By Special Contributor Don Macleod
I remember the moment I knew I needed to up my game. My wife and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie, and I was feeling a bit frisky. I reached over to give her a little squeeze, but she swatted my hand away and continued to watch the movie…some film with an Italian lead wearing a blue suit and handing red roses to a smiling woman.
I looked down. I had a motor oil stain on my shirt. My pants were off and lying on the floor, and I was sitting, legs up on the coffee table, in my underwear. Forget the Armani cologne, I was wearing Eau De Gasoline.
I turned to Deb and said, “Hey, what’s not to love here?” and we both burst out laughing. Thank God that was her reaction.
Look, I get it. Years into a marriage, it can be hard to maintain the same level of performance you did in the beginning. Both my wife and I have let some things slide and at times we take each other for granted. Nobody’s perfect. But you don’t have to be perfect. You just need to step up your game now and then.
There may be many reasons why you feel your wife doesn’t love you as much anymore, or that she isn’t having sex with you as much as she used to. There may be serious issues going on, such as infidelity, long-standing unhappiness in the marriage, or health issues.
But quite often, it’s familiarity. It’s refusing to move outside your comfort zone or change your ways. Maybe you’re unaware of how much it’s hurting your marriage or maybe you or your wife are just stubborn and not all that motivated to do better.
Regardless, I’ll run through a few common reasons why your wife might not feel as much love or desire for you anymore. And for the record, this doesn’t mean I’m absolving her of her role in things. But you’re reading this article, so let’s make sure you’re doing everything you can on your end. Who knows, you might get lucky, in more ways than one.
Number 1: You aren’t listening to her. That is, you aren’t really listening to her. Sure, you can hear her voice and you can repeat the last three words of what she said (that’s a man’s survival technique, I think), but you might not be listening with your “give a shit” factor fully engaged. A woman who doesn’t feel listened to by you doesn’t feel loved by you, and won’t be in any particular hurry to show you love. Open your ears and listen with your “give a shit” switch flipped to the on position.
Number 2: You’re trying to convince her that she should be doing / feeling / thinking something that she isn’t doing / feeling / thinking. Yes, you might be right (or partly right) about things, but trying to convince her you’re right will probably just make her dig her heels in. Try to understand what she is actually doing / feeling / thinking and respect that.
Number 3: You haven’t walked a mile in her shoes. Try to see and experience the world and your wife’s everyday life as she sees and experiences it. Is she overwhelmed by the kids or housework? Is she worried about her career? Have you given her reason to worry about you or the marriage, or to feel that you don’t prioritize her anymore?
Number 4: You don’t understand how women feel loved. The world is hard on women. I mean, how many times are you five minutes into a TV show or movie before some young thing is shaking her tits at you? You might like the peek, but your wife might be getting tired of it. A woman feels loved (and therefore sexual) when she feels that you see her as the most beautiful, special, amazing creature in the world. You put her before all others—before your job, before your mother, before your female co-worker, before the naked chick on the TV. She’s your queen. You adore her and you only have eyes for her, no matter what.
Number 5: You haven’t prioritized her pleasure in bed. I can’t believe I still have to say this, but a woman always, always, always, comes first in bed. Spend time in pleasurable foreplay, learn a few new sex moves, or at least have the enthusiasm to use a few that you already know but haven’t used in a while. If you’re giving her a massage and she’s about to fall asleep, tell her a dirty dream you had about her and let your fingers (or the vibrator) hit some feel-good, wake-me-up spots. Splurge on that designer Italian cologne and be her leading man in bed.
All right, I hope at least one or two of these points have made you look inward and think, “Okay, maybe that’s part of it. I’ll work on that and see what happens.” I’ve had countless women repeat these same complaints about their men to me, over and over, so there are definitely relevant to some of you guys out there.
Yet if your issue is a deeper one, don’t let it get worse. There are many ways to get the help you need and save not just your marriage, but your sex life, too. Check out the resources here at Marriage SOS to get started.
Debra Macleod, BA, JD, is the creator of Marriage SOS™. She has served as an expert resource for major media around the world, from The New York Times and Entrepreneur to ELLE and Men’s Health magazine.