Shayne on You: Spicing up a marriage

Dear Maggie,

Do you have advice on how to bring the spark back to a 16-year marriage? I miss the days when just my husband walking into the room would make my heart flutter and Iím sure the same is true with him. We still love each other very much, so thatís not a problem. I feel like we are in a rut. He comes home from work, we eat supper, he reads the paper and I do dishes. Then we both watch TV in different rooms because of different viewing pleasures. Itís the same every night. Can you give me some ideas on how to bring a spark back? Thanks.



Dear Seeker,

I think I can help, and I think if you re-read your note to me, very slowly, you probably would see the answers as clearly as I think I am. I have to begin with the obligatory disclaimer that Iím no longer married myself, so everything I say about marriage needs to be taken with a grain of salt. However, when both people want to make it work, it seems to me, youíre in very good shape. And I have no doubt youíve read previous columns when Iíve suggested various ideas to try in similar situations Ė and they all still apply. But for you, Iím going to toss out a brand new notion.

You say you watch TV in different rooms, because of different tastes Ė but wouldnít it be fun to find something youíd enjoy watching together? Iím a TV nut, and I think I bond most with others when weíre into a series together. I like to rent or buy the entire season of something that looks interesting and have a standing plan to watch it whenever Iím with that one special friend whoís decided to watch it with me. Right now a good friend and I are into HEROES, which I didnít expect to love. We agree only to watch when we get together, and we have a blast discussing it and guessing whatís coming next. Iíve done it with seasons of LOST and Iíd love to revisit BUFFY once again. I watched it the first time through with my daughters, though, and we bonded over BUFFY so much that itís hard for me to enjoy it without them. And thatís the kind of thing weíre going for here, with you!

In a marriage situation, a plan like that, ďdate nightĒ to watch each episode of a series you might have missed, can really take the pressure off. No need to plan evenings out when youíre both too tired, or spend money if itís tight. You can snuggle on the couch, nice and close, and eat ice cream, and enjoy something together. Itís dark and itís night time and itís intimate and it becomes ďyourĒ thing. Two hours on that sofa together will lead to little touches and strokes and sidelong glances, that can lead to much more exciting together-time later on. Or during! (Learn to hit your pause button in the dark. Iím serious!)

It will get to the point where youíre looking forward, eagerly and excitedly, to your evenings together Ė and if thatís partly because youíre really into the series you choose, fine, but itís going to grow into a lot more than that. Itíll get to the point where it just wonít be any fun to watch that particular series with anyone else.

So thatís my suggestion. Find some things you both like and watch them together, even if you have to rent or buy an entire season at a time.

My second suggestion Ė and this is a big one to me at the moment, since my entire (extensive Ė OK, obsessive might be a better term) collection was ruined by smoke Ė NEVER underestimate the power of Victoriaís Secret. You just show up in HIS TV room one night in something special from the universeís greatest retailer, and see what happens. Donít be afraid to flirt a little, to make the first move. I think heíll be very glad to reciprocate.

Good luck!


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