Overcoming Marital Conflict
Marriages are made, not in heaven, but by wonderfully fallible human beings who hope for the best, but who often do precious little to make this most challenging and complicated relationship work. From the very first couple and their differing view point over the apple to modern times, men and women have always disagreed. Both sexes are born with inherently different personality traits. Although mankind knows they will never see eye to eye with the opposite; they still are attracted to them, perhaps for that very reason. Unfortunately it also means there will be unavoidable conflict in the union of a woman and man. Woman's inherent sexuality and the widely dissimilar sexuality of her mate is one of the primary conflicts in marriage. They will also find diversity in their views on sex, communication, emotional expression, nearly every aspect in their lives.
Sex has made marriages and broken them. Great relationships do not always translate into wonderful sex! Many couples love each other deeply, but still don't have a fulfilling sexual relationship. Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) wrote in The New Spirit, "The omnipresent process of sex, as it is woven into the whole texture of our man's or woman's body, is the pattern of all the process of life". This leads me to believe our sexuality is the core to ourselves. Unfortunately there are so many variants between men and women emotionally that unavoidable conflicts will surface in the bedroom. Adam and Eve are the only union who ever had the freedom of entering marriage and lovemaking with no preconceived ideas no hang-ups, and no inhibitions. Men and women each possess different outlooks toward the act of sex. Most women need an emotional connection prior to experiencing a truly satisfying sexual encounter. Whereas men tend to avoid deeply emotional bonding. Men can be happy with superficial love, not that all men stop there. Women also feel affection is the essential cement of her relationship with a man. She marries a man that cares about her, and she wants him to express his care often. Without it she usually feels alienated from him. With it she will become emotionally bonded to him. Learning the sexual outlook of each other's partner will increase the ability to deal with the sexual conflicts that materialize.
Fear of failure and rejection and the belief that something is wrong infiltrates many sexual experiences. Case studies show that most couples who complain of sexual problems in their marriages are really experiencing a deeper problem. Letting go of assumptions, most of which come from books, movies, and fantasies, and sharing desires and fears with their mate, their individual sexuality can and will become more fully and freely expressed. Communicating feelings and desires is the key to sexual contentment. Conversation in the state of intimacy should be respectful and non-judgmental. Partners, who share mistakes and failures, will see a closer bond of friendship and trust result. Not only can they learn to be closer through the success of their mate, but also in recognizing the vulnerable humanity from their failures. Couples can learn to express the deep love for each other and gratitude for the mutual care of one another. By lowering their defenses and forming a close emotional bond by communicating, they'll feel greater pleasure when meeting each others needs. This is the way marriage was meant to be.
Just as men find sex enjoyable in it's own right, most women enjoy conversation simply because they like to converse. While most men have a need for communication, this need is usually greater in women. This difference is often a source of great frustration. Marriage counselors report that nearly one half of all the couples they see have serious problems communicating. Communication is extremely important in all areas of life, but in the intimate state of marriage it is vital. Therapists agree...
Cited: Partners In Love: Ingredients for a Deep and Lively Marriage, Alanson B.
Houghton, Walker and Company, NY, @1988
Intimate Strangers: Men and Women Together, Lillian B. Rubin, Harper Perennial,
Together Forever, Anne Kristin Carroll, Zondervan Publishing House, MI, @1982
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