I have been reading your marriage articles on KSL. But the main problem in our marriage is that my wife has almost no interest in intimacy. She will give it to me if I ask but always requests that we do it quick and get it over with. This is obviously a deep disappointment. She thinks something is wrong with her because she just isn’t into it. I’m frustrated and feel rejected because I want it to be part of our marriage. What can we do to fix this?
Before I can explain how to fix this part of your relationship, I want to make sure you understand the objective here. What you really want is happiness, joy and to feel loved and wanted. I want that for you too, and I believe the universe wants that for you. But you are not unconditionally entitled to joy and happiness, love and acceptance.
Joy, happiness, love and acceptance happen through growing and becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Real joy comes from learning to rise above fear, selfishness, defensiveness, neediness and resentment you are experiencing and choose love.
If you want to experience real joy (and a better sex life in your marriage) you must remember that life is not a vacation or a sightseeing trip, it is a classroom.
We are here to learn and grow, and especially we are here to learn to love. Learning to love is the true purpose of your journey.
This means that everything you experience in your life (without exception) is here to facilitate your education on love. You were attracted to this person because the universe knew this flawed, imperfect person, with his or her specific set of issues, could teach you the exact lessons you need to learn. Your spouse will be your greatest teacher.
You could give up on this relationship and try to find someone less flawed, who might make you happier, but trust me, if you didn’t learn the lessons about love and forgiveness this relationship was meant to teach you, you will just repeat the lesson until you do. You can’t run from the classroom of life. It goes with you wherever you go.
You are meant to grow and become better. You are meant to learn to forgive at a deeper level. You are meant to let go of your insecurities and fears of loss and rejection and rise above them.
The problems in this relationship are here to teach you, stretch you, try you and sometimes rip you apart, so that you can become better and get the joy and happiness you are after. But you won’t get the happiness until you learn the lessons and grow. So, you are going to have to step it up.
The path to the joy, love and intimacy in your marriage lies in you becoming a more loving and forgiving person than you ever thought you could be. Trust me. I’ve been where you are and it’s taken a long time to get this lesson. But this is truth.
In the last four articles, I outlined ways that you can work on yourself and your fear issues. You must do this because they are the one thing you have control over (and they are, in fact, the solution). You might want to read and re-read these five articles until you get what your lesson is. I have a printable version of all five articles on my website.
I know that your spouse has issues too and those issues are hurting you. I know if your spouse would fix his or her issues, it would make all this much easier on you, but apparently that is not your perfect journey. Apparently you are meant to work on yours first.
If you want to repair your marriage, you must stop fretting over your spouse’s behavior and lack of love for you. That is not the issue. The issue is you learning to see yourself, your spouse and each situation you are going through clearly and accurately. You must start seeing that you are both the same. No one is the bad guy here. You are both amazing, infinite, absolute, perfect souls who are currently struggling, scared students in the classroom of life doing the best you can with what you know (but not knowing near enough). You must stop keeping score and looking for offenses to justify your ego’s opinion that your spouse is the problem.
You must see that every fight, moment of rejection or unkind word between you is a lesson. Each of these moments is a beautiful opportunity to practice rising above fear and choosing love. This is not a complicated thing to learn to do but it will require some work and practice.
It comes down to this one choice (that you must make over and over): In every moment of your day, you are responsible for choosing how you are going to experience this situation and this is not a complicated decision, because you have only two choices: fear or love.
It helps me to see the choices laid out this way.
Fear or love
Fear of not being enough/trust in my value
Get offended/see experience as a lesson
Imagine the last time you were bothered, hurt, offended, rejected, insulted or felt taken from, in that moment you had two choices. What did you choose? What would have happened if you had chosen love? Who do you want to be?
Every time you choose fear, defensiveness, distrust, hurt or anything on the left side, you are not being the person you are meant to be. These moments will produce nothing good, and the pain, anxiety, discouragement or low self-esteem you will feel is there to show you that fear doesn’t work. It never produces anything good.
The quality of your marriage (and the joy in your life) is totally determined by how you make this choice and how often you do it. I know that it’s difficult to choose love at times (a lot of the time.) I know that your automatic subconscious response is fear and it almost feels like you can’t help reacting the way you are. But that’s a cop out.
You can help it. It’s just going to take some work.
For many of you, choosing love will mean showing physical affection to your spouse on a regular basis even though you aren’t in the mood or interested in it. You must do this if you want to live from a place of love and experience happiness.You must do this because you want your spouse to feel loved and wanted. They deserve this. Everyone does, and if you want to be cherished, adored and cared about, forgiven and treated with kindness, then be the kind of person who makes your spouse feel loved and wanted every day.
That is your number one job as a married person. Instead of worrying about protecting your own interests, how can you make your spouse feel loved?
Working on this will help you become the best version of yourself you are meant to be, which will create real joy.
This won’t be an easy battle, but you are meant to get this, and you can do it.
When you start consistently choosing love, an amazing thing will happen. Your spouse will gain respect and admiration for you. Your spouse will also appreciate your forgiveness so much (because they know when they don’t deserve it), it will break down the walls that have kept you apart. They will feel safe with you and they will want you to feel appreciated and loved back.
(Most of you are married to rational people who will respond positively to real love given without strings. But if your spouse still isn’t able to give back to you, you may feel guided to move on and the lesson may be over. But until you have grown and changed at a deep level, you aren’t there yet.)
If you want your marriage to work, you must focus on your behavior. (That is why I don’t let couples do coaching together. It defeats the purpose and encourages finger-pointing. I insist they each work on themselves.)
Your job is not to police your spouse’s ability to choose love and complain when he or she doesn’t do it. If you are policing, you are in the wrong, because in the very moment you are accusing your spouse of not being loving, you are not being loving either.
Fear, suspicion and blame also make you unattractive. I addressed in the previous articles that confidence, strength, wholeness, gratitude and encouragement are what make a person attractive. Neediness, resentment, anger, disappointment and frustration are not.
Givers are attractive, encouragers are attractive. People who are mainly focused on getting the love they want and being disappointed with their spouse aren’t. If you want love, you must stop trying to get it and commit to being a giver. But you must give with no strings attached. You must give the gift of love and forgiveness because it’s the kind of person you have decided to be.
This kind of person is very attractive.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com and the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The path to fearlessness." She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.