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Sex Talk: Big difference between longevity and happiness

Well, in this case I am talking about marital longevity, but the statement is very valid for wherever else your mind may have wandered to.

For today, I want to talk about the quality of marriages out there, and the determination to ‘stick it out’ in total disregard of whether you are happy or not. That kind of longevity.

It does not always translate into happiness, you know... In fact, for many people, it is more important to stay married than to be happy. So, sex or no sex, they will hang in there. Come abuse, kiboko or disrespect, they will hang in there.

As long as s/he can stand up during a marrieds’ meeting and talk about her/his marital years in decade terms, s/he is good. Even to my ears, this is starting to sound very much like a pitch in favour of divorce; quite to the contrary! I am all for longevity in marriage; I just wish we did not have to choose either that, or happiness. For, we can have both. I have seen couples that have pulled it off.

They have been together for more than 20 years, their sex life and quality have not slowed down one bit, and they generally still enjoy each other’s company. They are both involved in their children’s education and lives, consider each other best friends and lately, have started investing together.

Now, that is longevity and happiness in one pod. On the flipside, what is common are couples basically ‘hanging in there’. No harmony, sex once a month if at all, no affection, no respect for each other, but “hey, it has been a solid 30-something years in marriage!”

One of them actually refers to herself fully by her husband’s name – as in, Mrs John Kyekyo (not real name) - that is how much she loves the idea of being married and sticking it out for the long haul.

But hers was a marriage built on tears, sexual neglect, sexual networks drama, until the good Lord called her husband home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Right now, she ironically looks happy and relaxed, compared to when she was in her tumultuous marriage, but none of her friends and family dares to point that out.

Well, to each their own. Look, everyone enters marriage with ‘till death do us part’ on their mind, but it is important that you allow yourself to enjoy the long trip.

Don’t concentrate on hanging on by any thread in sight; actively try to inject happiness into your marriage once you decide that you are not leaving.

It is not enough to proudly introduce yourself at every town hall meeting as So-and-So, husband/wife to So-and-So, knowing well that your heart bleeds out a little more every day in that marriage.

I usually ask friends and family (since I am not a counsellor) one question when they come to me with hair-raising stories about their unions: “Do you intend to stay with him/her?”

If the answer is yes – which it almost always is – I advise them to find their happiness again, and make it work: “Put in the hard work.”

One wife was miserable in the marriage because of how often her husband wanted to make love, and she was running out of excuses not to have sex with him.

I asked her: “Do you still want to be in the marriage?” Yes, she answered.
“Then I assume you are open to him finding sexual relief elsewhere?” Goodness, no; she answered.

We stared at each other silently for a while, until the obvious answers came to her and she realized how unreasonable she was being. She had caused the unhappiness in her long marriage.

When we next met, she looked happier and said she had gone as far as enrolling in a gym and buying nutritional supplements to boost her libido and help give her the disposition she needed to enjoy her marriage of more than two decades.

So, don’t tell us how long you have been married; tell us, is it a happy marriage?

carol@ observer.ug

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