Why are we writing about sex again? Sex in marriage is more important than most people think. It's mysterious. There are a lot of "layers" and complexities to this whole topic.... read on...
We're STILL learning and realizing how our sexual relationship is a barometer of the overall health of our marriage.
Janine: It took me a long time to understand that sex shouldn't be an afterthought. Here are some of the misconceptions I had to let go of in order to improve our love life:
- I tend to put work before pleasure, and I made the mistake of viewing sex as a reward. My thinking was... We work. We parent. We eat. We do everything we need to do in life, and then, 'oh yeah, by the way, after all that, then SOMETIMES we have time left for sex.'
- I can't be bothered with physical affection when I'm busy or stressed. IF Ken tried to show affection when I was stressed, all I could think was, "He has NO idea what I'm experiencing... can't he see what's going on here?" Little did I know, he was only trying to help... this was his attempt at expressing his concern and love. Talk about misunderstanding each other.
- I thought sex would just 'happen' or 'take care of itself,' so I wasn't intentional about planning or initiating it.
- My way of thinking about sex, and more specifically 'Ken's motivation' regarding sex, was inaccurate. I thought he wanted sex just because he had male urges that needed satisfying. Sex didn't seem appealing or fulfilling to me when I made those assumptions. After many heart to heart conversations about sex, I've come to understand and accept how Ken's need for my love is not just about the physical, but also emotional and relational.
Ken: Here are a few misconceptions I had that were not helpful for our sex life (or our relationship), and a few things I learned:
- Sex seemed like it belongs in its own compartment, separate from everything else. I believed sex should just "happen," regardless of whatever else was going on between us.
- I had the attitude that sex was some sort of "right," like it came as a contractual benefit of getting married. Turns out it has more to do with "us" than it does with me.
- I realized "Hollywood sex" is fantasy: not the standard to compare our lovemaking to.
- When Janine didn't seem as interested in sex as I was, I took it personally. It took a long time to learn she needs to her romanced. And, although Janine treasures tender touches, words, and closeness, I needed to realize those things don't necessarily signal she wants to make love.
We gradually learned that our sexuality is not something to be compartmentalized and should not be just an afterthought. We both continue to work to on understanding each other's perspectives and the fact that Sex is as much communication as it is an activity. Our lovemaking is essential and when we make it a priority we see benefits in all the other areas of our marriage.