A while ago I read Shirley Glass's Not "Just Friends" . She wrote the words below that pretty closely summarize what we hope for couples.
She listed out the following characteristics of a strong marriage:
- Compassionate communication is the essence of your healing.
- Your sexuality is a mutually desired expression of love, affection, and eroticism. I looked it up and the first definition of erotic is, of or concerning sexual love or desire; amatory. That's just what we mean.)
- You have replaced any rigid patterns with flexible interactions: shared intimacy, power, and respect.
- Conflicts are resolved and don't escalate; you don't avoid them.
- Neither of you feels overbenefited or underbenefited because you are equally invested in the relationship.
- You have a united front in dealing with others, a co-constructed story about the meaning of the infidelity (or whatever the rift was) and a shared vision for monogamy.
Healing isn't for the faint of heart. Unblinking bravery (ok, maybe a little blinking) is required to face life honestly. And when life is faced honestly the likelihood of gaining the reward of grace filled intimacy is closer to being a new reality.