Melanie and Bob have been married 20 years. It’s been a good marriage and they have been blessed with healthy children, steady income and supportive family. To an onlooker their life appears perfect. But on the inside, there lies a desert where a beautiful garden once grew.
Their marriage is held together by the children, for the children and headed for a crash. Both of them feel it, though Melanie lives in denial and Bob buries himself in work to hide from the pain.
The biggest symptom is the lack of sex in their marriage. Admittedly Bob will tell you they have sex, but only because he pushes the issue and begs her to make it happen. “If it were up to her, we’d never have sex again,” comes the hopeless voice of this 40 year old husband. Her lack of desire to sexually fulfill him makes him feel unwanted, and not just in the bedroom. It has spilled over into other areas and he feels undesired in many aspects of their marriage.
Melanie loves her husband but feels bothered every time he comes onto her, which puts her in a bad mood. She suffers from low self-esteem due to being overweight which causes her to withdraw from sexual activity altogether. “Why would he want to touch me?” She asks herself, “look how disgusting I am.” Self-hatred eats away at her and she internalizes guilt over not wanting to have sex, which only makes the guilt grow stronger. She knows she is letting him down, but doesn’t admit it to him because it’s easier to hide behind her own defenses and shift the blame onto any shortcoming she can find in him.
Things weren’t always this way. There was a time when Melanie and Bob couldn’t get enough of each other, when they craved one another, and when they were truly close. For the past ten years though, their marriage has been slowly stagnating. They stopped connecting physically, which closed off the conduit to greater and deeper communication. When the sex stopped, the emotion faded, the mental connection grew tiresome and the spiritual clogged up.
People don’t plan to neglect each other. They don’t intend to ignore marital needs. Somehow familial demands of raising children, financial strains of an erratic economy, pressing careers, physical changes in appearance and self-esteem all play a part in masking the good and accentuating the negative changes in marriage. It happens slowly, over time. One night of “I’m too tired” quickly becomes two nights, then three, then a week and a month and then several months. By the time we wake up and realize how alone we feel, irreputable damage has already been done.
Can the damage be repaired? Yes, but not overnight.
When we decrease or stop connecting physically it is both a symptom and a cause of deeper problems in the marriage. When you find yourself where Bob and Melanie are how do you fix what seems utterly hopeless? The answer is initially simple: sex. You must find a way to re-open the communication medium through physical contact. This means, you and your spouse must make a commitment to come together and restore sexual balance in the relationship. It takes a willingness of both partners to agree to make sex a priority in the marriage. You must commit to get naked and get it on whether you feel like it or not!
Let me be real clear here: Sex is NOT the only answer for a troubled marriage. It is merely step one to reigniting a dormant flame and unclogging the communication conduit. It’s very hard to stay angry with your spouse and make-love to him or her at the same time. If you don’t believe me, try it.
Sex is a beautiful tool for regaining balance and harmony in your marriage, and when used consistently it will build you a bonfire of love that will warm your marriage for years to come.