The Third Third

Seeking Intimacy in a Good Marriage

Okay.  When you find yourself reading household cleaning tips from Queen of Clean, Linda Cobb, on while navigating websites to research Intimacy in marriages of many years and at our age, it might just be you were seduced by the suggestion that Vodka works as well cleaning showers as it does in martinis.  Or it might be that you’re avoiding the topic, nay, the challenge, of intimacy in your marriage today.  Again.  Because it’s so threatening — to you, to him, to the marriage.  Because you’re afraid — not only that he no longer finds you attractive, sexy and lovable, but that you might in fact no longer 
be any of that.  Because it’s just a whole lot easier to minimize it, this loss of intimacy, when everything else you’ve got in your marriage and family, in your home life, looks and seems pretty darn good.  Why not just spray some cheap vodka on the shower glass at 5 o’clock, mix yourself a drink, and call it a day?

Why not?  Because you’re not dead yet and you don’t want your marriage to be.  And, well, gee, because you expected so much more, especially after he retired, when you no longer had to compete with that jealous mistress that was his work.  In fact, you had this fantasy, that your post-child-rearing, post-career-building, post-care-taking (or, let’s be real here, pre-care-taking) years could be magical. You thought you would rediscover the passion of the Young Love you vaguely remember, that sense that couldn’t get enough of each other — even though you realize, in your maturity, that there can be too much of a good thing, like togetherness,  especially if you let it get old and stale and  joyless and it begins to feel like a meaningless burden.  

Intimacy is sex, but not only sex.  It’s sharing a life, not just the news of the day.  It’s making new connections, heart-felt connections, not relating exclusively via finely-honed roles. It’s understanding rather than assuming. It demands vulnerability and trust and the hope that one will fuel the other and vice versa, and that both will fuel the passion. It has the potential to transform a “good enough” marriage into something great.

Seeking intimacy, rebuilding intimacy in your marriage can require a bit of help.  Acknowledging the longing is the first step.  Couples counseling can be useful.  And if it’s nice to know you’re not alone, there’s this: scores of articles like Modern Love in the New York Times and many books like Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt’s Making Marriage Simple: Ten Truths for Changing the Relationship You Have into the One You Want, have been written on the topic. Which gets you back to that story on about cleaning the shower with vodka, doesn’t it?


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