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Twelve ways to Strengthen your Marriage Bond

© Twelve ways to Strengthen your Marriage Bond is by George Hartwell M.Sc., all commercial rights reserved, June 2006

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silent divorce Christian marriage counselling counseling


Among the many personality types that avoid intimacy.  Avoid intimacy long enough and the trust, the love, the connection is broken and we up in silent divorce.  For more information see: "Seven Types of Intimacy Avoiders - Which Group are You in?"

Now each ot these ways deserves further discussion and On this web site some of them do. 

What are the ways that we destroy marital intimacy and create a silent divorce?

There are many ways that one can limit the personal, the connection, the bonding, the love connection in a marriage or sexually active couple relationship and end up in a silent divorce.

Should you have sex in a loveless marriage?

Sex is an expression of the human spirit.  That is why the sexual relationship is said to create "one flesh."  Emotionally mature and spiritually aware persons realize that sex is the sacrament of loving intimacy. 

There is a sense that sex without connection, unity, or bonding is unhealthy and unholy - dangerous to one's physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Therefore do not use sex to create love and do not force sex if your partner does not feel loved. For more about sex in a loveless marriage see: Unholy Sex and Silent Divorce.

  If you are in a sexless marriage and come to realize that something is wrong look for a breakdown in the love, intimacy and connection.

Marriage counselling to rebuild the marital attachement may well be more to the point than sex therapy.

Twelve ways to Strengthen your Marriage Bond

There are many ways that a person can allow and encourage the personal connection, the bonding, and the love connection that God intends for the marriage relationship. God puts us together by providing these mechanisms.  We tear marriage apart by avoiding these mechanisms.  Avoid most of them most of the time and you may well succeed in putting asunder what God has intended to be together.

  1. Make eye contact.  Make eye contact when love-making.

  2. Allowing togetherness - the afterglow - the calming down together - which occurs naturally after love making.

  3. In conversation, allowing topics that are personal.

  4. In conversation, allowing some problem solving, some confronting of the things that produce negative feelings. 

  5. Allow positive confrontation without abuse or name calling.

  6. In conversation, responding to or acknowledging the other.

  7. Develop common recreation, sports, or other shared activities.

  8. Set aside time for the two of you each week - like a date night.

  9. Touching base with each other, i.e. a staying 'in touch' phone call.

  10. Expression of affection through physical touch.

  11. Communicating when in difficulty and needing support.

  12. Consistent faithfulness: being there without overreacting emotionally.


How does fear and control block marital intimacy and create the silent divorce?

Fear and the associated lack of trust is always with a high need to be in control.  Where trust is low control is high.  People that have basic trust do not have to control others.  One does not feel secure until one achieves full control of close relationships.  The more fear, the more insecurity the more one becomes very controlling of other people.  And the more control the more love is destroyed.  Love and control cannot exist together.

When love is destroyed, silent divorce ensues. Here are some to the ways control manifests in a relationship:


What  does the ‘Life Avoidant’ Personality look like?

There is a personality type that is associated with avoidance of risk. Such persons are basically in flight from life and use manipulation and control to consolidate this flight. Such people become very controlling in order to remove the risk of living. Maybe they are not good at 'self-soothing' - that is, they do not do a good job of controlling their own anxiety.

The 'life-avoidant' personality is a prime candidate for a silent divorce. Here is how life avoidance shows up in a relationship:

Jesus comments on life-avoidance in the parable of the talents

In Jesus parable about failure to risk (Matthew 25:24-30) the risk avoidant “wicked, lazy servant” ends up losing what they have. That worthless servant is thrown out into the darkness!

So, according to Jesus, it is inevitable that whoever buries his talent will lose what he thinks he has. Without trust (courage) there is no risk.  Without risk, there is no growth.  Without growth (movement forward), there is death!

How  this happens:

When the avoidant partner avoids all personal communication, adult consultation, playful interaction and all correction or negative feedback, then the other partner will be lonely and vulnerable for communication intimacy.

When the avoidant partner minimizes all kissing, hugging, caressing and being affectionately physical together then both partner will end up ‘touch’ starved.

When the genital sexual relationship does not develop into heart to heart bonding because of the avoidance of eye contact, stepping away from the afterglow period then a powerful opportunity to deepen the marital bond and feed and nurture one another’s spirits is missed.

When decisions are not shared together, requests are not made, discussion does not happen the life together must of necessity become life apart from one another.

Both of the partners begin to deaden within, the heart sickens, the spirit languishes, one lives with constant residual depression and a search for life outside of the marriage becomes as search for life, love at the emotional and spiritual level.  One strongly hungers and thirsts for that which will lift one spirits, heal one’s heart, rekindle one’s passion and bring the experience of community and intimacy to one’s soul.

By God’s design there is a powerful oneness created in sexual union, in cleaving to one’s wife, in becoming one with her.  But Jesus is right.  After years of neglect (the burial of the possibility by the one ine flight from life) even that powerful God-given oneness does die.


When Silent Divorce becomes Legal Divorce

People will differ in how they handle silent divorce, the weakening and finally the death of the marital bond.  Once we recognize that what God puts together sometimes man pulls asunder, not just legally but by neglect, by avoidance, by head in the sand living, by burial of one’s talent, then we are open to learn where people are at and how they are dealing with that reality.

Some couples are not motivated to destroy the appearance of marriage and so keep up the appearance of marriage that we call ‘silent divorce.’  If you observe closely you may find that they also become more distant from God.  Some couples make strong efforts to mend and restore their broken hearts and recreate a healthy marital bond.  In some one, or both, partners will move on in the direction of life, love and communion with God.