He Keeps Disrespecting Me!
I was working with a couple (David and Megan)* who wanted some coaching in regards to their relationship. A few months earlier, both began to notice they were talking to each other less and less with each passing year. David described it as two ships passing each other silently in the night. They also noticed they were bickering over unimportant things like who would drive the kids to school in the morning, or what movie to go see on their occasional night out.
One night while having dinner with friends, what started off as a simple disagreement turned into a full-blown game of sarcastic one-upmanship, with neither backing down or letting the other have the last word. The rest of the dinner turned into an awkward evening of forks and knives clinking against plates as their friends exchanged uneasy glances at one another.
I could tell that both of them had a deep love and affection for one another, and wished the arguing would stop. I began to probe deeper, and I asked Megan why she fell in love with David. She said that back in their 20's, she used to love that she could have these long meaningful talks with David. As a chemist, most men she dated back then were intimidated by her intellectual wit, but not David. They met at a party, and David was immediately drawn to her wry sense of humor, as well as her curves.
Megan let out a cute chuckle when David mentioned her curves. I then asked a very important question.......I asked how often they were having sex. Megan let out an audible sigh when I asked the question. Megan stated that when they were dating, they had sex all the time....usually a few times a week. She said they were one of those "annoying couples" who used to have sex everywhere. Megan laughed and said they once had sex in her mom's car.
David said that up until a few years ago, they were having sex about once a week. Then it became once every 2 weeks, and eventually it's turned into once every 2 months at most. David confessed that he hoped the sex could go back to once a week. Megan sighed and said she might be in the mood more if David wouldn't leave his clothes lying around the house like a 5 year old.
They both worked full-time jobs, and Megan stated that she was tired of cleaning up after David. She said that as soon as he comes home, he just throws his coat on the coach and kicks off his shoes with no regard. Once in the bedroom, he takes off his clothes and leaves them on the floor, ultimately for Megan to pick up. "He just disrespects me and acts as if I'm his maid". I explained to Megan that David isn't intentionally trying to disrespect her. To him, he's just taking off his clothes without a thought as to how Megan feels about it. At the end of this coaching session, David said he would try to do a better job of cleaning up after himself.
The next day I called Megan to have a quick 1-on-1 chat with her. I gave her a plan of action. I told her that every time she sees David pick up a piece of clothing or help out around the house, she was to give a passionate kiss and a squeeze on the rear end. I also said that she was NOT to explain any of this to David. She didn't understand at first, but I reminded her that people always respond better to positive reinforcement.
I asked how getting upset and yelling at David has been working out for her. She agreed that it hadn't been working too well, because sometimes David would yell back. She finally caved and said she would try things my way.
Later that afternoon, I called David before he had a chance to leave work. I told him that when he comes home, he needs to give Megan a passionate kiss. David didn't quite understand. I told him that he needs to kiss her like a soldier coming home from war. Most people give their dogs more affection than they give their spouse or partner. No more of those "half-assed" kisses married couples give each after being married for awhile. I told him that if he wants more sex, he needs to be more affectionate. David laughed, and he agreed.
I checked in on them a month later. I asked how things were going with David leaving his clothes all over the floor. They both laughed, and Megan said the only time David throws something on the floor is when he knows Megan is watching. He'll bend over slowly while picking it up, waving his butt at Megan and grinning like a kid.
I asked about their sex life. Megan said that when Dave began kissing her passionately after work, it reminded her of the days when they couldn't keep their hands off one another. She said they now have sex at least once a week, and occasionally twice a week.
Even if you've been married 5, 10, or even 20 years....It's not too late to put the spark back in your marriage. There's a reason you two fell in love and married each other. The passion in any marriage can be reignited if both people are willing to take action to make it happen. Start remembering all the reasons you fell in love, and stop focusing so much on what's wrong.
**Not real names. Permission granted for publication of session