Part Two On Sexual Desire: I’m Just Not The Sexual Type

Part Two On Sexual Desire: I’m Just Not The Sexual Type

If your wife says “I’m just not the sexual type” to you, be afraid. Be very, very afraid. I haven’t heard husbands say it. At least I can’t remember. There are certain husbands who want sex less than their wives. But they usually don’t wear it as a badge of honor. If the husband is the low-sex drive partner, he’s usually sad about it. Confused about it. It doesn’t fit the cultural norm. True, he may not always be willing to work on it, but I can work with a guy whose a little humiliated. Humility can be a great motivator.

But how am I supposed to try and jumpstart a soul that is cold as ice and proud of it?That takes “I’m-not-the-sexual-type” as a definition of her personhood?As beyond the limit of her reach?

Let’s interpret the message behind the words.

If you say “I’m not just the sexual type” to your husband, what are you really saying? If you say this, be afraid. Be very, very afraid:

My soul is very, very, small and has no room for anyone else, especially you

I’m just the selfish type

Leave me alone

You bug me

You are a nuisance

You irritate me

Your needs are no concern of mine

I don’t want to be married either

I’m just not the married type

I cannot be dissuaded

Leave me alone, leave me alone, leave me alone

I have my agenda and it does not include you. You are not at the bottom of the list. You are not even ON the list. You cannot be promoted to be on the list. I don’t WANT you on the list.

The children are number one

I’m co-dependent on my kids and I am bound and determined to creep them out

Every man in the universe is a blood-sucking horny toad cuz all they want is sex

Sex is a burden too awful to bear

I don’t want to be close to you….ever

I don’t want you to think for a minute that you can influence me in any way…at all

My heart for you is in the deep freeze and the only way you can relate to me is to chill

If I were to allow you to influence me, that would mean I am a tad humble and that smells defeat

But you say, No, No, NO!!!I’m not saying these things.When I say I’m just not the sexual type that’s all I mean.I’m just not the sexual type.It doesn’t mean anything else.Just take me at my word.

Would you accept from your husband I’m just not the affectionate type? Or, I’m just not the type that communicates? I don’t think so. You wouldn’t roll over and play dead. You’d have an opinion. You’d seek to influence him, to goad him, chide him, kick him in the butt, even encourage him, try to figure him out, help him grow a tad, expand his horizons, enlarge his skill set, right? He can learn to communicate. He can learn, over time, that affection isn’t crowding and that it’s kind of nice. That would actually be a very cool thing were you to do that. Especially if you weren’t mean about it and took it on as a challenge, like this guy is a mystery and I have to figure him out. Good for you.

Maybe your husband is a clumsy ox, but why isn’t it Okay for him to try to influence you in the sexual arena?Why, if he tries to initiate sex, is he just some sex fiend?Why is it Okay for the goose to try to influence the gander, but not Okay for the gander to try to influence the goose?Shouldn’t marriage be, you know, like, give and take?

Now the curious thing about these women who say these things is that when I ask, so, ahh, when you are sexual, are you eventually able to enjoy it, they say sure! What? Sure? Most of them anyway. There’s an occasional exception, but most of them.

What’s that about?

What it means is that they might not THINK about sex much, but, if the conditions are right, they eventually can come to the point where sexuality is pretty fine, even enjoyable.

Drum roll please.This is where husbands start to lose it.They reason: If you can come to the point where sexuality is actually pretty fine, why would you not want to do it?It doesn’t make sense.

So here’s what some husbands do. Thankfully, not too many, but some.If your husband does this, be very, very afraid.And motivated.And come and see me.Hopefully, it’s not too late:Occasionally, ever so rarely, a husband in his twenties or thirties or forties will quit trying to initiate sex altogether.There’s three common causes:He’s doing porn, he’s having an affair, or he’s so hurt from being rejected so many times he’s just lost the will to try anymore.The first two we can deal with.Stop the porn.Stop the stupid affair.The last one?Not so easy.

You might at first be delighted about that he quits pursuing sex! Yeeeehaaa! I don’t have to worry about sex anymore. It was such a burden. No more pressure. No more begging. We can just relate and talk and…..

If he quits initiating sex, then it’s your turn. The mantle has been passed to you, to keep the embers burning, to light the fire, to stoke the flames, to throw another log on the fire. If you roll over and play dead, that’s not all that’s gonna die, Honey.  If he quits initiating sex and you don’t initiate sex, that means that you won’t be having sex.  What happens after that?

