Last week, I wrote a post beginning my answer to a common question I receive in my academic or therapeutic role. That question is, “What book would you recommend for couples experiencing (enter any category) issue?” or, “I’m going to buy a good book for (x) couple, what do you recommend?” I decided to break the answer down into the top five “couples issues” areas I hear about most frequently, and first begin by addressing the “core three.” I named these as: parenting, financial struggles, and sex/intimacy. In my first post, I covered book recommendations and some discussion over parenting and finances. Today I’m going to talk about sex and intimacy issues, and then move into topic number four: developing yourselves as individuals within a marriage or relationship.
Sex or Intimacy Issues
To begin, let me just say that couples all seem to have their own strength areas within their relationship. I’ve spent a good amount of time with some couples who excel at sex and/or intimacy together, but have multiple challenges in other areas. However, I’ve seen just the opposite as well. Some couples I know are excellent at parenting as a team, managing their finances as a team, and seem to otherwise (at least from those on the outside) have a strong and capable relationship. But when it comes to intimacy (sharing vulnerabilities and deep-felt support) or sex, some of the seemingly greatest “power couples” run into problems. A lot of problems.
Many of these intimacy and sex related problems have to do with trust, or strong patterns developed from their own families of origin. I’ll cover these problems in the last entry. Some challenges, however, are simply a matter of thinking, learning, growing or communicating, becoming comfortable with each other and asking for (and meeting) needs. And many are simply the result of leading overscheduled lives in a stressful environment.