In a Sexless Marriage?
If So, You Need These Tips Now
By TINA TESSINA
Sexless marriage is a complaint I get often from clients. While sometimes, in case of illness or injury, a complete sexual experience is not possible in marriage, it is always best to have whatever sexual experience is available to the couple. Marriage without sex is wide-open to temptation. Don't kid yourselves that you can be 'best friends' and your marriage will last. Sooner or later, temptation will arise, either from a partner's co-worker, another member of the church choir (this happens a lot) or a neighbor. The drive to have sex is powerful, and it will be satisfied, one way or another.
Love and sex are like the roots that feed the tree. To keep that vital energy going, and the sap rising, you need to provide something new and interesting. Seduction can be as simple as causing your partner to ask what you've been doing that has you so energized and interested. When you're enthusiastic, you're seductive -- it's the most attractive we can be.
Relationships continue to develop in stages, even after the honeymoon is over. Most of us are familiar only with the early stages: Meeting, Dating, Courtship and Commitment. Some have experienced Moving In, Marriage, and the Honeymoon Phase, where everything is brand new and wonderful. This is what the romantic songs and movies are all about, and it has become what people call "being in love." Extending the Honeymoon Phase indefinitely is what people fantasize as "happily ever after." However, when the all-absorbing process of planning a wedding and honeymoon is over, and the couple comes home to chores, work, money issues, etc., post-honeymoon shock can set in. Real life is not as romantic as courtship, wedding and honeymoon, but the real work of developing a great marriage begins now.
Because many people have not had lasting relationships of their own, they have no experience or models of the later stages: Development of Intimacy, and Settled Partnership Phase.
In the Development of Intimacy, love matures and becomes reality- based. It's the part where the magic fades, and both of you begin to relax and show your innermost, less perfect selves. You're beginning to get to know each other, warts and all. You may feel vulnerable and awkward with each other. In this stage, you may argue, struggle for power, become irritable and unreasonable. The fear that your lover will not like this more realistic view of you arises. As a result, both partners need, and have trouble providing, lots of reassurance and usually lots of personal space. Many relationships don't make it through this stage, because if the lovers don't understand or expect this change, it can feel like something is terribly wrong.
Eventually, if the relationship survives, the couple develops a style of intimacy that works for them. A couple who've made it this far feel more secure, more settled. Now the Settled Partnership issues come up: how to keep love alive over a long period of time; how not to take each other for granted; how to set goals beyond just being together; and how to handle changes.
Settled Partnership is the stage where the pleasures of lasting love are realized. At this point, successful couples know they're loved as they really are. They have become experts in living life together. When all goes well, the couple has a feeling of security, intimacy and partnership that's truly satisfying and rewarding. When problems arise, they have the wisdom and experience to keep their commitment alive through cooperation and mutual understanding.
However, it takes several years to achieve the full benefits of these later stages. Unless you've been through a very long-term relationship before, it's hard to understand the difficulties encountered in the development of intimacy stage and the settled partnership phase. It's easy to be discouraged and give up. People often do much better in their second or third long-term relationships, because their early experience taught them what to expect, and gave them a chance to acquire the necessary long-term skills. Because we lack education and experience, our early unsuccessful relationships often serve as practice for later successful ones.
Here are four simple steps to create a successful marriage:
1. Talk frequently and honestly to each other—about your frustrations, about sex, about anger, about disappointment, about your appreciation of each other, about the meaning of life, about everything.