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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This year my wife and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage and we have two boys (13 and 8). Not so long ago we used to get so busy with work and kids that we forgot to connect in meaningful ways. Sure, we always meant well but more often than not other things got in the way. We felt we just don’t have the time, so we said “next week.” Long story short, after years of doing so we almost ended up in divorce.

Thankfully we scraped and dug our way out of the bad times and managed to reconnect without any professional counseling.

Here's what I learned:


  • Little things matter the most. Sweet little things matter more than birthday gifts, exotic vacations or fancy dinners. Nice thoughts said aloud, a gentle touch, a kind smile. Things we think about, but never say or do. I'm writing a journal and the last time I counted there were more than 40 different little sweet things that my wife and I are doing for each other on a daily basis. Things that we weren't doing before.

  • Surprise your spouse. Make those surprises irregularly regular;) Surprises go a long way because they are also a powerful aphrodisiac. I didn't know that until I read a book of Esther Perel - Mating in Captivity. It can be as simple as surprising your spouse with breakfast in bed. I keep my list with ideas in my wallet and make sure I surprise my wife every now and then (I really don’t count). My wife does the same, in her own way.

  • Have fun. Have a date night once per week or bi-weekly. Go to a concert together, just go out - just the two of you. Combine that with a surprise;) There are many ways how you can have fun and it all comes down to what you both like to do. It doesn't have to be expensive though. Date night at home works too. If your budget allows though, once or twice per year take a short trip or take vacation over the weekend. My good friend and his wife go camping for a few days but a small hotel on the beach will work great just as well:) It’s all about connection and spending meaningful time together.

  • Talk. Talk about you and your relationship and not just about your job and your kids. Many women believe men don't like to talk about their relationships. That's not entirely true. It's just that men are not so verbal and many are afraid of getting criticized so they "run for cover" or avoid such conversations all together. Here’s what always works: talk about your dreams, what you'd like to do or achieve together. Even men like to talk about this. Of course, a little praise and a relaxing atmosphere can help a lot.

  • Touch. Use every opportunity to touch, without expectation of having sex (as a primary motive). This goes especially for men.

If you think about it, this is all just common sense. Too often, though, it’s common sense not being applied to common practice.

The biggest lesson I learned is this: Usually, one of the partners is more motivated to start than the other. That’s okay.

If that’s you, just start with the simple things and don't expect from your spouse anything in return. As a matter of fact you should expect that your partner will not even notice (at first)! That’s fine too. Do it anyway. Then watch the magic starting to happen. Your partner WILL start responding in a very short time. My experience shows – in a week or two for sure.

Sure, above-mentioned activities are no silver bullet. Relationships are too complex for that. Still, I believe it's 80% of what people who love each other should be doing to keep their relationship in check and healthy.

Last but not least, even though that shouldn't be a primary motive, doing these couple of simple things in a deliberate and consistent way will almost eliminate the chances (and motivation) for infidelity as well as significantly reduce the odds for developing other highly toxic behavior patterns like blaming, criticism and stonewalling (to name just a few).

Let me know what you think? What have I missed?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No I wouldn't agree.

Having been married twice now, once spectacularly unsuccessfully and the other time so far quite wonderfully and having been in numerous sexual relationships with a lot of women.

I have a different take than yours though, since I was all of those sweet and romantic things on your list in my first marriage. Yet despite that and with no diminishment in copious amounts of wanton and lustful sex with my ex-wife, she still cheated on me when I was away.

Whereas today and for almost 19 years I have enjoyed a terrific relationship with my current wife where we have remained in love throughout our time together.

Yet we don't do sweet little things and both of us consciously and reciprocally often ignore things like Valentines Day and other cutesy lovey dovey things, because cutesy and teddy bear type things makes us both cringe a bit.

We also seldom land surprises on each other either and we are both perfectly happy with that. We both are very busy people with significant personal and professional commitments so we both would rather know where and when in advance especially since we both sometimes have to travel for work. Plus neither of us would be pleased if the other brought food to bed as a surprise or otherwise.

I will concede I'm with you on fun and talking, Yet I'm not with you on talking about dreams.

My wife and I do just fine despite the fact we seldom talk about our aspirations because it's not really our thing, seriously when people talk about property and possessions etc our eyes just glaze over. We are far more interested in talking about; friends, work, politics, international relations, literature, science, ethics, archaeology, history and sex subjects.

As to touching without expectation, my wife and I have lots and lots of sex and touch each other lustfully and expectantly all of the time.

At the end of the day, reciprocally knowing, respecting, wanting and loving your partner matters. If there is no reciprocation one can offer plenty of touching talk with oodles of fun and surprises with the most saccharin of little things, yet it won't matter if they dislike you.

