My husband is more affectionate than me.
That’s not to say he is less manly or not masculine because of his affection. He simply is better at showing his love in physical ways than I am.
Showing my warmth takes practice. I have to actively work at it and make a conscious effort to demonstrate my adoration.
I ask myself why that is and I mostly blame my upbringing.
My parents were not hugging-kissing types of people. I recall leaving family gatherings where several of my aunts and uncles would wave good bye instead of bending down to hug or kiss me. I thought this was normal for everyone.
Then I meet and marry into my husband’s family. Everyone he is akin to hugs and kisses one another. They openly say “I love you” around anyone, no matter who hears their words. His parents will even cry a little when we say good bye to them, even though they will see us again soon. Overall they are just more emotional than my relatives.
My grandparents were even worse.
I remember being afraid of them when I was a little girl.
They often seemed hard and stern, not the kind you ran up to and hugged for minutes at a time. I do not regret them being this way as I realize they had a harsh, poor childhood. For them, it was more about survival and placing food on the table then offering praise.
Still, I must remind myself daily and weekly to be more open with my physical love.
After eleven years of marriage and two children, I often find myself caught up in the daily routine. I let myself become too involved with working a full-time position, taking care of the kids, doing laundry, washing dishes, and keeping up with all the to-do lists of school and business. I will often forget to pause and say “I love you” to my family, disregarding hugs, kisses or other playful gestures.
My husband will remind me that he wants to receive compliments and that he needs to feel desired and loved.
When I respond with, “I cooked your favorite casserole,” he is not amused.
That’s when I remember that just providing the basics are not enough for a truly successful, happy marriage. You have to do more and give more of yourself.
How can I be more affectionate when it does not always come naturally to me?
Build upon humor with physical playfulness
I am a funny, silly individual. I have a good sense of humor. I can often be found telling jokes or making clever statements. Therefore, I build upon that wit with a pat on the back, a hand squeeze, a butt slap or even just pressing my body against my husband’s figure. I sometimes peek in on him while he is washing himself in the shower. I look him up and down then make a playful, suggestive statement. Even if I can’t act upon it at that moment because we’re rushing off to work, just making the statement leaves an impact that we can continue later in the day.
Say Thank you
I can be more gracious. I am very appreciative when my husband automatically does a chore around the house, like starting a load of laundry or cleaning the dishes after I cook. I vow to express how grateful I am that he is helpful and handy around the house. When he steps in to discipline the kids or takes one of our daughters to the doctor when I can’t slip away, I say thank you for doing that. I know I don’t have to thank him for being a good parent or for doing what he should do, but showing my gratitude goes a long way for both of us.
Be more complimentary
My husband is tall with dark hair and dark eyes. He is handsome. I need to tell him more that he’s sexy and that I am such a lucky woman to have him. After all, I do feel fortunate that he chose me and married me. Like most men, he is aging well and becoming more distinguished and more appealing. I will not let him forget that I find him attractive. If my spouse wears a particular colored shirt that really brings out his face, I let him know that he looks especially nice that day. I cannot tell him enough how wonderful and special he is. He is very complimentary to me and I should be with him as well.
Make time as a couple
One of our biggest challenges as a couple is to have quality, alone time. Since we live away from family members, we often do not have a babysitter or helper who can release us from clingy kids. Even our day dates while the children are occupied seem to be interrupted by a sick child or a call from the school. Much effort goes into giving us on-our-own time. I try to put our children to bed earlier at night, giving us time to watch a movie, cuddle or have sex. Once a week, I purposely have our children eat dinner by themselves; they eat their meal without the grown-ups then leave the table to play or watch television. Then my husband and I can sit next to each other and have real conversation. These are one of the few peaceful nights when we are not battling with our kids at the dinner table.
New spaces, new positions for sex
I don’t need exotic places or toys to enjoy sex with my husband. We make love well and often enough for me. I don’t worry about us becoming boring or routine. However, it is nice to attempt a new position every so often. Practicing yoga has helped me increase my flexibility and confidence in trying a new arrangement. Going into a different room in the house can be a real turn-on for both of us – whether it’s in the chair, in the bathroom, in the middle of the living room floor, in the closet or another bed. By mixing it up just a little bit we turn up the heat and our passion a few notches.
Some days I have to nudge myself to do the above suggestions but when I do, I notice we both feel happier and more fulfilled.