Put the Spark (and the Sex) Back into Your Marriage

August 8, 2013 at 9:57 am , by

Picture this: you can’t believe it’s summer already. Another school year has gone by, and you’re trying to decide where to go on vacation. Any idea you come up with seems like a lot of effort. And if you’re really honest? The idea of a family vacation seems exhausting.

Taking a long weekend away by yourself sounds so much more enticing. You look across the kitchen table at your husband. He’s busy writing out checks, and reminds you that he will be working late next week so you will need to pick up the kids from their various afternoon activities.

Things are comfortable between the two of you. It works. After all, you’ve been married for almost two decades. The household runs smoothly and the kids’ needs are taken care of. But you realize that you and your husband have settled into a life together that feels more like living with a roommate and less like shacking up with a lover.

Over the years, your sex life has slowly withered away to an early morning quickie every other month or so. You think back on the days when your libidos were great. You made an effort to wear sexy lingerie. He made an effort to seduce you in the ways you liked. You both made an effort to mix it up and have fun. Now it seems like passion is the last thing on your minds, settling instead for a comfy night on the couch and watching TV until it’s time to get some sleep. And while you still have warm feelings for your spouse, that flame seems almost extinguished. Tonight, as you sit across from your husband, you feel lonely and long to reignite some passion — you long to look at him as your lover once again.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many couples, after some years have gone by, or when the kids have moved out, look at each other as if they are compatible roommates. And for many, there comes a time when that level of complacency is no longer acceptable. Couples hit a crossroad every few years and for most couples, this crossroad will be met at least once, if not more, throughout the lifetime of their relationship.

If you are experiencing the roommate blues, here are five things you can do to bring passion back into your relationship:

1. Start dating each other again. And I mean truly dating. Plan together, make reservations, pick meaningful, fun and varied activities and begin a flirtation. Pretend that you’re still courting each other, and put that level of attention into your dates.

Read 4 more ways to get your groove back at YourTango.com: Marriage Advice To Ignite That Dying Spark

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Want a Hotter Sex Life? Be Spontaneous!

August 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm , by

You and your partner already have toe-curling, sheets-grabbing lip-biting sex nearly every day. So how can you make it even hotter? Good question. Whether you’re pretending to meet each other for the first time or you’re roleplaying as your naughtier, sexier persona, heating things up between you has never been easier. Don’t believe us? Check out these suggestions for infusing your relationship with sexy spontaneity, from four of YourTango’s top experts:

Entice your partner with a list of your biggest turn-ons. Send your partner an email listing some of the sure-fire ways to get you in the mood … and then promise him a pay-off. (And trust us when we say, he’ll be drooling.) —Meri-Arnett Kremian

Let him chase you. Give him a look as if you don’t recognize each other, and introduce yourself by saying, “I don’t believe we’ve met … ” Play a little hard to get, letting him know that you’re not the type to fool around too quickly. Give him some hints that you find him very attractive and even though you’ve never done this before so quickly, you just can’t seem to help yourself. Once he starts kissing you, tell him that you really shouldn’t, it’s getting late, you need to be getting home, you’re not that type of girl … but, of course, make it obvious from your actions that you don’t want him to stop. Keep playing this kind of push-pull game until he’s just ravenous with desire, when you finally give in because you are just too attracted to him not too. Men love the chase and giving him the chance to re-live the hunt will really get his testosterone flowing. —Jane Garapick

Read more ways to spice up your sex life at YourTango.com: 15 Spontaneous Ways To Make Your Sex Life Even Hotter
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Yes, Love Actually Makes You Healthier (and Hotter!)

July 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm , by

Being in love can make us feel like we’re on top of the world, but it’s something that affects a lot more than our mood — loving relationships improve our health, our looks and even our mood.

Just how powerful is love? It just may be the best medicine out there. Your strong relationship can do everything from lowering your blood pressure to helping you recover from cancer. It even keeps your skin healthy!

And, it’s not just romantic relationships that are responsible for your wellness. Your close friendships and parental love are keeping you in tip-top shape, too.

Once again, we’re reminded how important loving relationships are — so much that your life could depend on it.

Here’s how love is making you happier, healthier and hotter than ever before.

1. Making Positive Lifestyle Changes Is Easier
Making a big change in your life is never easy, whether you’re changing your diet drastically or finally starting to hit the gym. But, when you’re in a relationship, your partner has a great influence on your confidence and the choices you make to lead a better lifestyle. Research shows that couples in love can greatly affect each other’s healthy choices — whether you’re quitting smoking or getting a flu shot. In one study, if one partner gave up alcohol, the other was five times more likely to stop drinking, according to Psychology Today.

Read 8 more reasons love is great for you at YourTango.com: 9 Ways Love Makes You Healthier & Hotter!

