Today we gladly hand the INFO for Families blog platform over to our friend Doug Rohan. He is an attorney, a great husband, and the doting father of three girls. He passed this post on to me and it was just so helpful that I couldn't imagine NOT sharing it.
I recently read a blog post about educating women on how wives can be more communicative with their husbands, particularly how they should signal an interest in initiating sexual contact. As a husband, there is nothing more intoxicating and special to me than knowing that my wife wants me in that way. I hate feeling like I have to pressure her into recreational spousal activity. So when she initiates, it is incredibly special.
I was excited to read in the article 10 examples of what the wife can/should do to tell her husband that she’s ready to “Get it On” (in your best Marvin Gaye voice). All of the examples were awesome and I gave the article a hearty “thumbs up”, knowing that it would then pop up on my wife’s newsfeed for her to peruse and get some ideas. I anxiously waited to see which of the 10 new tools she would use first to let me know it was time.
And I kept waiting…and kept waiting…and got nothing. I offhandedly mentioned the article, hoping that my wife wouldn’t see the beads of sweat and racing heartbeat as I toed around the subject of sex. That’s when I received a very important lesson: if I wanted her to initiate, then I darn sure better take care of a few things first. I realized that in fantasizing about her initiating sex, I had fast forwarded all the way to “free parking” on the Monopoly game board without taking the time to stop and invest in some of the important properties along the way.
If husbands want their wives to initiate more often, we need to step back and examine our surroundings first. Keep in mind, this list is not comprehensive, and every relationship is different. These may need to be tailored to your particular relationship season…
1. Give Your Wife a Break.
Our house is filled with the sounds of three giggling girls, ages 10, 6, and 4. Well, some of the time there is giggling. About 0.87% of the day is giggling. Maybe four minutes. The rest of the time is screaming, yelling, name calling, pouting, fussing, crying, whining, and general discontent with some perceived slight. Through all that, my stay at home wife must be the referee. Even if the vast majority of the time, all she says is “you have to go figure it out for yourselves”, she is still expending all of her energy just trying to keep the house from burning to the ground.
We have settled into a routine where, on particularly noisy afternoons, I will take all three girls and put them to bed by myself, giving my wife at least 30 minutes of quiet time to herself. Now granted, she is usually spending that time doing dishes after dinner, but at least she is in a quiet room with her Hulu or Netflix streaming show du jour. If you want her to think about something other than Calgon, give her some peace and quiet.
2. Close Some Windows.
I am a big fan of Mark Gungor and we frequently make references to his “Laugh Your Way to A Better Marriage” conference. One of his most widely shared Youtube clips is the “Tale of Two Brains”. If you haven’t seen it, its worth the 5 minutes it takes to watch:
Another way I’ve heard a woman’s brain described is that it’s like your computer with 101 browser windows open and constantly clicking between screens trying to keep up with all the information. One of those screens is “Intimacy With My Husband”. Our goal is to make her want to click on it. The pinnacle of achievement is to have her click on that browser window without us prompting her. The best way to accomplish that is to help her close down some of the other windows so she is focusing her attention on us.
3. Do Some Homework.
With a fourth grader and a first grader, I never thought I would reach a point in my adulthood where I hated school again. Well, I’m there. Between getting up at an unholy hour to fix lunches and brush hair and having to spend twice the time the teacher recommends on homework each night, I feel like our lives are held hostage by the school calendar. And that’s just the regular homework we know about and can plan for. Nothing will turn your evening upside down faster than hearing your daughter say “I have to dress up like Amelia Earhart for class tomorrow!” (How late is that costume shop on the square open? )
In our home, my wife is on primary homework duty, while I work late or cook dinner. It takes a lot of her energy and focus to help decipher the instructions for the “new math”. By the time she is finished, she is mentally exhausted. So on occasion, I’ll jump in and take a turn at monitoring the homework completion. It becomes one less thing she has to worry about and helps her keep some energy in “reserve”.
