I can see it now — one eyebrow dropping in an expression that says
I don’t know about this. Why should it just be up to me to be in charge of keeping the passion alive in my marriage?”
Let me just say this right off the bat: it’s not just up to you.
It takes two to tango in a marriage, and ideally you have a husband that is engaged enough in your relationship that he can be counted on to pull his weight, and contributes roughly an equal share of energy to keep it good. But since I am a woman, I can speak from a female perspective to issues that women tend to be concerned with. But also, I happened to recently see an article by Dr. Phil that addressed this very subject. Granted, it struck me as a little disingenuous (if not insulting) coming from a man, but he did bring up some good points that are worth paying attention to, and which can, perhaps, be improved upon from a woman’s direct perspective.
Dr. Phil wrote a column in Oprah’s O Magazine in response to letters he had received from women who complained they were not getting enough lovemaking in their marriages. In the online version of the article, in bullet point format he makes suggestions for ways to increase the frequency of lovemaking. One of the important points he raised was that instead of complaining about it, it’s better to be proactive and come up with ways to resolve the problem, and I tend to agree with this.
I’d like to paraphrase and highlight some of Dr. Phil’s advice, and put my own spin on it.
One of the big things, in my opinion as a woman, that I think Dr. Phil is right about is that it really is important for women to take care of themselves in the interest of keeping their man attracted to them. It is far too easy after marriage to settle into domestic patterns of behavior that result in weight gain or even a change in the way you dress that becomes a little too comfortable, and yes…I hate to say it, even frumpy. You eat too much, you stop going to the gym, and you trade in your little string bikini underwear that he found so sexy when your were dating for “granny panties.” Men really are visual creatures and it really is up to us as women to not just understand that, but play to it.
It may seem obvious, but if you are unhappy it is up to you to communicate that and talk to your husband.
Communication is the number one skill and dynamic you need in a relationship because without it, you’re left with nothing but guessing games, and that’s a recipe for disaster. But at the same time, there are effective and ineffective ways to communicate. For example, using “I” messages (“I’d like to have more lovemaking”) is clearer than “you” messages (“You never want to have lovemaking”). One assumes responsibility while the other blames, and blaming only puts someone on the defensive. Once someone is defensive, you have lost their attention.
Dr. Phil has some other very good suggestions, including putting intimate encounters on “project status,” giving yourself permission to get what you want, prioritizing lovemaking, being creative with your intimate activities, being patient and with your husband, coming up with a plan for improving your intimate activities. It’s all part of building trust and understanding, and that, my friend, is the key to invigorating the passion in a marriage.