Sometimes it’s easier to speak your mind to a professional, but guys still need to know what their wives are thinking.
So, before anyone Googles my name, I’ll tell you myself. Yes, I am a single woman and yes, I am also a marriage life coach. I’m also a Christian, so if any of you are and you want to ask “How can you give advice on marriage when you’ve never been married before?”, good question. I have an answer. Moses, Christ and Paul spoke the most on marriage in the Bible. The latter two were single (hmm…). For those of another faith, I’m the child of divorce and trust me, that’s enough to make someone want to research marriage as much as possible!
With that out of the way, I wanted to do married men a solid and take a moment to share some of the things that come up in counseling. Things that, surprisingly, some couples don’t seem to know about each other. More specifically, things a lot of husbands don’t seem to know about their wives.
To tell you the truth, that’s one of the best reasons to consider going to see a coach or counselor; they can help you and yours learn to communicate on a much deeper level. And since poor communication (which can lead to unfulfilling intimacy) is a top reason for divorce well … I’m sure you get where I’m going with that.
OK, I have a word count on this piece and I want to make sure I stick to it. And yes fellas, feel free to chime in underneath. Just keep in mind that I’m sharing what’s been brought to me, so don’t shoot the messenger. It would be much more effective (and beneficial) to run it past your wife (or mom or sis).
Ready? Here are seven things that wives tell me in marriage counseling:
“I don’t feel like a priority.” A quote that I’m really diggin’ right now is “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.” Life comes with a lot of responsibilities and distractions, but the reality is we make time for what matters most to us. And you know what guys? A good woman who’s down for you? The more you give, you’ll receive so much more in return. Send an “I love you” text out of the blue. Show up at her job with a picnic basket. Drop the kids off and have a staycation (click here for some great tips!). All of these are ways to let your lady know she’s on your radar. Better: That she’s on the top of your priority list.
“I feel like a porn doll.” You know a saying I actually don’t like very much? “I want a lady in the streets and a freak in the bedroom.” Why can’t your wife be a wife in the streets and still a wife in the bedroom? A good wife is well-rounded. My point is this: One of the beautiful things about married sex is that you’re with someone who’s committed to your mind, body and spirit. Therefore, sex is not meant to be simply a physical release but a true emotional connection. Most of the wives who say this to me are not prudes who only want the missionary position with the lights off. But what they do want is a man who isn’t trying to get her to repaly some flick he just watched. There’s a HUGE difference between having sex with someone (intimacy) and at someone (just to ejaculate). I’m sure your wife would be more than happy to expound if you desire further clarification.
“We don’t date anymore.” Finances, bad sex, communication issues, growing apart. All of these are reasons mentioned for why marriages end. One that I don’t think comes up enough is sheer boredom. It’s one thing to have a routine. It’s another thing to be lazy. If you can’t remember the last time you took your wife out on a real date (you know, where you both dressed up and did something that cost more than the price of a large pizza), try and schedule that in—sooner rather than later. Oh, and don’t underestimate the bliss of trying new things. New environments and activities are way to help you and yours to get to know other sides of you. Yep. If you’re paying attention, there’s always something more to learn because you’re both constantly evolving.
“He’s not listening to me.” Turning down the remote but still watching the screen. Pausing for 10 seconds while you’re cutting the grass. Saying “Mmm-hmm” while your eyes are closed in bed. None of these things really make a woman feel heard. In fairness, I’ll be the first to say that sometimes wives pick some really sucky times to want to have a heartfelt conversation. My two cents? Schedule a coffee/tea date either early in the morning or pillow talk (with your eyes open) at night after the kids are put in bed. 20 minutes of uninterrupted time will earn you some major brownie points.
“He let himself go.” Something that I tell couples who have 10 or more years under their belt is they should hold a funeral. A symbolic one, of course. I say that because too many folks are looking for their spouse to be who they used to be. That’s not only unrealistic, but pretty unfair. Listen, no one is expecting you to look like you did in college or even on your wedding day. But c’mon, you know what “letting yourself go” means! It’s a big misconception that women, too, are not stimulated visually. Yes, your wife signed up to love you no matter what. But hot sex? If you want more of that, appearances are important. Besides, the older you get, the better it is for your own health to eat right and exercise. Taking care of yourself is a win/win.
“He doesn’t know how to be affectionate without it turning into sex.” HMPH. Kissing on the forehead. Cuddling on the couch. Holding hands on an evening walk. Does this happen regularly in your marriage? How about spooning? And if it does happen, in your mind, is it always a precursor to sex or do you (sometimes) just want to be close to your spouse? A lot of wives I deal with are quick to admit that they don’t wear the cute lil’ boy shorts or kiss their man on the neck as much as they used to because they don’t always want affection to turn into a full-on romp. At the same time, I know a lot of husbands that miss being physically close even if it doesn’t lead to sex. If your wife keeps a safe distance from you, physically, this may be why. Ask her.
“He doesn’t affirm me.” Personally, I think this goes both ways. Something that both spouses sometimes lose sight of is one of the best things about being married is having a constant cheerleader in your corner. Someone who encourages you to live out your dreams. Someone who supports you in the challenging times. Someone who makes you feel like the most awesome human being on the entire planet! When’s the last time you told your wife she’s beautiful? When’s the last time you thanked her for marrying you? When’s the last time you asked her where she sees her life in the next five years? When’s the last time you brought home flowers or offered to cook dinner just because you love her? Affirm literally means “to express agreement with or commitment to; uphold; support”. The more you do this for the love of your life, the better your love life—in every room of the house—will become. I can (almost) guarantee it!