|Hubs sent this to me when he was traveling for work! (Our first date was for coffee.)|
You see, as married parents of two little people under the age of four years old, it might have been awhile since we drank coffee together, and we might have been feeling irritable enough about it to just chug some down. But not around our children. We turned on My Little Pony (at 5 o'clock in the morning!!!!) and went back upstairs to bed. To drink our coffee.
So it's like that. (If you are laughing it's because you drink the same coffee, I'm willing to bet.)
Marriage to even the best of mates ebbs and flows in its wonder and challenges. I jumped at the chance (actually requested) this book Cheat on Your Husband(with Your Husband): How to date Your Husband By Andrea Sytash to review it. I have no desire to cheat on my husband, but as a formerly wanton woman in my younger days, I would like to recapture some of that and bring it along into my marriage. Being a mother is so great and so draining at the same time. Some days I go to bed at eight o'clock when the kids do because I cannot face the sink of dirty dishes, or the toys on the floor, or the thought of walking not only down the stairs, but back up them again.
I already take time for myself. I get out of the house and color my hair and buy myself little things here and there, but still. It is hard to feel like a sexual woman when I've been whined at and cuddled and needed and yelling and taking deep breaths and cleaning the same messes up all day. So. This book.
I thought it would be full of sexy games or tips to basically be someone else...but truly it was more educational about how to be more of myself! Andrea Sytash really filled Cheat on Your Husband(with Your Husband) with different approaches for any woman to see herself in and apply to her marriage. She said,
"Every day single women approach me for advice about how to keep the men they're dating intrigued and interested and how to stay interesting themselves. I recently realized how few of us in long term relationships ask ourselves these questions..."
I know I try to remind myself to pay attention to my husband with the same engagement and zeal I did when we were dating. I find him quite interesting so usually this is simple, but some days, if I have something I want to say or do I remind myself to stop and pay attention like we were dating. I also know men like to pursue, so I try to offer him that too!
I know from watching other couples that another gem form the book
"Your perspective influences you every day." Is true. She asks,
"What's one of the negative perspectives you have about your husband?...Is there a more positive perspective you can focus on?" I swore from the beginning to only talk my husband 'up' to my friends. I only share serious issues with one or two close friends. I've witnessed wives complaining about their husbands so much that my only impression of the husband is negative...and after talking about them so badly, so often how could the wives feel positive about them either? It can be tricky, but I follow Sytash's advice and focus on something positive instead. (Honestly, I did win a husband lottery...praying to God for my husband meant I got a MUCH better deal than I deserved.) But. He actually has a few flaws. I am able to step back and be aware that they are tiny, they are not character flaws, and I focus on something better instead of getting weighed down in petty things. I believe this is part of why our marriage is so good. Seriously.
In the chapter "This is not your Mother's Marriage" Sytash talks about all the varieties of challenge we as modern women may face in our marriages. One topic that hit home for me was screen time. When I was single, I didn't even own a TV for over a year. When I did, I certainly didn't eat in front of it. Then when I got married, even though I adore my man and we have a strong marriage, I would honestly rather plop on the couch after the girls are in bed and stare at that screen, with John at the other end of the couch, of course. And one of us will have the lap top out checking football scores, Facebook or Pinterest. Quality Time? Rest? UGH.
After reading this section, I proposed a tete a tete each night after the girls go to bed. We would go sit away from the TV in the sunroom. On the couch looking at each other for half an hour or something. My Hubs was game, we tried it and it was WONDERFUL. Embarrassingly wonderful to sit and LOOK at each other and have simple uninterrupted conversation. We felt connected and THEN we did go watch TV together, but taking that time beforehand really made a difference. It made me remember my friend Luanne and her husband Michael who had a fairly unbreakable 10:00 am coffee date on their couch on weekend mornings. I haven't talked to her in over a year, but I still remember that little thing they did to spark up their marriage. ( And no, I do not think they were "Drinking Coffee", either.)
