempts to talk with him about it resulted in his verbal dismissal of my feelings—so I stopped. Read More →