Dear Ask Kimberly,
I feel like I am at a crossroad with my marriage. I have been married for more than 17 years and our “house of love” has been converted to one room. Meaning, nothing spontaneous, no foreplay, 5 minutes of sex, once a month, no flirting, visual stimulation is out the door, sleeping fully dressed. My wife is gorgeous! and yes I tell her. “She is actually a beautiful person inside and out.”
However, her quiet and sheltered ways has caused me to want to let her go. It’s hard to understand why my wife is not comfortable in her own skin. I try not to be selfish and give “unconditional love” but it is driving me crazy. After so many years of this, I have come to the conclusion that it’s me and maybe she needs to find someone that she will be comfortable letting herself go with. I have beautiful daughters and I would hate to shake up their world and break up my family.
Ques: How will you ever know if leaving is the right thing to do? When I see couples that have decided to let go, I always wonder… How did you know? Granted there was no violence. What if you jumped the gun too early and this was the “work” you needed to do that everyone talks about, which comes along with marriage. What if you stay too long and as life passes you by, you feel as if you have just settled and not lived your life at all? Am I being too shallow, because I want a woman who wants to please me? This is just the tip of the iceberg of the thoughts racing through my head. I welcome your thoughts on this topic.
Answer: Dear Conflicted:
First let me say I appreciate your willingness to opening-up about your Marriage. I know this may be a difficult process, but when you feel you have exhausted all the initial possibilities of finding answers no resource should be left UN-turned. So often we receive Ask Kimberly questions from females. I must say this is most definitely a pivotal moment to receive the male perspective on a marriage gone silent. Our readers should be aware we initially had a phone consultation of the issues at hand. However, I felt it was important for Dear Conflicted to receive feedback from both our male & female readers. Ask Kimberly has a bit more insight as to what has/has not taken place within this seventeen year marriage. I believe in doing ALL the work you can to make any relationship work; Regardless, if you are dating or married.
As a lifestyle expert who has had the pleasure of not only counseling couples prior to marriage, but coordinating hundreds of weddings. One thing I know for sure is: Many go through extensive details planning the wedding, while ignoring the bigger picture after all the guests have gone home. Prior to the I Do’s so many Aha Moments are overlooked during the dating stages for both parties. If we take a step back and look at ones character, personality traits (during times of Joy/Sorrow); How they interact with others friends/family. (Do they have friends they are social with?) ; In addition to how one reacts when they see public displays of affection. These are just a few factors that provide couples with an extensive amount of insight; only if taken note and address verses ignoring what may be a red flag from day one.
Many say marriage is 50/50 but that just isn’t reality. The reality is Divorce is 50/50. Marriage takes maintenance management. Each person must manage to love, respect, honor and nurture one another throughout the relationship 100%. The minute you are leading separate lives that have resulted to one room in the house, the team has hit a breakdown in communication. I can honestly say when a woman has cut you off emotionally she usually has already made her decision or just going through the motions. Dear Conflicted it’s time to truly decide if you want to fight or flee. Seventeen years is a long time you both have invested in the marriage and a sensual moment in time has produced a beautiful daughter from the love you once had for one other as well as a step-daughter. If you could find the essence of that love once again, you just may be able to turn things around. However, your Wife must want the same 100%.
Please don’t be fooled that your children aren’t recognizing the tension that has transpired in the house. Trying to fake that the marriage is perfect isn’t the perfect example to set for your daughters. Let’s be clear… Although there isn’t any abuse in the marriage only a lack of respect and love for one another. This is not the representation you want your daughters to grab hold to in a future relationship for them. Teach them non-negotiable character traits to aspire for when the time comes for dating. Be an example of the Man you desire them to walk down the aisle with. Children not only learn from studying, but also what they view in their day-to-day environment.
I know you have been wrestling with a variety of emotions for quite some time now and what your next step should be. Before you make any decisions your mind and thought process should be clear of any toxins. Love at times isn’t easy and our limits are tested on occasion. However, WE should FIGHT for the things that MATTER. You will know deep within you if the battle is WORTH it. The feeling of moving forward should feel like a cool winter breeze and not a chilling THUNDERSTORM. The recipe for success is to recognize the difference between conscious thoughts that direct a clear path verses a GPS that constantly hits a dead end. Listening, to the divine WHISPER within you, will ALWAYS come up with results. Before you place both feet out the door here are a few things I like you to take into serious consideration.
