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Sex Problems In Marriage

Women aren’t the only ones refusing sex

Research by Denise Donnelly of Georgia State University, reported in The Journal of Sex Research, found that 16% of couples fail to have sex at least once a month, a pattern that predicted marital unhappiness and divorce.

Women aren’t the only ones refusing sex, either. In her research of married people in sexually inactive marriages, Dr. Donnelly found that in 60% of the cases, it was the man who had stopped the sex.

The reasons for low or lack of sex in marriage vary, from extramarital affairs to poor conflict management, Child-care, fatigue and job stress. Whatever the cause, here are some suggestions from couples I interviewed who have putforth a successful effort to improve their love lives:

Keep Talking

All the couples put the issue on their agenda and worked out ways to overcome obstacles. They displayed one of the most powerful characteristics of successful people: persistence. Couples who talk about sexual problems are far more likely to survive than those who don’t. This was confirmed in Dr. Donnelly’s study. Couples who talked about their sex life were more likely to be having some. Sexually inactive couples had just given up and stopped talking.

Just do it

With a nod to Nike for this borrowed slogan, the couples I spoke with were realistic about differences in desire and the realities of their busy lives. Consequently, the lower sexual desire spouses consented to having sex even when they didn’t feel like it. That’s not as bad as it sounds. First, all of the spouses agreed that they benefited by the closeness, and most of them enjoyed the sexual experience more than they anticipated.

Make time

We all know that if something really matters to us, if it is really important, we find the time. If you were having an affair, you’d find the time. Have an affair with your spouse-and like an affair, set up a time to meet. In our busy lives we can’t rely on spontaneity. Synchronize your schedules and make dates with each other. Many couples set a romantic date the same time each week, alternating who took responsibility for the ambiance.

Think Sex

Many of the couples realized that their lives were filled with tasks and heavy responsibilities, none of it very sexy. They made an effort to read sexy books, view sexy movies and permit themselves sexy fantasies, all in an effort to make a little shift of attitude and perhaps learn one or two new moves.

Despite the difficulties and obstacles of a life spilling over with an interminable “To Do” list, it is quite possible to vitalize a relationship, to make love last. I have talked with many couples that are doing it, I have done it myself, and I have assisted countless couples to do it as well. It is eminently attainable.

However, even with authoritative direction, time and effort are required to achieve a desired result. Patience, the courage to change, and the desire to grow are key ingredients. If this sounds like a tall order, consider that it requires more work­, energy, strength, and time to support a bad alliance as it does to support a good one. In other words, the cost/benefit analysis suggests that it is foolish to ignore family life: health, well-being and productivity are at stake.

Is Communication The Only Factor in a Lasting Relationship?

In the face of an ever rising divorce rate, learning the keys to making your relationship go the distance gives you that extra leg up on beating the odds.

However, if you have been abiding by the old “communication is key” adage, you may be missing out on a few other points that could strengthen your relationship.

Of course communication is very important for conflict resolution not just in your relationship with your partner but in the workplace, in friendships and nearly any other area of your life where interaction with others occurs.

But what about those couples who seem to communicate well and still can’t seem to last?

An Internet-based study recently set out to find where each of the seven skills believed to hold a relationship together rank in order of importance.

7 Relationship Skills

As reported in the past, the 7 relationship skills are believed to be as follows (not in order of importance):
1. Communication
2. Conflict Resolution
3. Sex/Romance
4. Stress Management
5. Life Skills
6. Knowledge of Partner
7. Self Management


Study participants were asked how competent they were in each of these seven categories. The couples who reported communication, had the most satisfaction on average in their relationships which is in line with what most of us already know.

The next area however may provide some insight for many couples. Only 2 of the remaining categories showed an influence on happiness – knowledge of partner and life skills.

Getting To Know The One You Love

Getting to know more about the one you love is not only enjoyable but also helps boost overall contentment and happiness in a relationship. This can mean learning the important things or even simply learning what your partner likes in his/her coffee. It doesn’t seem to matter how significant what you learn is, it’s the skill of really knowing your partner that makes a difference.

Know Partner Life Skills

As far as life skills are concerned, this area is likely associated with happiness since having the ability to cope with what life throws your way makes things much smoother. Having a handle on finances for example makes fighting over money less likely.

Cold Feet Before Wedding Day Signals More Than Just Nerves, Study Finds

Whether you have been married or not, most of us have probably watched enough movies to understand the whole “cold feet” pre-wedding scenario. As the wedding day draws closer, both men and women typically experience a case of nerves and typically are told this phenomenon goes with the territory and is completely normal, however, a new study has shown that those who experience these pre-wedding doubts, especially women, are more likely to get divorced within 5 years.

The research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles provided an extensive study of 464 newlyweds that spanned over 4 years. The findings revealed that women who claimed to have had “cold feet” on their wedding day (and leading up to the wedding day) were 2.5 times more likely to divorce in the end. Even those who didn’t get divorced were still more likely to have unhappy marriages than those who walked down the aisle without a doubt in their minds.

Are Men More Likely To Have Had Their Marriage Doubts?

Among the group of men and women surveyed, nearly 47% of the men and 38% of the women said they had doubts when asked “Were you ever uncertain or hesitant about getting married?” While men were more likely to have had their doubts, it appears that it is actually the woman’s doubts that signal potential trouble long term more often than the man’s hesitation.

Within four years of the marriage about 19% of the women who claimed to have doubts were divorced and only 8% of those who did not have doubts were divorced. When it comes to the men, 14% of those with doubts were divorced within four years as opposed to only 9% of those who claimed they had no pre-wedding doubts or uncertainty.

Couples Who Divorce Admit They Ignored Issues Early On

It seems that one difficult part of this study is that the participants didn’t get the opportunity to explain the root of the uncertainty. Was it based on their choice of spouse, wedding planning stress or something unrelated?
Perhaps the most important take away we can learn from this study however, is that often we underestimate the importance of our intuition. Many couples who divorce admit they ignored issues early on that later become magnified and led to their separation from their spouse.

Andrew Faix

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