Friday

Five Easy Ways I Keep It Spicy- and you can too!

I figured in light of the weekend, this particular Blog Prompt was timely:

How Do You Keep The Romance Alive With Your Spouse? (for more info, click here)

Okay, let me start with a True Confession: my life is not glamorous. In case there was any doubt: I write this in sweats. My toddler made sure I did not shower today. My background inspirational noise? The Wonder Pets ("What's gonna work? Team work!")

Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to know that in addition to a fancy-pants "Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist" I am also a REAL person. It isn't like my husband and I get to jet off to Vegas for the weekend on a lark. Heck, we don't even get to eat dinner out without childcare plans. So I get it. I get how marriage could lose a spark. It's easy to do.

That said, I work with couples on helping keep their marriages lively and meaningful. And I've got some ideas. These things work in my marriage, in my clients' marriages, and I think they can work in yours too:

1. Go On Dates.
I know, this might sound completely obvious. But a recent study showed that as many as 60% of married women did not go on date nights with their spouse! While this study might not be scientific, if it's even close to accurate- that scares me. So if you're in that 60%, let me explain why I think date nights are extremely important: The day to day of marriage, maintaining a home, balancing a budget, caring for children, focusing on a career: means that there is a LOT of opportunity for neutral or even negative daily interaction. It takes a conscious effort to make sure that there are positive interactions to balance that out- and help your relationship go the distance.

Similarly, its easy to forget that in addition to all the hats you wear- you are a woman and a lover too. (I know, I said "lover". It's a semi-gross word. However, it's also a TRUE one!) Take it from the woman in sweats- showering, makeup, doing your hair, wearing an outfit that's too sexy for the office or the playgroup, putting on insensible shoes..... these things are important to keep your libido going. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Have sex.
Again, depending on how you're doing- this is either completely obvious to you, or you are cringing and wanting to skip it. But please hear me out! Relationship expert Michele Weiner-Davis writes in her book "Sex Starved Marriage" about this important topic. She offers the controversial opinion (supported by research and brilliant minds) that barring medical issues: having a good sex life is a choice. "Use it or lose it", that's my motto. So while no one is expecting porn-star status from you, it's important to remember that your sexuality was an important part of your courtship and early marriage. And *gulp* it still should be. (*Ducking to avoid laptops being thrown at my head!*)

3. Fight!
What? huh? Did she really say that!? Yup. I did. When I see couples, I would rather have a couple come in my office in a SCREAMING match than completely silent. Not because I enjoy screaming matches (they make my blood pressure rise just like anyone else). But because there is CARING behind it. As long as there is fighting, there is passion behind ideas. There is a belief that your words matter. There is emotion behind your interactions.

This doesn't mean you need to have a dirty-take-no-prisoners-fight. It could be a sparring match. It could be cracking jokes on each other. It could even be playing competitive games on opposite sides. But going head to head can help clear the air... and reignite your passions.

4. Do Something Different!
The worst enemy of love is not hate; its boredom. So I recommend you do something different. Eat in a different location of the house. Switch roles for a day and do each other's "chores". Turn off the TV if it's always on. Try a new board game. Go to a new kind of activity (a comedy club? A sporting event? A concert?) It can be ridiculous, that doesn't matter. Just as long as it's different.

This helps in two ways: One, the novelty centers of your brain respond when you are in new settings. This means you are feeling happier and more open to new ideas. When something is new- it signals to your brain: "Okay, pay attention. You're not used to doing this." And you become more flexible, creative, imaginative, and adaptive. All great things when you're trying to bond with your sweetie. That's why vacations are such great bonding times.

Two, it can allow you to see your spouse in a different light. After years (decades) of doing more or less the same, seeing your spouse doing something DIFFERENT can really help add a sense of freshness and novelty. You just might learn something new about each other- and a new reason to have the hots for one another.

5. Do Something Your Spouse Is Good At!
Let's face it, confidence is SEXY. So is competence (and they tend to go hand in hand). So put yourself in the position to see each other at your best.  This could be a sport, a hobby, or even work-related function. But by seeing each other at your best, it not only gives your spouse a chance to show off (and feel good about themselves) but it shows that you take an interest in what is important to them. And let's face it, feeling good about your skills and your spouse's interest in you... Now that's an aphrodisiac!

Wishing you a sexy weekend with your honey!

6 comments:

  1. This is all great - I've been married to my sweet husband - college sweetheart - for 17 lovely years - and we were together for almost 5 before that. We have 4 children and have had: failed businesses (him), cancer (me), and lots and lots and lots of sleepless nights filled with stress of providing for the family and just getting through the day. Your advice is fantastic. We've been through good and bad - and we are a team. We are sticking together no matter what - despite the prevalence we see around of us on infidelity and wanton selfishness. One thing you did not mention - laughter. We can laugh together. Sometimes the only alternative is tears - but laughter can: keep you humble, keep you smiling, keep you alive. Your advice is great. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. loved this post, thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Krysta...linking over from social moms :)

    So..I have a brain teaser for you...married 20 years and fall into the 60%(exception was this weekend), wanted to skip the sex section, don't fight, and good ole boredom.

    How the heck do you fix that?

    I need to write a blog post on our most recent "date"---it was painful....we are at the point that we have absolutely NOTHING to talk about...our "date" was pretty darn quite.

    Anywho, sharing so that others know they are not alone.

    Thanks for the tips. Guess I'll try #4 and see what happens.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Deb- Funny enough, I read and replied to your comment on SocialMom before I saw this here. I like how you phrase it: "brain teaser". I gave you some ideas over there... but they were off the top of my head. I'm thinking that maybe I'll write out a more thoughtful response and post it in a later blog. I work with couples of ALL ages and backgrounds so I do have some specific ideas- let me think on it today.

    I love the challenge! :)

    Diane- Laughter is GREAT. I fully agree. Looks like this might be a thought to write a little more about. You've given me a good start.

    ReplyDelete
  5. THese are great ideas, especially #3, Fight! I feel that the opposite, being silent, just pulls you further away from each other.

    I also dropped by via SocialMom's writing prompt and have left a link of my own there. My husband and I haven't been married very long, but we have four kids (two from my previous marriage) and being busy parents can put a huge strain on the marriage, certainly did for us.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i stumbled upon your blog, and i am really pleased i did. some excellent advice, and a blog i shall definitely be returning to! my husband and i have 4 kids, and have been together 10 years, since the kids came we have less and less time together, but always the determination to be together, so it's been really helpful reading this.

    thank you!

    tamsyn (http://manic-mums.blogspot.com/) x

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please note that this (being the internet) is not a confidential or secure way to contact me. If you wish to speak with me privately, please call me at 916-270-7413 or visit my site www.CounselingInRoseville.com