“I just want to feel connected to my husband!” Gina cried in my coaching office.
The next day I met with both Gina and her husband. Upon digging a little deeper, I learned that Connor felt the same way. He wanted to connect more often with his wife too, and was quite frustrated that he kept trying and trying to do just that, only to be rejected by her. So how is it possible for a couple to want the exact same thing, yet both of them feel so unsuccessful in that endeavor?
First I asked Gina to define the word connection. “I want to feel close to him. I want us to talk more. I want us to pray together more. I want to feel as if we’re best friends,” she replied.
Then I asked her what she thought Connor’s definition of connection might be. After a long pause, it was like a light bulb went off in her brain, and she boldly declared, “Sex!”
Connor shook his head up and down frantically like a baby kangaroo with A.D.D. on a sugar high after a birthday party.
He was saying, “I’d feel more emotionally connected to you if you were more willing to connect physically with me!”
She was saying, “I’d feel more physically connected to you if you were more emotionally connected with me!”
Another couple, Kim and Rick, say it took several years after having kids to work through their different ideas of sex and love. Kim explained, “I felt tired and worn out after spending the day taking care of little kids and nursing a baby. Thelast thing I wanted was sex!” As a result, Rick grew distant because he felt like his wife didn’t want him. Neither of them knew how to verbalize their feelings to each other without sounding selfish, but after a few months of only being intimate every couple of weeks, Rick spoke up.
“I just don’t feel connected to you, Kim. I know you are tired but I need you to save enough energy for me. Sex is what makes me feel connected to you.”
Kim says she was very frustrated at his comment because it seemed to require that she add to her ever-growing to-do list.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to feel connected to my husband. I just had nothing left to give physically. But he just couldn’t understand how having sex felt like something I had to do, not really something I longed to do.”
It’s bewildering how a husband and wife can have the exact same goal, but a different strategy entirely. So how did husbands and wives get such different ideas about sex and love?
(to be continued…)