Why (Older) Women Often Long for More Adventure in Bed

by | Oct 4, 2018 | Sex, Uncategorized | 39 comments

Why Older Women Need More Adventure in Bed--and what to do about it
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The image of the older woman who is sexually confident and wants more adventure in bed is quite common in our culture.

Think of the “cougar” stereotype, that older woman who is looking for a younger man to satisfy her.

Recently, when I was flying back from Kenya, the movie Book Club was offered, and it fits this stereotype perfectly. Book Club, starring Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Jane Fonda, follows four senior women who have choose to read 50 Shades of Grey–and supposedly find a whole new world of sexy confidence. I have a particular interest in how this book is affecting our culture, since I think it was one of the big catalysts for the surge in erotica and porn use among women, and so I thought I’d check it out.

I watched maybe 20 minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore, so I honestly don’t know how it turned out, but given the immense problems with 50 Shades of Grey, I can’t think it was anything very good. But still, I believe that the movie tapped into an important thing that many women feel, and to explain it, I’ll just tell a story of your average woman, and we’ll call her Jane.


Jane grows up dreaming of being married to a wonderful guy who will sweep her off of her feet.

She marries off her Barbies. She practises kissing into her pillow when she’s 12 years old. She has crushes in youth group and some of them break her heart.

Along the way, she learns a thing or two about sex. She hears from the culture that she’s valued if she looks a certain way. She likes it when boys want to talk to her, but she also knows that it’s often tied to how she looks. She feels uncomfortable when she starts growing breasts, and especially when older guys ogle her. She wants to be pretty, and she yearns to look like all the girls on TV, but she’s never quite sure how to dress her body, and she always feels quite frumpy.

When she gets to college, she meets a guy who she absolutely adores.

He loves her back. They spend hours talking–and hours making out. She loves feeling carried away when they kiss, but at the same time she knows she has to keep her wits about her and make sure that they don’t go too far. So she tends to find these episodes exhilarating and annoying at the same time. She hates always having to be on guard. She wishes that sometimes he would want to do something else.

They get married, and she has great visions of what it means to be a good wife. She’s learning how to make awesome meals. She wants to start figuring out how to keep the house clean for once in her life, and finds she’s actually not bad at it. She loves being married, but she wishes that sex weren’t quite the big deal for her husband that it is. I mean, she likes sex, she supposes. But she also misses all the long walks, and all the long talks they had before they got married. She sometimes wonders if life was better before sex came into the picture, because now it seems he’s always annoyed at her if sex doesn’t happen, and she’s tired of feeling not good enough.

That “not good enough” feeling permeates into all of Jane’s life.

She tries really hard, but she can never make the money go far enough, or the meals tasty enough. With her job, she feels respected and she’s going places, but she hates that she seems to have twice as much work to do as her husband, because she still has to do most of the housework.

When the kids come, she feels a whole new level of love than she ever thought possible. They become her focus. Yet even though she loves them, she sometimes wonders what it would be like to be alone for a whole day. She wishes to have that endless to do list that’s always going through her brain just shut up. She doesn’t want to always be thinking about the doctor’s appointments and the dentist’s appointments and catching the sales at the grocery store and picking up the birthday present for her daughter’s best friend’s birthday party.

In the meantime, her husband is getting more and more into video games. He’s pulling away. She finds work far more satisfying than being with him, but she knows she just has to try harder. She decides she’ll lose some weight, because she’s so angry that she put on 40 pounds since having babies. She tries. And tries. And tries. Her husband has given up asking for sex now.

When the kids are grown, they scatter. One goes to school on the other side of the country. Another heads overseas on a mission. And one son marries, but he spends way more time with his in-laws than with them. The people she devoted her entire life to for 25 years are gone.

And one day, Jane wakes up and realizes she doesn’t know who she is anymore.

And she gets mad.

Really mad.

She has spent her whole life trying–and it hasn’t gotten her very far. She threw her all into her children, and they’re gone now. She’s spent her whole life feeling not good enough, and her husband seems to agree. She knows she bores him, because he’s never around. But quite frankly, he bores her, too.

Why, when sex didn’t feel very good, was it something she had to fix? Why didn’t he think to himself, “wow, my wife isn’t getting much out of this. Maybe I should be a better lover!”

