Here is a description of one of the sexual dances that my husband and I used to rehearse repeatedly. It was not the answer to my question: “How to save my relationship?” because it wasn’t a fun or nurturing dance. We couldn’t stop our behavior until we realized how much our sex life suffered from it. Perhaps some or all of this dysfunctional interplay will sound familiar to you.
At times my husband would tell me that I was inadequate if I refused his sexual advances. He needed me to affirm and validate him as sexually desirable. When I didn’t, he couldn’t face his own fears of rejection. The more my husband kept coming on to me, the less I wanted sex. My hurt feelings didn’t motivate me to want sex more often, while my husband’s dependency on me to help him feel adequate put me in control of his sense of self. This left me feeling powerful, but not in a positive way and was not how to save a relationship.
Since my husband was often the initiator and I the rejector, it turned out that I got to have sex when I wanted it and on my terms. Not always getting me made my husband feel vulnerable in ways he didn’t have the coping mechanisms to tolerate. The result was, the more vulnerable he felt, the angrier he’d become with me.
This is a typical marital tango that drives many couples crazy, yet at the same time it’s a meaningful dance. Fighting with each other is a cover up for the pain of wanting each other and not getting. As soon as we realized how our manipulative sexual dance was not bringing out the best in us, we quickly transformed our negative dance into a positive one. Consciously changing behavior is how to save your relationship – and how to enhance and enrich it.
Choose one and be specific in your analysis of your sexual interchange. Once you recognize what you’re doing, you’ll be able to do something different and not just keep repeating old patterns. This new information that you’ve uncovered will give you the freedom to cultivate more capacity for fun and passion in marriage.
This marriage cartoon questions the concept of winning and losing in a relationship. Where are you?