WHY SOME SPOUSES DREAD... ABSOLUTELY DREAD VALENTINE'S DAY
While many a couple will be happily enjoying Valentine's Day
pleasures, there will certainly be too many who will not only be
dreading the day, but who will suffer through it, best they can.
Who am I referring to? Simply the husbands and wives who love their
spouse, but find their partner has transformed the marriage into one
without not only sex, but minus other physical affection.
And, where Valentine's Day is supposed to be the epitome of
expressions of romantic love, this day can bring some spouses
incredible, inner pain.
Where can you find these folks who stay in the marriage for assorted
reasons? You need look no further than on Internet forums, Facebook,
in eavesdropped conversations (spoken in whispers), at taverns, in
locker rooms, or cafes. Basically anywhere.
Promises made to 'Love and to cherish' their husband or wife, lasted
for a while. And then... Perhaps the birth of children and a new
role... Maybe it's 70+ hour, high stress work weeks... Health
issues... Confessions that they never truly enjoyed sexual contact
and so now they...
Let me be clear: These
frustrated spouses are not typically wives and husbands who have
unusually high sex drives. Or who are 'affection exhibitionists'...
These are 'regular' folks. People who married someone that they
believed would devote some amount of physical and emotional energy
toward the highs and satisfaction derived from spousal contact.
Whether desiring to cuddle. Or kiss 'good morning' and 'good night'.
To hold hands. Get and offer a neck or back rub. To have intercourse
or foreplay more than once every six months or year or never again.
To be fair, women and men experience all sorts of hormonal changes
over time. And men can find themselves impotent or too used to
climaxing far too soon. And neither gender might wish to consume the
'little blue pill' or risk the effects of estrogen replacement
But, there are alternatives, if the spouses are open to them. Simple
and random acts of affection might be enough to satisfy many
'starving' spouses. There are pills and creams to assist those who
are willing to try them. There are new ways to express sexual
feelings. And, the need to simply be acknowledged as an attractive
partner in life.
Affairs, for some who indulge in these, are in fact driven by wives
and husbands who decide, single-offhandedly that their marriage
should be largely platonic.
Both women and men tend to not marry their best platonic friend. They
instead opt for spending their life with someone who finds them
sexually attractive. And for whom the feelings are mutual.
I have heard people ask how total abstinence in a marriage is any
less of a breaking of the marital vows, then having an affair?
Common questions also include: Where is the compromise to be found?
Is physical affection or sex, simply once ore twice a year, an
equitable balance? 1 or 2 nights out of 365? -- Does my happiness not
mean anything to my partner? -- Are they wanting me to go elsewhere
for my needs? -- Why am I
considered selfish? -- Don't I do things that I do not want to do? Go
to work, every day... Cook meals and clean the home... Visit
relatives or run errands...
Many of these 'hungry' women and men remain in the marriage because
they wish to be with their children, daily. Or, for financial
reasons. Or, because they decide that their love for their spouse is
strong enough to justify staying.
Reality is that many of these folks will become bitter and begin to
show their frustration and resentment, at home or at work.
I remember a woman, decades ago, who worked in human services. Her
businessman husband stopped showing her physical affection. And, she
eventually sought outlets in affairs. But, she hated it.
Interesting is that the one espousing the platonic relationship can
find all sorts of justification for changing the 'rules' of their
marriage. -- They're tired. They find what happens in the bedroom to
be boring. They decide, unilaterally, that they are no longer
attractive, so they don't want to 'expose' themselves, if you will.
They want time alone without being bothered.
Fact is that many of these reasons are obviously valid on some level.
They also show great
selfishness. Again, if their husband or wife was constantly demanding
sex or hugs & kisses, that would be different. But marriage is
supposed to be fulfilling to both
So far I haven't mentioned those who use sex as a bargaining chip to
get what they want. Or, as a 'weapon' to get back at their spouse for
a real or imagined situation.
Worse yet are the spouses who proclaim that their partner is free to
seek a divorce if they are so unhappy. Wow! A dagger to the heart!
