My heart beat fast. I didn't really want to talk about it, but knew I needed to. How could things ever get better if I didn't say anything? How could I know what he was thinking if I didn't ask? Was my timidity causing me to keep something from him? Wouldn't that eventually hurt our relationship? Yet this was so personal. It made me so vulnerable. Did I really want to know his honest opinion? Could I handle the truth?
I approached the subject after we'd gone to bed. In the dark. Where I didn't have to face him or see his reaction. But bringing up a tender subject when he was ready to call it a day annoyed him. We can talk about anything else. For hours. Even late at night, after we're already in bed. But this topic. . .wow, we've struggled with this. He gets defensive. My feelings get hurt. And we end up back to back, me wanting to kick him out of bed as he falls asleep too easily, while I lay awake stewing.
Why is it so hard to talk about sex?
It exposes more of us than we like, doesn't it? But if nothing is said, the problem doesn't go away. It grows. And if it's not addressed, soon it creeps into other areas of our marriage, building up walls as we learn to hide our true thoughts from each other. It's important to spill our guts, friends, especially about sex.
In my own experience, it's never easy, but if I remember a few communication principles, it can be bearable and lead to good resolution.
I need to swallow my pride. I want my marriage to be the best it can be. If I am not willing to risk some brief embarrassment to make it so, I am selfishly hampering our relationship. I love him more than my ego. My actions should prove it.
I need to consider him in my approach. I need to think of him in my timing, not saving my bombshell until bedtime. This never turns out well. So now I say to him, "I want to talk about _______. When would be a good time to do this?" He doesn't feel attacked and has a chance to consider how he feels about it before I expect answers. My old ineffective way of bringing up sexual matters was pretty unfair. I had all the advantages. He was left feeling blindsided with no time to form an opinion.
Don't do all the talking. LISTEN too. This is pretty self-explanatory. If you've swallowed your pride enough to bring up a problem, be sure to hear what he says about it! Ask questions if you don't understand what he's saying. And above all, don't take what he says personally (I've learned this the hard way, people-trust me in this.). Hear him out before you react.
The more we talk about it, the easier it gets. Just like the hardest part of peeling an orange is getting it started, once ground has been broken, once you've uttered those difficult words, the next time isn't as painful and awkward. The only way to improve your communication is to keep working at it.
Here's the bottom line. It's TOUGH to talk about sex (BELIEVE me, I know!), but if I truly love my husband and value our relationship, I am willing to risk the conflict and momentary discomfort to make things better. After all, when things improve for me in the bedroom, they get better for him too, don't they?
Take a deep breath and venture forth, my friends. You can do it! Your marriage will thank you (and probably your husband too!).
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