Going Forward In Our Own Way

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Submitted by Louie on
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My wife and I had a great weekend. One of our kids was sick so we spent the entire weekend at home and I think that we needed that quiet relaxation time. Sunday was an especially good day. We had a nice cuddle session. I allowed my hand to rest on different parts of her body. After a few minutes I moved it somewhere else. She really liked that. There was no goal to it. When my hand eventually arrived at her right breast (above the heart) she put her own hand on top of it to signal that she wanted it to stay there for a while. Even after our son came and jumped in our bed she kept it there.

Later in the day we had a series of short conversations.

First we were talking about a play group that she had gone to with our son. He enjoyed it very much, but my wife said it was tedious to listen to the other moms have inane conversations. They talked about stuff they bought, and TV shows and other things that she does not care about. She went quiet for a moment and then said "I kind of want to conect with other women. Sometimes I think it would ge good to be popular. But, I just cannot relate with them. Why is that?"

I said "I do not have a tight social group either because I do not need it. I feel no need to try and make myself fit into a particular social group. If they are doing something I am interested in then I will join, otherwise I am happy to be on the sidelines." My wife said "yeah, that is the way I feel too." Then she grinned and told me that her massage therapist thinks we are the most grounded couple he knows. He says "you guys do your own thing. You don't follow trends. That is cool." Then she looked me in the eyes and said "besides, we have each other. Who else do we need?"

Later in the afternoon I was feeling bored. I plopped down on the couch and my wife looked at me over her book. She said "Can't think of anything to do?" I said "actually, I was thinking it would be nie to make love to you." I said it with a grin because I knew it was not an appropriate time. The kids were running around the house. She laughed and said "Hmmmm, I thought of that last night. It was nine o'clock and I thought this is it. This is the time that we should be having sex. The kids are asleep. There will not be a better time. But I was really sore, and really tired so I just went to bed."

I said "that was the right choice. You should only do it when you actually want to do it." She put her book down and said "so ... a few months ago you were hounding me about a schedule for sex. Do you not feel that way any more?" I replied that earlier in the year I thought that a schedule was what we needed because I was anxious about the availability of sex. The schedule was more about soothing my anxiety then it was about anything else. I no longer think that a schedule is the right way to go. It might work sometimes, but there will be days when the scheduled time arrives and you don't feel like doing it, but you feel like you have to do it. That kind of thing leads to resentment. She said "In the past I have resented you very much for pushing a sex agenda when I did not want it." I laughed and said "I know you resented it. I could tell when you did not want to be there. Scheduled sex works for some people. It will not work for us."

Later in the day she brought me a newspaper article that she had saved. It was about the death of romance in modern marriages. The author was lamenting that so much of what people call romance these days is scripted. You go out for dinner on Valentine's day and your anniversary. You have sex on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You find a love note every morning beside the coffee. The author felt that true spontantous expressions of love were a rare thing in the modern world. The author was calling for more of what he called "true intimacy".

As I was reading it my mind was saying "yeah yeah, this is good. Tell her you agree that intimacy is the key to a happy marriage." However, when I opened my mouth, a very different message came out.

I said "Intimacy is great, but it is not the most important element in a happy marriage. The number one thing that makes a relationship work is authenticity. The most satisfying relationships are the ones in which you feel that you can relax and just be your honest self. You are comfortable to say what you actually think and what you actually feel. You do not play a role for the benefit of the other person, and you do not ask them to play a role for you. If you have to play a role then it will always bother you that this relationship requires you to be something other than your authentic self in order for it to work."

My wife nodded and said "acting wears thin after a while."

I said "this is why scheduled sex will not work for us. You don't want to pretend to be interested in sex when you are really not. I don't want you to act for my benefit either. Besides, you do not act very well. I know full well when you do or do not want to be making love. I also know when you are speaking your mind and when you are toning it down for my benefit."

She laughed and said "I just can't fake it can I?"

We talked for quite a while after that about the need to be authentic. I will sum it up in these points:

- We will only have sex when we both want to do it. No schedules. I know this runs counter to pretty much every book every written on building intimacy and I do not care. I have considered this particular point very, very carefully and no matter how I try to sell it to myself, scheduled sex feels wrong. I have choosen to follow my own inner guidance on this one.

- If one of us is angry or upset at the other person then it needs to be outed. Earlier in our marriage I tended to shrink from such talks, but that is no longer the case. In the past few months we have aired every beef and we are much happier as a result. Litle things get sorted out and thus, they do not become big things. No emotional energy is left unresolved to fester and grow over time.

- We agreed to not play roles in our marriage. If we cannot be our authentic selves in this, our most intimate relationship, then where can we be authentic? We may play roles in order to work in society, but we will be 100% authentic with each other ... warts and all. It will take practice because this runs counter to social conditioning, but we will get there.

I was very pleased by how this all went. I can feel that layer upon layer of confusion and tension has been coming out of our relationship over the past few months. We are coming into right relationship with each other in the truest sense. This will bcome a relationship in which we express out truest selves at the deepest levels and we both feel accepted and appreciated for who we really are.

