Spiritual attachment and sexual satisfaction in marriage



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Texas Tech University


There is much to learn about how a couple's sexual concerns and relational concerns are interrelated. We know relatively little about fulfilling sex and lasting intimacy within long-term committed relationships such as marriage (Schnarch, 1997). Recent changes in the expectations of committed relationships may help explain this lack of understanding. Schnarch (1997) states that for most of history, marriages were arranged for social, economic, and political reasons, yet at no time have people expected more gratification and fulfillment from a long-term, intimate, couple relationship than they do today. These exalted expectations and the inability of marriages to meet them may be reflected in the high divorce rate. This could leave couples hopeless about ever finding fulfillment in relationships when all their personal problems, including intimacy and sex, cannot be solved by finding the perfect partner.

Marriages may be in trouble. According to Michael, Gagnon, Laumann, and Kolata (1994), the divorce rate is over 50% and climbing, and sex is a key part of marriage that is often less than fulfilling and satisfactory. Some couples look for answers from a therapist but often lose hope that the relationship will survive the process if sexual concerns are not addressed (Mason, 1991). However, as Gottman states, "The issue isn't how frequently you have sex, it's how well you handle the inevitable differences that arise whenever two people form a partnership" (1994. p.22). With such high expectations for sex and marriage, new insights about what makes relationships fulfilling and satisfying are needed.