Secret to a happy marriage~not what you might think.

Charlie - posted on 12/08/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )

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Author Iris Krasnow spent two years interviewing women for her book, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What it Really Takes To stay Married, to discover what underpins successful, long-term relationships and uncover the secrets of a successful marriage.



If your relationship is 100% of your life and suddenly it isn't working out, then nothing's working out for you


UK divorce rates are down, but even Michelle Obama acknowledges marriage isn't easy. Finding fulfilment with the same partner for two years - let alone thirty – takes work and commitment. And Krasnow's quest for effective marital cement uncovered some interesting - if contentious - strategies including taking separate holidays, dates with exes and young, muscular 'home helps' (who polish more than just the taps).
However contentious the approach, the reason was the same: stable marriages require a degree of personal separation. 'If your relationship is 100% of your life and suddenly it isn't working out, then nothing's working out for you,' explains psychologist Dr. Becky Spelman. 'It's essential to have at least three things as important to you as your relationship, primarily to support you at these times.'

We considered a few of Krasnow's quirkier tactics, asking: Could they really support happiness long-term?

(1) Keeping secrets
'It's different to lying,' according to Krasnow. 'Crushes, fantasies, resentments... there's no need to spill these poisons into your marriage.' Spelman agrees. Unless asked - avoid sharing things that may cause either envy or unnecessary hurt. 'But strong, lasting bonds are forged in truth,' she says.

'If something's bothering you, explain to your partner that honesty will bring you closer and that's why you want to share. Set aside the time, agree on the topic and both confide one thing. See how it feels. We're scared that revealing negative emotions will cause arguments, but very often they don't. It's incredibly empowering to discover that you can feel how you feel and your partner accepts that.'

(2) Having sex when you don't feel like it
'[It] can heal anything, at least temporarily,' reckons Krasnow. Indeed, two out of three of us admit to regularly doing it out of duty rather than desire, according to a survey by makefriendsonline.com. Dr. Spelman agrees that going with the flow can lead to satisfaction - and even greater intimacy.

Even if we're stressed or tired, 'it has been repeatedly shown that engaging with touch and physical closeness can definitely lead to arousal, even if you thought you weren't in the mood.' If it doesn't, we're not suggesting you lay back and think of England. 'Try something you do feel like. "I don't want sex but let's try X and see how it feels" diffuses any pressure and can often lead to an intimacy compromise that makes both of you happy rather than quietly resentful.'

(3) Hanging out with exes
Krasnow cites one of her subjects who simply flirts with her ex - nothing more - and channels the sexual tension back into marital nooky. We like. Rosie Freeman-Jones, relationship expert at extra-marital affair website IllicitEncounters.com says many clients use the site for precisely this purpose. And that it works. 'Some extra marital activity can positively affect your relationship. An external, mutually understanding relationship can provide a single element your marriage is lacking. Sometimes innocent flirting and a few exchanged compliments are enough to re-instill your confidence.'

'Friendships separate from your spouse are crucial,' adds Spelman. 'With exes, the fact we used to date them indicates deeply shared interests that define you as an individual. Just ensure that any interaction stays in line with your values, that your partner is fully informed and that the set-up is mutually agreeable. If you know he'd be happier if you went for lunch rather than out clubbing, compromise so you both get what you need.'

(4) Taking separate holidays
Krasnow insists it makes women emotionally self-reliant, confident and individually stronger. Plus you have new experiences to share with your partner - not just whose turn it is to go to Tesco. 'Holiday time is precious so it's crucial that it refreshes and energises you,' says Spelman. 'If he's into hiking and you're a city break gal, this tactic could really work. But ensure your relationship needs are met. If taking a joint trip, maybe spend a day sightseeing separately and only meet up for dinner. Or have a three-day getaway with friends but then book something with your partner for a few days when you get back.'

(5) Having an affair
'Not getting caught 'perks' up a marriage' reckoned one of Krasnow's interviewees. Monogamy 'bores' even Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. 'Not getting your sexual needs is definitely a major issue but cheating is very dangerous,' warns Spelman. 'Negotiating a satisfying sex life with your partner, however, can be deeply gratifying and often works better than you'd expect.'

If your partner won't cooperate, ask yourself: 'is everything else enough?' If not, maybe it's not an affair you need but to consider stepping away from the relationship completely.' IllicitEncounter.com's 600,000+ strong membership numbers may prove that, for some, affairs work.

