What does a woman need to attain sexual desire? Emotional connection. What does a man need to attain an emotional connection? Sex. At first glance, it would seem a perfect fit. But look closer. This is an intricately complicated puzzle to which a piece eventually goes missing. Once that one very important piece is missing, it’s time to throw out the puzzle…right? This seems to be the downfall of so many marriages. This piece goes missing, and what good is a puzzle without all of its pieces?
When a marriage is fresh, there is both emotional connection and sex. All is right with the world. Everyone is blissfully happy. Then one day, usually once the realities of marriage have taken hold and neither spouse has time to cater to the other, something happens. More time gets devoted to work, children, and chores–less time devoted to maintaining that emotional connection. For him, this is less important. For her, emotional connection represents the major load-bearing wall that holds up her house of love. Once gone, her house is vulnerable and sure to come tumbling down around her. Once she no longer feels that connection, guess what else she no longer feels…the desire to have sex with the one whom she is slowly beginning to view as her enemy. She feels that he no longer WANTS to connect with her. She thinks…he doesn’t want “me”…he just wants “sex.” This revelation will lead to her feeling used and discarded. The last thing she wants now is sex! Now, she has drawn a line in the sand. He doesn’t want me…I don’t want sex. She no longer desires him and may even withhold sex in a passive aggressive retaliation.
He is sometimes oblivious to the loss of emotional connection as it does not top his list of needs. He has missed this very pivotal piece of the puzzle. Now that it’s missing, the sex is missing. He’s left scratching his head and feels the same sense of rejection. If he’s not getting his sexual needs met, guess what he does to retaliate (whether consciously or subconsciously)…he withholds emotional connection. He makes even less effort to talk, connect, and spend time together. In his mind, if he’s got nothing to gain, he’s got nothing to give. So now, both spouses are withholding the one thing the other needs in order to return the favor. If he would make an effort to reconnect, she would desire sex. If she would make an effort to spice up their love life, he would feel more connected. Round and round we go. We have a sexual tug of war on our hands. Who will give? Who will let go?
This struggle happens in every marriage sooner or later. It’s how you each handle it that will determine your marital future. The truth is we like to point fingers and place the blame on our spouses. But we all know “it takes two to tango.” None of us is blameless. The key is communication. If you’re feeling disconnected, talk to your spouse. Sentences beginning with “YOU…” usually end with emotional walls and little success. “I feel…” will get your point across without laying blame. But the MOST important thing you can do to mend your marriage is simply listen. Listen to what your spouse is feeling, or not feeling, and be prepared to do your part in finding that missing piece to the puzzle. Sex and emotional connection go hand in hand in marriage. If one is lost, the other will follow.