Asking advice - preferably from men, concerning my fiance


#1

I am engaged and my fiance and I are hoping to get married in June, after postponing the wedding several times, due to a desire to further work on our relationship. We are both in our late 20's. I love him very much and want to marry him. However a few things have come up/not been resolved that makes it hard for me to feel as secure in his love as I would like to. I was hoping to get some men's perspective on this, especially those married or dating/engaged.

1 - we have been engaged almost a year and it is very difficult to discuss anything concerning marital intimacy. We have always remained chaste, and he has never really shown a need for restraint. I was always the one who had to guard my heart and my purity, as he never seems to get tempted, EVER. Whenever the topic of sex comes up he is very neutral and just not very responsive - like it is a chore for him (It has come up several times in our marriage prep for example). For a very long time I was OK with this because I think sometimes talking about sex among engaged couples can be an occasion of sin. However recently he told me that he doesn't really think much about sex and it is not easy for him to talk about. I expressed that this is hard for me to hear, that I am looking forward to marital intimacy with him and want to be desired by him (in a chaste, healthy way), but he has very little to say about this. It is like he draws a blank.

2 - he has always struggled, in the past 3 years we have been dating, to tell me he loves me. I have explained to him that to hear him say this is very important to me. He thinks it is insecurity. I have told him we can compare it to kissing for him - "what if I had a hard time kissing you and decided I would rather not work on it, since it doesn't do much for me, and it must be an insecurity of yours to want me to kiss you and EVERY DAY too!" The thing is I know he loves me, but I feel he needs to get over this struggle to say it to me, just as I would try very hard to get over myself if I didn't like kissing him.

I know compared to so many couples these might seem like minor problems. But feedback on the best way to approach these subjects with my fiance from a man's perspective, especially if you can relate to what I have said, would be great! I am trying to decide if I should just let these things rest and not be concerned. I don't want to force him to discuss/work on these things with me. But I feel very strongly that these are things that should be openly discussed and resolved before marriage and perhaps may be a symptom of something deeper.

Thanks and sorry for the long post!

M


#2

[quote="Miriam_Adelaide, post:1, topic:217795"]
I know compared to so many couples these might seem like minor problems.

[/quote]

These are not "minor problems." They are your concerns and they are legitimate.

You have indicated to him what you need emotionally from him. He is either unwilling or unable to give this to you. It is normal for you to have these emotional needs as it is for him to have emotional needs. What is concerning is that you have expressed explicitly what you need and he dismisses it. That isn't a good sign of things to come.

You aren't right or wrong to need the type of affection and expression of love that you are asking for. He isn't right or wrong in this not being his natural way of expressing love. The problem is that you and he are at cross purposes here.

Maybe this is a dealbreaker. I am married, and I can tell you that you should NOT go into a marriage with a man if you are not on the same emotional wavelength. If you feel unloved or emotionally rejected, if you are struggling now, if you are *uncomfortable *now, it will only be magnified 1000x after you are married. Marriage is not going to change him or resolve this issue.

[quote="Miriam_Adelaide, post:1, topic:217795"]
I am trying to decide if I should just let these things rest and not be concerned.

[/quote]

Only if you plan to live with these feelings pent up inside you for the next 50 years.

[quote="Miriam_Adelaide, post:1, topic:217795"]
I don't want to force him to discuss/work on these things with me.

[/quote]

Why not? Are you discounting the legitimacy of your own feelings?

[quote="Miriam_Adelaide, post:1, topic:217795"]
But I feel very strongly that these are things that should be openly discussed and resolved before marriage and perhaps may be a symptom of something deeper.

[/quote]

Where there is smoke, there is fire.


#3

1ke's comments are spot on.


#4

Men marry thinking that she will never change -- because he likes her the way she is. And then she changes, and he's all, "Huh? :eek: What? Why did you change? This is false advertisement! Fraud!"

Women marry thinking that he will change -- because she doesn't actually like him that way but rather wants something different. And then he does not change, and she's all, "Huh? :eek: What? Why are you not changing? I didn't want you the way I married you. I wanted you different!"

