“They must still be dating,” my friend whispers to me.
As we stand shivering at my son’s soccer game, my brother-in-law and his fiancée cuddle together sharing a warm blanket and a chair.
“No married couple would be that affectionate toward each other,” she says.
Her assessment seems a bit pessimistic to this romantic. Must the spontaneity and sweetness of courtship die as we move out of the “shout from the roof-tops” kind of young love into the demands of young (and not-so-young) parenthood?
Growing complacent about displaying affection isn’t unusual as a marriage is peppered with children, crises, celebrations and day-to-day routine. Nonetheless, simple expressions of love like hand-holding, hugs and kisses, and compliments are an important component to the health of a marriage and the family unit.
“Without intimacy, people can and often do begin to feel isolated, alone, bitter, depressed, used and simply uncared for,” says Amanda Deverich, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “All the happiness that was amplified by the physicality in the early part of the marriage is no longer there to grease the wheels of family life. What remains is grinding drudgery, financial stress and short tempers.”