Earlier this week it was sunny, traffic was light and I was having a great time crooning tunes that made me think back to high school dances ( Prince- When Doves Cry anyone??) or ridiculous pre- teenage angst ( Grease- Hopelessly Devoted to You ) but never did I think that I would find some good marriage advice streaming from my speakers until I found myself belting out the supremely cheesy anthem of the late 70's and early 80's - The Pina Colada Song! ( Which is actually entitled ~ Escape~ who knew!)
Yes, the iconic classic of the waning disco era sent me down the rabbit hole of thoughts addressed in the words of the song dealing with a couple who separately find themselves in a rut and both go looking for more excitement outside their marriage while missing the fact that there was so much that they still did not know about each other. Do you like pina coladas?, getting caught in the rain?......... / I never knew, you liked pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, the feel of the ocean, the taste of champagne.....
Cheesy, yes, worth exploring, double yes! How any times do we find ourselves in the same pattern over and over again with our spouse out of little more than habit? While a certain amount of this can be comfortable ( like a great pair of old jeans that still fit and look great) there is a point where it becomes old and stale ( old jeans that you kept just to keep, not because they flatter your figure any more) and ripe for difficulty.
Being aware of these lazy patterns of marital behavior makes it easier to hone in on what it might take to add some spark to your marriage in order to inoculate it from boredom and other more serious conditions. Marital apathy is WAY to easy, you have to fight it every step of the way.
~5 Spark Notes for Marriage~
Leave Love Notes- I got one from Doc just last week, I found it in our bed when I awoke and he had already left out of town for the week. It made me feel very loved and had me greatly anticipating his return. I do the same for him by slipping notes ( or yes, once, a pair of black lace thong panties) into his briefcase for him to find later. ( Yes again, I am the "bad girl" his mother warned him about )
Fix His Favorite Dinner, Just Because - Yeh, maybe you don't eat meat anymore, but that is little reason to make your man feel like less than the king of his castle. Cook what he loves at least once a week, the old saying still holds true - The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. And if you don't cook?... make sure to at least have his favorite snacks around. It shows you care and are thinking about him when you shop.
Flirt With Him - If you don't do it someone else will!
Initiate Sex- Chase that man of yours down and jump his bones, at least sometimes. Make him feel desired! Show off, strut your stuff. If you are quiet as a tomb in the sack get vocal, rock his world between the sheets since little else makes a man feel better or more loved. Want to be able to rock it and talk it to the point that he drops to his knees?.. here is my favorite book by Carol Queen
Find and Support his Secret Passion - Did he always want to learn to juggle, fly fish, Tango? Whatever it is make it happen for him or at least give him the time and nudge to make it happen for himself. ( I made Doc buy a new boat- cash only please) Some guys are so family centered that they ignore their own personal growth, its up to you to give them the time and space to help make that happen for them.
I wonder what Doc will have to say......
Ok, she had me fooled. Earlier today I heard the strains of "Escape" coming from Maddie's computer, I heard the first line which is about being bored with a relationship, and she's telling me this is about Marriage on Monday. Hmmmm, I think to myself - is she trying to tell me something? She told me to have faith; "You'll see," she said. Silly me. Leave it to Maddie to turn "Pina Colada" into something wonderful about being married!
Maddie has pretty much said it all, and quite frankly she's better at this than I am. Still, there are a few things I've learned over time, and perhaps they are worth sharing.
Before I get to my list, though, maybe the most important thing to remember is, as Maddie said at the outset, you have to make a conscious decision to fight the apathy. Bored with your marriage? Ask yourself what you're going to do about it. When the kids used to say "I'm bored," my response (when I was being clear-headed, mind you) was, "That's quite a problem you have. What are you going to do about it?" My point is that being bored is a state of mind that you can afford for short periods when you need a break from thinking, but it's death to relationships if you let yourself stay there. And let's be clear, boredom is an internal state, not a flaw in someone else or in your circumstances. It isn't that your spouse is boring - it's that you are bored. Even if you don't believe me, act as if you do and I promise you'll be rewarded. At the very least you'll feel creative, which is more fun.
Leave love notes - oh, yeah, she said that. She's right. And by the way, the panties just about gave me a heart attack, but I would have died a very happy man.
Say thank you, like you mean it - more importantly, notice what your spouse does for you. Enough said.
Buy her (or him) anything you can afford - if you can pay cash for it, and she wants it, just do it. I don't care if you think it's a waste of time to by her a thread spooler, or him a new fly rod. It's enough that it makes your spouse smile. But do not, I repeat do not, buy what you cannot afford because you think that will show the extent of your love. Debt creates pressure, and going into debt to buy something your spouse wants means it comes with strings. Just trust me on this. If it's more than you can afford right now but you really want to get it for her, skip your Starbucks twice a week for as long as it takes to save up the cash. At Starbucks' prices, it won't take you all that long.
Go on a date - no, I mean a real date. Guys, call ahead and make the reservations, let her know you'll be by to pick her up at 7:00, and you make the arrangements to make sure the kids are cared for. Ladies, let him order dinner for you (once you've told him what you want of course!) And yes, I'm serious. Watch what happens.
Shut up and listen - don't try to fix it, don't give advice, and for heaven's sake don't say "I told you so" even when it's true. Just listen. If you're lips are moving, your ears are closed. And this works both ways, by the way. I don't care if they won't admit it, guys want to be heard too.
As usual, I said too much, no doubt!
Maddie here, Nope... just right Doc, as always. And you better watch out since you know how much I love a good sporting game of ~hide the naughty undies~... which brings me to my number 6 spark note-
Do the unexpected! It's my challange to you out there. What can you do to spark your marriage?
Have fun, be naughty, rock your marriage!
Maddie and Les are a long term married couple with lots of kids and a passion for their marriage and family They write together for Marraige on Mondays her at Domestic Anarchy
You can find more of Doc's writing at http://www.themomentsprojectblog.com/