It's a devastating thing for a woman to admit -- that her husband seems to have lost his desire for her. Women often jump to the conclusion that unsatisfying sex is the reason for the chilly temperatures. Yet as often as not, men withdraw from their wives for non-sexual reasons. Check out these eight Do's and Don'ts to see whether any of them might help reignite his spark for you.
- Don't be a diva. Nagging, negative, controlling and bitchy behavior can drive away even the most patient man, especially if you're in the habit of taking your frustrations out on him or expecting him to be at your beck and call. It's hard for a man to feel desire for a woman who throws temper tantrums, constantly complains or makes him walk on eggshells. Ask yourself: Would I want to live with me?
- Don't be a doormat. Do you let him treat you poorly just so he will stay? Do you always go along with his wishes to avoid rocking the boat? If you're afraid to disagree with him or stand up for yourself, or if you feel that you're putting far more into the relationship than he is, it's time to check for footprints on your back. Pushover women are unattractive to men -- at least to the type of men that are worth having.
- Don't just be a mom. We all love our kids; however, a wife who has a child-centered marriage -- where her kids become the identity and purpose of her marriage -- risks losing the intimate connection she has with her husband as a friend and lover. It's okay to miss a Saturday soccer practice so that you and he can enjoy a romantic weekend getaway. In fact, it's essential. Modeling a healthy couple-centered marriage increases the likelihood that your children will in turn enjoy successful marriages and family lives. So put a lock on your bedroom door and use it.
- Don't ignore his complaints about you and the marriage. Does he complain that you spend too much money? That you're always on Facebook? That you're too messy? That you reject him or criticize his parenting? Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself whether his complaints have merit. Of course, you have your complaints about him, too. Before the distance between the two of you becomes wider, find a way to resolve ongoing conflict in your marriage. If this requires professional help, so be it. If your husband would rather have a root canal that attend marriage counselling, check out the Marriage SOS self-help home program or a good marriage manual.
- Do learn to like yourself and your life. What is making you unhappy? What is stressing you out? What is holding you back? Take responsibility for your own life and make the necessary changes to enhance it. Start taking better care of yourself -- physically and emotionally -- to improve your energy, outlook and self-confidence. Partners who "have it together" are more fun and appealing than those who don't.
- Do show him appreciation. When was the last time you thanked your husband for working hard, being a good dad or just being a fun guy to go through life with? If your answer is, "He isn't any of those things," well, you picked him. Fix your marriage instead of making excuses or assigning blame. If he is those things, count yourself lucky and start showing appreciation for all he does. Sing his praises as a husband and father, especially in front of your kids. The result is pure magic.
- Do roMANce him. You might love candlelight dinners, but they might not hit the mark with your man. Think outside the heart-shaped box. Send the kids to grandma's for the night, snuggle in bed and watch a cheesy sci-fi flick while snacking on some even cheesier nachos. If he's a gamer, challenge him to a round of video games. If he's a car or sports buff, buy his favourite hobby magazine and leave it on the back of the toilet so he can read it "in his office." Yep, it's yucky. But it might be your guy's version of long-stemmed roses.
- Do rethink your sex life. Marriage is a sexual relationship that requires both emotional and physical intimacy; however, marriage problems often show up in the bedroom first. Initiate sex to make him feel desired. Or, if you've been pressuring him for sex, try the opposite - tease him, but let him take the lead. Add spice to a bland sex life by showing more enthusiasm and experimenting with sex toys, lubricants, new positions, erotica, whatever. Shake up your sexual schedule. If your sexual frequency is high but excitement is low, practice delayed gratification to build anticipation. If frequency is low, break out the calendar and pencil it in. Sex is a use-it-or-lose-it type of thing. And in the end, the couple that plays together stays together.