Marital Problems


#1

Hi,

I'm not sure where to post this so I hope this is the right place. First, I'd like to say that my husband and I love each other and have a great relationship. The problems aren't with that part of our relationship.

The problems we're having are more tied in with the marital act (I'm going to be as modest as possible describing what's going on, I promise!). We just don't connect. We have relations 3-5 times a week, but it's just not satisfying for either of us. We keep having fights about it, and it's always the same fight, just separated by about a month or two. Last night he brought up something new: I have recently asked him to stop looking at pornography because I've come to the realization that it's just not morally right, and he accused me of only having marital relations with him as a "wifely duty", which isn't true at all. He said that it seems like I don't want to have relations with him since I've started to get deeper into the faith, but that's not true either. I'm just having a hard time communicating with him.

He also says he misses how our intimate relationship was before we had our son (he's 20 months old) and that the romance is gone. I'm not sure what I can do to change things, and I want to. I miss how it was too!

Another big problem is that we have been praying for another child for a year now with no luck. I asked him to get tested (on my doctor's recommendation) and he said he doesn't think there's anything wrong with our physical bodies, but I'm just not in the right "mental place" to conceive. Needless to say, that was very hurtful.

I just don't know what to do. We are very much in love and have, otherwise, a great marriage. We just seem to be on different planes of existence when it comes to intimacy.

Oh, in case this info will help you guys help me, I'm a revert to the faith and I've been coming more and more into the faith over the past 7 years and he's a cradle Catholic.


#2

Caty,

I can’t offer much advice myself beyond an appreciation of your challenge. You’re not alone in either your issue or the prayers I and others give to you. Seek out a spiritual counselor as well as a marital counselor when the two of you can.

A change of scenery (hotel, vacation, et al.) often builds up expectation and joy.

Your husband’s viewing of pornography is, in my opinion, a sign that he is idealizing a sexual attitude that no woman can match, which throws off the reality inside his mind of who you are and what you are. You are right to have him turn away from it and face the reality of you.


#3

You have a 20 month old and you’re having marital relations 3-5 times a week? Wow. Maybe it is because we had twins, but I’m impressed. Is it possible that there are nights when one of you is too exhausted to have relations, but since you still have the desire, you’re just having them, anyway? That could take the wind out of your sails.

You might try having a night of together one or two of those times that involves intimacy but not of the sexual kind. Just relax together, instead. What you might be experiencing is that with a small child, you spend a lot of your time at home (both of you) satisfying physical needs and wants. You may benefit from some time that requires nothing of either of you.

I know someone who works in reproductive health, and they said that for sperm counts the donors are asked to avoid ejaculation for several days prior to providing a sample. Apparently, this has the effect of increasing the sperm count, but also desire. The same might be true of avoiding pornography for a period of time. Certainly, you would be more open if you knew he’d not had other women on his mind lately.

In fact, if your intention is to have another child as soon as possible, you might consider using NFP in the reverse way of couple that use knowledge of the woman’s body to space their children as far apart as possible. Try spending the time together that you normally would, but avoid sexual relations for the week or ten days before you are fertile. Use the time to tend to your friendship, instead. No talking about your 20 month old, at least not his issues right now. No talking about work or “to do” lists. Get that done at some other time. Instead, talk about hopes and dreams…without getting too practical. Brainstorming, but without the phase of the conversation where you get practical. Talk about the sports teams he’s following, the book you hope you’ll get around to reading, friends you’d like to catch up with, where you’d like to go on your future date nights, remembering times in the past that you particularly enjoyed together. Or just watch a movie or a ballgame together…alone. You might even talk about things you’d like to try when the waiting period is over. I think you’ll agree that the anticipation will be enhanced when that time comes! Mostly, though, try to be in the “creative phase.” You can admit that 90% of what you’re throwing out isn’t even possible, but that this is the time for thinking big, not thinking in practical terms. You can both talk about what you want, even those things that the other one isn’t interested in. Failure to shoot the idea down isn’t approval of it. It is just permission to dream.

