Learning to fight better, accept more, appreciate daily and stay in love with my husband

Posts tagged ‘marial advice’

My Sexy Experiment With “The 4 Hour Body”!

I want to supercede this post by letting you know that I am not trying to be tawdry in any way, but I do feel that sex is a vital part of a healthy marriage.  So I can’t help but feel the need to share with you how date night went for me this week.  In one word, Unforgettable!

My husband is a big fan of Tim Ferriss, author of the “4 Hour Workweek”.  He talks about it all the time and asked for the extended audiobook for Christmas.   So when he told me that Tim Ferriss had come out with a new book called the “The 4 Hour Body”, I knew I needed to get it for him.

I came across it a few weeks ago while shopping.  It is enormous!   It would cause some serious damage if you were hit over the head with it.  I thought about putting it back on the shelf and walking away.  I mean, who wants to read that many pages on exercise and nutrition?  No thanks!  But, before I put it back I read the front cover and table of contents.   There is a whole chapter about improving sex.  I thought, “Okay this could be interesting.” So I bought it for the hubby.

Since the night I brought it home, a couple of weeks ago, Hubby has been reading it every day.  He is completely hooked.

Tim Ferriss is an interesting man.  He is a  master at self experimentation.  His book has very detailed descriptions on how to get the body that you desire with tried and true testimony from Tim himself.  It is fascinating really.

My husband wanted me to read a particular chapter that he found really interesting on using kettlebells in your exercise routine.  I had never even heard of a kettlebell, but I enjoyed the chapter enough to flip through the rest of the book to look at the other chapter titles.

There is a whole chapter on improving sex complete  with very detailed pictures, and that night just so happened to be date night.  Perfect!

So our date night consisted of my husband reading, out loud to me, that particular chapter.  But it wasn’t enough just to read it, we needed to test the theories.

Without going into too much detail, let me just say we had a wonderful date night. It was sexy, sweet, and highly surprising.  Unlike anything we have ever done before.

Don’t get me wrong, our sex life is awesome!  I am often shocked that after all these years I can still feel the passion that I do for my husband.  Neither of us feel lacking in any way.  However, what I learned from reading this book, and trying out the methods, is that there is always room for improvement.  How wonderful a feeling to realize that we love each other enough to want to get better at loving each other.  To try new positions, to talk about it, to make myself unbelievably vulnerable. It all served to bring us  closer.

In fact the next day, all I could think about was what happened the night before.  A little unusual for me.

I also learned that if Tim Ferriss was right about his sex theories, maybe I should pay attention to the other chapters.  I better run out and get those kettlebells, right now!

I strongly recommend to all couples, to try something new in the bedroom (or somewhere different for a change.)   Try a new position, a new technique, get a book, talk, get comfortable saying what you like and don’t like, and improve your skills.  Sex should never be boring.  It should always have an element of connection, passion and newness.

If you are needing a little spark in the bedroom or you are just feeling a little adventurous, I recommend picking up a copy of this book and head right to the chapter on improving sex.

Practice makes perfect!  Have fun.

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage:  Practice, practice, practice!

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What Happens in Vegas . . .

I have escaped to Sin City.   You know the lights, the shows, the alcohol, the bad decisions?  Isn’t that what Vegas is all about?

Not for me.   I am miles from the strip,  with a stack of old movies, a plentiful supply of diet pepsi and enjoying absolute serenity.  I have run away to spend two days all by myself in a little condo at the base of Red Rock Canyon.

Why, you might ask?  I was desperate.  Quite literally desperate.  There are those times  in ones life when you must recognize the moment you are on the brink of loosing your mind.   If you don’t get a second of peace you are going to permanently turn into the Tasmanian Devil, destroying everything in your path.

It seems, in recent weeks, I have felt an unbearable feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted.  Turning to tears for no apparant reason.  Snapping at my unsuspecting children while they stare wide eyed at what was once  their patient mother.  Let’s just say, a string of events and illnesses have taken their toll.   Sometimes, everything becomes too much.

One day, while sharing this with my husband, thru my tears, I  said, “I need a break.”  Those were not easy words to say outloud, but I did.

I need a few moments all to myself, to pull myself together and find my breath again.  Where no one needs me, or expects anything from me.  Where I can finish a magazine in one sitting.  Where I can make a choice based on what I want.  Where I can take a shower without interruption.

