Saturday, February 8, 2014

Five ways we keep the love alive

This post is brought to you by Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion.

Because it's Valentine's Day next weekend!

This blog is supposed to be just about motherhood (marriage topics go live on Topaz Horizon!) but since my blog sponsor Green Cross wanted me to share with you how I keep my love affair with Vince so kakakilig after 15 years, I'm writing a few of our secrets here. Well, I'm kinda shy because that's kinda spilling intimate details, ya know! But here's a list of what we do:

1. Prioritize your marriage. Lots of men and women think that their love story ends at the altar. They stop dating, they stop dressing up, they let themselves go, they put career and kids before each other. Then they wonder why they're so unhappily married.

True, in the hustle and bustle and the drudgery of life, prioritizing your marriage is difficult. As a pregnant mother of two toddlers, I confess this is not easy at all. But it could really be as simple as Vince kissing me first when he gets home from work or from a run before he looks for the kids, or if the kids pounce on him at the door, he hugs them then he always asks, "Where's your Mama?" It's also something as silly as posting a photo of me and Vince (no kids for once!) on Facebook. It's a shout-out to everyone that I think he's my super VIP!
My current Facebook profile photo is Vince and me when we just started dating!

2. Get a hobby that you enjoy by yourself. You don't have to share every interest. For example, Vince patiently listens to me talk about Hollywood while I try to understand his love for cameras. Vince likes to run, I like to sit on the couch and watch crime shows. Vince has his TV shows and music that only he enjoys while I read novels on bestseller lists that Vince sneers at.

We don't share the same hobbies or the same friends, but this delineation helps us keep our individuality. In a marriage, being one is vital, of course, but don't lose your personality. That's how you keep yourself interesting!

3. Take care of your looks. Speaking of interesting, our appearance to each other is very important to us. It's not about vanity, it's really about loving the body your spouse loves. Vince is turning 40 in a few days but because he exercises regularly, has no vices, and eats moderately, he still has the body of a man in his 20s. No joke. I like seeing him naked!!! I'm a little lazy on the exercise aspect (I'm pregnant and tired!) but I know my husband likes it when I'm dressed up, made up, with my hair in a tumble of waves or in a high ponytail. When I'm gorgeous, he can't keep his eyes or his hands off me, and he makes sure to tell our sons: "Look at the most beautiful woman in the world!" It may not be true but I love it anyway!

We met when I was 22 and he was 25 but to this day, my husband tells me I grow more beautiful each year. I know this isn't a lie because he's very supportive with my salon visits and beauty regimens and shopping. In other words, he tells me he wants me to take care of myself. Like, he'd tell me, "Do you want to buy new dresses?" (a.k.a. he's tired of my old outfits haha). Some women tell me that's nerve-wracking, having your husband scrutinize you, but that only means one thing to me: He's looking at me, not at other women!

4. Talk regularly. Nothing too serious or romantic or lengthy. Just a little chat every day is enough. With two kids, no household help, and our work, gone are the days when we would talk and talk and talk for hours on end. Now we talk when the kids have gone to bed. While Vince does the dishes, he likes me to sit across the sink and chat him up. I like talking when I've just showered and he'd massage lotion on me. We also chat on the couch before we go off to work at our computers (we work at night because we do chores during the day). Or, if we've had a terribly busy day, we sneak a cuddle in bed and whisper in the dark till we fall asleep. We do this every single night!

We talk about the kids, of course. But we also like talking about books we've read or the movie we watched or something in the news. We also gossip a lot. It's our guilty pleasure!

5. Enjoy sex, lots of it. I know, I know. Marriage isn't all about sex but it isn't a marriage if you don't consummate it. And it isn't a happy marriage if you don't consummate regularly. Regularly can be daily or weekly or twice a month. I won't say how often Vince and I have sexy time but it's very often (Vince says not often enough!). That's why I'm pregnant every year, folks!

Seriously, though, sex is very important. My prayer group discussed this in great length because we wives have this debacle: We want our husbands to be malambing but guys, grabe lang talaga, they equate sex with affection. It's hard for them to be affectionate with a woman they're not intimate with. Meaning, husbands are "sex muna bago lambing," whereas us wives are "lambing muna bago sex."