Some may argue that by throwing out all notions of scheduled intimacy I have put the whole thing in her hands and perhaps slowed the sexual healing process considerably. I am choosing to have faith here. My wife is working through some inner levels of resistance with respect to letting go of her own defences and opening to true intimacy. True intimacy requires that you be unguarded. She does not know how to be really unguarded, but she is learning. It will go easier for her if she feels that she has conrol of her own growth process. So, I have made it clear to her that there will be no pressure. She can take baby steps if she needs to.

However, I do not really think t will be an issue.

This morning I woke up before the alarm. She was already awake. She rolled into cuddle position without any prompting and I slipped my arm up under her shirt. We both became very relaxed. Everything is going exactly as it should. There is no need to force anything. She and I both want to go to the same place, and we will get there in a way that is perfect for us.

Onward and upward.

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Oh yeah

I have no doubt that intercourse will be a revelation when it does happen again. That is is a big part of why I feel no real anxiety about is abssence at the moment. I know that when it starts to come back, it will will quickly become a self-propelled kind of thing. I won't have to sell her on it.

By the way ...

I know that scheduling works for many people and that is great. I am not going to crusade for the end of scheduled sex or anything. I have just decided that it will not work for us ... for now. Who knows, once my wife discovers karezza she might decide that she needs a schedule to ensure that she can get it. I don't want her to be anxious about it :)

Wonderful!

I'm thrilled for you both Louie! What a lovely experience to have over the weekend. It's so amazing that the two of you are connecting so profoundly. I can't gush enough about how happy I am for you. You're hard work is paying off in the most beautiful ways and it's great to watch everything evolve for you. ♥

Unpredictable evolution

Three years ago I set the intention to experience true intimacy with my wife. At the time I thought this would be mosty a process of breaking down my wife’s resistance to sex. That just goes to show how naïve I was.

This has been a major project in self-reconstruction. Everything that I ever thought I knew about relationships has gone out the window. I could fill books with the rules, conditions, tricks and tactics that I have collected over the years on the subject of intimacy. All of that is gone now. In its place is these simple concepts:

Love yourself
Be authentic
Be vulnerable
Have faith in yourself
Have faith in your spouse
Be willing to try stuff
Be willing to make mistakes
Do not take any of it too seriously
Be patient
Have fun
Enjoy

So beautiful

Personally, I have faith that you have made the right choice for yourself and your wife not to schedule sex. It wouldn't have worked. And I am so glad to hear about these experiences and talks you two are having now. Your patience and faith are inspiring and it sounds like your wife is responding well to what is happening. I'm so glad for both of you.

what's important is that you are happy

Hey, Louie, I'm going to post a different point of view .But I hasten to add, this is not about your choices, this is about my choices and I'm posting my choices and my experience in response to your post, not giving any advice. 'K?

I personally would not be happy, without regular sex with my wife.

I find scheduling takes the matter out of "should we or shoudln't we" and that for this type of sex, it is very important in our relationship to connect regularly, very frequently.

I have observed massive healing in my wife's approach to life and she agrees with me that it has helped her.

Even though she is *still* not really all that much into sexual intercourse -- to this day, most of the time she kind of goes along with me quite often, and despite that, this has been the best year of our marriage ever and probably of our lives.

I wish she was more into sex, like I am. But she's not. And if I quit having scheduled sex with her, then we wouldn't be enjoying the benefits we do. 

I too started this journey with the aim to increase intimacy and make my marriage better and I thought the path was to "fix" our sex life. I think that was essentially correct, but the fix was more than I ever dreamed it could be.

 

Different strokes

I no longer think that there is an absolute "right" way to do anything in life. By that I mean that there is no such thing as universally correct ways of doing things. Rather, there is a menu of options available for handling any particular situation in life. As individuals we need to choose which options feel right to us.

I respect 100% that scheduled sex works well for your marriage. I will not argue that point with you at all. I have choosen what feels right for me. You have choosen what feels right for you. We are both right in the context of our own lives.

I would hate for anyone to read this post and then try to blindly impose this on their own lives. If it does not feel right, then it is not for you, regardless of how well it works for me.

At this point in time, it feels right to me to have no schedule for intimacy in my marriage. In the future it might chnage. If it stops feeling right, I will not cling to this way of doing things. I will go with what feels right.

right, of course.

interestingly, my wife thought it sounded a bit regimented but it took the stress off for both of us and we both enjoy that structure now. 

She doesn't worry that I'll try to initiate sex when we are "just cuddling". And as I've said before, if I didn't initiate sex we wouldn't have sex very often and that wouldn't be good for either of us.

I started recently to ask her to tell me when she is ready for me to enter her and that's been quite nice, as she can take things at her pace and let me know when she feels prepared. 

My view is that ritual happens whether or not you plan it or let it materialize by chance. My life is about increasing the rituals and structures that make me and those around me feel better, and decreasing those that make us feel worse.

