By Kara I. Stevens
Before I got married, I used to hear women talk about how hard it was to keep the passion going and the juices flowing in a marriage. I never understood what they meant, though. Not that I believed that the love in their marriages wasn’t real, I just (naively) thought the passion that my husband and I experienced during our days of courting and dating would somehow always be there once we jumped the broom.
I have been married for three months, and I am here to testify, “I was wrong; they were right!” In this short period of time, I’ve noticed that we have gotten ourselves into a rut—go to work, come home, eat, watch T.V., and go to bed. This rut, albeit reasonable, is, nonetheless, a rut.
And I was beginning to miss my husband — my lover, my confidant, my friend.
I started thinking, “If this marriage is going to be the juicy kind that we both wanted, then we are going to have to nip some of these anti-intimacy habits in the bud before our marriage becomes dry, stale, and stank.”
As young professionals without kids — working hard to make a future for ourselves — we were guilty of frittering away our time in the present together, zoning out on T.V. after grinding at our 9-5s. I had never been much of a television-watcher growing up, but I was becoming a couch potato at 33, getting hooked on stupid shows just as a way to relax and unwind after work and on the weekends. I noticed the same about my husband. When he would come home, he would give me a kiss, and then plop on the couch right next to me, and tune-in to his favorite shows.
T.V. was making it easy for us to cope with the weight of world and working hard, but it was distracting us from the hard work of staying engaged, active, and in-tune with each other.
I voiced my concern about what was happening to us and he agreed that it would be a good idea to cut the cable. As an alternative to watching T.V., we came up with the following:
- Playing Board Games: My husband is a Scrabble and Monopoly fanatic. I prefer Connect Four and Checkers. Instead of looking to CSI Miami or Law & Order for entertainment, we can dust off the old board games and get into some healthy competition.
- Discussing Articles and Books: Back when we were dating, my husband and I would send each other interesting articles based on our respective interests. He tended to send me articles on African Politics and Entrepreneurship; I sent articles on Behavioral Economics, Philosophy, Personal Finance, and Black Studies. Without TV to steal our time, we can actually share our thoughts and possibly get into some heated (and sexy) debates.
- Saving For Our Honeymoon or Home: We could accelerate our savings progress by stashing the “cable cash” for home ownership or to fund the memories that we will make in London later this year.
- Visiting Friends or Inviting Friends Over More: We are not the only ones with this problem. I bet if we asked our friends (married and single), they would agree that TV has become a poor substitute for human connection, entertainment, and active living for them as well.
- Reinstating Date Night: The money that we save from cable can go for a monthly date of an inexpensive play or movie with “cheap eats” afterwards or whatever else we plan.
BMWK — What is slowly, but surely, killing your connection? What are you doing about it?
Kara Stevens blogs at FabulousNFrugal, a personal finance blog for women-of-color. Kara gives practical tips on all things girl power, wealth management, and juicy living. Connect with her on Twitter: @fabandfrugal