Within marriages, we’re seeing more loneliness, more depression, more broken relationships and more disconnection. We sat down with Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Tracy Ziman Jacobs, and got to terms with the situation.
Tracy Ziman Jacobs explained to us, that what is happening is that people are not getting what they want. She explains ‘their needs are simply not being met. Their needs for intimacy, in terms of romantic intimacy and deep soul connective intimacy are not being fulfilled.’ She further expresses that this loneliness, disconnection and depression is being fueled by a different element. Ziman Jacobs says that “it is as if a void of where passion and desire used to be, a mundanity and routine has bulldozed the genuine passions and desires that were once there.”
In todays marriages, the challenge is going back to the root of looking at the play betweenintimacy and vulnerability and how they affect the couple. Lets take a couple for an example. Picture it. The first phase that the couple goes through is Stage 1.
Ziman Jacobs gives us the low down for stage 1 of a relationship. Here, there is intimacy without vulnerability. Its the typical story, boy meets girl at a school, a pub or a party, and they begin their great love affair. Passion, fire, desire and the ‘oohs and ahhs’ are in this stage. They cant take their hands of themselves. Its hot, its sexy, free and uninhibited. Sexual acts are performed freely, with little inhibition. Commitment isn’t high on the list of priorities, yet assuming that both individuals are at an ager stage and they are looking to commit to each other, then after a certain amount of dating, they start thinking about settling down.
Here, we see a loss of intimacy, and with some vulnerability. A stage of sexual boredom, compatibility, contentment and familiarity arise. The couple now look towards making their relationship more permanent and possibly moving in together. During this stage, the sex becomes a little boring, yet compatibility, familiarity and contentment begin to set in. They begin to open up to each other about their past. More vulnerability seeps in and, as the relationship cements itself, the couple make a commitment for marriage.
Stage 3 consists of more vulnerability, and less intimacy. Here the couple is faced with the stresses of the phases of life. Things such as: immigration, death, trauma, financial stress, family and other commitments can take a toll on the couples relationship. Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Tracy Ziman Jacobs: “After the wedding, the couple reignite intimacy again, often for the sake of creating family. Lets assume that this couple managed to side step away from fertility stresses. They fall pregnant with ease and have a child. The baby phase brings with it less intimacy and far more vulnerability. This is because, with the birth of their child, the couple inevitably experience on an unconscious and conscious level issues surfacing from their past. This phase is a particularly vulnerable one for the couple and can last for 5-12 years. Something will happen in the family in where the family is challenged. If they survive that and manage to move forward they may survive the next 7 years simply trying to work things out until the first child is at least a preteen.
Vulnerability without intimacy. In this stage, there is so much vulnerability, that it can lead to shut down. What does this mean? The couple enters their late 40’s or early 50’s… the children are older and more independent and the couple is left with a lot more time alone together, to look on each other and reflect on themselves as individuals and as a couple. This stage holds far more vulnerability, and at some stages no intimacy at all. This is often due to health issues that may arise as a result of poor lifestyle.
Healthy couples who cling together in good times and bad times seek each other emotionally in good times and in bad and are more likely to withstand the speed bumps in life at all stages of life.