Physical intimacy issues are one of the most common concerns for married couples, particularly couples who have been married for some time and feel that the “spark” is going out of their relationship.
It is natural to want to fix physical intimacy issues—but there are some things to consider when such issues do occur during the course of your marriage. The following are three important factors that you need to take under consideration when you are experiencing problems with physical intimacy in your marriage.
Is there an underlying reason?
There are many different reasons why your partner might not be comfortable with physical intimacy or at least certain acts of physical intimacy. One common reason for an avoidance of particular types of physical intimacy is the reluctance to engage in certain behaviors in public. In fact, it is very common for people to feel uncomfortable with grand gestures of intimacy in public situations, such as kissing or cuddling in front of other people. In some cultures and families, public intimacy is actually considered rude!
Another reason for an avoidance of physical intimacy is an incident in the past which makes the partner reluctant to engage in certain behaviors. Attacks, abuse or other incidents in their life may have caused your partner to view intimacy in a different light than you do.
Another common, though unfortunate, reason for a lack of intimacy is a growing distance between partners. This can be especially common for partners who have been married for many years.
It’s important to understand why the physical intimacy problems are occurring before you can actually address them. For example, if your partner was abused in the past and now has trouble expressing them physically, they may want to see a professional who knows how to help people who have been abused.
Do you have the same expectations?
Not everyone has the same expectations when it comes to physical intimacy in a relationship. You may feel that couples should kiss in public to demonstrate affection, while your partner feels that kisses are best kept in private; likewise, you may want to constantly cuddle when you’re sitting on the couch, while your partner would rather have some space.
You need to talk with your partner about their personal expectations for physical closeness in the relationship. Once you are on the same page, you can work on perhaps compromising or accepting that your partner’s preferences are different than yours.
Are you committed to working on your issues?
In order for any problems in a marriage to be addressed or resolved, both partners must be committed to working on the issues—they must also agree that there are issues to fix in the first place! If you are the only one fighting to resolve underlying physical intimacy problems, you may be fighting a losing battle that you can’t win.