Dear Amy:

My husband and I have been married for seven years. We're in our early 30s, have two children and a nice house, but truth be told, we aren't having enough sex.

Granted, I gained some weight with the pregnancies, but I doubt my weight is the sole root of our problems. Months will pass, and we hardly even hug.

Because of the lack of activity in the bedroom and the lack of affection, we constantly bicker about finances and parenting, and even minor details such as taking out the garbage. I can't remember the last time he bought me flowers or perfume.

When we fight (which is often), I say the cruelest things, such as "I should never have married you."

Something tells me all this could be resolved with our being intimate again.

Dear Housewife:

You need to look at your own behavior as contributing greatly to your problems.

Surely you can imagine that when a man hears his wife say "I should never have married you," he carries that cruel thought well beyond the argument at hand. Your expressions of frustration and anger help build a wall between you. You need to take down the wall, brick by brick. To get affection, you need to give it.

A book I like on this topic is Rekindling Desire: A Step by Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages, by Barry and Emily McCarthy (Routledge, 2003).