I don’t know how many couples have really sat down and decide what’s important, and what’s not.
I would guess that most haven’t.
But there are systems out there to help you work this out. The Franklin Covey system is one, which I’ve had good luck in really considering my roles, which are important, and making sure that I pay attention to each of my roles to the best of my ability.
Some roles, like being a volunteer, has had to be put aside for a decade.
Others, like being a good husband and father, are at the top of the list all the time. And making a daily and weekly list of what’s important in those roles each week helps me say “no” to other things.
Nothing is perfect; sometimes I still can’t do the things I want to do. But if I am aware of my priorities and goals, then I can make better choices every day to get closer to them, and I find it powerfully calming that I know I’m working on the most important things every day.
If you don’t have a plan, then you’ll just be buffeted by each strong breeze of other people’s wants.
And if addressing issues in your relationship and sex life is a priority, make sure you make it one.
Sex is a Priority, too
Couples often don’t like to talk about their sex lives. They are afraid of hurt feelings, negative reactions, and confronting their own faults and inadequacies. Plus, there is the fear of being judged or rejected for mental, emotional or moral reasons if they were to talk about their own desires. Sometimes, one or both people can’t even put words to their desires and dissatisfaction
That being said, you need to talk about your sex life.
If you want sex every day, and your spouse is happy with sex every other Leap Year, you need to talk. Maybe you can come to an agreement you can both live with.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to have sex swinging from a chandelier. Well, if you don’t talk about it, then it’s never going to happen. Maybe your partner is afraid of heights. Or maybe they’ll think it’s a grand idea.
And while the world of sexual interests can be wrought with landmines, I will go out on a limb and say that in my opinion, your sexual interests are fine and normal, and you shouldn’t hesitate to discuss them with your spouse. If you’re in a permanent, monogamous relationship, then the only way you’re going to get your needs met is through your spouse.
And in a healthy relationship, your spouse should want to make you happy. As you should want to make your partner happy in return.
Sex should be spontaneous, exciting and adventurous.
But let’s get real.
It’s often not.
And “should” is a loaded, unrealistic word anyway.
Most of us are too busy, stressed and exhausted to have a lot of sex like that. We wish we did. And perhaps we used to. But when the baby is crying and needs a diaper change, or when mom calls and dad has fallen and is on his way to the hospital with a shattered pelvis, well the furry handcuffs aren’t coming out tonight.
So, given that spontaneous sex isn’t as much of an option as it used to be, but both partners agree that sex is both important and something they want, then a standing sex date might be the answer. One or two nights a week (or mornings, or whatever works), put nookie on the calendar. Both partners agree that they will show up if at all possible, put other concerns aside and do their best to relax, have fun, and connect..
And the secret sauce? Your imaginations. Think of things to inspire and excite your partner when you do get together. A story. A character. An outfit. Or maybe something ordered out of the back of a magazine. The key is to show your partner you were thinking about them and both of you as a couple.
And remember: sex is one of the best antidotes for stress and is critical for maintaining connection and intimacy.
Read the next post in the Keeping the Spark Alive Series: What to Do When your Sex Life is Dying and you Don’t Feel Close Anymore