My point is DO NOT MARRY HIM UNLESS HE IS JUST THE WAY YOU WANT HIM. He's not going to change. And now I'll say something harsh, but it's meant in good will: you're a fraud if you go into a marriage wanting him to change, because you're not advertising yourself truthfully. The act of the marriage ceremony means you want the "model" standing next to you. You're saying that you want the car, the computer, the widget, the thing there next to you in that specific configuration with those specific features. That's what you're buying. You're telling everybody that's the model that you want.

If that's not the model that you want, then stop telling lies. Get out of the store. Don't defraud him.

I know that sounds harsh, but sometimes harsh is what a person needs to hear. I'm saying it with a loving heart, honest I am.


#5

Thanks Ike and Christopher. I know none of us is perfect, and I don't want to discount all the great things about my fiance. Regardless, I do see that it would only be beneficial if we addressed these things before our vows. I have explicitly expressed how I feel and why he does not take them seriously and endeavor to change is a bit of a mystery to me, considering how he is otherwise.
Have any men (or women) experienced diffculties in expressing their feelings of love or discussing intimacy before marriage? If so, did you address this and what was the outcome?


#6

I'm not male, but I am married. I'll try to give a little bit of help.

A couple things stood out at me in your writing. The first was his unwillingness to discuss intimacy. Have you met his family? If sex and intimacy are hard for him to talk about, it's likely due to his upbringing. I bet he does find you very attractive and desires you, but has been raised not to ever talk about it, and he had parents who didn't talk about it either.

You also say he has issues telling you that he loves you. Again, i am willing to be he loves you, and I am even more willing to bet he's shy around it because of his upbringing. It stands to reason that if sexuality and discussions around that topic were anathema in his home growing up, intimacy such as "love" being used was also missing.

The thing is, you can't marry someone expecting that they will change. Your future spouse here has been raised a certain way (my best bet) and is unlilkely to change that much. What you have to do is communicate with him clearly that you need these things for a relationship to work. It doesn't make you a bad person, we all have different needs. If he can't fill those needs, then a relationship is liable not to work. This doesn't make him a bad person, it just means that he can't fill your needs.

What you have to decide is if you love him enough to be able to live with him as he is now. If you can not, then you shouldn't get married. Again, it doesn't mean either of you are bad people, it just means that your needs are incompatible. It's good to figure this out now, rather than 15 years from now after you have several kids and end up looking at divorce.

I'd also like to add this for a bit of hope:

My husband and I had several issues that we had to hammer out before the wedding day. We both came to agree that even if neither of us EVER changed, we could live with those things which annoy us. But we also promised to work hard every day to make each other happy. So, these things CAN be worked out, you just have to determine how much you are willing to compromise in the process. :)


#7

[quote="Whitacre_Girl, post:6, topic:217795"]
I'm not male, but I am married. I'll try to give a little bit of help.

A couple things stood out at me in your writing. The first was his unwillingness to discuss intimacy. Have you met his family? If sex and intimacy are hard for him to talk about, it's likely due to his upbringing. I bet he does find you very attractive and desires you, but has been raised not to ever talk about it, and he had parents who didn't talk about it either.

You also say he has issues telling you that he loves you. Again, i am willing to be he loves you, and I am even more willing to bet he's shy around it because of his upbringing. It stands to reason that if sexuality and discussions around that topic were anathema in his home growing up, intimacy such as "love" being used was also missing.

The thing is, you can't marry someone expecting that they will change. Your future spouse here has been raised a certain way (my best bet) and is unlilkely to change that much. What you have to do is communicate with him clearly that you need these things for a relationship to work. It doesn't make you a bad person, we all have different needs. If he can't fill those needs, then a relationship is liable not to work. This doesn't make him a bad person, it just means that he can't fill your needs.

What you have to decide is if you love him enough to be able to live with him as he is now. If you can not, then you shouldn't get married. Again, it doesn't mean either of you are bad people, it just means that your needs are incompatible. It's good to figure this out now, rather than 15 years from now after you have several kids and end up looking at divorce.