If one's partner no longer wants the other partner, no amount of sweet platitudes can ever prevent or fix that in the long run.

One is far better off actually knowing their spouse and loving them reciprocally, rather than tilting at windmills going after a male or female stereotype that most of us don't live up to.

If one size really fitted all, I wouldn't have to cut a foot off every new pair of jeans I owned.
You're right.

Different things work for different people. The important thing is that you have a terrific relationship.

What I wanted to say is that it pays off to be nice to each other, talk and spend time together and be deliberate about that. Simple things work best.

I'm also fully with you on "Valentines Day and other cutesy lovey dovey things" :) My wife and I don't do these things. We try to make our own Valentines much more often than once a year:)

Have a great day and thanks again for your feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Sounds like great advice but both partners have to be motivated right? Trying to be nice is a major achievement these days for me, forget about the rest of it :frown2:
I know what you mean and that's a typical trap that many of us fall into. We delegate the responsibility to other people for doing what is right. You don't need your partner to start doing what is right for your relationship. Too often we wait for another to do something first. In turn both are waiting on each other. Life is too short for this.

A few years ago my wife and I were in a very bad place and we almost divorced. We were SO close to that. I know how hard is it to pull the plug when the relationship is spinning in the wrong direction and you don't know what to do. I know how difficult it is to stop the negativity, the vicious cycle.

As another fellow member of this forum (Personal) said in his comment there's no "one-size-fits-all" approach. When a couple is in trouble, usually there's quite some history behind. In that sense doing the things I mentioned in my post will not magically solve all problems. What I am saying though is that in my experience doing any of above-mentioned activities (starting with the first as the easiest one) will contribute to a more positive atmosphere. And that's so important. The little tokens of good will, caring and appreciation will start changing the energy of the relationship for the better. With persistence and some time it's almost impossible for the spouse not to start responding in the same way. That's vital to starting to change the perception that partners have of each other. The perception (what partners believe to be true about each other) is the real killer of relationships more so than lack of "communication". It's how our brains work. Perhaps you'd like to have look at a little eBook I have in my signature and then decide for yourself if that's the right thing for you or not.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I wish you well.
 

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This year my wife and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage and we have two boys (13 and 8). Not so long ago we used to get so busy with work and kids that we forgot to connect in meaningful ways. Sure, we always meant well but more often than not other things got in the way. We felt we just don’t have the time, so we said “next week.” Long story short, after years of doing so we almost ended up in divorce.

Thankfully we scraped and dug our way out of the bad times and managed to reconnect without any professional counseling.

Here's what I learned:


  • Little things matter the most. Sweet little things matter more than birthday gifts, exotic vacations or fancy dinners. Nice thoughts said aloud, a gentle touch, a kind smile. Things we think about, but never say or do. I'm writing a journal and the last time I counted there were more than 40 different little sweet things that my wife and I are doing for each other on a daily basis. Things that we weren't doing before.

  • Surprise your spouse. Make those surprises irregularly regular;) Surprises go a long way because they are also a powerful aphrodisiac. I didn't know that until I read a book of Esther Perel - Mating in Captivity. It can be as simple as surprising your spouse with breakfast in bed. I keep my list with ideas in my wallet and make sure I surprise my wife every now and then (I really don’t count). My wife does the same, in her own way.

  • Have fun. Have a date night once per week or be-weekly. Go to a concert together, just go out - just the two of you. Combine that with a surprise;) There are many ways how you can have fun and it all comes down to what you both like to do. It doesn't have to be expensive though. Date night at home works too. If your budget allows though, once or twice per year take a short trip or take vacation over the weekend. My good friend and his wife go camping for a few days but a small hotel on the beach will work great just as well:) It’s all about connection and spending meaningful time together.

  • Talk. Talk about you and your relationship and not just about your job and your kids. Many women believe men don't like to talk about their relationships. That's not entirely true. It's just that men are not so verbal and many are afraid of getting criticized so they "run for cover" or avoid such conversations all together. Here’s what always works: talk about your dreams, what you'd like to do or achieve together. Even men like to talk about this. Of course, a little praise and a relaxing atmosphere can help a lot.

  • Touch. Use every opportunity to touch, without expectation of having sex (as a primary motive). This goes especially for men.

If you think about it, this is all just common sense. Too often, though, it’s common sense not being applied to common practice.

The biggest lesson I learned is this: Usually, one of the partners is more motivated to start than the other. That’s okay.

If that’s you, just start with the simple things and don't expect from your spouse anything in return. As a matter of fact you should expect that your partner will not even notice (at first)! That’s fine too. Do it anyway. Then watch the magic starting to happen. Your partner WILL start responding in a very short time. My experience shows – in a week or two for sure.

