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Marriage Q & A – Is date night too much to ask? & I’m never in the mood!

This marriage Q & A article published yesterday in a local women’s magazine “Wasatch Woman Magazine. I love writing for women! Can you relate to either of these scenarios?

Is date night too much to ask?

Q: My husband and I spend most weekend evenings attending our children’s sporting events and never go out on dates. He says it’s because he wants to make sure we’re there to support our kids during this short time window of time before they grow up, but I’m feeling increasingly resentful, hurt, and neglected by him. What should I do?
(read my answer on pg. 17…)

I just don’t think about sex!

Q: After 10 years of marriage my husband complains that I don’t desire him physically. He feels hurt that I don’t initiate lovemaking and that I’m rarely “in the mood”. I love my husband, find him attractive, but sex rarely crosses my mind. Should I have sex even when I’m not in the mood?  (read my answer on pg 17…)

Can you relate? What advice would you give?

Confessions of a Multitasking Mama

I often get asked “how do you do it all?” The answer is “I don’t”. I don’t do it all. You see the things I DO on this website, in my Facebook events and updates, newsletters, etc. You can easily find out about my therapy practice, my music career, my media appearances, speaking engagement, and my family life. I admit, I do A LOT, but I definitely don’t do it all.

Here are some of the things I DON’T do:

I don’t cook (unless you count heating up a Dream Dinner cooking). I value family dinner time but I don’t cook from scratch. I’d like to, but not enough to actually take the time to do it.

I am not the room mother. I am the assistant room mother.

I don’t attend every soccer, baseball, lacrosse, or basketball game, recital or school program. I attend “more often than not”.

I don’t make my kids breakfast before school. They have cold cereal or cinnamon toast every morning (unless its Sat. and my hubby makes waffles with ice cream).

I don’t have a clean, organized home. I generally know where to find most things, but home organization is not my strong suit. I don’t deep clean my home. I hire a cleaning crew twice a month.

I don’t feel guilty having other people help take care of our kids. I have a part-time “home assistant” who keeps things moving when my husband and I are not home, and we have an amazingly supportive family.

Even though I take a detailed list of birthday gifts my children receive every year, it is the exception that we actually send out “thank you” notes.

I don’t work in the yard on a regular basis, much to my husband’s chagrin.

I don’t sacrifice sleep. I get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly and a 3-4 hour nap on Sundays.

I don’t separate my life into categories of mother/wife/work/music. It’s all one big amazing mess called “my life” and that big category encompasses all of the people and causes and activities I’m passionate about. My life is NOT perfect, but its pretty darn good. There are many sacrifices for trying to pull off as much as I do: my house and yard aren’t spotless, I’m often tired, and sometimes feel like I’m not doing well at anything. But for me it’s worth it to have a life overflowing with wonderful opportunities to love and help others during whatever time I have on the planet. I don’t want to do it all. I just want a lot of the things I care about.

No, a girl can’t have it all but she can have A LOT.

I’d love to hear some of your confessions! Enter comments below.

Ask Julie: Sharing Difficult Feelings in Marriage

“My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years. My problem is that I have always had a really hard time sticking up for myself and when we get in arguments he tends to say things that really hurt my feelings. I have never had a lot of confidence in myself and when he says hurtful things it brings me down more. I have always had a hard time with holding things in since I grew up in a family that didn’t really talk about our feelings we always just kind of held things in. I need some advice on how to learn to stick up for myself so that I can feel more confident in myself?”

 
 

Identify Your Feelings, Thoughts, Needs

Before you can get comfortable expressing your inner experience with your husband, it’s important to get acquainted with your own inner life.  Ask yourself daily, “How am I feeling?”, “What am I thinking?”  & “What am I needing from my husband?” A helpful place to start in identifying your emotions is ask yourself which one of these 4 feeling words describes what’s going on inside:

happy     mad      sad      scared 

Knowing how you feel, what you think is the first step to developing the confidence to share the deeper parts of you with your husband.

Explore Family Patterns

Great job recognizing the impact of your family on your emotional tendency to hold things in and challenging yourself to express when it doesn’t come naturally to you. Since you didn’t learn the skills to express emotions and thoughts it may take some time to get comfortable sharing your inner experiences with your husband. Often we apply our family of origin relationship rules to our current relationships, whether or not they actually apply to the current situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

“How did my family manage intense emotion?”

“How does my reluctance to express myself make sense, given my life experience?”

“What am I afraid will happen if I speak up now, in my marriage?”

Revisit the Hurt

Once you’ve identified what’s going on inside of you, during a calm time sit down with your husband and revisit a time when he has said something that hurt you. This is not  an opportunity to prove him wrong, but to share your feelings with him when neither of you are emotionally escalated.  You might want to say something like, “Remember last week when we were talking about the money? I know we were both upset. I wanted to tell you that I felt hurt when you said that I my poor budegeting is the reason we are in debt. Can we talk more about that? I need you to hear how hurt I was and I want to understand better where you are coming from.” 

Trust Husband’s Positive Intent

Assuming your husband is a nice guy, he may be unintentionally saying hurtful  things to try and get ANY kind of emotional response from you to prove that you are still invested in marriage and that you still care about him. His jabs may be a way of trying to reach the deeper parts of you and to connect with you when you start to shut down emotionally.  If you have a pretty good relationship overall, it’s best to assume the best, instead of the worst, about your spouse’s intentions, even if it doesn’t appear that way on the surface. Hold on to his positive intent to help you gain even more courage to share more of yourself with him.

I welcome questions and comments about this topic. Please use the comment box below (your email address will not be made public).