Naughty and Nice
A Recipe for a “Merry” Relationship:
To put a little ho, ho, ho into our holidays, we asked a couple dozen of our friends and colleagues who have been married for 10 years or more what they felt kept the excitement going in their marriage. We gathered a myriad of responses and decided to let you, the reader, hear the voices of the respondents in their original form.
As a starting point, even the definition of excitement differed for each individual, so you can imagine the range of ideas we received:
1. The first idea is important to quote cautioned, “Expect the definition of ‘excitement’ to change over time. What was excitement in the beginning will be different 20 years down the road!”
2. One woman said she was just looking for comfort—not excitement—in her 30 year marriage.
3. A man in a 20 year marriage said, “I think some people get too cozy and comfortable with their spouse. Don’t be so comfortable. Be spontaneous and a little mysterious.”
So for the sake of brevity, we have grouped the responses into a few themes that create what we like to call a “Hot Chocolate Recipe” guaranteed to keep the “Merry” in your relationship for the holidays...
Step One: Heat the Milk (or Make Time to Be Together) - A fundamental theme for all of the couples was to simply make time to be together alone. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, all the couples felt making consistent time to be with each other in a quality way was both challenging and essential to keeping the connection passionate in a relationship. “No kids, no friends, no distractions.”
Step Two: Stir in the Chocolate (or Feed the Heart Connection) - the next theme that emerged was how important it is to listen to and support each other’s needs, wants, and desires. Despite the many different ways that couples told us how they reconnected with their love and appreciation for one another, it all boiled down to this basic need: Listen to each other and be with each other with an open heart:
• “We get vulnerable about what we want from each other, putting it on the table in a way that—should the other want to—they can give it to you as a gift.”
• Be thoughtful of your partner. “Open her door when she gets back with the groceries.”
• “When we stop running around long enough to look each other in the eye and tell each other how much we love each other, it keeps our connection alive and healthy.”
• “It is our deep friendship that has created the greatest level of stability—not excitement— which I value and respect.”
• “We talk about our feelings, our fears, our dreams, our fascinations—not about our cars, our new kitchens, our new suits and sofas. We linger in a thoughtful conversation over a patiently prepared dinner and devote ourselves to talking about the essential stuff —not the peripheral that just disconnects us from ourselves and from each other.”
Step Three: Add Cinnamon and Spice (or Be Committed to Personal Growth and Development)
• “If it is true that familiarity breeds contempt, then it is also true that routine and the lack of change or the lack of growth and personal development leads to boredom and can suck the life out of an otherwise healthy, loving relationship. When youth and physical beauty fades, there better be something else interesting and appealing about me. It should be the person I’m continuing to become! Our relationship cannot have excitement if we are not committed to our own personal growth and development. Boring people create boring relationships!”
• “Bringing our individual interests to the relationship and the experiences that come from those can foster feelings of freshness and excitement.”
• “Support each other to do the things that help you to reconnect with your individual identity—the parts of you that get lost in the routine of work and kids—so you can bring that energy back into the relationship. That is what keeps us going.”
• Intellectual stimulation with one’s partner was an important theme in this category, as well as taking care of one’s own physical health. “I know when I stay in shape I feel good, and my wife is more attracted me!”
Step Four: A Nip of Peppermint Schnapps (or Stir in Adventure)
• “We both need to have a travel experience or adventure dangling in our future to help us
be okay with the monotony of everyday life.”
• “It keeps it exciting if—between the two of you-you are learning about and doing things you never thought you would and are enriched individually and together as a result!”
• “Change things up. Dare to be different. Travel the world.”
• Laughter and humor were also characterized as adventurous. “When I love my husband the most is when we are laughing together. Even when—or maybe especially when—we are laughing at each other!”
Step Five: Lots of Whipped Cream on Top (or A Little Sexual Variety Goes A Long Way)
• “Besides all the loving things we do for each other and our kids, I think it’s important to be a little naughty with each other. Go on Priceline.com when you get to work one day, book a local hotel for the afternoon, call your wife to join you for lunch, dangle the room key in front of her while reading the menu, and I’ll bet she orders lunch to go!”
• “We make time to light candles, massage each other, put on good music, shut out the world, and then make love. It’s such a natural high, and so much more bonding.”
• “Trying new things as much as possible, making love in unusual places, at unusual times.”
• “New sex toys!”
We hope this article o ers a recipe that excites your taste buds and ignites the spark in your relationship! Happy Holidays to you!
Dr. He ~ Dr. She