Monday, January 5, 2015

Keeping the Attraction Alive in Marriage

My mother told me shortly after my wedding day to continue to dress up and get myself ready for my husband.  I think on that particular day I wasn’t wearing any make up and hadn’t done anything with my hair.  I wasn’t offended by her comment, because that’s just how she’s always been.  I reassured her, I still wore makeup and did my hair, just not every day.  It seemed to be enough for her to back off.

Though, lately I’ve reflected back to what my mother said to conduct a self-check.  I asked myself if I was still dressing up for my husband on occasion and realized that I had cut down a bit from when we were first married.  I wondered if I had let myself become lazy, since I hadn’t even put on a full face of makeup the week prior.  I felt like I had slacked a little bit in this department and so of course the very next morning I applied my makeup and curled my hair before I left the house. 

Why had I stopped trying so hard?  I made sure to always ‘put my face on’ and/or curl my hair for my husband when we were dating, but now there were more days that I hadn’t really tried than there were that I had tried.  I realized that I should be trying harder to keep him interested in me.  I mean I expect the same from him and so he shouldn’t get any less from me. 

Of course I’ve made the effort to maintain my weight, but I would have done that with or without him.  For me watching my weight hasn’t been the issue, but taking the time to apply makeup and do my hair has been.  Though, I know that weight is an issue for many individuals and affecting their spouse’s attraction to them. 

I realize that we should love our spouse unconditionally, but this intentional love doesn’t cover attraction.  Attraction is separate from love and should be intentional on both parts.  Each spouse should do their part to continue to attract their spouse.  Without effort attraction for some couples may slowly fade away.  No one wants that, right?

Keeping our spouse attracted to us should be one our main priorities in life.  By making an effort to make ourselves look presentable we are strengthening our marriage.  Don’t lose sight of what is important to your spouse, because it could mean losing your spouse in the long run.

Recently I heard a marriage therapist retell one of her client’s stories.  She said that the husband asked his wife for a divorce.  The wife was shocked by his confession and requested that they seek counseling first and he agreed.  In counseling after some encouragement he revealed that his reason for divorce was that his wife had gained weight.  He said that he was no longer attracted to her, but that he still loved her.  The wife was relieved to hear this and agreed to lose the weight for her marriage. 

Now this is an extreme example, but if we lose track of what our spouse finds attractive about us then we run the risk of losing our spouse to someone else.  There are definitely some things wrong with this example.  The husband should have told his wife about his problem with her weight.  Fear of hurting a loved one should never stop us from keeping communication open in our marriage.  So another lesson learned: tell your spouse you’re unhappy or no longer satisfied with how they’ve changed, physically or not.  They’re better off knowing and having the option to do something about it and so is your marriage.

Of course there still exist issues with a spouse that are unfair and uncontrollable, but let’s hope that the no longer attracted spouse recognizes they’re being outrageous and works on letting the unjust issue go.  I won’t specify what is unjust, but I’ll leave it up to you and your spouse’s discretion.  What you may find to be a ridiculous desired change in a spouse could be completely different from what I would find ridiculous.

I think that for each spouse keeping the attraction alive in marriage is different.  We each have our own unique thing(s) we struggle with.  It is our choice to bring issues out in the open and work toward improving our marriage.  How do you keep your spouse interested?