Let’s get real and talk about SEX.
How long is too long to not have sex?
Is it a bad thing that I don’t want it?
Does “this” happen to everyone?
Is it just ME?
What is intimacy anyway?
These are some of the unanswered questions that have bogged my mind for years.
Full disclaimer, my marriage has had ups and downs in this department. The thrill of newlyweds faded away as kids came along. Soon I found myself wondering what had happened to my libido, to our sex life, with our intimacy.
At first I brushed it off as “I’m a busy mom with kids!” But as the time passed I wondered if there was something wrong with me.
Over the years my husband began to get upset at my lack of interest in our intimacy. Sex had become almost a chore or something to check off my checklist. You don’t have to tell me, but has the phrase “let’s just get it over with” ever crossed your mind when your significant other approaches you?
With this lack of intimacy came so many other feelings; inadequacy, resentment, anger. And little by little our sex life became only about the act of sex and not about the sentiment of togetherness, not about intimacy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband. I have a great relationship with him. But like most moms, I have put so much of myself into my kids. I give my time and energy to them, to our home. That by the end of the day, I’m drained.
My excuse over the years became, “I give and give and give, that I’m empty sometimes and I can’t give anymore”. Can anyone else relate? Please tell me you do, or I’ll just stop right now.
Sex or “intimacy” became a sore subject for us.
I used to think that it was just us that had this problem. Why? well first off, I didn’t talk about it to anyone. How was I suppose to know if our sex life was normal or not?
In an attempt to fix it, we discussed scheduling it into our busy lives, and at some point it was on our calendar. But that made us feel… too mechanical. At another point I became the giving, selfless wife who did her duty and was available to my husband. That bit me in the butt when I began resenting him. We also tried to keep things interesting (insert winking smiley face) and fun, only to realize, that I’m a vanilla kind of girl, and while I can appreciate chunky monkey, it’s not my first choice.
What is one to do?
When there are kids, activities, a mountain of laundry, bills, stress, and no energy, where do we leave our intimacy? How do we gain our love life back?
My husband and I joined the Married life group at our church. There we found a group of other married couples with similar conflicts and questions. This was an eye opening experience for us, we never really had “married” friends and had never talked to other couples about our struggles.
One of the first pieces of advice given to us was to find out what our Love Language was. Gary Chapman developed 5 Love Languages that people show love with: acts of service, touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and quality time. All these are basic ways that people receive love, or show love.
BOOM! Eye opening for me. Little did I know that I had started resenting my husband because he didn’t show me love in a way I understood. I mean a pat in the butt while I’m washing the dishes doesn’t really do it for me. But having my coffee made in the morning or making the bed, that really does!
Hey, I’m not saying that just because we took this test our sex life has gotten better. What I am saying is that recognizing that our intimacy was in the dumps and choosing to seek out help and information has helped us. We have chosen to make our marriage and intimacy a priority. Why? Well, kids, life, work, and worry all suck the life out of marriage.
It was a small step towards unity.
But that wasn’t all that we had to work on.
Over the years our conversations about sex had become so heated that we didn’t really listen to each other. Our feelings were hurt, his because he felt I didn’t find him attractive and never initiated. Me because I felt that my needs were not important or met.
Every time we attempted to discuss our intimacy, our sex life, it became almost an attack on each other and we would never resolve anything.
Little did I know that continuing to work through issues in small steps would actually work.
See, when speaking with each other we had to learn not to attack the other person, but to share our feelings. Not say “you always want sex”, but say “I feel as if my needs don’t matter”.
It was difficult for me to actually put my feelings into words. When I was finally truthful and admitted that I didn’t feel sexual because for so long my focus had been on him and not me. That I had actually forgotten how it was to be intimate with him, to FEEL loved and love. Wow! Game changer.
We have made leaps and bounds when it comes to communicating our likes and dislikes in the bedroom. We have made it a priority to get away at least 1-2 times a month on a date. Sometimes it’s a Saturday coffee date at the Home Depot Garden Department, but it’s alone time. We have consciously decided to place time aside each week for movie time, a foot rub, or even just to lounge around with a beer in hand and talk. I know this seems WAY off for some people with little kids, which is why this usually happens around 9pm for us.
Over the course of several months our sex life has become better, our intimacy has become great. Who ever said marriage was hard work made an understatement. It’s continual work from both parties. Both people need to be vulnerable, open, giving, and continue to reach out to one another.
Even though our sex life will never be the same as pre-kids, that’s OK with me. Because we’ve matured and learned SO much about each other.
I’d encourage you to take time out to take the 5 Love Languages test and take the small step to regaining your intimacy and sex life back.