Maybe is not

scheduling or not scheduling, but to be flexible with your own views and be able to change them according to the situation, as sometimes the situation does not need you to change anything, and sometimes yes.

So to be flexible with your own views and change them or not according to context it is essential to know how to listen your own heart sincerely, whic makes the differenceeee.

So good to read all this wonderful opinions, point of view and experiences ! ☼ ☼ ☼

there is something else too

My thinking has changed a zillion times on this and continues.

We started with no schedule, then went to one, then abandoned it, but now we are further along this adventure and both enjoy the security and structure of a schedule. That isn't to say we don't deviate. We don't have sex if something intervenes but that is pretty rare. It happened last week when something happened with one of our kids (false alarm thank goodness) and we were upset about it. Then we just held each other.

I think scheduling works VERY well for us because my wife has a very low libdo and also is very sensitive to my feelings and so this way she doesn't have to be put into a position of "turning me down". She has also discovered that Karezza is no big deal physically compared to sex in the old days which was rough and involved frequent UTIs. To her our sex is a sort of "super cuddling" it seems, which is fine. To me it's a divine gift. We're both happy. But having to stress out about "will he or won't he" or "should I or shouldn't I" is a great gift.

 

 

 

Schedule

This isnt about right or wrong, but the schedule saved our relationship, of that im sure. But of course it isn't the schedule per se. But what is scheduled.

For the first i dunno few months i was the defender of the schedule. Now's it usually her. During karezza we connect so deeply, she lights up like a christmas tree.*

Loiue, i was thinking of you two while watching this ted talk about trust and oxytocin and at one point he says that people who have had their trust destroyed tend to not respond to touch like usual. If there is some kind of more serious past wound then your slow and gradual approach well may be quite sound. One thing is for sure theres no point in getting her back up by pressing the issue beyond the realm shes likely to negotiate within.

I very much respect what your doing. Cudos mate.

*sidenote, if my partner is particularly stressed i found, i need to chill for a good half hour before she comes on line. Its taken me two weeks to really get this.

Schedule or no schedule...

Schedule or no schedule... whatever works and rings true for you now. We should be like the river, constantly flowing, and not like a pool of stagnant water. Things that bend are less likely to break. And other Zen like that. Wink

Schedule or no schedule

Hey Louie, So glad to hear the good news, sounds like you and your wife will soon be able to enjoy some Karezza together. I agree with LB, schedule or no schedule, just move forward and get to a place in your relationship where Karezza is a part of your life as a couple.

I do wonder though, why you are so adamant and rigid about no schedule, how do you know it won't work for you?

Past Experience

Twice in the past I have convinced my wife to try a schedule. Both times she agreed in principal and then resisted it in practice. I think she finds the idea of a schedule repugnant. She wants to be free to say yes or no based on how she feels right here and right now. The very first time that that the schedule says we need to make love, and she does not want to, she will lock up. She may go through the motions, but she is not happy about it.

That is why I say that a schedule will not work for us. If she feels that she has to do it against her will then no matter how much sense it may make logically, she will resist it at the emotional level. It becomes a barrier and is therefore not helpful.

Honestly, my wife has a lot of self integrity. If she is not happy about something she will not pretend that it is OK. I respect that.

Schedules

[quote=Louie]
Some may argue that by throwing out all notions of scheduled intimacy I have put the whole thing in her hands and perhaps slowed the sexual healing process considerably.

This morning I woke up before the alarm. She was already awake. She rolled into cuddle position without any prompting and I slipped my arm up under her shirt. We both became very relaxed.
Onward and upward.[/quote]

It seems to me you do have a schedule, even if it is an unspoken one!

Since virtually everything we do in life is scheduled, from going to bed, getting up and eating three times a day, it would be odd if our sexual behaviour was very different.

With your hand on her breast, I would call what you're doing sexual, even though intercourse may not yet be on the cards.

Yours is turning into a fascinating journey.

Agreed

Yes, this is a facinating journey for sure.

And yes, we do have a sex life. It just does not include genitals at the moment.

Two years ago there was not even any cuddling. I think that we have made tremendous progress. We are moving forward with baby steps.

Eventually the genitals will get involved again. I have no idea when that will be. There is no rush. If I pressure her then we tend to back slide.

First off I am going to say

First off I am going to say this: Playgroups ARE the absolute WORST! For a lot of women (including myself) it brings out those adolescent insecurities of fitting into the "right" social groups. When in fact, the only thing you have in common with the other women is being a parent.

I really liked what you had to say about authenticity. It couldn't be more true. True intimacy requires authenticity. During the day I have to "put on my mask" to play my various roles, mother, student, employee, friend. With my boyfriend there is no mask, no role to play. I am me and he is he. This is the first time I've ever had a relationship like this and it is very refreshing. Because of the authenticity we have there are no mind games played, no trust issues, and no topic that's off limits for discussion.

I can see both sides of the coin as far as the scheduling goes, but do what works best for you both. At the end of the day that's all it comes down to.