He files.

Really. I’m not kidding. Maybe a year later. Maybe two. But in that period of time, if you haven’t kicked sex into gear for the two of you and he’s given up totally and you are two blobs just laying there, we’re headed for trouble. He’s saying to himself , I cannot feel this rejected anymore. She won’t accept my influence. She doesn’t want my input in her life. I’m a nuisance to her. No sense driving her crazy. She’s made it perfectly clear she doesn’t want to be close to me. We’re not really married. This is just a fascade anyway. Might as well be honest about the whole thing. Divorce would be just both of us being honest. We aren’t really married. Married people have sex. Roommates stare at the walls. I can’t be roommates with somebody who’s broken my heart. End of story.

I don’t think they should give up so easy. But some of them do.

What about if a husband quits trying to initiate sex in the latter half of life in his fifties and beyond?It still could be porn or an affair, but if those have been ruled out, it could be he’s got some plumbing problems.These could be related to his health or stress in which case he’s going to need your active involvement.But it could also be due to your indifference.

That’s right.If you’ve rejected his advances for so long and you have conveyed time and time again that his desire to be sexual with you is an absolute burden and a bore and chore and drudgery and you’ve conveyed to him non-verbally and verbally, over and over again that you are just not the sexual type and you will not be influenced, his motor may very well run out of oil and the pistons freeze up.

Some of these guys have been rejected so long, they just can’t keep up the fight. They give up. This is a pretty difficult situation. The resentment and hurt and rejection runs too deep for some.I need a really long crowbar.The best (and only?) crowbar is if his wife will decide, finally, that she is the sexual type after all, and start conveying that sex is important and she starts initiating and teasing and flirting and touching and canoodling.

But be careful here. If you haven’t done this for forty years, don’t expect that he’s going to just all of a sudden jump for joy. He’s maybe got forty years of resentment to deal with and that ain’t easy.  He may justly wonder where you’ve been all those years?

Here’s a better way:

Realize that you are the sexual type from the get go.Realize that once you get going you are fine.Be an active part of the program.Don’t expect him to carry all the weight, any more than you’d want to have to carry all the weight around communication, housekeeping or parenting or bill paying.Sexuality is a two-way street.If we’re going to stay close for 50-60 years we’re going to have to be involved in ALL aspects of our marriage and that includes sexuality.

Here’s what will happen if you will do this: You will find you love your husband even more.You will find your heart growing bigger.You will find it easier to give.You will find it easier to forgive. You will find your husband lightening up, cheering up, being more fun to be around. You will find you love and like each other more.You will find you fight less and enjoy each others company more.You will find that sexuality is not only fun, but it is the regular reminder that you two are special, you are an item and you are worth the investment.

But you won’t get there if you constantly wear sweats and think sex is from the devil.

So here’s what I’d suggest, if you think (used to think) you are not the sexual type: Talk about sex with your husband. Figure out, the two of you, when you will be sexual this weekend, and then make sure it happens. For heaven sakes, you can talk about sex. Then, look up the definition of canoodling, and get some canoodling going on!!

Part One On Sexual Desire: The Second Saddest Thing Said About Marriage

Part One On Sexual Desire: The Second Saddest Thing Said About Marriage

This is a first in a series of blogs on Sexual Desire.

I could go the rest of my life and not be sexual. I just don’t need sex.

Clients Bound And Determined To Doom Their Marriages

The saddest thing I hear about marriage is when the couple comes to therapy and one partner says he or she is done, done, done with the marriage and they won’t be dissuaded. This person might have even agreed to go to marital therapy. I hope he doesn’t say to his future girlfriend that he “tried” marital therapy. I’m imagining these people telling their loved ones and friends that marital therapy was a waste of time. No doubt. It’s really not fair for them to say they’ve been to marital therapy. If they were honest the most they could say is they were in a marital therapist’s office once. They could say I had a comfy couch and that my wife did a nice job decorating. That’s it.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so sarcastic about this.It’s a pretty hot topic. I certainly needs to be talked about. After they divorce they won’t talk about it, that’s for sure.Other than a child dying, divorce is like the next most difficult thing to deal with emotionally in anyone’s life.It’s hard enough if the couple has had the divorce talk and the divorcing spouse says the whys and the wherefores. I had a client once who came home from work and everything was gone from the house except for his personal belongings and his golf clubs.He never saw his wife again.That’s just cruel.There’s no need to be so mean about it.Divorce by itself is mean enough. So if they can’t talk at all about it at home and they can in my office, I guess that’s a good thing.It’s just not marital therapy.I’m acting as a mediator.That’s fine.I don’t resent it.It’s just a sad thing to have to hear.The saddest thing I do in this field.I’m sure you’ve got your sad things you’ve got to do with your job: Fire somebody, lay somebody off, cut somebody’s salary, discipline a colleague, all just crappy things.

