Do you love your wife more than sex?

Guys, I have what may be a tough question for you. Maybe it is easy. Let's find out.
Can you tell the difference between what your wife does to make you happy and what satisfies you about your relationship to your wife? There's no trick question here, I just want you to think about this.
Dirk (not a real name) walks into my office to tell me that he's been flirting with women for a few months now and he's probably "crossed the line" with one of them. We get into details. He reveals that he can't bring himself to accept the state of his sex life with his wife. Despite a lot of attempts to make it better, she just doesn't seem to please him sexually. "Sure," he says, "I love her but she just isn't going to change."
Can't Keep the Hatchet Buried
How much do you love your wife? More than sex?When we get down to brass tacks, I find out that Dirk thinks everything else about his wife is amazing. "I don't know what I'd do without her, but I can't seem to bury the hatchet about how she is in bed." She also seems to have a keen way of mining for buried hatchets, even if Dirk does well at ignoring her attempts to provoke him to argue. They make a perfect example of how negative patterns in relationship stay on the merry-go-round and keep coming back at us, unless we consciously synchronize with our partner to learn new steps out of the old rut--together.
On the one hand, Dirk has a roadworthy relationship with his wife--they get along well and share common values. But neither of them has a deep sense of trust that, aside from what each of them do for the sake of the other, they are still loved.
I wanted to see what people thought about unconditional love so I posted a my question, "Do you love your wife more than sex?" on a popular marriage forum. At the end of the day, I got earfuls from two camps of guys. One was self-described as the "nice guys" that know that marriage isn't about expecting something in return for what you give, and others who chided me for even asking the question this way. One guy: "Do I like driving more than cars? Mmmm...." Some guys didn't appreciate being asked to separate what they expect from their wives from the context that wives live in, which is the marriage relationship, parenthood, past emotional injuries, health, and other demands of life.
 
Not Perfect, But Better
For Dirk, once we ruled out that there is no sexual dysfunction and no unwillingness to attempt intimacy, John's problem seemed to boil down to confusion about what really makes him satisfied. They began a productive series of sessions focused on getting each of them to shift out of the typical roles they play in the bedroom, and also in other daily life routines. None of it was too complicated but all of it required a willingness to do it, a willingness to make the effort to make it better. It didn't make it perfect, just better. This was actually what Dirk had wanted but did not know how to negotiate it with his wife.
I imagine that some of you have had experience like with this of some sort. Do you think that real, mature love should transcend all of your partner's flaws? Which flaws are you willing to live with? Do you have a choice?
In Bed With Tony Danza?
I'll leave you with a Saturday Night Live sketch that I think illustrates the merry-go-round I mentioned. Isn't it easier to laugh when it's not you in bed with Tony Danza?
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A transcript from a Saturday Night Live Sketch featuring Tony Danza and Joan Cusack.

WifeI love you so much!Husband: I love you!Wife: I love you more!Husband: I love you more!Wife: No, I love you more. You have no idea how much I love you.Husband: Oh, yes, I do!Wife: No, you don't. Because I have no idea! How much do you love me?

Husband: A lot!

WifeJust a lot?

Husband: Well, what do you want me to say?

Wife: I want you to say you love me more than anything in the world!

Husband: I love you more than anything in the world!

Wife: You're just saying that.

Husband: Kathy, come on.. I really do love you. I love you, I love you, I love you!

Wife: More than the Knicks?

Husband: [ thinking ] Well.. this year! [ laughs ] I love you!

Wife: Why? Why do you love me?

Husband: Why? Well, because.. because you're beautiful.. and because you're wonderful.. and because you're terrific.. and because you have a really great.. [ looks at her chest ] uh.. you're loveable! you're loveable, that's all.. [ she remains silent ] What?

Wife: You don't love me for me! What if I was fat? Would you love me if I was 300 pounds?

Husband: Your breasts would be bigger! [ laughs ]

Wife: Come on!

Husband: I'm joking! I'm joking here!

Wife: Would you love me if I was six inches tall, and you had to carry me around in a shoebox?

Husband: I love you!

Wife: What if my arm was 40 feet long, and you had to move it around in a truck.

Husband: Okay.. you talk so big? You talk big? Let me ask you something - would you love me if I was going bald?

Wife: [ thinking ] I would love you if everything you touched turned bald.

Husband: [ impressed ] Ooohhhh! I love you, I love you!

Wife: Would you love me if I refused to ever have sex with you again?

Husband: In a different way..

Wife: Would you love me if I hated you?

Husband: Now, wait a second!

Wife: Answer the question!

Husband: Wait a second..

Wife: God! You have to think about it?

Husband: No! I love you! I love you!

Wife: Would you.. love me if I was seeing someone else?

Husband: [ caught off guard ] What?

Wife: Would you love me if I was seeing someone on and off for the last eleven weeks, more on than off?

Husband: Now, now, now.. wait a minute, what's going on here?!

Wife: Just answer the question. [ phone rings ] That could be him.

[ phone rings again ]

Husband: Answer the phone!

Wife: Answer my question!

Husband: [ reaches over the bed, grabs the phone and slams it to the ground ]

Wife: Why, you crazy.. [ she picks the phone up from the ground ] Hello? Oh, hi, Mrs. Scarpelli. Yeah, he's right here, hold on a second..

Husband: [ takes the phone ] Hi, Mom! [ laughs ] No, Mom, everything's fine, everything's okay! I just dropped it down by accident! Yeah. Yes, Mom, I love you. Yes. A lot! Oh, come on, Mom..!

[ fade ]