The stress we bring to important moments like marriage is terrible. And stress isn’t good for sex and intimacy.
In fact, Christmas stress is what inspired this article.
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Stress breaks us down. It breaks us apart. It is bad for our health. It is bad for our relationships. We can’t even think clearly after prolonged stress, especially if it disrupts our sleep.
And a marriage ceremony, no matter how perfect, is stressful. I’ve seen mother-in-laws who are particularly in denial about the stress they’ve foisted on the couples and instead are just focused on how the wedding was everything they wanted it to be.
Yet, in the end of everything, it is about the union of two, who are forging a life together. And for the purposes of this column, I will focus on the obstacles of wonderful sex and intimacy for the couple.
Of the hurdles before the wonderful, there is the notable wedding ceremony. Whether big or small, fancy or simple, fanciful or traditional, there is stress. Stress seems to attract stress.
And stress breaks us down.
The high expectations of the honeymoon, with the high expectations of the wedding ceremony and the high expectations of the union means high stress.
Be aware of the stress and where it is coming from.
Then do something about it, even if it is letting go of the high expectations. Be in the moment. Enjoy the freshness of the flowers. Enjoy the excitement in the eyes of friends and families. Celebrate in your heart!
The temptation to stress is all around you and at once inside you. But the shut off valve is ultimately inside you. And if it is your partner who is stressing, pull them into your calm however you can.
Don’t focus on the perfection of your nails or your hair, but the human touch going into it, like the feeling of getting your hair washed or the lotion massaged into your hands and feet. Remember the champaign coming? The cold, crisp bubbles are fun on your tongue. But if your mind is racing around about all that could go wrong or what is wrong, you are robbing yourself of the enjoyment and excitement of the ceremony and tradition.
You are amping up the stress.
I already mentioned the external stress brought by others’ expectations, but one of the biggest harbingers of stress is famously brought by the bride!
For women I’ll venture that want, want, want mistakenly turns into the feeling of need, need, need.
Realty check! You need air. You need water. You need food. Stress and the perfect shade of pink for your six bridesmaids? Those are wants. So the stress that is being hefted around?
Drop it. Stop wanting. Stop needing. Stop ranting, worrying, and whining.
Sorry, I’m more versed on the woman’s side of things and the pitfalls. Hollywood has dramatized the craziness or made the event a fairy tale. But hearing friends freak out over everything, and hearing more about the wonderful white sand of their vacations, I’m not particularly surprised that I don’t hear more stories about how great it all was and how it brought two people closer together.
I can think of one couple that claimed to have stopped talking so much to each other when they returned from their honeymoon that they had had two great big fights.
Be realistic about stress.
If you are not great at handling stress, you should wake up and face reality! A wedding ceremony and expensive honeymoon with travel and time changes may not be good for you and your relationship.
Is your partner pushing you into something you don’t want? Not that you don’t want to be together, but is the wedding and honeymoon out of control and are they not listening to you anymore? Are you getting resentful?
If you can’t handle the stress, what kind of life are you two going to have? How is the sex and intimacy? Any faking? Shutting down? Avoidance? Is this ceremony and honeymoon just a warning about the high stress household in the near future?
If the stress is coming from your partner, are you going to desire sex and intimacy from this person for very long? Or will you learn to avoid one another?
How you handle stress separately and as a couple is connected to your sex life and intimacy.
And if your sex life and intimacy are faulty, and your life is stressful, and you have frequently been the dumper or dumpee of stress, you have just been given a chance.
If you make de-stressing your lives a priority, you will be rewarded in your relationship. If sex and intimacy have been hurting, and you reduce the stress in your relationship and prioritize time to be intimate, you will succeed.
Do I believe people are by and large going to embrace this movement of de-stressing their lives and relationships? No, but I can still hope it happens.
But I do want to stress that by de-stressing you will be able to improve your sex life and intimacy, and it will further de-stress you and your relationship.
It is wonderfully cyclic.