Thursday, January 04, 2018

Trying to Make a Bad Situation A Little Bit Better

There's a lot of advice out there about keeping or reviving the  - romance, spark, passion or whatever words you want to use - in a marriage.

Why is that?

It's because so many married people lose that spark, lose that attraction, lose that fun, lose that passion.

This is why so many men are just fine dating a woman for three months and then not really caring if she stops seeing him ("Where is this relationship going???"). Such men are constantly finding other women, and they know the sex is never going to get any better than those first few months. Some marriage advocates balk at that and insist the sex gets better in good marriages, and to some extent I agree, but I also know most men want variety and excitement in sex more than emotional intimacy. And most marriages aren't good most of the time.

Anyway, the latest bit of advice about trying to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic comes from Dr. Laura. She posted this on her website: "10 Ways to Rekindle the Romance in Your Marriage"
You might think that trying to rekindle the romance in your marriage is heavy stuff.
In most marriages she is definitely heavy stuff.
Getting back the love you once had is pretty easy and pleasant, however, many people are too self-centered, stubborn, or lazy to do what it takes.
Or maybe they've been hurt too much.

Be silly together. Remember how you were when you were first together? Take time out to be silly with each other and make each other laugh.
I used to make her laugh a lot. Sometimes, I still can, but more often than not she looks for reasons to be upset, say I'm not taking things seriously, or says she's  heard the joke/story from me a million time before. This gets me to shut up. Rather than take a chance to make her laugh, I just keep quiet. She almost never tries to be silly with my anymore. It's all about issuing orders.
Take walks. Whether you’re big on hiking or like strolls around the block, taking walks - especially at sunrise or sunset - can be very romantic. Walk hand in hand, arm in arm, and shoulder to shoulder looking at how beautiful everything is.
We used to walk hand-in-hand. Then she decided she didn't want to put in the effort anymore and starting using wheelchairs and electric scooters. If I'm being fair, I'll say her physical health issues have progressed, but if she had been fair, she would have admitted that was going to happen before I married her and before we had kids. She still walks when she wants to. It's just not worth it to her most of the time. Plus, we're talking about a woman who recently noted proudly that she hadn't left the house for a couple of weeks.

Put your phones away when you’re with each other. Be in the moment rather than thinking about all that outside stuff.
She also decided to mostly give up on actually talking. So electronic devices are one of the primary ways we communicate, so this tactic doesn't really apply to us.
Ride your bikes to a local coffee or smoothie shop. Have something to drink, people-watch, and then ride your bikes home.
See above. I suppose I can get a bicycle that has a passive passenger seat that will hold an adult who doesn't want to put in much effort even keeping themselves upright. However, she'd instead just request I go to the shop and bring her back whatever she's craving. She turns down dates.
Have little adventures together. Look in the local newspaper to see what’s going on near you.
See above.
Go out to dinner with just the two of you. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive - just some cute place where you can share an appetizer and a main dish.
See above. And in Dr. Laura's state, California, all dinners out are getting expensive thanks to undue government intrusion.
Make dinner together. Stand there and chop vegetables together. Or switch it up - go on the Internet, find a ridiculous, ultra-complicated recipe, and then see if you can pull it off together.
Making dinner is now my responsibility, apparently. I get home and my kids are hungry and she texts her requests to me about the same time the kids tell me what they'd like to eat. Then she can sit there watching TV and playing a game on her device. Not long ago, she had an old acquaintance and her husband over, and so she decided to get something out of the freezer and prepare it for me to serve when I got home. I feigned surprise when I got home and said something like., "What's that? I don't remember putting anything on the stove." She either didn't realize what I was doing or didn't care, because she was somewhat friendly to me the rest of the night, even after he guests were gone.
Take a trip. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money on a resort. There are tons of options out there where you can rent a house, condo, or an apartment. You can even bring your own food to cook if you need to save money.
Notice how Dr. Laura is repeatedly insisting you don't have to spend a lot of money? Yeah, that's because people like me would be spending so much less (or, getting far more for our money) if we weren't married fathers.

We haven't taken a trip in about a year and a half, and I can't remember the last time we took a trip without the kids. Trips are incredibly exhausting and stressful for me, at least now that I'm a married father. My wife recently explained that she is not interested in taking trips (it was part of a larger conversation about a significant decision).
Relax together. Light the fireplace if you have one, curl up together, and watch a stupid movie. Fall asleep in each other’s arms.
When? My wife deliberately stays on a different schedule than me, so falling asleep together is almost never a possibility. If the kids are elsewhere, my wife wants "us" to do chores. If the kids are home, I'm going to be barely upright if they've gone to bed.
Do something nice. If you know that your spouse really likes something, set it up for him or her to go do.
My wife wants to sit on the couch or in bed with at least two screens in front of her. And I enjoy that, too, but she wants that instead of doing just about anything else. And I regularly accommodate this for her. There's an annual event she likes to go to, and I accommodate that for her, but I can't recreate that any other time of the year.
As you can see, rekindling your romance isn’t rocket science - it simply requires you to be unselfish. Nobody is just happy - happiness is a conglomeration of moments.
Right, which is why I urge men not to marry, not to live with a woman, and, usually, to avoid exclusive relationships entirely, and to certainly not pay a woman's way through life. Men, save your time and money for yourself, your friends, maybe your nieces and nephews, and worthwhile causes.

Let's get real. For most of human history lifespans were not all that long, and people were busy working themselves to death most of the time. Now that we're living longer and have time off from work, we have people who got together because they had the hots for each other, or because he had the hots for her and she saw him a meal ticket. Maybe they shared a hobby or something. Then they have kids and other obligations they take on, some common but optional, and then 10, 15, 20 years go by and they have little in common other than the kids because he's been working and she's either been working a job of her own or she's been caring for the kids and home. They're both older and what they want out of life might have changed. And people like Dr. Laura want them to recapture some spark that was lightning in a bottle because of... divorce rates, family stability, or whatever. In most cases it's quite sad. It's two people who would really prefer to be with other people (or alone) or who are holding on to the familiar or have what amounts to the Stockholm Syndrome. Sure, if they're going to stay married then "rekindling the romace", if possible, is better than not, but most men who have their act together are better off not marrying in the first place, because "rekindling" is bit like telling your husband to close his eyes, leading him into the garage, and then "surprising" him with the same car he's been driving for 10-15 years, except it has a bow on top of it. Hey, if his car needs a wash and cleaning, it's great if you have that done for him. But when he wakes  up the next day, it will be the same car he's been driving for all these years.

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