In our fortnightly column ‘Great Sexpectations’ the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on email@example.com and ask us anything. Here, we tackle; how to help your daughter prepare for marriage when she doesn’t like physical intimacy.
Dear Woman Alive Panel,
My daughter is in her 30s and is very shy. She has never really been keen on any physical contact. She has never had a boyfriend before, but her boyfriend has asked her to marry him after a year of dating. I’m quite concerned as she doesn’t seem able to initiate any form of affection. They are both Christians and her boyfriend is very patient. He puts his arm around her and will hold her hand which she seems happy for him to do but that seems the extent of things. Any books on developing intimacy which I could buy, would be great.
My first thought is – I love how much you care about the health and strength of your daughter’s relationship and marriage! Marriage is tough and we all need as much love, prayer and support as we can get.
My second thought is – I bet they’re doing better than you think they are. If your daughter has been dating her fiancé for a year, he will know her well and be aware that she isn’t into public displays of affection. She may be far more physically affectionate when her mum and family aren’t around.
Just because your daughter isn’t hot on physical touch doesn’t mean she isn’t making up for it in other ways.
That said, everyone is different on the ways they show and like to receive love and just because your daughter isn’t hot on physical touch doesn’t mean she isn’t making up for it in other ways. Have you (or she) read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In it he talks about five different ways of expressing affection; words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time and physical touch. She is probably excellent at showing love through one or two of the other ways. If your daughter and her fiancé take a marriage course in the run up to their wedding, it’s likely they will talk through these different elements.
If you’re concerned about how they will get on in the bedroom, I can see that this would be a concern, but most of us 30-somethings would rather have a lifetime of sub-standard sex than have to take tips from our mums. I’m joking of course, but it is true that she may not take well to advice from you in this area. I love Sheila Wray Gregoire and think that she speaks a lot of sense into how we as Christians approach sex. She has a book called The Great Sex Rescue that could be helpful.
Most of us 30-somethings would rather have a lifetime of sub-standard sex than have to take tips from our mums.
If your daughter comes to you to discuss intimacy then, with that invitation, do share the joys of physical closeness and encourage her to explore it, at a pace that’s right for her, after her marriage. I’m sure the couple will feel supported by you and will greatly appreciate your prayer.
Congratulations to them both and to you!
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel.