Surprising Habits to Recharge Your Relationship
Want to bring a little passion back into your relationship? If so, you might want to skip the commonly prescribed “date night” and simply stop calling each other honey. Julienne Davis and Margaret Arana, authors of Stop calling him Honey…and Start Having Sex! How Changing Your Everyday Habits Will Make You Hot for Each Other All Over Again, are challenging many of society’s commonly held beliefs about intimate relationships, and encouraging couples to change the bad habits that are taking the sizzle out of their sex life. They say that calling each other “pookums” in the kitchen is simply not conducive to passion in the bedroom; they don’t believe that bathroom time should be a shared experience, and they are adamant that if you “do everything together,” you have probably lost your individuality and are less interesting to your mate.
“In our ten years of research for this book, we’ve heard a lot of women say, ‘Our relationship is great and I’m just not that interested in sex,’” Julienne said. “Sex has a huge, huge impact on the bond you have with one another. If you think your relationship is okay without sex, it’s not! You need to find a way to have a physical relationship with your mate so your bond stays tight.”
Julienne goes on to say that often “good” relationships that have lost the sexual component are at high risk for affairs. “You’ve been repressing it, or he’s been repressing it, and then one of you meets someone and wham! You are suddenly boiling over with passion.
“The reason it feels so strong is because you’ve been repressing it,” Julienne said. “Why would you want to mess up your head, your heart and your family that way?”
The idea that pet names diminish sexual attraction has been controversial for the two authors. “It’s not that calling each other ‘honey’ is in itself bad,” Arana said, “but it does make it a little harder to relate to each other as sexual adults. Your name is part of your individuality and your gender. Pet names have no gender, so you automatically lose your male/femaleness with your mate, and you also lose your individuality because, whether we realize it or not, we all identify with our names and like hearing our names spoken by other people — especially the person we’re sleeping with. It may sound subtle, but any behavior that is repeated day after day, year after year, takes its toll on a relationship.”
The women also say that it is not true that pet names are more personal. “The opposite is true!” Arana said. “How many people have called you ‘honey’ in your life? Probably your mother and father, an aunt, maybe even a waitress at the coffee shop. Pet names actually make your communication more generic.”
Another no-no is baby talk. “Baby-type voices and calling your partner ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ are just not how you should relate to each other,” Arana said. “It’s a sign post down the road to becoming roommates instead of lovers. Hearing your own name in an adult voice hits your brain in a different place.”
The women say that you don’t have to give up pet names entirely. “Try calling your spouse by his or her name a few times a day. Try it on and see how it feels.”
Arana began thinking about the book after the dissolution of a 20-year relationship. “We were emotionally connected, but sexually disconnected,” Arana explained. “It’s not a good way to live your life. Sexual chemistry is more fragile than people think,” which is precisely why the women discourage sharing bathroom activities. “As Michael Caine once said of his successful 35-year marriage, ‘The secret to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms,’” Arana said.
According to Arana and Davis, some things just need to be kept private, even after, or especially after, you are married. The women believe that bathroom activities — hair dyeing, nose hair clipping, toilet time — chip away at that fragile sexual chemistry.
Tere and Don Braaks agree that daily habits are what have kept their 37-year marriage passionate. They cite good communication, respect, and making one another a priority as a few of their positive habits.
“We treat each other like we are dating,” Tere said. “That’s why I don’t have eyes for any other man because he makes me feel like I’m his girlfriend. And he has been my priority all my married life. I knew that if I focused on my kids, that when they were gone, I’d have nothing in common with my husband.”
Tere also credits forgiveness, courtesy and compromise as being important components in their relationship. Additionally, Tere says that they both give each other freedom to do what they each want to do. “We have different interests,” she said. “And we are both free to pursue them. We trust each other completely.”
Pursuing different interests is also on Arana’s and Davis’s list of “Couple Commandments.” They believe it is vitally important for couples to be passionate about their own lives and interests, and encourage their partner’s interests.
“You are not only a father, a mother, a wife,” Davis said. “What makes you tick as an individual? What will keep you interesting five or ten years down the road? Don’t stop working on yourself. You each should be constantly growing, evolving and maturing.”
Another habit Tere and Don practice is complimenting one another. “It’s very important to me that he notice me,” Tere said. “There hasn’t been a day that he hasn’t told me how beautiful I am or how nice I look. I always tell him what an incredible hunk he is. If he compliments me, I don’t need another man to tell me that I look good.”
Tere also said that she and Don have always made it a priority to take trips together. “Just the two of us. Sometimes we just stay in town and go to a hotel. It has been really exciting. I have to tell you, sex is important to both of us. It improves trust in a relationship. As we get older and our bodies are changing,
it is a great boost to know that he still desires me and I still desire him.”
Davis credits finding time to look into her husband’s eyes as being a powerful catalyst for reigniting passion in their relationship. The model and actress (who ironically was cast with Tom Cruise in the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”) says that her marriage was in trouble when she and Arana began talking about the book. “We were guilty of a lot of the bad habits,” she confessed. “When I began really looking into his eyes it was so powerful! There is something so exciting about looking deeply into each other’s eyes that really gets you going.”
“We watch T.V. and stare at computer screens — even in bed,” Arana said. “We are always looking at everything but each other. We don’t even take a few minutes a day to just look at each other and reconnect. We need to turn off the gadgets and have conversation. If we do, we will see that that sexual adult we first fell in love with is still there.”
Couples Ten Commandments
Julienne Davis and Margaret Arana offer the following “Ten Commandments” for keeping passion in relationships:
• I will relish and enjoy calling my partner by his/her own name.
• I will never call my partner “honey,” “sweetie,” or any other silly pet name.
• I will never use baby talk, baby-type voices, or call my partner “mommy” or “daddy.”
• I will always give my partner privacy and respect when it comes to all things having to do with the bathroom and bodily functions.
• I will find the time each day to look into my partner’s eyes and let the silence between us rekindle our desire.
• I will always remember to use touch and body language to express my desire for my partner.
• I will speak to my partner like a sexual adult, and not be afraid to talk a little dirty sometimes.
• I will rejoice in our difference of opinions, and yes, argue about them!
• I will always maintain a separate identity from my role in the relationship and be passionate about my own life, as well as encouraging my partner’s separate identity.
• I will love and accept myself the way I am today – mentally, emotionally, and physically – and I will encourage my partner to do the same.
From “Stop Calling Him Honey