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I married my dream girl about four years ago. We’re generally steady, but I feel like we’ve drifted apart. Reality kind of crashed down on us after planning the big wedding, and it’s been a tough few years moving into our own small place and starting a family. I’m just really tired of all the big-boy responsibilities and I’m getting a little bored. I feel like my wife isn’t as happy as she used to be, either. How do I BBTF with my wife?
Step right up for a little bubble-bursting: You’re not getting that magical glow back, ever. You will never be that bright-eyed, brimming with positivity and excitement that made you feel like you won at life for once. Sounds bleak, but it rings true.
Because that golden time is not what married life promises, and that’s not what it’s about. Scroll past your similarly married friends’ super-happy couple posts and ask them out for a beer to get the real score, and you’ll see. It’s hard. No one blames you for wanting to recapture that post-honeymoon feeling, but the less you wistfully yearn for them so-called “simpler times” the easier it becomes to actually man up and move forward.
Look at it this way: You signed up for a very, very long gig—forever, to be exact—and you’re not going to get very far by retracing your steps. Besides, you’re not looking to remember what it’s like to be happily in love with your wife anyway. You’ve always loved her—still do—but you’ve just conveniently forgotten because times have gotten a little tougher. In fact, it can be argued that you love her even more now, because you’ve already faced down (tick all that apply) horrible bosses and workmates, moving house, crushing debt, crazy in-laws, the purgatory that is pregnancy, the hell that is young and unprepared parenthood… you get it. Feel free to add your own stuff—we don’t know your life. But we do know that life has probably thrown you a ton of crap and yet here you both still are, trying to get back that “glow.” Because you still want to be happy together.
Bottom line: The reason you married this girl is because deep down, you always knew that happy times weren’t always guaranteed, but you were sure she’s the one you’d want to be in the trenches with. Right? No? Oops. That’s a problem for another column.
So if you can’t get that post-honeymoon glow back, what are you to do? Simple answer: Get yourselves a new glow. You’re tougher, older, wiser (and yes, chubbier and probably poorer). Move on from that magical, whimsical first few months after your wedding—you’ve come quite a way since then. You’ve both dealt with all the change that comes crashing down on you after such a major life move (as you said). It’s not about bringing back that fire—it’s about sparking a new one no matter where you are in your lives right now.
How? Have sex for once. Like, for real. Good-stuff sex. Dust off that discount card and check in, just for kicks. Go to a concert or a gig and bitch about the overpriced beer and how young everyone else in the crowd is. Call in sick and watch stupid YouTube videos together all afternoon. Watch a movie or listen to a genre of music you both previously thought you hated.
It all sounds cliché, but it’s about finding something that genuinely makes you excited and positive about life again and sharing it with her. A renewed love for trashy reality shows or standup comedy specials? A newfound passion for cooking, guided by Buzzfeed Tasty videos? A sudden desire to advocate for shelter animals or the environment? A discovered calling to become a DJ? Whatever floats your boat—as long as it feels like growth for you, and it’s something your wife will see is doing you a load of good. Then have sex for once. Like, for real. You know, good-stuff sex.
More things to try: switch roles or responsibilities for a bit, just to take a walk in each other’s shoes—you may realize how hard it is to keep a house running, and cut her some slack for when she says she’s too tired to do anything fun. Watch her around her friends or family and see her through their eyes. See her—really see her—for a change, without the usual filters of a comfortable routine and familiarity (read: you’ve probably been taking her for granted for a while now). Make it up to her by having sex for once. Like, for real. Give her the good stuff.
Perhaps most importantly: Talk about how discontent you are with life. Dish about how much you hate your boss, admit how much her meddling mother bothers you. There’s no shame in admitting that life isn’t as easy or as fun as you thought it would be—but there’s real danger in bottling that up inside. If there’s anyone who totally gets how sucky you feel right now, it’s your wife. Clear the air, get on the same page. Decide you want to get over this slump together.
Then, have sex again. Like, for real. Good-stuff sex. You get it.