I guess I’m talking about trying fasting, which not only gives us mastery over our appetite but which tones and increases pleasures that can dull with over-indulgence, but only with regards to the physical side. What is over-indulgence? Whatever makes the pleasure dull from familiarity. If your husband is suspicious of religion, though, I wouldn’t put this too him in religious terms such as “fasting”. I think I’d put it more in the sense of “familiarity breeds contempt.” There is nothing so fine that it cannot become “the same old thing” from exposure with no breaks. Tending to the friendship, letting your dreams out with no editting and no defense needed, and taking a break from “performance”…this could do the trick. You might even make it into a monthly event, who knows?


#4

You’ve given me a lot to think about; thanks! I think working on the romance and quality of our friendship would be a good idea.

As to the frequency…well…I think we’re trying to make up for quality with quantity, lol! Plus our son goes down between 6:30-7:30, so we have the whole evening free. Of course, he’s up between 5:30 and 7:30…but it’s a tradeoff I guess!


#5

[quote="Catydidd, post:4, topic:221437"]
You've given me a lot to think about; thanks! I think working on the romance and quality of our friendship would be a good idea.

As to the frequency...well...I think we're trying to make up for quality with quantity, lol! Plus our son goes down between 6:30-7:30, so we have the whole evening free. Of course, he's up between 5:30 and 7:30....but it's a tradeoff I guess!

[/quote]

You are both interested in having romance in your marriage, a quality relationship. That's great. You have a lucky son--parents who love each other is a great gift!

This sounds like something you can work out, as long as you stay away from blaming and defensiveness. Share every burden together, give priority to expressing your basic affection for each other across the whole spectrum of your relationship, and I think you will do very well.


#6

So other than react defensively to your request to stop the porn, did he agree to stop? Does he use porn to get excited in order to have sex? Or does he…er…“handle” his own needs sometimes? Is he using you as an excuse to keep the porn in his life? “She doesn’t seem as excited as she used to be, so I have to look at these other women in order to get turned on.” You said your sex is not satisfying to either of you - if it’s not satisfying to him, I know why.

If sex is treated as purely physical, it’s not intimacy. Sex should be an act of love for the other, not just relief of physical tension or lust (as in porn). If it comes out of lust, it’s not going to withstand all the tests of marriage.

Is he willing to stop looking at porn?


#7

I agree with the other posters that working on your relationship is the first step towards more satisfying sexual encounters. I know when I'm upset with my husband or feel distant towards him, it is hard to get in the mood. I had an issue a while back when relations were just no fun for me at all so I know how frustrating it is. And, if you're not having fun, it will upset your husband and the resentment and frustration will just feed on itself and make it even less satisfying. Letting go of the expectation to actually enjoy sex helped me to enjoy it more ironically.

I also think that pornography plays a bigger role in this than you realize. If he's getting his satisfaction from another woman on a screen, that's going to have a major impact on the sexual relationship between you two. Porn is intended to really get a man excited and indulge in his fantasies. I've heard plenty of men say that at some point they find that real life just doesn't measure up anymore. He will start prefering the porn over you. He needs to stop the porn immediately and focus on you instead because porn is something that can easily break a relationship if it's not dealt with properly.


#8

Frank and honest answer here…

You guys are having relations almost daily and your husband is STILL looking at porn?!? and you guys can’t figure out why the spark isn’t there!

Slow down… that is the root of the problem… and this is someone who desires relations as often as you guys do.

First of all if your husband is looking at porn then he is filling his mind with images and encounters of how sex should be, this is a falsehood, a lie and what he views on the screen can never be as fulfilling a blessed marital embrace between 2 spouses.

Most women I know, like you, didn’t and some don’t, care if their husbands look at porn. When my wife and I were protestants we talked with many other couples who saw it as a marital aid, there are others on this board who have been there as well. However you don’t need it… it actually takes the focus off each other.

Often I hear of guys looking at porn and regardless of the morality of it I can almost feel bad for these guys who only get to spend time with their wife once a month (or less!). However your husband getting to be with his wife pretty much every other day and still looking at porn… time for him to give that up, there should be no need or excuse for porn… regardless of the morality of it (I’m sure others will cover that aspect)

What I would suggest is for you guys to talk about what each misses from the pre baby days. What did he do differently? what did you? You might agree to refrain from relations if you are both tired, don’t have sex just to have sex… have sex because you want to be with each other, focus on each other, light some candles, turn on some mood music but NO TV and especially no skinamax etc…

If that means 3 to 5 times a week great… if it only means 3 that are completely fulfilling that’s great too… shoot maybe eventually it means 7 days a week! Who knows… but follow each others needs, it sounds like from a needs department you guys are in sync on the timing but not union.