The second most saddest thing (I’m sure there’s something really bad from an English grammar standpoint in writing “the second most saddest thing” but I have no idea how to say it differently. For all you English types I apologize.You’ll just have to grin and bear it.) I’ve heard in my office is the quote at the top of the page. I know if that person can’t figure out a way to enjoy sexuality together with their spouse it’s just a matter of time before the foundation of this marriage is washed away.Sexuality is the life-blood of the marriage. If I can’t figure out a way to help them move into meaningful, mutual, marital sexuality, then I feel I have failed.

I have this sex research lab.It’s called my couch.No, I’m not researching sexual technique.Americans are unwisely and mistakenly obsessed with technique and variety and shaking it up.Everything else is just boring.Sexuality is NOT about technique.If you Googled the word “sex” and you got this article by me about sex you aren’t going to get turned on reading it. Sorry. You might get mad at me or chuckle once in a while, but you won’t start fantasizing. That’s just fine. Yeah, I’m sure there’s some people out there that could use a few hints here and there about sex, but for heaven’s sake, the biggest problem about sexuality is NOT technique.

One marital therapist has written that if you take a Polaroid picture of your sex life (I’m sure he was being metaphorical) you’ll get an idea of how the marriage is doing.I’m discovering this more and more in my research lab.Over and over again couples talk to me about their frustrating sexual lives and over and over again if I can help them figure that out they do awesome and over and over again if I can’t help them figure this out their relationship suffers. Dr. Gottman says he can predict with over 90% accuracy if a couple will divorce by how they treat each other in conflictual situations.He’s the marriage lab guy.He video tapes couple when they argue and talk and has broken marriage down into fine, small little particles.It’s a clever idea and very helpful and I use his material all the time in my office.

My sex research lab is not quite so fancy.No one way mirrors.No video cameras.No research assistants coding every turning up of the mouth and rolling of the eyes.No, just me and my pen and my Sam’s Club yellow notepad and me jotting down things for me to remember so I don’t forget who you are.You live with yourself for years and here’s this guy you’ve talked to for an hour and he’d better remember what you said and if he doesn’t you probably won’t respect him nor come back to him, so since I’m a rather dense guy I gotta write this stuff down:At least the first time or two to get the story right.

If Dr. Gottman thinks he can predict within 90% accuracy (actually I think he says 94%), I can predict within 100% accuracy.My prediction is that if you are NOT sexual with your spouse that you have a 100% chance of either getting a divorce or you will stay married but you will be two actors in a play pretending to be husband and wife and that after awhile the play will get tiring and the fake smile will calcify and your tender heart will curdle and then thicken into a putrid jell until it finally fossilizes.And then won’t you be fun?

There.I heard it again, variations on a theme.It’s not a beautiful symphony though.It’s a funeral dirge:

I could care less if I ever have sex again in my lifetime. I’m just not sexual.

I had to look up dirge on Google because I had no idea how to spell it.I spelled it “durge” at first.The Urban Dictionary said that’s when someone comes up behind you and pops your knees.I thought that was pretty funny and pretty right on, but that’s not what I was looking for.I typed in “durge definition” and finally hit pay dirt when “dirge” came up.And guess what the history of dirge is?It’s from the first word of the Office of the Dead in Latin for the Catholic Church and in time it became used to describe the chanting said or sung at a funeral.Check it out here: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dirge. That’s perfect. Because if you have this idea that you can be married and NOT be sexual and that is OKAY by you then you are predicting the demise of your own marriage. Goodbye, my dear. Sayonara, baby. Auf Wiedersehen, Honey. 再见, Sweetie.

When I tell you this, you won’t believe that, of course. And if I told you that after you quoted the above marriage funeral dirge you would, of course, be mad and say, no, no, I love my spouse! I’m just not interested in sex. Well, look. I didn’t say you have to think about it. I certainly hope you don’t think about it all the time. There are many other things with which to occupy your time. So, no. You don’t have to think about sex all the time. But you do have to DO it once in awhile. And by “once in awhile” I don’t mean six times a year. That won’t cut it. You’d be wiser to shoot for 3-6 times a month as foundational. More if you are on vacation or the kids are off to grandma’s for a couple of weeks. If the latter, you’d better be locking the front door and turning the thermostat up. KnowwhadImean?

