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The sixth task: establishing a good sexual relationship

The Slow Kiss

The sixth task of establishing a good marriage doesn't sound like a task at all: managing a good sex life. And, the newlyweds may think, we've got that down just fine, thank you very much. But as a marriage progresses, children come along, life intervenes, and things get more complicated. Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, authors of The Good Marriage, define the sixth task as "to establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship and protect it from the incursions of the workplace and family obligations."

This is a task the authors endorse most enthusiastically, stating, "there is no better antidote to the pressures of living than a loving sex life." Yet it's not as simple as it might seem.  Technique is important, and couples need to learn how to communicate their likes and dislikes. Even more important is the spirit with which they approach each other. Never is a loving, caring attitude more important than in the bedroom.

"Sexual intercourse combined with love demands trust," the authors said. "Both partners must feel safe, and this takes time." Time to establish that feeling of safety, time to learn each other's needs, and time to learn to communicate on this sensitive subject. The authors encourage couples to safeguard their sex life, making it a priority even when children and workplace demands make it challenging. Taking a weekend trip can do wonders, but so can a good lock on the bedroom door to prevent the little people from popping in at the wrong moment!

The authors suggested that the biggest difference between happy couples and those who divorce may be in their sex lives. Those who divorced had had a poor sex life for a long time. Simply having sex is not enough~ it's about creating the kind of relationship where it's likely both partners will feel safe enough to open up to each other.

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