I was at a cookout a few years ago when my husband's buddy -- let's call him John -- gently kissed his wife on the lips and said to her, "Now that was just what I needed."
"My husband would never kiss me in public like that," I thought. "Why can't Mark be more like John? Why didn't I marry a guy like John?"
Back then, I had so many "Why didn't I marry a John?" moments about so many husbands of so many other women. I'd hear a friend talking animatedly with her husband and I'd think, "We don't talk like that." Or a friend would tell me that her husband does all of the cooking, and I'd say to myself, "Mark hasn't cooked for me since he wooed me with his baked ziti. What I wouldn't give for a husband who cooks." Could my husband-envy possibly be normal?
As it turns out, it was. It's especially normal to reevaluate your relationship after you have a child. When I became a mom, my husband and I went from being a basically happy couple to being two people who had little to say to each other, who didn't enjoy the company of each other's naked bodies, and who would rather spend time alone than together.
Eventually, I decided to go on a marriage-improvement mission that involved reading self-help books, interviewing my married friends, and scouring the Internet. I learned a lot. For one thing, I learned that it's pointless to worry whether your marriage is normal. With about half of marriages ending in divorce and even more spouses contemplating it, aiming for a normal marriage is like aiming for a 2.0 grade point average. You can do better. You can achieve an abnormally great marriage instead. To do so, consider these symptoms of normalcy, and use our advice to make your marriage one that other women will envy.