Sure, above-mentioned activities are no silver bullet. Relationships are too complex for that. Still, I believe it's 80% of what people who love each other should be doing to keep their relationship in check and healthy.

Last but not least, even though that shouldn't be a primary motive, doing these couple of simple things in a deliberate and consistent way will almost eliminate the chances (and motivation) for infidelity as well as significantly reduce the odds for developing other highly toxic behavior patterns like blaming, criticism and stonewalling (to name just a few).

Let me know what you think? What have I missed?
I applaud wholeheartedly your marital success and wish you, and the others around here, continued success. It is unfortunate however that your course of actions is what leads a lot of us into the "Nice guy/gal" cycle oh ever so insidiously. It is quite remarkable how so many opinions can be derived from staying in the same hotel room, In the end it just boils down to how much the other person is into you and the relationship and in most cases they, men and women alike, call it quits once something better comes along.
 

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Like Personal, I have been married twice. Not to toot my horn, but my first wife was the true love of my life and I couldn't do enough for her. I doted on her and appreciated her every day. When she walked into a room I instantly felt great- and I'd tell her so. But she wanted a lifestyle I couldn't afford. She was deeply beautiful and men liked her- and she them.

My second marriage is more of a friendship/love one and it's working great. But I don't put in the same energy as I did the first.

So while I liked your post in a general sense, when someone is a betrayer, they betray.
 

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That's all well and good, but in quite a few cases that I've seen here all the things you've listed where done an a regular basis, but the wife still ended up cheating.

The husband thought he'd been doing everything right, then came along "the bad boy".

The OM was the total opposite of the BH, yet the wife chose, of all people, a "bad boy".

This is the monkey wrench in what you've posted. Sometimes a wife who is seemingly happily married to a good husband will not only cheat, but cheat with the polar opposite of who her husband is.

I've seen it time and time again. The OM doesn't have a steady job and/or is sometimes vulgar when he texts/talks with her and/or only has sex with her in the back seat of a car, or in a dank motel room.

The OM is anything, but prince charming, yet sometimes a "good" wife married to a "good" husband in an otherwise seemingly successful marriage ends up attracted to a man that in all counts is anything but good.

I would add changing things up every so often to your list. Don't get too predictable. Be the man of mystery once in a while. If your wife is into reading trashy love novels, take the time to browse through them from time to time and get a new perspective on what "does it for her".

Even a great relationship can start to turn into a "same ole, same ole" given enough time. Continue to surprise her on a regular basis. Be that "someone new" yourself, from time to time, and she's less likely to start thinking about someone else.
 

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Expand on that.

How much does one forgive and where does accountability come in?
Excellent point BP, Forgiveness can only be truly attained if equaled by accountability. Forgiving someone who does not take responsibility for his or her actions, and reconciles, is just a ticking time bomb.
 

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It does NOT always pay to be nice. As a matter of fact, there are often times when it is more detrimental. I can certainly say that if I had not been so nice to my ex wife we would likely still be married.
Nice or too nice? There's nothing wrong with nice, mate. Don't beat yourself up.. some b*tches be crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Great post with excellent ideas for sustaining a healthy, happy marriage! One thing that wasn't mentioned was forgiveness. I think forgiveness is huge in a marriage.
Hey Susie, thanks for mentioning that. You're right.

The good things is that it gets easier by being caring and thoughtful because our spouse’s inner voice becomes more forgiving and understanding. Even when we totally mess up, forget to run that errand we promised, didn’t call when we said we would, it won’t matter as much, because we’ll be in such a good place that those pesky annoyances won’t seem so big.

Lastly, I didn't mention that but it paid off hugely when we both learned how to apologize properly one or another screws up:)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It does NOT always pay to be nice. As a matter of fact, there are often times when it is more detrimental. I can certainly say that if I had not been so nice to my ex wife we would likely still be married.
Hey Morcoll, thanks for your comment.

I know what you mean. I still I believe there's nothing wrong with being caring and thoughtful. Not only at home but also elsewhere (at work, with friends...). Maybe I'm a also hopeless romantic (which I always thought I'm not) but I do believe that the love you give returns to you.

That said, I'm with you. If there's no reciprocity (at all) and no genuine intention to stay together, things are different. You can't force anyone to love you, right? I'm just saying let's do our best first.

Have a great day!
 

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One thing I learned almost divorcing is....don't take any shyt!
We got a couple of kids D26 and S21. They grew up seeing lots of drinking and fighting (my old lady can take down some big chicks for being so small) and cops at the front door every other week end.

