Talk about Sex before you Get Married

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Talk about Sex before you Get Married

Planning a wedding can be a whirlwind that scoops you up and carries you along. There are so many things to plan and do. But one of the most critical parts of a marriage, your sex life, is often swept aside. Yet, it plays a crucial role. Not only is your sex life important, but the intimacy that stems from it can fuel your relationship and keep it intact for the long haul. But a lack of intimacy can sap your marriage.  Most people expect their married sex life to be phenomenal throughout. Though married people often register higher numbers on sexual satisfaction surveys, the truth is one’s sex life ebbs and flows throughout a marriage. Psychotherapist and sex specialist Vanessa Marin says that those couples who do talk about sex before they get married are more successful overall. It is important for any couple that wants decades upon decades of happy sex ahead of them to discuss it, and come to an understanding about the matter with their partner. Schedule a time to sit down together. It doesn’t have to be stuffy. You can set a romantic mood, get wine and light candles. Or you can just sit down on the couch together and start talking about sex. It’s really up to you, and what style you have as a couple.

The first thing to consider is to ask what your sexual strengths and weaknesses are. Talk about your favorite memories together. Share what the best sex you ever had was. What was it about that time? How did it make you feel? What about it made you feel that way? Ask what theirs was and why. What do you both really enjoy doing together or to one another? What really works for you? Over time, usually couples get better. They get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and trust builds. Each person should ultimately feel free to open up and express their needs, wants and desires. This will build a great sex life together. It will help build your relationship, as it provides immense intimacy to be able to shed guilt or shame, open up, be understood and accepted, and ultimately be fulfilled by your partner. Ask yourselves how to make intimacy a priority. Marin writes in an article in Psychology Today that she always shares this with clients. They need to set aside time for intimacy. Those clients usually respond by saying, “we didn’t know we had to do that…” Having a fantastic married sex life requires a little bit of care and effort. Schedule date nights, get a sitter and get some special alone time together each week.

Talk about how you feel about the inevitable changes in your sex life throughout your marriage. Are you planning on having kids? You can’t imagine how that will change your time in the bedroom. Menopause and lots of other things will change it too. Discuss how you plan to keep the spark a towering inferno of passion throughout your life together. You don’t want things to get boring. Talk about interests and fantasies together. Marin suggests each person making a list using red, yellow and green lights. “Reds are the things you know you don’t want to try, yellow are the ones you’re unsure about, and greens are the things you feel perfectly comfortable with. Making these lists can be a fun way to keep the chemistry going,” she writes. Talk about what you will do if you ever have a fight about sex. Marin says it is inevitable. Do you have a communication strategy in place? Will you decide to see a marriage counselor or sex therapist if you have to? Know each other’s feelings on these sorts of things. Think about how each of you can nurture your individual sexualities. Lastly, talk about your honeymoon with your soon-to-be spouse. What are the expectations? What will you experiment with? Does the sex take precedence or other honeymoon activities? For more on how to have great sex with your now or soon-to-be spouse, pick up a copy of Marriage And Sex: Marriage Advice On Spicing Up Your Marriage And Marriage Tips About Sex For Married Couples by Suzie Holmes.

Is your Marriage Better Now than at your Honeymoon?

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We all know about the honeymoon phase, that spectacular time in a relationship when you just can’t stop thinking about one another. Your lover is your everything. You seem absolutely perfect for one another. The short time you spend apart felt like an utter catastrophe only to be saved by the thrill you felt at reunion. Once you fast forward years, even decades later after having one perhaps two careers, a mortgage and some kids grown and moved out things in a relationship change an awful lot. With all the ups and downs, old issues and unresolved ones, it can be hard to re-engage that ecstatic feeling you first felt when you two got together, or were first married. The divorce rate for baby boomers remains at a stubborn 50%. Still, despite the dour statistics, there are those couples, everyone knows them, that seem happier years and even decades into their marriage than they did when they first became an item. Still, there are couples who are deeply satisfied in their relationships. But this feeling has become their normal. So is your marriage better now than at your honeymoon? Here are some signs. First, you feel totally and completely comfortable in front of your partner. You can tell them anything and feel perfectly at ease and they feel the same about you.

You don’t have to rely on getting dressed to the nines to be noticed by your partner, or to feel that glow or your pulse quicken. In fact, interaction, warmth, affection, a deep unrelenting connection and an abiding trust and friendship are just as much a part of your attraction to one another as your physical selves. When a honeymoon phase is on, there’s this nervous energy that inhabits everything. It is in your laughter, how you make love and other interactions. Though it can be thrilling it can also make you anxious. But when you are happy later on in your marriage, you are relaxed. There isn’t this nervous feeling that you may ruin the mood. If it does get ruined your partner is more likely to make a joke about it and help things move on than to get upset. There is a comfort level there that doesn’t exist in the earlier years. Sex improves for some couples in a more developed marriage. Each partner knows the others wants, needs and desires. There isn’t a frantic worry about pleasing the other person. The pressure to get pregnant is gone. It isn’t as goal oriented. It’s more about pleasing and enjoying one another. At one time early on in a marriage, a fight or a faux pas was a big deal. That worrying about little problems or issues is over. Nothing is hidden from the other for fear of disapproval. For more on having and keeping a great marriage, read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver.

