Sex is a driver for me and probably for you too. I can’t think of an instance in my relationship with my wife that sex wasn’t somewhere in my thinking, expectations, motivations, and of course desires. From working hard to working out, doing the dishes to leading the family, from sun up till sun down, sex factors in. Does that make me some sort of sex freak? Somehow I doubt it, but you can decide relative to your life. I’d like to discuss a couple of points about sex in a marriage that hopefully will save you countless hours of frustration and quite possibly your marriage itself. Because I think sex is so central to a marriage that mishandling it messes up many days and too many messed up days leads to marriage difficulty. Of course it doesn’t stand alone in messing up a marriage, but it sure plays a central role.
In Sex 1 I labeled different scenarios in which sex reflects the various circumstances and attitudes of the moment – Discovery Sex, Accommodation Sex, Fantasy Sex, Vacation Sex, Pre Travel Sex, and the like. Inherent in each of these is the psychological component for each person. I believe the female psychological makeup is significantly more variable and complex than the guy’s. I’ll give that explanation a try later. But for now I’d like to provide a little insight into your motivations.
I am a simple creature. Feed me. Love me. Do those two things and I can endure just about anything. Feeding me is pretty straightforward. Loving me is less so. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Languages of Love, the five primary ways in which people give and receive love. They are Words of Encouragement, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Gifts, and Physical Closeness and Touching. In our relationship, our marriage improved dramatically once we learned that I was primarily Physical Touch and Words of Encouragement as my number 1 and 2 and she was Quality Time and Acts of Service. Our relationship was able sync up with giving love in a way that the other could feel and appreciate. Up until that time, we were misinterpreting the messages the other was sending. She was investing her time and love into making a wonderful home when I wanted something more physical. I was telling her how pretty she was and wanted to make love and she wanted me to help with making the house look nice. (Oversimplification, but essentially true).
In another psychological boost, being a guy and being simple, I need proper expectations set. For example, if the day is filled with chores, I need my wife to make me a list. If it’s not on the list, it’s not going to happen. The list has a two-fold purpose: 1) list what needs to get done; 2) list what will make her happy. My expectations are that if I do these things, she will be happy. If she’s happy, and all the other stars align, I’m getting sex that night. Life isn’t exactly quid pro quo, but it kinda is. Further setting of expectations, if a routine has been set that sex is the third night, or second Tuesday, or first night below 50 degrees after the full moon in Spring, whatever the formula is for when sex night is, then by God that’s the night. I think about it, anticipate it, gear up for it, clear my calendar for it, and have my expectations etched in quick-dry cement. So if something happens that requires me to adjust, like sick kids, menstrual cycle, sick wife, argument, friend needs help, or any other piece of crap excuse (eh hem), it takes me a while to chip away at the expectations firmly dried in cement. Because here’s my non-adult thinking – it’s time to fill my cup. I feel as though I’ve done my share of giving and now it’s my time to receive. I’ve worked. I have forgone playing, but instead have come home and played with the kids. Yes, I know, I should want to do that on my own and I do, but I have choices and I choose to be home. I have helped around the house and done my darndest to fill my wife’s cup, so now, when it’s my turn, I want to be filled. (Again, somewhat tongue in cheek, but not really).
But seriously, I clearly and certainly understand that life happens, of course I do. But when life happens, I want to be treated with the respect of a loving partner that says “oops, there’s been a delay, but I want you and I want you to know that I want to be with you as soon as life gets back in order”. I can live with that. But instead, when an interruption occurs and me-as-a-priority is cast aside without a shred of thought, it sends the message that the whole sex event is just an accommodation. (Not that my wife ever did that…)
And here’s the heart of a man’s psyche. You see, I want to be wanted. I don’t want love coming to me as an afterthought, as an accommodation. Being wanted is to be a priority. Certainly urgencies arise, but priorities should remain and not taken for granted. I want my wife. I take her calls when I’m at work regardless of what I’m doing. I want her to be happy, content, and fulfilled. I want to fill her cup so that she has an abundance of well-being to pour out in all aspects of her life. That’s what it means to me when I say I love my wife. That she is my priority. And none of that conflicts with my secondary priorities of kids, work, working out, and other personal pursuits. So in turn, that’s what I expect. I want her to want me and that sex not be an accommodation as if it were her wifely duty to “put out”.
Furthermore, and this is asking for it all, I want passion. In our schedule of expectations, I want to make sure that we regularly have a night of passion. Now, scheduling passion may seem rather unspontaneous. Whatever. I’ll take it. If I were to wait for spontaneity, I’d be waiting a while. No, I need to experience that there’s something about me that my wife is passionate about. It satisfies me that she is satisfied with me and satisfied by me. I want to believe that I quench her need for a man just as she quenches my need for a woman. This subtlety is meaningful here for me – she engages in sex to satisfy herself, not just to satisfy me. The occasional sex for sex’s sake does that for me.
So sex is predominantly a psychological game in the long run. Sure, young love may not readily see that because the newness refreshes the batteries so quickly. But as life accumulates, the need to get the nuances right also accumulate. Ultimately, sex is about intimacy. Yes, you can love one woman for a lifetime. It’s possible because though physical sex is the same no matter who you do it with, it’s the psychological aspects that are merged between man and wife. And figuring that out takes time. Each era of marriage creates new challenges to manage, yet if you continue to invest in each other, sex gets better. It gets better because you appreciate each other more, you pick up on all the nuances, you provide grace and patience, and satisfaction results in just being together, sexually and otherwise. This kind of intimacy is the top of the mountain, so gentlemen, gear up.
To your continued success,