My husband and I were joking around the other day and decided to play Truth or Dare, in which he dared me to reveal my actual body count. We had never discussed this before, but he knew that just before I met him I had come out of a five-year relationship. I guess he assumed that I’d only been with that guy. Anyway, I’m a liberated woman, so I started thinking and counting in my head, and even added a couple guys that I’d totally forgotten about. When I had tabulated my number and told him — it was 12 — it’s like he almost had a heart attack. He hasn’t been himself since, and hasn’t really shown much interest in me romantically. He also said that he’d just been with one woman before me, and he was surprised I found time during my studies and career to be with so many people.

I don’t feel bad at all. I actually feel sorry for him. See, we got married three years ago when I was 39, and there’s no way he could have believed that at my big age I wouldn’t have dated many people. I’ve never been ashamed of discussing my past, but his reaction has me wondering what kind of immature man this is that I married. What can I do to guide him back to what’s important ­— and that is love, respect, and commitment to this marriage?

It’s good that you have not succumbed to feeling bad and being ashamed. Shame isn’t useful, only conviction is. It is good that you have now discussed the experience you both have, and you’ll have a better understanding and knowledge of each other. Chances are some of the “liberated” aspects of your sexuality may have shown up in the bedroom. And that is necessary, as long as you both can see it as a feature for an exciting marriage and use it to your advantage.

Unlike some, I believe that past experiences should be divulged. In your case, your husband could have met someone from a past relationship, who might have said something to him. It could’ve then shocked him just because he didn’t know. Getting information out in the fore disallows negative surprises. Also, I wouldn’t assume that your husband is “immature”. I think he’s processing the new information. But you are correct that most adults who get married later in life will have had several sexual experiences. But it’s not always the case. So, ideally, sexual experience is information to be discussed in detail in premarital sessions. As I say to couples, premarital sessions are very useful. There’s a strength you gain for your relationship when you share information.

My advice:

Reassure him: Let your husband know you are excited by him and he’s still the guy for you. Assure him that he’s the best thing that happened to you and calm any concerns he may have right now. Let him know also that you are who you are and that you’ll love and appreciate him as you are and as he is.

Remind him: Tell him that you need him to love you unconditionally, and not to be fragile with his love and devotion. And remember, you must not be fragile either. But remind him that he would expect you to love him unconditionally and that you chose him to be your husband.

Solicit some help: Make contact with a good counsellor if the relationship continues to struggle. You can always reach out to my office for further help at the contact below.

Marriage is a dynamic opportunity for two adults to merge their individual lives. It’s not an easy operation, but it’s a powerful one. Great marriages require compassion and patience. I pray you both reignite your flame.

Get on The Counsellor’s Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to

C. Brodber