I receive email, mostly from women, talking about my books, the characters in my books and often times about their own lives and the struggles or triumphs therein. Today, on the verge of Christmas, I wanted to share an excerpt from one of these letters:
“I’ve read all of your books and your blogs including the really really old stuff [Desire the Fire] about keeping a marriage alive. No Easy Way is my favorite book because of Tom and Kate’s marriage and how I can relate to the problems they face. I’ve been married twenty-seven years. Our kids are grown and gone and I have two grandbabies on the way. It’s an exciting time in our lives but I sometimes miss the passion I read about in yours and other’s books. I think it’s that drive for passion that leads people into affairs and I [like every woman out there] am looking for a way to avoid that. I want to give my husband something special for Christmas to show him that the bedroom doesn’t have to be boring for us just because we’ve been together so long. What would you recommend? If you were writing us into one of your books how would you keep our marriage alive?”
Marriage takes a lot of work, but I believe that half the battle lies in wanting to not only keep the marriage alive, but make it thrive. How do we do that? If I had a magic answer I’d be among the world’s wealthiest.
Years ago I was working on a project wherein I presented on this very topic. It was based on the F-word and called the Four F’s. For men, those four F’s were represented in: Food, Friends, Football, Fucking. For women, the four F’s were represented in: Fine Dining, Friends, Footwear, Fantasy. The gist of the presentation was that men and women’s desires are quite different and once you understand the differences you will be better able to meet your spouse’s needs.
Disclaimer: Not ALL men are the same and not ALL women are the same. Thus, I am speaking in generalities here.
My recommendation for surprising your husband with something special on Christmas is to surprise him with you… that is to say, a version of you he hasn’t seen before. If you don’t normally wear lingerie, wear it. If you don’t normally light candles, light fifty of them all over the bedroom. (Just don’t burn down the house in the process.) If your normal sexual activity is confined to the bedroom, do it elsewhere. Try the middle of the family room floor or the counter top in the kitchen. (Knee pads advised and don’t forget to sanitize the counter top afterwards.) If you don’t normally participate in S&M activities, go a little Fifty Shades. If he likes porn, get some magazines or watch a movie together. If you’ve never added food to the mix, go a little 9½ Weeks. If you don’t normally use sex toys, get some. (Buy batteries too!) If you don't normally play erotic music in the background, turn some on and turn it up! When is the last time you massaged his hands, feet and other areas?
Take a hot, steamy, candle-lit shower together and do stuff to each other that you don't normally do. (I'm reminded of the lyrics to an Olivia Newton-John song called, Soul Kiss..."I get down on my knees and..." You get the gist.) Get creative and think outside of the box. Ask yourself what gets your spouse going? What drives him crazy? What turns him on? And then do that.
When I used to present on this topic, some of the most common fears were: What if I offend him? What if he’s not “into” it? What if he thinks I’m crazy? Let me belay these concerns by saying that most men are more adaptable and open than they are given credit. Many of them don’t bring these ideas to their wives because they fear the same backlash, but when the wife presents it as her idea, there’s typically little objection.
Key to re-igniting that sexual spark in your marriage is to open your mouth and talk about the things you’ve both thought about, but have been afraid to verbalize. There is no “right” or “wrong” involved in your romantic relationship with your spouse. You two set the boundaries. You two decide what is acceptable. You two create the fantasy.
If you try something and it doesn’t work, you have, at the very least, given each other a memory at which you can share a laugh for years to come.
Everything worth having in life takes work and marriage is no different. Sex isn't the most important element of a relationship, but it is an element that cannot and should not be ignored. Physical affection is a manifestation of emotional connection. The truth is that real life isn’t romantic and mushy-gushy like you see in movies or read in books. But…you can create magical moments in your marriage that are… if you lay down your inhibitions and use your imagination.
I think most men would agree that sensational sex is a great stocking stuffer. So, for one night, be the HO HO HO in his Merry Christmas!