You say, well, we don’t get along well enough.We fight likes cats and dogs.We never talk.  Or spend any time together.  How can I be sexual with my spouse when we bicker?Are you fighting because you aren’t sexual or are you not sexual because you are fighting?Couples that aren’t sexual do two things: Withdraw from each other or fight like mad.Either way the violins are tuning up.  Chicken and the egg.  Oh, you’ve decided on the egg?  Standoff at the O.K. Corral.  Stubbornness.  You will not be dissuaded.  You have made up your mind.  You are right and that’s it.  I guess if you make up all the decisions, there’s no need for a spouse?

What are these people saying (yes, both male and female) that they could be content to never be sexual again? They are saying that they will NOT be influenced by their spouses. I refuse to let you have an impact in my life. I have a wall around my life and it doesn’t include you. I will not give to you. I will not sacrifice for you. I will not reach out to you. I will not open up to you. I will hold grudges. I will not forgive you for any wrong done. I will go through the motions of being married to the public at large, including our children, but you and I both know that this marriage is a façade, a ruse, a make-believe fantasy world where I am under the illusion that I can make the world in my own image and the world I create is me at the center and you have to whirl around my whims and if you get upset about it and complain about it or show any discomfort in any way that we are NOT sexual then I will accuse you of being a control freak!!!! And that will give me, yet again, another reason to turn you down!  See I have this figured out that I will win!!!!

You can bet your spouse will eventually figure this out, too. And you can have your wish: Never be sexual with anyone the rest of your life!!! Whoohoo!! Living by yourself! You and your cute little snow-white Maltese dog that looks so pure and angelic.

The tympani are tuning up. You can hear their subtle pounding in the background.

Cheap Therapy: Naked Room Secrets

Cheap Therapy: Naked Room Secrets

Structure determines function.

Engineering 101

One of the first things a new engineering student learns is that structure determines function. In simple terms: a toothpick makes a great tool to extract food items from between your teeth based upon its structure, but an automobile makes a terrible toothpick and a toothpick makes a terrible car. The toothpick’s structure determines what it can do. Structure is neither good nor bad. It is also no respecter of persons. You could be Adolf Hitler and your toothpick won’t make an automobile any better than it would for Mother Teresa. So you don’t need to be mad about it. It is what it is. You can’t change the results of structure. If you know what the structure is, you know what the results will be. Period. End of story.

Families have structure, too. This is such an important concept that there is a whole branch of family therapy called Structural Therapy. If you change the structure, you change the results. I call structural changes in marriage “Cheap Therapy.” Easy fixes. If you change these structures, you will immediately get better results.

It’s amazing how stubborn people are about their structure. They are often bound and determined to keep the structure as is even when their marriage is crashing and burning. Then they are still mad at the results, when, unless they change the structure, the results will remain the same. Structure is NO respecter of persons. You keep the structure the same, you get the same results.

Here’s some common structural problems in the marriage bedroom couples tell me about in my office:

Not sleeping in the same bed. You are kidding me right? You’d be amazed how many couples don’t sleep together. The reasons are myriad: He snores, she has restless leg syndrome, one keeps waking up, they are mad at each other, one falls asleep on the couch and doesn’t come to bed. What is the structure telling each other? We’re not really married. We’re just roommates. Or co-parents. Or business partners.

But we ARE married. Every night when the couple goes to their separate sleeping quarters a silent voice screams in their heads that this marriage is for the birds, and what in the world are you doing, and I can’t believe I’m putting up with this, and how come my spouse doesn’t love me, and my spouse is so selfish, and we’re not special, and we’re not a couple, and all we are is stupid roommates, and why don’t I have the courage to divorce, and on and on and on.

I’m not a good enough therapist to help you if you both insist on NOT sleeping together. I’ll argue for it. I’ll advocate for it. I’ll fight for it, because I know that if you are not in the same bed, your resentments will shout at you that this marriage SUCKS and no reassurance from a nice therapist dude will make an ounce of difference.

