It’s funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) how often being available or being present makes a positive difference to someone.
After you race through a store and select items, someone must be available at the check-out counter to ring up your purchases, and stores that do well in being there at the right time and in the right way keep you coming back.
When you phone a company for assistance, do you enjoy spending twenty minutes talking to a robotic voice and pushing buttons to get to the right department? Or does it make a difference when a friendly person answers the phone?
From your young child saying, “Mom, look!” right before demonstrating a pirouette to a teenager needing you to hold her as she cries after her first break-up, being there makes a difference.
We expect teachers at school to be available to our children when they have questions. We expect the postal service to be there at our mailboxes to deliver letters and packages. We expect the television show we anticipate throughout the week to be there when we turn it on.
Day in and day out, it makes a difference to be there. Woody Allen famously said that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” Allen’s not my go-to guy for advice, but this quote is pretty good.
When people are not there and we need them — why is our favorite show always the one preempted? — we are understandably disappointed.
I’ve been talking about reasons why spouses sometimes are not available for sexual intimacy with their spouse. In fact, there are times when the very thought of your beloved touching you makes you cringe. You do not want to engage in sex, foreplay, affection, and possibly even eye contact with this person.
Perhaps you are so tired that you can’t prop your eyes open or move your limbs: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Exhausted!
Or you’re particularly frustrated with your spouse: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Angry!
Maybe you have way too much to do to add physical intimacy to the list: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Busy!
And some of you don’t want to show up sexually because you have to get naked and you don’t feel good about your appearance: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Ugly!
But if it’s important for the barista at the Starbucks Drive-Through to be there when you need a venti cup of coffee to make it through your day, how much more important is it to be there when our spouse needs a small cup ‘o lovin’?
(Okay, c’mon. One of you out there is thinking it! I know, I know: “I’ll take my cup o’ lovin’ with whipped cream, please.” Whew. Got that out of the way.)
My prior posts addressed tackling some ongoing, nagging obstacles to being present sexually in our marriage. Of course, there are bigger issues for plenty of couples out there (e.g., sexual history, pornography), but a lot of marriages could improve their sexual health by clearing out the excuse bin and putting sexual intimacy near the top of the to-do pile.
Deal with anger, exhaustion, busyness, and body image issues so that you can turn to your sweetheart tonight or tomorrow night or sometime very soon and say, “Touch me, I’m here.”
I’m asking readers to share their own advice below. What daily distractions or issues have you overcome to make sexual intimacy a priority in your marriage? How important has it been to you to have your spouse emotionally and physically available to you? How do you think we can foster that sense of true presence with our spouses and still work our jobs, feed the kids, and do the laundry? What thoughts do you want to add to the Don’t Touch Me ideas I’ve shared?