By Cucan Pemo
How do you keep the passion burning even after you’ve said “I do”?
Marriage should be a happy time for a couple. You’ve survived the rigors of dating and courtship. Now it’s time to reap the rewards and spend a pleasant life together.
But many couples find marriage to be a difficult adjustment to make. There’s a “honeymoon” phase, and then life settles into a routine. Husbands and wives start to irk one another. The passion of the early marriage starts to fade away.
Can this be stopped? Of course it can. With some work and communication, two people who love each other can continue to love being married to each other forever.
As women, there are certain things we can avoid, things that are instant turn offs to men in marriage. Here are five.
1. Complaining, nagging, and criticizing.
This is always at the top of the list in surveys of married men when asked what their wives do that bothers them. As much as he loves you, he wants to be his own man, too. And let’s face it, no one, male or female, likes being picked at.
Of course, we don’t usually see our gentle reminders not to leave his socks on the floor as “picking.” If he would just DO it, we wouldn’t have to keep mentioning it. But to him, it sounds like you’re harping, nagging about the same thing over and over again. And it drives him crazy.
So what to do? Men’s minds are analytical. They like to solve problems. So make your suggestions in the form of solutions rather than complaints. Instead of saying, “I hate it when you leave your socks on the floor,” say, “It will be much easier for me to do laundry if your socks are in the hamper instead of on the floor, sweetie.” See?
The first was a complaint; the second was a solution. Surely he can’t fail to see the logic in it, and if he forgets after that, you’ll know it’s an honest forgetting, not laziness or spite. And since you love him, you can forgive that.
2. Trying to control him.
This goes along with #1. Men like to be independent. They like their buddies, they like their football games, they like their poker nights with the guys. But you like him to be home with you. Who’s right?
This is one where you may have to make some compromises. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be allowed to hang out with his friends and do whatever it is those guys do when they get together — provided he’s still being a good husband and father too, of course.
If he’s out EVERY night with the guys, then maybe there’s a problem. But if it’s once a week or so, and he has a fun time, then what’s the harm? It’s selfish to insist he stay home with you all the time.
To compensate for it, you can arrange activities for just the two of you that go beyond just staying home and having a normal dull evening. Make sure the weekends are full of couples-only activities, or plan specific “date nights” once a week. That way, you can make sure you’re getting a special evening with him at least as often as his friends get one.
3. Withholding sex out of anger or spite.
Your husband shouldn’t expect you to have sex whenever and wherever he wants to. If he’s a typical man, he wants to have sex more or less constantly, so it’s not really feasible. But he shouldn’t have to contend with you using sex as a weapon against him, either.
Sex is the most intimate part of a relationship, and some consider it the most sacred. Either partner using it as a way of controlling or hurting the other one cheapens it.
If you’re angry with your husband, talk to him about it, calmly and rationally. Don’t withhold sex and then make him guess why. Those kinds of games are beneath you.
4. Letting your emotions control your thinking.
It’s a scientific fact that men solve problems analytically while women solve problems emotionally. It’s also a fact that that difference is what drives both genders the craziest.
Still, that doesn’t mean you should let your emotions dictate everything you say or do. It doesn’t make any sense to refuse to go to a party with him tonight because he failed to notice you got your haircut earlier today. That’s emotion talking.
When you feel yourself getting emotional, that’s fine — you’re a woman; emotions are part of who you are. The trick is to avoid making decisions when you’re in that state. Wait till you’ve calmed down again and become your normal self.
5. Letting yourself go physically.
This is a touchy subject because it usually happens to both spouses. You’re both so busy with work, home and the kids that you stop exercising and get out of shape. But it’s men who are more likely to complain about it.
One solution is to make it a joint effort. As you notice yourself slipping into poor eating habits and zero exercise, talk to your husband. Suggest the two of you take up jogging together, or go for walks after dinner, or join a gym together.
He’ll see you’re making an effort to maintain the lovely figure he fell in love with, and you can keep him from becoming a couch potato, too. Plus, any time you spend together is going to strengthen your relationship.
It’s tragic to for small things to split marriages apart, but it happens all the time. There’s no reason to let it happen to you. Remember that you love each other and do what you can to keep the fires burning.