The couple has dogs or kids in the bed or no lock on the bedroom door. Different structure, same result. The Bible says, “The marriage bed is undefiled.” That means it’s holy and needs to be protected. So protect it already. Put a lock on your door. Kids need to learn that mom and dad’s bedroom is hollowed ground and you do NOT come in unless you are invited. You barge in at your peril. You put your life in danger if you do not knock. No. You respectfully knock and mom and/or dad will invite you in AFTER one of them unlocks the door!

Mom and dad do things in the bedroom that is none of the kids’ business.It’s the NAKED ROOM*!We do naked things in here.We dress in here.We cleanse in here.We make love in here.ALL NAKED.So, no, we don’t need dogs gawking at us and we don’t need the worry of Sally coming in again ‘cuz she can’t sleep and you never know when she’s gonna barge in.

AHHHHH!Stop it!Your little precious will be fine.If you want to raise a complete emotionally disturbed child, just let her sleep in your bed ‘til she’s four or five.By then you’ll be divorced and Sally will really need to sleep with you now to deal with all her insecurities!

One of the most fundamental truths of parenting and childhood is that a child needs to learn calm him or herself down.It’s okay for Johnny to cry himself to sleep.It’s okay for Sally to fidget.Let your kids learn to calm themselves down when they are upset or else you will be calming them down their whole life and they won’t be able to face any problems or fears or worries without mommy or daddy.This whole thing is creepy, so stop it!

And NO. NO dogs in the bed. They take up too much room. They look at you like they have a soul, and it’ll creep you out being naked and not ashamed in front of Rover, and you’ll not have the courage to push Rover aside, so you can cuddle with your spouse, and your spouse will be laying there thinking that he or she is married to a crazy person that puts dogs (or kids) first, and the resentments will grow, and the distance will grow, and both of you will wonder why in the world you ever got married, and the whole sexual idea will go out the door, and we’ll sacrifice our marriage, so a stupid dog (or kid) can be comfortable.

Not going to bed at the same time. Sometimes this is a problem because of work schedules, but it’s amazing how often couples DON’T go to bed at the same time for whatever excuse: I need my alone time, I’m a night owl, I don’t need as much sleep, or it’s when I get everything done. Sometimes these couples go to bed and don’t even say goodnight, let alone give each other a kiss goodnight. But what is the silent message that you are telling your spouse when she’s in there lying in bed alone? I’m all alone in the world. Is there something the matter with me? Why does my wife avoid me? We’re not much of a couple. I feel distant with my wife. He only comes to bed for sex so that’s all I’m good for. I’m not on her priority list. Everything else is more important.

You need less sleep than your spouse?Here’s a cheap therapy idea:Lay down with your spouse when he goes to bed.Cuddle with each other and have some laid back pillow talk.When your spouse has wound down and is ready to fall asleep or is asleep, you can slip out of bed and do whatever.But get your cuddling time and pillow talk in.Let each other know structurally, simply, that each of you is special.

There.I just saved you a ton of money on therapy.Cheap therapy.Of course, if you insist that you can’t change and you like your comfortable habits that keep you from being connected, come on in for therapy.I’d be happy to yell at you.

You’ll be in therapy for years. This is good job security for me.

*I’m in debt to Cheryl Mendelson in her delightful book Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House for the idea of calling mom and dad’s bedroom “the Naked Room.”

Cheap Therapy: Naked Room Secrets

Part Six On Cohabitation: Cohabitation and the Immaturity of Young Men and the Desperation of Young Women

In my last blog I explored the role of divorce and absent fathers in the rise of cohabiting of young unmarried male and female couples in our society. If you haven’t read that blog, you will want to read it before this one, as today’s blog is building on the thoughts shared there (Today’s blog is part of a longer series of consecutive blogs on the subject of cohabitation outside marriage. So far I’ve looked at the legal problems of cohabiting, how cohabiting hurts sexuality and creates mistrust, how cohabiting promotes impatience, how cohabitation encourages money problems, and the effect of absent fathers on creating a climate that encourages cohabitation.).

“The last thing an immature young man needs is a young woman trying to help him grow up by sleeping with him for nothing.”

Dr. Bing Wall as quoted right now.He just wrote it.

My theory, that I explained in my previous blog, is this: Young women and young men, who are willing to cohabit with each other without marriage, often don’t have good relationships with their dads (mostly through divorce, but intact jerks for fathers apply).

As a result of dads not being around, young men, who are willing to cohabit, are, by and large, immature.They don’t have dads around to challenge them.Cohabiting doesn’t help them grow up either.A generation ago young men used to have to wait to be sexual with their future wives for whom they yearned.They had to prove themselves.With cohabiting there’s no waiting.Instant gratification.