In fact, sex seems to be the heart of a lot of her anger. Sex was always something she did for him. She had to be beautiful–for him. She had to want sex enough–for him. She had to learn to be a good lover–for him. And so she never really enjoyed her own body. It was something that someone else got to use. And she’s tired of it. She wants to be all who Jane can be!

And so it’s her turn now! It’s her turn to discover that ball of fire she was in college, when the world was stretched out in front of her, and the possibilities were endless. Because she finally realizes that if she doesn’t do something now, she’s never going to do it.

She has given her life for everyone else, and no one has come back to her to say, “what can I do to make you happy, Jane?” Giving to others hasn’t helped her. It’s time that she think about herself first.


Our world is full of Janes–women who give so much of themselves to their families, who accept the constant guilt of not being good enough, who don’t think about what they actually want, but only what is expected of them.

I think our churches are full of more Janes even than the world is (and perhaps that’s why the sales of 50 Shades of Grey were even higher in states where church attendance was the highest). There are a lot of very dissatisfied women out there.

Something happens when women have been dissatisfied and dismissing their own needs for years.

One day, especially around menopause and when the children leave, they realize that they want more from this life, and if they don’t get it now, they’ll never get it.

Passion in marriage and in the bed can often grow stale as you grow older, and here's what you can do NOW to give romance a new life!

I don’t want you to be a middle-aged or senior Jane.

I don’t want you to one day wake up and be super angry because your needs haven’t mattered your whole life. I don’t want you to think that sex has always been something you did for him–and so from now on it’s going to be something you’ll do for you, darn it! I don’t want you to feel like your whole life has been a waste.

And so let me suggest something to you:

You matter. But so does your husband. So cling tightly to both your own passions and your life together.

If you are still in your twenties, thirties, even forties…don’t be a Jane.

Don’t devote yourself so much to your kids that you lose any sense of who you are. You’re still a woman! Have friends. Develop hobbies. Spend some time by yourself.

Don’t let our culture tell you whether or not you are beautiful. Love the body you have. Eat well and sleep well. It isn’t selfish to spend time on yourself. Fight the frump now!

Don’t let yourself drift apart in your marriage and rely on your kids for your emotional needs instead. Talk to your husband if you’re feeling taken for granted. Find hobbies as a couple to do so you keep laughing and don’t get bored.

But when it comes to sex, don’t make it all about him! Don’t have sex just “for him”. Don’t think that your own orgasms don’t matter. Don’t dismiss sex altogether because it’s a bother and there are more important things to do. You need passion in your life! You were made to feel carried away, and to feel good.

And that doesn’t mean making sex into something that’s primarily for you (the mistake that Jane makes in her senior years). It means understanding that sex is about both of you, together. Sex is about intimacy, and physical pleasure, all tied up into one. You both matter. Even if it takes a lot of hard conversations about how to make sex feel good or how to make you feel desired, fight through it. Don’t shy away from it. Talk about it!

If you don’t figure out how to embrace sex and how to speak up about what you really need emotionally in your early years of marriage, and  it will be hard not to be a Jane later.

God made sex to be AWESOME!

It’s supposed to be great physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Feel like something’s missing?

If you are in menopause or older…choose real passion.

The key to passion isn’t 50 Shades of Grey. It’s learning true emotional vulnerability with your husband, at the same time as you learn to embrace yourself and let go of control. Great sex isn’t about focusing on what you want as much as it is rebuilding your relationship so that you’re passionate about each other again.

If you’ve lived your whole life for other people, and you don’t know who you are anymore, then sex can’t be passionate, because sex is a joining of two different beings. If you have already disappeared, then sex is missing something. Sex is the ultimate “knowing” of each other, as I explained in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. If you don’t even know who you are, then it’s hard to experience that “knowing” with someone else.

So go on a journey with yourself. Discover your passions, your callings, the things that bring you joy. Start truly communicating with your husband about what you want and what makes you excited in life.

But above all, remember that real satisfaction doesn’t come just in concentrating on only yourself. It comes in valuing yourself, and then loving those around you. Becoming selfish doesn’t lead to great sex, and it certainly won’t lead to a fulfilling life. But neither will constantly ignoring your own needs and wants, either.