Now that I have set the stage with being from "the other side of the tracks" me and the old lady firmly believe you gotta have grace to forgive. After 26 years of bull shyt....we finally figured it out.....hell the kids have there lives figured out way more then me and the old lady did when we were their age.
But at the end of the day you gotta have grace, not only does the sex work but it really gets you though the crap one does to the one they love!

Messing up doesn't even began to express the crap we did do each other back in the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would add changing things up every so often to your list. Don't get too predictable. Be the man of mystery once in a while. If your wife is into reading trashy love novels, take the time to browse through them from time to time and get a new perspective on what "does it for her".

Even a great relationship can start to turn into a "same ole, same ole" given enough time. Continue to surprise her on a regular basis. Be that "someone new" yourself, from time to time, and she's less likely to start thinking about someone else.
I so agree with you.

That's why I mentioned surprises. Surprise is also a powerful aphrodisiac;)

Esther Perel, a French researcher who dedicated her professional life to exploring erotic desire, found that surprises and mysteries are one of the core elements of desire.

Our brains look for familiarity, but love surprises. That is why some people can’t resist affairs. They’re thrilling because they’re new, and they make people feel alive.

So yes, it's a good plan to be unpredictable every so often. It’s a much better plan than doing nothing, in which case, eventually a new lover may show up to fill the void.

Thanks for pointing that out.
 

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I am for being unpredictable with my old lady, but if she wants to bail cuz I'm not then that's on her...just tell me so I can move on.
What suck is more often then not cheaters don't say shyt, make you think all is good and phuck around behind your back cuz they are broken.

Granted I'm all for affair proofing a marriage, but at the end of the day if your chick goes off and screws some other guy cuz one is so predictable...well then phuck her and the horse she road in on. I mean i have heard about some great spouses doing their job and still get burned.

Alls one needs to say is "i'm out you suck and you are boring"...I'm pissed but i rather get the truth then screwed over with deceitt and betrayal.

But hey thats just me.
 

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I know what you mean and that's a typical trap that many of us fall into. We delegate the responsibility to other people for doing what is right. You don't need your partner to start doing what is right for your relationship. Too often we wait for another to do something first. In turn both are waiting on each other. Life is too short for this.

A few years ago my wife and I were in a very bad place and we almost divorced. We were SO close to that. I know how hard is it to pull the plug when the relationship is spinning in the wrong direction and you don't know what to do. I know how difficult it is to stop the negativity, the vicious cycle.

As another fellow member of this forum (Personal) said in his comment there's no "one-size-fits-all" approach. When a couple is in trouble, usually there's quite some history behind. In that sense doing the things I mentioned in my post will not magically solve all problems. What I am saying though is that in my experience doing any of above-mentioned activities (starting with the first as the easiest one) will contribute to a more positive atmosphere. And that's so important. The little tokens of good will, caring and appreciation will start changing the energy of the relationship for the better. With persistence and some time it's almost impossible for the spouse not to start responding in the same way. That's vital to starting to change the perception that partners have of each other. The perception (what partners believe to be true about each other) is the real killer of relationships more so than lack of "communication". It's how our brains work. Perhaps you'd like to have look at a little eBook I have in my signature and then decide for yourself if that's the right thing for you or not.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I wish you well.
Thanks for this post, a good reminder. I did the "doing everything without anything in return" 15 years ago when our marriage was going down the chute, even though I was the BS. Now however I am tired as sometimes its the one person doing all the giving and the other doing all the taking. So right now I am filled with regret and resentment. I can see he tries as he knows now how precarious things are, but I block him at most turns as I don't want to make it so easy ( he has pointed this out to me) as I am heading towards the WW ending. The fact is I don't really know whether I want it enough or not, I mean to stay. Sometimes I want to work on it, other times I just want to leave and be free of it all. But as someone pointed out we cannot act on feelings, I made a commitment so must stick it out. So thank you for the reminder.
 

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Thanks for this post, a good reminder. I did the "doing everything without anything in return" 15 years ago when our marriage was going down the chute, even though I was the BS. Now however I am tired as sometimes its the one person doing all the giving and the other doing all the taking. So right now I am filled with regret and resentment. I can see he tries as he knows now how precarious things are, but I block him at most turns as I don't want to make it so easy ( he has pointed this out to me) as I am heading towards the WW ending. The fact is I don't really know whether I want it enough or not, I mean to stay. Sometimes I want to work on it, other times I just want to leave and be free of it all. But as someone pointed out we cannot act on feelings, I made a commitment so must stick it out. So thank you for the reminder.
You mean WAW ending don't you? Hope you don't decide to cheat.
 
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