Go to bed together while you’re still both wide-awake and get naked. Just hold each other and see what happens.
Marriage isn’t a word, it’s a sentence – a life sentence!
There’s a reason there are so many jokes about marriage. It’s kind of an absurd concept. We attach ourselves to another human being with the intention of living a wonderfully happy and fulfilling life together until we die. No wonder people crack under the pressure. It’s like agreeing to eat pizza as your only meal for the rest of your life. At first you’re thrilled – that gooey cheese! That salty pepperoni! You can’t believe you get to eat this delicious treat for the rest of your life! But then as time passes you start dreaming of filet mignon, roast chicken – hell, even a veggie stir-fry is looking good. You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, and it seems like you’ll never get it back.
But before you go running for the supermarket, ask yourself this: Do I still love pizza? Or rather, am I still in love with my partner? If the answer is yes, then there’s hope. And where there’s hope, there’s strategy. What follows is a plan of action to take when the love in your life needs resuscitating.
Look at your husband. I don’t mean a cursory glance where you sweep your eyes across him and see the egg on his shirt from breakfast or the hairs in his ears you wish he would pluck. No. Really look at him. Study his face and smile at him. He may think you’ve gone crazy (that’s normal) but I’m telling you this is a fantastic exercise. We look at our partners so often that we don’t see them anymore, and this technique works to give us a fresh perspective. Does he have new laugh lines? Did he shave today? If you can get through this assignment without putting a smile on both your faces, then you may want to revisit my first question about whether you still love pizza.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
For a five full minutes, imagine your wife’s perspective. Go through her day in your mind. Did she get up with the kids? Drive them to school? Did she have to give a presentation at work? Did she pick up groceries for dinner? Was she tired today from having stayed up late to watch that movie after you’d gone to sleep? Once you’ve mapped out her day in mind, there will likely be some gaps. Perhaps you’ll even be inspired to ask her some questions or find out how she’s feeling. This unaccustomed feeling is called compassion. Do I sound condescending? I really don’t mean to! It’s just shocking sometimes how little people can pay attention to each other in a marriage. And it’s so easy to fix.
Drop Your Resentments (And Your Pants)
This step is a doozy, but stay with me. You don’t have to do both things at once. I’ve found that once I’ve studied my husband and imagined his day, I feel a lot less angry and resentful about whatever petty (or perhaps not so petty) things are brewing in my head. You know the resentments I’m talking about – it’s the ones you bitch to your girlfriends about. Does this sound familiar? I can’t believe he left the house without asking if I need help with the kids! or He doesn’t even notice that I do all the laundry – unless there’s something of this that he wants clean! If you find this is impossible to do, and your shoulders are creeping up to your ears even thinking about it, go back to steps one and two and stay there for a while in the hopes of acquiring some awareness about what his resentments might be. Imagining his resentments helps enormously in letting your own go. The logic for this follows the tit for tat principle. Well I guess I did leave him alone with my mother for two more hours than I said I would, so maybe I forgive him for forgetting the dog’s vet appointment. Obviously tit for tat has no place in true enlightenment, but we’re just getting started here – baby steps.
Drop Your Pants
In my personal view, you cannot bring love back to a marriage without, for lack of a better term, gettin’ it on. That’s why it’s important to do these steps in order, because generally speaking, resentment sucks the life out of intimacy. Thus the win-win ‘dropping’ sequence: resentments first, then pants. And I am actually talking in literal terms here. I know a lot of folks recommend lighting candles, a fancy dinner, kissing on the couch etc. This has never worked for me. The combination of a delicious meal and a darkened room makes me sleepy and kissing on the couch with the flat screen in such near proximity makes my mind wander to what might be waiting on the DVR. Instead, my husband and I have had success with the naked factor. Go to bed together while you’re still both wide-awake and get naked. Just hold each other and see what happens.