This essentially says that some major marital decisions are theirs
alone to make, things will never change, and,
most importantly, they cannot find sufficient joy in pleasing their
wife or husband to... That divorce and breaking-up the family is
easier to do, then to maintain their marital vows and the
accompanying, typical expectations for a married life.
Okay, so I have covered the problem. But is there a solution? A
Unfortunately, there will be some marriages where this problem will
not resolve itself, well. Simply because it requires both parties to
not only actually compromise, but because action might come too late.
Too many hurt feelings and animosity to overcome.
Happily, there are steps to take. Perhaps a recognition that there
are multiple ways to climax. That subtle 'public' signs of affection
are fine. That often once you begin sexual foreplay, it can be easy
to 'get in the mood'. That if boredom or a strong dislike for how you
both make love is the issue, then verbal communication can be truly
Did you notice that I have very much included women as 'sufferers',
if you will in this situation? That's because they
are. And, the media has a responsibility to make something of
that, for the benefit of both genders.
Bottom-line, it is in 'the Obvious' that many answers to marital
problems exist. Please check out the very different marital guide...
Designed for good marriages as well as rocky ones... Improve Your
Marriage - Don't Overlook the Obvious. And, it's companion website,
THE LITTLE THINGS
After conducting numerous workshops, listening to men and women on
the job, and men discussing their wives at functions, I decided to let some of
you ladies know just how many men feel about signs of affection and
acknowledgement of their importance in your life.
LITTLE THINGS. - Tiny, insignificant, unglamorous acts of love and
affection. - Who'd have thought that they mattered so much to men? Certainly not
many wives, from what I hear.
MONOPOLY. - Your gender does not have exclusive rights to desiring
a man's attention. Men might not want to admit it, for fear of seeming weak or
Un-Arnold-like, but they crave it just as you do. Perhaps, more so.
ENERGIZE YOUR COUCH POTATO. - When was the last time that you sat
on his lap? Or took his hand, stroked his hair or arm… ? - Perhaps an afternoon
of college football or an evening of C-SPAN doesn't stimulate you… Okay, maybe
it's boring beyond belief! But, imagine how special your man would feel knowing
that despite a gazillion other things which you could be doing, you are there by
HANDWRITING ON THE WALL. - Or in a greeting card. - Doesn't matter
much where you stroke your pen. Simply give your man a 'Just Because I Love You'
or 'Thinking of You' card. Send it to him at work. His beaming smile will
brighten up your neighborhood's clouds, from miles away!
DREADED CHORES. - Join in! Now, some men look forward to spending
some quiet time when working around the house. Others will relish having you to
chat with, while sharing the workload. - Who says that a fair division of labor
has to mean 'separate but equal' tasks, instead of 'project teamwork'?
LOVE NOTES. - Scribble 'I Love You', 'You're Great', 'I'm Glad
That You're My Husband', 'You're Sexy', or 'You Make Me Happy', on that
marketing list you give him. - If you've seen a man hurry to get shopping done
while wearing a smile, you can bet that he either is hurrying home for a big
poker game or for an appreciative bride/ girlfriend.
YOUR TALENTS. - You have them. Flaunt them! At least, share them
with him. - If you bake, prepare that decadent dessert when it's not his
birthday or a holiday. - If you sing, wake him with a kiss and a song! - If your
fingers are magical, give him a neck or back rub. - If your lips are what he
cherishes more than cherry pie, kiss him like you mean it! Not like an
acquaintance or relative. - Use your talents often and unexpectedly. The results
should be well worth the effort!
SHOCK AND AWE. - A term for love, not war! - Let him find you sans
sleepwear, in bed. Invite him home for lunch and greet him with a bathrobe,
appropriately loosened. Offer to do something sexual, which he craves, yet you
normally do not do. - Be creative!
DRESS THE PART. - Business suits are fine for the office.
Housecoats are fine for dusting. Neither is fine for telling your man that you
still want to please him. More importantly, that you still care about him. Every
woman is beautiful, desirable, and sexy to her guy. Revel in that fact!
BALLOONS AND FLOWERS. - Men are big kids, sometimes. And what kid
doesn't get excited, receiving a balloon? And, flowers are equal opportunity
symbols of love and caring.
