Overcome the fatigue of familiarity in your marriage


Recently, Chama, the women’s only welfare group of which I am the only male member, invited me to join them in a meeting and explain some matters of bedroom importance. “We have noted with concern a trend that we feel is dangerous for our marriages,” the chairperson introduced the topic of the day. “The frequency of sex in our marriages is declining at super speed and we fear that in the long run there will be no sex at all.”

Each Chama member had made a chart over the past six months to show the frequency of sex in their marriages. “These trends show that overall, we rarely have sex more than twice a week. Many couples go up to a month. We wonder what we should expect if not divorce.”

Chama members were raising a pertinent concern. The assumption has been that human sexuality thrives in stable, long-term relationships. But science shows that unless you proactively work on your sexuality, it is a matter of time before it falls apart.

“What do you mean, work? Is it supposed to be a job?” a member shouted. Everyone laughed.

Well, fulfilling sexual relationships thrive in playfulness; a sexy relationship is one without rules of how to behave in order to remain dignified. It is a relationship where vulnerability has no consequences and so one can express their weird, sexual behaviour without fear.

Fulfilling sexual relationships are where couples do not mind to be out of control in the confines of their bedrooms; where being out of control is actually fulfilling and people thank their spouses for leading them to the experience.

This is not, however, what marriages become. Work stresses, relatives, investments, childcare, house management, and so forth, all cause disagreements sometimes. Men insist on being respected and treated with dignity because they are the head of the house, blah, blah, blah. Occasionally they dictate terms of engagement and you have to obey. Many times you have learnt to live with a lot of baggage for the sake of the relationship. Play and jest fall out of the question. Even during sex, you both put on a stone face. Under these circumstances, satisfactory sex is impossible.

You must stop treating your spouse like your parent. According to Sigmund Freud, a psychologist and sex researcher, people learn about love from their parents. The person you are most vulnerable to and with no fear of being hurt is your parent. As a child there was no shame in being naked in front of your parent. Even if they got annoyed you knew they could not harm you. In other words, it was okay to be true to your parents.

According to Freud, this parent-child love came with a caveat: no sex. Hence, sex was not part of what we learnt as true love. As we start new love relationships later in life, we are subconsciously try to find an equivalent of the true love that we learnt from our parents. The only difference this time is that this new love comes with sex. Sometimes this brings us subconscious conflict, making us question how sex can be part of true love. The conflict gets more pronounced when children come into the relationship and we take up parental duties. You are now mummy and daddy and the memories of your childhood overwhelm your subconscious as you start to emulate the behavior of your parents. This suppresses sex even more.

“What are we supposed to do?” reacted a member.

Couples need to be conscious of these relationship dynamics and come up with new ways of sustaining romance. Create time to be together away from the hustle and bustle of life. It also helps to read romantic books and learn new skills of expressing love. Further, there are videos that you can watch together to increase your intimacy. If there are couple enrichment seminars, create time to attend them.

Couples that are committed to enhancing their romance succeed in doing so. Remember, if you invest in your relationship, the fire of the first love lives on. If you leave it to take a natural


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