Monday, May 18, 2009

Marriage Advice from Vampires

Yesterday, at a friend's wedding reception, during one conversation I mentioned a conversation my wife and I had had five months ago.

Back in December, Glenn Reynolds linked to an article describing how a currently popular book among young teenage girls involves a certain sense of danger. Although neither of us have read the book, my wife and I had a good discussion about the article.

She made a very interesting point: the more interested a girl is in a boy the more dangerous and risky he becomes.

Why? The more she is in love, the more she wants the relationship to be sexual, and sex in the relationship adds all sorts of dangers and risks, emotional and otherwise. Note that we're only talking about what she wants, not how much time they have spent together or whether or not she knows that she will abstain from sex until marriage.

This dynamic can be thrilling. A small part is the generic thrill that comes from fun and dangerous activities such as roller coasters, but most of the thrill comes from knowing that the danger is increasing purely because you want him.

We could not think of an equivalent dynamic for boys, where a thing or person was perceived and enjoyed as more dangerous just because the boy grew more enamored of it.

I thought more about that conversation and saw two important truths about married life; both are lessons for the husband.

First, he must really communicate that he and the marriage is stable. The marriage will suffer if his wife still sees sexuality as dangerous and risky. Sex should not be a source of emotionally worry, there should be no worries about faithfulness or disease, and the relationship must clearly be stable enough to deal with an unplanned child (unless the couple never wants children, and then methods of birth control that are completely reliable become an option).

Second, he must replace the attraction of being "dangerous and risky" with a different kind of exciting unpredictability. But how can he be unpredictable while completely stable?

The answer is why most wives tend to care so much more about birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine's Day then most husbands. Those are the days when the husband will be doing something (stability) but she does not know what (exciting unpredictability). Will he buy her chocolates? flowers? jewelry? Will he have hired a babysitter and planned a night out to a fancy dinner and a show? Has he purchased new music to dance to in the dining room?

Of course, this need not happen only on special days. In fact, its best for husbands need to add fuel to the romance by frequently yet unpredictably finding new ways to communicate his love for his wife. As examples, he can give her unexpected flowers or other tokens of affection, cook her favorite meals, spend some extra time together that was originally scheduled for his work or friends, surprise her by doing more than his share of the housework, spoil her with touches and kisses around the house, and set aside extra bits of his time and energy to support her dreams, activities and priorities.

(If a husband need more ideas about ways to creatively give to his wife, he can always ask her while being careful to promise nothing1. That's better than visiting those silly poster shops at the mall.)

1I should write another essay on the proper use of listening well, promising nothing, and doing when the time is finally right. For now, I'll merely refer you to the masters: Matthew Cuthbert and Scotty (go down to his first conversation with Geordi in Relics).

1 comment:

jonathan said...

You know, such "big" days are not really important and not relevant to whether we love or not.