Most respectful relationships begin with romantic love – the kind of love that many mistakenly believe will sustain. But if believed to marriage management experts the romantic love eventually dissipates, making room for a deeper, more mature love. This issue is discussed in the book, Infidelity, A Survival Guide (New Harbinger Publications, 1998) by Don-David Lusterman, Ph,D. “Even if marriage begins with romantic love,” says Lusterman, “it finds its continuity in married love, with peaks of real passion, valleys of disappointment, and plateaus of okay days. Successful couples know this.”
Companionship in Marriage is a Must
According to marriage management experts when couples are together for a long time, they can easily fall into a pattern of going their separate ways. And while a healthy dose of this behavior is necessary, it is critical to keep it in check. By actively participating in each other’s interests, each partner is demonstrating, through his or her actions, the importance of setting aside time for one another. And even better, when a husband and wife find the time to take part in common interests, they bond over the types of activities that brought them together in the first place for respectful relationships.
Dr. Williard F. Harley refers to this as “The Rule of Time,” in his book Surviving an Affair (Revell, 1998). According to Harley, “A couple’s love for each other cannot be created or sustained without time for undivided attention.”
Intimacy in Marriage is More Than Sex
In the book, The Dance of Intimacy, (Harper Paperbacks, 1990), Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph. D. describes intimacy as the ability to “be who we are in a relationship, and allow the other person to do the same.” She continues, “An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.”
Many mistakenly believe intimacy is another word for sex. But true intimacy is achieved over time. With intimacy, a spouse allows his or her partner to see and become a part of what’s going on inside. And while intimacy and sex tend to go hand in hand, they are not one in the same.
Sex in Marriage is Not a Nice-to-Have
Marriage management expert asks whether marriage really need sex, or is it merely a nice-to-have in respectful relationships? According to Michele Weiner-Davis, author of The Sex Starved Marriage (Simon & Schuster, 2003), “Unsatisfying sexual relationships are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity and divorce.”
Sex serves a very important purpose in a marriage. When it is neglected, resentment builds and arguments ensue. Sex becomes a chore. And before they know it, what once was supposed to be an activity that connected the couple ends up driving a wedge between the two. Sex in marriage deserves as much care and attention as two people can muster up.
Communication in Marriage Fosters a Connection
With so many marriages headed to divorce court, understanding and adopting the key behaviors required for healthy respectful relationships is critical. In terms of marriage management a marriage built on companionship, intimacy, independence, sex and communication will be better equipped to sustain the love over the long haul.
Marriage Needs Empathy and Understanding
People have a need for conversation, married couples even more so in terms of marriage management. Every human being has an innate, basic need to be heard and understood. For couples who have just started a new love relationship, this type of conversation comes easy because couples new to one another are still investigating one another. They are highly motivated to understand each other and just about every level.
Couple who have been married for some time may find it particularly difficult to reclaim those first early, discovery mission conversations. While the deep, intimate conversation has subsided, the need for empathy, being heard, and for sharing at the deepest levels is still there and it may be stronger than ever.
Commit to Become a Loving, Listening Marriage Partner
The need to be known still remains, but the distractions of everyday life has crowded out any available time or desire to engage in deep conversation. Married couples can become complacent and therefore neglect the other’s need for this deep conversation and communication. The problem of time can be fairly easily handled. The problem of complacency is another matter.
Although becoming complacent has become acceptable to one or both partners, it is not healthy, says marriage management expert. If it seems there is nothing left to be known about a partner, perhaps a new approach to communication is needed. As a couple bound to one another journeying through life together, discovering that intimate conversation is now more critical than ever.
As a married couple, one needs the other in order to make it in this world. Imagine a ship’s captain who does not attempt to communicate with the navigator. How is a ship like that supposed to navigate through any sort of water, let alone stormy waters. Suppose neither wishes to talk to the other to the point of allowing the ship to be destroyed. The same will happen to respectful relationships unless deep, intimate, honest conversation is restored.
Changing the Conversation of the Marriage
First, realize that the past will never be repeated or restored. However, the relationship can be better than ever, but in a different way. Make it a goal to investigate one another on the deepest levels. Develop an attitude of genuine interest in the other partner’s feelings and emotional responses. Soon both partners will begin to open up to reveal more of the inner self that is hidden from the world.
A deep intimacy will again begin to develop respectful relationships and that old feeling of wanting to know more of a partner’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses. Conversation will once again break through that superficial, shell and a closeness that before seemed somehow unattainable will begin to grow.
This emotional closeness is that old emotional connection that was so easily reached at the beginning of the relationship. It’s the “secret” that loving, vibrant married couples who have been married for 40, 50, 60 years or more have worked on through the life of their relationship. The secret is that it takes a commitment from both partners and a lot of hard work. Start a fascinating conversation today and enjoy a close and happy marriage relationship in the years to come.
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