Getting deeper into your faith doesn’t mean less sex… it can actually mean more as you work to understand the true beauty of the wonderful gift God has given us!

And tell your husband get up and go checked, be man if he really wants more children. We suffered from infertility for quite a while and I had everything in the world checked out, I even had an ultrasound to check things out… oddly enough we were actually pregnant when I had it done which we laugh about.

At the same time though, work on focusing on each other and not the act itself, complete self giving will result in bringing that spark back and… I actually believe being happy has something to do with it (from BOTH partners though) when trying to conceive… but I have no scientific proof of it, just a hunch.

My 2 cents…

Joe


#9

[quote="Catydidd, post:1, topic:221437"]
Hi,

I'm not sure where to post this so I hope this is the right place. First, I'd like to say that my husband and I love each other and have a great relationship. The problems aren't with that part of our relationship.. ...
We keep having fights about it, and it's always the same fight, just separated by about a month or two. Last night he brought up something new: I have recently asked him to stop looking at pornography because I've come to the realization that it's just not morally right, and he accused me of only having marital relations with him as a "wifely duty", which isn't true at all. He said that it seems like I don't want to have relations with him since I've started to get deeper into the faith, but that's not true either. ....He also says he misses how our intimate relationship was before we had our son (he's 20 months old) and that the romance is gone. I'm not sure what I can do to change things, and I want to. I miss how it was too!
.... he said he doesn't think there's anything wrong with our physical bodies, but I'm just not in the right "mental place" to conceive. Needless to say, that was very hurtful.
I just don't know what to do. We are very much in love and have, otherwise, a great marriage. We just seem to be on different planes of existence when it comes to intimacy.,,

[/quote]

Catydidd,
The pornography issue may be playing a much bigger role in this than you realize. As previous posters at your thread have said, he may need to look at it in order to become excited for the marital embrace with you - which is definitely not what the Church teaches. He also may be using it for his own self-gratification and release when you're not around, although I pray not. However, if he is, perhaps the sperm content is not as high when he does have relations with you - and hence possibly part of the conception difficulties.

It is wonderful that you are still very much in love with him, and that fact alone will help you overcome almost anything! I would recommend contacting a priest or a Catholic marriage counselor for assistance if you can (either both of you or for just yourself to start if necessary). It can be very beneficial.
There is also a support group here at CAF if you're interested called "Women Suffering Because of Unchastity" which deals with the hurt wives feel when their husbands view porn. Please feel free to join if you wish. It has been a terrific help to me in my marriage.
Our Lord's love to you, and a prayer is heading your way.


#10

Have the members of the support group had success in convincing husbands to give up porn because its wrong? If so, what tack seems to give the most success in communicating that? If that doesn’t work, are there other methods (either in addition to or instead of counselling) that get the message across?

If he gives the porn up for one week and a) his sex life gets better and b) he realizes how much the habit owns him, that may make enough of an impression to get him to want to kick the habit. That’s theory based on very limited experience, though. I’d be interested to hear what a collection of wider experiences teaches.


#11

[quote="EasterJoy, post:10, topic:221437"]
Have the members of the support group had success in convincing husbands to give up porn because its wrong? If so, what tack seems to give the most success in communicating that? If that doesn't work, are there other methods (either in addition to or instead of counselling) that get the message across?

If he gives the porn up for one week and a) his sex life gets better and b) he realizes how much the habit owns him, that may make enough of an impression to get him to want to kick the habit. That's theory based on very limited experience, though. I'd be interested to hear what a collection of wider experiences teaches.

[/quote]

Every individual, couple, and marriage is different, either in small ways or large ones. What works for one in the fight against the scourge of pornography in relationships may not always work for another or may be only partially successful in a different situation. Open communication, counseling, prayer, and receipt of the Sacraments are a few of the successful methods that have been employed to help rid sacred marital unions of satan's unrelenting attempts at destruction.


