Shelby in Kansas City writes:
I have been married for nine months and my husband won’t communicate with me. He also does not ever initiate sex, so I have to. Most times he makes excuses. We are being counciled by the minister that married us. I really love him and his family. He works really hard, and very long hours in the summer to take care of me. This is the first time I didn’t have to work since I was 14. I want to know if he really loves me? And is he going to open up to me? I want a child or two, before we married he did also. But now I feel like he is just going through the motions because that is what people expect.
Adjusting to married life can be challenging, and overwhelming. Even though you have been married for nine months, the two of you are still very much newlyweds, each adjusting to your new roles in life.
Your husband does love you, but is feeling overburdened. Marriage isn’t quite what he was expecting it to be. He wants to live up to the ideal image of being a good husband and provider, but I think his idea of that image is a bit too stringent. This is causing a great deal of stress, and that stress does overflow into the bedroom. Sometimes, the man is just plain tired.
It’s great that he is, and will continue to do his best to take care of you. However, marriage is about taking care of each other. There is still plenty of time ahead of you to plan and grow your family, and there are children in your future, just not your immediate future. Your marriage and relationship needs to evolve and stabilize first. Your husband realizes this, but fears you do not. He does still want children, but he wants to wait until your new life together is more stable before he brings children into the picture.
Aside from the physical intimacy problems, he is having a hard time opening up to you, because he is afraid of appearing weak. Give him time. When he does try and express himself to you, just listen. Now that you are his wife, you’ve sealed the deal, and you don’t listen to him the way you once did. Even though your intentions are very well-meaning, sometimes he feels a bit smothered by you. Don’t be afraid to give him a little breathing room every now and then. He is your husband, but he is also the same person he was before you got married, and you have to allow him to be that man.
I’m glad to see that you are in counseling, and strongly recommend that you continue with your minister, or another marriage counselor. I think your husband at times is a bit too conscientious in your therapy, because your counselor is a minister. If he ever shares this with you, please don’t resist the idea of seeing another therapist.
It is going to take time, patience, and work – but your marriage and communication skills will improve. Try and see life through his eyes from time to time, and you may discover a few things that you can do differently in order to ease his stress and reignite his joy. Trust me, it’s all going to work out and be okay.
“Marriage isn’t about me, it’s about we.”