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My marriage is ending and I don't know where we went wrong

Marriage Advice


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 We have started fighting over everything even our kids (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

Somehow the fire’s gone out of my marriage. I’m sure that we’re still committed to one another, but my husband and I have started leading separate lives.

What with both our careers demanding long hours at work, the endless nights we spend with colleagues in the bar, and our completely sterile social lives?

Worse still, we’re beginning to drive each other nuts, with endless bickering and squabbles about stuff like who should do what for the kids. Oh, and there’s very little sex. We haven’t really enjoyed being intimate for years.

What’s gone wrong? I’m beginning to despair; so is there anything we can do about it?

Is There Hope?

Chris says,

Hi Is There Hope?

It sounds like your relationship’s become unbalanced. Because every marriage has three critical elements that have to be strong and equally balanced. Then you’ll be happy together. But if they’re not, you’ll be miserable.

In fact, those three ingredients are the components of all relationships. What makes a marriage unique is that it needs all three, while other relationships only have one or two of them. So when any of those ingredients are missing, marriage isn’t really a marriage anymore and has become more like some other sort of relationship.

The first ingredient’s commitment, which you have. But you also need emotional intimacy. Happy couples spend time together, sit close, eat together and go to bed at the same time. They’re affectionate and attentive, and constantly talk about what they like about each other.

The last critical element is physical intimacy. Successful couples don’t make love every time they’re alone together - they often just talk and enjoy each other’s company. But they do make love a lot!

So your relationship needs to regain a good mix of emotional and physical intimacy, alongside your commitment. Otherwise, you’re sure to gradually become more and more unhappy.

So stay committed! But also set time aside just to be together, away from the kids, TV and phones. So you can rediscover the joys of just talking and being close, like when you were dating.

One of the best times is the last thing in the evening. 30 to 45 minutes will do. So negotiate a fixed bedtime that works for both of you, and spend the half hour or so before that on the sofa, with a small snack and a bedtime drink. And then go get ready for bed together.

And never forget that wonderful Nike ad - ‘Just Do It!’ Because once you’re emotionally intimate, you’ll find yourselves getting horny again. So don’t miss any opportunities!

And watch your expectations.

Before you decide that there’s no hope for your relationship, ask yourself whether you’re being fair. And giving each other the emotional and physical intimacy you both need. Because it’s only when you do that you’ll be happy together.

All the best,


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