I recently got an email from a man in a sexless marriage.
He reached out for help. He’s in his mid-30s and hadn’t been intimate with his wife in nearly 4 months.
“Where do I start,” he wanted to know.
“It’s simple. You start with silence.”
No, not the silent treatement.
By all means talk to your wife if you can maintain a good humor and a playful attitude, if you can avoid the conversations about the issues that you’re having. By all means talk if you can maintain frame.
Most men I coach spend waaaayy too much time analyzing, rationalizing and pontificating about the problems they have in their marriage. That’s an absolute attraction killer. What tends to happen is that the more you talk about the issues, the more entrenched both of you become, the more worked up you become about the issues, and the less you want to be around each other.
How long will you be OK with that? How about her?
You must remember that your problem is most likely an attraction problem. The problem might be disguised as a communication issue or an intimacy issue, but it’s not. So if you want to improve your marriage, you need to get better at attraction.
Which brings me back to silence.
Stop engaging in the fights that you always have.
Stop taking the bait she dangles in front of you.
Stop asking her if everything is OK.
That’s the first step.
But let’s not just make this some email you read and forget about. Let’s take some action because if nothing changes, guess what’s going to change…not a thing!
So right now, think about a conversation you have with your wife, one that you’ve had again and again, one that you know you’ll have again. Is it about money, or intimacy, or parenting? Is it the dishes, the laundry, or the lawn?
Whatever it is, just pick one.
Now, commit, right here and right now to keep your mouth closed when that situation comes up. Commit to smiling or walking away or both.
And do it. Just do it. Then do it again. And keep doing it.
Here’s a great (old) video about how to handle this.
I’ll write more about the another step in my next email, but don’t underestimate this. Believe it or not, the foundation of your healthy marriage rests on your ability to stop engaging in emotionally tangled conversations.