Practice, practice, practice this new approach in the mirror today for no less than 15 minutes.
Just like taking time to craft your massive action goal, it takes time to craft the presentation.
Many of my patients don’t take enough time to consider their approach. Instead they attack, criticize or blame their wife which sabotages…. everything.
Your marriage is a system, like a scale. The base and the beam are the relationship that holds the two pans (you and your wife). If you attack your wife, the other pan, then you will unbalance/destabilize the entire system.
Instead use this approach: I feel X when you do Y so will you consider Z? This is the least attacking/critical/blaming form of presenting a problem to your wife which minimizes upending the relationship.
- I am sad that you appear to have put our sex life on the back burner so would you consider having sex every Saturday morning.
- I get frustrated when you leave the initiation of our sex life on me, would you consider leading me to bed early one night a week?
- I need your help changing up our sexual routine, would you consider offering oral sex when we are on vacations?
“Verbal communication is essential in order to understand what is going on inside other people. If they do not tell us their thoughts, their feelings, and their experiences, we are left to guess.” Dr. Gary Chapman, Now You’re Speaking My Language
What I impress upon my patients daily is that intimacy is ultimately about transparency. Sex is just a part of this transparency.
Think about it. You don’t tell strangers, co-workers or even most friends about your deepest feelings. Those are saved for your intimate relationship.
I have a friend (thank you D!) who thinks of intimacy as “Into Me You See.”
Too many people get hung up on the content of what they are sharing as opposed to the sharing itself. Actually, it’s more accurate to say too many people harshly judge the content and thus don’t share and thus block intimacy.
But intimacy is about sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.
This is what some former patients have told me with my corrective response:
- Mr. K told me he couldn’t tell his wife he was angry because “Anger is wrong!” Anger leads to hurting people and so there’s no point in feeling anger, it’s a “wasted emotion.”
My response: There is no such thing as a right or wrong feeling. All feelings are natural, biological and normal. Just like there is no right or wrong rain. Anger is as normal as happiness. The only way for anger, or any feeling, to dissipate is to expose it to oxygen. Venting, to another or to yourself, is the only way to keep it from building up and blowing. There’s a big difference between feeling and acting out on a feeling. Feelings are normal, but as adults we have the capacity to control ourselves when expressing anger. Losing control of ourselves, or a lack of empathy, is what hurts others, not the feeling.
- Mr. W told me he couldn’t tell anyone, let alone his wife, what he needs because expressing neediness would make him more vulnerable to pain.
My response: Neediness is also a normal feeling and expressing it is the straight-shot to getting it. Your vulnerability is no larger the minute before you state your neediness than after. It’s a fantasy that you can keep from getting hurt by not expressing your needs. I’m sure you can think of a time you were hurt very badly when you weren’t expressing a need such as when you received sudden news of a loved one’s death or when someone struck out unexpectedly against you. The fact is you will get hurt from time to time. But it’s also true that you will be able to withstand it.
- Mr. S is convinced his wife should know what he needs, he shouldn’t have to say it after 24 years of marriage.
My response: No one is telepathic. You are setting you and your wife, and thus your relationship, up for failure if you work on this premise. Adults verbally express their needs, that ability makes them stand out from children. Why waste your time hinting around, pouting, or giving too much with the hopes she’ll figure it out when you can simply state your needs. And if you’re hoping to keep your needs secret because your ashamed of them see #2 above.
So, practice that approach today knowing that it is healthy to express your feelings.
>> CHALLENGE CHECK-IN
Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 3 and don’t forget to catch up with us to share your DAY 2 Progress in our Facebook Group! If you have any questions, or want to dive further into these topics, pick up the phone! We’re here for you – 757-340-8800!