Lack of Love and Intimacy in Marriage: Causes and Solutions
What is Intimacy?
Too many couples mistakenly define intimacy as just sex, but true intimacy goes beyond intercourse. Some call it an invisible thread between two people, while others call it a union. Even when a couple disagrees, this bond remains.
Intimacy is more than sex, but it's often expressed through intercourse and physical love. If a couple treats sex only as a way to make a baby, engaging in intercourse only once every three years or so, their lack of intimacy would be no surprise. A relationship requires attention and maintenance, and the intimate bond between a couple will fade if they stop caring for the physical side of their relationship.
How You Know Your Marriage is Losing Intimacy
It's normal to go through periods when you or your partner feel reluctant to make love due to stress and other issues. But if it continues for too long it may be a problem.
- Without intimacy, your marriage feels like you're sharing a bed with a stranger.
- Conversation is limited to orders and instructions, not meaningful communication.
- You convince yourself that you no longer desire or care about the sexual aspect of your relationship. Maybe you've had all the children you want and don't see the point anymore.
No matter what you tell yourself, it's not enough to live together as mere friends. But before you can reclaim your relationship, you need to understand how you found yourself in this mess. Why do you feel cold about your partner? How did the flame of love in your marriage diminish?
Reasons for a Lack of Love and Intimacy in Your Marriage
- You're not attracted to each other anymore. This is the most common reason why married couples become less intimate. Women in particular worry about being seen as less attractive by their husbands as they age. Let me assure you that it is not the fading of your natural beauty that makes him lose interest, but lax maintenance of your appearance. In the early 1960s, my father bought a Peugeot 406 which is still eye-catching today because he's taken good care of it for all these years. Women spend huge amounts of money taking care of their bodies when single, but these activities cease after marriage. Ladies, keep your bodies alluring and you'll keep your man. This standard is admittedly unfair. Men often treat a woman like their personal property and believe they can have her even when they themselves don't shave for two weeks.
- Unfaithfulness. If one member of a couple is seeing someone else, their primary relationship will fade. Why do men flirt and stray? They may no longer be attracted to their wives anymore, or the couple may be growing apart.
- Growing apart. Emotionally drifting apart is common in couples who were married very young and in arranged marriages. One day you wake up and and realize that your spouse is not the type of person to whom you wish to be married. Nothing they do pleases you anymore. In many cases, this change of heart comes about because you have grown or been altered in some way, not because they have changed, and this new version of yourself needs a different partner. A friend once told me that she refused to make love with her husband for almost three years after having their last child. Both she and her husband have started seeing other people on the side. What happened? She married her husband when she was a struggling student and her husband supported her. Now, she and her husband are different people; she is a university graduate and he is an illiterate businessman. The flame of love and intimacy are gone. They are strangers to each other.
Do you have intimacy in your marriage?
How to Keep the Intimacy in Your Marriage
- Marry the right person for the right reasons. Don't jump into marriage hastily. It's not so easy to jump out! Make sure you know your partner and yourself well enough before you make the decision to get married. Consider whether this is the person who can see you through major life events, such as childbirth, sickness, and other traumatic events.
- Cultivate intimacy. Devote time and energy to feeling closer to your partner. Every now and then, look into their eyes for 20 seconds; a meaningful stare can recapture the spark. Hold each other’s hands. Tell your partner how much you love them. Play game like you're little kids. Rekindle that lost passion and excitement.
A Final Word on Intimacy
Men and women usually want sex for different reasons. Men want to have sex in order to feel emotionally close to their partners, while woman want to have sex because they already feel that closeness. Be sensitive to each other's needs for emotional and physical intimacy.