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This is where we get into the fun stuff: sex! I know at least one person that has been waiting for this section. Also covered here: the huge focus on the wedding, the ages at which we marry, what to do the first year of marriage for a solid foundation, and things that have positively and negatively impacted the institution of marriage. My questions to you: What do you think about what JF says about sex? What things have positively and negatively impacted marriage in your opinion? What age were you married, and what was the major deciding factor for you getting married then? 

What should you be doing your first year of marriage to establish a good foundation for the future? Talking, talking, talking. [Yay, talking!] And listening, too. Communication. Research reports that the first five years of marriage is the Honeymoon Phase—not that it’s always happy. It’s not unlike developing a group. One of the first processes of getting a group together is storming, because people are coming with different ideas, different walks of life, etc. So it’s expected that generally within the first five years of marriage, you’re
probably going to get a lot more of that than you would later on in marriage.
And maybe not even the whole five years, but you’re going to see things coming up during that time that you may not have even thought about before, or you thought that you were prepared to deal with one way, and now they’re happening another way.

[JF’s husband enters at this point in the conversation and is introduced to me & Mr. Perfect]

How important is intercourse? Pretty important! I mean, it—again, it’s going back to expectations. What are the expectations? If you are willing to talk about where you are, what you’re expecting, what that looks like to you and why and those kinds of things. One of the things that was a criteria with my husband in
getting married was just that. (Laughs) So that was, you know, that was
important to him. So, it was something that we talked about. So do you find that the more things going wrong makes sex not working a bigger issue or that the sex area not working makes other problems bigger? Which has the most influence, or which influences the other? Good question. Because sex is important, just touching, connecting—I think that’s an important part of marriage. And I think when that connection, even if it’s different, even if it isn’t whatever it is that you conjure up when you think of conventional sex –when the touching and the intimacy subsides in a relationship, then I think that the other factors become bigger because it’s difficult to necessary to work through them because that need, that human need is not being met. Now that isn’t to say, and we may be talking 60/40 rather than 50/50, because that isn’t to say that, going back to expectations, when people’s expectations aren’t met, when people believe that they are being compromised in some way or another, obviously the frequency of intimacy is effecting, so from that perspective I think it may be 60/40. But I think the touch and just the connection is really important in the relationship, and when people are in crises or having difficulties, or learning each other, if that’s (sexual relationship, physical intimacy) stable, I think that it’s not as difficult to work through some of the other issues. So you don’t advocate getting mad and withholding sex? (Loudly) No, I don’t advocate that! (Giggles) No, I really don’t. To JF’s husband: We got that on record! It’s recorded! He’s not paying me any attention. See you say you have that on record, but I don’t do that anyway, do I, honey? (JFH: What?) I don’t get mad and withhold my body, do I? (JFH: All women do that. I know that) (Laughter) Men think that, but no I don’t advocate
that.(JFH:…[inaudible] headaches and all that)(What happens is, see my thing is this—[inaudible] brain theory. See all women are attached to one brain and they work from that one brain. All the women in the world, no matter what color they are, work from that one brain. So they say that we don’t withhold, but “oh honey, I’m really tired tonight”; that’s withholding! [continues inaudible]) NO, no, I don’t with- I, I don’t do that. But to the point that you made, I don’t think that’s a good thing to do, one should not do that. (JFH: But they do!) I don’t do that. (JFH: [inaudible]…perpetuating that myth!)

What social changes do you think negatively impacted the institution of marriage? Gays advocating their right to be given the same privileges that heterosexual relationships have, the economic situation, I think has negatively impacted, and that’s young and old. When people believe that it’s ok to, or they
recognize that they can have maybe a larger income, even from social security,
if they live together rather than to marry; I think that has impacted it.
Religion to some extent, in terms of how people understand or if people
understand the significance of marriage being instituted by God vs. something
that they chose to do—that man created it. So, religion in that regard has
affected it. One of the negatives also, procreating without having a man—you
know, sperm donors and those kinds of things.

What, if any social changes do you think have positively impacted the institution of marriage?

Positives The desire for a family unit, what is considered to be a
traditional family unit.  {pause} And I’m going to say religion again, for those who have been taught about the origin of marriage, those who believe that, and they long to be obedient to God’s word. From that perspective, I think religion has effected it positively. {long pause} You know what? I think that’s about all I can think of…another negative (me, laughing) is the profile of celebrities being, perpetuating the glamour of having a child out of wedlock. I think that is a biggie that has effected it negatively. Yes. Someone said something
about Natalie Portman because she was having a baby and she’s not married yet, and there was so much backlash against someone saying something about that, that it was bigger than her actually being pregnant. I thought that was really different.
Yes, in 2011. Certainly in 1950 that would have been a whole different ball of wax.

Where do you place the trend now for marrying later versus earlier? Is that a positive or a negative or a non-factor? Do you think that has an impact on the institution of marriage? I think it does have an impact on the institution of marriage because individuals are more, I think, palatable if they really believe in the institution of marriage when they are young, and I don’t mean 19, I mean they have some sense of stability and direction and focus in their lives. They are purposeful, so from that perspective I think young, in that they are more (willing to bend?) Yes, than individuals who are older and are marrying later, depending, again, on their expectations. Some people choose to marry later because they want to spend their later years in life with their partner, so they’re less likely to get a divorce because they waited so late to get married. But then, also, you have to consider or deal with the fact that the later they get married, the more ingrained their regular behavior may have been, is.

Anything else you want to add? I think, because we are dealing with so many forces from society, marriage has been perceived, to some extent, as insignificant. As a matter of fact, about three months ago, Time magazine, maybe longer than that, had this article on “Why Marry, Anyway?” And I think this is possibly the lowest percentages of marrying in the history of this timeline, not just in America, but across the board. I want to say it was something like in the mid-40s, percentage of individuals who still believed in the institution of marriage, maybe anywhere between 32-48% or something like that. So that in itself dictates that the higher percentage of people are inclined to believe that marriage—they question the significance of marriage. That’s not to say they don’t want to get married. One other positive thing, I think, is like all of these Bridezillas, and the glitz and the glamour and all of these things, I
think that it’s a plus for marriage, but it may not be for the right reasons.
Everybody is doing it because of the [money, fame]. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage will last, but I think that, that, Opiad net, if that’s what
people are looking for, is one of the reasons that people give credence to
maybe marrying.

I wanted to ask youabout that, too; I forgot. Do you think that the importance that we now place on the ceremony and leading up to getting married has negatively impacted marriage or do you think people focus more on just getting married now than actually what happens after the wedding? I think that people, it’s kind of a yes, yes on both of those, that the ceremony, the ring, the process itself becomes huge, is a major factor in terms of getting married, and I think not nearly enough attention is given to the reality of what you’re doing when you get married and the purpose behind it.