Young women, without dads, often struggle with being loved and really, really, really want and need affectionate and caring attention from loving dads.Their dads didn’t commit to them and weren’t reliable.They need their boyfriends to show them they are different by REALLY, REALLY committing to them (i.e. marry me!). Even though she wants to be married, she has such a need for a young man to shower her with the attention she never had from her dad, that she is eager to enter into cohabitation in order to win the guy of her dreams over.My belief is that fewer young women cohabit without marriage, who have healthy and warm relationships with their fathers.With present, loving dads, these young women aren’t desperate!They know they are valuable.They don’t have to prove anything.They can wait.Patience is good for women, too!

When women, without close relationships with their fathers, cohabit, they eventually begin to pressure their live-in boyfriends to marry. Of course, he’s not at that stage yet emotionally, but she is, and so these two different goals don’t make for smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the very thing she wants and needs (a loving, committed man in her life), is the last thing she gets. By moving in with him without a ring and a wedding and a license and a reception, she is conveying to him that she’s not worth waiting for, she’s easy. This act of moving in or “sliding,” which has only recently become common, without a bona fide mark in time that has accompanied human history for millennia in societies across the world (You know…. A wedding!) conveys to everyone else and each other that there is NOT MUCH OF A COST INVOLVED AND IF THERE IS NO COST INVOLVED (WAITING, PLANNING, HOPING, DREAMING, ANTICIPATION, LONGING), IT AIN’T WORTH FIGHTING FOR!!!! There’s no challenge for him. It reinforces his leaning toward immaturity. And her eventual push to marry comes across to him as desperate and bitchy, devaluing her in his eyes.

If a young women struggles with being loved and a young man struggles with growing up, it’s not gonna help anyone if she lives with him without marriage in order to finally have some man love her (Look, her divorced dad loves her, no doubt.But he only sees her intermittently, so when he sees her it takes days for her to warm up to him and trust him and then she has to go home again.How can she trust her dad who’s never around?She doesn’t know him well enough to understand his sarcasm or his chiding.She takes it personal and writes him off.He goes, “What’s her problem?”He says to himself she’s rebellious and won’t take advice.He withdraws from her because he feels rejected.It’s a lose-lose.).

It’s not going to help him if he finds a woman willing to share his bed and he doesn’t have to stand at any altar and, you know, commit and promise and everything.It would be much better to wait for sex and marriage, so he learns a little patience, and he learns to work for something, and to pursue a goal worth having (You know, grow up!), but with cohabitation, he can have everything right now without the mature part (You know, marriage!).

Does it get any better than this?Whoa, baby.And she wants sex! Woohoo! She even cleans the house! Are you kidding me? Dang. And for the first six months she never even complained!!!!Nirvana, Baby!And I can go out with my buddies and drink beer and she’s just so happy to have me around when I’m around. And did I mention the sex?And clean sheets!Ha!I didn’t even know I liked clean sheets.

But alas.All good things come to an end.Six months, tops.You can figure this out right?It occurs to her that she’s doing the bulk of the work around the place.It occurs to her that he likes his video games or computer or his shotgun or his stock car or his _________ (fill in the blank, but it’s not her) more than her and that he barely lifts a finger and he wants sex all the time and like what’s in it for her?So she starts sharing her opinion.

And that’s when the fighting starts. He didn’t want her opinion! She thought he’d want her opinion. Not if you are going to be mad about it. No, no, no. We’re roommates, remember. You don’t get mad at your roommate. That’s impolite. You just go with the flow. Married? Are you kidding? Why would I want to marry somebody, who acts like a crazy woman, nagging me all the time about never being around and not growing up and being immature and when am I gonna be a man (Ah, that’s the message he should have gotten from his dad, remember?) and how come I never help and am I some kinda sex perv, cuz all I think about is sex? She’s just on my case all the time. All the women are like that. All my buddies, their girlfriends treat them the same way. No way I’m ever getting married. Not if she’s gonna fight all the time. That’d end in divorce for sure. I don’t want to be divorced.

And she’s thinking, he won’t listen to my opinion. I can’t say one thing without him getting mad. He doesn’t lift a finger. He’s taking advantage for me. He’s just using me. He won’t commit to me. He’s so lazy. I can’t respect someone who just __________ (fill in the blank with your self-absorbed immature behavior of choice) all the time. What kind of crap…..?