4. Wash A Dish or Put Away Some Laundry.
If you want your wife to feel sexually desirous for you, make darn sure there isn’t a dirty dish left in the sink. Or any other undone household chore staring her in the face. If you want her to slip out of that “end of day” outfit she has on, make sure there isn’t a pile of clean laundry sitting at the foot of the bed waiting to be folded. Nothing will snap her back to reality faster than that running checklist in her head of constantly repeating household obligations which already routinely overwhelm her. The laundry never stops. Ever. “What do you mean I need to cook for the children again??? They just ate yesterday! And I have to come up with the meal plan too???”
5. Let Her Sleep In.
One of the greatest blessings we have had in the first years of elementary school has been the ability to send our kids to a private Christian school. Not because of the small class sizes. Not because of the Christian focus of the curriculum. Not because of the wonderful administration that seems so plugged in to the students. But because they have “Late Start Wednesdays”! One of the greatest inventions ever.
We seem to really enjoy the knowledge that we will get to sleep in for an extra hour in the morning. I think we have had our “business time” on almost every Tuesday night before these monthly delayed starts. Sleep is far more important to your wife than to you. And if for some reason nothing happened that Tuesday night, the late start and extra sleep always seemed to make for a more energetic Wednesday night. Having learned that lesson, we have now gotten into a routine where I get the girls ready by myself every Friday morning while my wife sleeps in. Friday nights have generally been much more enjoyable.
6. Make the Children Laugh.
Mothers are by definition maternal. The fastest way to get sideways with a mom is to threaten her children. The converse is also true. The fastest way to melt your wife’s heart is to care for and love your children. Yes, I know work days can be long and hard, but once you get home, throw down your jacket and brief case and start a tickle fight with your youngest until she is at risk of ruining your suit from all the drool and pee that she can’t contain. One of my favorite family photos is when I came home and played hopscotch in my full work attire. You can still throw the football in the front yard with a tie on. One of the sexiest things I can do (according to her) is to play with our children and make them laugh.
7. Learn her Love Language. And Use It.
I’m a physical touch kind of guy. I think a lot of guys are physical touch guys. You want to show me how much you love me? Touch me. Preferably with all our clothes off. My wife’s love language is “words of affirmation.” If I want her to take her clothes off, I have to tell her and reassure her that she looks great, is doing a great job as a mother, is an excellent wife, and is the only one for me. I then have to repeat the same phrases over and over. At least 15 times a day. I use different words so she doesn’t catch on to the pattern, but I do it nevertheless. That is how I can get her to be tuned in. If your wife’s language is gifts, I’m sorry. I hope you have a good paying job. Which leads to…
8. Reduce Financial Stress.
There is no joke to the reality that financial stress causes marital discord. And why? Because people aren’t in the mood for sex when they are stressed about finances. And you know who gets divorced? People who are not having sex. Be wise with your spending habits. It’s a lot easier to pause and consider the delayed gratification of saving for something instead of charging it, especially if it leads to more frequent instant gratification of a better sex life.
9. Protect Your Wife. Champion Your Wife.
Women inherently feel vulnerable and insecure. It is part of the curse of Eve. All wives have a secret or spoken fear that their husband will leave, that she is inadequate as a spouse, that she is not doing enough…These are all the constant whispers of Satan. Your job as the husband is to reassure your wife that you are there for her and will always be there for her. If she has passions or hobbies, you should encourage her and support her. If she has ambitions, fire them up. Become her cheerleader, and then watch as she becomes yours. There is nothing more dynamic than a healthy marriage based on mutual trust and respect.
10. Write an Article About How it’s Not All About What the Wife Has to Do.
Even writing this article should have some short-term and long-term benefits. At the end of the day, a healthy sexual relationship within the confines of marriage cannot be about what the wife needs to do for her husband. When was the last time a Friday morning men’s bible study talked about how men should dress to look good for their wives?
Lay the foundation that allows her to have enough mental and physical energy for a sexual encounter. If she is running on empty at the end of the day and is “touched out” from all the maternal responsibilities, it is very selfish of us to look to have our physical needs met too. That builds resentment. Resentment is a cancer that will eat away all the good memories in your marriage.
Go the extra mile for her, and she will be more likely to go the extra mile for you. Something like, initiating an intimate encounter? Maybe so.