You matter. But so does your husband. So cling tightly to both your own passions and your life together–and then hopefully you won’t become a Jane.

Why do you think women become dissatisfied over time? What can we do about it? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

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39 Comments

  1. Phil

    Hey Sheila. That was a great story. I really enjoyed reading that. When I was reading things that came up for me where this: Jane has a resentment. It’s been brewing for a long time – yes it has to do with her sex life but one thing that’s missing from your story is God in Janes life. Something that I have taken from everything I’ve learned around here and the messages I’ve gotten from God is that sex is not only the union between me and my wife but also between me and God. I believe we are born with an instinct to want to be known as you have taught me not only by others but by God. God gave Jane the gift of marriage as a tool to find that and it didnt work out by his and her choices. Jane missed out on that relationship and now she think she’s going to get it in her 50s by going to self. This relationship is what I found out I was seeking in my sex addiction. of course I was never going to find it that way but ultimately that’s what I was seeking in a sick way. This is what I see in your story. I dont have the numbers like you may have. Although I can clearly see the truth of this story. It is eveywhere. It doesnt just show up as sex either. There are thousands of forms. There is a man’s story just like this. By the grace of God I won’t go through menopause but Grace wilI. I guess my hope will be that when she does she will want to deepen her relationship with God through me in our sex life. Now that would be awesome!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks for your kind words, Phil! Yes, I think a lot of women have a lot of resentment, because they think, “If I give enough to my kids and my husband, I’ll get loved and feel fulfilled.” But they don’t realize that that’s not the road to fulfillment. You can’t lose yourself and then expect to feel full. We have to become MORE of ourselves in Jesus, and share more of ourselves with our husbands. That’s hard to do, but it’s the only way to not get resentful!

      Reply
      • Wendy

        Sheila, I’m confused. You say it’s the wrong path to fulfillment to think “If I give enough to my kids and my husband…..”, but then you say we have to share more of ourselves with our husbands. Frankly, I’ve given enough for two lifetimes. So yeah, I feel cheated and sometimes feel like walking away.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Hi Wendy! Thanks for asking for clarification.
          I think there’s a big difference between “giving” yourself to your kids and your family and “sharing” yourself. Giving implies that you sacrifice what you want and need to benefit them. Sharing, on the other hand, implies that you take part of yourself and share it with him. When giving, too often we’re actually getting rid of ourselves (our own wants and preferences) and we start to disappear. With sharing, we’re still “us”. We’re just opening up. Like another commenter said, we’re being honest and vulnerable. And that’s what’s really needed.
          I’m sorry your relationship is so tough right now. I think the easiest way to get over a hump is to stop trying to address the big things and start just working at being able to chat and talk again. Then you can tackle big things. Just start doing things together again, even just little things. Build on that. Blessings to you!

          Reply
  2. In full agreement

    This was perfect. I think this is exactly the path my wife has taken. And I love the solution as well. . .
    “Sex is about intimacy, and physical pleasure, all tied up into one. You both matter. Even if it takes a lot of hard conversations about how to make sex feel good or how to make you feel desired, fight through it. Don’t shy away from it.” . .
    “Discover your passions, your callings, the things that bring you joy. Start truly communicating with your husband about what you want and what makes you excited in life.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m glad you liked it!

      Reply
  3. Happily ever after

    I found myself like this in some ways.. but I just didn’t want to have sex. My libido was low after 4 children . I had lost 75 pounds and still felt unattractive. At 45 I decided to get implants. I had always had issues all through our marriage about my husband looking at, or even touching my breasts,because they were so small. So I did it! It changed my life. It’s been 4 years and our sex life is so much better because I feel confident naked. Doing that for me is what I needed!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’ve heard other women say the same thing too!

      Reply
  4. Rob

    Really enjoyed reading about your ‘ficticious’ Jane. She had many traits that really resonated with my experience from 40 plus years of marriage. The one in particular was when she associated her failure to lose 40 lbs with her husband giving up asking for sex now. That may be how she sees it but I doubt that is why her husband suddenly gave up “asking for sex”. My guess is he stopped asking because he couldn’t handle continued rejection from Jane. Her weight probably had little to do with it. Her weight was apparently important to her. I doubt it was important to her husband. I wonder…did she use her failure as an excuse (cover up) for what her husband probably stopped “asking for” long ago? Just wondering…

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Interesting, isn’t it? I think that likely her weight caused her to feel badly about herself, so her libido was low, so she turned him down, and then when he stopped asking, she thought it was because he thought she wasn’t attractive. That’s the dynamic that I often see. And it is so sad! I wish people could just communicate. So much could change!