What????  Was I crazy?

According to my husband, I wasn’t.  He agreed.  He has watched as the patience and kindness that usually comes  easy to me, slowly came unraveled.  He said, “You’re right.  You do need a break.”

So we scheduled “me” time on the calendar.  I was to get a couple of days all to myself!  It felt like a dream.

But as the day came around for me to leave, I felt incredibly guilty.  How could I do this?  What was I going to do?  What would people think?

My bag was packed and I was ready to go, but my very dear friend Guilt, made it so hard to walk thru the door.  My husband had to practically push me to the car.

The second I pulled away from the house, though, I knew I had made the right decision.  I needed this.  A mini vacation for me.  To sleep, to walk, to write, to watch movies, to read.   To find the energy and passion that has eluded me for the last few months.

I realize that, to  some, I might sound like a very selfish person.  Going on a cruise with just my hubby.  Running away to Vegas by myself for a weekend.  But, as I get older I realize that the emotioanl health of myself and my marriage are key to my happiness as well as my children’s happiness.  I must take care of myself and my marriage in order to be the best wife and mother that I can be.   My happiness is key to the success and happiness of my family.  Whether it is hard to admit or not, it is true.

So here I am, staring at the beautiful Nevada desert, missing my family more that I thought possible, and reveling in the peace of the moment.  Feeling proud of myself  for recognizing what I needed, speaking up and taking action.   Soaking up the gratitude that I feel for my husband who pushed me out the door, for my children who bring sunshine to every day and for the ability to run away and find myself.

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage:  make time to be all by yourself!

 

They Are Separating!

My husband and I have some very dear friends.  It is a couple that we met a long time ago when we were working at a camp.  We have been friends for at least 10 years.  Maybe you have friends like these.  They are the friends that have a child about the same age as our daughter.  They have a similar career path as we do.  We have rented summer condo’s together, gone to Disneyland,  had endless sleepovers for the kids. We have so much in common.   They have been a staple in our lives.  We adore them and have considered them our best friends for years.

Two weeks ago, I found out they were separating.  I had known that they were having a rough time, for a long time. I guess in the back of my mind I knew that they might not make it, but when the words were  said out loud, I was in shock.  Devastated actually.

How could this be?  I was crushed for them and for their little girl.  I know this decision did not come lightly and that they had done everything that they felt possible, to try to improve the marriage.

Here I was, staring at my dear friend, trying to pick my jaw up off of the floor and swallow back tears that were fighting to surface. 

Then inevitably, I started to think about me. I know, it is selfish, but I couldn’t help it.   How was this going to effect our friendship?  It was going to change the entire dynamic of it.  We were couple friends, if that makes sense.  We always did things together as families.  Is this going to reduce our friendship to only seeing one of them at a time for events that only involve the children?  Birthdays and pool parties?  I don’t know.  We haven’t talked about it. 

Actually, my girlfriend hasn’t talked to me about it at all yet.  It is too fresh and too painful.  I can understand that.  I will be here when she is ready.

The day I found out about their separation I looked at my husband from a different perspective.  After the news I looked and him and was overwhelmed with emotion.  I couln’t imagine my life without him.  I suddenly had this renewed commitment to put my marriage first.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that my friends didn’t do that.  I do not know the inner workings of their marriage and their situation is certainly not for me to judge.  Marriage is hard, and sometimes truly unfixable.  I get that. 

But life is full of lessons.   I cannot watch my friends go through the unimaginable without taking away a life lesson for myself. 

I have learned a lot about my marriage this past year.  The most important thing I have learned is that it requires constant nurturing.   The moments that I start to put it in second place are the times that we struggle most. 

 I like to think that I am on the path to  longevity in my marriage and I am reminded to do everything in my power to never reach the place where things are unfixable.

Sending love to my dear friends.  May you find the strength you need to get through this very difficult time.

Todays lesson in improving my marriage: Nurture it.

Run Away With Me

Last December I learned the value taking some time away with my husband.  Amongst the madness of the holiday season, my husband and I put it all aside for 5 days and  ran away together.  We went on a cruise to Cabo San Lucas.   Just the two of us.

