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I was lamenting once to my grandmother about all I needed to get done -- around the house, with the kids, with life in general. The daily tasks of daily life were wearing me out.
She wisely observed, "Women just see more that needs to be done."
I thought her comment was profound.
As a wife, mom and woman in general, I do somewhat fit that stereotype that "women are natural multi-taskers." We do see more that needs to be done.
We whip up dinner and supervise homework. We chat on the phone and throw in a load of laundry. We plan a birthday party and keep track of a million different work details. Day in. Day out.
There is a bit of truth in the old adage that a woman can have sex with her husband and mentally compile her grocery list at the same time. Bringing home the bacon and never letting him forget he's man, right?
I once asked a group of women how many of them had thought about daily tasks while having sex with their husbands. All of them raised their hands and most of them chuckled at my question. "Isn't the answer to that question obvious?!" they collectively seemed to say.
Somewhere in the midst of life's routine, as wives we can put our husbands way out of our conscious thoughts. If we are honest, we would even admit that sometimes they aren't even in our subconscious thoughts!
Yes, I know this dynamic flows both ways. There are plenty of husbands who are caught up in their own world as well (although probably not as many who would say they are thinking of other things while having sex!)
I challenge you to look closely at ways that you have unintentionally been killing your sexual intimacy with your husband. And by "killing" it, I mean in quality of lovemaking and quantity of it. To just increase the quantity but completely neglect quality is not a solution. Likewise, quality once a month (or once a year -- yikes!) probably isn't a stellar choice either.
These are not easy things to look at within ourselves.
Rarely do we run full throttle into the kind of self-reflection that reveals ways we have been careless with our most important relationship (second to our relationship with God).
But grown-up life and grown-up marriage requires of us the humility and integrity to get real with ourselves -- and be willing to change unhealthy patterns.
If you are like a lot of women out there, you aren't intentionally trying to hurt the man you married.
And if he is like a lot of men out there, he possibly wouldn't even say anything even if he did think you were doing something intentionally. He may just retreat to his corner, lick his wounds discouragingly and settle into the sad reality that everything -- including his own children -- have taken precedence in your life.
He's been edged out. And you never even meant to do that.
After the self-reflection, have an honest conversation with him.
If need be, ask for his forgiveness. And then ask how the two of you together can move the marriage you share up a few notches on the priority ladder. This isn't about neglecting the daily stuff of life or neglecting your kiddos. It's about aligning daily actions that compound into deep commitment and love.
The opportunity is yours.
P.S. My reason for writing this specific post was because a husband emailed me and asked me if I would. He was discouraged about a pattern he'd seen in his marriage, which wasn't changing despite his efforts to engage his wife in dialogue.
He thought possibly that as a wife, I could have a positive impact on other wives because of my heart for marriage and nurtured sexual intimacy.
You tell me. Is my insight encouraging?
That's always my hope.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage blog.