I'd also like to add this for a bit of hope:

My husband and I had several issues that we had to hammer out before the wedding day. We both came to agree that even if neither of us EVER changed, we could live with those things which annoy us. But we also promised to work hard every day to make each other happy. So, these things CAN be worked out, you just have to determine how much you are willing to compromise in the process. :)

[/quote]

You are so right. His family is very tight lipped about these things and I do believe he gets this from them. He knows this is unhealthy. I do need to decide if I can deal with this, as like you said I can not count on (nor should I) him changing once we are married. I think it is unhealthy and should be overcome, I don't know how to express this in a way that I haven't already. But I am not ready to give up yet.


#8

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t even call it unhealthy. It’s a preference that works for some people, not for others. It’s only unhealthy if done to the detriment of another. In your relationship then yes, it would be unhealthy because it’s damaging.

The thing is, he was raised this way and it’s strongly coded in him. If he loves you enough to try to change, then by all means! But you also have to be willing to meet him halfway on it too. It’s reasons like that that make marriage hard work!


#9

I feel very uneasy about responding to this thread. There have been enough good responses so far.

I only have two things to add. If your fiance shows little interest in the physical side of your relationship up till now, he will be avoiding the physical side of things most of the time after you are married.

I would seriously ask him if he wants a 'St Mary and St Joseph' type of marriage, his response to that will tell you a lot.


#10

You know, I notice a lot of people complain about the smallest things, you obviously don't know what it means to really suffer. Sorry, nothing personal, at least you aren't lonely.


#11

[quote="Miriam_Adelaide, post:1, topic:217795"]
I am engaged and my fiance and I are hoping to get married in June, after postponing the wedding several times, due to a desire to further work on our relationship. We are both in our late 20's. I love him very much and want to marry him. However a few things have come up/not been resolved that makes it hard for me to feel as secure in his love as I would like to. I was hoping to get some men's perspective on this, especially those married or dating/engaged.

1 - we have been engaged almost a year and it is very difficult to discuss anything concerning marital intimacy. We have always remained chaste, and he has never really shown a need for restraint. I was always the one who had to guard my heart and my purity, as he never seems to get tempted, EVER. Whenever the topic of sex comes up he is very neutral and just not very responsive - like it is a chore for him (It has come up several times in our marriage prep for example). For a very long time I was OK with this because I think sometimes talking about sex among engaged couples can be an occasion of sin. However recently he told me that he doesn't really think much about sex and it is not easy for him to talk about. I expressed that this is hard for me to hear, that I am looking forward to marital intimacy with him and want to be desired by him (in a chaste, healthy way), but he has very little to say about this. It is like he draws a blank.

2 - he has always struggled, in the past 3 years we have been dating, to tell me he loves me. I have explained to him that to hear him say this is very important to me. He thinks it is insecurity. I have told him we can compare it to kissing for him - "what if I had a hard time kissing you and decided I would rather not work on it, since it doesn't do much for me, and it must be an insecurity of yours to want me to kiss you and EVERY DAY too!" The thing is I know he loves me, but I feel he needs to get over this struggle to say it to me, just as I would try very hard to get over myself if I didn't like kissing him.

I know compared to so many couples these might seem like minor problems. But feedback on the best way to approach these subjects with my fiance from a man's perspective, especially if you can relate to what I have said, would be great! I am trying to decide if I should just let these things rest and not be concerned. I don't want to force him to discuss/work on these things with me. But I feel very strongly that these are things that should be openly discussed and resolved before marriage and perhaps may be a symptom of something deeper.

Thanks and sorry for the long post!

M

[/quote]

I can very easily understand something of what you're concerned about. I'm a male, who apparently has a lower libido than many others of my gender, and I married a woman who felt the need to be physically intimate more often than I. While I didn't have a problem expressing verbally and through non-intimate actions my love for her; sex just wasn't as important for me as it was for her. In the end, after just over 20 years of marriage, we divorced and are now awaiting the Tribunal's decision on our petition for nullity. Our "end" was not solely caused by my lower libido; however, it certainly was a contributing factor.

In that I am at least in this way similar to what you describe your fiancé to be, I can tell you that this DOES NOT mean that he does not find you attractive or that he somehow loves you less than he should. There are varying degrees of sexual desire in all human beings (male and female). Males are usually thought of as automatically having a stronger sex drive than females, but that is not always the case and it doesn't mean that those men with less of a drive are automatically less able to love. In my case, it just wasn't a big deal. If sex occurred 3 or so times a month that was enough. If your fiancé does simply have a lower libido, he will not be able to simply say, "I will work on this" anymore than he can say, "I will work on being 3 inches taller." Perhaps there is some medication available which might help???

I can speak on the issue of what may possibly happen if your fiancé and your situation is the same as mine and my wife’s (or ex). It is possible that over time, if your "then husband" feels that he is not meeting your needs due to his inability to raise his libido; he will begin to feel guilt. Then he will begin to feel resentment. He will be so wrapped up in wanting to "be there (perform well & often) for you" that the focus will not be one of unity but of servitude fueled by the guilt and resentment over his inability to meet the expectations of the woman he loves.

My suggestion would be for him to see a doctor to help determine whether this is a physical issue or simply an environmental issue as some here have suggested. If it turns out to be a physical issue that can be treated and he is willing to get treatment, perhaps this will become a non-issue. If this happens to be an issue over the way in which he was brought up, perhaps the two of you should seek counseling together to overcome it. But whatever you do, find out before you get married because either way, this isn't something that he can simply wake-up and decide to fix on his own. God bless and you both are in my prayers.


#12

[quote="P_drum, post:10, topic:217795"]
You know, I notice a lot of people complain about the smallest things, you obviously don't know what it means to really suffer. Sorry, nothing personal, at least you aren't lonely.

[/quote]

Actually, it is "the smallest things" that are the hardest to take and that can lead to breaking up.


#13

First of all congratulations that you have both remained chaste during your courtship. I think there may be a couple of threads here. Depending on the which is more prevalent, there may be more of a problem.

  • He might just be very embarassed to talk about these intimate issues (sex), and have a poor way of expressing his verbal love for you.

  • He is not communicating on these issues with you because there is concern or a deeper problem there.

If it's the former, perhaps he needs to open up and have a forum where he can do so. In my house growing up, my parents loved me, but they didn't say it a lot. I knew they did, but it wasn't talked about. When I found the love of my life, we talked incessently about our love for each other, and 31 years later still do. So just because he is not familiar with the words, doesn't mean he doesn't love you. That said, you need to get this out in the open so you are both on the same communication wavelength. God wants love all over your marriage, so there is no excuse to bury it.
The sex discussion is also important, even if it intimidates him a bit. He may be worried that inexperience, not satisfying you, and any other number of boogie men ideas are making this hard to discuss. However, I think you need to know that he wants your love and will give you love in every way once you are married.
I know this conversation is not an easy one to share with others, as men always want to believe they will be great lovers for their wifes, and don't want any feedback that may not be the case. However, we do need that feedback, and starting to talk about these issues, will break down barriers that may be present. (Real or perceived).

If you fiance is not willing to discuss these issues at all, or tell you that he loves you. (When you let him know how important it is to hear that), then as others have more eloquently noted, you have a problem.

I realize the priest is probably not the expert to deal with this, but perhaps you can find a good Catholic marriage conselor who may be able to help. You can bill a meeting as wanting to know more about intimacy in your relationship prior to marriage and how others who are chaste before marriage (Bless You both) deal with this as intimacy starts.


#14

I edited something I previously wrote for this post, so it is more philosophical than specific to Miriam Adelaide.

Intellectual love is an important component because love is an act of will. But the emotional and physical attraction component of love must also be present. Without this, a joyful marriage is difficult.

To put it bluntly, most women need to be sexed well to feel cherished, secure and happy.

Sometimes people cite stories about a couple that have such a good marriage and they started out as friends. Do you really know that it is a good marriage? Maybe the “good marriage” is a public projection to hide the real misery. Do you really know that they started out as friends? Maybe there was a bold approach from the man that neither talks about, then attraction spiked, but they demonstrated self-control and kept the attraction on simmer during a friendship stage.