'But ultimately, our members want to sustain their marriage,' says Freeman-Jones. 'If things get too complicated, it's the affair that gets the chop first.'

Agree ? disagree ?
Thoughts ?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Charlie - posted on 12/12/2011

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If he doesnt want sex but I do he is happy to accomodate my needs ( because it usually is me ) and vice versa, not all the time of course but when it does happen we are loving ( one of us is usually the one doing the most action generally because they are the horny ones ) we still kiss, touch and at the end we hug say our "love you" and goodnight.

Sex drive is a factor and respect for your partners needs is important.

We do that because we love each other, we respect each other and we want to make each other happy it just means one of us has to do more work because if I dont feel it I will make love to you , it will be sensual but dont expect any high riding reverse cowgirls and ass slapping lol but I always feel that rush of oxytocin afterwards reguardless of orgasm or who wanted it in the first place.

Elfrieda - posted on 12/10/2011

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I think the whole "have sex when you don't feel like it" can be interpreted a lot of different ways, some of them healthy and some not.

[deleted account]

Okay, let me amend... I do #2 a lot. My husband is way more sexual than me and I do have sex when I don't feel like it because it makes him happy, BUT most of the time I end up enjoying it as well, so I don't know if it counts as #2 since I ended up "feeling like it" :) lol

[deleted account]

#5 is ludicrous, but I can see the merit in the first 4. #4 wouldn't be neccessary if you have enough time and space away from each other already. #3 CAN lead to very dangerous territory (like #5), but some of the best sex in my marriage happened when I was having a crush on someone else.... cuz I could only have sex WITH my husband... lol

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[deleted account]

i definitely agree with certain points, like having sex if you don't feel like it, taking separate holidays sometimes and keeping the occasional small secret. I can see how those might benefit a long term relationship. But as for keeping in contact and flirting with an ex boyfriend or having an affair i think cross the line. A relationship should have trust in it and consideration for the other person's feelings. It isn't easy, but deliberately having an affair is too much. If you can't handle monogamy, then bring up some kind of alternative like swinging or an open relationship, but you should only ever have sex/date another person if you're spouse is aware of it.

Sherri - posted on 12/21/2011

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Oh I so disagree with the sex if he wants sex and I don't it doesn't happen because if it does and I don't want it he might as well be making love to a piece of wood. It just irritates me.

Now if I want it and he doesn't it also doesn't happen because I know how I feel if I am not in the mood and still made to preform.

We love each other dearly and that is the respect we give to each other.

He is going to have to get real used to going without real soon. As we are having our 4th and no sex for awhile not to mention I am getting my tubes tied too. So no sex for him for at least 3 mo's.

Stifler's - posted on 12/12/2011

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I read in a book that instead of the 10 commandments there should only be one.. thou shalt not control. that way there'd be no adultery or dishonouring your parents.

Merry - posted on 12/11/2011

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Yes I agree. Example. This morning I'm sick, we all are sick. I spent all night trying to sleep while caring for the baby and the toddler and they're sick. I slept awfully and woke so much and was all sore and stiff and snotty and my head hurts and the baby was all wiggly all night. So I'm awake, kids are both asleep in our room and hubby has a hard one and he's all touchy feely on me. I can tell he was dreaming about me and now he's all ready to go. He's sick too but he always wants sex when he's sick. I get all pissy thinking he's expecting me to do more work and care for him when I'm all tired and sick and I'm getting all mad at him but then I realize he's just in love with me. He just wants a snuggle just like the kids do just in an adult fashion lol. And besides, he's asleep so I can't be mad at him for doing stuff in his sleep. So no we didn't have sex but I at least wasn't angry or upset at him. Maybe tonight I'll make it work :)

Stifler's - posted on 12/10/2011

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I'm not surprised. You have to compromise when you have different sex drives.

Merry - posted on 12/10/2011

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I think it depends on how sexually compatible you are. May hubby would prefer sex twice a day and me, I'd rather twice a month! So we do it 1-2 times a week and most of those times I'd rather go to sleep but once we get going I'm enjoying it as well and I'm always glad we did it afterwords.

