Updated: Feb 21
This document is meant to be used by husbands-to-be, in both an educational capacity and as a springboard for spousal communication. It’s intended for the sexually inexperienced couple, although much of what’s here could be relevant for others too. While what’s written here may not be relevant to all couples, it reflects what many couples who have struggled and suffered in their marriages wish they’d known before. So, as with anything else you read, be both open and discerning, see what feels like it resonates to your relationship, and what doesn’t. It can be used to explore what applies and how, and if not, what to say or do instead. (And yes, a letter for the women is in the works too.)
A Letter to my Dear New Wife,
Hi😊 I’d like to share some thoughts because our new marriage is so important to me, and I want us to start off our lives together as healthy as we can. I’m excited [and a little nervous] about the future. I wish I had a crystal ball to guide me to always know exactly what to say and do to help you feel happy, safe, and secure in every part of our relationship. But I’m new at this- we both are- and I’ve been told that we might (well, we’ll almost definitely) make mistakes.
I’ve also been taught that the way men and women connect, express ourselves, feel pleasure, feel hurt, and need repair can be very different from one another. That actually all people have some emotional needs that are the same, and some that look different – our personalities, genders, families, and communities we come from- they all shape how we feel and connect. I know what I think and feel, but I really want to learn how you think and feel, and what you need in order to feel safe, loved, and happy. And I will try to be as honest as I can about those parts of myself too.
I want to tell you that I love and appreciate you so much, and it’s true. (Here you can add specific things you love and appreciate if you’d like.) But I also know that the limited amount that we know each other so far means that we have a lot more to learn about each other. I hope and believe I will love and appreciate you even more as we spend more time together and get to know each other better and in more ways. I hope you feel that way too, and that our mutual appreciation and connection will grow over time.
So much of what’s beginning now is very new for both of us. I’ve learned that there are many newlywed women who just go along with what they think their husbands want from them, sometimes not even expressing their own thoughts, feelings, or opinions- in the bedroom, and sometimes in general. I want you to know, that even if someone told you to do that- that’s truly not what I want.
Please don’t ever say or do anything that feels wrong or hurtful to yourself because you think it’s what I want from you. I want us to be authentic with each other. I never want to hurt you in any way, and I never want anyone else to hurt you- including yourself. If I ever say or do something that does feel hurtful to you- emotionally or physically- please know that it’s not my intention, and I really want you to let me know, so that I can make it right and learn to do better. I also know and trust that you care about me in this way, and so I will try to respond in kind. I’m sure there will be times when one or both of us need to do or say things that are difficult. I’m committed to trying my best to make even those moments as loving and safe as possible.
As kind and caring as you are, I’m asking you to please not always just do or say what you think I want from you- what I really want is to know the real you, and to be able to understand and honor that person, as much as possible. I will try my best to be honest and genuine in that way with you as well. I don’t always know what you’re thinking, so I hope you can feel comfortable to tell me, when it’s helpful for me to know. And I know you can’t read my mind either, so I promise to try and communicate clearly and respectfully to you too.
I’ve also been told that some women take longer to feel comfortable in the sexual relationship than their husbands. I realize that this is totally normal and to be expected. It’s especially important to me that you not feel rushed or pressured in any way. Even though it might feel unnatural or awkward to talk about sex and touch, I’m asking you to please try to let me know as we go along what you like and don’t like, what feels good and what doesn’t, what you’d like to try or want to avoid.
With your permission, and when you’re ready, I’d love to do the same. I find you so beautiful, and I’m so excited for our intimate relationship. But I promise that nothing will happen between us unless and until you make it clear that you want it to happen and feel ready. I will try to be careful to ask you before trying anything physical, and to check in with you as we go along, to make sure you’re enjoying and feeling good. But if I forget at some point, or if it feels like I’m moving too quickly, or you need me to be more gentle, please tell me, so I can stop or slow down to whatever pace and type of touch feels right for you. Also- if there’s anything I say, any language I use that doesn’t feel comfortable for you, or on the other hand, a way of talking that you would like to us to use, also, please tell me that.
[Note to new husband: If you have any specific fears, concerns, or sensitivities of your own, feel free to share them as well, and only include this next thought if it’s true for you:]
This is all new for me too, but I imagine I would enjoy almost any touch from you. You can ask first if you’d like, but as of now, I’m okay if you don’t. And I can let you know if that changes at any point.
We’ve both been taught in specific ways by different people about how marriage, intimacy, and the sexual relationship work. There are probably multiple opinions and perspectives on a lot of that stuff. I hope that most of what we learned fits well with each other and plays out smoothly. But if there are any discrepancies, or something we both learned doesn’t seem to be working for you or for us, I want us to be able to talk about it openly and ask for advice if we need it. My understanding is that there’s a learning curve, that there’s a lot of trial and error and constructive communication that happens as couples are getting to know each other and figure out what works well for us and what we enjoy.
I’ve heard that some couples end up arguing or having tension about differences in desire and sexual expectations. I don’t want that to happen with us. I never want you to do more than you feel comfortable doing. Please never feel bad to say no to me. And if you end up wanting more than I want, I will try my best to be there for you as much as I can, and I’ll be honest and loving if or when I feel I can’t.
If there’s anything you’re worried about, scared of, or that you know you dislike, please let me know so that I can be sensitive to and respectful of that. If there’s anything you’ve heard of, thought about, or want to try doing together, please don’t be shy about sharing it with me. The only thing I can think of that I’m worried about so far, on my end, is wanting to get things right between us in general, which is why I hope you’ll be open with me about how you feel we’re doing. (Note to husband: Or you can add other concerns here if relevant.) I’m sure we’ll both make mistakes, but I hope and believe that we can then talk things out and learn from them to make our relationship stronger.
I hope things feel great between us, always, but if for any reason we find that we’re struggling with some aspect of our lives or relationship- physically or emotionally- in a way that we can’t solve together, I’m committed to making sure we get the right help or guidance to get us back on track.
I’m so excited and grateful to be starting our lives together, and I very much want to try and be the best husband I can possibly be for you. I hope and daven/pray that we both have the clarity and ability to work together at building an amazing relationship, where we both feel understood, loved, and happy with each other.
To offer constructive feedback to the author on how to improve this document, please email: email@example.com
To learn more about how to raise children for whom these relationship skills will hopefully be intuitive and obvious by the time they get married, check this out: Sacred not Secret, a Religious Family's Guide to Healthy, Holy Sexuality Education