In the last week or two, there has been a lot of discussion in the Christian marriage blog-o-sphere about teaching your spouse, as far as I can tell, it originated with an article over at Hot, Holy and Humorous called How You Like To Be Touched. I highly suggest giving it a read and watching the video, it’s hilarious.
The main premise of all these discussions are that the genders are wired very differently for romance.
For example, women (tend to/on the majority) like being touched everywhere at the beginning of a romantic moment, except where they are most sensitive areas. Men (generally/on the majority) couldn’t care less about being touched anywhere except our most sensitive area.
Another example is how we show interest in having sex with our partner. Women tend to be more subtle, they hint, suggest, toss their hair and other things. All signals that to them that speak of romance. Men on the other hand tend to be a little more direct, “I’m horny” or “Let’s have sex”.
So, the confusion is obvious. The man is approaching his wife like wants to be approached. The wife is approaching her husband the way she wants to be approached. Neither is being approached the way they want to be approached.
The solution is equally obvious, learn to approach your spouse the way they want. That’s the advice you see everywhere. Unfortunately, in response to this advice, you often hear “it didn’t work!” Actually, I hear this more from the men than from the women. Why? Well, it works out like this:
Let’s start with the wife. The wife decides she’s going to serve her husband better. She approaches him boldly and directly, asks for sex, no hinting, no subtlety, just flat out “I want sex”, or she just starts kissing and grabbing him. He absolutely loves this and since he thinks she’s really horny for some reason, they have sex. Wife sees this as a success, looks to be a win.
Now to the man. He decides he’s going to serve his wife better. He buys flowers, chocolates, hints, it subtle and romantic. She’s over the moon. The night winds down and she thinks “This has been such a nice night, and he’s not pressuring me for sex. Either he’s not in the mood or he’s taking my wants into consideration and we can just have a good night and get to bed early to sleep. How perfect.” So, when he subtly suggests they go to bed, she goes upstairs and by the time he’s turned off the lights, checked the doors, etc, she’s in bed in her least sexy pajama’s possible and nearly asleep. Husband sees this as an absolute failure. Never going to happen again.
Now, this is just one scenario, these happen the other way as well. So, what’s my point?
My point is, it isn’t enough to educate your spouse on what you want. You have to reward them as well.
Men especially are pretty simple (generally). Sex = Good. No Sex = Bad. So, if the man tries something new one day and it resulted in sex. Guess what, he thinks he did was a good thing. If he does something new the next day and it doesn’t result in sex. He’s not likely to waste effort on it ever again. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
For women, a compliment and/or conversation often has the same effect. If she tries something and doesn’t get complimented. It doesn’t matter if you had sex and gave her 100 orgasms. She’ll still think you didn’t appreciate it. But, if she tries something and gets a compliment and a decent half hour or longer conversation with you, you can almost bet she will try that trick again.
Of course, every spouse is different. There are no rules, only guidelines that will probably work for the majority of people, so adjust as needed.
How has this played out in your marriage?