6 Intimacy Myths You Hear About Marriage
By Dr. Brent A. Barlow
Marriage is a union between two people, bringing two lives together and creating a life. Of course, keeping a marriage together is not just about saying “I do,” it is about passion, intimacy, and commitment. One of the big things, however, that tends to tear marriages apart is a failing sexual relationship and a lack of intimacy. There are several myths about intimacy in a marriage that people listen to. Many of them, however, are not true and believing them can only hurt your marriage more.
1. Your Sexual Relationship Will Improve Over Time
This is in fact, a myth. Sexual relationships need to be built and worked at. A bad sexual relationship is not going to improve. If you are not getting what you need or want you need to talk to your spouse. Do not think that your spouse can read your mind and that they will improve their skills or what they are doing over time. In fact, if you are unsatisfied in the bedroom; you will more than likely remain unsatisfied until it becomes a point of tension in your marriage.
2. A Good Sexual Relationship Will Happen Right After You Are Married
This is yet another myth. Sexual relationships are something that needs to be worked on, they do not automatically happened. Those who do not have a sexual relationship before they are married will need to work harder than those who do. The best way to work on this kind of relationship is to talk about what you want and need and have your spouse respond; communication, openness, and vulnerability will help build a great intimate relationship once you say your vows. Without these traits, the relationship cannot hope to survive or be fulfilling for either person.
3. Sexual Disinterest Will Happen; There Is Nothing You Can Do About It
Disinterest happens in the bedroom when things become normal and mundane. In the triangular Theory of Love developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg, he explains why. There are three key components to love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. In the beginning of a relationship whether you are newly dating or newly married, passion is high. This means that everything will be satisfactory, including the sexual relationship, making intimacy high. As the relationship progresses, commitment begins to determine whether or not a couple will stay together. Passion will decrease and if commitment does not increase, then intimacy will also decrease. If your marriage is built on lust and passion, not love and commitment, then it’s only a matter of time before you become disinterested in the bedroom. Those who build their relationship on love and commitment with the added benefit of passion, with see a sexual relationship that remains steady and enjoyable.
4. There Will Always Be Physical Closeness
Warm cuddles and lots of sex and hand holding in public only goes on for so long. Passion and the want to be close all the time mostly happens in the beginning of a relationship. Again, refer to Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. Passion is very high at the beginning of a relationship or in new phases of a relationship. Marriage is a new phase to many relationships and therefore passion and the want to be close skyrockets. However, as the months and years go on, both parties will not desire to be as close. Yes, you will still want sex, to cuddle, and maybe have some PDA; but not all the time. Coming to terms with this reality will help you to not be heartbroken when your spouse begins to drift away slightly. Drifting away does not mean your relationship is ending; it simply means you are getting past what is known as the “honeymoon phase.”
5. A Good Sexual Relationship Means There Will Not Be Other Marital Issues
Some people believe that sex can cure anything—but that is not quite true. Yes, a good sexual relationship can put problems on hold but that is all it will ever do. You will simply be pushing problems down the line until one day, you or your spouse explodes from a long list of complaints. Sex does not solve underlying relationship issues; it simply puts them off. Expect that there will be fights and disagreements in your marriage and agree to communicate about them. Do not try and bury them by using your sex life.
6. Sexual Relationships Are Built from Passion Not Attitudes
Yes, passion is a great indicator of what your sexual relationship will be like, but after a while, that initial passion will begin to fade. In the end, your attitudes toward your sexual relationship mean more than your level of passion ever will. If you have a negative attitude, are not willing to compromise, or refuse to listen to your spouse’s wants and needs, then passion alone will not save your relationship.
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