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behindTheCurtain

Intimacy/Relationship advice

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So far I love what I've seen on this site. So much support and great advice. I hope to be on both ends, both willing to get advice and help those when I can.

Now on to some background and question...

My wife and I have been together for 4 years and have two children. We actually had a rather quick dating period and are engagement lasted 5 months. No issues with anything before hand in terms of "slipping up". We are both active members. She has some depression and is on a light medication (her father as well). So... Lets get on with the meat of the issue...

Once engaged, I knew talks of family, children, and sex were going to come up. Being 6 years older than her (don't judge...) I had somewhat of a better understanding of what sex was/is in an LDS marriage. Her, being from a very sheltered childhood, knew very little. I talked to a sister of mine whom I trusted and pointed me in the direction of Christian literature (both LDS and nonLDS) concerning intimacy in marriage. We read this both separately and together, both giving it proper respect. She was so... naive (for lack of a better word). I say this because she knew what sex was (in it's base form) and that it was ok for married couples to do it, but knew little else (ex: She didn't know of basic functions). I made sure we took baby steps in understanding this. In fact, we were not intimate in our marriage until 4 months after our wedding day.

Ever since, our intimacy behind closed doors can be averaged out to less than once a month. (so much for the marbles-in-the-can analogy). I approach her intimately about once a week, but the truth of the matter is that it only happens when she wants to (pretty rare when she is ever aroused) or tolerates it. I make sure I'm home on time from work, help out with the kids, take care of our place, clean, randomly bring flowers home, etc... all those things that a good husband should do (not usually to be noticed for intimacy, but I genuinely want to make sure she's happy).

I love her. We have a connection that I've never had with anyone before and I know she is the one I need to be with. Those of you understand that intimacy offers a level of connection that is unrivalled, when done the correct way. We've had this, but only on such rare occasion. We've had discussions on how we both felt and even tried to make goals. (being intimate, in some way, once a week). That only lasted a month. and that was a year ago. It's hurting me emotionally and I get tired of bringing it up, for fear of her starting a depression-filled crying outburst and a week+ filled with awkwardness. I once mentioned counselling (I think her approach, or lack thereof, to intimacy, is linked to her childhood and her parent's inability to teach her or even mention intimacy), but that opened up a can of worms and she REALLY doesn't want to talk about this with anyone, except me (and that's hard enough as it is).

I am not here to complain or rant about my marriage. Rather, I am looking for some advice on ways to handle this situation. I want to go to counselling, but I'm also open to any other advice.

Edited by Eowyn
propriety for lds.net

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That has to be real tough. The best advice I can give is seriously counseling. When people have long ingrained views like that, it either takes time from doing what's right for truth and reality to show itself. Or it takes someone who knows how to work through people's feelings and other personal views of themselves. So in the immediate time, i'd recommend counseling.

Secondly, pray to know what you can do to help her with what she needs, whatever it is. Pray that her heart will be more open to counseling.

Thirdly, go to your bishop and try and start seeing counseling yourself(he can help you financially if needed). You'll find help in being able to help her. It will also open her up to the idea if she sees it helping you.

Best of luck to you! Have a good night!

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When looking for a counselor, seek one that is trained in sex therapy. General emotional stuff will only get you so far.

I definitely agree. This sounds like a job for a sex therapist. Depending on where you live, try to find one that has an understanding of sex within the framework of LDS theology and tradition.

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I'm not sure if she is afflicted with the "good girl syndrome" that Laura Brotherson talks so much about or if it is just plain naivete. In either case, her book "And They Were not Ashamed" might be a good resource, as a main emphasis in her book is about giving your wife "permission" to explore and grow her sexuality.

I also suggest you consider marriage/sex therapy. In addition, as difficult as it might be for her, she may want to talk to her doctor/OB/GYN about her medications and/or hormone levels/balance. It is fairly well documented that many anti-depressants can also depress libido/sexual response. Recognize that a good OB/GYN/doctor has probably heard these kinds of concerns before, but he can't help if you don't ask about them.

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I thought the book, Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, was an eye opener for me. It helped me to realize how men and women were different and especially why sex is important in a marriage.

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If she's taking meds for depression, a lot of them have libido-killing properties. You might want to bring it up to her doctor and see if this is the case and how to counter it.

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So much good advice! Luckily I just got paid so I'll look into buying that book. The only part that scares me is approaching her with this again. Doing it delicately is a must, but easier said than done. I'll ask her doctor about the effects from her medication.

As for the therapy, I know the church offers counselling but do they go as far as sex therapy? Meaning would my bishop refer me to somebody, or would this be a search I should do on my own?

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So many great replies. I'll check out the medication and side effects. Luckily I just got paid too so I'll start looking for the book.

As for counselling, that'll be a sensitive subject. I'll try to approach it as delicately as possible (any ideas?). Does the church offer more sex-therapy directed counselling (or refer someone) or will that something I would have to find more on my own? I know they offer marriage counselling, but I strongly believe that that isn't really what we need. Any thoughts?

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