(1) Ask a family member to take the kids for the weekend. Make a special invitation for your Wife that she is Cordially Invited to a Marriage Retreat for the weekend that takes place in your home. It’s time for you two to come clean & get real with the future expectations of your marriage. All the items that were a concern for you should be addressed and vice verse. Once she agrees to the weekend, you both write (3) rules each that can’t take place during the weekend. I.e. (1) The communication should stay at a minimal level. No screaming, talking over each other and/or using terminology you know will hurt the others feelings.
(2) Purchase two Mason Jars. One for you; one for your wife. Both of you write down @10 things on separate pieces of paper that you appreciated about each other. It must represent an appreciation within your seventeen years of marriage that was consistently done in the past, but no longer. I.e. “I appreciate how fill in the blank (name) each morning when I awake he says good morning and kisses me on the cheek.” Write on separate sheets of paper than each of you will place your ten appreciations in your own jars. This should be done on the first day of your Marriage Retreat (Saturday) set jars aside and revisit at the end of day two of your retreat (Sunday) Each of you take turns sharing your appreciation of each other than discuss until you have completed sharing all 20 appreciations. The appreciation sharing on the last day is a great tool to hi-light areas that were of value to each of you at one time. All while creating an Aha Moment that what once was done to seek the interest of an individual. You must continue the maintenance by taking the appreciation reminders and applying to the marriage from this day forward.
(3) Lastly, if you commit to the Marriage Retreat weekend, this should definitely answer many of the concerns you both have at this time. Communicating openly, honestly and above all respectfully. A focal point for you is: 1. Does my partner still feel connected to me emotionally, intimately and spiritually? 2. Can we find a happy medium to openly discuss our intimate preferences and needs? (Negotiable and Non-Negotiable desires/fears) In closing… Process all the communication that took place over the weekend and put the tips, tools and suggestions in place over a 3 month period. At the end of the 3 months should your house of love not progress to other areas of the home. Its time to seek a professional adviser separately and as a couple to discuss more details of the marriage.
In life there will always be obstacles presented. Marriage takes a lot of work and when the communication is one-sided. It becomes difficult to not only listen, but clearly hear what your spouse is conveying. A third party (professional) will listen and mediate so both sides feel they are being heard. Your request are simple. However, it does seem there are UN-resolved self-esteem issues with your spouse. No matter how often you tell your wife she is a beautiful woman. If she doesn’t feel that deep down in her soul. She will continue to cover herself with a mask (so to speak) until she is comfortable within. That goes back to my intro “Aha Moments are overlooked during the dating stages for both parties.” This is who she was when you met her. Seventeen years later it has come full circle and you have taken full noticed. I appreciate that you have reached out and bared your personal story, more than what has been shared in this post.
I commend you that you have taken your marriage vowels to heart and not stepped out on your obligations. I commend you that your extra curricular activity of choice is Golf to release the energy you so desire to do with your wife. Continue to do all you can and commit to the extra work it will take to support her in being completely comfortable in her own skin. The time for marriage maintenance is NOW, pray for PATIENCE. NEVER Give Up…Persistence ALWAYS equals a Purpose. During the Marriage Retreat come up with a PURPOSE (Together as a Team) Think about a time when God has been patient with you. In 2 Peter 3:15, the Bible says, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.” God is patient with you not just in the area of salvation, but in every area of your life.
Please keep Ask Kimberly posted on the progress. I believe there will be progress and the love you two once shared will return HOME. Blessings to you and your family.
Until next time live FABULOUS…
Soul Kisses readers I like to hear from you…During your dating and/or courting stage. Please share with us if you turned a blind eye to suspect characteristics that were clearly blinking CAUTION do not proceed. (Respond in the Comment Section below)
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Until next time live FABULOUS...
#GLAM "God's Love Always Magnifies." (TM) ~ Kimberly |
Ask Kimberly…Have a Beauty, Fashion, Relationship, Wedding or Lifestyle question, please email our lifestyle expert. If you like to be kept anonymous please state so in your initial email.
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