With the recent data dump from Ashley Madison, we have all been made aware there are a lot of people interested in taking their sexuality to extra marital relationships. Ashley Madison provides an unprecedented level of ease and availability for individuals to express their sexuality with people other than their spouses. And, according to reports, about 30 million people are willing to explore what Ashley Madison, and infidelity might offer. As marriage counselors, we stress LOVE over lust. We see couples most happy when they are monogamous and sharing their sexual desires with each other. Desires and sexual expression are an important part of intimacy. Intimacy is the unique bond that holds a couple close and connected. Desire and sexual expression typically needs to be talked about in order for it to be most fulfilling. However this conversation is often too difficult for many couples to broach. Silence in a relationship about sexual needs and preferences can be part of the reason someone might choose the anonymity of online sexual activity. To help encourage openness and communication in your marriage about the sensitive topic of sex, try starting by asking your partner the 3 questions listed below. Perhaps this will be an aid in the discussion that stirs desire and interest from your partner and you can enjoy more intimacy!
- What are you doing this weekend? When was the last time you went on a date with your partner? A date is a planned activity that lasts for more than 3 hours and does not involve errands or talking about kid school schedules. A regular date can be fresh air in a relationship, providing time together to connect free from distractions at home.
- What do you like? Ask your partner about what they most enjoy and desire in a sexual relationship. What do they not like? Is there anything that is a nonstarter or something that should not be brought up? If the conversation is difficult, ask each other about what makes the conversation feel taboo. The more you talk about it, the less embarrassment and shame you will worry about, and the more fun you will have with it.
- How are we doing? It is important to protect the fidelity in your relationship. The best way is to simply check-in with each other. Ask, “how are we doing this week?” These conversations will help you see what needs your attention and it creates an atmosphere of openness and connection. It also gives you both an opportunity to reflect on if you have been speaking positively about one another and prioritizing your relationship over the many responsibilities and stresses in your life.
Our hope is that you can enjoy a strong relationship, fulfilled and faithful to each other. Marriage can be fun, joyful, and transformitive when we give it the attention it deserves. Try these three suggestions this week and we bet you will be less likely to find your or your partner’s name on Ashley Madison.