IS NO INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE NORMAL?
By Lorin Harrott
It’s been a long day. Most days are, right? At the end of the day, you might feel lucky just to have showered, exercised or gotten through the variations of bedtimes, homework, or work emergencies. You head to the bedroom and now it’s time to cozy up with your partner to enjoy the connection that marriage brings, right? But what if you find no intimacy in marriage?
Maybe the thought of kissing your spouse now seems foreign, or like too much work. Or, you are certain your spouse is equally as exhausted and you both are better off sleeping rather than being intimate. Does this sound familiar?
Many couples realize somewhere along the way that the intimacy in their marriage has disappeared. Where it was once a struggle to keep your hands off of each other, now you have to give yourself a pep talk just to start thinking about being in “the mood.” If you are nodding your head in agreement, rest assured you are not alone. Not being alone in this circumstance does not mean you should allow it to continue, however.
Long-term relationships go through many changes throughout the years. Intimate connection, especially the physical aspect, will ebb and flow like the tides. Although this is a normal circumstance, the complete absence of this connection is not healthy. For these couples, there is no intimacy in marriage. And, although a healthy marriage is built on a great deal more than sex, physical connection helps to create and solidify the bond that keeps a marriage strong.
Why You Lose Intimacy in Marriage
There are many reasons you and your spouse may now find no intimacy in marriage. The truth is that life is not always sexy. Building a life together can be trying and fraught with difficulties, all of which can suck the desire to be intimate right out of your lives. Finding the time and motivation to reconnect when you realize that intimacy has left your marriage gets more and more difficult. Common issues that cause disruption are:
- Stress and anxiety
- Children (who can bring on all of the above)
Keep in mind that it is not just you who are affected by these issues, your spouse is as well. And, they may be affected differently or by different versions of the same issue. You are in the same boat, even if it is on different ends.
Age can also bring about physical changes that can affect your visceral attraction to your spouse, or your ability to enjoy intimate life. Generally speaking, these issues can be overcome, and should be overcome if possible. Remember, love and your life together encompass more than simple physical attraction, and there are many ways to build back that intimate connection. If you allow there to be no intimacy in your marriage, a void will form. Voids create a disconnect between spouses and can lead to overall dissatisfaction within your marriage. This is one of the reasons why men cheat on their wives.
What Else Do You Lose When Intimacy is Lost?
No intimacy in marriage can be the precursor to a number of issues. When intimacy fades and that aspect of your life dissipates, you create opportunities for cracks to form. Those cracks can turn into fissures and before long what was a lack of physical intimacy becomes a loss of emotional connection. You feel removed from your spouse, comfortable maybe, but not connected on the level where marriage thrives.
Spouses commonly find themselves feeling more like roommates than partners. When you cannot connect with your spouse on more than simply managing the day-to-day routine, you start to lose the part of your relationship that brought you together in the first place. Giving in to the loss of intimacy reinforces this growing distance.
What Cultivating That Connection Provides
Sex is not just about physical pleasure. And intimacy is not just sex. Women especially have a difficult time separating the physical from the emotional. Creating an intimate experience on both levels may take extra effort, but the effort will be worth it. This will reinforce closeness rather than the distance that having no intimacy in marriage creates. The connection that you make by being that vulnerable with a person whom you love gives strength to that bond. It may require effort, but when you place yourself in the position to be that close to another you are building bonds.
Dr. Kurt sees this often in his marriage counseling. He says,
I regularly hear partners complain that there is no intimacy in their marriage. Men are almost always talking about sex when they say this. While women can mean this too, they’re usually describing something more, like the emotional and verbal connection that’s missing.”
Again, you may be at different ends of the same boat, but finding a solution that brings you together will benefit you both.
What To Do When You Find No Intimacy in Marriage
Try. At the end of that long day, it is easy to give in to being tired. But what happens if you don’t? You do not have to accept that there is no intimacy in your marriage. Try making the small effort of a touch, or a kiss, or even just laying a little bit closer. A bridge takes more than one rope to be strong, but that first rope is crucial. You may find that your efforts are well received and then matched.
Marriage can be difficult at times. Things that were effortless at the beginning will, at some point, require effort. You may feel close for a period, and then you may feel distant. Don’t let the distance grow until there is no intimacy in your marriage. No one provides an instruction manual on your wedding day, but remember that navigating the ups and downs is a two-person job.