Of course, these respective attitudes don’t do much to endear each other to each other and so they go their separate ways and they break up. In spades. Way, way, way more often then couples who wait and court and get engaged and wait and save their money and court and wait some more and then get married. And as I’ve said before, cohabiting couples, who break up, are hurting really badly, just as if they divorced. But now, it just disappears from their past. “Oh, me? Yeah, well, I used to live with a girl once. For a year or so. Yeah, she was a crazy woman.” Or, “I only lived with him a couple of years. Yeah, I broke up with him. He was so into himself. He never grew up. Like he was 14. All he did was ______ all the time. I heard he’s still acting that way.”

Like it never happened.Like it didn’t really affect them.

Oh, yeah? Hmm.We’ll see.

And nobody learns anything. Not anything good, anyway. He learns he doesn’t want to be too committed to a woman or she’ll henpeck him to death. She learns that she still has an ache in her heart and she’s out looking for mister right. And she’s looking and looking and looking….

Great. So let’s be real and change the years of adolescence from 13-19 to 11 to 35. May as well face reality.

Here’s a thought: Grow up! Court! Wait. Get engaged. Plan your wedding. Let your relatives host a wedding shower for your bride. THEN get married! Then move in with each other! Then be sexual (Dr. Wall…this just sounds so, you know, old fashioned and everything. You are so out of touch.)! Take Responsibility. Share your life with someone ‘til death do you part. Commit. Really Commit. Share oneness, respect, mutuality, dreams, hopes and aspirations. Have kids (Hey, they are only little for a little while! You can handle it.). Live in community. Be involved in citizenship. Go to church together. Grow old together. Accept each other. Did I mention love? And the sex. Sex with the same lover for 50 years? Sixty if you’re lucky? Are you kidding me? Woohoo! Being known. Really known. Secret jokes. Laughter. Secret teases. Furtive glances. Still. Forty years later. Your lover and companion standing next to you by your hospital bed. For the sixth time! Burdens shared. Burdens lifted. Burdens faced. Victories won. A few defeats. Being loved anyway. Leaving immaturity back in Junior High where it belongs.

Cheap Therapy: Naked Room Secrets

Part Three On Cohabitation: Cohabiting and Impatience

You learn patience by waiting; you learn anger by doing what you want when you want it.  To see the other blogs in this series on Cohabitation click here.

Love is patient.

I Corinthians 13:4

This a series of several blog articles on cohabitation without marriage. The first one addressed some of the unintended legal nightmares created by cohabiting. In the second I discussed how cohabitation hurts sex and trust.Today I’m looking at how cohabitation encourages anger and fighting.

You’ll note the verse at the start of our blog today says that “Love is patient.” The whole idea of cohabiting is that “Love will conquer all.” Love will conquer all is a modern spin on love that says love is a feeling: As long as we have these loving feelings we’ll be fine. In contrast to a feeling, the two thousand year old quote above that love is patient is based upon an action: If we love each other we will wait until marriage. You are worth waiting for.

The subtle message of cohabitation is: Our loving feelings supercede old-fashioned values like marriage. We don’t need a piece of paper. We can do what we want. Morality does not mean anything. Sex is just an act. It does not need protecting. Marriage is just a legalistic social norm, and patriarchal at that. And the stupid weddings cost thousands of dollars and who can afford that? Besides we can save money NOW. We can live together NOW. We don’t need social support and legal encouragements and the blessing of God or the Church or our parents or anybody else. We have each other and love and feelings and that will be enough.

The catchword for cohabiters is NOW.

The catchphrase of cohabiters is NOW, NOW, NOW.

The catchword for people who wait to marry is: patience.

The catchphrase for people who wait to marry is: it’s worth the wait.

Love is patient.

But if you JUST move in with each other, love is not patient.That loving feeling is impatient.Our choices affect our behavior.If you want sex NOW, if you want to live together NOW, and our parents’ values be damned, and marriage is ol’ fashioned and boring and we don’t want a divorce after all (see my blog Cavalier About Marriage on destroying that myth) you will take this lifestyle of impatience into other areas of your life.You won’t have patience because you haven’t learned to have any.You learn patience by waiting!!! Practice, practice, practice.

Bake dough without letting it rise and you have a brick.

Paint a room without mixing the paint, taping the hardware, covering the floor and you have a mess.