Vince and I have always had a very sexual relationship. It is one of our many joys, how we are in utter sync in and out of bed. But when Vito was born, I was in no mood for sex. At all. I just had a big baby come out of my vagina. No way am I letting anything in! Then when we had two kids, with Iñigo being a clingy baby attached to me all day, I just didn't feel like having my skin touched again by Vince at night. Sex (well, the lack of it) was starting to become a problem area in our marriage.

Thank goodness for the Bible! During our tortuous prayer group discussions about this, we wives learned that sex between a husband and wife is God's plan. In fact, the Bible is clear in I Corinthians 7:4-5: "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." That means married people are supposed to have sex as often as possible, only refraining in mutual consent (for example, you're sick, you just gave birth or he has a business trip) or when you have to pray. When you don't have sex, you both become insecure, you feel unloved, and then it becomes easy to dream of your sexy co-worker or be tempted to have your needs met by someone else!

There are many other ways to keep the love alive, of course. Be affectionate. Respect each other. Laugh together. Call each other silly pet names. Praise each other. Do chores together. Never roll your eyes at each other. Now this is one tip I got from the Green Cross Mommy PROs that I hope I can do more this year:
Next time, no more next time. We are talking about the date nights that we perennially shove to the indefinite state of “next time.” So the next time that this topic comes up, just go for it. A simple date of dinner out and a movie can make wonders to a relationship. There is already an emerging industry of babysitters on a per need basis, and it might do you good to start exploring them if your excuse is your kids.
Vince and I really need to go on dates more. We watched Wicked recently and it was fun. We were dressed up because there were no kids to wrinkle our clothes and smear it with grubby hands, for one thing, and that really made us feel like grown-ups!

How about you? How do you keep your love alive?

For more ideas, check out the suggestions on the Green Cross Mommy PROs Facebook app now. Happy Valentine's week!

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12 comments:

  1. beautiful post and wonderful tips as always, frances :) i love your #1. and if i will put down a list too, that'll be my #1 as well.

    date night is a must for me. not too much time out of the house naman kahit 2-3 hours is enough a week. we just need some time to be husband and wife, then go back to reality of being papa and mama to neo.

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    1. Yes! We need to be husband-and-wife, too, and not just in a sexual sense. I will follwo your example!

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  2. Love this entry, Frances! Written with your trademark wit and candor. :) Thanks for the reminders to keep the love alive! A key thing to make all these work is willingness on both sides. It's hard when it's only driven by one party. So wives, share this entry with your husbands! Husbands, share this entry with your wives! :)

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    1. Thanks! Thanks!

      You're right, Toni. It really takes two to tango. But we've learned in our Praying Wives group that one spouse sometimes will not cooperate. So it's best to have three people in a marriage: hubby, wife, God. God really transforms the stubborn one! =D

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  3. I think our secret, my husband and I, is that we're really best of friends. We laugh a lot! Kahit pag usapang sex, comedy pa din eh. Hehe. Or sometimes, pinagchichismisan namin ang ibang tao habang kumakain ng lutong-bahay na ulam. ♥

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    1. Laughter really is the best! And, like you, chismis, too! I am actually not chismosa but I allow it with Vince kasi I feel safe with him. Like I can be a total meanie and bitch about other people and he'll be a bitch, too hahahaha

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    2. Yes, that kind of chismis!! As in yung kaming 2 lang ang nakakaalam nung pinagusapan namin. Haha!

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  4. I agree to all your suggestions! But we're just having a lot of trouble with date nights and sex - not too many instances of those these days. So hard when there's no yaya or housemaid around, tapos I have 3 kids to tend to, never-ending chores and I work at home pa. Haha, excuses! But yeah, those are the areas we have to seriously work on. :)

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    1. Kami dates talaga. We haven't dated for a year! So this year, we'll try kahit once a month muna. Good luck to us!!!

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  5. I always find you fearless and yet fun, Frances. Your transparency and spontaneity is refreshing. I especially love the fact that your marriage is multi-dimensional -- yours is a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and all other kinds of love combined. I know that because I have that, too.

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  6. I think that regular date nights are so important. Especially when kids come along and you really don't have time for just each other.

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  7. Date nights and chismis, I both agree on. I even get more surprised that my hubby knows more details on the chismis part, but at least we get to laugh together. :-) Wonderful post again, Mommy Frances! :-)

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!