I spend a lot of time thinking about sexual struggles.
Sometimes my own. More often, the struggles of others—people who email me or comment on posts. Or people who share vulnerably and authentically with me in person.
No marriage problems are easy, right? No marriage is easy, for that matter…at least not all the time.
Sure, some of the problems that crop up are simpler to untangle and tackle and resolve. And most couples get better at sorting out run-of-the-mill challenges or misunderstandings the longer they are married.
You get wise about each other. You grow into your own skin and the skin of your relationship.
You no longer see the value in battling about the right way to organize a fridge or who’s going to get the dog her annual shots. You discover not just that there isn’t value in little battles, but that you also have become adaptable and intuitive. You get better individually and as a couple at getting ahead of something before it has a chance to become an issue.
You start to master adulting in your marriage.
My experience has been, though, that sexual struggles in marriage are rarely the easy-to-figure-out kind of struggles. For all we master in marriage, talking openly, maturely and vulnerably about sex can still be our kryptonite.
I’ve known incredibly confident people who feel uneasy and anxious when it comes to trying to have a conversation with their spouse about sex. I am incredibly confident. Yet I too have at times found sexual intimacy in our marriage to be a complicated topic to address with my husband.
So we all need strategies for topics like this—the ones that feel particularly quicksandish or emotion-filled. Can you start by committing to talk about sex at a future date?
On the surface, this looks like an escape clause or perpetual delay, but I like to see it more as a breaking of the ice. It brings out into the light the thing that has been troubling you in the unspoken chasm of your heart and mind.
It’s a good first step. A solid first baby step in healing what is sexually askew in your marriage.
Key, of course, is follow-through. Ideally, when you suggest a conversation is needed, you would try to set the date for said conversation. But at the minimum, you have to commit to circling back to it.
So, if you say, “I really want us to talk about our sexual relationship and some struggles I think we are having,” then don’t let weeks or months slide by before you offer up another bid.
“Remember the other day when I mentioned I would like us to talk about sex in our marriage? When do you think would be a good day for us to do that?”
There are no guarantees that the conversation will go smoothly once you do have it. But at least you would be having it. At least you would be attempting to wade through the mess and the heartache and the frustration—to find your bearings. And when you find that footing, here are some good questions to offer to the process and that you both can answer…
“What do you think has caused our sexual struggles?”
“How have I hurt you or disappointed you sexually?”
“How can we together make sex more prevalent in our relationship?”
“What are your hopes for our sexual relationship?”
“Would you be open to counseling or seeking some resources to help us heal?”
Obviously, you aren’t going to solve everything in one conversation. If there are sexual struggles in your marriage, they likely didn’t happen overnight. And maybe there are things you individually need to look at in your own past that have been stumbling blocks to your sexual relationship with your spouse.
Listen to each other. Seek each other. Try to understand so that you can build beyond where you are stuck.
Can you commit to a future conversation about sex in your marriage?
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.