Later in the book Sytash offers some things to think about like finding that thing called BALANCE. She encourages us to look at the "pie chart of our life" and consider what might be out of balance. She asks good questions about our Career, Health, Significant Other, Money, Friends and Family, Personal Growth and Physical Environment. I have know for A VERY LONG TIME the only person I can control is me, so I loved seeing this "Turn Me On" chapter. I've often said we as women CAN NOT look to our men for our only validation. We MUST give that to ourselves first. Just this weekend on the way to a wedding I complained to my hubs he hadn't told me how gorgeous I was. (I'd just colored my hair super flame red and rocking a beehive hairstyle, velvet jacket and tightish jeans. I was darling.) My precious man replied, "Between getting the girls, all three of you, out of the car, packing the car getting myself ready and heading out, when have I had the chance???" He was right and I knew it. UGH. Good thing I'd already complimented myself!
The chapter of Cheat on Your Husband(with Your Husband) I actually read first was "Take a Time Out: Cheat on Your Kids" it was great at addressing the mama challenges I have already lamented and it also explained why date nights seem to be so elusive for parents. I was inspired to take that tete a tete I mentioned earlier from her 15 Minutes a Day section in this chapter. Sytash reassures parents that kids like date night. She said that kids who witness a healthy, loving relationship with kissing and hugging(don't eat each others face off or anything, that is gross no matter who is watching) feel more secure in their daily lives and go on to have more satisfying marriages themselves.
Sooo, date night? Not too inspired? Too much money to hire a sitter? Swap childcare with another couple. Take a day date or morning date and use a younger sitter than my might if they had to put your kiddos to bed. Feel too guilty leaving a crying child? I say picture yourself as a crying mama who needs to feel gorgeous and valuable and pursuable....just GO. Your kids need a break from you even if you (and they) do not realize it. GO.
In the book Sytash offers several clever ideas for cheap or free dates. She also gives ideas for date nights in, including making a romantic dinner together after the kids are in bed. We tried that too. I put on world music, lit candles on the floor(no kids to mess with them!) and got carryout from fabulous Meditrina Cafe. We sat on the floor, ate with our fingers and talked. Experiencing such a change in our daily life was quite novel. Since we eat together as a family every night, any time it is just John and I we head to the couch. Sitting on the couch to eat feels indulgent and wonderfully lazy, but we don't look at each other, we look at the TV and the sense of intimacy and romance is sooooo not there. Now we try to eat at the table sometimes. Or the floor. Or the front porch. Conversation is never a problem, and just taking that small pause to look at each other really increases our intimacy outside of the boudoir....which usually gets us closer to it!
Speaking of the boudoir, when you read the book Cheat on Your Husband (with Your Husband) by Andrea Sytash some of the most interesting chapters are towards the back. You will learn what a GFE is and why men (and probably women) would pay money for it. You can learn how to be more grateful in your realtionship. You can learn about King/Queen for a Day and how that could work for you. You will see the small stuff you WILL want to sweat, and what you shouldn't worry about. You might decide to take a Me-Cation. (LOVE!) There are tips for handling a crush you might have and so much more.
Andrea Sytash is a dating and relationship expert , on air personality and advice columnist. She has contributed to over a dozen relationship advice books and has appeared in NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, USA Today and others. Tweet Andrea or check out her website here. Cheat on Your Husband (with Your Husband) by Andrea Sytash is a solid, entertaining, educational and worthwhile read for every married couple's library. Pour a good cup of hot coffee and turn some pages. Take time for yourself and take time together as a couple. You might develop an even better and more satisfying marriage than you already have. (THANKS Andrea!!!)
My tickled coffee drinking thanks to Rodale Publishers and author Andrea Sytash for sending me a free copy of this book for review. I was THRILLED with it. You will be too. Buy it here, it is cheaper than a new top and more effective than lingerie!
Also, found a fantastic interview with Andrea Sytash on the website HITCHED, read that here.