For starters, we all know that good sex can be fun, romantic, exciting, and something that makes most consenting adults feel warm and fuzzy all over. Over the years we have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples, and most report a reasonable degree of satisfaction with their sex life. But here is our most important research finding concerning this issue: no marriage was ever made successful because the couple had a great sex life!
And more importantly, when we asked successfully married couples how important sex is to the success of their marriage — to rank on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest — the average rank was only 6! This finding has held true over the more than 30 years of our research. The results are hardly a resounding endorsement for the importance of sex in a successful marriage.
You see, marriage is a multi-faceted and highly complex relationship, and in the best marriages, no one aspect stands out as the “make or break” part of it. The truth is, there are seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages. And guess what: sex isn’t one of them! Sex is only one part of the seven characteristics of a successful marriage.
As we say so often in our many interviews and writings, all of the married couples, representing the best marriages we’ve interviewed, have shared with us the importance of touching in their relationship. One gentleman we interviewed told us that if he passed his wife in the house a hundred times a day, he touched her. To touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence and to communicate your desire for them. That’s why the most successfully married couples amongst us do it so often.
We believe that the overemphasis of sex on television, in the media, and in books about marriage cause people to believe that if they don’t have stupendous sex everyday, there is something wrong with their marriage. But marriages that fail do so for a variety of reasons, not for a single reason. Simply put, our research findings hold true that no marriage was ever saved, or made successful because the couple had a great sex life.
We’ve reported many first-hand accounts from successfully married couples who tell us how important the human touch is to a loving marriage. They hug each other often, they kiss, they touch each other while talking, they sit cheek to cheek on the couch while having a conversation, they curl around each other when they sleep or just gaze at the stars, and yes, they have sex from time to time — when it’s right for them.
You see, people touch each other in many, many different ways, and no single form of touching wins the day. It’s what we like to call “the accumulation of touching” that matters. Touch the one you love often and in whatever way your heart desires. It’s that human connection that wins the day — and wins the marriage! The simple truth is, the best marriages engage in a lot of touching, and sex is only one form of touching.
Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. And truthfully, we’ve learned in over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven, effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, as love and marriage experts, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed throughout the world and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, “Building a Love that Lasts.”
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