Guidelines for Facilitators

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FACET Tool Topics, cont'd.:

    Marriage is a call to ongoing intimacy — not only sexual intimacy, but also the intentional development of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy. Each dimension of a couple's intimacy connects with the others. So, if they neglect emotional bonding or don't pay attention to each other, all parts of the relationship suffer, including the physical expression of love. Although sexual intimacy is pleasurable, its importance in marriage is not just to have fun; it also strengthens the couple's bond, helping them to face the many challenges of their life together. Studies report that couples that are passionate about each other can more easily solve problems, including such things as dealing with children, extended family, and financial issues.

    Sexual intimacy may have come easily in earlier stages of marriage. That period was likely laced with kissing and holding, loving words and deeds, romantic dinners, walks, and sharing of thoughts and feelings. Later, couples may find that part of the relationship may suffer given the rigors of a growing family. In time, they may settle for security and certainty at the cost of playfulness and passion in marriage. These marriages, based more on companionship rather than romance, tend to be less satisfying. Sustaining physical attraction often takes a conscious decision to put time and effort into a dimension of your relationship that used to come effortlessly. It requires setting one's spouse as the priority — before work, before cleaning, and even before kids. This means planning to find babysitters, having occasional dinners alone (without children), going on dates, and bringing to the relationship new ways of connecting.

    This section addresses the bonding power of sexual love and how the engaged couple will enter into a life long commitment to build their relationship into a deepening and lasting one through intimacy and the gift of their sexuality. By doing so they embody marriage's mystical meaning, as a source of life, liveliness, and a pathway to salvation.

    Additional Questions to assist the conversation:
    • What have you gained from this section that will help in your sexuality and intimacy?
    • Did your families give you different messages about sexuality?
    • Do you have a similar need for romance in your relationship?
    • Have you talked about how to maintain intimacy if you have to be apart?

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