For some parents this might seem unheard of,  wrong in their eyes even.  To leave the kids behind for 5 days and be completely selfish.  I have to admit, I felt incredibly guilty at first.  Something that comes rather easy to me, guilt. 

Heading off to have a wonderful time without the kiddos, during the busiest time of the year, leaving work, kids, dog  and responsibility in the very capable and willing hands of our parents.  It was too selfish right?  Definitely!  But, I did it anyway.

Last year at this time, my husband and I were not in the greatest place.  It had been a long year of trying to find our way back to connection, romance, wanting to fall in love again.  It had been a struggle.  Probably the toughest year of our marriage.  We felt desperate for time away together.  I couldn’t wait to get him away from his phone and computer and he couldn’t wait to have the attention that I usually devoted to the kids, all to himself.

Let me tell you the great thing about a cruise.  There is no distractions.  No where to go.  No schedule to adhere too (unless you are like me and can’t resist being a spectator at  the Hairy Chest Competition.  I had to see that one for my own eyes!) No computer.  No cell phone. Ok well, they have these, it just costs a small fortune to use them.  This was one time that my husband’s desire to save every penny completely worked to my benefit.

The days on the cruise are filled with sunshine, endless ocean, romantic dinners, delicious food and peace and quiet.  Maybe if you have been on a cruise you would not agree, but for us, it was sheer magic.  Five whole days of magic.

It was during that time that I remembered all of those things that I love about my husband.  All those things that are so hard to find in the normal day-to-day life.  Between kids, fatigue, work, obligations, it is easy to lose sight. 

Suddenly, I have his complete attention.  We stared at each other over dessert.  We laughed.  We watched the sunset.  We watched endless movies.  We held each other and watched the ocean outside of our balcony. We had more sex than we had in the last 2 months put together.  We, quite literally, couldn’t keep our hands off of each other.  Who were these people? 

 We fell in love . . . again.

It, quite honestly, put us back on track.  It was there that we vowed to make our marriage first again.  To take important steps to make sure that some of that magic that we found on the high seas, lasted all year. 

Guess what!  It did.  This was the best year in the life of our marriage.   Amid all of the chaos of health issues, surgeries, family illness, children, insane work schedules, travel, we held it together like never before.  Don’t get me wrong, this year took a lot of day-to-day work to maintain the connection.  Five days in heaven can’t make a marriage last, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.

We believed so much in the power of the cruise, that we did it again this year.  This month we cashed in our American Express bonus points and headed back to Cabo.  Again, magic.  I feel ready to tackle a new year with my husband by my side.  We  found passion, connection, romance.  It is a beautiful thing.

Now, I do realize that  a cruise is not necessarily an easy thing to run off and do  for many people.  I happen to live by 2 major cruise ship ports.  That, however, is not the point. The point is to find your way back to each other by leaving everything  else behind.  Even if just for a couple of days.  Whatever you can manage. 

Don’t think I am an awful person for leaving behind the kids while I go have the time of my life.  We do a family vacation every year as well, but I belive that my husband and I have started a new  tradition of an annual lovers vacation.  Ok sounds corny, but whatever.  That is what it is.  A journey back to love.  And it is awesome!!!

Today’s lesson to a better marriage:  Run away together

A Time for Thanks

Well, much to my shock, Thanksgiving is already here.  I have no idea where the days have gone that have led me here, but here I am nonetheless.

Thanksgiving is probably my least favorite holiday.  Sounds slightly offensive, I am sure, but it is true.  The years of shuffling children and food from one house to the next has taken its toll.  Balancing our time between families.  Missing dinner with one side of the family or dessert with the other.  Trying hard not to hurt anyone’s feelings. It is downright exhausting.

It seems that in all of the chaos of the day I often forget about why we celebrate the day to begin with.  Oh yeah, it is to give thanks.

Gratitude is one of the keys to a fulfilling life, I believe.  Taking the time to revel in the gifts of life is something I try to do often.  I keep a gratitude journal on my nightstand.  I thank God as often as possible for the blessings in my life.  I am so grateful. 

For some reason, however,  on the day I am supposed to be giving thanks, all I can think about is, “When is this, very long, day going to end?”

No offense to my family of course.  They are wonderful.  I love them dearly.  I believe I have just become a little cynical about this holiday.  Maybe too many dinners with certain members of the extended family (who shall remain anonymous) sitting next to me complaining about everything going wrong in their lives. People who show no signs of gratitude. 

