No More Sparks
Q: My wife and I have a great relationship. We're best friends, we do things together all the time, serve each other and support each other. The only problem is, there is not much intimacy in our relationship. We have been married just over a year and for a while now I am lucky to be intimate with her one night a week, if that. I remain patient while she remains busy going to school and work. I try to catch opportunities and make things intimate but she usually says she is too tired. I love my wife, but how can I get some spark in our relationship? -- Bart, 31
Dr. Susan: If you were 20 years older, I'd say be happy you've got such a good thing going, but at your age, and with a marriage only a year old, you are right to be concerned. Not that weekly married sex is rare at all. But still, if your wife's tiredness is even partly to blame, the two of you need to sit down and brainstorm. What are your and her priorities? Are you both willing to let routine take over your lives to this extent? Do you realize that matters won't get "better" on their own? Everything that's worth having is worth some effort. Are there ways you can find to help her be less tired, such as taking on more of the routine tasks? And then, finally, reflect together on the ways you approach her and your mutual expectations of a sexual interlude. You may have to accept that electric sex is going to be more infrequent than you'd hoped, but you ought to be able to increase the frequency of "good enough" sex with the help of some new strategies. Libidos are often out of sync. Some couples find it works to agree to have sex whenever the higher libido partner wants, but in whatever way the other one wants. Friendly quickies? The use of toys to make her respond more reliably? It all begins with honest talk about what's really getting in the way. There are a lot more tips in my book Loving in Flow, about how happily-marrieds have managed similar quandaries.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.