AROUND THE CHILDREN. - Amazing. You want your sons to grow up
sensitive and believing that fulfilling, happy marriages do exist. And your
daughter should find a decent man whom she loves and cherishes. - Where is the
role-modeling for this, though? What is wrong with your kids catching a glimpse
of a semi-passionate kiss? What would be traumatic about them witnessing
hand-holding on the couch or at a restaurant? Or a quick squeeze of the
shoulders? A neck rub? - Appropriate signs of affection among their parents can
teach children so very much. In addition, it reinforces their respect for each
parent, when they see the adults treating one another so lovingly.
HOW'S YOUR DAY? - Even busy executives can find 30 seconds to take
their woman's call. Revel in hearing her melodious tones. - Showing interest in
his day will probably lead to him reciprocating, if he doesn't already inquire
of your day's events.
PLEASE AND THANK YOU. - Don't take simple acts for granted. He is
your partner-in-life, not a servant. - Perhaps, treat him as you would a
stranger who did something kind for you, except let your love mix in with your
words of thanks.
IT ONLY COUNTS WHEN AND IF… - Were you thrilled with that vacuum
cleaner on Mother's Day? Or going to see that action flick instead of 'The
Notebook'? - A gift is truly only appreciated if the recipient wants it. The
fact that you believe your actions routinely show your man that he is 'special',
might mean very little to him. What matters are how he perceives what you do.
How much he values the specific things that you do for him.
NEEDY. - "Why do I need to do these things? He knows that I care."
- Maybe 'Yes', maybe 'No. But actions do speak louder than words. And words
certainly beat out silence, most times. - Face it! Most couples do not share the
same emotional, physical, or sexual drives and needs. Instead of thinking that
you can continue life in your own lane, indefinitely, realize that if you do not
do something more in sync with him, you will eventually head-off in different
directions at one of life's many forks in the road. - What does it really cost
you to do these things? Compared with what you might lose?
INFIDELITY OR BEING IGNORED. - Which is worse? Many men would say
that ignoring them was more painful. When your lover cheats with another man,
there is someone to be angry at, jealous of. However, when you and your needs
are ignored, you know that you must be incredibly undesirable and irrelevant to
your lady. Someone who once found you exciting and worth pleasing.
TOO TIRED. - Know what? That won't fly. Your man sees you plug
along even when exhausted. He sees you manage to meet the needs of kids,
parents, friends, and others. Day after day. Cleaning, shopping, attending to
the children, chatting on the telephone. You stay up late to finish a project to
help someone else. Yet, do you fall asleep as soon as you and your bedmate
retire for the evening? - Can't you muster some amount of energy for your man?
Make him feel as special as the others in your life? Once in a while?
ICEBERG. - "But he is cold to me. He doesn't show me affection, so
why should I show him any?" - The answer is found in science. How do you melt an
iceberg? Or at least thaw it? With heat. - Be affectionate. Be playful. Even,
dare I suggest, be sexual. If your man still has any 'husbandly' feelings toward
you, they will begin to show. - Many men withdraw and become frigid as a way to
protect themselves, or to 'get even'. - Two sides of the same coin.
TOO MUCH ON THE PLATE. - "Look, I hear what you are saying, but I
am really drained, stressed, and burned-out. I could care less about these
things. Call me 'selfish', but it's the way that I feel." - Hmm… Travel back in
time to when you were dating. Then to your newlywed days. Didn't little (or big)
gestures help you to relax? To distract you from the day's craziness? Even
energize you? - Plus, this is not all about you and your needs and wants. There
is a reason that it takes two people to exchange wedding vows. A reason why you
share a marital bed. Or a reason why you live together. Hopefully, the reason is
that you love one another. And as a result, you want to please your spouse. -
Declaring aloud that you are self-centered and selfish, does not excuse you from
fulfilling your vows. - You can muster some energy if you try, and you truly
care about your man.
LITTLE THINGS. A SMILE. A TOUCH. A kiss. 'Good morning, Honey."
"Good night, Lover." A note. A hug. - All small things that result in a huge
pay-off. - Treasures to re-discover, daily and nightly. - A good, loving male is
a terrible thing to take for granted or lose. Sleep on that!
copyright - R. Irving 2006