April 22, 2017 Office Hour Recording

Relationships Topics

This first audio segment is from the beginning of the April office hours, and relates to both the Relationship and Sexuality office hours.  A copy of the same segment appears at the start of both recording pages.

Full recording of the questions from the April 22 office hours for themes related to the course content of Strengthening your Relationship and How to Talk to your Kids about Sex.

If you want to listen to the April 22 Relationship Office Hour from start to finish, play the above recording.

For listeners who prefer to browse -- to read the questions and selectively listen to their responses -- the individual questions in the above recording have also been extracted into separate segments below for easier browsing.

Note that there is no question in the above full recording that is not also found below, and vice versa. They are recordings of the same office hour.

I can't stop questioning whether or not I made the right decision to marry my husband. We've been married a year and it's been the hardest of my life. What kind of questions can I ask myself to guage whether we are right or not? And what needs does it take to have a lasting, happy relationship?

At what point should we limit parent nudity or lack of clothes in front of children? I remember growing up that I was uncomfortable seeing my parents in their "underwear", but never voiced it.

In the second chapter, you briefly mentioned that talking about sex is good to do with parents and not necessarily with friends. What about in church lessons? camp outs? or youth activities like a pioneer trek?

My husband and I just finished the relationship course, I've listened to all your podcasts, and I'm about to start the Art of Desire course.  I've already identified that a lot of our sexual problems (i.e., I can't stand sex and have never felt aroused by it in the slightest; I also physically and mentally recoil at being touched sexually) come from my self esteem issues.  Rationally, I know I'm a fairly slim, normal-looking woman, but I still feel like that incredibly insecure Junior High version of myself that took every "you're ugly" hard in the gut.  I compensated for my perceived lack of outward beauty by overachieving at school/work and being the "smart, funny" girl.  Once I quit my job to stay home with our two little kids, I lost some of that identity and validation as well (you know, to be pooped on all day and serve up Mac&Cheese that invariably ends up on the floor :) ).  Just wondering what advice you have on rebuilding some self-worth that isn't reliant upon outside validation?

My teenage daughter likes to read a lot. Her main focus tends to be currently popular young adult dystopian fiction novels. It seems that almost all young adult novels have romance as a major theme. Some are actually quite graphic in portraying and building up sexual tension between the protagonists. I think that reading about love is fine, as it helps her to think through relationships. I worry about excessive romance reading, however, because it seems that it would just stoke a fire for which (at her age) there is no good way to satisfy. What is your take on teenage romance reading? 

I've got a question to submit for the office hours.  My husband and I are going through your relationship course right now and just listened to the third session.

My husband observed tonight that a lot of our problems stem from my focus on things I can't control (mostly his pornography usage).  While I can attest the truth to this I feel another great issue at hand is my husbands unwillingness to admit his porn use is problematic to our relationships development (and to his own).

However, ever since my husband has left the church he's unwilling to feel any shame or guilt about porn.  He "refuses to go back there" and hates even the idea of feeling shame or guilt in any aspect of his life (ironic considering your emphasis on healthy shame and guilt).  It's almost as if he's made a direct rebellion against one way and is now at the polar opposite end.  Porn it is and I'm doing it shame free!  Huzzah!

Although I can appreciate as to why he came to these conclusions - I refuse to see this new state of mind as being the best version of my husband.  And yet for him it's easier to just be and not to stress about changing anymore.

To me that smacks of not acknowledging your own limitations and choosing to work on them.  In fact, he's made it clear he'd let our marriage and family fail well before ever feeling guilt again about porn.

My question is - how would you advise a couple in an inter-faith relationship that's being pressured to change in this way? Is itnaive of me to think he could ever see the folly of this new paradigm?  Especially thinking this is sustainable while being married to an LDS woman?

I continue to reflect on your work and the couple David Schnarch's books I've read.  My question is around collaborative alliance and I am also curious if you are familiar with the term Predatory Flirting?  (See link below).

My husband flirts.  While dating, engaged and now married.  When we are out in public he scans for attractive women.  It is common for him to have 'chemistry', like an intense connection, with other women in my presence.  Double dates, Ward activity, Self Help Workshops, Dance Classes, even our Honeymoon.  He holds eye contact, touches, whispers, teases, compliments and carries on in a way that I feel threatened.  Like I don't matter. Invisible. I have tried to see that he isn't 'doing anything to me'.  He is extremely charming. Women like him and he enjoys the attention. Why does this bother me is my constant pounding question as I try to confront myself.

This brings to me to my question and the concept collaborative alliance.  I think I understand what Schnarch is suggesting in his books.  I have spent most of our relationship feeling like we are for sure 100% friends and I am safe in that element. Kind of like he might betray me sexually but he would be honest about it because we are dear friends. Well deception and half truths have entered our conversations around other women. He has his justifications and the sad news is, it has spooked me. Like really bad. 

What role do you see collaborative alliance playing in a marriage?