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Sexuality Education Resource CentreCommunicate with your spouse

by Bre Woligroski

Dear Ate Anna:

I love my wife and want to make her happy. Often I feel nervous and shy around her and I worry that she is not satisfied with our times together. Sometimes I get so nervous that I pretend to fall asleep early so that we don’t interact as much. Do you have advice on how I can feel more confident in myself?


Dear Joseph:

I am very glad you asked this question! Your concern about your wife’s happiness and marital satisfaction is wonderful to hear. Caring about each other is important in a healthy relationship. Your own happiness is also important, and it sounds like you are very stressed out from your worry.

I want you to know that it is very normal at times to struggle with our confidence and self esteem. We face a lot of pressure from society to be a perfect spouse and to have a perfect family. If we don’t feel that we are doing enough we can be very hard on ourselves. Sometimes we may feel that we are not able to make our partner happy in physical ways also, which can also be hard.

It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect spouse, and that every couple is unique. So you do not have to compare yourself to others. There is only one you, and there is only one marriage like yours. You and your wife are the ones who decide together what you want your relationship to be like, and what other people feel about it does not really matter.

Many people also experience troubles feeling confident in matters of physical intimacy with their partners. Again, you are a unique couple, and you two get to decide what your physical relationship looks like together. Different types of touching feel good to different people, and each couple has ways of being intimate that feel good for them. So do not compare yourself to stories you hear of other marriages or relationships you see on television or YouTube. Every physical relationship is different, and this is a good thing, so there is no benefit in comparing yourself to others.

It may sound surprising, but the most important part of a physical relationship in a marriage is not the touching, but the talking. Communication is key to a satisfying physical partnership with your spouse.

The more that you and your wife can talk together about your marriage, what each of you like and how you like to be touched, the better your physical relationships will be. The more you and your wife can talk about both of your feelings and desires, the more comfortable you both will feel with each other.

So please worry less about whether you are doing things right, and spend more time talking with your wife about what she likes and how she would like to be touched. Chances are, these conversations will bring about deeper fulfillment and happiness between you two. Pretending to sleep or avoiding the issue (though it may feel like a good answer at the time) will not be best in the long term!

Together if you build communication and understanding about what you both want, and you both feel respected in your desires, your times together will likely be more satisfying and refreshing.

All the best in your relationship,
Ate Anne

Ate Anna welcomes your questions and comments. Please write to: Ate Anna, Suite 200- 226 Osborne St. N., Winnipeg, MB R3C 1V4 or e-mail: Please visit us at You will find reliable information and links for many resources on the subject of sexuality.

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