Sandra A Doron LCSW
My husband and I have been married for ten years. We don’t seem to
have anything in common any more. I want to go out more. He doesn’t even
like to go out to eat. He stays at home and is perfectly content to be
at home 24/7. And at this point, I wonder sometimes if I really love
him. We don’t say: ”I love you” any more, the passion of our lovemaking
is fading fast, to the point of being non-existent. There seems to be no
intimacy any more, and I ask myself if this is “normal” after ten years,
or whether there is indeed something seriously wrong with our marriage.
Many couples think that their marriage is dying when the passion they
felt when they first met and fell in love does not seem to be there any
more. That original passion changes as we change. Many good books have
been written to kindle the passion that you may have believed is gone.
Light His Fire-How,to Keep Your Man Passionately and Hopelessly in Love
with You, by Ellen Kreidman, and Pleasures, True Stories that Reveal
Woman’s Sexuality as it is Experienced by Women Themselves, by Lonnie
Barbach, are books you may find helpful.
However, I would like to focus on the meaning of intimacy as I
understand it. How do we know if we have an intimate relationship?
1) We can speak openly about important emotional issues. If you are
angry because your husband does not like to do the same things that you
do, and go out much, , it would be important to let him know how this
affects you, without allowing the resentment to build.
2) We can set limits with our partner. Writing a “contract” together
works for many couples. For example, an agreement that is worked out by
both of you to go out for dinner. How often and where needs be included
in this contract. Or you may work out a written agreement to go out with
your friends once or twice a month without your husband. Acceptance on
his part is vital to a successful contract. Having to write the
specifics down, in terms of which restaurants, often generates an
understanding of underlying reasons why your husband may object to this
type of activity. He may be more worried about finances than you were
3) We can stay connected to our partner, even though we think or feel
differently. Even if you and your husband find yourselves in a situation
where you talk about your differences, and still cannot agree, you may
need to look at your husband’s differences as differences in
temperament. He may find pleasure and contentment in being at home
because he is less outgoing, less social than you are. Focusing on what
he is, and the qualities that you first fell in love with may help. So
often, we fall in love with our partners because they are so different
from us, whose qualities complemented the qualities that we didn’t have,
and then, later in our marriage, we try to change our partners to be
just like us. That doesn’t work.
If your marriage will endure, it will endure because you both want
this marriage to work, and both of you are willing to look within, and
see what you can change in yourselves. This often happens because you
understand how important certain issues are to your partner. Small
changes that you are both making need to be acknowledged and
appreciation expressed. Nothing creates positive change as much as
letting your partner know how much you appreciate his or her efforts.
Neither of you benefit by responding with silence, or by making
sacrifices that hurt yourselves. Silence and self-sacrifice only lead to
deeper anger and resentment. However, to acknowledge when we are wrong,
or to acknowledge that we caused our partner pain or disappointment, is
a strength, although it may feel like a vulnerability or a weakness.
Acknowledging when we are wrong encourages your partner to do the same.
When we are open and honest, trusting, and kind, revealing ourselves
will open the door to the beauty of real intimacy.
Sandra A Doron is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker A & A Couples
Counseling Acknowledge and Appreciate (Keys to a Successful