My wife and I are Christian. For the most part, I don't see much conflict between TRP/MRP with our faith. If anything, it's a return to how God set things up in the first place. It's important to note that due to our faith, divorce is not an option (not that either of us are contemplating this).
Today is the first day I've discovered this sub and its related subs. Honestly, my faith was the inspiration for the changes before coming here (explained more below) - this, if anything, just seems to be a community of people with similar goals, even if we have different motivations for getting there. That said, due to being off work for a few days for the new baby, I've had the time to read several of the top posts, most of the current posts on the main subs, and familiarize myself with which books need to be read and their essential message.
During our dating years and early marriage (i.e. 2006-2012) I was pretty alpha and she loved it, but sex had always been an issue for us, even during that time (noting that we waited until marriage). Although I would initiate frequently, she often refrained: "My parents taught me two things about sex: (1) it's bad before marriage and (2) it hurts a lot. So, sorry if I'm frigid, but it's been ingrained in me for so long that I don't know how else to be." (EDIT: I should probably note that she has no difficulty finishing; I'm primarily aroused by the female orgasm, so we've only had sex 2-3 times in our marriage where she hasn't finished - a fact that I fully believe she would not lie about ... but she's never been willing to try for multiples).
For a long time I became very frustrated, leading into several arguments and ultimately a 19-month stretch without us having sex at all (8/14-2/16 ... to be fair, she was pregnant for some of that time). I pretty much gave up, losing all interest. As a result, after about the first 12 months of that (i.e. by 8/15) I handed the reigns over to her and I became a beta. So, she made most of the major family decisions, I stopped initiating sex altogether (I had continued trying to initiate during that first year), I let her be the primary parent in raising the kids, taking care of the house, etc.
During that dry-patch I learned to become outcome-independent. In essence, I stopped relying on my wife to validate me through sex and began to realize that I didn't need anything other than God and to be the man he created me to be. Although the definition might be slightly off, I think my attitude was about as close to "OI" as a Christian can/should get. I started pursuing my own passions, independent of whatever her plans may have been, and I refused to back down on the direction I was going, although she still ran the show at the house. I also cut off porn and other harmful addictions (food, video games) around the same time (late 2014). I developed new ways of communicating through arguments that did not depend on "winning" or persuading her of my way or just always giving in to her way.
As a result of my changed direction, from mid-2016 to the present all major/heated arguments stopped, but there was still an unspoken dissatisfaction in the relationship until about 2/17 when I started getting my crap together. I lost 35lbs through a combination of dieting and frequent trips to the gym and am in good shape now. I became more decisive, taking ownership of responsibilities around the house (particularly including raising the kids), and not deferring to my wife on major life decisions (ex. job changes, new car, home remodeling, etc.). I make a good living (low end of 6-figures), and my wife is on par with me in her job. We now have 4 beautiful kids ages 5, 3, 2, and 5 days.
We've had sex a few times (5-6) in the past 12 months, up until she became too pregnant for it to be comfortable (about 3 months ago), at which point we mutually agreed to stop, which will last until after her 6-week recovery from the c-section. When we were having sex, I've tried changing from the normal routine, but as soon as I try to do anything different she either tries to revert back to her comfort zone or just cut things off entirely. Part of me still wants to stay in "screw it, I don't need sex" mode, but another part says that it would be a good idea to re-awaken that desire in me and try to develop a healthy sex life in our marriage. If I take the first option, sex will almost assuredly be a 3-4 times a year thing.
- A lot of TRP/MRP thinking about sex boils down to this: be a man/leader and she'll be attracted to you. I'm in and started that process before even finding this place. But what if her hang-ups about sex have nothing to do with me in the first place?
- I get the impression that the typical answer here is, "Get out of the marriage and find someone else." That's not an option I will ever take (nor will she). So, is the only alternative just to learn to not give a crap and go on living with a crappy sex-life (which I feel is where I'm at right now)?
How successful have others been in stretching clearly communicated boundaries in sex (ex. "I will never do ___") through TRP/MRP practices within the context of a pre-TRP/MRP marriage? For example, BJs are off the table. I also tried to go down on her once and she cut things off on the spot, insisting I never do that again. Is this something where I should just give up and move on or does your version of "being a man" mean setting a goal and making it a reality, no matter how much opposition you face along the way/never giving up even if the goal is highly improbable?
I keep reading that the captain has to have a vision. What if my vision for life has to do with helping other people and it doesn't matter whether crap gets done around the house in order to fulfill that vision (or that my standard of what does need to get done in order to live out my vision is much lower than the standard my wife expects re: her life goals/vision)? The result is that I'm doing what I'm passionate about in life in my personal time (after 4 years, I've finally struck gold), frequently asking her to join along, but it doesn't address the things she wants me to be passionate about/have a vision for. I've long since accepted this as a fact of life and moved on, but is this the right conclusion or just me being callous?
- Most posts here just assume that the vision centers around improvement of your own living circumstances. I don't give a crap about my own life circumstances beyond a relatively low threshold, so I feel like most of the posts/comments I've been reading don't apply because they innately assume that setting a vision and working toward it will include home remodeling, doing dishes, getting a nicer car, taking better vacations, etc.
- Despite the fact that my passion in life has nothing to do with taking care of the home, I've taken ownership of our house and family anyway. It's exhausting, but Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing," so that's what I do. I don't mention it to her, but she has let me know a couple times that she's noticed. Great/whatever (I only mention it to say this isn't likely a factor in the sex-related issues). Between that, developing solid eating/exercising habits, and an OI attitude ... what's next? Or is it just mastering the basics and learning how to make the past few months something sustainable for life?
EDIT: I should note, as this has come up a couple times: my house is not a pig sty. It's about what you'd expect from a family that grosses a quarter mil a year, and we hired a cleaning lady to come every other week. I have remodeled one of our bathrooms, redone our kitchen flooring, refinished our deck, painted rooms, hung shelves, etc. The problem isn't that I don't do stuff, it's that getting it done doesn't matter to me or my vision for life. But I suck it up and do it anyway, no complaining or boasting.