Friends with common values often get married and then later in the marriage, they feel no spark and no attraction. I wonder why? Attraction is biological and part of God’s design. Arousal may accompany attraction, but is not necessarily sinful or lustful. Lust includes the intension “to use.” These passions must be experienced and disciplined, but not denied or repressed. This demonstrates self-control and willingness to suffer for the good of the other. You WILL suffer, but trust is developed and demonstrated. Yes it is difficult not to have sex in this instance, but this is a good foundation for a future marriage, rather than friendship with someone where you are not tempted because you are “friends.” The struggle to manage attraction is an important component of a future marriage.

A friendship stage is a good thing if attraction is also present. It is so important for a man to take a risk early and lay out the ground rules for the friendship stage. The man should set the physical boundaries. After meeting a woman, it is so powerful to for the man to say “I am attracted to you but infatuation is not love, so neither of us can say ‘I love you’ for the next 6 months.” This is respectful dominance and women respond! This is a great way for a man to test a woman early on. A woman can use such statements to evaluate the leadership abilities of a man. Sexual issues should be discussed before marriage including philosophy and some of the details of desire.

This is not at issue here but the Pill messes with the “mating dance.” It causes women to be physically attracted to a biologically similar man rather than a biologically complementary man. Later when she is off the Pill, she will realize that she doesn’t like how he smells and will experience sexual revulsion. This phenomenon contributes greatly to later divorce. So women should get off the Pill and trust their noses.

An ovulating woman is naturally more attractive to men. Women want to attract men, but a woman on the Pill often resorts to dressing more provocatively to attract the attention that she also often claims she does not want. The Pill defeats subtle hormonal changes and her pheromone effectiveness, because of suppression of ovulation. Also her male pheromone sniffer becomes faulty.

My observations were developed by experience and studying Game, TOB, & recent scientific research.


#15

[quote="P_drum, post:10, topic:217795"]
You know, I notice a lot of people complain about the smallest things, you obviously don't know what it means to really suffer. Sorry, nothing personal, at least you aren't lonely.

[/quote]

What makes you think she isn't lonely? Loving someone and not feeling that they love you because they never say can be a very lonely feeling.


#16

[quote="P_drum, post:10, topic:217795"]
You know, I notice a lot of people complain about the smallest things, you obviously don't know what it means to really suffer. Sorry, nothing personal, at least you aren't lonely.

[/quote]

Thats a really unkind thing to say. If I were in the OP shoes, this would be something that I would be concerned about as well. Going into a Catholic Marriage is a MAJOR thing, and being able to discuss all aspects of this bond are of the most importance. After all, through this bond, you are called to be open to children and if the parents can't even communicate about these "smallest things" then how are they going to communicate about how to raise the said children?


#17

I disagree with the first paragraph. The assumptions made about chaste people in this day and age, we all fall into this trap, are a corruption of our modern day society. Second suggestion may not hurt anything.


#18

OP,

I think one important thing to note is that we are random people on an online forum. As well-intentioned as we may be, I would strongly advise taking these issues to a professional. They are entirely legitimate concerns, in my eyes, but probably even good advice on here won't compare to a personal experience, especially if said fiance gets involved in the process.

I will say a prayer for you!

In Christ,

+VNV+


#19

[quote="tafan, post:17, topic:217795"]
I disagree with the first paragraph. The assumptions made about chaste people in this day and age, we all fall into this trap, are a corruption of our modern day society. Second suggestion may not hurt anything.

[/quote]

There really is no way that the poor guy can win in this situation. If he shows interest in sex he is a sinful cad and if he doesn't he is an asexual wimp. The double standard doesn't hurt men who are sexually promiscuous but it does hurt men who are chaste.


#20

[quote="scottm, post:4, topic:217795"]
Men marry thinking that she will never change

Women marry thinking that he will change

[/quote]

I thought of that axiom as well when reading the OP.


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