      Reply
      • OKRickety

        “Interesting, isn’t it? “

        Yes, it is. It is indeed interesting that, even when presented with a viable possibility for why the husband might have quit asking for sex, you instead insist on doubling down on your explanation.
        Having experienced regular rejection of sex by my wife for years, who had gained very little weight over the years even with two children, I question the argument of weight gain causing the wife to lose libido.
        In fact, I suspect the weight gain is often a convenient excuse for why a wife rejects her husband’s sexual advances. That is, rather than finding the real reason(s), the wife chooses to take the easy way out and claim it is her own poor self-image that is the cause.
        If weight gain is truly the cause, then why not take action? It’s often possible if one is truly motivated. For example, my mother, who had been quite overweight (likely obese) for decades, lost weight (perhaps 80 pounds?) when she found out she had diabetes. She was then motivated to change her diet and began exercising regularly. If she can do it, I believe most people can.
        If the motivation is not there, then I suspect the problem is a lack of desire to improve the marriage.

        Reply
    • E

      I’m pretty sure there are also a lot of men who DO make their wives feel unattractive for putting on weight, or having a changing body shape. Maybe that wasn’t the reason he stopped asking for sex, but maybe he also didn’t help her feel attractive! It is so hard in this culture/society, where women (people?) are constantly bombarded with the message that they aren’t good enough (thanks, advertisers), to actually feel confident about your body. I know that my husband finds me attractive. I know that he enjoys having sex with me. And yet, ANY comment about my weight, attractiveness (particularly ageing), sexual ability, etc, still has me doubting myself, and doubting him. Even when he talks about other people being ‘too fat’ or ‘disgusting’, I tend to be thinking ‘if he thinks that about them, he must also think it about me’.

      Reply
  5. Sarah o

    Great article! I think there is also a bit of a cultural taboo on women expressing “I want…”. In some circles, women are shamed for being too needy, too high maintenance, too demanding, or too pushy. There is this ideal of “mother as martyr” that makes it really difficult emotionally to just say what we want for ourselves in a direct manner. I think this drives the default “how can I get them to love me enough to see and care about my needs?” Rather than just saying “I need THIS.”
    It doesn’t help that women are more often encouraged to proactively consider the needs of their husband and kids, so it’s easy to become resentful when they don’t return the favor.
    At the end of the day, it’s not complicated but it is hard: you must be honest and vulnerable. Risk being seen as a pushy, needy, high maintenance woman and just tell the truth. Even when it’s ugly, things that are out in the light can’t control and contort you the way things can when left in secret.
    That being said – hint for you dudes – please romance your woman every now and again, without being asked. Like, even once a quarter. You don’t like it when we treat sex as a check box. Don’t treat romance like a check box.
    And thanks to those of you that do!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely, Sarah! And totally agree with this: “you must be honest and vulnerable.”. That is what it all comes down to!

      Reply
  6. Julie

    I’m basically Jane….in my early 40’s. Feels like I missed out on what I really wanted in marriage. Now it may take a long time to get even close to it. Frustrating and extremely sad.

    Reply
    • In full agreement

      Julie, don’t get discouraged!
      I don’t know your husband, but if he’s a good man, he’ll hear you if you express your desire.
      Have him read this article first and tell him that it describes your experience. And you want more for the two of you. When I read it, I felt a desire for what Sheila was offering, and I’m the husband of a “Jane”.
      I’m willing be bet he’ll be on board with it. I really think most guys want an equally yoked partner. As Sheila has presented, there are many benefits for him in the process.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Julie! I agree with “In full agreement”, too. Have your husband read the article and just try to talk. If that seems too hard, try to just start doing little things so that you can chat and talk again and bring the tension level down. But I am sorry.