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Ask Him Anything: What Men Really Think

July 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm , by

It’s been a while since we tackled your email questions and comments so here we go. Some of them were a little … er, unique? Oh well. Our job as Your Straight Male Friends is to simply answer the questions as honest as we can. You’re allowed to ask or present any dating situation you can think of  — no matter how oddly out of place it seems. Here it goes…

In today’s society, do you still feel you have to be the “provider?” —Pamela, Santa Barbara, CA

The question is, do you still feel that your man, whoever he may be, has to “provide” for you? I mean, that’s such a loaded question. Look, every guy has the built in societal pressure, fair or not, of having to be the primary provider for his family or girlfriend or wife. Is that fair? In this day and age, probably not. We believe that an independent, smart, resourceful woman like yourself can and should be able to stand on her own two feet, and that no woman or man should expect that anyone is going to take care of them. It’s 2013 not 1948. That said, if a woman seeks that in a relationship and she finds a guy who seeks the same traditional set up, then more power to them both. Whatever works. I will say this though — if you want that type of relationship, the traditional man-hunt/woman-cook set up — make that clear to your guy sooner rather than later.

Read the answers to 5 more questions you’ve always wondered but never asked at YourTango.com: What Men Really Think: Your Questions Answered!


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How to Find Your Ideal Guy: 8 Traits to Look For

July 2, 2013 at 11:21 am , by

When searching for that special someone in the dating world, it’s always good to have an image of what he should be like. I didn’t start out by coaching women in their love lives; I started out coaching men. It’s funny when I think about it, because what women want from a man is what I was trying to teach them all along.

In any case, there are quite a few qualities that make a man great. In reality, looking for a guy who has these qualities is not as hard as people say. But if you want to have a higher chance of finding love, identify the ones that matter to you most and stick with them. In my personal opinion, all men should have these qualities and I don’t associate with nor respect ones that don’t.

1. He’s a gentleman. A great guy needs to be polite, respectful, considerate, and attentive to a woman’s needs. This includes classic gentleman behavior such as pulling out a woman’s chair, walking on the car side of the street and taking her coat. I personally believe that if all men were gentlemen, we would live in a better world. Today, this is far from the truth, so guys who do have this quality stand out. It’s also worth noting that great guys never cross the line of being inappropriate.

Read 7 more ideal-man characteristics at YourTango.com: Finding Mr. Right: 8 Qualities That Define A Great Guy

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— By Alex Matlock for YourTango.com

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25 Creative (and Fun!) Date Night Ideas

June 25, 2013 at 11:29 am , by

Getting bored of the usual dinner and a movie date? Us too. There are plenty of other ways to get to know each other and strengthen your bond. That’s why we came up with these fun date night ideas you and your guy will both enjoy.

Sex: Expert Advice & Tips

From wine and beer tours to volunteering, these are exciting adventures you and your guy will remember forever.

Love: Tips & Expert Advice

From getting silly (and in touch with your inner children) to volunteering together, see all the creative ideas to spice up your date nights at YourTango.com: 25 Date Night Ideas That Aren’t Cheesy

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Yep, Your Marriage Can Be Saved

June 1, 2012 at 11:52 am , by

The Journal has a long history of helping women save their marriages. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with therapist, author, and Can This Marriage Be Saved? contributor Dr. Susan Heitler to bring you the Power of Two, a cool new online coaching tool that helps teach couples how to communicate and resolve conflicts. So many couples enter marriage in love, but lack some of the important communication skills that will help keep their bond strong after years — and the inevitable strains that come with kids, work, health issues, you name it. Dr. Heitler focuses on helping couples learn these crucial marriage skills to turn bickering couples into loving teams.

For instance, she recently worked with a couple who had been in traditional therapy for eight months and were on the brink of divorce. It might sound too good to be true, but by the end of the second session using Dr. Heitler’s techniques for tactful talking, attentive listening, and collaborative conflict resolution, they were recommitted to staying together—and making romantic gestures that would never have happened just months before. “They still have more learning to do,” says Dr. Heitler. “But their love returned because they can both recognize when they’re falling back into old, counter-productive habits now.”

Dr. Heitler has worked with hundreds of couples over the years, and she created Power of Two to share that expertise with all of us who can’t see her in person. Maybe you’re wary of professional counseling—of the time or money required, or of what people might think. Or maybe your relationship is just starting to show signs of strain and you want to prevent future problems. Check out Power of Two. It’s not traditional couples’ therapy: The whole process takes place online and on your own time—it’s accessible, affordable, and private.

“When couples don’t resolve their conflicts the right way, it creates anger, depression, and anxiety — but we can prevent that,” says Dr. Heitler. “These learning materials mean that more couples can have a great relationship and marriage.”

If your marriage is in need of a little TLC, check out Power of Two. And come back soon to read Dr. Heitler’s 5 favorite ways to keep your marriage strong.