Build a house without first planning what it will look like and you end of with a hodgepodge.

Drive a car without oil and see how far you get.

Patience.

That’d be good.

But what do we get when we cohabit? What subtle messages are we sending?

You are not worth waiting for.

You aren’t valuable enough to wait for.

You can take me just on my word.My actions don’t meaning anything.

Sex is just sex.It doesn’t need protecting.

Do whatever you want whenever you want.

We can do this without consequences.Nothing bad will happen to us.

Hey, this is a bunch of crap. I’m not making this up. If you come to see me and you tell me you smoke marijuana everyday, I’m going to know that you are going to be lethargic and have the stictuativeness of a piece of used scotch tape. If you tell me you are masturbating to porn everyday I’m going to assume you are a selfish prick and I wont’ be far off. If you tell me you are cohabiting I will assume you will be:

  • self absorbed
  • self-serving
  • selfish
  • impatient
  • easily offended
  • easily angered
  • argumentative
  • everything’s-an-issue kind of person
  • insecure
  • suspicious
  • jealous
  • protective of yourself

Why? Because you don’t think waiting is worth anything and you want what you want when you want it and you want it NOW. IF THIS RELATIONSHIP ISN’T WORTH WAITING FOR IT ISN’T WORTH ANYTHING!!!

So…if two people both believe that their relationship is not worth waiting for, what kind of patience with each other are they going to have? NONE. Zip. Zero. If I can’t wait to marry you to live with you, be sexual with you, then you can bet I’m not going to wait for anything else either. I want everything NOW. Frickin’ this and frickin’ that.

You might be the most fun partner in the world.You might be the most beautiful and gorgeous or handsome.We might have a ball.We might just laugh and laugh and the sex, oh, man, the sex is out of this world.

For awhile.

Six months average.

Maybe less.

Maybe more.

About.

And then the fighting starts. Why? Because you said you believed this and you are doing that. You never help. All you do is nag. We’re hardly sexual ever anymore. You ignore me. All you do is video games! All you do is on-line chatrooms. All you do is hunt, fish, work on your car, work, watch TV. You never do the laundry. I have to do everything. Quit complaining. You’re so impatient!! You want everything your way all the time!!

And you are surprised by this? Hey, we don’t have to wait remember? What’d you expect?

Here’s a sobering quote. I’m not making this stuff up. If you want the whole article click here.If you want a life of fighting and anger, I suggest you rush to live with your lover.It’s the fastest road I know (although smoking pot everyday or masturbating to porn everyday will get you there pretty quick, too):

One study in Great Britain did look at the relationship between child abuse and the family structure and marital background of parents, and the results are disturbing.  It was found that, compared to children living with married biological parents, children living with cohabiting but unmarried biological parents are 20 times more likely to be subject to child abuse, and those living with a mother and a cohabiting boyfriend who is not the father face an increased risk of 33 times. In contrast, the rate of abuse is 14 times higher if the child lives with a biological mother who lives alone. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other than the child’s biological father.  This is the environment for the majority of children in cohabiting couple households.

You say you don’t have kids, it’s just the two of you? Well, ahhh, if you are living with somebody that way and, you know, you, ah (uncomfortable moment…), ah, after awhile you will more than likely end up with kids. If you both are biological parents abuse is lower, but if you live together and aren’t married, you are way, way, way more likely to break up than married folk and now, after you break up, you’ll be living on one salary and who can afford that, you know, and pretty soon mr right or miss right will show up and it’s amazing we get along so great and before you can pay 3 rental payments you are sharing your rent with him or her and wow, this is so cool, until he or she loses his or her patience over your stupid kid and can’t you control him and he’s a total brat and he gets away with murder and you never discipline him and I’m not gonna live like that and CRAP…

A little patience people. The Jewish nation was founded on a guy who worked and waited 7 years in order to marry the girl of his dreams. After he married her he was an indentured servant for another 7 years in order to pay off his obligation to her father. Fourteen years! Fourteen years he waited and worked and loved. And, no, Jacob and Rachel weren’t shacking up on the sly and her sleazebucket-of-a-father, Laban, just wasn’t aware of it.  No.  He waited.  Literally.  For the whole enchilata.  Really.  Look it up yourself.  Genesis 29. Is it any wonder the Jewish nation has made such an impact upon the world?A nation built on the love of one man for a woman he was willing to work for and wait for 14 years.

And you? You can’t wait 14 days till the end of the month because you have to sign a stupid new lease.