I realize that I may have lost most readers with the title. And I will admit I considered something much more inviting like How to Get Your Wife to Have Sex With You Ten Times a Day. But in the end I chose honesty. So, yes, this post is about your wife’s menstrual cycle.
One could almost say that a husband is commanded to know his wife’s cycle. We are told to lead (literally) “according to knowledge” (1 Peter 3:7). And since the cycle has such a profound impact on a woman’s thoughts, motivations, feelings, and behaviors, it seems foolish to ignore it. Full disclosure, I did ignore it for years. In fact, early in marriage I virtually denied its existence or effect. I was an idiot. Both Krista and I paid the price for my ignorance. But I can now tell you (and she would heartily agree) that I know her cycle almost better than she does, and it has brought wonderful results for both of us.
So, husband, come with me, if you dare. It will seem scary and ominous at first. You will be tempted to flee the subject, telling yourself that this is “her department.” But if you persevere, it will progress from terrifying to intimidating to awkward to not-so-bad to this-is-really-helpful to I-think-I’ll-write-a-blog-post-for-the-whole-world-to-see. Those last two stages are where the benefit becomes obvious. You will be a much better leader, encourager, corrector, romancer, partner, and friend as you master her cycle. And although it’s not the main point of this article, it should lead to more and better sex. (Yes, it’s that big of a deal.)
Ok, so now that I have your interest again, how do you do it? Like any other educational subject, you have to study and reflect if you are going to learn. You may be tempted to do some Googling or head to the attic to find your old anatomy and biology books, but I suggest you just commit to studying your wife. That’s what I did, and I have learned a ton.
My method was very simple. I created a spreadsheet and charted several key things about Krista, and I took extensive notes. To some of the gals, this may seem cold and unloving, but the changes that have taken place in how I connect with Krista will speak otherwise. (So will she.) One warning though, especially for those of you who live for spreadsheets—she isn’t like that. She is a person. A female person. Which means that at any moment she will do something completely contrary to the paradigm so that you always remember that she is beyond your ability to simply plot and graph her. It is not as simple as data in/data out. She’s not a trend. On the other hand, it is called a “cycle” for a reason. Study it, and you will be in a much better position to love her.
It seems that there are four distinct phases in this cycle. I will list them below along with a few observations. You should know that some wives are so consistent you could make a calendar out of them. For others, it’s more like predicting the weather – lots of “could be,” “might be,” and “percent chance” language. Use this as a starting place, but the goal is to know your wife.
The Period (Days 1-8)
This is one of the two phases that most men seem to know about (the other being PMS). We know this one because it usually means no sex due to bleeding. The woman does not feel good physically during this phase. She has cramps, pains, and other discomfort. She may be emotionally up and down, feeling tired or irritable, especially the first few days. It’s a cloudy and cold stretch. But toward the end, the clouds begin to break apart, and a few rays of sunshine find their way through. Things begin to look up.
I have found that lots of hugs, gentleness, and verbal encouragement have a huge impact on Krista during this time. Her emotional battle is lighter in comparison to the PMS stage, but she is still tempted to lethargy and self-pity. Soft affection coupled with kind, hopeful words will often change her direction. And praying for her with her is great. I will sometimes pray specifically about what is going on in her body, and ask for special grace to overcome. God is faithful, frequently granting her joy in serving Him even when her body fights against her.
Ovulation (Days 9-14)
Or, as I prefer to call it, the Woohoo!! Stage. This is not only the time when women can make babies, it’s also when they want to make babies, if you know what I mean. Jesus designed them that way, see, and He gave them all the things that go with it. Their thoughts, emotions, and bodies all agree—let’s do this. Their hormones are raging in a good way. This is the week she feels best. She has energy and seeks engagement. She is rational and less emotional (you know, for a woman). She is sexually eager and enthusiastic.
I don’t know if this will make sense to you, but during these days, I don’t have to watch out for Krista as much. We are the most like mutual partners, friends, and lovers. She seems largely in control of herself. She gives herself to me in every way. It is definitely the time when she is most encouraging toward and focused on me. Simply put, it’s a fun week in every way.
Week 3 (Days 15-21)
Not a remarkable name, I know, but that’s actually fitting. This is the transition stage, heading toward PMS. Early on she feels pretty good (though not as good as the previous week), but clouds are on the horizon. One interesting thing I have noticed is that there is one day every month, and it’s always the same day, when she really struggles not to be irritable.
Maybe the way to describe this stage is that it largely resembles the ovulation phase, but everything is gradually turned down from ten to three or four. For the most part, both her psyche and her body seem largely unaffected by hormones and “the cycle.”
PMS (Days 22-28)
“Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms likely” seems like a good way to put it. This is when a woman is most tempted to irritability, laziness, emotional fluctuations, lack of self-control, sinful words, etc. Physically, her status moves between poor and awful. Sexually, she is far less interested, which make sense because her body is saying, “Okay, looks like we are not making a baby. Let’s clean up the factory and get it ready for next time.”
In my days of denial, when I gave little credence to PMS, I also gave little grace to Krista. But now I get it, at least as far a non-woman can. I understand that behind much of what she says and does there is a hormonal and physiological change taking place. While PMS does not excuse sin and selfishness, it does explain some of it. Knowing this helps me stay patient with Krista when her words come off a bit strong or when her interpretation of things is a bit darker than would otherwise be reasonable. It helps me to lead and protect her. It helps me ask the right questions and give the right answers, more “I love you” and less “Here’s where you’re wrong.” It keeps me from offering a solution when she cries, or rather, it helps me understand that the best solution is a long hug followed by expressions of love and appreciation. It helps me help her fight the real enemy—her body, and the devil who seeks to exploit her weakness.
My initial analysis took a lot of work. It still does. I’m not a spreadsheet guy. This kind of study is not something I gravitate toward. But it is worth the effort. As Krista will tell you, my leadership and love of her has never been more obvious or effective. In this most practical way, I know my wife deeply. She lives in her cycle every single day. Understanding how it works helps me to walk with her in it every single day. Husband, I urge you to dive into this mysterious part of your wife’s personality and get to know who she is at this awkward yet important level.
[Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]