#12

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:7, topic:221437"]
I also think that pornography plays a bigger role in this than you realize.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Would he be willing for both of you to read up on what the Church teaches on the marital act? Learning about what it really is, instead of what society out there tries to tell us it is, really helps. It is a way, unique to marriage, to show love to each other and to unite, the closest you can ever be. It is amazing, so much more than a biological act to seek pleasure, and if he is looking at porn he probably does not understand this very well.


#13

You really just need to try different things. Perhaps, a special retreat for you and the hubby. Just a night at the hotel after an evening alone, after a nice dinner or maybe dancing.

Do more to lead up to the actual act. Perhaps more foreplay, like a massage, cuddling.....some sort of intimate but not sexual physical contact. Physical closeness and flirting are things that can get lost in daily life once kids come into the picture.

If I'm "after" my wife, I'll flirt and subtely hint all day long about it (if I'm home). I'll give her random kisses, shoulder rubs, and/or a gentle tap on the rear and other small physical flirty type of things. So, sometimes it's a day long flirt that leads to it.

For me, it makes the experience better and my wife almost never turns it down and as far as I can tell enjoys the lead up. Men and women work a little differently, IMO. Guys, most of the time, are ready go on a drop of a hat while some women require some sort of courting/intimacy to get fully involved. This may be where the disconnect happens between men and women. Men often focus too much on the actual act itself when the lead up and courting that comes before it can be quite enjoyable and also intensify things later.

Also, porn is only going to aggrivate things. It will make your wife feel like she's not good enough for you or that you don't enjoy being with her. Since sex is about 90% mental this can go a long way toward sexual dysfunction in a marriage.


#14

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:7, topic:221437"]
I also think that pornography plays a bigger role in this than you realize. If he's getting his satisfaction from another woman on a screen, that's going to have a major impact on the sexual relationship between you two. Porn is intended to really get a man excited and indulge in his fantasies. I've heard plenty of men say that at some point they find that real life just doesn't measure up anymore. He will start prefering the porn over you. He needs to stop the porn immediately and focus on you instead because porn is something that can easily break a relationship if it's not dealt with properly.

[/quote]

Agreed. Also, think about maybe decreasing the frequency like a pp suggested? If neither of you are enjoying it and you're just going through the motions, might be best not to push yourselves or force yourselves.


#15

[quote="mcrow, post:13, topic:221437"]
You really just need to try different things. Perhaps, a special retreat for you and the hubby. Just a night at the hotel after an evening alone, after a nice dinner or maybe dancing.

Do more to lead up to the actual act. Perhaps more foreplay, like a massage, cuddling.....some sort of intimate but not sexual physical contact. Physical closeness and flirting are things that can get lost in daily life once kids come into the picture.

If I'm "after" my wife, I'll flirt and subtely hint all day long about it (if I'm home). I'll give her random kisses, shoulder rubs, and/or a gentle tap on the rear and other small physical flirty type of things. So, sometimes it's a day long flirt that leads to it.

For me, it makes the experience better and my wife almost never turns it down and as far as I can tell enjoys the lead up. Men and women work a little differently, IMO. Guys, most of the time, are ready go on a drop of a hat while some women require some sort of courting/intimacy to get fully involved. This may be where the disconnect happens between men and women. Men often focus too much on the actual act itself when the lead up and courting that comes before it can be quite enjoyable and also intensify things later.

Also, porn is only going to aggrivate things. It will make your wife feel like she's not good enough for you or that you don't enjoy being with her. Since sex is about 90% mental this can go a long way toward sexual dysfunction in a marriage.

[/quote]

You are 100% right except I would say it's more like 99.9% of women who need another type of attention besides physical in order to get physical. I don't like it when my husband is always grabbing at me and never being just plain affectionate. I feel like all he's ever got is sex on the brain and isn't treating me as he would a beloved friend in addition to a lover. If he is affectionate AND sexy, great!!! Then I am good to go. But his problem is that he doesn't do the non-sexual affection but wants me to be ready to jump into bed when he is. Not so easy to do.

I need balance. You are right about sex being 90% mental. At least for women it is. If the emotional stuff isn't working between a husband and wife, chances are real good that there is also a problem in the bedroom.


