Forever is a long time. With divorce rates being so high, having a relationship last a quarter century — even if it ends in separation — goes in the “win” column.
But so far, so good. My wife and I have been together over 26 years, and damn me if I’d be stupid enough to ever want to leave, or do something stupid enough to get her to leave.
Here’s hoping that decades from now, our mutually saggy bodies are still fondling each other in the shower. See, I love her and wish to never be without her.
Women are often told they need to change to please men, and I’m a man, so before you send the hate mail, please understand that I’m merely providing insight into the male mindset. You get to decide if any of this advice is worth following.
This won’t apply for every guy, but there are some fairly universal truths herein, so pick and choose what you think works for you, if you’re looking to have a man keep loving you until you’re both old enough to wear pajamas all day and complain about the government full-time.
1. Praise his penis — often.
There are guys who actually do exist who don’t get off on being told their junk is more amazing than cookie dough ice cream. They’re about as common as a full set of teeth in a meth lab.
It doesn’t matter how many or what kind of penises you’ve had before — you need to love his and think it’s just amazing and that his ability to use said penis is equally amazing.
This doesn’t need to be over-the-top or continuous, but occasional reminders that you’re overly fond of his junk is the mental equivalent of being wrapped in a warm blanket while sitting in front of the fire and sipping hot chocolate with Bailey’s Irish Cream in it.
2. Make a contribution to your relationship.
There’s nothing wrong with being a homemaker; it’s a damn tough job to raise kids and keep the house in order. It’s making a contribution. You can also make a contribution by making money. Hell, it’s even OK if you make more money that he does. A guy who is put off by a woman making more than he does isn’t worth having. I mean, who wouldn’t want a spouse who was raking in the cash? An insecure idiot, that’s who.
Bring something to the relationship that makes life easier for both of you, whether that’s looking after finances, generating income, or shoving food into faces of hungry offspring. And don’t feel the need to follow stereotypical gender norms either. Bob Dylan was right: the times, they are a changin’. As an example, my wife takes care of the money and I do all the cooking.
3. Take pride in looking nice for him.
No need to starve yourself or CrossFit until you puke. You can forego surgical nipping and tucking as well. However, there’s merit in taking some basic pride in your appearance to look nice for him (and for yourself). You should expect him to do the same as well.
And it’s not just about looking nice for each other, but engaging in mutually supportive healthy behaviors. Get some exercise, eat mostly good food, and you’ll be happier, hornier and less likely to get a debilitating disease before your time.
4. Set the bar high.
You should expect your man to be a good man. Put him on a bit of a pedestal and expect him to live up to your vision of who you see him as. Make him strive. Make him work for your love and adoration.
This doesn’t mean playing mind games like making him think, “I’ll leave you if you don’t live up to my expectations.” It’s about giving him support and encouragement to be the best man he can be. When he understands that his success is at least in part due to your faith in him, he won’t want to imagine life without you.
5. Go easy on the nagging.
Let’s be realistic. I won’t say, “Don’t nag” because everybody nags a little, regardless of gender. But if you can try and curtail it, this will help because people hate that sh*t.
6. Don’t belittle or punish him.
He’s going to f*ck up. Guaranteed. Possibly more than once. And the big question to ask yourself when he f*cks up is this: Is it worth leaving him over? If the answer is yes, then just do it. If the answer is no, then after the f*ck-up has been properly addressed and dealt with, you need to get past it quickly, because dragging it out and making him feel small isn’t going to help the relationship heal.
I’m not saying you should expect that he’s going to cheat on you. There are lots of ways to f*ck things up. You need to decide early on what the unforgivable sins are and make it clear that these are the “one strike and you’re out” rules of the relationship.
If he’s not out, then a better method of moving forward is expressing your sharp disappointment, telling him you know that he’s better than this, showing him once again that pedestal that he’s supposed to be on, and shoving him back up there and expecting him to live up to it. Because if you keep telling him he’s a piece of sh*t, he’ll act like a piece of shit. If you tell him he’s better than this, he’ll strive to be better.
7. Keep lust alive with surprise sex.
You’re sitting on the sofa together halfway through episode eight of Jessica Jones and wondering when she’s just going to go up to Kilgrave and punch his face off his face. Frustrated, an idea pops into your head, so you hit pause, turn to your significant other and say, “Wanna f*ck?”
Another good thing is putting a lock on the bedroom door so that kids (if you decide to have them) can’t stumble in during an inopportune moment. No one ever grew up to be a serial killer because they heard a little moaning coming from their parents’ bedroom. And finally, don’t be afraid to give him some instruction and positive feedback. Let him know what you like and train him to be the best lover you’ve ever had.
8. Have a life of your own.
One of the best ways to have a lasting life together is to keep your own going as well. Be your own person; if he feels like he’s your entire world, that will become both overwhelming and old. You need to continue to be your own person and do your own thing, and encourage him to do the same.
9. Have his back in whatever he does.
I’m not saying you should help him cover up a murder, but there will be times that he’s going to be in desperate need of an ally, and you’re it. Expect him to do the same for you, especially when it comes to him taking your side against his own mother. If the relationship is going to last, you need to be all about the team. Everything is about working together for the successful continuation of the relationship.
10. Go away, and take the kids with you.
I’m getting the house to myself for four whole days at the end of this month and it’s going to be an epic fest of violent movies cranked as loud as I want, beer for breakfast, pooping with the door open and hygienically-challenged living right up until about 30 minutes before I have to pick them up at the airport. (I’ve done my share of single-parenting weekends, too.)
And I’ll miss her like crazy the entire time, and be ready to dive right back into being a responsible adult and loving partner as soon as she’s back home.