I realized something had gone wrong when you went to kiss me and I instinctively pulled away. I could tell you were hurt and just knowing that hurt my heart, too. The more I thought about that moment, the more confused and frustrated I felt.
It’s not that I don’t want to kiss you. I love kissing you and being kissed by you. I love when you brush the hair off my face or wrap your arms around my waist. I love being touched and embraced. I think it starts to go wrong when I get out of that beautiful moment and start to worry about where this all is leading. It’s like getting on a plane for a destination I never want to reach. As much as I love to travel, if you never want to get to your destination, you’d feel a little anxious and defeatist about getting on the plane.
I don’t want to have sex right now. That’s true for any number of wives on any night for any number of reasons. Maybe I’m exhausted from feeding an infant multiple times a night. Maybe I’m feeling totally touched out from the constant presence of needy toddlers and preschoolers in my life. Maybe I’m dealing with some emotional struggles as I adjust to this new phase of life. Maybe I’m wrestling with a health issue that makes sex painful. Whatever the reason, actual sex is not a destination I can get to emotionally or physically tonight.
I know that’s frustrating to you. It’s also frustrating to me. I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m disappointing you and ruining our marriage. When I can have sex, I genuinely really like it! I miss it when it isn’t something we can do, but I also know my limits right now. There are times for just doing it even if it isn’t ideal timing, but there are also times when it doesn’t matter how much I think I SHOULD do it or want to do it, it just isn’t an option.
But here’s the thing—even if I can’t have sex right now, I still need intimacy. I still need to know we’re on the same team. I still need your gentle touch. I still need to know you are passionate about me and that we are more than just friendly roommates. I need an outlet for all my passion for you. I need to know that you want me and I need a way to express that I want you, even if I can’t have you in that way right now. I don’t want us to grow apart during this time.
I’m a woman with needs and desires for intimacy. Sometimes that desire may not include intercourse. I want to find a way to make that work for you during this season that intercourse may not work for me. I want us to both feel happy and connected, emotionally and physically. I don’t want to pull away from your kisses because I’m afraid that by engaging in intimacy with you, you’ll think I’m promising you intercourse. I need for it to be OK for us to enjoy each other’s company and each other’s bodies without it having to end in something I don’t feel OK with right now.
I need to know your love and commitment to me is not based on how often I’m willing to put out. I need to know you are faithful to me because you are a faithful person, because you recognize how valuable I am to this family, and because you truly love me. I don’t want your fidelity to be something I have to earn with my sexual willingness, but something unconditional, no matter our sexual season.
Can you respect that? Can you love me through this season, however long or short it may be? Can you be creative with me as we explore our options for physical intimacy? Can this be fun, like when we were newly dating and discovering each other and our boundaries for the first time? Can we have hope that this season won’t last forever, but that we’re going to find ways to enjoy it even when it’s difficult?
I want this to be fun. I want us to be close in all the ways that matter. I am excited for the day when sex is an option again. I’m hopeful that by taking some of the pressure off of that moment, it may get here even sooner than we imagine. When it does happen, I want the firm foundation of intimacy we’ve established to make that experience even more enjoyable.
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