This post from Derek Markham appeared at the Good Men Project site a couple of weeks ago - good stuff . . . and I tend to disagree in part. Or, more clearly (and in my opinion), Derek offers a true but partial perspective in this piece. In fairness, he admits this is not the only solution.
Let me clarify a bit - I have no doubt that in a solid, healthy, emotionally honest relationship, making love can rebuild that intimate connection when it fades or gets derailed. I've seen it work in my own relationship.
But for the majority of couples, if the intimacy is lacking or gone, love-making will be little more than having sex - and sex without intimacy is not going to rebuild a disconnect between two people.
Simply being naked together (literally and metaphorically), being vulnerable and open, with no expectation of sex is maybe a better approach for some people. Just cuddle, maybe caress each other, drop the defenses, the games, the masks so many of wear in our daily lives - be radically open, impeccably present.
If you can do that, I have no doubt you'll end up making love, if that is what each of you wants. Sometimes, though, simply staying in that space is enough.
That's my opinion - here's Derek's.
When things are on the rocks, having sex can help.
There are times when we find ourselves on top of the world, because our relationship with our wife is strong and close and supportive right then. And there are other times when we experience the reverse —we’re in a big dip, and our relationship with our partner is weak and disconnected and seemingly unsupportive.
When that happens, many other things in our life also lose their flavor—our work may suffer, our play may not be so playful, and our family and home life seem to be a burden rather than a blessing. So it’s important for the overall quality of our life that we re-connect with our partner, even (especially) when we’re not getting along.
There are few activities for couples that can bring you closer than having sex together. And when you’re not getting along is the time you most need it.
Having sex with our wife (or husband) might be the furthest thing from our minds when our relationship is on the fritz, but if we can put our mental and verbal differences aside for a little while and try to come together physically (!), it could be the catalyst we need in order to move forward in our marriage.
No, having sex isn’t the only solution, nor is it permanent (unless you can keep up the tempo 24/7!). But it can give us a re-centering and re-grounding in our relationship that few things can.
And it’s not only good for our marriage, it’s good for us—mentally, physically, and emotionally—and having sex with the one we love is a very healthy practice. It also happens to be an extremely affordable activity for those of us on a strict budget…
So for a quick turnabout in your marriage, don’t moan about your relationship, or spend more money on pop-psychology books.
Just do it. It’s legal, it’s clean, it’s fun, and it’s healthy.
Caveat: Please be responsible. If you don’t want any (more) kids, use a condom or the Natural Family Planning method to play it safe.