Is Your Marriage A Disappointment? Do you have a sex-starved-marriage?
Many of the couples I work with tell me their relationship has gone cold in the romantic area. I ask them, "How long has it been since you've had sex?" The answers are often shocking: "I don't remember," or "A year and a half," or "Five or six months," etc.
When I discover that a couple does not have an active or satisfying sex life, I know there are underlying problems in the relationship. And I know to identify and address those problems, or the sex life isn't going to get much better.
In fact, a couple's sex life is often a barometer for the relationship. A good relationship results in healthy sexual activity, whereas a bad one leads to problems in the bedroom, such as avoidance of sex.
Below you'll find some of the biggest reasons a couple's sex life may go south in intimate relationships, and they can end up with a sex-starved marriage.
Ten Relationship Problems That Lead to A Sex-Starved-Marriage
Here are a few of the most common problems that impair sexual relations -- problems I often see with couples in therapy.
1. The spouses have drifted apart and are no longer well connected
2. Poor communication and low levels of trust
3. Excessive anger or hostility
4. An unresolved previous affair or a secret affair taking place in the present
5. A serious resentment pertaining to the past or present
6. "Negative sentiment override" (A John Gottman term, where the couple views their relationship pessimistically, and every molehill is turned into a mountain of negativity)
7. One spouse no longer feels good about himself/herself and in turn does not feel sexy or attractive
8. Finger-pointing and blaming in the marriage, or a pessimistic attitude
9. One spouse has a strong sex drive and the other a weak one, and they end up avoiding it because it's difficult and disappointing
10. Overwork and stress; one or both spouses are workaholics
There are many other issues that ill-affect a couples romantic life, such as the failure to listen, an ADDICTION of some kind, including an addiction to Porn. Or one of the spouses has a physical or emotional illness that gets in the way.
Now, let's take a look at what a sexually frustrated couple can do to help resolve their sex-starved-marriage.
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Relationship Solutions That Can Lead to A Sex-Starved-Marriage
First, counseling and therapy may help a couple identify issues, discuss and move beyond them. It makes it easier to talk with an objective third party in the room. Another possibility, if your problems are not too serious, is to get coaching from a professional relationship coach.
But there are many steps a couple can take to solve their problems, and to deal with a sex-starved-marriage. The most important step may be sitting down to talk about their sex life. Each spouse would reveal their feelings and their hopes for change. Then the spouses can begin to dialogue in a non-judgemental way about barriers that may stopping them. No blaming and no criticizing allowed. Just heart-to-heart talking and listening, where the spouses work toward a greater understanding -- a blame-free, dynamic understanding.
Basically, it's important to find the underlying problem(s), address it and take steps to solve it. If there has been an affair, which was never fully disclosed, discussed and healed, there will be trouble in the bedroom, perhaps for years to come.
If there is a lack of trust in the relationship, the sex life will be a struggle. If one partner feels as if she/he has been taken advantage of, they are going to cross their arms and go into self-protection mode, losing interest in sex.
Almost always a poor sex life sits upon a crumbling foundation of unsolved relationship problems. In other words, the friendship is no longer close or enjoyable, and one or both spouses may have given up on the marriage.
The good news is, a sex-starved marriage can be repaired, trust rebuilt and the barriers to good communication resolved.
How to Fix Your sex-Starved Marriage?
Yes, it can be complicated, but repairing the friendship is the key to the kingdom, and a good place to start.
To improve the friendship, spending more time together may be necessary, and finding time to have fun. Also, solving a few problems may be in order. For example, If a partner holds a resentment that causes anger and fear, the resentment needs to be aired and understood.
Or, if the couple can't deal with conflict effectively, new rules for handling conflict need to be put in place, and spouses need to learn how to make it easier to talk and decide a course of action, instead of sweeping the conflict under the rug or getting mad about the wrong things. A goal must be set to stop avoiding issues that result in conflict. Both will have to practice emotional control and bring up problems in a gentle way, not a harsh one.
When the couple can discuss issues without getting angry or upset, it's easier to get passion flowing again, and to rebuild a sex-starved-marriage.
Once hurtful things are said, it's hard to take them back.
Learn to Compromise
When you can't resolve differences, try compromising. Compromise is a skill that sets strong relationships apart. Remember, solutions that a couple comes up with must work for BOTH spouses, not just the dominant spouse, or the loudest one or the most narcissistic one.
Expectations for your sex life may need to be discussed, too. Differences in expectation often result in a sex-starved-marriage. Try to arrive at realistic expectations, upon which you both can agree. If, for example, one spouse is happy with the sex life, but the other isn't, it's time to talk, tell each other what you want and figure out how you can get there -- working together.
A healthy sex life is vital for a happy marriage. Sex creates a powerful way to bond with your mate, and to keep your relationship strong. The single best way to improve your romantic life is to begin discussing it in an open and honest way, and to rebuild your friendship. For, friendship fuels the flames of desire and passion.
And, remember, any issues involving trust are essential to clear up and overcome. Rebuilding trust takes time, hard work and patience. Try these techniques and watch your sex-starved-marriage become a happy marriage, once again.
Good luck, and write to me if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for reading this month's article on marriage and sexuality.
To avoid ruining your sex life without trying, check out this article.