A: Thanks for writing in with your question. It’s a nice change of pace to have a man asking for more emotional connection. We all need it, but not everyone is brave enough to ask for it. It sounds like you love your wife very much and hope to deepen the relationship you have, while being respectful of her needs. Bravo.
Unfortunately, it is rare to find a couple whose need for emotional connection, physical intimacy and overt affection match up. Many times, it becomes a balancing act and there is a constant need for compromise. One suggestion that I have is it may be more helpful for you to communicate how you are feeling and what you want in the relationship, rather than focusing on your wife’s fear of being controlled. I think it’s great that you are trying to understand where she may be coming from, but we all tend to get defensive when we feel someone is pointing out our weaknesses. We get further by expressing our own feelings and wants, rather than pointing out what we are not getting.
I would also think that you could benefit from couple’s therapy. It is so much more effective when the goal is to deepen the relationship rather than trying to fix a broken relationship. If for some reason that’s not an option, I would recommend books by Dr. John Gottman and by Dr. Gary Chapman, such as The 5 Love Languages.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts