Are Society’s Standards Destroying Sex in Your Marriage?


It’s hard to argue that society doesn’t impact marriages. A busy and sometimes expensive lifestyle can spell doom for a couple’s intimacy.

Lori Lowe of Marriage Gems shares sound wisdom on nurturing our marriages, despite society’s standards that rail against margin. Lori’s post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.


Fuel gaugeI recently read about a family’s decision to leave an expensive city lifestyle and move to a rural, laid back community to reduce stress and have more time together.

It was a reminder that our lives are full of choices, and that our lifestyle is not a permanent decision.

I’m convinced the societal standards for most Americans are putting an immense strain on families and marriages; so much so, that many couples are too exhausted for physical and emotional intimacy.

For couples just getting by financially, the pressures are even greater to make ends meet, putting the marriage on the back burner.

The pressure to live in a large home filled with expensive furniture, to wear fashionable clothes, to send children to the best schools with private lessons, to take nice vacations, and to drive new cars contributes to a perceived need to work longer hours and attain promotions.

Many couples believe they can’t live on one salary, even when one of the salaries is quite high.

These desires are promoted by the culture (through advertising, movies, Facebook, etc.) and lead to either debt or the need to earn more.

The result: Increased stress and less time, both of which contribute to a poor sex life.

Families with children have to face additional societal pressures to join artistic, educational, and athletic teams and activities.

A generation ago, a baseball team would practice perhaps one day a week in addition to a weekend game. Today’s sports teams often require daily practices and most of the weekend. Many kids I know practice before and after school every day, plus weekends.

Ballet, piano, swim, choir, band, soccer—the options are endless and costly, and the pressure to join starts very early. Family time suffers, and budgets are strained. Parents often divide on weekends to cover all the activities, making weekends as much work as the weekday.

Where does sex fit into the schedule?

Frankly, it’s difficult to be in the mood when you haven’t had time to connect during the week or the weekend. You’re both tired and trying to catch up on household chores. There may even be resentment when one or both spouses feel they are doing more (of the childcare, of the chores, or earning the money).

If only one spouse is working, he or she may feel compelled to focus on work to fulfill the family’s needs and wants. A lack of connection can develop if not enough time is spent with one’s spouse and family, hurting the relationship and getting in the way of a good sex life.

Millennials are starting to pave the way with prioritizing work/life balance above climbing the corporate ladder. Building balance into our lives allows us to nurture our relationships.

There’s nothing wrong with living in a nice home, driving a nice car, and taking your kids to soccer practice.

However, if societal pressures are preventing a quality family life, consider what changes could be made.

Are you willing to live in a smaller house to have more time together?

Could you drop out of some activities and have more free time together?

Is it possible to live on one salary or for one partner to go part-time?

How can you carve out time for daily/weekly connection?

When my family found ourselves spread too thin and separating for sporting activities on the weekend, we dropped my son out of the travel soccer team. Instead, we found ourselves enjoying relaxing Saturdays as a family, and able to go to church at our regular time on Sunday.

We adjusted our lives so that I could work part-time. The extra time allows me to have much of the shopping, laundry and chores done during the workday. Evenings and weekends aren’t overwhelmed with these tasks.

I don’t think we have won the battle against all of society’s expectations.

One struggle we often have is the high volume of homework, studying, and projects our kids complete each night, sometimes requiring our support. The pressure to help our kids succeed is high and time consuming. This stress can also bleed into the marriage relationship and keep us from having time to relax as a couple.

Now that our children are teens/tweens, we sometimes have to force ourselves to leave them to do their work, and take time for ourselves as a couple. We go out to dinner and allow them the practice of cooking and cleaning up after themselves.

It’s important for us to prioritize the marriage; a strong marriage is a great gift for our children.

We plan for long-term goals, including trips and college, but we try not to succumb to many of the pressures that would take too much time from our marriage and family. We are blessed to have our children at home, and we also look forward to different phases of our lives.

To be successful and have a happy marriage once our children are gone, we need to make time and space for one another now. We make frequent changes to try to achieve better balance, and at least question the activities in which we are involved. Balance is a moving target.

If you think your marriage and sex life is getting put on the back burner, sit down individually, as a couple and as a family to determine what changes are possible to give you more of the life you want.

Lori_LOWE Red_Dress_50Lori Lowe writes research-based marriage tips at Her book First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage is available on and in all e-book formats. Lori has been married to her high school sweetheart for 20 years this fall. They live in Indianapolis with their two children.







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Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

5 thoughts on “Are Society’s Standards Destroying Sex in Your Marriage?

  1. Christian Husband of 38 yrs says:

    Even couples living in small towns and even couples without children in the house can find the time pressures and stress to be pretty difficult to navigate. It does take a deliberate, mutual effort to block off mutual quality time on both calendars – it won’t happen unless you both resolve to make it happen.

    We sometimes fail to realize how much the choices we make in our use of time and in our use of money are a reflection of our true values and priorities. This is certainly a very good topic for couples to discuss together – probably frequently!

  2. Larry B says:

    Very relevant article! Thanks Lori for your insights and advice. I fully agree that making the marriage and the sex within it a priority is necessary. In today’s society, not only are we overwhelmed with demands to meet or measure up to expectations but we are constantly stressed each day with too much stimuli and too much distraction.

    A couple can choose to live differently, to live more simply. We do not all have to go along with the majority on how we choose to live our lives. We can as married people set aside the time for our spouse and for lovemaking. The sacrifices involved, the activities foregone are not as important as strengthening the marriage. It really is a case of deciding what is truly valuable, truly beneficial versus what is nice but not really important. Are we going to live for the expectations and the approval of others? Or, are we going to fully give ourselves to our spouse?

  3. DougM says:

    I agree with this artical with one small exception. The phrase you and your partner is falling into the worlds defination of marriage. What is wrong with calling it your spouse or husband or wife in keeping with Gods definition of marriage.
    The article was spot on and something we wrestled with when kids were at home.

  4. Dan says:

    I would add that the school year is also much longer than it was 30 years ago. School used to start after Labor Day. Now many schools start during the second week of August. This forces families to pack more into fewer weeks of summer that once used to be a relaxing time of year. Add in sports camps and everything else and maybe a family gets 3 weeks of quiet during the summer. And school starts earlier than ever, our kids have to wake up at 5 and are out the door a little after 6 in the morning. That means parents have to force the kids and themselves to bed by 9 or 10. Is sex going to happen on a “school night”? Forget it. And the weekend too. It’s just not going to happen while your kids are growing up, and probably won’t happen after.

    I had to chuckle when I read above, “Millennials are starting to pave the way with prioritizing work/life balance above climbing the corporate ladder. ” Well, that might be because 25% of them are living with their parents and many of the rest are unemployed or underemployed. Wait until they get on the treadmill and those thoughts about “work life balance” are going to be history!


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