5 Tips for Making the Honeymoon Phase Last a Lifetime
Embrace these simple tips that empower wives and spark marriage happiness.
Itís nearly peak wedding season, which also means peak honeymoon seasonóand anniversary season. When it comes to keeping the magic alive for a lifetime, hereís what I know now: Forget about pre-marital counseling, or talking exhaustively about how to parent, where to live and how much to save for retirement. Turns out that song about how the greatest thing youíll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return was right--sustained romance is a matter of learning a few simple skills.
But maybe they didnít offer Relationship 101 at your school, just like they didnít have it at mine. I didnít learn intimacy skills before the wedding, and just a few years later I thought I had married the wrong man. I dragged my husband to counseling but ended up feeling more hopeless than ever when he didnít want to spend time with me or even make love to me.
I thought my only options were to spend the rest of my life in a loveless marriage or to divorce. But when happily married women showed me a few of their practices, something magical happened. The man who wooed me returned.
One of the big secrets they taught me was that women are the keepers of the relationship, and that we have more power to make the relationship happy and intimateóor stressful and tenseójust as Spiderman learned, with great power comes great responsibility. I believe we women have a responsibility to learn the skills that contribute to lasting love and to pass them on to each other.
Here are things I wish every newly married woman knew, but most donít:
Respect is Like Oxygen for Husbands
Men need respect the way wives need love. That doesnít mean you would always agree with himólots of times you wonít! But it does mean you honor his thinking instead of second-guessing or trying to improve on it.
I wish I had known this before I spent so many years giving my husband suggestions about how to write a resume, make a budget or load the dishwasher. Turns out, "helpful" in wife language equals "critical" in husband language.
These days, I trust my husband to think for himself and I expect the best outcome. Not only is he happier, we get to spend most of our time together laughing and holding hands.
Recently, I was brushing crumbs off of the counter and he said, "Donít move" and pulled out his phone to take my picture. It feels wonderful to be so loved after 28 years of marriage, and I know it means that my husband feels respected.
Express Your Desires
One of the unfortunate habits I had when I was an untrained newlywed was complaining about the mess around the house. I would say, "John, this kitchen is a disaster!"
I expected him to jump off the couch and start cleaning the kitchen, but that never happened.
Iíve since learned that men canít even hear us when weíre complaining, so all he heard was, "John, blah blah blah blah."
Finally, I learned that if my husband knew how to make me happy, he was much more motivated, so I started saying, "I would love a clean kitchen." That was over 15 years ago and heís been doing the dishes ever since.
Your husband wants to make you happy and expressing your desires instead of complaining will give him instructions on how to do that successfully.
That could be, "I would love a puppy," "I would love a bigger house," or "I would love a day off from the kids."
Anything goes when it comes to your desires as long as youíre not demanding or expectingójust hoping.
Listen Without Agreeing or Disagreeing
Sometimes your spouse will want to blow off steam. He may say heís going to quit his job immediately because heís so mad at his boss.
That could scare you.
You could be tempted to say, "Maybe you should sleep on it." Or, you could jump on board and say, "Yeah, heís never appreciated you!" But is that what he really wants?
We all have a deep need to be heard and understood. Listening to your husband without weighing in with your opinion is a wonderful way to create emotional safety, which is critical for intimacy.
One powerful way to do that is to use this magical, three-word phrase: "I hear you."
Thatís it. Not, "I hear you and I thinkÖ" or, "I hear you, but what aboutÖ"
Just, "I hear you," is a wonderful way to show that youíre bearing witness to his experience and that his words matter to you.
Keep Doing What Makes You Happy
One new bride tried to take up golf because her husband loved it. She took lessons, bought a set of clubs and practiced, thinking it was a great way to spend time together. Instead, she realized that she missed going to her dance classes. Despite her efforts, she just didnít love golf.
No couple ever got happier because he or she gave up doing something they loved to spend more time together.
Doing what fills you up and makes you happy makes you a magnet to your man. Youíre never hotter than when youíre smiling, laughing, singing or dancing.
Talk to Your Girlfriends
When I tried to make my husband my sole source of emotional support, he felt smothered and overwhelmed and I felt unsupported and miserable. Thatís because one mere mortal man is not enough.
Some days it takes two sisters, three best friends and my husband to put me right again. My friends help keep my marriage magical because they help keep me happy.
Sure, my husband is my best friend, and all my other friends help keep it that way.
Laura Doyle is The New York Times best-selling author of "The Surrendered Wife," "The Surrendered Single" and "The Empowered Wife." Her books have been translated into 16 languages and published in 27 countries. Over 150,000 women credit her with not only saving their relationships, but also showing them how to become desired, cherished and adored for life. She is the founder of Laura Doyle Connect, an international relationship coaching company that teaches women the intimacy skills they need to have passionate, peaceful relationships.