Strange Tales of Divorce

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According to the Times of Israel, one man from the south of that country is divorcing his wife for owning 550 cats. These cats drove him crazy; hundreds of them swarming all over the place. He couldn’t live comfortably in the house. He couldn’t get into the bathroom. They even stole his food right off his plate. Fed up, he filed for divorce. The Rabbinical court has tried to get the couple to reconcile. But the wife was so attached to her cats, a requirement the man imposed on reconciliation, that the two decided to go their separate ways. Though a weird story, it’s not alone. There are plenty of strange tales when it comes to divorce. Have you ever been asked to give back an heirloom, a keepsake, a gift, even a wedding or engagement ring? Though it may feel pretty low at the time it’s not as low as one surgeon from Long Island. He gave his wife a kidney. But when she filed for divorce, he stated that he wanted it back. It took guts to do that. But she’s not giving his kidney back. One mama’s boy in Italy was so attached to his mother, he actually brought her on the honeymoon. Three weeks later his wife served him with divorce papers. Guess he’s moving back in with his mother.

Ever have an ex get your goat? Who hasn’t? Well for Steve Killeen and his ex-wife this is literally true. Though they had a loving pooch, his wife saw photos of baby goats online and forced him to buy her one. When they divorced in 2009 he kept the goat, giving the old saying new life. One of the worst things about a divorce is moving. When you have a house, who gets it? One couple could not decide and both hunkered down, not giving an inch. Getting fed up with their case the judge thought up something special. He ordered them to share the house, and build a wall through it. Ever lie about your age? It’s just a little fib, most of the time that is unless you lie about your age to your spouse. One woman said she was 24 instead of 30. A decade later in 2007 the husband found out her true age, and initiated a divorce. Ever been grounded by a judge? One man’s spending was out of control and he failed to pay $14,000 in back child support. The judge had his cell phone, TV, internet, even his newspaper taken away in order to get his spending under control. A farmer and his wife split in 2008 but couldn’t decide who would keep the farm. She insisted on getting half of everything. So the farmer went out with his grinder and cut all the farm equipment in half. One man’s wife left him after his prosthetic penis extension broke during sex. Lastly, another couple divorced in 2008. The former husband Moeun Sarim made sure she would get her half, gathered up his friends and cut the house in half. She still lives in her part. If you’re going through a divorce and need financial advice, read Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce by Attorney Violet Woodhouse, CFP and Dale Fetherling.

Wait Before Getting Married

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There are still people today who rush into marriage. Those people who marry young often regret it, though not always. But these are the most volatile relationships and the most likely to get divorced. In today’s world people often need to be more mature in order to handle a marriage. Each person needs time to discover who they are. To be financially self-sufficient each person generally needs years of education and developing their career. Typically the time needed to invest in a marriage can be cumbersome when young people are trying to build their career, and long hours and hard work are involved. Oftentimes, marrying young means children. Some young people marry young because of the children. But they can turn into single parents just as easily. Now their time is even more constricted due to having to take care of the children. How will they find time to manage a job and try to build themselves up for their and their children’s future, via night school, trade school, college or through some other program? Older people, such as when you are in your late twenties or thirties, are more centered. They are more grounded. They know who they are and usually what they want in life. But the development of identity in the late teens and early to mid-20’s can really get in the way of a marriage.

You’ve got a learning curve to deal with when you are first entering the workforce. To compound those issues with a marriage is indeed difficult. It’s one thing if you are making mistakes that affect your own life. But it’s quite another if your mistakes are affecting someone else as well. Financially, you are in much better shape getting married a little older than younger. Marriages are expensive, as are honeymoons. And with today’s expensive American wedding, oftentimes the gifts don’t cover the expense. When you are settled into a career and making a good salary, that is the time to get married. It will be better for the overall relationship, too. By the time the late 20’s or early to mid-30’s roll around, you will have had some experience in relationships. You will know what to expect and how to handle relationship situations. You will also have a better idea of what is acceptable and what isn’t. This will carry over and help you navigate the marriage much better than if you didn’t have any relationship experience. Drama and emotional baggage are difficult to deal with. Though these often litter the relationships of those in their teens and early 20’s, by the time someone is in their late 20’s or thirties, the desire for drama has hopefully gotten out of their system, and they have an idea of their baggage and how to keep it in check. For more on getting marriage right, read When I Get Married . . .: Surrendering the Fantasy, Embracing the Reality by Jerusha Clark.

Financial Gifts to Give your Partner

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If you are dating the romantic type, perhaps stock or mutual funds won’t win them over. But for the more practical minded, there are financial gifts you can give your partner that will help them, and you secure your future. Though they may not see it as a grand romantic gesture, the overall message is one of care, commitment and support. Here’s a great gift idea, why not attend a financial consultation as a couple? The number one issue couples fight about is money. And those who cannot solve their issues are more likely to split. A consultation may eliminate or at least lessen this and also put you on the path to financial solvency and health. Meeting with an adviser takes the pressure off both of you. It gives you a good look at what your financial future may look like together. It takes the heat out of the air and puts the burden of financial decisions in the hands of a professional. Of course, you don’t have to take their advice. But it will give you a chance to see how things are and what the best way forward is. For married couples, a life insurance policy is a good idea, just in case something happens, especially if you are the main breadwinner. It can offer piece of mind, and relieve your partner with the embarrassment of broaching the subject. This is especially important if you two have children together.

Another place you can save yourselves from an uncomfortable conversation is having a will. According to AARP 71% of those under 40 and 40% of baby boomers do not have a will. A will can make sure your assets are distributed accurately and exactly to your wishes in the unlikely event of your death. There are intestacy laws in place, or laws that state how a person’s assets are allocated should they pass without a will being made. But these do not take into account cohabitating partners. Even if you are married, state laws may prevent all of the assets to go to one party. Lastly, and one that is more fun, what about starting a “special occasion” fund? Psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Leaf Van Boven conducted research with 1,200 American couples and found that saving for and looking forward to things such as a nice vacation, an event, a concert and so on increased their happiness. Giving someone a bankbook for a special birthday party, a retirement party or a second honeymoon is a great way to make them overjoyed with you and your thoughtful gift. For more financial planning tips, read the advice of Matt Bell in his book, Money & Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples.