Though I am not a marriage expert, as a sexologist, I have met young parents who have relationship issues develop after their child’s arrival. I would like to share six tips with the hopes you might better understand your husband and be happier in your marriage:
#1 He’s trying
Your husband may not pick up the bath towel after himself or fold the laundry despite your repeated reminders. However he did hear you and is trying. Just because he does not perform household chores the way you would does not mean he does not care. He may genuinely not remember. He is your other half, your life partner of choice and deserves your patience and respect. And you need his support through the journey of life. Accept that things may not be go the way you prefer. Otherwise do it yourself if it needs to be exactly the way you want. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
#2 He matters
Many husbands compliment their wives on being great mothers, but express considerable pain over not being shown love, affection, or sexual interest. The challenges of life and being a new mother may sap you of all energy. Placing all your attention on your child can put him in a conflicted position of feeling competitive with and resentful of his child whom he also loves. Get the support you need to manage your fatigue better. If he offers to help in child rearing duties, let him. Do schedule date nights and alone time with him. There is no marriage without your husband!
#3 He’s just different
There are certain differences between men and women which we cannot just explain away. Men tend to respond to things physically, women verbally. He may be your opposite but isn’t this what attracted you to him and vice versa in the first place? In fact, the two sexes are just right for each other! Accept that he is just different rather than fighting it and trying to make him more like you. Let him be him.
#4 Not every thought and feeling needs to be said
Women who treat their husbands the same way they do their girlfriends realise that it is not necessarily a good thing. While women tend to be more verbal and expressive, they can tire out men mentally without some restraint. Communication without clear outcomes can confuse, frustrate and turn off your husband! You can try being specific, concise and to the point when communicating. Ask for the support you need that very moment – whether in the form of a listening ear, specific suggestions or concrete action. See if you receive a better response if you adjusted your communication style.
#5 He is not a mind-reader
Men are generally not as intuitive as women. I know many women who bought into the idea of “if he loved me, he’d just know what I’m thinking, what I want, and what he should say.” Put aside such romantic notions and work at being a better communicator yourself. The clearer you ask for what you need, want and desire, the easier it is for him to fulfill your wishes – and the good thing is, he wants to! There is a saying, “You are more likely to get what you want if you ask for it.” Respect your differences and what he needs from you to be good to you.
#6 Sex is not just about sex
A new baby takes a bigger toll on a mother due to her hormonal changes. Breastfeeding can delay her desire for sex. Husbands are generally understanding about the time it takes to adjust to adding a new member into the family. However at some point, husbands will expect sexual activity to resume. This could happen in the form of “outer play” involving hand or blow jobs even if one way for a start. He may want sex not just because he needs the physical release, but also the closeness he feels from sexual activity. Also physical intimacy in the form of sex reassures him that he is loved and accepted more than words might. Realising his reasons for wanting sex might help you stop resenting “giving” him sex and embrace sex as an integral part of your marriage.
This article was first published in The New Age Parents online magazine Oct / Nov 2012 issue.
By Dr Martha Lee
Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. A certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality, she provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events.
For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com