Creating an atmosphere of change
This is a follow-up on yesterday’s post, and more specifically some of the comments and emails generated by the post.
“…you can be the best person possible, even near perfect, but if your wife doesn’t want to also do this, the place where Paul has gotten to cannot be attained. This obviously applies also to a good woman with an uncooperative or indifferent husband.
So this is my question for Paul: what made your wife decide to turn towards you and move forward to the place you are at?“
My bride addressed this in the comments, as did I, but I want to say more about it. The concept here is true for any desired change.
It’s easy to understand how we could do things to reduce the chances of our spouse making the change we want. It is often more difficult to see what we might do to make it more likely they will change, so let us start with the negative. It is not just your attitude and actions about sex that can mess things up. Sure, you could be a total jerk about sex, which would discourage her from wanting to do it at all, much less work on it, but you could do things completely unrelated to sex that would have the same effect. If you are mean to her, if you refuse to spend time with her, if you ignore her every request, she will be far less inclined to have sex or to work on making sex better. Not doing all these things removes roadblocks, which increases the odds she will change.
On the other side, you can do things have nothing to do with sex that will increase the odds she will change sexually. Being kind and generous will make her feel better about you and about herself, and both of those make it more likely she will want sex, and more likely she will enjoy it when she has it. It is human nature to be nice to those who are nice to you, to do for those who do for you, and to sacrifice for those who sacrifice for you.
Try this thought exercise – imagine your wife started to do what you wanted sexually. Over a matter of a few months, she became so sex positive and sex desiring you wondered if she had been replaced with a clone. If she was everything you ever desired sexually, what would you be willing to do for her? If she mentioned something in passing, might you go out of your way to do it for her?
Why do you think your wife would be any different? If you were blessing her greatly, giving her everything she wants, don’t you think she would be likely to want to do the same for you? Don’t you think mentioning you would like more sex might result in her making sure it happened? If she has real struggles with sex, is it not possible she would become willing to work on that because of how much you were blessing her? Don’t you think you might be willing to work at something you hate if she were giving you all the sex you could handle? Why would she be different?
There are some possible problems:
- Your bride could have major sexual baggage. This could be past abuse, or bad experiences with boyfriends before she met you. It might also be bad experiences with you. It’s also possible she has been limited by being taught sex is dirty or a way men abuse and control women. Yes, this is a problem, but it’s not insurmountable; my bride had all of those issues!
- Often the problem is the husband is doing too little. He is working to be better to her, but he is only doing a small amount.
- Other times, the husband needs to keep at it longer. This is especially true if you have been married for a long time and even more so if you were unloving for a long time. (Unloving, by the way, is about not giving her what she wanted.) To be blunt, if you have been a selfish jerk for a decade, don’t expect a month or two of being a perfect husband to make a difference to her. Anyone can play a role for a while, but that does not mean they have really changed. It may take six months to a year for her to think it’s for real, and to start reciprocating.
- Another possible problem is a woman is just mean and selfish, and no matter what her husband does, she has no interest in ever doing anything for him. Yes, such women exist, but they are far fewer and farther between than you think. You have no chance with a woman like this, but odds are this is not what you are dealing with. Give, and give, and give some more, and see if she changes. Even if the changes are not where you most want them, good changes prove she is not totally selfish.
- If you want to encourage her to give you what you want, you have to give her what she wants. If you want more and better sex, you would not be impressed by her becoming a far better cook. Yeah, it would be nice, but it would not meet your real need. The same is true with her – giving her things other than what she most wants and needs from you is “nice” but it’s not life changing.
The bottom line is this: the more you give, the more likely she is to give to you; the better you meet her deepest needs, the more likely she is to try to meet your deepest needs. The more you sacrifice for her, the more she is going to be willing to sacrifice for you. This is true of anything in life, including sex. There is no magic, no secret, just hard work to love her as best as you can.
If I had it to do over, I think I could have gotten what I have now in a fraction of the time. I would do it by talking a lot less about sex, doing nothing more than letting her know what I hoped our sex life would become. Along with far less talk about sex, I would do far more giving, loving, and sacrificing. Every time she “failed”, I would take it as a cue to work even harder to bless and love her.
Finally, as my bride said, pray a lot. Don’t just pray for her to change; pray primarily for you to change. Ask, no beg, the Lord to show you how to be move giving, and to help you to sacrifice more. Give until you can’t give any more, then pray for the strength to give even more. Ask God to help you become a model of Christ like, sacrificial love. This is one of the most powerful things any man can do.
Image Source freedigitalphotos.net
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
The Generous Wife
The Big Fight ◄ Generosity and stinginess – which is winning in your life?
Can Your Word Be Trusted? ◄ About as important as it gets.
A Thoughtful Gift ◄ The thought only counts if you think!
Marriage Retreat ◄ Pro-marriage movies.
Hot, Holy and Humorous
Journey to Surrender
Living Your Purpose ◄ Make your walk fit your talk.
Marriage Missions International
Two or Three Perspectives? ◄ The other, other story.
Kick Your Wife Out of The House! ◄ This is sacrificial love.
Sex; Be Clear About What You’re Asking For ◄ Very important.
Ten Things Every Husband Wishes His Wife Knew About Sex, But Doesn’t Know Quite How To Tell Her ◄ A great guest post Gerald did on this bride’s blog.
One Flesh Marriage
Introducing ◄ One Flesh Marriage adds some resources – check it out.