When the thrill is gone… Now what?

It’s hard to keep passion alive in marriage. Ask any couple that has been married for several years, and they will probably tell you that it takes work to keep passion alive in a marriage. However, they will probably also tell you it’s worth the hard work. Now there’s some research to back up this finding. Recently a British national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles was conducted. The study surveyed more than 10,000 people in the general British population with ages ranging from 16-74 years old.[1]  The results of this study were published yesterday in BMJ Open.

BMJ Open is a medical journal published bi-monthly. BMJ Open considered papers addressing research questions in clinical medicine, public health and epidemiology. The results of this study were fascinating. The researchers determined that it was relationship difficulties and differences, more than physical differences, that led to a lack of interest in sex. The findings suggest that marriage is hard work, and when couples don’t put the hard work into their relationship in marriage, the results show up in the bedroom.

So how do you protect this area of your marriage?  There is a one-word answer to this question… ROMANCE!  Here are some ideas on how you both can keep this area alive in your relationship.

Romancing the home

Many marriages face a chronic lack of romance.  When romance is missing from the marriage, it inevitably impacts other areas of the relationship as well. Here’s what the BMJ Open article determined:

Among women, factors that have been consistently associated with lacking interest in sex are relationship problems, relationship quality and partner’s sexual functioning, poor physical health and negative mood states or depression.[2]

These findings indicate that a couple has to work at romance. Perhaps when you were dating romance came naturally; eventually, life gets in the way in a relationship. The longer the relationship lasts the more both partners are going to have to work to keep romance alive.

Speaking her language

The reason why romance is hard work is because everyone speaks a different dialect from one another in the language of romance. Chances are, you find something romantic that your spouse does not find romantic at all. Probably, your husband views something romantic that other men don’t find romantic. Everyone has a bit of a different dialect when it comes to romance. That’s why both partners need to work at this area of the relationship.

Romance starts with the head before it moves to the heart. Romance, at its basics, is an attempt to communicate your love or emotions for the other person in a way that they will understand. This heart-level communication is very important to the overall health of the relationship. It’s also very important to the passion in a marriage. The survey found that among both men and women, there was an association between ease of communication and lacking interest in sex. Those who found it ‘always easy to talk about sex’ with their partner were less likely to report low interest.[3]

Showing him love

Men have been admonished for years to continue to date their wife long after the wedding date, but not enough people tell women that they should continue to pursue and date their husband long after marriage. This street goes both ways. A wife needs to communicate her love to him, her husband, in a way that helps him understand what he means to her. A husband should demonstrate his love for his wife, not just say it. Romance is that demonstration of love between a husband and a wife. The longer the relationship lasts, the more a couple must work at the romance in the relationship. The math formula is really easy: romance leads to passion, and passion leads to great sex. The data in the BMJ Open article confirms the importance of the relational context in individuals’ level of sexual interest.[4]

Romance is not just something science recognizes; it’s also implied in the Bible. The Bible encourages Christians to put hard work into their marriages.  Proverbs 5:18-19  suggests that a married couple should be able to keep the passion alive late in marriage with a little hard work and a whole lot of romance. I hope you have the kind of marriage that you can drink deeply of each other’s love even after 30 or 40 years together!

[1] http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/9/e016942

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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