Mike Berry shares his secret to having more better sex with his wife … and it works in any marriage!
As I’ve taken inventory of my marriage, over the years, I’ve discovered something—many of us husbands have a problem. Call it a misunderstanding if you will. It lies primarily in the way we think and the way we’re wired. But, it’s not an excuse. If we want a healthy marriage, we must understand a few things about ourselves!
I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was the summer of 2004 and Kristin and I were at odds. We argued all the time, over the smallest things. It was becoming ridiculous. At that point, we’d been married for five years. Our misunderstanding of one another was growing exponentially. I determined that we were on different pages, plain and simple! Or were we?
When I finally took the time to listen to my wife’s heart, and not jump to conclusions, I discovered something profound. I had a personal problem. That’s right … me! I failed to see the most important ingredient of a successful marriage—servanthood. Kristin had figured this out years earlier. Most women do. I was dense, however, and kind of lousy at putting her needs above my own! I knew better.
A few months before I got married, an older, wiser husband and father gave me some peculiar but great advice. He said, “Sex starts in the morning. Don’t ever forget that!” The comment came out of the blue and frankly caused my face to turn red. “I may have some problems but there’s no way I’m talking about sex with this guy,” I thought to myself. In fact, the conversation ended pretty abruptly. Later on I began to think about his words. The longer I thought, the more I realized why my marriage was stuck on the rocks and lines of communication were severed.
She was tired.
Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. She had nothing left to give at the end of the day. She had been burning the candle at both ends, from sunup to sundown. Every morning, I rushed off to work in a quiet office and she would put hand to the plow keeping our house in order, attending parent-teacher conferences, doing laundry, making it to doctor’s appointments, tending to sick kiddos, and countless other exhausting chores.
While most of us guys can turn on our physical side as easily as flipping on a switch, it’s often not like that for our wives. It’s a process. It’s a trip from point A to point Z. It’s acts of kindness throughout the day. It’s helping to get kids off to school in the morning. It’s taking it upon ourselves to put laundry away because she does it everyday and could use some help. It’s noticing that she’s spent several hours in the kitchen, preparing dinner, so we, along with our kids, voluntarily clear the table and do dishes while she takes a break.
It’s servanthood. It’s her needs above mine. It’s participation and engagement with our children. It’s all of this and so much more!
What if I told you I’ve got the secret ingredient for a successful marriage? What if I told you that you could drastically improve your intimacy? Would you believe me? I discovered that I was really bad at putting her needs above my own. If you asked me, I would’ve told you yes. But, dig a little deeper and you’d find that it was all about me. Here’s a question: How are you at serving your partner? Even though we’ve grown in our 16 years together, and our communication is light years beyond where it was in the early days, I have to choose to serve my wife every single day. That’s the secret ingredient.
When I really apply servanthood to my marriage, and put my wife’s needs above my own, our marriage is healthy. When I don’t, the ground is shaky and we’re at odds.
I’ve mastered the art of nodding and saying “uh-huh,” when my wife is talking. Heck, I’m even a pro at capturing a few buzz words and repeating them back to make it look like I’m listening. Guys, be honest, you do this too! But, this isn’t good enough. I guarantee there are adults in your professional world that you would never just nod and say “uh-huh” to repeatedly when they’re talking.
I know this, because it’s true for me. Why, then, are we okay with treating our partners this way? Frankly, it’s terrible. I can listen intently to a football announcer’s analysis of my favorite team’s offensive struggles, but tune out my wife when she’s sharing something that’s on her heart. That’s just not good enough!
In Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Integrity, he talks about the wake that leaders leave behind as they move. Simply put, how self-aware a leader is determines the type of wake he or she leaves for those who follow them. They can ski on it, or they’re sinking because of it. Same question applies to marriage. Are we aware of our partner’s needs? Are we tuned-in? Can they ski on our wake or are they drowning because of it? If it’s the latter, it’s time to self-evaluate. Ask your partner this question: “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?” Ouch!
Put your big boy pants on, close your mouth, open your heart and ears, and listen to the answer!
How good are you at being in the moment? When you arrive home from work are you present? Or, are you somewhere else? This was a huge problem for me. I struggled with engagement. Still do at times. It’s a battle I fight nearly every day. Today’s world blitzes us all the time, demanding this, or calling for that. It’s nearly unending and it feels overwhelming. This is primarily an attack that many men fall victim to. We lose focus and give our mind power to everything but the most important people—our partners and children.
So, how do we overcome? How do we change? As you and I continually work on our marriages, we must ask [and answer] these critical questions:
- Have I put my partner’s needs above my own today? (Yes, this is a daily question!)
- Am I really listening to my partner when she’s sharing something with me? Or, am I distracted by my phone, the football game, or someone else?
- What kind of wake am I leaving behind me? Can my partner ski on it or is she drowning from it? (This actually applies to your entire family, spouse and kids!)
- When I get home from work am I really there? Am I present and engaged with the most important people in the world?
You will never reach perfection in your marriage, but you can reach health. Trust me, I’m living proof of this. If we make a commitment to serving, listening, discovering, and being everything will improve, including our sex life. I know my wife isn’t perfect either, but that’s not the point of this post. We can serve better. We can listen better. We can discover better. And we can be better.
That guy I told you about earlier was right—sex does start in the morning. And boy oh boy is it good. The dividends pay greatly when I start each day with a commitment to serve my wife above myself!
Question: Husbands, have you discovered this? What has hindered you from serving your wife? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Originally published on ConfessionsofaParent.com.