Markos is dead on when he said to quit giving her theory and engage in practice instead.
If my husband said to me for 10 months, "I would like to have intimate conversation," I would think he had a marble loose (okay, I actually would probably start talking entirely inappropriately, but that's me...not your wife).
Ha ha, yes, if I phrased it that way it would come across as intimidating at best. I used that language here, because that's the language of the book. When I'm with my wife, I ask her how she's feeling, how her day went, etc., and I share how I'm feeling, how my day went, joys and sorrows, etc.
My observation is that I share feelings, she shares facts.
However, if he started bringing up interesting topics and revealing things about himself, I would find him interesting...do you see a difference there?
Yes I do. The last time I was guilty of that was after reading the 5LL's with her, I did discuss my LL in theory terms. That was probably off-putting, didn't do me any good, so I've stayed away from that.
Your wife is withdrawn, so she probably won't engage a whole lot at first, but if you keep putting things out there and make her feel safe in responding, she is more likely to engage in the future.
So it's been 10 months, how far away is the future? Months? Years? Is it possible she's not withdrawn, but is instead an emotionally unavailable person? I'm not saying she is, but is every spouse who is not engaged by definition in withdrawal, or can it be the case that their state is not temporary and just part of who they are?
Fwiw, my H used to say he shouldn't have to have conversations with me because he talked to people all day already. I talked to him anyway, and quit pitching fits (or rolling eyes, or crossing arms, or saying what the heck is wrong with you?) and eventually he got interested in having conversations with me. Now we often spend entire evenings on the deck having intimate conversations about all sorts of things.
I want that too!
Also fwiw, once he stopped being hung up on a couple of activites that I don't enjoy and embraced a couple that we both do, I never ever hear him gripe about not doing those things anymore. Not even missed. Not to my knowledge, anyway, and he would trot them out as proof of my horribleness during many conflicts before. And he would have said (did say) that we share no common interests, until he stopped insisting that the things I don't like are the only things that mattered to him.
If you didn't suggest any activities, and refused everything he suggested, what would he have done?
I had to matter to him before he could see beyond his narrow field of view.
I'm glad you're talking to Steve. Please listen to him. We worked with him as well.
You bet I will. The telephone coach I used on the DB site definitely saved me from divorce when we were in crisis. It was the best money I ever spent -- much better than MC. I have not been shy about enlisting help, and I really feel I've left nothing on the table in terms of effort.
When my W asked me for divorce and I decided I wanted to save the marriage, I knew that I might not be successful, but I didn't want to look back with any regrets. I didn't want to say "if I had only done that one more thing", or "if I had only tried that one other approach". Instead, I decided that everything about me is on the table and subject for discussion and change. I'm not going to hold anything back. If I have to give up the activities I love the most, I'll do it, and I won't look back. I'm committed. After 10 months of working so hard on it, I was reaching burnout when I came to this site. I'm hoping that Steve can help me refuel my engines and get me going again in a new direction.