Last year I posted about how I had a husband but really just wanted a boyfriend. You can read about it here.
Several people asked if we figured out how to fix it to let them know. So here is what I did, we did, to get our girlfriend and boyfriend back.
First, we didn’t sit down and discuss our issues in detail. We didn’t draw up a game plan. We didn’t research ways to spice things up. We didn’t plan regularly scheduled alone time. All the changes that took place over the last 8 months have been completely made by each of us of our own accord. I don’t even know if he intentionally made any of these changes. He may have worked hard to practice them or he may be playing off of my actions. I don’t care to know. We are both happy and that’s all that matters to me.
- Change your definition of a date. EVERY article I stumble upon stresses the importance of date nights in marriage.This idea sounds lovely and I truly wish this was feasible. This hard pressed “fact of a healthy marriage” had me already set up for failure. I knew this wasn’t an option and in fact we haven’t had a single date night since our train wreck of a date back in December. We have had one night alone since then (8 months ago) in which he slept the entire evening and I caught up on work. Now we define a date as leaving the house together, even with kids, to do something out of the ordinary. Movies, restaurant, zoo, the park, even riding around looking for pokemon has become our “dates”. Why do kids have to change that? My kids are seeing their parents in love, holding hands, being affectionate, and doing so while being parents. I can’t think of a better thing to teach our kids than how to treat their partners in marriage. We started killing two birds with one stone when we changed the definition of date night.
- Comprehend. Other articles will list this as “listen to one another” but that is such a basic and common sense suggestion. It is easy to listen. I have always listened to him. Now I comprehend. I listen, ask questions, engage. He does the same which I felt was my biggest complaint with him before. When he talks about a coworker I don’t know, I ask “who is that?”. When he tells me about a job that frustrated him I ask exactly what part of the job was difficult. The vast majority of my friends live behind a computer screen; he knows next to none of those people. When I talk about a friend he doesn’t know he asks “Who is that? What group are they from?”. He now knows my admin team and knows the people I work for. When I prattle on about a difficult customer he offers his input/advice where he use to reply with a “f*** ’em” which is code for “I don’t really care”. This one simple change in conversation turns what use to be passing small talk into full engaging conversations between us.
- Stop nagging. This is pretty straight forward. This doesn’t mean let everything slide and never argue; it means change your approach. When he would say “I’m tired of this d*** bathroom counter always being cluttered with your sh**” I immediately didn’t want to clean it. Nobody likes to be forced into anything. He says “I wish you’d clean this mess” but what I hear is, “You don’t care to clean up after yourself. I have to tell you to do everything. You don’t care about my happiness. I must treat you like a child to make you do anything.” Nagging infuriates me to no avail!!! Now, he asks like so, “When you find the time, do you think you could find a home for all your makeup?” This simple change in tone and words changes everything. Now I hear “I know you are busy so may not be able to get to it as fast as I would like, but it will make me happy when you do.” Now I WANT to do it because I want to make him happy, besides it’s such an easy task. Most things people nag about are very utterly basic and simple mundane chores anyway; the approach just makes us want to do it less.
- Simply be together. With two kids this is the hardest one for me, but so worth it. Before children we did everything together. Run to get groceries? I’m riding. Run to the corner store? I’m coming. Since kids we find it so much easier to send one while the other stay back with the littles. We still do time to time for very short runs but whenever the trip will take more than 20 minutes, I make the effort to go anyway. That means dressing kids, fixing sippy cups, having diapers and wipes, etc., but we are spending time together. We are spending time together without kids jumping all over us, because they are strapped safely into their carseats behind us.
- Support the others decisions. Another common suggestion, I know. When I said “I’m going to spend two months painting these tiny painting for a tiny itty bitty profit that doesn’t even cover my labor because I simply want to do it” his response a year ago would have been “You waste your talent. You will never be able to run a real business” This year he said “Awesome! You got accepted? That’s cool. How does this whole thing work?”. He bought a Chevelle project car, sure the money could have went elsewhere and it’ll take a lot of time and more money to get it in the shape he wants it, but I do not care. He’s happy, ecstatic even, and I couldn’t be happier for him.
- Have fun and be youthful. For us this means car karaoke, jamming to the oldies, harassing our friends together on snapchat, playful butt grabs when he walks by, corny jokes, and terrorizing our kids like annoying older siblings. Be playful, be a kid again, life shouldn’t be so serious! Seeing him act silly immediately puts me in a happy mood and my love for him grows every time he makes me laugh.
OH! And sex? Not a priority anymore. It happens when we want and not just when we find the time. Treating it as a want and not a need has improved it by leaps and bounds in both frequency and satisfaction. Yet another How to Save Your Marriage rule debunked!
I know it doesn’t seem like some great epiphany, but y’all asked me to tell y’all when I found what worked. These may not be the answers for everyone, but I have never been happier in love. Corny? I don’t care, I see enough of y’all complaining about marriage on Facebook that I have earned my 5 minutes of happy brag time. Besides, I just realized we haven’t taken a photo together since our date 8 months ago, I’ve so earned this blog post.
Now…. if we could just get a date night do over.