A huge pet peeve of mine . . . people who are negative.  Yet even in the moment that I say that I am sick of negativity at Thanksgiving, here I am being negative about it.  I have become a hypocrite! 

This year I will challenge myself to find gratitude on this day that I am supposed to give thanks.

Since this is a blog about my marriage, I thought it only appropriate to give thanks to my husband (in the event that I lose sight of my gratitude the moment the doorbell starts ringing and the tofu turkey is put in the oven).

Dear husband, I am thankful for:

Your dark blue t-shirt that hugs your chest just a little too tight.

Bedtime stories with the kids so that I can hear you make the silly voices.

How you pretend your taller than you actually are.

How you never give up hope that someday you will be able to slam dunk.

The sweet words of gratitude that you write to me every night.

The deodorant you wear that makes you smell delicious.

Your incessant motivation that makes me both love you and hate you at the same time.

The look of love that you give our children.

Your inability to keep your hands off of me most days.

Your ability to recognize the days that you better keep your hands off of me.

Your giddy weakness for sweets.

Your inability to walk up the stairs without tripping.

Your never-ending, and quite serious,  hunt for the best cup of coffee.

Your blue eyes that still make me melt.

The magnetic pull you have toward injury that makes you the only man on the planet that has gotten a black eye from a pinata.  Not the stick, but the actual pinata.

Your childish fight against going to bed.

Your uncontrollable laughter when watching SNL.

The way you can’t resist kissing me during a love scene in a movie.

I am most thankful for you this Thanksgiving.  For all that you do for our family.  For how you love me with all you have. For your dedication to our children.   For all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses.  For just being you.  I love you.

(Sorry for the mushiness of this post.  Just couldn’t help it)

Today’s lesson in improving your marriage: Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

I Want to Play

How often do you  play with your spouse?

The honest answer, for me, is not that often.  Why is that?

Last night, something sparked in me.  I don’t know what, but suddenly I was feeling very playful.  Poking, prodding, irritating, just being downright silly.  My husband was wondering who had abducted his wife and replaced her with this lighthearted playful woman?   At the same moment that he was calling me a freak, he was laughing and teasing with me.  It was fun.  Later I started to think about the art of playing.  Why don’t I do it more often?

When we were first married, long before children, we used to play a lot.  We would take long bike rides and play catch in the front yard.  We played scrabble all the time.  I know, for some, Scrabble is the last thing they would want to play.  Those people have never played with my husband.  He used to make me laugh so hard at the letters that he would try to pass off as words and the definitions he would have  ready when challenged.   We would often have wrestling matches to death…. ok not to the death but to the point that you felt you were going to die  from laughing so hard.

We have two young kids.  I play a lot with them.  With my children I have no problem pretending I am on a magic carpet ride to Grammy’s house or that I am a yellow Lamborghini racing to the finish line.  With my children it is easy.

Truth be told, at the end of the day, I am usually beyond tired.  My brain is fried from work, my patience is at its limit with the dog.  If my son asks me one more question I feel like my head is going to burst (then he asks the question, surprising me, my head actually doesn’t burst).  I have had it with my 8 year old’s homework.  Basically, I am done for the day.  Down for the count.  The second that we get the kids to bed we both make a beeline to the couch to veg out in front of  a recorded SNL or a rented movie.  And once I am there, I feel like I never want to move again.  Each day is a race to the finish, it seems, and completely exhausting.

I guess that explains my lack of desire to play more.

But something is wrong with that picture.  I need to play more.  It is not fair that the kids get all the fun.

Laughter makes me feel happier and laughing with someone makes me feel closer to them.

This morning, when my husband woke up he was still smirking at me from our silliness last night.  Remembering our fun from the night before and feeling connected from it has started our day off right.

So I am going to challenge myself to find another moment to play this week.  Whether it be a board game, a wrestling match or naked tag ( we did that once a long time ago.  Now that was fun! ) I am going to start making an effort to be more playful and silly.  I need to lighten up a little.

Today’s lesson to a better marriage:  Don’t forget to play

Do you play?

Tammy

A Word, Or Two, About Date Night

The infamous “Date Night.”   What does that mean to you?

