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   Home  > Articles

First Aid for Marriage

By Eric Bird of Family College for Marriage Resource


The most difficult thing for most couples to discuss is lack of sexual fulfilment. They find it hard to talk about it together and hard to mention it to someone else. If someone does entrust you with this type of problem you may feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or just plain surprised.

You can ask some simple questions, as well as listening. If you feel you do not wish to get involved even slightly at this level, then suggest that they see a counsellor or sex therapist.

However, if you are brave enough here are some simple suggestions which they might find helpful. Intimacy does not start in bed, but will probably end up there! Intimacy starts with warmth, trust and feeling. Try to take the pressure off them. People are under a lot of pressure to perform (just like it is on the films). Real life is not like that. They need to know the secret: it is to do what pleases their partner. The challenge is to find out what does please their partner.

Many men do not realise how important the wellbeing of the whole relationship is, for most women, before intimacy is reached.

Statistics show that on average, most people between the ages of 25 and 50 have sex about five times a month (this is for married or co-habiting couples; single people have much less).

They may need help in their use of time.

Encourage them to spend time together doing something they both like (e.g. eating out; walking etc.). They may need to be convinced that this is a priority. What did they talk about when they were dating? Encourage them to take small steps, to regain confidence in each other.

If one partner feels under pressure, then to be able to hold hands, kiss or cuddle without the feeling that full sex is expected can be a great relief and lead to growing trust. Where real intimacy has been largely absent, patience and time with each other will help the healing process.

Use your discretion to help them gently forward. It is not necessary to be intrusive or to discuss intimate details. If they need more specialist help, then encourage them to get it, but generally speaking, if the rest of the relationship is improving the physical side will as well.

At all times and on all issues maintain confidentiality. Your friends have a right to expect this. Gossiping about them will not only prevent you from helping them but will very likely cause you to lose their friendship and trust.

Life events

What next?

In this article
- Can I really help?
- What is expected of me?
- Try to avoid taking sides
- Listening
- Where are they coming from, and where do they want to go?
- Different is not necessarily wrong
- Handling conflict
- Life events
- Intimacy
- What next?
- A special kind of help

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