Test the strength of your relationship in this quiz prepared by John Gottman.

True or False

1. I can name my partner’s best friends.

2. I can tell you what stresses my partner is currently facing.

3. I know the names of some of the people who have been irritating my partner lately.

4. I can tell you some of my partner’s life dreams.

5. I can tell you about my partner’s basic philosophy of life.

6. I can list the relatives my partner likes the least.

7 I feel that my partner knows me pretty well.

8. When we are apart, I often think fondly of my partner.

9. I often touch or kiss my partner affectionately.

10. My partner really respects me.

11. there is fire and passion in this relationship.

12. Romance is definitely still a part of our relationship.

13. My partner appreciates the things I do in this relationship.

14. My partner generally likes my personality.

15. Our sex life is mostly satisfying.

16. At the end of the day, my partner is glad to see me.

17. My partner is one of my best friends.

18. We just love talking to each other.

19. there is lots of give-and-take in our discussions (both partners have influence).

20. My partner listens respectfully, even when we disagree.

21. My partner is usually a great help as a problem solver.

22. We generally mesh well on basic values and goals in life.


Give yourself 1 point for each true answer.

Above 12: You have a lot of strength in your relation­ship. Congratulations.

Below 12: Your relationship could stand some improve­ment and could probably benefit from some work on the basics, such as improving communication.

Copyright © 2012 the Gottman Institute. Used with permission. http://www. gottman. com/qz1/HowWeNDoYouKnowYourpartner. html

study found that some couples sustain romantic love—defined as intensity, engagement, and sexual interest—in long-term relationships. As might be expected, the more intense the romantic love, the more satisfaction with their relationships and the greater sense of individual well-being and high self-esteem they reported (Acevedo & Aron, 2009).

Men and women in marriages are not equally satisfied with their sexual lives. Research indicates that married women report lower levels of sexual satisfaction than do their husbands (Liu, 2003). This difference is a complicated issue, and the causes for it are unknown. Liu speculated that the lower satisfaction wives express stems from two factors. First, wives experience orgasm in fewer sexual experiences than their husbands do. Second, because women typically invest more time and energy in the general relationship than men, women may have greater expectations for the quality of the sexual relationship than men do.

Sexless unions are not uncommon in marriage. A psychologist who interviewed married people between the ages of 25 and 55 stated, "I was astonished at how many married couples said they hadn’t had sex in years" (Murray, 1992, p. 64). Former U. S. labor secre­tary Robert Reich made a point about the pressures faced by overworked couples when he applied this acronym to them: DINS—dual income, no sex (Deveny, 2003).

Demands of employment, doing laundry, fixing the lawn mower, socializing with two sets of relatives and friends, and countless other activities can reduce the time and energy a couple has for intimate sharing. It is important to note, however, that a lack of sexual interaction does

Sexuality and the Adult Years

not necessarily mean the marriage is bad. For some, sex is not, and perhaps never was, a high priority. And, as the psychologist previously mentioned observed, "There are many forms of human connection. These couples are not willing to sacrifice a marriage that is working on other levels" (Murray, 1992, p. 64).

Ш І і,§ Nonmonogamy

The term nonmonogamy refers to sexual interaction outside a cou­ple relationship, whether the couple is married, is living together, or identifies themselves as a couple. Nonmonogamy is a general term that makes no distinction between the many ways in which extramarital sexual activity occurs. Such activity can be secret or based on an agree­ment between the married partners. The outside relationship may be casual or may involve deep emotional attachment; it may last for a brief time or an extended one. Extramarital relationship is a term used only for married couples.

Most societies have restrictive norms pertaining to extramarital sex, norms typically more restrictive for women than for men. For example, historically women in Pakistan who were convicted of adultery were sentenced to death or given mandatory prison sentences. In 2006 Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf amended the law so the more than 6,000 women in prison on adultery charges could be released on bail (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2006). However, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported at least 675 "honor killings" by male relatives of Paki­stani women and girls in the first nine months of 2011, and many were murdered after being accused of having "illicit relations" (Agence France-Presse, 2011).

In contrast, some societies have allowed extramarital sex for both men and women, as described in the following Sexuality and Diversity discussion.