I recently came out of one of those slumps. You know the kind I mean? When three of the most important elements of your life are suffering: work life, home life, and sex life— but not necessarily in that order. At work, I had a few projects put in my lap that caused me a lot of anxiety and extra hours. As if this wasn’t enough, my wife, Kara, and I weren’t communicating or getting along as well as we usually do, and to top it all off, we weren’t having as much sex either.
The truth is, the quality of my overall relationship with my wife and the quality of our sex life are linked. For me sex is a sign of closeness, and it was especially hard to know that at the time I needed my wife the most I felt the farthest from her. It took me a few weeks to realize that these issues were related.
You see, when I get stressed I tend to withdraw into myself and just let things sit instead of talking about it. But this reaction made Kara feel like I didn’t care, like I wasn’t interested in my family. And the lack of emotional intimacy we were experiencing led to a lack of sexual intimacy.
Before getting married I thought sexual intimacy was something that stood alone, a passion that was as spontaneous as it was uncontrollable, something that rears its head in the “heat of the moment.” But marriage has taught me to see sex differently. I now understand that sexual passion doesn’t really stand-alone, it’s an expression of the emotional, intellectual, and communal intimacy that has already been shared. Sex is about giving of yourself, and what makes sex great is when we’ve practiced giving ourselves in acts of service, in communication, and in emotional intimacy. That’s why one-night stands often leave people feeling lonely and unsatisfied.
So that’s why sex is at it’s best when we are giving of ourselves outside of the bedroom too. Lucky for me, my wife is good at pulling me out of my head. Once we were able to talk about what was bothering both of us, things got much better. By recommitting to clear communication and a genuine care for one another’s needs, we were both able to reconnect emotionally and sexually. Not only that, but work got a lot easier knowing that I wasn’t facing my challenges alone.