This seems a bit counterintuitive. But bear with me.
In marriage, we do spend quite a bit of time “reading the room,” so to speak. If a husband and wife are paying close attention, they begin to recognize patterns of behavior in each other. Enough patterns add up, and a husband and wife begin to anticipate how each will behave in certain scenarios.
Doing life with each other and observing each other over years yields some mind-reading skills. I’m not going to argue with that.
Where this becomes a slippery slope, though, is when we rely too much on this marital intuition. Accurate anticipation can drift into unfair assumption in a blink of an eye, if we aren’t careful.
If we truly are good at reading the room in our marriage, we will humbly recognize when we may be taking too much liberty. We may be erroneously presuming to know what our spouse thinks or feels. That can make for some bad vibes in a marriage.
A better approach? Don’t rely on the mind-reading tactics too often, and especially not on the big issues, including sex.
It’s one thing to be able to simply exchange eye contact and know that your spouse is ready to bolt from the lame party. It’s a whole different thing to make sweeping assumptions about your sexual intimacy.
This is especially true when things aren’t going well.
“But Julie, what about when things are going well sexually?”
Yes, when sexual intimacy is mutually valued in a marriage and a couple has what they both would consider a healthy sexual connection, then it is easier to fill in the blanks. Positive sexual cues aren’t too hard to string together to arrive at some bonafide mind reading. A touch leads to some reciprocation and a sweet volley of sexual advances, and before long, a husband and wife are naked without having said a word.
But they got there because they built relational equity. They invested consistently enough that their shared positive sexual history affords them better perception of each other’s sexual signals. I still believe they should actually talk about their intimacy from time to time, but I understand that when things are going well, the lengthy discourse isn’t needed as much. There is an ease to their sexual relationship.
But what about when sex is a struggle in a marriage or there hasn’t been enough consistency that they know where each other stands? What then?
That’s definitely when mind reading puts a husband and wife at a disadvantage sexually. The mind reading has its limits, and it can push a marriage closer and closer to the cliff rather quickly.
So think about your own marriage right now. Think about sex in your marriage. What’s your general sense of how things are going?
More importantly, have you shared your observation with your spouse? And do you know what they think and feel about how the two of you are doing sexually?
Not surprisingly, positive intuition is built by becoming skilled at being a bit more forthcoming in conversation and actually asking questions. Instead of mind reading, ask your spouse the below questions (or questions along the same lines):
What do I do that most turns you on?
When we make love, how does that make you feel? What does sex mean to you?
Have I ever been careless with sex in our relationship? Have I hurt you in ways I may not be aware of?
How do you think we can grow in our sexual intimacy?
How can I be a better lover to you?
Likewise, I encourage you to share with your spouse your answers on the above. Don’t expect them to be a mind reader, but rather be vulnerable and transparent about how you feel the two of you are doing sexually—and where together you can heal and grow.
It’s great to be able to read the room and fill in the blanks and connect the sexual dots in your relationship. You’ll fare better if you you build those skills with some actual conversation.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.