How to be a Better Husband: Make Time for Making Love

[This post is the latest in a series I’ve begun called How to be a Better Husband, in which I take what doesn’t work in a relationship, turn it upside down and then apply it back to the marriage. Because we aren’t really from Mars or Venus. We’re just Earthlings.]

Most relationships start out with a lot of sparks and heat and light, then quickly settle down to the slow burn (hot coals buried under the ashes of daily life), until sooner rather than later, your romantic life plays out solely in the plots of movies or books, and the last time you touched each other tenderly was an accident, not intentionally.

Whatever the reasons are for that happening to us, we don’t have to let it continue. But in order for things to change, we have to acknowledge that we’re 50% of the relationship, and we have to accept responsibility for 50% of the effort and heart that gets put into it.

And because it sometimes seems like we as men aren’t as wired for some of the better relationship qualities as our wives and partners are, it’s not as easy or obvious for us to see what needs to change in our marriage, and then to make a plan to work on it.

It seems silly, sometimes. Work on our relationships? That just sounds silly to my brain.

But working on ourselves? That, we can do.

I’ve been attempting to try to see my wife as not just my partner, but as a dear friend to me, someone who is talented and beautiful and wise, someone who deserves the very best. And the very best I can be in any given moment is my 50% of that friendship. So I’ve got a challenge to myself to ‘cowboy up’ and be a better husband whenever I can.

I hope you’re also inspired to take that plunge and step up to learn how to be a better husband and friend, one that your wife deserves.

Be a Better Husband: Make Time for Love

  • It doesn’t grow on trees: Money and love, ya gotta work for ’em. Yeah, when we were young and frisky, we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. But now that we’ve got responsibilities, schedules, kids, and a weekly routine that we slog through, it’s more like a hug and a smooch before bed. So make time for it. Schedule a date. Put the same energy you would put into your work into creating a connection with your wife.
  • Making love ain’t always about gettin’ nekkid: The older definition of making love was more like what we’d consider flirting: “a common form of social interaction whereby one person obliquely indicates a romantic or sexual interest towards another. It can consist of conversation, body language, or brief physical contact.” And so by making the time to have a conversation with her, to sit her on your lap, to share the same space with her and have some sort of non-verbal communication, you’re making love to her. And she’ll dig it. Trust me.
  • Change it up: We’re creatures of habit, falling into a routine around just about anything in our lives, and our love life is no different. If you want a different end result for just about anything, you have to change the ingredients that go into it. Something as simple as doing something you’ve never done before (picked flowers, baked cupcakes, drawing a hot bath for her, giving her a massage, take out the trash on time (just kidding)) can have a really good effect on your relationship. And if you start making different choices all the time (going out for tea instead of coffee, turning left on your walk instead of right, eating breakfast together, making time in your schedule for love), those little changes add up to something a lot bigger in your lives.
  • Go visit your mother: No, not Mom. Mother Earth. In our marriage, we’ve found that if we can get away from all of our modern conveniences and attachments and be out in nature together, even just for a little while, that we’re more likely to really connect and to talk to each other about things other than the grocery list and the girls’ fiddle lessons and the leak under the sink. Or sometimes we don’t talk – just being alone together is nice, too. So if you have a chance to leave the kids with someone and head into the forest or park or riverfront or oceanside for an hour, it’s well worth it to both of you. But leave your phones turned off.
  • Get nekkid: Sometimes making love IS about gettin’ naked together, and occasionally it feels like by the time the rest of the house (kids, babies, cats) is asleep, one or both of us is asleep too. So unless it really works for you, that old routine of sex at bedtime needs to go. Remember what we were like as frisky kids? Wherever we could, whenever we got the chance, was the time for love. Granted, that wasn’t that often back then, but we’re grown up now. We can be much more creative than a teenager, and we’re in charge now, so we can make the time. It’s good for what ails you, so use it as medicine for your body and for your marriage. It’s especially effective in nature…

So if I was the love doctor, and you wanted some advice, I’d say to make a date with your wife for a specific time and place and schedule everything else around it. Do it right now, before you forget. Then, the next time you’re in the same room as her, put your arms around her and give her some lovin’. Rub her neck, her lower back, squeeze her tight, hold on for a bit and share a moment of physical connection. Talk to her as your best friend, ask her about her day and really listen to her.

Then suggest a rendezvous upstairs in 15 minutes. Or later tonight. Or ask if you can make her dessert. Or offer to take her out into the woods and walk together, holding hands and just re-connecting. Or to sit in the dark on the front porch. Whatever. But do it together.

And if you can work gettin’ nekkid into the whole thing, more power to ya. [Repeat as necessary. Your mileage may vary.]

Leave me a comment with anything you have to add to this, please!

Image: mikebaird at Flickr

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

8 thoughts on “How to be a Better Husband: Make Time for Making Love

  • Having a great sense of humor–I think that is our relationship’s saving grace at this point. Maintaining that fire is so important, but life, aka, kids can really stifle the heat.

    The fact that my husband and I can joke about the craziness and our rather unromantic life these days helps the connection. It is a great feeling knowing we are on the same team.

    …and I could not agree more about “visiting your mother” a hike, a long walk together, uninterrupted by modern day distractions certainly invigorates the routine and gets us refocused on what is truly important.

    Great post! Your wife is a lucky lady:)

    • Derek Markham

      Thanks! A sense of humor really helps – we give ourselves license to be goofy and joke about our marriage/family too. And I agree, “It is a great feeling knowing we are on the same team.” because I know so many couples who *aren’t* on the same team, and it shows.


  • great post! my wife and I have a date “day” every friday and it has been the source of life for our marriage…one other thing that has been amazing is when i stepped into the role of empowering my wife. I decided that i would strive to serve her, empower her and do whatever it takes to help “her” achieve her dreams…it has been alot of tough work but amazing for our marriage…she took me up on it and started nursing school this year…so i am dad, mom, house cleaner, homework guy, breakfast maker…you get the idea…thanks for this post….

    • Derek Markham

      Thanks, Chris! We’ve not been able to schedule a weekly date yet – still taking it where we can get it with our schedules – but it sounds like a great practice. And empowering your wife is an amazing gift for you both, I imagine. Cheers!

  • great post. Emailed it to my husband 🙂 but of course it works both ways.

    • Derek Markham

      Thanks! It does indeed work both ways… Too often only one person in the marriage is putting forth the effort, and what a difference it makes when you pull together for a good cause – your family and marriage.

  • oh I pushed enter too fast. I will be adding this to the next Sunday Surf

  • Lucky? That I am.
    Sending you a long kiss.


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