      Reply
  7. Bethany

    I have to credit my husband with encouraging me to be forthright about my needs and really encouraging me to do things that are good for me. I’m by nature and upbringing very much a woman who tends towards martyrdom and trying to take care of everyone and everything. It does make me resentful when I try to do too much. But my husband has been a huge help in reminding me not to do that.
    And I thank God that he brought us together.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yay, Bethany! That’s so nice to hear. My husband is great at that, too. He doesn’t let me get away with keeping my feelings bottled up, and that’s what we need in marriage. I thank God for my husband, too.

      Reply
      • Sherri

        Sheila, I really believe communication is the biggest problem we have in most marriages today, God did not give neither husbands or wives the ability to read the other’s mind, I can’t seem to convince my husband that shutting down on me gets us nowhere, we may not resolve the entire issue however there’s no time like the present instead of sweeping the problem under the rug! Thanks for such a wonderful topic to discuss!

        Reply
  8. Madeline

    I agree with Sarah o that there does seem to be cultural/societal pressure for women, especially those who are wives and moms, to put their needs last. I see that tendency in my mom and mom’s mom, as well as some other women I know. I feel like my mom is a wonderful mother and person, so I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but I honestly feel like my mom pressured me as a kid/teenager to not ever rock the boat, in our family and in my friendships/relationships and just tolerate relations that just weren’t healthy. When I told her I was at my wits’ end with some of my friendships (which looking back, truly were unhealthy) she told me that such and such *needs* a friend like you! They come from such a troubled home, etc etc…which I guess was true, but I myself became a terrible friend when I felt like I was being bullied! I didn’t have the self-control or wisdom to be a great help to these people when I was only a teenager myself. I wish she had told me that its okay to be firm with people about your limits. I’m not 100% sure this is particularly a problem among how girls in general are raised, but from observation it seems to be?
    Like Bethany said though, I consider myself very fortunate to be married to a man that encourages me to be open with him, even when I’m upset or frustrated with him. Something that has helped us is we have a certain recliner in our bedroom that we named “the reception chair.” I know it sounds strange or maybe silly, but telling the other person that he/she needs to sit in the reception chair is signaling “I need your full attention and I need you to listen to me get this off my chest without interruption,” then when the other person has said his/her peace we can really talk it out. Sometimes when one of us KNOWS the other is upset about something and won’t spit it out, we put ourselves in the reception chair! This isn’t something that happens all the time, but I’ve found it weirdly helpful.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Madeline, I absolutely love that “reception chair” idea. That’s awesome! What a great marriage tool.
      And I think you’re right. Many women are raised to be martyrs, and the example you gave of your mom encouraging you to have unhealthy friendships is all too common. We really need, as women, to learn the concept of boundaries. You can’t save other people, and you just empty yourself when you try to do that.

      Reply
    • Sherri

      Madeline what a great idea a reception chair, we could certainly use one in our home maybe then my husband would be more open to communication, not putting it all on my husband I love him beyond words, but this is an ongoing issue in our marriage maybe using an idea like a reception chair would make starting a conversation easier!

      Reply
  9. Anon

    Wow. A lot of that resonates way too deeply. Not all of it (Thank God) but a lot of it.
    Struggling so much lately. Marriage would be so much easier if sex just wasn’t there. I’m sick of fighting for wanting it and enjoying it. I’m tired. And while some of my fledglings are flying (thankfully they still need me some because they’re young fledglings) I still have 10 more years before I have my nest empty.
    Love all of my kids and am so thankful for them. And I love my husband. But idk who I am.

    Reply
  10. Debbie

    Hubs decided 2 years ago no more sex, no discussion, no conversation and when I brought it up I was told just to accept it and be thankful for what I have which is roommates and that’s about it

    Reply
  11. E

    Communication is something that I really struggle with. I grew up a people pleaser, but also with the message that sharing where you’re vulnerable just gives people a way to hurt you. So I learned not to show it when something bothered me, or if I needed something, I went about getting it myself, rather than sharing that need. Now that I am in my early thirties, I am trying to unlearn a lifetime of that, and to start being vulnerable with my husband. Which is difficult,because even though he so wants me to be able to be vulnerable, he doesn’t understand why it is so difficult. He grew up with the message that sharing something your struggling with (with close loved ones) meant getting their support and help. If they were causing you difficulty or pain, you told them, and they stopped. Which seems like a much healthier message! But at the same time, he is not very good at extending grace and support to me when I do reach out. So it is difficult. Especially because I am so sensitive in this area. But I am learning to grow a thicker skin, and to share more vulnerably. Growing closer to God is key, because when I am feeling fully loved by Him, my husband saying a hurtful comment doesn’t worry me anywhere near as much as when I am relying on people to make me feel loved.

