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"Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage!"
Newsletter and Updates #22 — October 30, 2006


• Unspoken Sexual Contract in Marriage

• Talk on CD--LOVE 101

• "Happily Ever After" Marriage Conference, July '07 (Orlando)

• New Product--Teaching Intimacy 101

• Author Note--Graduate Program

• Newsletter Archive

Unhappy coupleUnspoken Sexual Contract in Marriage

Some recent emails have prompted me to address the issue of unspoken sexual contracts between husbands and wives. The unspoken contract in marriage often sounds something like this, "I expect you to be faithful to me, but don't expect me to meet your sexual needs." The following emails illustrate this heartbreaking dilemma:

No Sex for Seven Years
"I have been married for over 30 years. My wife has had no interest in cuddling, kissing, touching or sex for the last 7 years. During the two preceding years we had sex twice in one year, and once in the following year, and none since. It is very frustrating and disheartening. We made promises to each other more than 30 years ago and I am wondering if I even want to be married any more. I stick with it out of duty and commitment and honor. I gave my word.

It is so painful to be in bed with her because there is no intimacy, no cuddling, nothing. I find myself spending more time with the women at work than with my wife, because they listen respectfully to my ideas, and often ask for my opinions and advice. At night the tears trickle out my eyes on a regular basis. Oh she says she loves me, but I wonder. I really do. So to all those "good" wives out there who use sex and intimacy as a weapon, be advised as to its cost and hurt. I would like to give up caring, but I cannot. I know I am not acceptable to her because of her actions, her critiques and lack of listening to me, her dry kisses, her pushing me away on attempted hugs, etc. The bedroom is a constant reminder of failure, inadequacy and pain. I am unable to talk with her about this (or anything) without being interrupted or having my thoughts completed for me, and usually incorrectly. The sad thing is that to all on the outside our marriage looks great. But to me it is a screwed up mess."

Wife Has Had No Interest in Sex for Many Years
"I fear there may be many wives who feel that the days of enjoying anything sexual are over. It seems that once the kids have come, are raised and are gone, many are happy to be done with intimacy. It even occurs with good women who are good wives. They just don't want intimacy to be helped.

I'm looking at this from a slanted, personal view because my wife and I have been married for nearly 40 years, and there has been no intimacy for many years. We've been to counseling, but any intimacy discussion is closed. To suggest reading your book or any other regarding intimacy is met with, "What, and be reminded of what a failure I am as a wife?" or "I'm not comfortable talking about this." My wife is a wonderful woman. I think much of her service to others is a form of practiced avoidance of intimacy. If I mention anything to her I'm told that "a lot of women feel this way." What can be done. I'll be retiring soon, but with our relationship the way it is, it's going to be a long retirement."

Marriage is a stewardship with responsibilities for both husbands and wives to strive to meet each others' needs, and to share the responsibility for each other's susceptibility to temptation. This intimate marital stewardship often requires soul stretching. What can you do to create a relationship where the needs for intimacy are met for both spouses? The following are some suggestions:
  • Ask. Ask yourself, and maybe your spouse as well, what the unspoken sexual contract is in your marriage? Both husband and wife should have the mindset, "I am willing to stretch, if necessary, to meet my spouse's needs for love and intimacy." 
  • Open the topic for discussion. Create an opportunity for an open and safe discussion about each other's needs for love and intimacy? Set a time, and reflect back each other's comment before responding with your own thought. If it isn't possible to talk together reasonably, write each other a letter.
  • Read about common intimacy differences. Read chapter five of the book, "And They Were Not Ashamed--Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment." This chapter on sexual differences between husbands and wives can help both spouses gain greater insight and empathy into each other's thinking, feeling, and sexual functioning.
  • Learn how to love each other more effectively. The new talk on CD "Love 101--Learning to Love More Meaningfully" can help you understand in a personal and profound way how to better meet each other's unique needs for love.
Love 101 coverTalk on CD
"LOVE 101 -- Learning to Love More Meaningfully"

How well do you know the specific keys to your spouse's heart? How well are you meeting their needs for love? Learning to meet each other's needs for love allows you to grow in ways that help you become more alive, and more whole, resulting in a close and connected intimately fulfilling relationship. On this new CD you'll hear Laura share her personal experiences with learning to love her husband better, and gain valuable insights to strengthen your marriage.

Purchase "LOVE 101" Talk on CD

ACME logo"Happily Ever After" Marriage Conference
July 12-15, 2007 (Orlando, Florida)

If you can't make it to our next annual Couples' Valentine's Cruise, (only six spots left) then we hope you'll make it to the upcoming "Happily Ever After" marriage celebration/conference in Orlando, Florida this summer. The Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment (ACME) has asked Laura to be one of three Saturday Masters Workshops. She'll be teaching, "Sexy is a State of Mind--Cultivating Sexual Desire for Your Spouse." This conference will be a wonderful event, a great opportunity to strengthen your marriage, and a great anniversary getaway for you and your spouse!

International Marriage Enrichment Celebration
"'Happily Ever After' Turning Fairy Tales Into Reality"
     July 12-15, 2007 (Orlando, Florida)
     Masters Workshop by Laura M. Brotherson--Sat. afternoon, July 14, 2007
     "Sexy is a State of Mind--Cultivating Sexual Desire for Your Spouse"

For more information visit:
     Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment (ACME)

Click here for additional Event information.

Teaching Intimacy 101 coverNew Product Coming Soon!

"TEACHING INTIMACY 101 -- How to Teach Your Children about Sex and Intimacy in Marriage"

Most parents know they should talk to their children about sex, but don't know what to say, or where to begin. Teaching Intimacy 101 , taken from the book And They Were Not Ashamed--Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, shines a light on the subject, making it easy for parents to feel confident in the ongoing process of providing a positive and healthy dialogue about sex and intimacy. Parents will be able to overcome their discomfort, prepare themselves and their children for these sacred conversations, and learn what, when, why, and how to teach their children about the intricacies of intimacy, and better prepare them for a mutually fulfilling, lasting relationship in marriage.

--Coming the end of November 2007--

Click here for other available Products.

For those of you who have been wondering about the reduced frequency of our "Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage" newsletters, Laura has been enrolled in a graduate program with Capella University since May 2006 to obtain her master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. We hope to be able to continue to send out our newsletter monthly, but the frequency may be affected by the coursework at times. We appreciate your understanding.

Stay tuned for more intimacy insights in upcoming Strengthening Marriage Newsletters...! Click here to visit the complete e-Newsletter archive. If you missed the last newsletter, you can catch it here:
"Straight Talk Q&A" -- Marriage Newsltr #21

"Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage" newsletter and updates are designed to strengthen marriages, and build strong families--written by the author of the book "And They Were Not Ashamed - Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment." Visit www.StrengtheningMarriage.com to learn more. We welcome your personal feedback at Laura@StrengtheningMarriage.com

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