Last weekend I was in something of a funk. Our usual Friday night date night didn’t go as we’d planned (one of our kids was home and we ended up not having any one-on-one connecting time). As we went to bed, my husband put on his CPAP mask and rolled over to go to sleep.
I lay there and thought about how date night was supposed to include sex, or at least some emotional connection—and neither one had happened. I was caught up in my own hurt, and it didn’t help when I heard the deep, even breathing of my sleeping husband.
The next morning, I was withdrawn as I tried to think about why I felt so sad. I know Big Guy loves me, so why am I so upset that he didn’t make an effort to connect with me when he knows how much that means to me?
Ever since I registered to vote on my 18th birthday, I’ve been the annoying friend who walks around pronouncing to people, “If you don’t vote, you aren’t allowed to complain.”
I voice my desires and opinions through my vote. It doesn’t seem right to complain about how things run in my city, state, and nation if I don’t even bother to express myself through my vote. I hold myself to this, too; if I miss an election, I don’t even allow myself to feel upset about decisions that result from that election.
So on Tuesday, being election day around here, I went to my voting place, cast my ballot, and walked away with my “I voted” sticker on my shirt.
I pulled out of the parking lot and thought, Well, I’ve done my duty—and if I don’t like the results, at least I earned my right to complain.
A connection suddenly struck me. I don’t get to complain if I don’t vote—yet that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with Big Guy.
Last weekend he even said to me after I was out of my funk, “If you need something from me, you need to tell me.”
I had allowed myself to feel upset about him not doing something—and I hadn’t even bothered to express to him that it was something I wanted him to do.
I am good at voicing my desires and opinions at my polling place—but I’m not so good at that in the intimate aspects of my marriage.
Speaking my need to my husband is harder for me than voting, but it’s something I need to figure out. I suppose various factors have contributed to this fault:
- I am not so good at understanding what my own needs are, not to mention articulating them.
- I question whether my desires are right, or whether I have the right to them, or whether they are selfish. It is easy for me to think that anything I would like is selfish and, therefore, wrong.
- I felt guilt about my sexual desire for years, largely because of my sexual activity before marriage but also because I didn’t have sex-positive teaching growing up.
- My husband and I developed unhealthy ways of communicating with each other and making assumptions about the other one’s thoughts and feelings. I learned (through a combination of Big Guy’s responses and my own assumptions) that communicating my needs resulted only in upset and frustration. Now I still have a habit of second-guessing and assuming how he’ll respond.
- A deep desire in my marriage is for my husband to truly know me, and when he meets my unspoken need, I feel known by him. Unfortunately, when he doesn’t meet my unspoken need, I feel unknown—and unloved.
I wish I could just give Big Guy this list and say, “Here, honey. These are all the reasons I don’t tell you what I need. You figure out how to work around my weaknesses and meet my needs anyway.”
Sigh. If only that would work . . .
Finding My Voice
It’s my job to work on my communication, not my husband’s. This means that I have added to my to-do list of things to work on in myself.
- Become more aware of my desires and needs. Learn to name them, and tell my husband. And be specific. “I need you to show me that you love me” doesn’t help him much, but “wrap your arms around me and tell me some things you like about our life together” does.
- Change my thinking to an attitude that if something will strengthen our intimacy or draw us closer to God, it is okay to ask. I know not all my desires will be met—but it still is okay for me to ask.
- There is no shame in my emotional or sexual desire for my husband. I am a new woman in Christ, but apparently I’m still dragging some of my old baggage around with me. I need to be intentional about letting that go.
- Stop assuming. As my husband has hit some physical hiccups related to various medical issues, I often assume that he won’t want to take time to be sexual with me or even talk with me for fifteen minutes. I’m a really good assumer, and this is not a positive quality to have. I need to ask questions simply and directly.
- Part of how my husband gets to know me is that I share my heart with him. When I hold back my needs or desires—in what I ashamedly have realized is a test of his love for me—I have deprived him of the opportunity to do the very thing I want him to do.
Do you voice your desires and needs to your husband? Or are you expecting him to just know what you want—and then feeling upset when he doesn’t meet these desires?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Shared at Calm.Healthy.Sexy.