Here is what I have found to be true.  My husband and I  usually use the weekend to catch up with each other.  To hang out late and watch movies.   To catch up on some romance that is severely lacking during the week.  We sometimes get one of the grandparents to watch the kids while we go to dinner or the movie theatre.  Weekends are awesome.   They allow us to rejuvenate ourselves and our relationship.  We feel in love, connected, happy. 

Then Monday comes and it all quickly heads downhill.    Monday thru Friday is a big blur.  Shuttling my son too and from preschool, picking up my daughter from school, cleaning,  chorus, dance class, work, making dinner, laundry, work, volunteering at my daughter’s school, meetings, work, helping with homework… well you get the picture.  I am sure you are very familiar with it yourself.  

My husband an I quickly slip out of our sweet pocket of weekend romance  into two people who seem to run on auto mode.  The week is exhausting to say the least.  Every night I collapse into bed, aching for sleep.  Most weeks, I reach Friday and have to really think  back through the week  to remember if I had given my husband a real kiss or to try to recall when the last time we were intimate was.    I get to Friday and feel short with my husband and disconnected and aching to have a moment alone  just to breathe. We both agreed, the problem was we didn’t really feel like a couple.  We didn’t make time to cuddle, kiss, listen to music together, chat about nothing in particular.  Everything was always so rushed.  We were too tired for those simple things.

We decided, enough was enough.  If we were going to make our marriage our priority we needed to figure out a way to connect during the weekdays.  A way to feel stronger as a couple.  Romance and connection should not just be a weekend treat. 

We decided to start  having  date night on a week day.  But, having to go out for “date night” during the week wasn’t practical. The challenge was, it would have to be an at-home date night after the kids went down for bed. 

As of January, this year, Tuesday has become our date night.

We decided date night wouldn’t be about sex.  In fact we would take it off the table.  It would be a night where there was no pressure to have it. 

 That was a relief for me.  I longed for time with my husband that wasn’t about sex.  I wanted to talk and to cuddle.     

We also decided that “date night” should not include talk about children, work or money.       Let me tell you, it is incredibly difficult to know what to talk about once we weren’t allowed to talk about those things.  What else was there? 

I found an article in a magazine that I read that had suggestions of conversations starters for “getting to know your husband again.”  How ridiculous is that?  Getting to know my husband?  I have been with him my whole life.  I know him better than he knows himself.  But, there was something intriguing and sexy about the idea of “getting to know him again.” The questions  the article provided were fun, light and had absolutely nothing to do with our “tabu” topics.  Perfect!

So what do Tuesday nights look like for us?   We found, through many trial and error date nights, what works best for us. 

After the kids go down, even though sometimes we don’t want to or are too tired, we meet in bed.  Funny huh?  No pressure for sex, but we meet in bed.  Why? Because it is the most intimate place in our house.  It is our little haven in a world of chaos.  A candle and Kenny Chesney in the background.  We meet, not for sex, but for conversation and to hang out.    We ask silly questions like, “If someone made a movie about your life, who would play your character?” (Meg Ryan, for sure) or “What superhero would you want to be, and why?” (The girl from Hancock.  She could do it all) or “What was the best dessert you ever had?” (The lava cake at Roy’s. Absolutely sinful).  We talk about fantasies,  where we want to go on vacation,  our bucket list.  We learn about each other.

It is sweet, romantic, relaxing and,usually,  incredibly hot.  Did  I mention we do this, sans clothing?  Let’s just say, for us, taking sex off the table does not mean that we don’t have sex on date night.  In fact, not one of them has passed without, let’s say, a happy ending 🙂  It just means the pressure is off.  We don’t have to worry about a result.  It is just good old-fashioned quality time.

I love date night. It has made a huge impact in our marriage. 

All the articles I read about keeping a marriage strong talk about the importance of date night.  But, I think what is really important is to do date night right.  Find out what really works best for both of you.    It should be a time that you both enjoy and that should allow you to  focus solely on each other.  It is meant as a time to come back together as a couple and remind yourselves why you fell in love in the first place.

Although it is hard to put the time aside, and most of us can make up a million reasons not to, every couple should have a regular date night.  As Nike would say, “Just do it.”  If you are dedicated to it, the payoff is amazing.

Tammy