“Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage,” famous words sung by Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra was one of the great paramours of all time. Rumor has it that he courted many of the most glamorous women of Hollywood in his day, and married four of them. Frank knew there was an important element missing in these lyrics: sex. It is one of the most important aspects in a marriage, and it is almost always an issue when married couples have problems.
When we hear about a separation or a divorce, we often respond, “I’m so sorry” or “too bad.” But in many situations, the response should be, "thank goodness." Some people say divorce is a scourge that tears families apart, often leaving young ones in a lurch. I say, if it isn’t working, end it, deal with the consequences and move on.
The rules and etiquette that impact divorce in the U.S. are not complex. If you marry a person and you grow apart for whatever reasons, you can end the union, equitably divide the marital estate, and negotiate who gets the kids on the weekends. I believe we all have a right to be with someone we love, and being in a relationship that makes us feel horrible is unhealthy for all the parties.
Unhappiness is the most important reason why married couples are driven towards divorce. However, the circumstances that result in discontent can vary greatly. The classic one that Hollywood and TV memorialize every day is infidelity. You know, the man has an affair with a business colleague or his secretary and then wants to marry her. How often has this scenario played out in real life? Too often, I think.
The question is why does a person cheat on their spouse, an act that could very likely destroy his or her family? Well, maybe the wife was not providing the kind of life the husband longs for. More often than not this could involve sexual gratification. The husband could be preoccupied with work. The wife may be too focused on children. Or maybe, the couple has just grown apart intellectually. Perhaps, they married when they were very young and they changed over the years. Or maybe, one or both partners have not kept themselves physically attractive. Almost all relationships begin visually, so if one of the partners becomes unkempt, the other may lose interest.
But, it is important to note that so much of a relationship begins, perseveres, and ends in the bedroom. Physical attraction draws men and women together. Oh, they could also be intellectually compatible and have a great platonic relationship; but sooner or later the deal needs to be consummated with intimacy.
How important is sex in a marriage? I say huge. If you are not intimate with your spouse, you are likely to be unhappy. Marital sex and physical contact is the cement that holds a relationship together. Everyone wants to feel safe in someone’s arms.
Some of you might think I overemphasize the importance of sexuality in marriage. But consider that most of us try to look attractive every day. Clothes are important. Men and women try to look alluring. Movies, TV, and advertisements emphasize physical appearance. Endless ads for weight loss and cosmetic surgery flood the airwaves. With all this reinforcement, how can physical attraction not be important?
Many men think they are less if they are unable to regularly initiate sexual contact; it is critical to their psyche. If women really understood this important axiom they would appreciate why men sometimes stray. The drive for sexual satisfaction is practically uncontrollable.
It is very important to understand what your partner needs to be happy. Knowing and fulfilling expectations will make a marriage more successful. Not doing so is a recipe for disaster.
Photo Credit: C Frasier