There are ordinary things each of us does that impede, lessen or even destroy intimacy in marriages. Men do some to their wives, and wives do some to their husbands. Here we are going to look at five everyday behaviors that wives do that diminish the intimacy in marriage.
- Consistently rejects a husband’s sexual advances. Part of the way a man connects (has intimacy) with his wife is through sex. When his wife consistently rejects his reasonable requests for sex, he internalizes it as a rejection of himself. In this wives ought to try to remember that in a marriage she is the only one who can legitimately provide him with this activity. Not providing a realistic amount of sex pushes him into the territory of wanting sex but not getting it at home. This runs the risk of making him vulnerable to the many temptations of sexual pleasure our culture offers.
- Offers critical appraisal of things in life. When a wife is a critical person, she not only criticizes people and situations around her, but she is critical of her husband, often unknowingly. Although it is often hard to understand, criticism of a husband’s actions is received as condemnation by men. This is because men so often internalize what they do as who they are. So then, critical words, even if they are 100% justified can be destructive to a marriage. This doesn’t mean a wife cannot criticize, it does mean that criticism needs to be worded thoughtfully and used sparingly.
- Fixes his work. In this intimacy destroyer, the wife goes around behind the husband and touches up his work. For example, if he makes the bed, the wife goes and adjusts something, or he washes the dishes, then the wife rewashes a couple of pieces. The message is “Buddy, you don’t match up to my standards?” Is that really smart? No, because he experiences it as a major slap in the face. It is far bigger for him than it is for the wife. A wife will know this is a problem, because the husband most likely won’t say anything, but he will stop trying to help the wife with the chores.
- Coveting things that are outside the budget. Often a wife will express a desire to have items that are not affordable. For example, a new car, designer goods or an exotic vacation. The husband might hear the first few expressions of unaffordable things and not be impacted. After that though, he will hear a different message, “You are not a good provider.” This is going to result in him not wanting to talk with a wife about any of her desires, dreams and wishes, even legitimate and affordable ones. He might even begin to hide money so that the wife won’t spend on items he thinks they can’t afford.
- Putting him down. This is not the same as criticism. The putting down of a person is a work of judgment and condemnation. When a wife puts a husband down, and especially if she does it in public or in private to her friends she is emasculating him. One thing that men really want from a wife is respect, and spousal condemnation destroys a husband’s feeling that his wife respects him. When this is going on in a relationship the husband probably won’t say a word, but he will check out.
Women – If you’ve read this list and honestly want to know if you do these things, ask him, but don’t be surprised if he won’t tell you what you do to hurt him. This is because he wants to protect you from himself and any bad news he may have for you. This list is best discussed with a trained counselor, because sometimes the truth is painful.