As the creator of a wedding blog for men, one would probably assume David Soldinger has been waiting his entire life for marriage. In reality, he’s a 28-year-old living in Los Angeles, as nervous about his nuptials as the next guy. He just blogs about it.
The engagement period of a relationship can be a very trying time on a couple. Rebecca and I have dealt with more stress and tension in the past year of our relationship than the previous four combined. Throughout it all, we’ve been able to maintain the love, but for years I thought that grandiose gestures were the only way to keep a relationship moving forward. If we follow the rules Hollywood movie have set for us, the way to a woman’s heart is to run to her through the rain, and if you had a boom box your chances for love increased exponentially. After all, at the end of Sleepless in Seattle Meg Ryan didn’t stay in the monotonous and routine relationship with her fiancé; she went to the top of the Empire State Building.
So what happens if and when the relationship hits a rut? What can a guy do to quell those tiresome moments? What can we, as husbands, do to laugh in the face of those looming dull days? Guys, I’m putting my foot down. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. In fact, spicing up your relationship can be extremely easy; you just have to stop being lazy.
1. Listening – TV + Occasional Nodding x Every Day = Happiness
The most important tools you’ve got when it comes to infusing passion into your relationship are your ears. Listening to your significant other can make a huge difference in your relationship. Actively listening to her woes with work, family or friends will show her that you care and that you can be there for her. Show her that she can come to you when she needs to get something off of her chest. More than half the time she’s not even looking for advice, she’s just looking to vent. If that’s the case, you’re adding a spark to your relationship by doing nothing more than saying an occasional word or two to let her know you’re following her story. I can’t think of anything easier than that. It’s important to note that turning off the television or at least pausing the DVR to listen will score you major points.
2. HELP! She needs somebody! HELP! Not just anybody
Here’s another easy no-brainer: When she needs help, help her. Although this is not limited to household chores, it certainly includes them. Occasionally Rebecca will nicely ask me to do something to help her (stop leaving dirty knives in the kitchen sink, finish the table numbers for our wedding, etc.). When she actually sees a finished product, I know that it’s a major turn-on. I’m not suggesting that you should treat your wife or girlfriend as a boss and always do as you’re told, but I am saying that by helping out once in a while it’ll make for a passionate relationship. A few weeks ago I fixed the roof of the shed that I fell through about six months ago. When it was finished, you would have thought I was He-Man (and in her eyes, for that brief moment, I may have been).
3. Prioritize: Ch-ch-choose her
One of my closest married friends in Los Angeles, Joe Booth, the most creative accountant I know, offered his best way to keep the fire burning.
“The No. 1 thing I can do to prevent monotony is to choose to spend time with her,” he said. “When my friends plan a raucous night on the town, I go out to dinner with my wife instead. It’s this actively choosing to be with her that makes her the happiest.”
It’s a great idea. It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s showing that you care. It lets your significant other know that she is a priority in your life. When you feel the relationship rut setting in, make a dinner date with your gal. They’ve always said that the way to a guy’s heart is through his stomach, but I think the same can be said for women. When I cook a special meal for my fiancée, she appreciates it. It’s nothing romantically cheesy like a horse ride through the park or scattering hundreds of rose petals all over the bedroom; it’s something easy and practical that will have the exact same impact.
4. Appreciate so it won’t depreciate
Reminisce about how you met your girlfriend, fiancée or wife. Remember what made you fall in love with her. I frequently go back and look at old pictures or read old emails Rebecca and I wrote to one another. It truly makes me realize that I am lucky and that one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (besides the “no Jäger shots” decision at my bachelor party) is to marry this girl. There are an infinite number of personal ways to let her know that you think about her constantly that will take virtually no time.
5. Kiss her, you fool!
A kiss a day keeps the rut away. Physical contact is key when it comes to keeping your significant other from becoming just a really awesome roommate. I’m not proposing that you make out every day of your relationship (who has the energy for that?!), but I am suggesting that you make the kiss a bit more passionate than a peck goodnight. Give your loved one a kiss that was similar to the first kiss you shared as a married couple at your wedding. Chances are you didn’t slip her the tongue, but it was the most meaningful, short and influential kiss you’ve shared. Why not try to replicate those fireworks every day of your relationship? Just sayin’ one of those smooches is bound to lead to something else.
As you can see from the list above, not once did I recommend grand gestures or expensive gifts. I’m not making the assumption that girls don’t love jewelry or flowers, because we all know that’s not the case, but I am saying that to climb yourself out of a rut look within yourself, not the jewelry store. Perhaps if you don’t believe me and think one of those Hollywood-esque love scenes is the way to kill the monotony, run through the rain into her place, tell her how much you love her, then clean the muddy footprints you just tracked all throughout the house. Let me know which one she appreciates more.