02 Jul Intimacy Problems
What causes intimacy problems?
Here’s the bad news: there are, literally, hundreds of things that could potentially damage intimacy between a man and woman! The good news is that we can avoid almost all of them, and pro-actively work our way through the rest!
Marriage is the most complex of relationships: of course it will take work to have a great marriage, and we will all have to face intimacy problems at some point. However, it’s more than worth the effort, because the development of intimacy is the key ingredient to a fantastic marriage–including awesome sex!
The vast majority of couples reach barriers that tend to take center-stage in their marriages. Each of the following intimacy problems is a potential intimacy robber; any one of which could destroy a relationship.
Incompatibility: In a romantic relationship, values, perspective, and life goals determine a couple’s compatibility. Since relationship break up will most often be a result of compatibility issues, all pre marriage counseling needs to examine the core values couples hold. Contrary to what you may hear other places, compatibility has little to do with sex!
Guilt: We can bring past actions and attitudes that are wrong and damaging into the present, and find they sabotage our present experience and relationship with our spouse. Whether they are from yesterday or from the last decade, the past must be dealt with before we can go forward. This is the beauty of asking for forgiveness!
Core Values Clashing: Conflicting values, standards, morals, ethics, and ideals with your partner makes compatibility impossible. For example, if you and your partner have major differences in deeply held religious convictions, then compatibility reaches an impasse! Coming to an agreement on values and beliefs will be a huge step forward in eliminating intimacy problems.
Living in a Common Law Relationship: This is a surprise for some. How can intimacy problems develop from a couple living together?! By its very nature, common law arrangements miss the single most important ingredient to intimacy: commitment.
When you don’t really understand how intimacy is developed, it’s very natural to want to pursue its benefits, and all the while undermine the very thing you’re trying to get! Romantic and sexual intimacy don’t come cheap. They will cost you dearly: giving your spouse unconditional love and sacrificial commitment in marriage. But the return on your investment will be absolutely amazing! Click here to read more about the benefits of getting married.
Pornography: With over 95% of viewers being male, porn’s effect on intimacy is complicated since it is easy for wives to underestimate its bad effects. As a barrier to intimacy, habitually viewing pornography sets up two formidable walls between couples: devastating guilt and unrealistic sexual expectations.
Husbands naturally feel guilty about a pornographic addiction, and usually try to hide it from their wives: of course, this dishonesty makes experiencing genuine intimacy almost impossible. All the rationalizing, explaining away, or defending of actions won’t change the fact that a husband addicted to porn can’t be intimate with his wife. A wife cannot win the competition with her husband’s fantasies.
Fatigue and Stress: We are all experts on stress and fatigue! Though we intend to change our ways, the best of intentions cannot compete with habits. We must be willing to adjust priorities and establish new habits that will actually reinforce intimacy.
Let’s face it: to change priorities is difficult. In actual fact, rearranging what we deem to be important rarely happens with most people. Over time, then, habits and lifestyles allow stress, fatigue, and busyness to crowd out intimacy and the spontaneous joys of marriage. As someone with a large family, many responsibilities, and no end of things to do, I find stress and fatigue to be a problem. Nothing kills intimacy faster than these intimacy robbers.
Effects of Previous Relationships: There is no “quick fix” for a new couple who has had previous romantic relationships that have gone bad. It simply takes time and effort for trust to grow and eventually blossom into intimacy.
Did you ever hear the analogy that men approach life like mechanics, and women approach life like farmers? A man sees relationships as a machine that’s not working as it should; he wants to quickly get a new part, stick it in, and get the thing up and running again! A woman, on the other hand, tends to see a relationship as a garden that is growing, requiring nurture and attention. Intimacy grows just like that garden.
Wrong Thinking Regarding Sex: The influences of incorrect thinking can sabotage intimacy. Dualism and the Error in Pairs are just two wrong ways of thinking about sex that influence intimacy negatively.
Intimacy problems can be overcome! Simply commit yourselves as a couple to doing whatever needs to be done to promote intimacy between the two of you.