Dalrock pointed me to your blog (the “Tacomaster Desires…” post in particular). I’ve enjoyed your reading your advice. I believe you commented on a thread at Dalrock’s where my post elicited many replies. I’m another sex-deprived (as in zero sex for months) husband. I’ve also struggled with porn, but haven’t viewed it (or done any activities associated with viewing it) for over 2 months. I’ve told my wife about this. She was mildly impressed, but it hasn’t changed our zero sex/intimacy relationship at all. She keeps saying it will “take time” for her to build back her trust due to my porn use and other past wrongs. (Most of those wrongs are sins of which I’ll readily admit, but a few are more debatable.)
I have a question that’s on a more tactical level. She’s been letting our youngest (almost 3) sleep with us since she left her crib. We’ve let others sleep with us here or there (when they wake up in the middle of the night, special occasions, etc.), but nothing like this. I think my wife’s allowing this “co-sleeping” (to use the hip, modern term) to make intimacy all but impossible for us.
I’ve been thinking about telling her it needs to stop. Something along the lines of “This is our marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). It’s a place for the two of us to sleep and make love. I don’t mind our kids occasionally coming in when they wake up with a nightmare or something, but not on a regular basis. If you disagree, you can sleep with the youngest in her (twin) bed. I’ll sleep here.”
At this point, I’m sure she’d choose to sleep with the youngest elsewhere. But it would be a way for me to put my foot down and set a boundary. I think I’ll have to do things to force the issue unless my wife suddenly builds her trust. And the longer I’m staying away from porn, the more confident I’m getting.
Your sense on co-sleeping is absolutely right. Your child…
By the way: YOUR child. Possession is important. She can refer to it as “our child” if she wants. You are the farmer who plowed the field. The fruit does not belong to the ground. Insomuch as the law transgresses this basic fact it is an evil…hence, the law is quite evil.
…should definitely not be in the sanctuary of the marital bed. There are times when we should make exceptions in times of need, such as thunderstorms, illness, etc., but, generally, the child should be in her own bed. You suggested saying this:
“This is our marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). It’s a place for the two of us to sleep and make love. I don’t mind our kids occasionally coming in when they wake up with a nightmare or something, but not on a regular basis. If you disagree, you can sleep with the youngest in her (twin) bed. I’ll sleep here.”
but I strongly suggest you leave off the qualifiers, and the alternatives. In your case, I further suggest you leave off that scripture, too. If she takes the Bible seriously, it sounds like a softball for a response of, “Well, you’ve already defiled it!” It would be evil for her to do this, but she is already in rebellion, and even willing to use your child to be so.
Show. Don’t tell.
“This is our marriage bed. It’s a place for the two of us to sleep and make love. The children do not belong in here.
Simple, direct, and declarative. Women respond to the declarative. It may not be a good response at first (or ever, depending how sinful she is willing to be), but it is unavoidable; like a steak before a dog. She’ll have to do something with it.
Why no qualifiers or alternatives when you know she’s going be thinking about it?
Because we’re men, we want to do things like try to head-off at the pass a woman’s reasoning and logical arguments. This is stupid of us because she’s not interested in a logical argument for OR against co-sleeping, the holiness of the marriage bed, or almost anything else.
An example: When a woman starts using coupons it’s to save money, but it’s almost never to save money for retirement, or for the general welfare of the family, or even to satisfy the monthly budget. She might do it:
to feel like she got something for nothing
to please her husband (two thumbs up!)
because she has to do so to get everything needed
because she feels superior to those dupes who pay full price
because she wants an excuse to buy something else.
But once she experiences the benefit of successfully living on a budget she will be the biggest proponent of the budget, coupons, super-saver bonuses…the whole shootin’ match. She’ll tell her friends that they ought to do like her, and clip coupons. If a friend argues back: they won’t be friends much longer. Soon after the discussion the wife will notice things about her friend, “I don’t know; she’s just not that good of a person. We don’t really talk anymore.” It doesn’t matter whether it logical, reasonable, or even true.
As I wrote in “TM Desires…”, fervent Muslim women are the most fervent of Muslims. Women get sold out for the cause. Your goal is to get that going in your favor; to get your wife sold out for you. Logic won’t do that. In fact, if you confront her heartfelt feelings with logic she’s going to take it as a sign of stupidity and weakness. What idiot brings a mind to a heart fight?
The real fight is going to come to you when you actually follow through on banning your daughter from the bed and expect her to obey…now…tonight…not some time in the future like she’s probably used to. If she brings the child in, remind her what you said. Is she still brings her in, take the child out. If you see that you are going to have to physically take the child out: make no moves until you do what you are going to do. Do not telegraph your intents, and don’t struggle. Take the child into her room, and either put her to sleep, or leave. It’s a tough call because now she’s used to sleeping with someone, I’m sure. Do what you think is GOOD; not what you think is easiest, or will resolve the situation fastest, or leave the least hurt feelings. Do what you think is GOOD! If your wife goes to retrieve your daughter, say something along the lines of, “You can stay out until you’re ready to come to me alone. My daughter does not belong in here.”
Exceptions can be made, but I wouldn’t bring that up. I say this for your edification. A sick child, a bad storm, or night terrors are a different matter. If she brings those things up: DO NOT FALL FOR IT! Do not argue about exceptions. Exceptions will be handled as need arises–that’s why they’re called exceptions. Co-sleeping as a bonding strategy is not an exception.
Considering everything that’s going on, it seems possible that she’s forming a vampiric bond with your child. She’s figuratively harvesting love from your daughter instead of getting it from you. Since it is a girl, this has a good chance to backfire monstrously when the smothered child is older, or for your wife to become resentful of your daughter when she fails to fulfill your wife’s needs.
Otherwise, everything I said to TM and to WheelMonkey applies here, too; as far as I can tell. I can’t stress enough to pray to God earnestly in private. Commenter Bill F referred to my advice as creating a crisis point. He may well be right, but my perspective is that it is crisis points that drive men to ask for help. You have arrived at the crisis already.
That being said: This is serious business. A wife might decide to detonate the marriage, as a response to this crisis. God bless you all, and your families.