Mrs. - posted on 12/10/2011

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I guess I'm not shocked at the amount of women having sex when they don't want to...it just makes me sad. If I don't want to, I don't do it and I tell him in a kind way. Most of the time I'm more up to it than him and I know that is unusual. However, I have been with men who are your classic, sex makes everything better-at all times, dudes. I had to learn to say no to them too, or end up very unhappy. In the end, when I wasn't honest, it didn't bring us closer, it just ended up building resentment on my part and a sense of mixed messages about what pleases their partner on their part. You end up with a guy who thinks that thing he does that you pretend to like, he should do it more....I'm not sure I want to support that, just for the overall well being of the women who might come afterwards ;).

I wish we had the money to take all these vacations, separate or otherwise. Fantasyland for me.

Personally, before I would have an affair, I would do all I could to explore our sexual fantasies together. I'm more up for that kind of stuff if I know my relationship is solid and can withstand a bit of opening up. However, in my experience, the reality never meets up with the fantasy. So, you are better off just exploring the fantasy without all the glaring light shinning on the gritty parts of going outside your relationship together or apart.

The ex thing, depends on the ex. If the ex is abusive, or destructive — not a good idea. If the ex is harmless, who cares? My husband flirts his ass off and if I have the chance (less people seem up for it these days), I do too. We do it in front of each other, it is kind of funny. If it goes to far, I let him know. It usually doesn't.

Merry - posted on 12/09/2011

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1- yeah. Do that a lot. He's sensitive about his weight and I find many men and women attractive so I try not to rub it in his face!
2- yeah I do have sex for him sometimes, or even a lot right after a baby lol. But he's I usually end up enjoying it!
3- well we have no exes. And we have no friends of the opposite sex either. So, nope on that one. And even if we did I would not be ok with that. If he loved an ex previously he could quite easily love her again. And if he ran to her when things were hard for us then who the heck knows.
4- no way. We promised when we got married that we would never spend a night apart. It's been 4.5 years so far so good! But I do think fun things seperate can be fun and healthy! He's gone to movies with guy friends and I have with my friends or with my sister.
5- what the heck? Seriously? We have both only ever had sex with eachother. Never kissed another either. So no way in Hell would either of us be ok with this. In fact if one of us cheated I think we would seperate for a long time if not permanently.

Lady Heather - posted on 12/09/2011

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#1 - obviously I am not going to tell my husband every time I think someone is attractive or something. That would be plain weird. So this makes sense I guess.
#2 - I do this sometimes. We make dates and we stick to them unless I have something as serious as a migraine. Sometimes doing the thing makes you feel like doing it. hehe.
#3 I don't see why you need to be friends with exes. Yeah, you might have had some shared interests. Or they might just be that loser you used to date. But separate friends outside the relationship is a fine idea and being friends with exes doesn't hurt. I don't know why you'd need to flirt. Strange.
#4 - We do this a lot. Well, I do. I have unlimited holiday time so I frequently take the kid away for a trip. I went by myself for a long weekend in July. It. Was. Awesome. My husband does trips to visit his brother alone or fishing trips with friends. Works for us. We still have holidays together. Our single trips are usually only 3 days long.
#5 - Hell to the no.

Stifler's - posted on 12/09/2011

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I agree with having sex when you don't feel like it. it's fucking horrible to be denied sex, constantly. I want to run away and never come back soemtimes.

[deleted account]

2 and 4 I don't mind. 1 is kind of iffy for me...your spouse is kinda supposed to be your best friend and isn't that who you usually tell your secrets to anyway?

Have any of you every watched the show Snapped?? I am pretty sure that 3 and 5 are exactly how most of those episodes begin... yikes!

[deleted account]

wait, weekends away and apart is vacationing away from each other? I read "vacation" as when you go somewhere not usual and longer than a week or so. I would never take a "proper" vacation without my hubby, but we do have weekends away from each other...

Sherri - posted on 12/09/2011

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I don't agree with vacationing separately, having sex when one or the other isn't in the mood and #5 we would be divorced for certain.

Ashley - posted on 12/09/2011

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Cheating?... Ummm to me that is the deal breaker, but I talk to my ex sometimes, though mostly on a friendship level I don't think we have ever flirted. My husband has his ex on FB as well though whther he talks to her or not I have no clue but again flirting with her is likely a no. I do however sometimes thinkit is ok to flirt with the cute waiter or bartender, or the guy at the grocery store, gives me a natural high like "yeah I still got it" that I bring home to my hubby!

