This is a guest post from a contributing writer.
I was never a great wife. Sure, I stayed home with the kids, made dinners, went on dates, told my husband I loved him (often), and was intimate with him almost every time he wanted to be. But I never showed him that I wanted him. I never embraced sex. I never explored my sexuality. I was a total prude.
It could be because I was raised in a hyper-religious home where my psychologically abusive mom confusingly told me that sex was a good thing, while at the same time making strict and often arbitrary rules about how short my shorts could be, how thick my shoulder straps could be, and how often I could be alone with boys. It’s not just the fact that we were religious. It was the fact that my mom made me feel self conscious, like everyone was looking at me and judging my body. Like there was something wrong with the way I looked and I needed to hide. It was more than modesty. It was shame.
I’m still religious. And I don’t regret waiting until I was married to have sex. I love that my husband and I were able to learn and explore that together. But I do wish we had fooled around more. I wish we hadn’t been so afraid of the natural passions we were feeling. Because it turns out that it wasn’t so easy for me to suddenly switch off the “this is wrong” mentality once we were officially married. On our wedding night, instead of thinking about my husband and how much I wanted him, I was thinking, What if we aren’t ACTUALLY married? How do we know it’s suddenly official? What if this is wrong?
For years I was hesitant to be naked in front of him. I always wanted the lights off, never wanted to wear anything see-through or TOO sexy. I never initiated intimacy with my husband or even actually wanted to have sex. I did it because that’s what married people do. I had amazing orgasms because my husband rocks. But I still held back because it felt like it was a little bit wrong.
And then my husband had an affair.
He fell in love with another woman, announced to me that he no longer loved me, and didn’t know if he ever did. I was shocked. Hadn’t I met all his needs? I’d rarely refused to have sex with him. I’d never made up lame excuses to get out of it. We’d had what I thought was a healthy sexual relationship, regularly being intimate 1-3 times a week. But that fact was, because of my prudishness, he never felt wanted. And this other woman made him feel wanted.
I did want him, but not sexually. I WANTED to want him sexually, but I didn’t know how. So I started to think about it. A lot. I thought about sex all day long while he was at work. I thought about what would make me like it more, why I was so hesitant about it in the first place, what would make HIM like it more, and what more I would be willing to do to make it interesting. Incredibly, as I thought about sex all day, for the first time in my life I started to desire it. I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home so that I could break out my old lingerie. Suddenly, I felt like a sexual being, and I loved it!
I started initiating intimacy more often. I felt sexier in my own skin and whereas I used to hide to change my clothes, I started getting undressed when he was around.
It still remains to be seen whether or not we can save our marriage. We have a long way to go before he can fall in love with me again. In the meantime, we’re trying. He’s stopped seeing the other woman, and we’re having lots of great sex and spending lots of time together playing games, cuddling, and going on dates. We’re treating each other like the lovers we should have been from the beginning.
I know it’s his fault that he had an affair, and it’s also his fault that he wasn’t open and honest with me about what he wanted and needed from me. But it’s my fault that I was never a girlfriend and lover to my husband. For almost two decades he was stuck in a marriage with a woman he thought didn’t love him, because I never showed him. Sure, I told him all the time. But my actions were what was speaking to him.
I’m hopeful that this can be fixed. I think this could be the start of a whole new relationship. One where I’m a great wife who meets my husband’s need to feel wanted and desired. I think I can be that for him. I just hope it’s not too late.