Is Your Marriage Normal?

It's normal to lose that romantic spark.

Before working on my marriage, it felt as if our spark had fallen into the Atlantic Ocean and been extinguished. Had I ever been attracted to my husband? I just couldn't remember. It was the best-seller Hot Monogamy, by Pat Love, Ed.D., that helped me heat my marriage back up. Thanks to Dr. Love (yes, that's her name), I began thinking of romance as how my husband displays his adoration for me, and I pondered what made me feel adored. For inspiration, I asked other women. They told me about little things like coffee brought to them in bed -- with just the right amount of cream and sugar. My friend Mary told me she knew her husband thought the world of her when he called from Sam's Club and told her that Glade PlugIns were on deep discount. Then he dug through the giant display until he found all the vanilla-scented ones. He did this because he knew two things about Mary that no one else knows (until now, that is): 1. Mary loves a good bargain. 2. Mary's favorite plug-in scent is vanilla.

"Women don't just want to be desired," says Dr. Love. "We want to be uniquely desired." In other words, we crave to be understood and cherished for what makes us different from all the billions of other women our husbands could have married. These are ways to teach your husband to display his unique desire for you.

Share what romance means to you. Every woman defines it a little differently. I realized that for me, romance is partly about my husband making my life easier and it's partly about him making me feel beautiful. Once he understood this, he found ways to accomplish both.

Put it in writing. I actually created a romance instruction manual for him that included a numbered list of suggestions like "encourage me to face my fears" and "when I seem tired or overwhelmed, do more without being asked." Call me a control freak, but romance came back into my marriage in a big, powerful way. Mark began doing more housework and parenting. He began cutting flowers from the yard and bringing them to me. He even filled my car's gas tank when he noticed it was almost empty. He did all of this because the manual gave him ideas to pull from.

Give him "attaboys." Positive reinforcement will lead to more romance in the future. Thank him with words, a smile, a hug, or a trip to the bedroom.

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