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Okay, you don’t have to admit it if you don’t want to. You can just nod as you’re sitting there reading this. No one will see you nod. Answer this simple question: Have you ever in your marriage played the “Who Has It Worse” game?
Not familiar with this game? Here’s how it is played: This is where you run through a mental laundry list of your responsibilities, hold said list up against the list you compile in your head of your husband’s responsibilities, and then declare a champion in the “Who Has It Worse” game. It’s easy to declare a champion, because often (you decide), you indeed have it worse. Your list of things that have to get done on any given day is legions longer than his.
I admit it. I’ve played this game (just the other day in fact). Interestingly, I always arrive at the same place — the game (and even the self-declaration of myself as champion) never make me feel good. Or better. Or victorious. Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not hopelessly naive. I realize that some marriages are painfully out of whack and the “Who Has It Worse” Game isn’t just occassional pondering, but rather daily reality. Even so, whether you are playing it once a year or once a day, the “Who Has It Worse” Game is void of any real solution.
What does this have to do with sex, you may wonder? (Since, after all, that’s my deal…sharing my insights about sexual intimacy in marriage). Well, the more we play the “Who Has It Worse” game, the more our natural bent becomes to build grudges and resentment. And where grudges and resentment take root, retaliation is usually close behind. And many married people, particularly women, learn very early on that their most effective form of retaliation is either withholding sex or making promises of sex with no intention to follow through.
If your marriage is out of whack in the responsibility realm and you feel like you have been shouldering a disproportionate load for quite some time, try to talk to your husband about this. If you have tried and no changes have ensued, be sure you are still taking care of yourself so that you are able to stay sane and still journey marriage at the same time. I don’t know what that looks like for you. Support of good Christian female confidantes? A hot bath at the end of the day? A cup of coffee alone at a bookstore? Some counseling for yourself? Crying out to the Lord?
I do not recommend, however, that you become manipulative with your sexual intimacy. This may make you feel powerful and victorious in the moment, but it is a false sense of victory. And it can only lead to more marital discord, not less.
Anyone out there want to admit that they’ve played the “Who Has It Worse” Game?