#16

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:15, topic:221437"]
You are 100% right except I would say it's more like 99.9% of women who need another type of attention besides physical in order to get physical. I don't like it when my husband is always grabbing at me and never being just plain affectionate. I feel like all he's ever got is sex on the brain and isn't treating me as he would a beloved friend in addition to a lover. If he is affectionate AND sexy, great!!! Then I am good to go. But his problem is that he doesn't do the non-sexual affection but wants me to be ready to jump into bed when he is. Not so easy to do.

I need balance. You are right about sex being 90% mental. At least for women it is. If the emotional stuff isn't working between a husband and wife, chances are real good that there is also a problem in the bedroom.

[/quote]

Yeah, that's the problem. Us guys don't need anything but a willing wife.
However, most us don't realize how much more fun and enjoyable the build up can be and how much more into it the wife will be.

One thing that I find is nearly 100% going to work for my wife is a good back/foot rub. I take 20-30 minutes to do it and she enjoys the massage and the personal attention.


#17

Here's an update for everyone who has been so helpful to me:

Things have improved greatly. My husband went camping with some of his guy friends (all married) and when he came home, things were different. He's been attentive, sweet and understanding. I don't know what happened, but I think he might have had a "come to Jesus" with one of his friends. I've also tried to be more attentive to his needs (it's a two way street). I'm also trying to make sure that we don't go for quantity over quality and that we spend more time together just hanging out. I know it's only been about a week, but it's been a GOOD week.

As for the pornography issue, he is not an addict. He was using it when he felt I wasn't available for relations and he would look at something called "Lolporn" (apparently, it's like Lolcats for pornography. Odd). He has agreed to not look at it anytime I am around or if he feels like I'm not available. That is huge for him.

I'm grateful for all of your prayers. I hope my husband comes to a deeper faith someday, but I hope that for myself too :) It's a long road!

Basically, we're back in happyville for the moment. :-)


#18

[quote="Catydidd, post:17, topic:221437"]
Here's an update for everyone who has been so helpful to me:

Things have improved greatly. My husband went camping with some of his guy friends (all married) and when he came home, things were different. He's been attentive, sweet and understanding. I don't know what happened, but I think he might have had a "come to Jesus" with one of his friends. I've also tried to be more attentive to his needs (it's a two way street). I'm also trying to make sure that we don't go for quantity over quality and that we spend more time together just hanging out. I know it's only been about a week, but it's been a GOOD week.

As for the pornography issue, he is not an addict. He was using it when he felt I wasn't available for relations and he would look at something called "Lolporn" (apparently, it's like Lolcats for pornography. Odd). He has agreed to not look at it anytime I am around or if he feels like I'm not available. That is huge for him.

I'm grateful for all of your prayers. I hope my husband comes to a deeper faith someday, but I hope that for myself too :) It's a long road!

Basically, we're back in happyville for the moment. :-)

[/quote]

That's great. :thumbsup:
Thanks for updating us.


#19

With regards to the porn viewing, I can tell you from vast experience that porn is not an innocuous activity. It has powerful and lasting effects on a marriage.

I started a little blog call "Catholics for Sexual Integrity" and I recommend you both check out some of the 'CSI Viewpoints' articles I penned, specifically "The Porn Effect."

www.catholicsforsexualintegrity.blogspot.com

Hope it helps..............


#20

[quote="Catydidd, post:17, topic:221437"]
Here's an update for everyone who has been so helpful to me:

Things have improved greatly. My husband went camping with some of his guy friends (all married) and when he came home, things were different. He's been attentive, sweet and understanding. I don't know what happened, but I think he might have had a "come to Jesus" with one of his friends. I've also tried to be more attentive to his needs (it's a two way street). I'm also trying to make sure that we don't go for quantity over quality and that we spend more time together just hanging out. I know it's only been about a week, but it's been a GOOD week.

As for the pornography issue, he is not an addict. He was using it when he felt I wasn't available for relations and he would look at something called "Lolporn" (apparently, it's like Lolcats for pornography. Odd). He has agreed to not look at it anytime I am around or if he feels like I'm not available. That is huge for him.

I'm grateful for all of your prayers. I hope my husband comes to a deeper faith someday, but I hope that for myself too :) It's a long road!

Basically, we're back in happyville for the moment. :-)

[/quote]

Glad to hear about the improvement!


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