How are you supposed to feel when entering marriage?


#1

My subject is pretty self-explanatory. The thing is, I have a history of struggling with “romantic love” and closeness with men. My relationship with my dad wasn’t very close, and I had older brothers that used to mock and tease me ruthlessly, and it’s only been a few times in our adult lives that much real love has been expressed. So in a sense it’s been hard for me to be able to relate to a man loving me in a tender, genuine way. I kind of wonder if this is also why I have an easier time relating to Mary and Marian devotions compared to Jesus. Kind of strange, I know. Now I think there comes a point where you have to stop using your family background as an “excuse” – you have to “get over it.” I did fall in “romantic” love with someone before, but he actually didn’t really love me when I think about it. It was mostly me doing the pursuing and I broke up with him eventually. The experience broke my heart pretty badly. I was so much closer to my mother as well, and after she died in 2003, I’ve grown a bit closer to my father but I am still afraid of him sometimes. He was pretty strict and emotionally distant, but I know he was doing his best and what he thought was right. I get a little frustrated with him at times because it’s like he frowns down on the idea of us asking him for help, I guess he gets afraid of coddling. But again, it’s how he was raised.

I’m engaged, and it’s not like I don’t feel any attraction or romantic love towards my fiance. I just can’t relate to things I perceive as “mushy.” And we’ve discussed this plenty of times – I tell him that I’m sorry if I am distant sometimes, and I am trying not to be. He tells me not to worry about that so much.

I feel bad that some people are excited before they get married and more often than not I feel anxious about whether or not I will be cut out for it and how it will all work out. Maybe I’m just imagining all of the suffering that comes with marriage and not thinking about the joys of it. I’m a bit anxious because he’s been having a hard time with his job lately, he’s unhappy with it, and I’m worried about him. It’s not really how I really want to start things off… but I guess as I told him it’s not going to get any easier.

Storm heaven, please!!


#2

We just talked and he told me not to worry, but I’m praying that he can get a handle on some of his stress.

Oh I thought I’d mention that I wasn’t so concerned when we were together during the fall but I had to return to the U.S. and he’s in England, so being apart does make things hard. :frowning: We’ll be back together in the spring, marrying next fall.

Maybe I’m just too much of a worrier. :shrug:


#3

There are no rules :slight_smile: .

If you’ve had good marriage prep and discussed the closeness issues, rely on the grace of the sacrament once you’re married.

Everyone has their issues; there’s no such thing as a perfect person. (here on earth anyway)


#4

I met my husband online, on a Catholic message forum, just like this one. He was in England and I’m in Michigan. You have a huge massive life change in front of you - trust me, I just went through it last a bit over a year ago myself. With marriage prep, planning a wedding, immigration, trying to maintain a relationship over 3,000 miles - you don’t have time for mushy. Everything is important, communication is vital, and your time “together” is at a premium. I hope you are talking over Skype frequently - it absolutely saved us, and I know we would not be together today had we not had that wonderful tool.

Don’t worry - I’m not a mushy gushy type either, though I do sometimes have my moments. I feel like I could have written your comments myself actually.

If you have prepared well for your marriage, have talked about EVERYTHING, spent good quality time together when you can, and not doing a ton of traveling and stuff, you should be fine. Now, if what you think you are feeling are “second thoughts” then that’s a different story. If it’s just a lack of living up to other people’s idea of romance, then don’t worry about it. If you are ready, and you truly love each other, then you will be fine.

Please feel free to PM me at any time. We have been married a little over a year, he arrived here in the States about a month before the wedding on a K-1 visa, and now has his green card.

Best of luck to you! You have an exciting life ahead of you! :slight_smile:

And my God Bless your marriage abundantly.

EDIT- I just went back to re-read your posts and had to laugh a bit. All of our readings at our wedding had to do with sacrifice and suffering for another - we didn’t have the typical lovey dovey readings. We didn’t think that was realistic. :slight_smile:

~Liza


#5

Yeah, I can relate and I find your story comforting because my situation and sentiments are similar and Skype does help out a lot!!!

I guess the circumstances of our relationship is different than others – our story is a pretty long one, originally we were friends online, years ago. Became more than friends when we decided to meet at World Youth Day. So it’s been a really long and hard journey. But so far I see the hand of God at work.

I really can’t imagine finding anyone better than him. I do NOT mean that in a “he’ll do” attitude. I’m not one to rush into marriage for some immature need to be married – you know what I mean – some people are desperate to get married and approach it like a fairy tale. He is everything I could possibly ask for. I look at life with him so far, it’s been more complicated, some suffering, but certainly a lot better than I could imagine.

I get the feeling that for the most part, no matter what our vocational calling is, we aren’t hard wired to live just for ourselves and now that my life has unfolded this way, I can’t imagine throwing that away.

It sometimes scares me how much he loves me. One time he said “I want to marry you as soon as possible” and I said “WHY???” and he said “because I love you!” And I was like… whaaat? Huh?


#6

You sound like my wife (of 19 yrs). I kid her sometimes that she doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body. Her idea of “somehting more comfortable” is flannel! But I love her unconditionally. That does not prevent me from becoming irritated at times, however. She too, had a bad relationship prior to me coming on the sceen. I’m convinced that she’s the best woman for me and thank God for her because she’s a wonderful woman and getting to know her changed my life for the better. I’m sure your H2B thinks similarly about you. So, I guess, it’s not all “love boat” stuff, all the time for everyone. Relax.

I assume you are doing the precana exercises. This is important. It helped us alot. Hopefully, you two can make good use of the time apart to talk about the important things about marriage.

And one more thing. My standard advice for engaged couples is to read one of Christopher West’s TOB books TOGETHER. You may like TGNAS&M. www.christopherwest.com It did a lot for our relationship.

Congrats and may God Bless!


#7

I struggle with romantic love as well, ironically, I’m closer to my father and brother than my mom and sister. But I came close to something terrible when I was sixteen and that made me lose trust in men for awhile and I’ve always been seen as “one of the guys” (except I’d get my door opened for me, but they’d talk to me like I was and to be honest, I preferred it.) My boyfriend and I were romantic the first month of dating, then it fizzled and we broke up after a year.

One of my guy friends has been helping me once again see romantic love as beautiful and not scary. He treats every woman like a lady and is the sweetest guy. We’re not dating and there’s no attraction on either side but every time I walk with him, he not only gets my door, but has me walk first, he’ll put his hand in the small of my back, buy me coffee, make sure to check in with me if I’m going through a tough time, give me hugs, etc. He knows a lot of what I struggled with in the past and is trying to help me. He’s helped me see how a man is supposed to treat a lady and I’ve come to make that my criteria for any guy I date. I still struggle but I know I was meant to meet him for a reason and I’m glad I can count him among my good friends.

I don’t think you’re “supposed” to feel anything. Whatever you feel right now is OK and I bet you’re fiancé counts himself very blessed to have you. I may not be close to marriage, but romantic love is difficult and receiving love and affection from others is also difficult for me. Sometimes, I feel bad for feeling this way but I remember what this friend said to me when he thought i was mad at him. He said to me, “Whatever you are, be it. It’s real, and true, and pure.” Maybe God put this man in your life to help heal you and be there for you. Don’t worry so much about feeling things, just remember that God is there for you and this man wouldn’t marry you if he didn’t love you.

You’ll be in my prayers.


#8

Neither DH or I are romantic people. We laugh and joke about it all the time. Our 2 yr wedding anniversary is coming up in May, and my mom scheduled a girl vacation for her, my sister, myself and my daughter and she said “Ok, I know it’s during your wedding anniversary but I figured…well, you guys wouldn’t care.” lol I was like…Yep. When I told DH I would be gone, he said “I’ll think about you.” To which I said, “Yeah, I’ll order a glass of wine and tip it in your general direction.” That’s just how we roll. I love him like crazy, we’re just not mushy. :shrug:

That being said, I would describe my feelings pre-wedding as “pumped.” :slight_smile:


#9

I know what you mean - I think that, of all the other men in the world, this man is the only one who can help me get to heaven, and would even WANT to help me get to heaven because he loves me so much. Not some pie in the sky romance, though it did start out a bit like that, but we are more serious about our marriage than we are emotionally elevated by it, if that makes sense.

I was originally planning to move to England, but we decided that it was better for him to come here since I owned my own home, had the better job, and opportunities are just all around better here - not to mention, being a Catholic here is much easier than being one there to be sure. So, for months I was on the path to England, then he changed his mind and we reversed course on a dime. :slight_smile: What a whirlwind it was for over a year!!

One of the things we did to prepare for our marriage since we were so far apart (and I really loved this) was answer questions. I got a book called something like 100 questions to consider before marriage, or some such thing. I would pick out some questions, email them to him, and we would both answer them on our own. When we were done with our answers we would swap emails so we could read each other’s responses, then we would talk about them together. Sort of like our own weeks long engaged encounter, but via Skype. :slight_smile: Nothing was off limits - we talked about everything!. Even our priest said that we were more prepared than most couples he sees who have been together in the same zip code for years. That made me feel good, we tried so hard to do as much as we could, given our difficult circumstances.

I am sure you will be fine - it’s all a bit scary, but I think that’s healthy and normal, and don’t worry, you don’t have to be all hearts and flowers and smushy gushy just because you are getting married.

~Liza


#10

Love of course, is not about feelings. We make a decision to love every day. The emotions come and go.

What if you are lacking peace with this because this is not where God’s calling you? Perhaps that should be explored.


#11

I’ve asked myself the same thing, agapewolf. :wink:
I’ve been exploring that for, oh… five and a half years and praying for God’s guidance all this time. I broke it off with him once a couple years ago, and that didn’t really give me any peace of mind or seem like the right thing to do. I would hope that if God was calling me elsewhere it would present itself somehow. But the way things have happened a lot of things seem to fit. It would seem more likely that after years and years of questioning myself and my own judgment, perhaps the time has come for me to put my trust in God. It’s not that I don’t have any peace of mind or feelings of excitement at all. They come and go.

I guess lately I’ve just had a lot on my plate and generally I have a handle on the anxiety but I just felt the need to discuss some of these things with others, because they were things I’ve been meaning to ask someone but don’t really have my mom around to ask – and a lot of the elder relative women in my family didn’t marry Catholic or have that kind of perspective.

I’ve started taking NFP classes and we will be going through very excellent pre-cana courses because we’re marrying at a very orthodox parish, so I think that and a whole lotta continuing prayer will help also.

I do feel a lot more at ease reading everyone’s responses and I thank you all!


#12

Hey, caught your marriage/pregnancy thread and caught this one too.

My opinion is that’s it’s all about disclosure.

Marriage isn’t all about romance, although that’s probably the sweetest part of it, to me, anyway. If he is cool with a “partnership” that isn’t romantic, then I don’t think anyone has a right to tell you that’s wrong.

You can get married for “logical reasons” (he’s Catholic, I’m Catholic. . . we both want kids. . .we are both financially secure --in fact, it seems most of the good Catholics here actually advocate that over just raw feelings).

Where I would be uneasy about these feelings if he wants romance out of the marriage and you just want kids, a house, etc. and okay, we’ll exchange some sex once in awhile.

I can’t exactly palpate it but there’s something about that kind of relationship that makes me uneasy, mainly because he would be at risk of not being fulfilled.

That could lead to feelings of emptiness and frustration on his part (and again, I don’t know him or know you) or not, depending on how he is.

I speak from experience on this.

I read of one couple who actually laid out everything in a contract, down to the number times that they would have sex per week and what he would bring home in money. It was on Dateline or something. They were both divorced prior and I guess learned their lesson about telling each other what they wanted.

While Americans, notoriously a romantic bunch, found the idea odd and peculiar (esp. the fascination with sex that Americans have - that was only a small part of the nuptial agreement), it worked for them and the family harmony was definitely there.

Again, there was 100% disclosure on their part and that’s what this seems to be about.

I guess I am kind of hoping you’ll get lovey-dovey with him but it has to be genuine too and I respect you for being genuine.

Good luck.


#13

Oh …we do have our romantic moments and I can be lovey dovey – approaching marriage like a contract devoid of romance and for just kids and a house just sounds like the most depressing thing ever (for me anyway) I would never want him to feel deprived of love, I’ve told him this, and had him promise me that he would sound the alarm if he was feeling that way. I guess as you said, we just need to both discuss expectations in the marriage – disclosure and communication is, and will be, key!

My parents weren’t always the most romantic people – sometimes dad would bring home flowers or they would share a kiss (like, twice a year or something…haha) but I don’t know what they were like as newlyweds. So I don’t have much of a point of reference, except my best friend who was ALWAYS boy crazy growing up (I was the opposite… a tomboy and/or terrified of boys) and she recently said “OH I bet you can’t wait to get married, I JUST couldn’t WAIT TO HAVE SEX!” and I was like… well, I hadn’t thought of it that way, exactly… :confused:


#14

My parents weren’t always the most romantic people – sometimes dad would bring home flowers or they would share a kiss (like, twice a year or something…haha) but I don’t know what they were like as newlyweds. So I don’t have much of a point of reference, except my best friend who was ALWAYS boy crazy growing up (I was the opposite… a tomboy and/or terrified of boys) and she recently said “OH I bet you can’t wait to get married, I JUST couldn’t WAIT TO HAVE SEX!” and I was like… well, I hadn’t thought of it that way, exactly…

Nice reply and that’s the hardest part of conversations like this. . .mixing up sex and romance and they are easy to get mixed up.

I think either attitude is appropriate - one of anticipation or one of disinterest if both are duly disclosed.

To me, the flowers as you note are romantic.

The sex, well. . .that’s hormonal, to me anyway. (to some, it’s a religious act).

But the romance and sex are joined at the hip in a lot of ways (ba dump dump, no pun intended)

I think you are just a good person for worrying about his needs for all of this. I am sure you are just obsessing a little but it’s very nice of you to have his needs in your thoughts.

Good luck to the both of you.


#15

Like a king.


#16

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