Also the vacation thing... my mom sister and I plan to get away for a weekend once my baby (due very soon) is ready to be left without me. Spa pampering :P so yes a seperate vacation is a good thing if it rejuvinates you, plus my husband goes on overnight camping/hunting trips so he gets away too.

We have seperate intrests and I think we spend a balance at both. I couldn't go too long without seeing him or hearing his voice, we talk alot even on a night out he will end up calling me to tell me he misses me :)

Tam - posted on 12/09/2011

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I can't really say I can get on board with any of these, really. My husband and I talk about EVERYTHING, including things that are unpleasant and/or hurtful. If I have something that bugs me, I go to him about it. We are both very direct and plain-spoken and fairly slow to anger, so maybe that's why he can tell me that the beef stew I made two nights ago didn't taste so good and I didn't get upset when he made himself a sandwich later.

I won't lie - there were times I had sex when I didn't feel like it. Those times were when I was married to my ex. With my husband now, if I am not in the mood he will usually notice and lay off. Or if I tell him I'm not up for it, he'll stop overtures and simply cuddle or watch TV with me. The same goes the other way. He's had times where he just wanted to sleep or to do something else, and he'll tell me. No big deal and it isnt anything to get your feelings hurt over. (Note, even so, we have a rather active sex life. If it was a rain check all the time, then there might be a deeper problem at play.)

Neither of us really have anything to do with our exes. We trust each other implicitly, but we both also have the same attitudes towards relationships that didn't work. If it failed the first time, it is not worth pursuing any more. I remember a year or two ago when an old ex boyfriend of mine tracked me down on facebook and sent me a love letter. I showed it to my husband and he just laughed. The whole ordeal kinda creeped me out, since the last time I'd seen the guy was over ten years ago.

I work full-time and my husband goes to school while being a stay-at-home dad. He gets his alone time during the day when the kids are at school and I get mine on the drive to and from work. We get around 10-12 hours per day away from each other. Our time together is normally spent in the same room engaged in different pursuits. One of us might be playing a game or watching TV while the other is writing or reading or surfing the internet. We tend to be independent even while next to each other, so there is no need to actively find a way to be absent in a personal vacation.

An affair is out of the question. Before we married, hell, before we DATED, there were ground rules. Neither of us tolerates infidelity. The reasoning a lot of people engage in affairs is to 'get something they aren't getting from their partner'. I've done some reading on it, and the consensus seems to be that women do it to recapture the 'romance' feeling that tends to fade after a relationship becomes 'normal'. I've never felt the need to get back the honeymoon feeling. As awesome as that feeling is, I much prefer my every-day. My husband and I still can't keep our hands off of each other, after eight years of being together. We still hold each others hands when out and about. We still think up new and interesting things to try in moments of intimacy.

The moment that I start thinking I am not getting what I need at home, and start looking outside my committed relationship for some extra oomph, is the moment I'll end my marriage. My husband is a good man, and deserves better than that.

I agree with the original paragraph of the woman who did the interviews though. Her point seemed to be that independence is integral to a healthy relationship. It truly is! If you revolve your existence around the life of someone else, you may blend your very identity with the singular act of being associated with them. I think that applies to every relationship. My husband and I know that should things go sour, we could make it on our own. We're both strong enough for that But we don't want to.

Most of these points look to be the most popular brought up by the women who were interviewed. It seems to be presented in a way that I don't necessarily agree with, because these are NOT be-all end-all ways to keep a healthy relationship, but they are things that work for other women, apparently. But they likely wouldn't work for me.

But like every personal thing, I guess it doesn't make it wrong for the people it actually does help.

Becky - posted on 12/09/2011

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I'm with most of you . . . #5 is out!!! I can't see how sleeping around behind your partners back will "help" anything. I've seen that destroy marriages!

The flirting w/ex's . . . it may work for some, but not in my relationship. First, I have absolutely no desire to speak with most of my ex's if I can help it! Secondly, I have no desire to make my man feel insecure about our relationship.

We do however take separate "vacations" He get's hunting season weekends, etc . . . and My daughter and I have "Mom & Me" week in the summer. Additionally we always try for a week long family camping trip too! We try to keep it balanced. This year he took my daughter hunting for a 3 day weekend and left me home alone with the dogs . . . I wish they had been gone for a full week! lol!

As for secrets, yeah there are things I simply don't tell him. Either because I don't feel like it, or I know he'll take it wrong and there is no point in upsetting him. I never keep important things to myself that will affect either him, us or our family.