    Reply
  12. Mercy

    This is soooo apt Sheila. I’ve been “giving” myself away instead of “sharing” all along and just last week I began to get really frustrated and decided to rediscover myself. The cultural part is very true in my case. It’s this ‘fine art of balance’ I think most humans, women in this case struggle with. It’s difficult to not veer to either extreme but we must keep working at it. Thank you. Much love Sheila.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m glad it resonated, Mercy!

      Reply
  13. Samantha

    This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think if you are going to have children, you need to accept the responsibility of devoting yourself entirely to those children while they need you to fulfill their needs. I think there is a world of difference between a “martyr” mother and a devoted mother. A mother who thinks of herself as a martyr will often hold her children back (even as they get older and are supposed to become more independent) just enough to make herself feel as though they still need her and that she is still making a grand sacrifice to fulfill those needs. These mothers typically don’t do well at all with an empty nest and often become the full-time babysitters (martyr grandma) as a way to feel needed again. Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother of young children who accepts the full responsibility of caring for the children she brought into this world. That includes accepting the fact that me-time and date nights are not a right or a need. I do believe in taking care of yourself and maintaining hobbies and interests while you are raising your children, but the idea that you somehow need to be less devoted to your children in order to do this just seems a little far-fetched. My kids won’t be kids forever. Eventually they are going to need me for very little as they want to do more and more for themselves. That day will probably come sooner than I think. If I can’t fully devote myself to them for that short amount of time, then there is something truly wrong with that. I do think we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves and our wants for our children while they truly need us. But I think women should take it upon themselves to have the foresight to realize that someday their kids won’t need them as much and to accept it and plan for it. And I also think that women need to take it upon themselves to learn how to raise their children to become more and more independent as they grow up rather than holding them back to maintain the sense of being needed.

    Reply
    • Samantha

      And even though I only mentioned motherhood in that comment, I fully believe that a marriage needs to come before the children. And sadly, I think that a lot of parents these days take that to mean that they need to offload their children onto someone else in order to focus on their marriage. In other words, the children who they chose to have need to become someone else’s responsibility in order for their marriage to stay healthy. Sadly I think a lot of parents these days view their children as a hindrance to the wellbeing (fun and romance) of the marriage rather than a wonderful addition and unique challenge designed by God to bring a couple closer together as they work hard and sacrifice together in order to raise the embodiment of the love the husband and wife have for one another. Children are so much more than they are given credit for these days. The idea that we somehow give ourselves to them at the expense of who we are is just not how I see things. On the contrary, my husband and my children have given more to my life and added more to who I am as a person than I would ever be able to repay in ten lifetimes. Or rather God has given me more in the form of my husband and children than I could ever repay.
      Sure, I am still an individual. My husband and kids are not who I am. But they are certainly have become a part of it and I am glad for that. Looking back on my single self I was a selfish person who spent way too much time thinking about myself and my wants. I did that for 24 years. Personally, I think it’s fun and honestly a relief to focus on someone else and their needs and wants for a change.

      Reply
      • Tracie

        I agree that you can work on having romance in your marriage even with the kids around. Sneaking kisses while making supper or holding hands on a family walk are great. But I also think it is important for husbands and wives to be able to get away once in awhile and just be a couple. I have asked so many couple’s how long it has been since they had just one night away and for so many it has been 5 years or more or maybe not since having kids at all. My husband and I have been so refreshed to have occasional nights away where we don’t have to feed little people at a certain time or worry about the to do list or the dirty dishes staring at us. We can just enjoy being lovers and nothing else and it has done wonders for our marriage.

