In marriage counseling sessions, couples many times express sincere attempts to be tactful, to be “nice.” There’s nothing wrong with being kind, thoughtful, and considerate, we should all be. There’s also a time to be clear, to be firm with one’s partner in all of your interactions, yes, even when it comes to sex. Following is an edited conversation in couples counseling I had with a client who wasn’t very happy with her partner.
In the movie, “The Notebook” Noah (Ryan Gosling) asks Allie (Rachel McAdams, “What do you want.” Her response “It’s not that simple,” is what many people who spend their lives living for whatever everybody else wants fail to ask themselves.
Marriage Counseling Austin:
Client: My husband doesn’t get it about sex.
Coach: How so?
Client: He thinks groping equals foreplay.
Coach: What have you done about it?
Client: I’ve tried explaining nicely that I need a connection with him first. I feel guilty, is there something wrong with me sexually?
Coach: Sometimes a woman needs to be much more direct with her man. He’s not listening, but that’s his problem, your job is to make sure you’re very clear what you like and what you will not tolerate.
Client: But that doesn’t sound very nice.
Coach: You’re right, sometimes people can’t hear “nice” so you have to be firm.
Client: But maybe there’s something wrong with me.
Coach: There is, you’re not asserting yourself. Quite often, men understand one thing when it comes to sex, “me want, me get.” It’s different for women, you have a need to feel connected, to feel sexy and attractive, to feel loved and safe. There’s nothing wrong with this, you need to honor your own sexuality. Stop getting your cues about what is right or wrong from anyone else; listen to your own instinct and be an advocate for yourself.
Client: But what if he doesn’t listen to me?
Coach: First make sure you’re speaking loud and clear, you’re not doing that yet. If he still doesn’t get it you need to search for other ways to get past his indifference. Is it okay with you that your partner doesn’t listen to what’s important to you?
Client: No it’s not okay, I need to start being firm!
It won’t be an easy thing for this lady to change what is likely a lifetime habit of being overly tactful, it’ll take work and she’ll likely get push-back from her husband because he’s used to her being a doormat. He will want to keep the arrangement they have developed over the years. Regardless, it’s crucial to both her peace of mind and to the relationship that she change, if she doesn’t her resentment will increase and will spill over into other areas of her marriage and life.
Life Coach Austin, David Cantu
Marriage Counseling Austin 512-653-4316