And who doesn't occasionally have sex when they initially don't feel like it? It's a part of a mutual long term relationship.

Charlie - posted on 12/08/2011

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I agree with all of them but number 5 is an absolute deal breaker for me, I just cant se in any way how that is good for anyone but the cheater ( before they get caught)

[deleted account]

I agree with most of them. No. 5 is a definite NO though, for several reasons. First, the obvious, it's just wrong. Second, you would have to lie, and you cannot have a relationship built on trust if you are constantly covering your tracks.
That said, keeping a secret is not the same as telling a lie. A lie is completely fabricated, a secret is simply withholding information. THAT said, some secrets are good, some are very, very bad.

The separate vacations thing I think would depend on the lives of the couple. For us, they work--I'm a sahm, my husband works at home at least half the week or more. We are ALWAYS together!!! And it would drive us crazy if we didn't get breaks--we both have nights out with our friends, but I take a couple trips each year with my girlfriends too. If he worked long hours away from me, I doubt vacationing away from him would sound appealing at all.

[deleted account]

The only thing I agree with in there is that partners in a marriage need time apart from each other (not necesarily seperate vacations though). For a healthy relationship to happen, each partner has to be healthy individually, IMO.



Plus, #5 is an absolute deal breaker for me and for my husband. I have more respect for myself and the man I married than to even think of having an affair and I know my husband feels the same way (we've both been cheated on in the past, so we would never do it to someone else). If I was so unhappy in my marriage that I would consider looking elsewhere for sexual gratification, then I would end the marriage before looking around...



Oh, and I feel like flirting with anyone outside my marriage is a form of cheating and my husband feels the same way. We often check other people out, but flirting is a dangerously small step away from cheating and neither of us would do it... especially with our exes...

Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2011

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I go out for the entire day alone. I also go to my parents for a week and catch up with my old friends I guess. But I don't work and the only reason we don't go away together is because he has to work.

Becky - posted on 12/08/2011

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As far as the separate vacations thing goes, I think it depends on how far you take it. If you can never find time to take a vacation together, then no, I don't think separate vacations would be a good idea. I also don't think it's a good idea to take extended vacations separately, or to go on "questionable" vacations - a singles cruise or going on holidays with all friends of the opposite sex; something like that! But, in Sept, I went to Vegas just for the weekend, with some of my mom friends and I think it was a great thing for our marriage, and for my sanity! Next year, dh wants to go hunting with some friends for a week, which again, is fine, - as long as I get my mommy weekend again! :) It's something he loves that I have no interest in doing, so it's good for him to get to do it. I think a couple just needs to watch that they don't start spending all their time apart! If you're going to take separate vacations, make sure you spend time alone together - and as a family too - enjoying vacations or special events as well.

Johnny - posted on 12/08/2011

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Hmm. I'm not so sure. My hubby and I both work full-time, have our own groups of friends and do separate volunteer work, so the last thing we need is a vacation apart. Our lives are separate enough already.

I also think that cheating and lying is a BAD idea. Seems fine unless you get caught. Then it's game over. Infidelity is NOT a good idea. But I do think that for some couples, having an open marriage or participating in swinging can work. We just found out that one of our couple friends, who have been together for 15 years, have been swingers for 10 of those. And they are tight. So who knows. I think honesty goes a long way.

I also think that there are some people who are just bad matches and some people who are just not good at being with others. No matter what they do in their marriages, they'll fail.

Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2011

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I can see that having interests outside being your partner's slave can be good but I cant agree with the rest. Having your own friends and keeping secrets about your sexual fantasy dream, good idea. Who has enough time to take holidays TOGETHER let alone separately. Then again maybe some people don't work the hours Damo does. Which is the strain on our relationship. So by this if I refuse to let my partner cheat he needs to break up with me? sad. Anyone who cheats on me or goes of flirting with their exes and then channels their lust for their ex into fucking me... is a fucking dead man.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/08/2011

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The first 4 make total sense! All of which I do :P

Haven't done number 5, but I can see how it would work in theory. One of those "get it out of your system" type things. Not that I'm going to try it to prove that theory lol.

Becky - posted on 12/08/2011

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Well, I can see the value of all of them except the last one - and maybe the flirting with your exes. I don't really think infidelity is ever a good idea.

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