        Reply
        • Samantha

          I honestly see where you are coming from, Tracie, but I still don’t believe it is necessary for parents to take a break from their kids occasionally or regularly in order to maintain a happy and healthy marriage. In my honest opinion our current generations of parents take an awful lot for granted when it comes to raising their children. To assume that it should be someone else’s responsibility to take care of your children so you can take a break from the responsibilities that you chose to take on when you decided to have children is a very entitled mindset. Modern parents seem to have this mindset to the point where they view time off from the kids as an actual NEED rather than the special occasion luxury that it should be. And when couples aren’t able to get that time off that they are told is so crucial to their marriage they begin to assume that their marriage is doomed. They begin to panic and smell smoke where there is no fire rather than simply enjoying that special and fleeting season of life where their children are little, goofy and so generous with their affections. They begin to resent those little human beings for hindering romance and fun when in reality those little humans are the embodiment of their romance, fun and love. Is it a hard job to raise children? Yes. Is it always fun? No. But by God’s own design children are meant to be a PART of marriage so they shouldn’t be treated as something that needs to disappear now and then in order for marriage to thrive.
          Is it nice and refreshing to not have to worry about your kids for a night? Sure. Probably. Maybe. Is it important, necessary, or deserved? Absolutely not.

          Reply
        • Daniel

          Tracie: Well said.
          Believe it or not, KIDS enjoy time away from US too. What?! Yes, it’s true, they need time away from mom and dad, just like we need time away from them.

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      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Totally get what you’re saying here. I LOVED being a mom. I loved my kids. We honestly had such fun!
        I don’t think the problem is actually a time factor or an activity factor. I think it’s an EMOTION factor. Like, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with throwing yourself into being a mom and having them be your main focus. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing your life so that it mostly revolves around parenthood, because that’s what kids need. We did family vacations the kids would like. We camped a ton (though I didn’t think I’d like camping) because it was easy to do with kids. I learned how to grocery shop with my kids. It was great.
        The problem is not in the time you spend or the things you do. The problem becomes the emotional significance you attach to that.
        If you spend your time and energy on your kids because you enjoy them, you feel it’s part of being a mom, and you’re openly communicating with your husband, too, that’s great. But if you spend your time and energy on your kids because you’re unhappy, and you get your emotional boost from having kids need you, or you rely on them to make you happy, then that’s when things become a problem.
        Letting your main role be a mom isn’t a problem. Getting your emotional needs met from being a mom is. We just can’t become emotionally enmeshed with our kids, and I think that is often the root of so much discontent and disappointment later in life, especially if the kids scatter and don’t need you anymore.

        Reply
        • Samantha

          Sheila, I totally agree and absolutely love what you said here because it puts it into perspective beautifully.

          Reply
  14. Beyond Broken

    So what do you say to the wife who spent 12+ years feeling neglected and rejected sexually. What if she was the one initiating and being turned down….literally pushed away at times, simply ignored at others. The one who begged for date nights.. looking for time attention and affection. She literally tried everything to get her husband’s attebtion to the point of a “mommy make over”. None of it worked. There were fleeting moments but never longevity in attention or affection.. until she literally breaks. No longer feeling feminine, totally disconnected from the relationship realizing she is simply not woman enough to spark desire in this man who promised to love her….but apparently doesn’t…..

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s just so sad. And so heartbreaking! I’d say that refusing and withholding sex is not okay in a marriage, and needs to be treated seriously when it happens. I do have several posts on sexless marriages; here’s a good one to start with. But the big thing would be to deal with it early–don’t let it go on 12 years. It just isn’t right, and the spouse needs to understand the consequences of his actions.

      Reply
  15. Brievel

    I feel like you wrote this, tonight, for me. o_0 Every single thing about it resonates – I’m still in my early twenties, but I had to assume full adult responsibility at 15 and was advanced well beyond my age even before that. I have felt for several years now as though I, well, was “already old, tired and worn thin.” I’ve disappeared, so far that I don’t think I’ll ever come back, and honestly I don’t even care anymore. I’m sure I’ll be sad and lonely and regretful in forty years or so, but right now, there’s simply not enough left of me to give that hoot. I don’t even feel like trying to be vulnerable and honest (not to mention I know from repeated experience it’s *not going to work,*) I just don’t care enough to put in the effort. I’m more comfortable assuming the role of servant and letting it be.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I’m sorry, Brievel! I’d just encourage you to not give up. That’s a lonely road you’re on. And the bitterness will get worse.

      Reply

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