Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let's Spend the Night Together

8 - Physical Intimacy
(it isn't just for the weekend anymore)

At this point, if you haven't full on decided that marriage is just too much work (you shouldn't, these are just little suggestions to add from time to time -- personally, I wish someone would write one of these on how to groom ones-self as I have never really gotten past the shower / comb my hair step) and you are still reading, you are saying to yourself, "Kelly, this is all fine (albeit sappy and borderline sentimental), and I can see how it would make for a happier marriage but it will lead to... ideas.  And quite frankly, I am WAY too tired and stretched for any extra intimacy..."

You are right, that is precisely where this is leading (family, if you want to close your eyes and say nananananana, I get it, but I will try to make this topic as benign as possible-- and don't worry, I'd prefer we never talked about this face to face also).  I'm sure there are many many many couples deeply in love out there where both partners feel like being special room-mates is a happy life; physical intimacy is fine for anniversaries, birthdays, and an occasional holiday... but MOST happy couples have an active and fulfilling love-life after marriage (yes, even with little kids, a spare-tire, and stretch marks that look like a road-map).

I'm sure you've heard the analogy equating physical intimacy and fruit before, but in case there is a couple who needs a reminder:  it is like watermelon.  It seems like so much work: the thumping on watermelons to find a good one, the loading it into the cart, the buying, the rolling around in the trunk, the lugging home, the finding and sharpening of the huge knife, the laboriously slicing (without slicing off a finger), and getting rid of seeds, but after it is done and you are enjoying the wonderful sweetness... it was totally worth it and you wonder why it was such a big deal before.

There will be times in life when one or both partners are physically, mentally, and/or emotional exhausted.   There will be times when one is insecure or sick or depressed or cranky -- but I would argue that lots of love is even more vital then.  It may not be terribly creative or a marathon worthy experience but it is so important that both people feel physically engaged and embraced and cherished.  Physical intimacy heals all sorts of hurts, it builds confidence, and creates a bond.  It is the reward for all of the hard-work of marriage (and life).  If you find yourself with physical intimacy issues (especially if it is important to your partner), you owe it to yourself to resolve them:

If you are the "it's on" partner and you are tired of asking because the answer is always no, maybe try using some of the earlier habits (not to excess or your partner will think you've gone crazy - and possibly run).  Start by really helping around the house and catering to little needs / desires.  My DH has a joke that goes something like, "the harder you work, the luckier you get."  The eventual goal being that your partner feels so loved and supported and cared for that they "give in" (that sounds way worse and more transactional than it is).

If you are the "not tonight" partner... I have a headache, I'm beat, I have to wake up early, my body is a mess, the kids have been hanging on me all day, it is girls night, the game is on, the kids won't go to bed, etc.  I urge you to consider saying YES, every time, until Lent is over (not quite sure that is what the early Christians envisioned but probably not heresy).  Just see how it goes.  Are you really more tired?  Did it help give incentive to get the kids into their own bed?  Did the game turn out differently because you didn't watch the end live?  Is your partner more attentive and helpful when he/she feels physically fulfilled? 

Whichever end you are on (or hopefully somewhere in the middle)... get really good at lovin' and knowing what makes your partner happy.  It is a skill well worth mastering.  There are many many many years ahead of you as a couple and physical intimacy can be one of the most rewarding parts of marriage... especially because it goes hand in hand with emotional intimacy...

See you tomorrow at 6am!

If there are real problems, either physical or emotional or historical, please consider dealing with them, not just for your marriage or your partner but for yourself.  “A study” went out saying that people who are “physically fulfilled” 3 times a week are 50% less likely to suffer a heart attack… so if nothing else, do it for your heart <3

BLOG UPDATE 3/24/13 - Just today, one of my favorite bloggers wrote on the subject; I find her candid views so true and wonderful on a million levels.  Take a second to read it.

Let's Spend the Night Together - Rolling Stones

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